🔼The name Ira: Summary
- Roused, Wild Ass
- From the verb ערר ('arar), to strip and accumulate.
🔼The name Ira in the Bible
There are three men named Ira in the Bible, and they are all associated with king David:
- Ira the Jairite, "a priest to David," who is mentioned in a small list of military, political and religious leaders (2 Samuel 20:26).
- A son of Ikkesh the Tekoite and one of David's celebrated mighty-men. (2 Samuel 23:26, 1 Chronicles 11:28). He is also the sixth commander of the army of David (1 Chronicles 27:9).
- Ira the Ithrite, also one of David's mighty-men (2 Samuel 23:38, 1 Chronicles 11:40).
🔼Etymology of the name Ira
The name Ira obviously comes from the following word group, but there's no consensus on which specific word:
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.
For a meaning of the name Ira, both NOBSE Study Bible Name List and Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names derive it from the verb עור ('ur I) meaning to rouse oneself, and read Watchful. BDB Theological Dictionary doesn't translate our name but does list it under the noun עיר ('ayir), meaning Wild Ass.