🔼The name Shamsherai: Summary
- Unclear but perhaps Full Of Sun, Princely Fame or Here Rules Yah
- Unclear but perhaps from the nouns שמש (shemesh), sun, or שם (shem), name, or the verb שרר (sarar), to rule.
🔼The name Shamsherai in the Bible
🔼Etymology of the name Shamsherai
The origin of the name Shamsherai is a bit of a mystery. Alfred Jones (Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names) declares that it probably arose from a "double reading" of the names Shimri (שמרי) and Shimshai (שמשי), but here at Abarim Publications we doubt that, and see no reason to head in that direction.
Perhaps the name Shamsherai consists of two elements. The first part could then come from the noun שמש (shemesh), meaning sun. This noun is used in names such as Samson and Beth-shemesh. And the second part of our name could come from the noun רי (ri), meaning moisture (Job 37:11), from the verb רוה (rawa), meaning to be saturated.
But our name could also consist of three elements. The first part could be שם (shm), a noun meaning name or fame or an adverb meaning here (see the name Shem). The second part, שר could come from the extensive root cluster שרר (srr), and be a noun meaning chief or ruler, or one meaning umbilical cord (see the names Sarah and Sharon). The letter י (yod) upon which our name ends, may either create an adjective, a possessive form, or may be a remnant of יה (Yah), which is short for יהוה, which is the name YHWH, or Yahweh.
For a meaning of the name Shamsherai, NOBSE Study Bible Name List appears to go with the noun שמש (shemesh), meaning sun and regards the final י (yod) as the mark of an adjective and reads Sun-Like. That this translation doesn't explain what happened to the letter ר (rosh) doesn't seem to bother the scholars behind NOBSE.
As indicated above, Alfred Jones (Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names) throws the names Shimri and Shimshai in a blender but interprets the result as Ward Of The Lord (after Simonis' translation of Shimri), which is indefensible.
BDB Theological Dictionary doesn't offer an interpretation of our name and lists it alphabetically without a hint at where it may come from.
According to the above, our name may mean anything from the cheerful Full Of Sun, to Princely Fame or Here Rules Yah.