ABISH

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Lehite PN 1. Queen's maid in the land of ISHMAEL (hence perhaps an Ishmaelitess), ca. 90 BC (Alma 19:16)

Etymology

ABISH may best be understood as ab-iš, with the meaning "father is a man," or "father of man" or the reading abî-iš "my father is a man."[1] Following this path of interpretation, the first element would be the common Semitic word for "father," ʾāb. The second element would be the West Semitic word for "man," ʾîš. For analogical HEBREW name constructions see ʾăbîyāhû, "Father is Yahweh,"[2] A Judean king mentioned in 2 Chronicles 13:20, and ʾiššîyāhû, "(The Divine) Man of Yahweh"[3]. See also ʾešbaʿal "Man of the Lord/Baal" in 1 Chronicles 8:33, and ʾîšbōšet (the same person as ʾešbaʿal but with the dysphemism "Man of shame").[4] Lest objection be made that a woman would not bear a name containing the masculine element "father," see the biblical PNs for women Abigail and Abishag, and note Abi, short for Abiyahu that, though generally used as a male name, was also used as the name of the mother of Hezekiah in 2 Kings 18:1-2; 2 Chronicles 29:1.

Another possibility for ABISH presents itself on a seal that predates 587 BC, ʾbšʾ.[5] The name could consist of ʾbš plus the hypocoristic aleph ending, but no etymology for ʾbš is forthcoming. ʾbš may also be related to the biblical masculine PN ʾbîšay (1 Samuel 26:6 and passim), which also has no certain etymology.[6] Cf. Akkadian abu-ša-la-i-du, "her father she did not know" (JH).

It is possible that ABISH derives from a shortened form of names such as Abishag, Abishai, Abishua, and Abishur, all known from the Bible.[7] While shortened names are possible, such shortenings are not usually hypocoristic in nature because hypocoristic names usually substitute a letter (most often aleph or heh) for entire theophoric element (PYH and JAT). That is, hypocoristic elements are not made by dropping some phonemes from a lexeme while retaining other phonemes. Shortened names, on the other hand, may do exactly that, while intended to be endearing.[8]

The second element could also be ʾiš, "there is/are," yielding the meaning "father exists." (RFS)

The following suggestions for the source of [[ABISH|ABISH] are somewhat less likely: from HEBREW ʾbh "to want; to consent to," or EGYPTIAN 3bi, "desire, want," ABISH would be ʾāb-ʾîš "desire of man" (RFS); possibly HEBREW-Akkadian ʾabiš, "cloudy, cloud-like," from ʾab, "cloud" + , dative-adverbial case ending in Akkadian (RFS). Other suggestions include possibly HEBREW bīš with degenerate definite article, (h)ab-bīš, "the bad one, the unholy one" (RFS); and perhaps from the HEBREW root ʾbš, "shrivel," though an unlikely name unless it describes the woman's physical appearance (JAT).

See ISABEL.

Variants

Deseret Alphabet: 𐐁𐐒𐐆𐐟 (eɪbɪʃ)

Notes


  1. Or in a theologically more adventurous vein, "my (divine) father is a (divine) man."
  2. See also the derived (shortened) name ʾăbîyāh, e.g. 1 Samuel 8:2 and 1 Kings 14:1.
  3. This name is discussed by John A. Tvedtnes,John Gee, and Matthew Roper, "Book of Mormon Names Attested in Ancient Hebrew Inscriptions," Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 9/1 (2000):46, citing Nahman Avigad and Benjamin Sass, Corpus of West Semitic Stamp Seals (Jerusalem: Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities, 1997), 66-67.
  4. The best two suggestions are a combination of ʾāb "father" plus yēš "there is;" or a shortened form of ʾăb(î)-šālôm "father is salvation." See HALOT sub אבישי and אבישלום.
  5. These names all begin with ʾāb "father" plus a nominal or verbal predicate.
  6. The best two suggestions are a combination of ʾāb "father" plus yēš "there is;" or a shortened form of ʾăb(î)-šālôm "father is salvation." See HALOT sub אבישי and אבישלום.
  7. These names all begin with ʾāb "father" plus a nominal or verbal predicate.
  8. For a discussion of shortened names in HEBREW, see Martin Noth, Die israelitischen Personennamen im Rahmen der gemeinsemitischen Namengebung. Beiträge zur Wissenschaft vom Alten und Neuen Testament, III, 10. Stuttgart, 1928 (Reprint: Hildesheim: Georg Olms, 1966), 6-41.
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