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Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature


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(Heb. Shammah', שִׁמָּה, astonishment or desolation), the name of four or five Hebrews.

1. (Sept. Σομέ v.r. in Chron. Σομμέ.) Son of Reuel and head of a family along Esau's descendants (Genesis 36:13; Genesis 36:17; 1 Chronicles 1:7). B.C. ante 1850. David (1 Samuel 16:9; 1 Samuel 17:13). From these two passages we learn that he was present at David's anointing by Samuel, and that with his two elder brothers he joined the Hebrew army in the valley of Elah to fight with the Philistines. B.C. 1068. He is elsewhere, by a slight change in the name, called SHIMEA (See SHIMEA) [q.v.] (1 Chronicles 20:7), SHIMEAH (2 Samuel 13:3; 2 Samuel 13:32), and SHIMMA (1 Chronicles 2:13).

3. (Sept. Σαμαϊ v α vr. Σαμμεάς .) The son of "Agee the Hararite," and one of the three chief of the thirty champions of David. B.C. 1061. The exploit by which he obtained this high distinction, as described in 2 Samuel 23:11-12, is manifestly the same as that which in 1 Chronicles 11:12-14 is ascribed to David himself, assisted by Eleazar, the son of Dodo. The inference, therefore, is that Shammah's exploit lay in the assistance which he had thus rendered to David and Eleazar. It consisted in the stand which the others had enabled David to make, in a cultivated field, against the Philistines. Shammah also shared in the dangers which Eleazar and Jashobeam incurred in the chivalric exploit of forcing a way through the Philistine host to gratify David's thirst for the waters of Bethlehem (2 Samuel 23:16). Kitto. The scene of Shammah's exploit is said in Samuel to be a field of lentiles (עֲדָשַׁי ם ), and in 1 Chronicles a field of barley (שְׂעוֹרְי ם ). Kennicott proposes in both cases to read "barley," the words being in Hebrew so similar that one is produced from the other by a very slight change and transposition of the letters (Dissert. p. 141). It is more likely, too, that the Philistines should attack and the Israelites defend a field of barley than a field of lentiles. In the Peshito-Syriac, instead of being called "the Hararite," he is said to be "from the king's mountain," and the same is repeated at 2 Samuel 23:25. The Vat. MS. of the Sept. makes him the son of Asa (υἱὸς Ασα οΑ῾᾿ρουχαῖος, where Ἀρουδαῖος was perhaps the original reading). Josephus (Ant. 7, 12, 4) calls him Cesaboeus the son of Ilus (Ι᾿λοῦ μέν υἱὸς Κησαβαῖος δὲ ὄνομα ),

4. (Sept. Σαιμά v.r. Σαμμαἰ .) The Harodite, one of David's mighties (2 Samuel 23:25). He is called "Shammoth the Harorite" in 1 Chronicles 11:27, and in 27:8 "Shamhuth the Izrahite." Kennicott maintained the true reading in both to be "Shamhoth the Harodite" (Dissert. p. 181). He is evidently different from the preceding, as still ranking among the lower thirty. 2 Samuel 23:32-33, we find "Jonathan, Shammah the Hararite;" while in the corresponding verse of 1 Chronicles 11:34 it is "Jonathan, the son of Shage the Hararite." Combining the two, Kennicott proposes to read "Jonathan, the son of Shamha, the Hararite," David's nephew who slew the giant in Gath (2 Samuel 21:21). Instead of "the Hararite," the Peshito-Syriac has "of the Mount of Olives;" in 23:33, and in 1 Chronicles 11:34, "of Mount Carmel;" but the origin of both these interpretations is obscure. The term "Hararite" (q.v.) may naturally designate a mountaineer, i.e. one from the mountains of Judah. Not only is the name Shammah here suspicious, as having already been assigned to two men in the list of David's heroes, but the epithet "Shage" is suspiciously similar to "Agee," and "Harorite" to "Hararite" given above. (See DAVID).

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Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Shammah'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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