🔼The name Shemariah: Summary
- Yah Has Kept, Guarded By Yah
- From (1) the verb שמר (shamar), to keep or guard, and (2) יה (yah), the shortened name of the Lord.
🔼The name Shemariah in the Bible
There are four men named Shemariah in the Bible. The name of the first one we meet is spelled with a final waw; it's quite common for Hebrew names that end with יה (Yah) to also exist with the ending of יהו (Yahu).
The men named Shemariah are:
- One of the leaders of the thirty valiant mighty-men who joined David at Ziklag (1 Chronicles 12:5).
- A son of Rehoboam and his cousin-wife Mahalath (2 Chronicles 11:19).
- A son of Harim-not-the-priest, who had married a foreigner and who pledged to divorce her during the purge of Ezra (Ezra 10:32).
- A son of Bani, who had done and would do the same (Ezra 10:41).
🔼Etymology of the name Shemariah
The name Shemariah is a compound of two elements, the final one being יה (Yah) = יהו (Yahu) = יו (Yu), which in turn are abbreviated forms of the Tetragrammaton יהוה, YHWH, or Yahweh.
The first part of our name comes from the verb שמר (shamar), meaning to keep, guard, observe or give heed:
The verb שמר (shamar) means to guard or to exercise great care over. Noun שמרה (shomra) means guard. Noun שמר (shimmur) means night watch. Noun אשמורה ('ashmura) or אשמרת ('ashmoret) refers to the night watch as unit of time. Noun משמר (mishmar) describes the "place or agent" of guarding, which may come down to either a prison or a guard, but it may also describe the keeping on some religious observances or something like that. Noun משמרת (mishmeret), literally meaning "with the function of watching," used in the sense of a charge or obligation; an official function of guarding. Noun שמרה (shemura) describes an eyelid.
Noun שמר (shemer) describes the dregs or residue that collects at the bottom of a bottle of wine. This word may stem from a whole other root, or it reflects the similarity between patiently standing through a night watch and a bottle ageing in a rack. This word may also describe a stagnant heart, either as a heart in which dregs settle out or a heart that's carefully guarded.
Noun שמיר (shamir) describes some kind of wild, thorny vegetation that covers large areas. Again, this noun may stem from a whole other verb, but a hedge of thorns is not unlike a perimeter peopled by armed guards, or even a tender heart that's guarded by sarcasm and a proneness to insult.
The noun שמור (shamor), fennel, equals the Greek noun μαραθον (marathon), and Greece's victory at the Battle of Marathon (490 BC) made the whole world Greek.
For a meaning of the name Shemariah, NOBSE Study Bible Name List reads Yahweh Keeps. Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names proposes Guarded Of The Lord. And BDB Theological Dictionary has Yah Has Kept or Yah Has Preserved.