I can find multiple possible etymologies for the name Jesse/יִשַׁי Yishai:
- "G-d's gift"
- "G-d Exists" [From יש Yesh ("there is"), and יה Yah (the shortened name of יהוה YHWH, the L-rd).] (see below)
- "My Husband" [*From איש 'Ish ("man").] (see below)
Which, if any of these, is correct? Is there any consensus upon the origin of the name? Also, if 4. "G-d Exists" is/could be correct, then would יש יהוה be a grammatical correct phrase?
- "G-d Exists"
Quote: The word יש yesh, marks existence and can often simply translated as "there is" or "there are". On rare occasions it occurs as a noun, where it demonstrates existence opposed to nothingness.
Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names explains the name Jesse solely through the word יש but seems to derail a bit in the explanation. The word (יש) can't be literally translated in English because it expresses the existence of the word or phrase that follows it.
In Proverbs 8:21 the word occurs so that the literal translation would be something like: the grain houses are full of whatever it is that grain houses get filled with. The latter part is commonly translated with wealth or abundance, but this is implied by the context and not by the word יש.] End Quote.
- "My Husband"
Quote: In 1 Chronicles 2:13, Jesse is called by the similar name אישי, Ishi, meaning My Husband (see Genesis 29:32, Hosea 2:16) and it may be that both the names Ishi and Jesse are formed from the word איש ('ish) meaning man.]