🔼The name Ahishar: Summary
- My Brother Has Sung
- Brother Of Firmness
- Brother Of The Upright
- From (1) the noun אח ('ah), brother, and (2) the verb שיר (shir), to sing.
- From (1) the noun אח ('ah), brother, and (2) the verb שרר (sharar), to be hard or firm.
- From (1) the noun אח ('ah), brother, and (2) the verb ישר (yashar), to be upright.
🔼The name Ahishar in the Bible
The only Ahishar in the Bible is king Solomon's chief of staff (1 Kings 4:6). Apart from this brief cameo, Ahishar has no further role in the Bible.
🔼Etymology of the name Ahishar
The name Ahishar consists of two elements. The first part comes from the word אח ('ah), meaning brother:
The noun אח ('ah) means brother, or more broadly: a fellow member of a social economic node (a "house") within a broader economic whole.
This word's lavish inclusion in names strongly suggests that the deity was reckoned by this word — in modern times we mostly speak of Our Father in Heaven but in antiquity the deity appears to have also been addressed as Our Brother. The New Testament appears to entertain that dynamic in the tenet that the Word is God's Son, and all who have the Word are godly brothers. Also note the similarity with the verb חוה (hawa), to show, tell, make known.
The noun אחוה ('ahawa) means brotherhood and אחות ('ahot) means sister.
The origin of the second part of the name Ahishar is not clear and scholars disagree.
BDB Theological Dictionary and NOBSE Study Bible Name List derive it from the verb שיר (shir), meaning to sing:
The meaning of root שיר (syr) is unclear but from it derive nouns שיר (shir) and שירה (shira), both meaning song. The denominative verb שיר (shir) means to sing a song.
And indeed, our verb shir belongs to a group of verbs of which the letter yod drops out in certain grammatical constructions. Hence, for a meaning of the name Ahishar, both BDB and NOBSE read My Brother Has Sung.
Alfred Jones (Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names), however, sees more in the verb שרר (shrr), which is unused in the Bible but which may have meant to be hard or firm:
Root שרר (sharar) has to do with rigidity resulting from the absorption and retention of liquids (called turgor in plants), liquidity in economy, or data in IT and so on — and the ultimate effects thereof. The promise of Jesus', that streams of living water would emerge from within (John 7:38), tells of a curing of social lymphedema, when pools of stagnant wealth (whether fat, cash or data) are re-released into society to benefit all (for more on this, see our article on the noun δουλος, doulos).
Noun שר (sar) means chief or ruler (someone in whom a society's wealth is concentrated). Its feminine form, שרה (sara), denotes a princess, noble lady or perhaps a ruling class collectively. The denominative verb שרר (sarar) means to be a chief.
Noun שרירות (sherirut) describes firmness in a negative sense: stubbornness. Noun שר (shor) refers to the umbilical cord and noun שרה (shera) to a bracelet of some sort. Noun שריר (sharir) apparently denotes a sinew or muscle.
Mystery verb שרה (sara) is used only to describe what Jacob did with the Angel (Genesis 32:29 and Hosea 12:4). It's traditionally been translated as "to wrestle," but it obviously metaphorizes Israel's formation into a political unity based on the retention of knowledge and skills. Derived noun משרה (misra) literally means "place or agent of שרה (sara)." It occurs only in the famous prediction that "the misra will be upon his shoulders" (Isaiah 9:6).
Verb שרה (shara) means to fill and release. Noun משרה (mishra) denotes the juice of grapes. Noun שריה (shirya) denotes a kind of weapon and noun שריון (shiryon) or שרין (shiryan) describes body armor — the link between physical, political and intellectual rigidity is obvious (see Ephesians 6:14).
Hence Jones reads Brother Of Firmness.
The renowned theologian Gesenius also has a different idea and proposes relations with the verb ישר (yashar) meaning to be upright or just:
Verb ישר (yashar) means to be straight or level. Adjective ישר (yashar) means right or upright. Nouns ישר (yosher), ישרה (yeshara) and מישר (meshar) mean uprightness or straightness. Noun מישור (mishor) describes a level place or plain.
Verb אשר ('ashar) covers a decisive progression or a setting right, and is often applied to describe happiness and prosperity (right on!). This is not due to a curious coincidence but to the obvious correlation of righteousness and efficiency. Righteousness in the Biblical sense describes a solid grasp of natural law, which leads to high levels of technology, social liquidity and thus peace and prosperity.
Nouns אשר ('esher), אשר ('ashar) and אשר ('osher) mean happiness or blessedness. Nouns אשור (ashur) and אשר (ashur) mean a step, a walk or a going. The noun תאשור (te'ashur) refers to a kind of tree (a happy tree? a progressing tree?).
The relative particle אשר (asher) means who or which, and may or may not be related to the previous (but probably does).
Hence Gesenius reads Brother Of The Upright.
Depending on our leanings, the name Ahishar may mean My Brother Has Sung, or Brother Of Singing. It may mean Brother Of Firmness or My Brother Is Firm, or it may mean My Brother Is Upright, or Brother Of Uprightness.
And of course, for every "Brother" a reader may impose "Friend" or "Ally".