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Ebed-melech meaning

עבד־מלך
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🔼The name Ebed-melech in the Bible

The name Ebed-melech is assigned to only one man in the Bible but he's quite the hero. When Jeremiah the prophet announces the imminent destruction of Jerusalem, a group of royal officials has him thrown in a cistern, and this during a famine. The Cushite Ebed-melech is another official at the court of king Zedekiah, and he protests Jeremiah's effective execution with the king. The king allows Ebed-melech to rescue Jeremiah, and God awards Ebed-melech with survival of the Chaldean invasion (Jeremiah 38:7, 39:18).

🔼Etymology of the name Ebed-melech

The name Ebed-melech obviously consists of two elements. The first part of this name comes directly from the root עבד (abad), meaning servant or to serve:

The second part of the name Ebed-melech comes from the ubiquitous word מלך (melek), meaning king:

🔼Ebed-melech meaning

According to BDB Theological Dictionary the verb מלך as used in Nehemiah 5:7 is a loan word from Aramaic, and since the Chaldeans had more to do with Aram than with Israel, perhaps the melech part of Ebed-melech has more to do with counsel than with rule.

Thus Ebed-melech may mean Servant Counselor, or it may mean Slave Of the King (NOBSE Study Bible Name List), or Servant Of The King (BDB Theological Dictionary and Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names). In fact, it may even mean Servant-King.

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