🔼The name Gemariah in the Bible
There are two men name Gemariah in the Bible, but they occur in close succession:
- A son of an otherwise unknown man named Hilkiah. This Gemariah was one of the two letter-bearers, who carried Jeremiah's first letter to the exiles from Jerusalem to Babylon. He and Elasah, son of Shaphan, were sent to Nebuchadnezzar by king Zedekiah of Judah (Jeremiah 29:3).
- A son of Shaphan and scribe in whose room Jeremiah's amanuensis Baruch first read the letter of Jeremiah concerning the impeding exile to Babylon (Jeremiah 36:10). That letter finds its way to king Jehoiakim, who gets so upset by it that he cuts it up and burns it in his brazier. This Gemariah is spelled גמריהו (Gemariahu), which is essentially the same name.
Note that the chronology of Jeremiah is somewhat garbled. Since Zedekiah was the last king of Judah, the events surrounding king Jehoiakim occurred earlier in time.
Also note the curious distribution of names in these scenes. Were Elasah and Gemariah the Second brothers? Or were Gemariah the First and Jeremiah (whose father was also called Hilkiah) brothers? The stories don't tell, and we'll never know.
🔼Etymology of the name Gemariah
The name Gemariah consists of two elements. The final part is יה (Yah) = יהו (Yahu) = יו (Yu), which in turn are abbreviated forms of the Tetragrammaton יהוה, YHWH, or Yahweh.
The first part of our name comes from the verb גמר (gamar), meaning to complete or bring to a full end:
For a meaning of the name Gemariah, NOBSE Study Bible Name List reads Yahweh Has Perfected. Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names proposes Perfected Of The Lord. And BDB Theological Dictionary has Yah Has Accomplished.