🔼The name Chuza: Summary
- Seer, Visionary
- From the verb חזה (haza), to see or have [a] vision.
🔼The name Chuza in the Bible
The name Chuza (or rather: Chusas) occurs only once in the Bible, namely in Luke 8:3, where it is revealed that several women (some or all of whom had been healed of maladies) were paying for Jesus' mission. One of these women was Joanna, whose husband Chuza was king Herod Antipas' chief of staff (the word is επιτροπος, epitropos; one to whom a boss entrusts his affairs).
Popular folklore tends to make of Jesus some hippie type or wandering sage, but that's a thorough miscast. Jesus' enterprise was complex enough to merit the talents of a treasurer (John 12:6) and a circle of private donors from the highest echelons. Jesus' hearing involved the whole Sanhedrin, the Roman government and the Jewish king.
Twenty years later, and mere years before the outbreak of the Jewish Revolt, Paul would be singled out from millions of very angry and concerned Jews for a lengthy hearing by the region's top brass, namely procurators Felix, Festus and king Herod Agrippa. After that, he was granted a private audience with the emperor — and he governed an empire of many millions of people! Neither Jesus nor Paul was ever considered a minor player.
The money that Jesus received from Joanna obviously came from the salary of Chuza, who was paid out of the nation's treasury, which was maintained by the people's taxes. The Jewish Revolt had several causes, but an important one was Rome's tax regime. Fierce debates were waged on whether Jews should pay taxes to Caesar (yes, said Jesus — Mark 12:17), and while Pilate was condemned for using Temple tax to fund the building of a public aqueduct (read our article on the name Pilate), Jesus' ministry was funded in precisely the same way. But then, Jesus was the public source of living water (John 4:14), which goes to show that these stories are far more complex than meets the eye.
🔼Etymology of the name Chuza
The name Chuza is Hebrew and comes from the verb חזה (haza, or perhaps better: chaza), meaning to see or have insight:
The verb חזה (haza) means to see or behold. Noun חזה (hozeh) means seer or visionary. Nouns חזות (hazot), חזות (hazut), חזיון (hizzayon) and מחזה (mahazeh) mean vision, anything between the mere act of seeing to experiencing a prophetic apparition. The noun מחזה (meheza) literally describes a place or instrument of vision and is the word for window.
It may be that the verb חזה (haza) originated in the idea of being or looking forward, which would explain the noun חזה (hazeh), which describes the breast of an animal. It may also be that this noun derives from a second verb חזה (haza), to be in front.
The name Chuza means Seer or Visionary, and that's not without significance. Folklore may depict Herod Antipas as the inconsiderate brute who beheaded John the Baptist, but Paul had good reasons to assume that Agrippa knew his classics (Acts 26:27). Besides dancing girls and banquets, the elite of ancient days entertained each other by posing riddles, in order to test each other's intellectual prowess (Exodus 7:11, Judges 14:12, 1 Kings 10:1, Ezekiel 17:2, John 18:38). And that was not just play.
A king who knew his way around the library (Deuteronomy 17:18) and who had an answer to complex artificial challenges most likely also knew how to win a war or avert a famine. A king like that would be a good friend to have, and visiting dignitaries would be duly dissuaded to start any trouble. Smart kings were well-connected kings, which would make an attack even less advisable and good relations highly lucrative for everybody (1 Kings 10:23). A king who knew little, was jealous, boastful or lost his temper, was weak in that same regard and surely on his way out (1 Samuel 18:8, 2 Kings 20:13, Jeremiah 36:23).
Note that during the darkest centuries of the last few millennia, royal courts featured jesters rather than seers. Likewise in our modern age societies make multi-millionaires out of their entertainers, while the scientists who could cure cancer remain underfunded. In societies ran by fools, God gets blamed. In societies ran by wise, God gets consulted.