JESHURUN (jĕsh'ū-rŭn, Heb. yeshūrûn, upright one). A poetical or ideal title of Israel. Except in Deut.32.15, where it is used of Israel in reproachful irony because they had departed from their moral ideal, it is always used as a title of honor (Deut.33.5, Deut.33.26; Isa.44.2).
JESHURUN jĕsh’ ə rən
, the upright one
). A poetic designation for Israel (Deut 32:15
; Isa 44:2
). The name relates to the ideal nations, holding before the people moral and spiritual character, the object of their creation. Deuteronomy 32:15
expresses the thought of reproach for having failed the ideal; elsewhere the title is honorific.
Gesenius adopts the derivation from יָשָׁר, H3838, so that the word speaks of “righteous little people,” perhaps allied to the similar idea in the “book of Jasher” (Josh 10:13; 2 Sam 1:18), where Jasher appears to be a name for Israel. There is also a connection (Num 23:10) between Israel and “the righteous.”
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)
je-shu’-run, jesh’-u-run (yeshurun, "upright one," De 32:15; 33:5,26; Isa 44:2): Septuagint translates it "the beloved one" egapemenos, the perfect participle passive of agapao), and in Isa 44:2 adds "Israel"; Vulgate (Jerome’s Latin Bible, 390-405 A.D.) has dilectus in De 32:15, elsewhere rectissimus; Aquila, Symmachus, Theodotion have "upright." For the form, Duhm compares zebhulun, Zebulun.
(1) The name used to be explained as a diminutive form, a pet name, and some, e.g. Cornill, Schultz (Old Testament Theology, English translation, II, 29, note 12) still explain it so, "the righteous little people." But there is no evidence that the ending -un had a diminutive force.
(2) Most moderns take it as a poetical or ideal title of Israel, derived from yashar, "upright"; it is held to contain a tacit reference to the word Israel (yisra’el), of which the first three consonants are almost the same as those of "Jeshurun"; in Nu 23:10 the term "the righteous ones" (yesharim) is supposed to contain a similar reference. Most commentators compare also "the Book of Jashar," and it has been held that "Jashar" is similarly a name by which Israel is called.
Following Bacher (ZATW, 1885, 161 ff), commentators hold that in Isaiah this new name, a coinage due to the author of Second Isaiah and adopted in Deuteronomy, stands in contrast to Jacob, "the supplanter," as his name was explained by the Hebrews (compare Ho 12:2-4). Israel is here given a new name, "the upright, pious one," and with the new name goes new chance in life, to live up to its meaning. Driver (Deuteronomy, 361) says that in De 32:15 "where the context is of declension from its ideal (it is) applied reproachfully. `Nomen Recti pro Israele ponens, ironice eos perstringit qui a rectitudine defecerant’ (Calv.). Elsewhere it is used as a title of honor." the King James Version has "Jesurun" in Isa 44:2.