The name Zerah in the Bible
The name Zerah is assigned five (or six) times in the Bible:
- A chief of Edom and son of Reuel, son of Esau and Basemath (Genesis 33:17 — possibly the same as the next).
- The father of Jobab, successor of Bela a king of Edom, who came from Bozrah (Genesis 36:33).
- A son of Judah and Tamar, and brother of Perez and great-grandfather of Achan (Genesis 38:30, Joshua 7:1, 1 Chronicles 2:6). This Zerah is mentioned by Matthew (spelled in Greek as Ζαρα, Zara) in the genealogy of Christ as one of two men mentioned that are not directly in Christ's line of descent (Matthew 1:3; the other one being Uriah, who's the only one mentioned who's not at all related to Jesus). The progeny of this Zerah became known as the זרחי, the Zerahites (Numbers 26:20)
- A son of Simeon (Numbers 26:13) called Zohar in Genesis 46:10. The progeny of this Zerah was also known as the זרחי, the Zerahites (Numbers 26:13).
- A Levite of the Gershom branch (1 Chronicles 6:21).
- A Cushite general who was defeated by king Asa (2 Chronicles 14:8).
Etymology of the name Zerah
The name Zerah comes from the verb זרח (zarah), meaning to arise or shine:
For a meaning of the name Zerah, NOBSE Study Bible Name List reads Dawning. Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names reads Rising Of Light.