🔼The name Shur: Summary
- Wall, Bull
- From the verb שור (shur), to be raised.
🔼The name Shur in the Bible
Shur is a city or perhaps a group of forts in Palestine, just east of Egypt (1 Samuel 15:7). Apparently, it was situated in the middle of a barren, arid wilderness, which makes one wonder what folks were doing there in such numbers that they required a settlement. After crossing the Sea of Reeds, Israel spent three days in the wilderness of Shur without finding any water (Exodus 15:22).
But Shur's true claim to fame is that when Hagar fled the company of Sarah, the Angel of YHWH found her by a spring aptly named Beer-lahai-roi, in the wilderness on her way to Shur (Genesis 16:7). The Angel told Hagar to return to Sarah, and that the child in her womb would be named Ishmael and have more descendants than anyone could count.
🔼Etymology of the name Shur
The name Shur comes from the verb שור (shur), meaning to be raised:
The verb שור (shur) means to excite or be raised. Noun שור (shor) means ox or bull. Noun שור (shur) describes a wall and שורר (shorer) a man on it: a watcher. Noun שורה (shura), denotes a row of vines or olives. Noun תשורה (teshura) means gift.
BDB Theological Dictionary doesn't translate our name, but notes that its spelling and pronunciation is identical to the noun meaning wall, and adds: "[Shur is] often supposed to denote properly the 'wall' or line of fortresses, built by Egyptian kings across isthmus of Suez; but dubious". One should realize that BDB rarely finds something not dubious, and this supposition would explain why people built something in the middle of nowhere, which was attractive enough for someone like Hagar to flee to.
For a meaning of the name Shur, NOBSE Study Bible Name List reads a paraphrastic Fortification. Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names, ditto, reads A Fort.