🔼The name Ir-shemesh: Summary
- City Of The Sun
- From (1) the noun עיר ('ir), city, and (2) the noun שמש (shemesh), sun.
🔼The name Ir-shemesh in the Bible
The name Ir-shemesh occurs only once in the Bible. It's the name of a Canaanite village that came to be situated in the territory allotted to the tribe of Dan (Joshua 19:41). Scholars commonly equate Ir-shemesh with one of the four cities named Beth-shemesh, but neither of these four are Danite.
🔼Etymology of the name Ir-shemesh
The name Ir-shemesh obviously consists of two elements. The first part of our name is the noun עיר ('ir), the common Hebrew word for city:
The root ערר ('arar) describes an accumulation in one place that results in an emptiness or barrenness everywhere else — both cities and clouds form from this principle, and indeed any sort of commercial or intellectual fortune. Adjectives ערירי ('ariri) and ערער ('ar'ar) mean stripped, childless or destitute. Noun מערה (me'ara) literally means "place of being stripped" and is the Bible's common word for cave. Noun ערוער ('aro'er) denotes some kind of tree or bush (probably one without leaves).
Noun עיר ('ir) is the Bible's common word for city, which constitutes an accumulation of people and goods, usually in the middle of a wide area without remaining trees. Noun עיר ('ayir) came to specifically denote the wild ass, but apparently stems from the more common behavior of standing around in clusters in the middle of a field that's been grazed clean (in other languages this word also denotes gazelles and such).
Verb עור ('awar) means to be or make blind, and blindness occurs most commonly due to a cataract (which looks like a skin forming over the eye, and is due to a cloudy accumulation of protein in the ocular lens). Adjective עור ('iwwer) means blind. Nouns עורון ('iwwaron) and עורת ('awweret) mean blindness.
Verb עור ('ur I) means to rouse oneself — literally to collect and bundle one's feelings. Noun עיר ('ir) means excitement.
Identical verb עור ('ur II) means to be exposed or laid bare. Noun מעור (ma'or) means nakedness and noun מערם (ma'arom) means naked one. Adjectives עירם ('erom), ערם ('erom), ערום ('arom) and ערם ('arom) mean naked. Noun עור ('or) means skin or hide.
Verb ערה ('ara) also means to be naked or bare. Nouns ערה ('ara), מערה (ma'ara) and מער (ma'ar) refer to bare or exposed places. Nouns ערוה ('erwa) and עריה ('erya) mean nakedness or exposure. Noun תער (ta'ar) denotes a thing that makes bare: a razor or sheath of a sword.
The second part of our name comes from the noun שמש (shemesh), the common Hebrew word for sun:
The noun שמש (shemesh) is the Biblical word for sun. Many ancient societies recognized that the sun rules life on earth, but few understood that even the sun is a mere creature, also firmly subjected to the laws of nature and ultimately the unchallenged sovereignty of the Creator. Hence to many societies the sun became the symbol of divine supremacy and the divinity of human kings, and to few it became the symbol of satanic grand delusion and existential deceit. Pretty much all great empires identified in some way or form with the sun, but the periods of humanity's deepest darkness were triggered by folks who imagined the sun to be supreme.
For a meaning of the name Ir-shemesh, both NOBSE Study Bible Name List and Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names read City Of The Sun. BDB Theological Dictionary reads City Of The Sun(-god).