🔼The name Shear-jashub: Summary
- A Remnant Shall Return
- From (1) the verb שאר (sha'ar), to be a remnant, and (2) the verb שוב (shub), to return.
🔼The name Shear-jashub in the Bible
The delightful name Shear-jashub occurs only once in the Bible, although as phrase שאר ישוב is used twice in Isaiah 10:21-22.
As name, this phrase belongs to a son of the prophet Isaiah, whose younger son he would call Maher-shalal-hash-baz. But Shear-jashub takes part in the prelude to one of the most quoted Old Testament statements.
YHWH calls Isaiah and instructs him to take his son Shear-jashub and go meet king Ahaz of Judah, on the road somewhere, while the latter is engaged in a war against king Rezin of Aram and king Pekah of Israel. Through Isaiah (and perhaps his son) the Lord tells king Ahaz not to fear because the plans of his foes will be thwarted.
In addition, the Lord allows Ahaz to ask for a sign, but Ahaz declines out of misplaced piety. And so the Lord decides to give a sign anyway and proclaims: Behold, a virgin shall be with child and bear a son, and she will call his name Immanuel (Isaiah 7:14).
🔼Etymology of the name Shear-jashub
The name Shear-jashub obviously consists of two elements. The first part comes from the verb שאר (sha'ar), meaning to be a remnant:
The verb שאר (sha'ar) means to remain, be a remnant, to be a small but perpetually surviving portion of a much larger original mass that was eliminated. Nouns שאר (she'ar) and שארית (she'erit) mean rest, residue, remnant, remainder and so on.
Noun שאר (she'er) means flesh (i.e. living muscle mass rather than butchered meat). It's often assumed that this noun comes from an identical second verb שאר (sha'ar) of unknown meaning, but flesh is obviously that what remains from food, when excrement and labor are subtracted. This word for flesh also signified family relations (one's flesh and blood), which too demonstrates this word's attachment to a perpetually maintained minority within a huge society of irrelevant strangers.
Noun שאר (se'or) means leaven. In the modern Middle Ages this word became punctuated as שׂאר (dot to the left), whereas the previous words were pointed שׁאר (dot to the right). But this difference didn't exist until many centuries after Christ. Properly domesticated leaven is valuable. Bakers and brewers would never use up all their leavened dough and beer but keep a remnant of the old to mix in with the new, so that the original leaven could proliferate and permeate the fresh batch.
The second part of our name is an active form of the verb שוב (shub), meaning to return:
The verb שוב (shub) tells of a reversal in motion; the point where an upward motion becomes a downward one, or vice versa, or a westward motion an eastward one, and so on. This very frequently occurring verb is mostly translated with to turn or return, and is often used to mean to convert or return to a more fruitful way of life, and hence to restore, to retrieve or even to abstain, to reply and to repeat. Noun שובה (shuba) means withdrawal; noun שיבה (shiba) means restoration, and noun תשובה (teshuba) means answer. Adjectives שובב (shobab), שובב (shobeb) and משובה (meshuba) mean backsliding, or transitioning from a positive to a negative way of life.
Verb ישב (yashab) means to sit (the act which occurs precisely in between a person's descent and ascent) or to remain or dwell (in between traveling to and from some place). Nouns שבת (shebet) and מושב (moshab) mean both seat or dwelling place. Noun תושב (toshab) means sojourner.
The verb שבת (shabbat) means to rest or cease activity, and the familiar noun שבת (shabbat) means a rest or stoppage. Noun שבת (shebbet) means cessation and is closely similar to the noun שבת (shebet), meaning seat, mentioned above. Noun משבת (mishbat) also means cessation. Denominative verb שבת (shabat) means to keep the Sabbath and the noun שבתון (shabbaton) denotes a sabbatical observance.
Verb שבה (shaba) means to take captive, or to put a halt to someone's preferred trajectory and coerce them to go somewhere else. Nouns שבי (shebi) and שביה (shibya) mean captivity or captives collectively, but with the emphasis on being moved somewhere rather than the static condition of being imprisoned. Likewise, the noun שביה (shebiya) means captive. Noun שבית (shebit) or שבות (shebut) means captivity but since the parent verb speaks of a sudden change of destiny rather than a particular destination, this noun may also be used to mean restoration. The noun שבו (shebo) describes some sort of gem, apparently a real "head-turner."
In a rare display of unison, for a meaning of the name Shear-jashub, NOBSE Study Bible Name List, Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names, and BDB Theological Dictionary all three read A Remnant Shall Return.