Jes'se (Heb. Yishay', יַשִׁי, perhaps firm, otherwise living; once אַשִׁי, Ishay', either by prosthesis, or manly, 1Ch 2:13; Sept. and N.T. Ι᾿εσσαί; Josephus ῾Ιεσσαῖος, Ant. 6, 8, 1), a son (or descendant) of Obed, the son of Boaz and Ruth (Ru 4:17,22; Mt 1:5-6; Lu 3:32; 1Ch 2:12). He was the father of eight sons (1Sa 17:12), from the youngest of whom, David, is reflected all the distinction which belongs to the name, although the latter, as being of humble birth, was often reproached by his enemies with this parentage (1Sa 20:27,30-31; 1Sa 22:7-8; 1Sa 25:10; 2Sa 20:1; 1Ki 12:16; 2Ch 10:16). "Stem of Jesse" is used poetically for the family of David (Isa 11:1), and "Root [ i.e. root-shoot, or sprout from the stump, i.q. scion] of "Jesse" for the Messiah (Isa 11:10; Re 5:5; comp. 22:16). He seems to have been a person of some note and substance at Bethlehem, his property being chiefly in sheep (1Sa 16:1,11; 1Sa 17:20; comp. Ps 78:71). It would seem from 1Sa 16:10, that he must have been aware of the high destinies which awaited his son, but it is doubtful if he ever lived to see them realized (see 1Sa 17:12). The last historical mention of Jesse is in relation to the asylum which David procured for him with the king of Moab (1Sa 22:3). B.C. cir. 1068-1061. SEE DAVID.
"According to an ancient Jewish tradition, recorded in the Targum on 2Sa 21:19, Jesse was a weaver of the vails of the sanctuary; but as there is no contradiction, so there is no corroboration of this in the Bible, and it is possible that it was suggested by the occurrence of the word oregim, 'weavers,' in connection with a member of his family. SEE JAARE- OREGIM. Who the wife of Jesse was we are not told. The family contained, in addition to the sons, two female members — Zeruiah and Abigail; but it is uncertain whether these were Jesse's daughters, for, though they are called the sisters of his sons (1Ch 2:16), yet Abigail is said to have been the daughter of Nahash (2Sa 17:25). Of this, two explanations have been proposed.
(1.) The Jewish: that Nahash was another name for Jesse (Jerome, Quoest. Hebr. on 2Sa 17:25, and the Targum on Ru 4:22).
(2.) Prof. Stanley's: that Jesse's wife had formerly been wife or concubine to Nahash, possibly the king of the Ammonites (Jewish Church, 2, 5, 51)." SEE NAHASH.