🔼The name Ishvi: Summary
- Man Of Yah
- From (1) the noun איש ('ish), man, and (2) יה (yah), the shortened name of the Lord.
- From the verb שוה (shawa), to be even or agree with.
🔼The name Ishvi in the Bible
There are two men named Ishvi (or Ishui, as the King James and the Young translation have it) in the Bible:
- A son of Asher, and one of the sixty-six proto-Israelites who made the trek from Canaan to Goshen in Egypt (Genesis 46:17, 1 Chronicles 7:30). This Ishvi became the patriarch of the sub-clan of the ישוי, the Ishvites (Numbers 26:44). Note that the name Ishvi and the ethnonym Ishvite are spelled the same in Hebrew.
- One of the lesser known sons of king Saul (1 Samuel 14:49). This Ishvi plays no further role in the Bible.
🔼Etymology of the name Ishvi
There are two ways to go with the name Ishvi. It very much looks like an active form of the verb שוה (shawa), meaning to be even, agree with or resemble.
The verb שית (shyt) means to give, set or place firm. Noun שית (shyt) refers to occupational garb, the dress upon which the profession stands. Noun שת (shat) describes a national foundation; whatever a nation is set on. Noun שית (shayit) collectively describes a kind of plant (perhaps a bottle tree?).
Noun שת (shet) probably also derives from this verb, and appears to refer to human buttocks. It's not often emphasized but our buttocks truly signify our species (apart from our brain). No other animal has buttocks like man, and this handsome feature allows humans to trot literally for days. Given time, humans can outrun pretty much any other animal (including horses and antelope.)
The noun שי (shay) may or may not be related to the previous verb. It denotes a devotional offering made to the Temple by foreigners.
The verb שאה (sha'a) means to roar loudly, and that with destruction in mind. Noun שאון (sha'on) describes the roaring sound of wild waters or armies converging. Noun שאוה (sha'awa) denotes a devastating storm. Nouns שאיה (she'iya) and שאת (she't) mean ruin.
The unused verb שוא (shw') clearly must have meant something similar to the previous. Noun שוא (shaw') means emptiness or nullification. Nouns שוא (shw'), שואה (sho'a), שאה (sho'a), משואה (mesho'a) and משאה (mesho'a) mean ravage, ruin and desolation. Noun תשאה (teshu'a) denotes a sound, probably loud and accompanying destruction.
Verb שוה (shawa) means to be smooth and hence to agree with or to be like. Noun שוה (shaweh) describes a level plain.
Either this same verb or an identical other one means to set or place, and is clearly similar to שית (shyt).
Noun שה (seh) denotes a sheep or goat. This word appears to be like our word "head" as it describes a unit of whatever flock or herd. This noun is sometimes spelled alternatively as שי (shay).
Verb שתה (shata) means to drink. Nouns שתי (sheti) and שתיה (shetiya) mean a drinking. Noun משתה (mishteh) describes a place of or occasion of dinking: a banquet feast.
The letter י (yod) upon which our name ends, may either create an adjective (even-ly), a possessive form (my resemblance), or may be a remnant of יה (Yah) = יהו (Yahu) = יו (Yu), which in turn are abbreviated forms of the Tetragrammaton יהוה, YHWH, or Yahweh.
But our name also looks like it consists of two elements, the final being יה (yah), and the first being the noun איש ('ish), man:
The verb אנש ('anash) appears to emphasize the weakness of the human individual and mankind's consequent tendency to clan up and have strength in numbers first and then in social stratification. It either means to be weak or even to be sick, or it swings the other way and means to be friendly and social. It yields the important noun אנוש ('enosh), man or human male individual who is weak yet social.
In the Bible, societies are feminine (and maternal) and although some scholars insist on a whole other but identical root, the noun אשה ('isha) means woman or wife. And again perhaps from a whole other root or perhaps the same one, the noun איש ('ish) means man, or rather man of; man in some specific function such as "man of war" or "man of the earth." It's also the common word for husband.
Since societies form around central fires (or the "purifying light" of wisdom, which is where the metaphor comes from), the noun אש ('esh), fire, may also derive from this verb.
Some commentators insist that the name Ishvi has to do with the name Eshbaal (אשבעל = Man Of Baal), which according to the Chronicler belongs to one of the sons of Saul. But there seems to be no etymological or even narrative relation between these two. Still, for a meaning of the name Ishvi, NOBSE Study Bible Name List reads Man Of Yahweh. BDB Theological Dictionary does not offer an interpretation of our name but does list it under the verb שוה (shawa), meaning to be even, and demands that the name Ishvi really should be Eshbaal.
Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names goes with the verb שוה (shawa) and translates the name Ishvi with Equal.