🔼The name Jerusha: Summary
- Owned, Inheritance
- From the verb ירש (yarash), to take possession of.
🔼The name Jerusha in the Bible
Jerusha is the mother of king Jotham of Judah, the wife of king Uzziah and the daughter of Zadok. Jerusha is mentioned twice in Scriptures: once in 2 Kings 15:33, where her name is spelled ירושא, and once in 2 Chronicles 27:1, where she's called ירושה (Jerushah).
🔼Etymology of the name Jerusha
Either version of the name Jerusha(h) comes from the verb ירש (yarash), meaning to take possession of:
The shape-shifting verb רוש (rush), ריש (rish), ראש (re'sh) or simply רש (rash) means to be disenfranchised; to have lost liberty and civil rights, usually due to poverty or conquest. Nouns ריש (rish) and ראש (ri'sh) reflect the state of being disenfranchised.
The verb ירש (yarash) means to enfranchise, to take possession of (at the implied cost of disenfranchisement of others, obviously). Nouns ירשה (yerasha), ירשה (yerushsha), מורש (morash) and מורשה (morasha) all mean possession. Noun רשת (reshet) denotes a net or a similar device to catch game with.
Noun ראש (ro'sh) expresses primality: chief, head, top, etcetera. It may also refer to the beginning of a period: adjective ראשון (ri'shon) literally means chiefly but is mostly used in the sense of previous or former. Noun ראשה (ri'sha) means pinnacle but may also refer to some past golden age or bygone glory days.
The noun ירשה is nearly identical to our name Jerushah, except that in the name the vowel waw is added for pronunciation purposes. The letters aleph and he sometimes interchange, especially when they denote vowels. The aleph-version of this name (Jerusha) should be considered the same as Jerushah.
For a meaning of the name Jerusha(h), NOBSE Study Bible Name List reads Possessed (married) and Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names has Possessed, and adds: namely, by a husband. BDB Theological Dictionary suggests Taken Possession Of, and adds: i.e. married?
Here at Abarim Publications we completely disagree with these translations. HAW Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament counts 282 occurrences of this root and its derivatives, and never these words are used to describe a marital relationship. Wives are never owned or taken possession of. There was a rule that when a man dies without having any offspring, that man's brother was to marry the wife and produce offspring in his brother's name (called Levirate law, after the Latin word levir, meaning brother-in-law — Genesis 38:8, Ruth 4:5-6). In the no-covet command of Exodus 20:17 the wife is listed among the attributes of a man's house, but no verb is employed to denote the degree of the man's legal association with his house (and wife). In English we must resort to wordings like "whatever belongs to your neighbor," but in Hebrew only the prefix ל (le), literally meaning to, is used.
Israel's inheritance of the land of Canaan was a major part of the covenant that God made with Abraham (Genesis 15:18), and because of that, the book of Deuteronomy shows the highest density of occurrences of our verb ירש. In fact, the Abrahamic covenant and its clause of inheritance was the very reason that the modern state of Israel was reinitiated at its present location and not (safely) somewhere else.
Jerusha was surely not named after a man's relationship to his wife, but rather God's promise to Abraham and his offspring. Since Paul teaches that all believers in Christ are Abraham's offspring (Galatians 3:16), this magnificent name ties right into the promise of the New Creation (Ephesians 1:10-11, Revelation 21:1).
The name Jerusha means Inheritance.