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Vashni meaning

ושני
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🔼The name Vashni in the Bible

There is some controversy about whether the name Vashni is a Biblical name or not. The problem is that in 1 Chronicles 6:28, the Masoretic text seems to state that Samuel had three sons: an unnamed first born, then either Vashni or an unnamed second son, and then finally Abijah. In 1 Samuel 8:2, however, the first born is called Joel and the second Abijah.

It's not unusual that someone has two names in the Bible, but in this particular case the name Vashni looks much more like a Persian name than a Hebrew one, and it's too early in the narrative for that. And then, there are only four words in Hebrew that start with a ו (waw), and at best one or two Hebrew names that do so. If Vashni is supposed to be a name, it's a highly unusual one.

1 Chronicles 6:28 reads ובני (=and sons of) שמואל (=Samuel:) הבכר (=the first-born) ושני (="and second" / Vashni) ואביה (=and Abijah).

Now what?

🔼Etymology and meaning of the name Vashni

Solution one is to consider Vashni a name anyway and let the origin of that name be a mystery. This interpretation is favored by all the older translations of the Bible, including the Vulgate (which reads Vasseni), the original KJV, Darby, Green, Webster (even the revision of 1995) and Young.

Solution two assumes that the word vashni is a compound of ו, (waw), the particle of conjunction meaning "and", and the very common adjective שני (sheni), meaning second or another:

The obvious consequence of following this line of reasoning is that we're now missing two names: "And the sons of Samuel, the first born (...) and the second (...) and Abijah". A scribe having made a booboo while copying the holy Text was right off unthinkable to the Masoretes, and hence they created the rather curious name Vashni. More modern scholars tend to believe otherwise, and most modern translations — including NAS, NIV, ASV and the revised KJV (KJV21) — insert the omitted name Joel (sometimes in Italics to indicate insertion) in their texts, and delete the waw in front of Abijah.

And this also means that modern commentators don't treat the name Vashni. But if they would, their meaning would probably be And The Second.

Mister Alfred Jones (the author of the luminous Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names), however, is neither modern nor easily deterred, considers no scribal error and boldly takes the name Vashni from a Arabic verb meaning to give liberally. In addition, Jones takes the final yod to be a remnant of יה (Yah) = יהו (Yahu) = יו (Yu), which is short for יהוה, YHWH, or Yahweh. Hence Jones reads Gift Of God.

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