🔼The name Shalmaneser: Summary
- Covenant Of Recompense, Peace In Chains
- From (1) the verb שלם (shalem), to be or make whole or complete, and (2) the verb אסר ('asar), to bind.
🔼The name Shalmaneser in the Bible
The name Shalmaneser was a popular royal name in Assyria. Shalmaneser the First reigned in the 13th century BC, the Second in the 11th, the Third from 859 to 824 BC, the Fourth from 783 to 773 BC, and the Fifth from 727 to 722 BC.
The name Shalmaneser occurs twice in the Bible (2 Kings 17:3 and 18:9), in paragraphs that describe the second deportation under Shalmaneser V, the son of Tiglath-pileser III, who arranged the first deportation (2 Kings 15:29). This began to happen when Ahaz was king over Judah and Hoshea was king over Israel in Samaria, and culminated when Hezekiah ruled Judah and Hoshea and consorts were carried off to Assyria.
Not mentioned in the Bible but certainly significant is the battle of Qarqar (853 BC), during which Shalmaneser III fought against eleven other kings, among whom king Ahab of Israel.
The prophet Hosea makes mention of a Shalman (שלמן), who destroyed a place called Beth-arbel in some significant way (Hosea 10:14). Who this Shalman was and where Beth-arbel was is not clear, but Shalman may or may not be any of the Shalmanesers. King Tiglath-pileser III had an inscription made somewhere in which a certain king Shalamanu of Moab was mentioned, who is obviously also a candidate.
🔼Etymology of the name Shalmaneser
There's no consensus on what the name Shalmaneser, or rather Sulmanu-asaredu, might have meant, but some of the suggestions are: Shulman is Chief, Likeness of Anu, Worshipper of Fire.
The Hebrew scholars who wrote down the name Shalmaneser, instead of Sulmanu-asaredu, obviously allotted themselves considerable creativity and, as with the names of other emperors, turned it into something that meant something in Hebrew and which wasn't remotely the same as its original meaning.
The name Shalmaneser looks like it consists of two elements, the first one coming from the familiar verb שלם (shalem), to be or make whole or complete:
The verb שלם (shalem) means to be or make whole or complete, and is also used to describe a righteous recompense or proper restitution (whether positive or not). The familiar noun שלום (shalom) means wholeness, completeness or peace.
Other derivatives are: noun שלם (shelem), peace offering; verb שלם (shalam), to be in a covenant of peace; adjective שלם (shalem), perfect, whole, complete, safe; noun שלם (shillem), recompense; nouns שלמן (shalmon), שלום (shillum), שלם (shillum) and שלמה (shilluma), reward or proper recompense.
The second part of our name looks like it came from the verb אסר ('asar), meaning to bind:
The verb אסר ('asar) means to bind or tie up. Nouns אסור ('esur), אסר ('issar), מסרת (masoret) and מוסר (moser) all mean bond or band. Noun אסיר ('asir) describes a prisoner (a bound one) and the similar noun אסיר ('assir) refers to a group of prisoners or their joined bond.
Verb מסר (masar) means to bind in the sense of to incriminate or to attach a charge, mission or misdeed to a person. As such it may be used to mean to deliver up or offer.
Despite its true meaning in the Assyrian language, in Hebrew the name Shalmaneser looks like it means Covenant Of Recompense, or Peace In Chains, or something like that.