🔼The name Elealeh in the Bible
The name Elealeh belonged to a settlement of modest dimensions on the east side of the Jordan, which was probably Moabite, and which was annexed by the tribe of Reuben along with its more famous neighbor Heshbon and some other towns (Numbers 32:3).
The Reubenites fortified and expanded it, and possibly gave it its Biblical name of Elealeh (Numbers 32:37). Note that typically only in this latter reference, our name is spelled with a final aleph (אלעלא), although it's not clear what the function of this alternative (possibly Aramaic) spelling might be.
Settling the lush country east of the Jordan may have seemed a wonderful idea at the time, but the trans-Jordan tribes were the first to be deported when the larger empires got going. The prophet Isaiah foretold the invasion of Assyria and counted Elealeh and Heshbon now among the cities of Moab which would be overrun (Isaiah 15:4 and 16:9). Much later, Jeremiah foresaw the invasion of Babylon, and again counted Heshbon and Elealeh among the Moabite victims (Jeremiah 48:34).
🔼Etymology of the name Elealeh
The name Elealeh consists of two elements, the first one being אל (El), the prominent Canaanite deity whose name became applied to the God of Israel, or the common abbreviation of Elohim, the genus God:
The second part of our name comes from the verb עלה ('ala), meaning to go up or ascend:
For a meaning of the name Elealeh, NOBSE Study Bible Name List reads God Has Ascended and Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names proposes the elegant but a touch overly elaborate Whither God Ascends. BDB Theological Dictionary suggests God Doth Ascend but adds the signature question mark to indicate that neither this nor any other interpretation would meet with academic consensual approval. A Hebrew audience, however, would scarcely be bothered with that kind of rigor and readily read any of the above into our name.