🔼The name Seraiah: Summary
- Yah Retains
- From (1) the verb שרר (sharar), to retain liquidity, and (2) יה (yah), the name of the Lord.
🔼The name Seraiah in the Bible
There are quite a few men named Seraiah in the Bible. As is the case with most named that end with יה, the name Seraiah also occurs ending with יהו: Seraiahu.
Because there are so many Seraiah(u)'s in the Bible it's not always wholly clear where one Seraiah stops and the other begins. The Seraiah(u)'s of the Bible are (and this list might overlap somewhat):
- A man of not submitted genealogy who was a scribe in the early days of king David's reign (2 Samuel 8:17). This man is called שיא (Sheya) in 2 Samuel 20:25, and שושא (Shavsha) in 1 Chronicles 18:16. In 1 Kings 4:3 there are not one but two scribes (Elihoreph and Ahijah), and their father is named שישא (Shisha).
- A son of high-priest Azariah and father of Jehozadak. This Seraiah was the last of the high priests of the independent monarchy of Israel. He was among those slain in retaliation by the king of Babylon at Riblah in Hamath (2 Kings 25:18, 1 Chronicles 6:14, Jeremiah 52:24). Seraiah's son Jehozadak became high-priest while being deported to Babylon and his son Jeshua was high priest when the exiles returned.
- A son of Kenaz of Judah (1 Chronicles 4:13).
- A son of Asiel and father of Joshibiah. These men are all mentioned among the family heads of the tribe of Simeon (1 Chronicles 4:35).
- A man of not submitted genealogy who was among those who returned with Zerubbabel (Ezra 2:2, Nehemiah 12:1). Earlier Nehemiah calls this man Azariah (Nehemiah 7:7). He could be the same as the next few Seraiahs.
- The father of Ezra the reformer, whose grandfather was called Azariah (Nehemiah 7:1)
- One of the signers of the Sealed Document (Nehemiah 10:2). Note that the next man named is Azariah.
- A priestly son of Hilkiah, son of Meshullam, who had worked on the post-exilic restoration project and was going to settle in Jerusalem (Nehemiah 11:11). He could be the same as the previous Seraiah.
- The patriarch of a priestly family of which a man named Meraiah was the head just after the return (Nehemiah 12:12).
- A son of Azriel, and one of the men whom king Jehoiakim of Judah deployed to arrest Baruch and Jeremiah (Jeremiah 36:26). Here our name is spelled with a final waw.
- A son of Tanhumeth, who was among the men who joined Ishmael, son of Nethaniah, as he confronted governor Gedaliah, son of Ahikam (Jeremiah 40:8).
- The brother of Baruch. Jeremiah dictated a short but fierce message to an unspecified audience in Babylon. This Seraiah went to Babylon along with Zedekiah, the last king of Israel, and was to proclaim the message out loud, and then tie it to a stone and toss it into the Euphrates (Jeremiah 51:63). This happened in the fourth year of Zedekiah's reign, but he rebelled and in the eleventh year Zedekiah was captured and mutilated by Nebuchadnezzar at Riblah and deported to Babylon (2 Kings 25:2).
🔼Etymology of the name Seraiah
The name Seraiah consists of two elements, the final one being יה (Yah) = יהו (Yahu) = יו (Yu), which in turn are abbreviated forms of the Tetragrammaton יהוה, YHWH, or Yahweh.
The first part of our name appears to be related to the verb שרר (sharar):
Root שרר (sharar) has to do with rigidity resulting from the absorption and retention of liquids (called turgor in plants), liquidity in economy, or data in IT and so on — and the ultimate effects thereof. The promise of Jesus', that streams of living water would emerge from within (John 7:38), tells of a curing of social lymphedema, when pools of stagnant wealth (whether fat, cash or data) are re-released into society to benefit all (for more on this, see our article on the noun δουλος, doulos).
Noun שר (sar) means chief or ruler (someone in whom a society's wealth is concentrated). Its feminine form, שרה (sara), denotes a princess, noble lady or perhaps a ruling class collectively. The denominative verb שרר (sarar) means to be a chief.
Noun שרירות (sherirut) describes firmness in a negative sense: stubbornness. Noun שר (shor) refers to the umbilical cord and noun שרה (shera) to a bracelet of some sort. Noun שריר (sharir) apparently denotes a sinew or muscle.
Mystery verb שרה (sara) is used only to describe what Jacob did with the Angel (Genesis 32:29 and Hosea 12:4). It's traditionally been translated as "to wrestle," but it obviously metaphorizes Israel's formation into a political unity based on the retention of knowledge and skills. Derived noun משרה (misra) literally means "place or agent of שרה (sara)." It occurs only in the famous prediction that "the misra will be upon his shoulders" (Isaiah 9:6).
Verb שרה (shara) means to fill and release. Noun משרה (mishra) denotes the juice of grapes. Noun שריה (shirya) denotes a kind of weapon and noun שריון (shiryon) or שרין (shiryan) describes body armor — the link between physical, political and intellectual rigidity is obvious (see Ephesians 6:14).
For a meaning of the name Seraiah, NOBSE Study Bible Name List reads Yahweh Has Prevailed and BDB Theological Dictionary has Yah Persisteth.
Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names proposes the equally valid Prince or Soldier Of The Lord.
Here at Abarim Publications we guess that the name Seraiah is rather like Israel, except that the verbal tense is somewhat different (simple versus imperfect) and that the name uses Yah instead of El.