🔼The name Puah in the Bible
There are two people named Puah in the Bible, a man and a woman (although only a few English translations actually call the man Puah — see below). But even though in English their names are the same, in Hebrew they are completely different. We'll call them Puah I (פועה) and Puah II (פוה):
🔼The name Puah I: Summary
- Splendid, Radiant
- From the verb יפע (yapa'), to radiate.
🔼The name Puah I in the Bible
There's only one woman named Puah (פועה) in the Bible. She is one of two Hebrew midwives during Israel's period of captivity in Egypt, who defy the command of the Pharaoh to murder new born Hebrew males. Her colleague's name is Shiphrah, and together they save a whole generation of Israelites, including Moses (Exodus 1:15).
🔼Etymology of the name Puah I
The name Puah I may be derived from the verb יפע (yapa'), meaning to shine or be beautiful:
The verb יפע (yapa') means to shine or radiate (specifically of theophanies). Noun יפעה (yip'a) means brightness or splendor.
The verb יפה (yapa) means to be beautiful. The adjective יפה (yapeh) means beautiful and the diminutive adjective יפה־פיה (yepeh-piya) means pretty. Noun יפי (yepi) means beauty.
🔼Puah I meaning
For a meaning of the name Puah I, Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names reads Splendid, Light. BDB Theological Dictionary neither interprets our name nor lists it under a specific root. The generally quite complete NOBSE Study Bible Name List appears to skip our name all together.
🔼The name Puah II: Summary
- Mouth, Utterance, Edge
- From the noun פה (peh), mouth.
🔼The name Puah II in the Bible
The one and only male Puah of the Bible is a son of Issachar, the ninth son of Jacob and fifth of Leah. His name is spelled פוה in Genesis 46:13 and Numbers 26:23 and פואה in 1 Chronicles 7:1. The various variants of this name are transliterated into English as Puah, Puvvah, Phuvah or Puvah, depending on the Bible version. And in Judges 10:1 occurs the name פואה (Puvah) again as the father of the judge Tola. Since Tola was an Issacharite, it's not certain whether his father was a whole different Puvah, or whether Tola descended from the first-generation-son of Issachar. In that case, Tola would not have been a Tolaite but a Punite, as mentioned in Numbers 26:23.
🔼Etymology of the name Puah II
The name Puah II is either a transliteration of an Arabic word for mouth (as is suggested by Alfred Jones — Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names) or it comes from the similar Hebrew word for mouth: פה (peh):
The verb פאה (pa'a) means to cleave or break apart (what one does with a sword) and the derived noun פאה (pe'a) means corner or side.
Apparently related to the above is the otherwise inexplicable noun פה (peh) or פו (po) or פי (pi), meaning mouth. This word has a somewhat greater compass than its English counterpart, and also includes the edge of a sword (hence the sword protruding from the white horseman's mouth; Revelation 19:15). This word may also be used to mean extremity or end, which brings it in close proximity to the noun פאה (pe'a), corner or side.
A second word of similar form is the adverb פה (poh), which means here or hither. This adverb is alternately spelled פו (po) and פא (pa').
🔼Puah II meaning
For a meaning of the name Puah II, NOBSE Study Bible Name List takes a bit large a step of liberty and reads Utterance. Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names proposes the more accurate Mouth. BDB Theological Dictionary does not interpret our name but does list פואה under its article on the noun פה (peh), meaning mouth.