🔼The name Maharai: Summary
- Swift, Skilled
- From the verb מהר (mahar), to be quick or skilled.
🔼The name Maharai in the Bible
There's only one man named Maharai in the Bible. Maharai the Netophathite was one of David's mighty-men (2 Samuel 23:28, 1 Chronicles 11:30). This Maharai became one of the twelve commanders of Israel's army. His division consisted of Zerahites (1 Chronicles 27:13).
🔼Etymology of the name Maharai
The name Maharai appears to derive from the verb מהר (mahar), meaning to hasten or be quick, with the implication of being skilled:
The verb מהר (mahar) means to hasten or be quick (i.e. to be very good and what one does). Adjective מהר (maher) means speedy or swift. Identical adverb מהר (maher) means quickly. Adjective מהיר (mahir) means quick and is also used in the meaning of being skilled. Noun מהרה (mehera) means haste or speed.
The noun מהר (mohar) describes the purchasing price of a wife and from this noun derives the denominative verb מהר (mahar), to acquire by paying that particular price. Perhaps these words come from a wholly different verb מהר (mahar), as most dictionaries demand, but perhaps this "price" was not merely some fixed amount of gold but rather a demonstration of a suitor's worthiness, and thus skill and thus quickness.
The letter י (yod) upon which our name ends, may either create an adjective (hastily), a possessive form (my haste), or may be a remnant of יה (Yah), which is short for יהוה, which is the name YHWH, or Yahweh.
For a meaning of the name Maharai, NOBSE Study Bible Name List thinks that the final yod marks an adjective and reads Swift, Hasty.
Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names, on the other hand, mentions the Punic name Meherbal, which obviously contains the name Baal, and concludes the final yod of the name Maharai is a remnant of YHWH. hence Jones translates Maharai with Impetuosity Of The Lord.
BDB Theological Dictionary does not translate our name but does list it under the verb מהר I (mahar), meaning to hasten or be quick.