🔼The name Uthai: Summary
- Help Of Yah, Bent By Yah
- From (1) the verb עות ('ut), to help, or עות ('awat), to bend, and (2) יה (yah), the name of the Lord.
🔼The name Uthai in the Bible
There are two men named Uthai in the Bible:
- The first time we hear of Uthai he is listed as the son of Ammihud, the son of Omri, the son of Imri, the son of Bani, from the sons of Perez the son of Judah (1 Chronicles 9:4). BDB Theological Dictionary insists that this Uthai is the same as the Athaiah mentioned in Nehemiah 11:4 but that doesn't seem necessary.
- Then at the time of the return from Babylon, a man named Bigvai joined Zerubbabel in the second wave (Ezra 2:2), along with the two thousand descendants of an obviously much earlier patriarch also named Bigvai. The second person named Uthai mentioned in the Bible is one of 72 sons of Bigvai who "went up" with Ezra from Babylon during the reign of Artaxerxes (Ezra 8:14), and that is probably the earlier patriarch Bigvai. All this emphasis on patriarch Bigvai makes it unlikely that this Uthai and the previous one are the same.
🔼Etymology of the name Uthai
The name Uthai appears to derive from the verb עות ('ut) or the verb עות ('awat) and note that the difference between these two verbs didn't exist in written form until the Masoretes added their symbols to the text in the Middle Ages:
Verb עות ('awat) means to bend, make curved or pervert or falsify. Noun עותה ('awwata) means subversion.
Verb עוש ('ush) means to help. It may also be spelled עות ('ut).
The letter י (yod) upon which our name ends, may either create an adjective (helpful), a possessive form (my help), or may be a remnant of יה (Yah), which is short for יהוה, which is the name YHWH, or Yahweh.
For a meaning of the name Uthai, NOBSE Study Bible Name List reads Yahweh Is Help. Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names likewise interprets the final yod to be a sign of the divine name and translated our name Uthai with a rather creative Opportune Of The Lord. BDB Theological Dictionary offers no explanation of this name.