🔼The name Jether: Summary
- Excellence, Abundance
- From the verb יתר (yatar), to be a rest or surplus.
🔼The name Jether in the Bible
There are six Jethers in the Bible:
- The father of Zipporah, who was the first wife of Moses. This man is called Jether in Exodus 4:18 but Jethro everywhere else.
- Gideon's firstborn son (Judges 8:18). Right after the famous battle in which Gideon defeated the entire Midianite army with three hundred men and some kitchenware, he pursued Zebah and Zalmunna, kings of Midian until he caught them at the ascent of Heres (Judges 8:13). After a brief conversation with the two kings, Gideon commanded his son Jether to execute them. But Jether was still a youth and fearfully declined, whereupon Gideon did the honors himself (Judges 8:21).
- The Ishmaelite father of Amasa, the commander of the army of Judah (1 Kings 2:32), who also happened to be David's cousin (1 Chronicles 2:17). In 2 Samuel 17:25 this man is called יתרא (Ithra).
- One of two sons of Jada of Judah, who died childless (1 Chronicles 2:32).
- A son of Ezrah of Judah (1 Chronicles 4:17).
- A man from Asher (1 Chronicles 7:38). This Jether is probably the same as the Ithran (יתרן) of 7:37.
🔼Etymology of the name Jether
The name Jether comes from the verb יתר (yatar), meaning to remain over, be a rest:
The verb יתר (yatar) means to remain or to be a rest (a remainder). It may emphasize the survival of some carnage (being the last ones left), but it may also emphasize surplus (rest money after all bills are paid). Noun יתר (yeter) means remnant; יתרה (yitra) means abundance; יותר (yoter) means superiority; יתרון (yitron) means excellence.
The nouns יתר (yeter) and מיתר (metar) describe cords to tie things together with. This indicates that a remnant is not simply that what remains, but rather that which kept the original collective together in the first place.
Jether is spelled the same as the derivative meaning rest or remnant, and the one meaning more or better.
For a meaning of the name Jether, Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names reads Excellence. NOBSE Study Bible Name List and BDB Theological Dictionary read Abundance.