🔼The name Sherebiah: Summary
- Yah Sent Heat, Yah Parched
- Release In Yah
- From (1) the verb שרב (sharab), to scorch or parch, and (2) יה (yah), the name of the Lord.
- From (1) the verb שרה (sara), to release, (2) the particle ב (b), in or via, and (2) יה (yah), the name of the Lord.
🔼The name Sherebiah in the Bible
There appears to be only one man named Sherebiah in the Bible. He was one of the Levites whom Ezra acquired for service from Iddo of Casiphia (Ezra 8:18), and who carried the gold and silver that the Persian emperor, his staff and the Israelites had given to Ezra to Jerusalem (8:24).
Probably the same Sherebiah was among the proto-Rabbis who stood by Ezra when he read the Law (in Hebrew) and explained and translated it (into Aramaic) to the people (Nehemiah 8:7). After the reading, Sherebiah and company delivered a great sermon (Nehemiah 9:4, 9:5). He was among the signers of the sealed document (Nehemiah 10:12), and the Levites who were in charge of the singing and thanksgiving (Nehemiah 12:8). Finally Sherebiah is listed among the chiefs of the priestly households (Nehemiah 12:24).
🔼Etymology of the name Sherebiah
The name Sherebiah consists of two elements, the final one being יה (yah), which is short for יהוה or YHWH.
The first part of our name probably comes from the verb שרב (sharab), to scorch or parch, which may be an alternative spelling of the verb שרף (sarap), to burn:
The verb שרף (sarap) means to burn — to literally burn with fire, rather than metaphorically with passion or something like that — with an emphasis on a burning up or a destruction by means of fire.
Nouns שרפה (serepa) and משרפה (masrepa) mean a burning. Noun שרף (sarap) denotes a sort of serpent or viper, suggesting that to the ancients a snake's movements and the sudden destruction it may inflict, even its propensity to suddenly burst forth in large numbers, seemed akin flames.
Possibly related to the previous, the verb שרב (sharab) means to scorch or parch. Noun שרב (sharab) means heat or parched ground.
Alfred Jones (Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names), however, thinks that the first part of our name comes from the verb שרה (sara), to release:
Root שרר (sharar) has to do with rigidity resulting from the absorption and retention of liquids (called turgor in plants), liquidity in economy, or data in IT and so on — and the ultimate effects thereof. The promise of Jesus', that streams of living water would emerge from within (John 7:38), tells of a curing of social lymphedema, when pools of stagnant wealth (whether fat, cash or data) are re-released into society to benefit all (for more on this, see our article on the noun δουλος, doulos).
Noun שר (sar) means chief or ruler (someone in whom a society's wealth is concentrated). Its feminine form, שרה (sara), denotes a princess, noble lady or perhaps a ruling class collectively. The denominative verb שרר (sarar) means to be a chief.
Noun שרירות (sherirut) describes firmness in a negative sense: stubbornness. Noun שר (shor) refers to the umbilical cord and noun שרה (shera) to a bracelet of some sort. Noun שריר (sharir) apparently denotes a sinew or muscle.
Mystery verb שרה (sara) is used only to describe what Jacob did with the Angel (Genesis 32:29 and Hosea 12:4). It's traditionally been translated as "to wrestle," but it obviously metaphorizes Israel's formation into a political unity based on the retention of knowledge and skills. Derived noun משרה (misra) literally means "place or agent of שרה (sara)." It occurs only in the famous prediction that "the misra will be upon his shoulders" (Isaiah 9:6).
Verb שרה (shara) means to fill and release. Noun משרה (mishra) denotes the juice of grapes. Noun שריה (shirya) denotes a kind of weapon and noun שריון (shiryon) or שרין (shiryan) describes body armor — the link between physical, political and intellectual rigidity is obvious (see Ephesians 6:14).
The letter ב (beth) Jones explains to be due to the particle meaning in or via:
Prefix ב (be) means in, within or by means of.
For a meaning of the name Sherebiah, NOBSE Study Bible Name List reads Yahweh Has Sent Burning Heat, BDB Theological Dictionary proposes Yah Has Sent Burning Heat and Gesenius has Heat Of Jehovah.
Alfred Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names, rather uniquely, reads Deliverance By The Lord. This meaning is certainly valid but seems a touch contrived and less pronounced than that derived from שרב (sharab).