🔼The name Shobab: Summary
- Returning, Brought Back
- From the verb שוב (shub), to return.
🔼The name Shobab in the Bible
There are two men named Shobab in the Bible:
- A son of king David and Bathsheba; one of the three full brothers of Solomon (2 Samuel 5:14, 1 Chronicles 3:5, 14:4).
- One of three sons of Caleb, son of Hezron of Judah, by either his wife Azubah or else someone named Jerioth (1 Chronicles 2:18). See our article on the name Jerioth for more on this conundrum.
🔼Etymology of the name Shobab
There are two ways to look at this name. It might be a facsimile of the adjective שובב (shobab) meaning returning or backsliding. But it could also be a certain form of this adjective's verb שוב (shub), meaning to turn back or to return, and in particular the kind that doubles the final consonant:
The verb שוב (shub) tells of a reversal in motion; the point where an upward motion becomes a downward one, or vice versa, or a westward motion an eastward one, and so on. This very frequently occurring verb is mostly translated with to turn or return, and is often used to mean to convert or return to a more fruitful way of life, and hence to restore, to retrieve or even to abstain, to reply and to repeat. Noun שובה (shuba) means withdrawal; noun שיבה (shiba) means restoration, and noun תשובה (teshuba) means answer. Adjectives שובב (shobab), שובב (shobeb) and משובה (meshuba) mean backsliding, or transitioning from a positive to a negative way of life.
Verb ישב (yashab) means to sit (the act which occurs precisely in between a person's descent and ascent) or to remain or dwell (in between traveling to and from some place). Nouns שבת (shebet) and מושב (moshab) mean both seat or dwelling place. Noun תושב (toshab) means sojourner.
The verb שבת (shabbat) means to rest or cease activity, and the familiar noun שבת (shabbat) means a rest or stoppage. Noun שבת (shebbet) means cessation and is closely similar to the noun שבת (shebet), meaning seat, mentioned above. Noun משבת (mishbat) also means cessation. Denominative verb שבת (shabat) means to keep the Sabbath and the noun שבתון (shabbaton) denotes a sabbatical observance.
Verb שבה (shaba) means to take captive, or to put a halt to someone's preferred trajectory and coerce them to go somewhere else. Nouns שבי (shebi) and שביה (shibya) mean captivity or captives collectively, but with the emphasis on being moved somewhere rather than the static condition of being imprisoned. Likewise, the noun שביה (shebiya) means captive. Noun שבית (shebit) or שבות (shebut) means captivity but since the parent verb speaks of a sudden change of destiny rather than a particular destination, this noun may also be used to mean restoration. The noun שבו (shebo) describes some sort of gem, apparently a real "head-turner."
For a meaning of the name Shobab, NOBSE Study Bible Name List chooses for the last option and reads Returning. Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names initially goes with the adjective and reads Backsliding, but Jones also lists the verb-option, for which he reads Brought Back. BDB Theological Dictionary does not interpret this name but does list it under the verb שוב (shub).