🔼The name Shimshai: Summary
- From the noun שמש (shemesh), sun.
🔼The name Shimshai in the Bible
There's only one man named Shimshai in the Bible. He is the Samaritan scribe who penned down the letter that commander Rehum and several others had composed in order to convince king Artaxerxes that the new and restored Jerusalem was going to be as rebellious and troublesome as the old Jerusalem had been (Ezra 4:8). When Artaxerxes responds with a decree that the Jews have to stop working, Shimshai, Rehum and others hurry to Jerusalem to force the Jews to abandon the restorations.
🔼Etymology of the name Shimshai
The name Shimshai comes from the noun שמש (shemesh), meaning sun:
The noun שמש (shemesh) is the Biblical word for sun. Many ancient societies recognized that the sun rules life on earth, but few understood that even the sun is a mere creature, also firmly subjected to the laws of nature and ultimately the unchallenged sovereignty of the Creator. Hence to many societies the sun became the symbol of divine supremacy and the divinity of human kings, and to few it became the symbol of satanic grand delusion and existential deceit. Pretty much all great empires identified in some way or form with the sun, but the periods of humanity's deepest darkness were triggered by folks who imagined the sun to be supreme.
The letter י (yod) upon which our name ends may either denote a possessive form (my sun), or it marks an adjective (sunny or belonging to the sun), or it is a remnant of יה (Yah) = יהו (Yahu) = יו (Yu), which in turn are abbreviated forms of the Tetragrammaton; the name of the Lord: YHWH.
For a meaning of the name Shimshai, NOBSE Study Bible Name List sees an adjective and reads Sunny. Alfred Jones (Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names) thinks the י marks the name of the Lord and reads Sun Of The Lord.
It should be realized that the adjective "sunny" didn't mean the same thing to the ancients as it does to us. In an agricultural society, a "sunny" day the way we think of it could spell disaster and ruin crops and ultimately lead to economic instability, wars and famine. Instead, the adjective referred to an earthly authority and influence that is only checked by natural law and the Creator.