🔼The name Zattu in the Bible
There are two or three men named Zattu mentioned in the Bible:
- The patriarch of a family of which close to a thousand male members returned from the exile in Babylon. It's not clear how many there were exactly. Ezra counted 945 (Ezra 2:8), but Nehemiah thought they were 845 (Nehemiah 7:13).
- This patriarch Zattu is possibly the same as the Zattu of who a few sons had married and would divorce their foreign wives during the Purge of Ezra (Ezra 10:27).
- One of the signers of the sealed document (Nehemiah 10:14). This Zattu is obviously not the same as the one who had at least 845 descendants at the time of the return, because he was surely long dead.
🔼Etymology of the name Zattu
It's not clear where the name Zattu might come from, but scholars generally seem to derive it from an Arabic verb זתת (ztt), which means to adorn or to beautify. Here at Abarim Publications we believe that this verb also occurred in Hebrew, but with the primary meaning of being tender, frail or new and fresh:
For a meaning of the name Zattu, NOBSE Study Bible Name List reads Lovely. Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names proposes Ornament or Beauty. BDB Theological Dictionary does not offer an interpretation of this name.
Here at Abarim Publications we think that the name Zattu means something like Sapling or perhaps Greenhorn or even Spring-Born. There are quite a few patriarchs mentioned in the Bible and not often enough do we consider how rare patriarchs really are, or what causes someone to become recognized as one (in stead of, say his son or his great-grandfather).
The name Zattu also reflects the humble beginnings of a substantial result, which is obviously quite befitting a patriarch.