🔼The name Zohar: Summary
- Tawny, Yellow-Brown
- From the adjective צחר (sahor), a tawny, yellow-brown color.
🔼The name Zohar in the Bible
There are two or three men named Zohar in the Bible:
- The father of Ephron the Hittite from whom Abraham purchased the cave at Machpelah in order to bury Sarah (Genesis 23:8 and 25:9).
- One of the sons of Simeon, and one of the sixty-six proto-Israelites who moved to Goshen (Genesis 46:10, Exodus 6:15).
- A son of Asshur and Helah of Judah (1 Chronicles 4:7). This name is a bit problematic because certain authoritative ancient Hebrew commentaries demand that this man was really called יצחר (Jezoar, as repeated in the King James, or Izhar as in the American Standard and New American Standard), whereas the same commentaries submit that the original text reads וצחר. This can either mean that this man was really called Wezohar (which would be very unusual because there are very few or no Semitic names that start with a ו, waw), or it means that the author used twice the particle of conjunction, saying that the sons of Helah were Zereth and Zohar and Ethnan. Modern translations other than the American Standard (namely NIV, JSP, Darby, Young) opt for the latter and speak of Zohar. In Numbers 26:13 this man (or so we may assume) is called Zerah and his progeny is referred to as the Zerahites.
🔼Etymology of the name Zohar
The name Zohar comes from the root צהר (shr), denoting a color, probably a sort of yellow brown:
The unused verb צחר (sahar) probably meant to dry up or become yellow. Noun צחר (sahar) and adjective צחר (sahor) describe items of a tawny, yellow-brown color.
For a meaning of the name Zohar, NOBSE Study Bible Name List reads a rather curious Gray. Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names indeed derives our name from the root צהר (shr), but believes that it and its Arabic counterpart denote the color white, and reads Whiteness. BDB Theological Dictionary does not offer an interpretation of our name but does list it under the root צהר (shr).