🔼The name Zeruiah: Summary
- Balsam Of Yah
- His Rock Is Yah
- From the noun צרי (sari), balsam, and possibly (2) the divine name יה (yah).
- From the noun צור (sur), rock, and (2) the divine name יה (yah).
🔼The name Zeruiah in the Bible
🔼Etymology and meaning of the name Zeruiah
Scholars are in disagreement about the meaning and etymology of the name Zeruiah. NOBSE Study Bible Name List and BDB Theological Dictionary think that the name Zeruiah comes from the unused root צרה and its sole derivative, the noun צרי (sari), meaning balsam:
- Verb צור (sur I) probably means to lean or incline. Noun צואר (sawwa'r) means neck and צורון (sawwaron) means necklace.
- Verb צור (sur II) means to confine, secure or besiege. Noun מצור (masor) means siege and מצורה (mesura) means stronghold. This verb relates to verb צרר (sarar I).
- Verb צור (sur III) means to be an adversary. It relates to צרר (sarar II).
- Verb צור (sur IV) means to form or fashion. Noun צורה (sura) means form and noun ציר (sir) means image. This verb relates to יצר (yasar).
- Verb צור (sur V) probably relates to verb צרר (sarar III) and probably means to be sharp. The important noun צור (sur) means rock, and is equivalent to the Greek noun πετρα (petra), from which comes the name Peter.
- Verb צרר (sarar I) means to bind and relates to צור (sur II). Adjective צר (sar) means narrow. Nouns צר (sar) and צרה (sara) mean distress and yield denominative verb צרה (sara), meaning to suffer distress. Noun צרור (seror) means bundle or parcel. Noun מצר (mesar) means distress.
- Verb צרר (sarar II) means to show hostility and relates to verb צור (sur III). Noun צר (sar) means adversary. Noun צרה (sara) means vexer or rival-wife. Denominative verb צרר (sarar) means to create a rival wife.
- Verb צרר (sarar III) probably means to be sharp and relates to צור (sur V). Nouns צר (sar), צר (sor) and צרור (seror) mean flint or pebble.
Verb יצר (yasar) means to fashion or form and relates to צור (sur IV). Noun יצר (yeser) denotes that what is formed, and noun יצרים (yesurim) means forms or members.
Verb צרה (srh) probably describes the bleeding of an odoriferous tree. Noun צרי (sari) denotes a kind of costly balsam.
And thus, for a meaning of the name Zeruiah, NOBSE Study Bible Name List reads Balsam, which would require the masculine noun צרי (sari) to be made feminine by adding the regular letter ה (he). Note that by so doing our word or name terminates in יה (yah), which in the overwhelming number of cases denotes an abbreviated form of the Tetragrammaton יהוה, YHWH, or Yahweh. This could be an exception (others are the names Aiah, Arieh and Zibiah) but since the name Zeruiah doesn't exist as a regular noun, this forced feminization might in fact be a reference to the Lord, and Zeruiah means Balsam Of Yah.
Moreover, the base of our name might very well come from the noun צור (sur), meaning rock, plus the masculine personal possessive pronoun, his. That would render the whole name the meaning of His Rock Is Yah. Of course, this name belonged to a lady but Hebrew names very often commemorate something other than the bearer of the name — in this case perhaps a sentiment of Zeruiah's father.
Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names won't have any of all this, and goes after an unused and hitherto unknown root צרה, which is strikingly similar to the root shown above, and which shows up in Chaldean and Syriac as a verb meaning to cleave. Hence Jones reads Cleft.