🔼The name Bishlam in the Bible
The name Bishlam occurs only once in the Bible. Bishlam is one of three named of a larger group of men who worked for king Artaxerxes of Persia south of the river Euphrates, and who wrote a letter to their king to persuade him to order the Jews to stop repairing the city of Jerusalem (Ezra 4:7). It worked and Artaxerxes ordered the work to stop, which it did until the second year of king Darius (Ezra 4:24).
🔼Etymology of the name Bishlam
There are a few ways to go about explaining the B of the name Bishlam, but scholars generally agree that the core of our name comes from the widely used Semitic root שלם (slm), meaning peace:
The letter ב (beth), with which our name starts might be a remnant of the word אב (ab), so that our name is the same as Absalom. This is, however not very likely because this kind of contraction of אב (ab) doesn't appear to happen anywhere else in the text. It's more probably that this letter ב (beth) is either of these:
- The common prefix that means in, within or because of. This same prefixed particle is the letter of the Hebrew Bible and the first word in translations: In the beginning.
- A truncated version of the familiar word בן (ben), meaning son or son of. There are about half a dozen names in the Hebrew Bible that are suspected to be formed from this truncated form of בן (ben); see for instance the names Bera, Birsha and Bidkar.
For a meaning of the name Bishlam, both NOBSE Study Bible Name List and Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names take the letter ב (beth) to be the prefixed particle and read In Peace. BDB Theological Dictionary does not translate our name but does list it under the contracted ben-names, in which case it would mean Son Of Peace.