🔼The name Mareshah: Summary
- Summit, That Which Is At The Head, Possession Taker
- From the root ראש (ro'sh), which has to do with primality.
🔼The name Mareshah in the Bible
The name Mareshah (spelled מראשה in Joshua 15:44 and מרשה everywhere else) belongs to two men and one town mentioned in the Bible.
The town called Mareshah was a town in the lowland of the territory that was allotted to the tribe of Judah (Joshua 15:44). It was fortified by king Rehoboam of Judah (2 Chronicles 11:8), which proved convenient for the later king Asa, when Zerah the Ethiopian mustered a huge army and marched upon him at Mareshah, or more specifically: at the nearby valley of Zephathah (2 Chronicles 14:9-10).
The even later king Jehoshaphat of Judah foolishly allied himself with king Ahaziah of Israel, but was sternly told off by the prophet Eliezer, son of Dodavahu of Mareshah (2 Chronicles 20:37). The prophet Micah warned that YHWH would bring the possessor (ירש, yarash) against Mareshah (Micah 1:15).
The men named Mareshah are:
🔼Etymology of the name Mareshah
The name Mareshah consists of the preposition מ (ma), which denotes an agent or place of the part that follows. That second part might be an expression of the verb ירש (yarash), meaning to take possession of (hence the wordplay of Micah 1:15), or the root ראש (ro'sh), which has to do with primality:
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.
For a meaning of the name Mareshah, NOBSE Study Bible Name List goes with the root ראש (ro'sh) and reads Summit. Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names goes with the same and suggests the rather elaborate That Which Is At The Head.
BDB Theological Dictionary, timid as ever, gives no hint to preference and lists our name alphabetically under מ (ma) instead of under a specific root.