🔼The name Sheshai: Summary
- From the element שש (shesh), which denotes several whitish items.
🔼The name Sheshai in the Bible
There's only one Sheshai in the Bible, and he is one of the three gargantuan sons of Anak (Numbers 13:22). His brothers were named Ahiman and Talmai, and they lived in Hebron. The city of Hebron was given to Caleb, and he drove out the three brothers (Joshua 15:14).
Whether they managed to slip back in, or whether they remained to be known as the Canaanites of Hebron isn't clear, but the book of Judges reports a campaign that took place after the death of Joshua, during which the tribe of Judah warred against the Canaanites of Hebron and killed them and the three sons of Anak (Judges 1:10).
🔼Etymology of the name Sheshai
The origin of the name Sheshai could probably be traced back to the following word cluster:
There's an odd correlation between the color white and the number six. The nouns שש (shesh) and שיש (shayish) mean alabaster, which is a whitish translucent material. The identical word שש (shesh) means six. The noun שושן (shushan) describes the lily, which has six leaves and is proverbially white. The adjective ישש (yashesh) or ישיש (yashish) means old or white-haired.
The relatively rare verb שוש (sus) or שיש (sis) means to exult or rejoice, and its nouns ששון (sason) and משוש (masos) mean exultation, joy or gladness. Despite their similarity to the previous, these words seem to have little to do with the number six or being white, which is possibly why these words were pointed differently in the Middle Ages (the previous words have sh-sounds while these words have s-sounds).
The letter י (yod) upon which our name ends, may either create an adjective (whitish or pale), a possessive form (my lily), or may be a remnant of יה (Yah) = יהו (Yahu) = יו (Yu), which in turn are abbreviated forms of the Tetragrammaton יהוה, YHWH, or Yahweh.
For a meaning of the name Sheshai, both NOBSE Study Bible Name List and Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names take the final yod to mark an adjective and read Whitish. BDB Theological Dictionary does not offer an interpretation of this name.