🔼The name Susa: Summary
- From the element שש (shesh), which denotes several whitish items, and particularly the noun שושן (shushan), lily.
🔼The name Susa in the Bible
🔼Etymology of the name Susa
Shushan, the Hebrew version of what we call Susa, is identical to the Hebrew word שושן (shushan), meaning lily:
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).
Whether the ancient pronunciation of Susa was really Shusha and the Masoretes had it right, or whether we are wrong about the Masoretes and the difference between שׁ and שׂ was not determined by an absolute difference in pronunciation, nobody can tell for sure. All we can tell is that (despite of what Susa might have meant in its original language) to the Hebrews the name Shushan meant Lily.