🔼The name Jeriah: Summary
- Yah Sees
- Fear Of Yah
- From (1) the verb ראה (ra'a), to see, and (2) יה (yah), the shortened name of the Lord.
- From (1) verb ירא (yara'), to fear, and (2) יה (yah), the shortened name of the Lord.
🔼The name Jeriah in the Bible
Being the firstborn, Jeriah was the chief of the Hebronites and in the fortieth year of his reign, David made him and his brothers overseers of the tribes of Reuben, Gad and Manasseh, which were the tribes that lived on the east of the Jordan (1 Chronicles 26:31).
Note that the name Jeriah is spelled יריה in 1 Chronicles 26:31 but with a final ו (waw) in 1 Chronicles 23:19 and 24:23 (Jeriahu). It's quite common that names that ended on יה (yah) also existed ending on יהו (yahu).
🔼Etymology of the name Jeriah
The name Jeriah consists of two elements, the final part being יה (Yah) = יהו (Yahu) = יו (Yu), which in turn are abbreviated forms of the Tetragrammaton יהוה, YHWH, or Yahweh.
It's not clear where the first part of our name comes from. The scholars behind the NOBSE Study Bible Name List think its origin lies in the verb ראה (ra'a), meaning to see:
The verb ראה (ra'a) means to see, and by extension to understand. It may mean to become visible (of, say, an angel) or to become understandable (of, say, a theory). Noun ראה (ro'eh) means either seer, or prophetic vision, and noun מראה (mar'a) means either vision as means of revelation, or mirror. Nouns ראית (re'ut) and ראות (re'ut) mean a looking. Nouns ראי (ro'i) and מראה (mar'eh) mean sight or appearance. Adjective ראה (ra'eh) means seeing.
Alfred Jones (Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names) believes the first part of our name comes from the verb ירא (yara'), meaning to fear or revere, and BDB Theological Dictionary lists our name under the verb ירה (yara) meaning to cast or shoot:
The verb ירה (yara) describes the bringing about of a unified effect by means of many little impulses (arrows, stones, words, instructions, rain drops, and so on). Noun יורה (yoreh) refers to rain that falls during the first period of the agricultural year, when seedlings bud but don't bear fruit yet. Noun מורה (moreh) may either also refer to early rain, or it means teacher, who is a person who teaches children who can't think for themselves yet. Noun תורה (tora), refers to any set of instructions (hence the familiar word Torah).
The verb ירא (yara') describes the same process, but rather from the perspective of the receiving "soil": to revere, to pay heed to, and in extreme cases: to fear. Nouns יראה (yir'a), מורא (mora') and מורה (mora) cover the broad spectrum between reverence and fear, between anything awe-inspiring and anything terrifying.
For a meaning of the name Jeriah, NOBSE Study Bible Name List reads Yahweh Sees. Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names proposes Fear Of The Lord. And BDB Theological Dictionary does not translate our name but does list under ירה and declares it comparable to the name Jeriel, which BDB translates with Founded Of El. Jeriah would thus mean Founded Of Yah.