🔼The name Izhar: Summary
- He Will Be Ripe, He Will Produce Oil
- From the verb צהר (sahar), to be at an apex or to process the ripe harvest.
🔼The name Izhar in the Bible
There are two different Hebrew names which transliterated into English for the same name Izhar. That is to say, only the American Standard Version and the New American Standard Version print the name Izhar in 1 Chronicles 4:7 for the name יצחר; the King James Version has Jezoar, and the New International Version, Jewish Society Publication, and the Darby and Young translations speak of Zohar (please see our article on that name for a discussion).
The name Izhar (יצהר) belongs to one of the sons of Kohath, the son of Levi, the third son of Jacob and Leah and the patriarch of the priestly caste of Israel (Exodus 6:18, 1 Chronicles 6:2). Izhar's progeny would collectively be known as the Izharites (יצהרי; Numbers 3:27, 1 Chronicles 24:22), and one of them, namely Korah son of Izhar, famously led the rebellion against his cousins Moses and Aaron, sons of Amram, brother of Izhar (Numbers 16:1).
At the conclusion of his enigmatic vision of the golden Menorah, the prophet Zechariah sees two olive trees standing to the sides of the lampstand. When he asks his guiding angel what those trees are, the angel says that they are בני היצהר, or "sons of (the) Izhar," commonly either translated with "sons of the fresh oil" or else paraphrased as "anointed ones" (Zechariah 4:14).
🔼Etymology of the name Izhar
The name Izhar comes from the root צהר (shr), which we here at Abarim Publications think has to do with being at the highest point:
The unused verb צהר (sahar) probably meant something like to be at an apex (and not to be bright, as many scholars appear to think). Noun צהר (sohar) means roof or top. It's used as a synonym for midday, when the sun is at its highest point in the sky. It may also refer to the highest degree of merriment or justice.
Noun יצהר (yishar) refers to fresh olive oil; the unprocessed product of the olive tree (the concepts of ripeness and highness correlate in Biblical thought). The denominative verb צהר (sahar) means to press oil (to process the high/ripe things).
The meaning of the name Izhar obviously depends wholly on what meaning we render the root. Since we here at Abarim Publications are of the opinion that the root in essence declares being at a zenith of some sort, we would translate the name Izhar with He Will Be At The Apex or He Will Be Ripe or even He Will Produce Oil. Note the important relation between Zechariah's vision and the name Gethsemane.
The learned body behind the NOBSE Study Bible Name List believes that the root essentially means to be bright, and translates the name Izhar with Shining.
Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names quotes Zechariah 4:14 and from there derives that the name Izhar must mean Anointed.
BDB Theological Dictionary does not offer an explanation of our name but does list it under the root צהר (shr).