What is the meaning of Sheva in the name of King David's wife Bat Sheva? Her father's name was Eliam not Sheva.

Does it mean 7? And if yes 7 of what?

Or is it possible it's from "Sova"- satiated, which is spelled the same way שבע?

  • 1
    It says online it means “daughter of the oath,” though I’m not sure exactly what oath it’s referring to Feb 2 at 4:12
  • Interesting that would be שבועה, where online? Can you drop a link.
    – sam freed
    Feb 2 at 4:14
  • Literally only on Wikipedia and one some other random site that discusses her. But none expand on this point at all, they just say it and move on so I don’t think they’ll be helpful but if you want I can send the links Feb 2 at 4:16
  • Sure the more sources the better
    – sam freed
    Feb 2 at 4:17
  • 2
    bje.org.au/knowledge-centre/jewish-people/famous/batsheva Not gonna send the Wikipedia one because of shemirat einayim issues… Feb 2 at 4:23

4 Answers 4


Some shameless self-promotion: I wrote a blog post on this last year, which you can find here. The name Bat Sheva literally means "daughter of seven", although the root "שבע" is also related to vows. These are more classic understandings of the name.

I suggest that there are a few aspects of Bat Sheva that show that her name was thematically related to the genealogy of the Tribe of Yehudah. First, we know from Tanach that she herself was from that tribe, because she was the daughter of Eliam (Shmuel 2:11:23), who in turn was the son of Achitophel, who was from Giloh (Shmuel 2:23:34), in the territory of Yehudah (Yehoshua 15:51). By the way, this has led some to suggest that this was the reason Achitophel turned on David - because he was angry with what David did to his original grandson-in-law, Uriah.

In terms of thematic connections, there is one instance in which Bat Sheva is spelled בת שוע (Bat Shua) (Chronicles 1:3:5), which was also the name of Yehudah's first wife (Beresheet 38:12; Chronicles 1:2:3). She was called so because her father's name really was Shua (Beresheet 38:2). That name means "daughter of Salvation".

However, Bat Sheva is also thematically connected to Tamar, Yehudah's technical yevamah. According to Mishna Maaserot 2:8, there was a type of fig called "Bnot Sheva". The fig is one of the seven species of Eretz Yisrael, as was the Tamar (date).

In other words, the name Bat Sheva refers to a type of fig, and seems to also symbolize a connection with Tamar, mother of two branches of the Tribe of Yehudah, Peretz and Zerach. Bat Sheva's variant name, "Bat Shua", connects her to Bat Shua, the mother of the third branch, Shelah.

  • 1
    This fits in beautifully with the רמ"ע מפאנו in his ספר גלגולי נשמות אות כט [ ([hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=38465&st=&pgnum=25] who writes that בת שבע was a גלגול of בת שוע the wife of יהודה and he connects the מעשה of יהודה ותמר with the מעשה of דוד ובת שבע.
    – Imanonov
    Feb 6 at 19:12
  • Nice, shkoyech.
    – Harel13
    Feb 6 at 19:44

Rav Mier Mazuz explains in אסף המזכיר that it is referring to 7, as she was Dovid's 7th wife.

enter image description here

  • 1
    Did she get the name only after marrying David?
    – Double AA
    Feb 2 at 12:40
  • That jumped out at me too, she had that name before David knew her sefaria.org/…
    – sam freed
    Feb 2 at 13:12
  • 2
    @double aa It could be that the name was only given later but used retroactively. However, I believe he is saying that she was destined as the 7th wife, hence she had the name from birth, even if it wasn't understood at the time.
    – אילפא
    Feb 2 at 14:10

The Zohar Parshas Shemini 56 Zohar learns that the "Sheva" is a reference to the seventh middah of Malchus, as she was destined "from the creation of the world" to marry King David, in the same way as Elisheva was destined from the creation of the world as the wife of Ahron, who as Kohen Gadol was also considered "a king".It seems that he learns that BatSheva was a גלגול of Elisheva, as he explains the difference between the two prefixes to the word Sheva and why it was changed.


I found this Q&A post online Here is the relevant section

If you’re asking about the meaning of her name (literally: “the daughter of seven”) and why her parents named her that: some explain that she was the 7th daughter/child, others, that she was born on Shabbat (the 7th day) or Tishrei (the 7th month). Notice that in Divrei HaYamim (Chron. I, 3, 5), she’s called Bat-Shu’a, like Yehuda’s wife (Breishit 38, 12), so it must have been a common name, short for Bat-Y’shua, the daughter of redemption/deliverance (perhaps after a difficult birth?).

He does not bring any sources to backup the first 3 reasons, of Bat Sheva being the 7th child, born on the Shabbat or in Tishrei.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .