🔼The name Shedeur: Summary
- Shaddai Is Flame, Field Of Light, Fire Demon
- From (1) the verb שדד (shadad), to destroy, or the noun שדי (saday), field, or the noun שד (shed), demon or genus, and (2) the verb אור ('or), to be or give light; to shine.
🔼The name Shedeur in the Bible
There's only one Shedeur in the Bible, and he is the father of Elizur, who was the representative and military leader of the tribe of Reuben at the time of the first census of Israel and afterwards (Numbers 1:5, 2:10, 7:30-35, 10:18). Shedeur is never mentioned in a context other than being Elizur's father.
🔼Etymology of the name Shedeur
The name Shedeur consists of two elements. The final part of our name comes from the familiar verb אור ('or), meaning to be or become light:
The verb אור ('or) means to be light or to give light; to shine. This verb's primary derivative is the expectable noun אור ('or), meaning light. The 'metaphor' that relates light to wisdom may not be a metaphor, or at least not to the ancients. In our article on the verb נהר (nahar), meaning both to flow and to shine, we show that the ancients had a surprisingly solid grasp of Relativity Theory.
Identifying the first part of our name is a bit more tricky. Both NOBSE Study Bible Name List and Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names appear to relate our name to a Chaldean verb שדא (sh'dha), meaning to cast forth. And BDB Theological Dictionary suggests that the first part of our name might in fact be שדי, or Shaddai. A Hebrew audience, especially an audience that didn't speak Chaldean, would have related both the name Shaddai and our name Shedeur to any of the following roots:
The verb שדד (shadad) means to deal violently with, ruin or destroy. Noun שד (shad) or שוד (shud) means havoc, violence or devastation.
An identical verb, which in the middle ages was pointed slightly different, is שדד (sadad), which describes the harrowing of a field: to act violently upon a field. Whether formally related or not, the noun שדמה (shedema) means field, and nouns שדי (saday) and שדה (sadeh) do too, and may denote either a cultivated field or a wild one, where wild animals live.
Speaking of wild animals, the noun שד (shed) is a loan word but its adoption was probably lubricated by the similar words treated above. It describes a mythological creature, namely the Mesopotamian sedu, a kind of protecting spirit depicted as a winged bull, in essence not unlike the more familiar genius and daemon. Note the similarity between this word שד (shed) and the noun שד (shad), meaning havoc.
Slightly more surprising, a third identically spelled noun, שד (shad), describes the mammalian breast, whether human or animal. This noun is assumed to stem from an unused verb שדה (shadeh), meaning to moisten in cognate language, which is identical to the assumed verb that yields the nouns שדי (saday) and שדה (sadeh), meaning field, suggesting an emphasis on natural irrigation.
In cognate languages, these same nouns also mean [wet] mountain, and beside the link between a moist, fruitful mountain and a milk dispensing breast: milk is dispensed to infants, whereas the belief in supernatural bullies is a mark of an immature mind.
Through Hebrew eyes (ears) the name Shedeur may have meant Shaddai Is Flame (as BDB Theological Dictionary suggests) or Shaddai Is Light. But it may also have seemed like Destroyer Of Light, Breast Of Fire, or Fire Demon.
Using the Chaldean verb, our name might have meant Shedder Of Light (NOBSE Study Bible Name List) or Casting Forth Fire (Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names).