🔼The name Shammua: Summary
- Renowned, Hearing
- From the verb שמע (shama'), to hear.
🔼The name Shammua in the Bible
There are three or four different men named Shammua in the Bible:
- A son of Zaccur of Reuben, who is the first mentioned of the twelve spies whom Moses dispatched to scout out Canaan (Numbers 13:4). The fifth spy mentioned is Hoshea son of Nun, who was renamed Joshua by Moses (Numbers 13:8, 13:16).
- A son of king David and Bath-shua. This Shammua was a full brother of Solomon and Nathan, who all were born in Jerusalem (2 Samuel 5:14). In 1 Chronicles 3:5 this person is called שמעא (Shimea).
- The father of Abda (עבדא), who was one of the Levites who resettled Jerusalem after the return from the Babylonian exile (Nehemiah 11:17). This Shammua's father is called Galal and his grandfather is Jeduthun. In 1 Chronicles 9:16, we meet probably the same Jeduthun, whose son is called Galal. But here Galal's son is called Shemaiah (שמעיה), and his son is called Obadiah (עבדיה). These people are probably the same but it's not clear why Nehemiah spelled their names without the yah-extension.
- The head of the household of Bilgah in the time of Joiakim, son of Jeshua, who was the high priest during the return from exile (Nehemiah 12:18). Some scholars (Alfred Jones of the Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names) maintain that this Shammua and the previous one are the same person, but there is nothing in the text that indicates this is true. In fact, the name Bilgah does not occur in the four-generation micro-genealogy mentioned by Nehemiah and the Chronicler, and if these four were "of the house of Bilgah," we would probably have heard about it. Hence other scholars (NOBSE Study Bible) declare the two separate. And then there are those scholars (BDB Theological Dictionary) who feel that there is no evidence to support either position. Hence BDB states: "?same person".
🔼Etymology of the name Shammua
The name Shammua comes from the verb שמע (shama'), meaning to hear:
The verb שמע (shama') means to hear and may also mean to understand or obey. Noun שמע (shema') means sound. Nouns שמע (shoma') and שמועה (shemu'a) mean tidings, report or mentions. Noun השמעות (hashma'ut) describes that which is caused to be heard. Noun משמע (mishma') means rumor or a thing heard. Noun משמעת (mishma'at) refers to a group or listeners.
For a meaning of the name Shammua, NOBSE Study Bible Name List reads Renowned. Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names proposes Hearing. BDB Theological Dictionary does not offer an interpretation of our name but does list it under the verb שמע (shama'), meaning to hear.