Je'ther (Heb. Ye'ther, יֶתֶר, surplus), the name of six men, and perhaps also of a place.
1. (Sept. Ι᾿εθέρ) A son of Jada and great-grandson of Jerahmeel, of the family of Judah; he had a brother Jonathan, but no children (1Ch 2:32). B.C. considerably post 1856.
2. (Sept. Ι᾿οθόρ, Vulg. Jethro, Auth. Vers. "Jethro.") The father-in-law of Moses (Ex 4:18, first clause), elsewhere (last clause of the same verse) called JETHRO SEE JETHRO (q.v.).
3. (Sept. Ι᾿εθέρ) The first named of the sons of Ezra (? Ezer), of the tribe of Judah (his brothers being Mered [q.v.], Epher, and Jalon), but whose connections are not otherwise denied (1Ch 4:17). B.C. prob. cir. 1618. In the Sept. the name is repeated: "and Jether begat Miriam," etc. By the author of the Quoest. Hebr. in Par. he is said to have been Aaron, Ezra being another name for Amram (q.v.). Miriam (q.v.) in the second part of the verse-explained by the Targum to be identical with Efrath is taken by many to be a male name.
4. (Sept. Ι᾿εθερ) The oldest son of Gideon, who, when called upon by his father to execute the captured Midianitc kings, Zebal and Zalmunna, timidly declined on account of his youth (Jg 8:20). B.C. 1362. According to Jg 9:8, he was slain, together with 69 of his brothers — Jonathan alone escaping — "upon one stone" at Ophrah, by the hands of Abimelech, the son of Gideon's concubine, of Shechem. SEE GIDEON.
5. (Sept. Ι᾿έθερ, Ι᾿εθέρ) The father of Amasa, David's general (1Ki 2:5,32; 1Ch 2:17); elsewhere (2Sa 17:6) called ITHRA SEE ITHRA (q.v.). He is described in 1Ch 2:17 as an Ishmaelite, which, again, is more likely to be correct than the "Israelite" of the Hebrew in 2 Samuel 17, or the "Jezreelite" of the Sept. and Vulg. in the same passage. "Ishmaelite" is said by the author of the Quoest. Hebr. in lib. Reg. to have been the reading of the Hebrew, but there is no trace of it in the MSS. The Talmud records two divergent opinions on the subject (Jeremiah Jebam. 9, c; comp. Babli, Jeb. 77, a). According to R. Samuel bar-Nachmani, Jether was an Ishmaelite by birth, but became a proselyte: hence the two appellations. Another opinion is that, a staunch upholder of David's reign, he, when the king's descent through Ruth, a Moabitish woman, was made a pretext by some of his antagonists to deprive him of his crown, "girded his loins like an Israelite," and threatened to uphold by the sword, if need be, the authority of the Halacha, which had decided that "a Moabitish man, but not a Moabitish woman, an Ammonitish man, but not an Ammonitish woman, should be prohibited from entering into the congregation." Similarly we find in the Targ. to 1Ch 2:17 (Wilkins's edition — this verse belongs to those wanting in Beck) that the father of Amasa was Jether the Israelite, but that he was called Jether the Ishmaelite because he aided David , בערכאה (=בית דין) before the tribunal [Wilkins, "cum Arabibus!"]. Later commentators (Rashi, Abrabanel, David Kimchi) assume that he was an Israelite by birth, but dwelt in the land of Ishmael. and was for this reason also called the Ishmaelite, as Obed Edom is also called the Gittite (2 Samuel 6), or Hiram's father the Zuri or Tyrian (1 Kings 6). David Kimchi also adduces a suggestion of his father, to the effect. "that in the land of Ishmael Jether was called the Israelite from his nationality, and in that of Israel they called him the Ishmaelite on account of his living in the land of Ishmael." Josephus calls him Ι᾿εθάρσης (Ant. 7:10, 1). He married Abigail, David's sister, probably during the sojourn of the family of Jesse in the land of Moab, under the protection of its king. SEE AMASA.
6. (Sept. Ι᾿εθέρ v.r. Ι᾿εθήρ) An Asherite (head of a warrior family numbering 26,000) whose three sons are named in 1Ch 7:38; possibly the same with ITHRAN of the preceding verse.
7. Whether the Ithrites (יתרי, Sept. Ε᾿θιραῖος, Ι᾿εθρί, Ι᾿εθερί, Τεθρίτης,Vulg. Jethrites, Jethroeus, etc.) Ira and Gareb, mentioned in 2Sa 23:38, etc., were natives of an otherwise unknown place called Jether, or of Jathir, יתיר, one of David's places of refuge (1Sa 30:27), or descendants of one Jether — the least probable suggestion — cannot now be determined. SEE ITHRITE.