🔼The name Cushan-rishathaim: Summary
- Unclear but perhaps from (1) the name כוש (Cush), and (2) the verb רשע (rsh'), to be wicked.
🔼The name Cushan-rishathaim in the Bible
There's only one man named Cushan-rishathaim in the Bible. He is the king of Aram-naharaim at the chaotic time between Joshua's death and the rise of Othniel, the first judge and the nephew of Caleb (Judges 3:8).
After Joshua dies, Israel spirals into a state of anarchy, and the people go after the Baals and Asheroth, until the country is so weak that the Lord lets Cushan-rishathaim conquer Israel and enslave it for eight years. Then the Israelites remember YHWH and he raises up Othniel, son of Kenaz, the brother of Caleb. Othniel defeats Cushan-rishathaim and leads Israel for another peaceful forty years.
🔼Etymology of the name Cushan-rishathaim
The name Cushan-rishathaim consists of two elements:
The first part is the same as the name Cushan, which is an extended version of the name Cush. Unfortunately, the meaning of Cush is lost. See our article on the name Cush for more detail.
The second part of our name is a plural form of a noun derived from the verb רשע (rsh'), meaning to be wicked:
The root רשע (rsh') has to do with wickedness and is the opposite of צדק (sadeq), righteousness.
Adjective רשע (resha') means wrong, wicked, guilty. Noun רשע (rasha') means wickedness, and the denominative verb רשע (rasha') means either to be wicked or to condemn as guilty. Its feminine equivalent, רשעה (risha'), means wickedness. Noun מרשעת (mirsha'at) describes an agent or place of wickedness.
For a meaning of the name Cushan-rishathaim, NOBSE Study Bible Name List forgoes the troublesome Cushan-part and reads a mere Extra Wicked.
Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names appears to skips this name all together, which is quite unusual for Jones. BDB Theological Dictionary doesn't make an attempt to translate Cushan-rishathaim.