🔼The name Shamma: Summary
- Appalling Desolation
- From the noun שמה (shamma), waste, from the verb שמם (shamem), to be desolate or appalled.
🔼The name Shamma in the Bible
There are two men named Shamma in the Bible:
- One of David's three mightiest of the thirty mighty-men and the son of Agee the Hararite. Of this Shammah it's told how YHWH gave him a single-handed victory over a band of Philistines in a field strewn with lentils (2 Samuel 23:11).
- A man mentioned in a genealogy of Asher, the eighth son of Jacob and the second of Zilpah, as a son of Zophah, son of Helem (1 Chronicles 7:37).
🔼Etymology of the name Shamma
The name Shamma is probably a variant of the popular name שמה (Shammah), and that name is the same as the noun שמה (shamma), meaning waste, from the verb שמם (shamem), meaning to be desolate or appalled:
The verb שמם (shamem) means to be desolate, devastated or abandoned. It usually describes a literal empty place but may also be used to describe a mental state, in which case it refers to being appalled.
Adjective שמם (shamem) means devastated or deserted. Nouns שממה (shemama), שמה (shamma), שממון (shimmamon) and משמה (meshamma) denote various forms and degrees of waste, devastation, horror or appalment.
Verb ישם (yasham) is a by-form of the previous and means the same, albeit with an apparent emphasis on dry and arid lands. Noun ישימון (yeshimon, or variants) refers to desolate regions and mostly describes deserts. Noun ישימה (yeshima) describes the mental equivalent (whatever that might be).
Noun שמים (shamayim) means heavens. It's a plural form of a non-existing singular word שמי (shamay), coming from an assumed root שמה (shama). Whether or not this word is formally related to the above, to the ancients the heavens were clearly known as a vast emptiness that filled the observer with existential horror.
Equally striking is the noun שם (shem), which means name or renown. This suggests that the ancients saw someone's empty head as the same howling infinite as empty space, and all formal knowledge of the whole of creation that a person might accrue equal to this person's name.
The name Shamma means the same as Shammah: Waste or rather Appalling Desolation. For a meaning of Shamma, NOBSE Study Bible Name List and Alfred Jones (Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names) both read Astonishment as its meaning. BDB Theological Dictionary doesn't interpret the name Shamma but does list it under the root שמם.