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Meholathite meaning

מחלתי
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🔼The name Meholathite in the Bible

The name Meholathite is an adjective, and most probably an ethnonym, which describes someone from a place called Meholah or Meholath. But neither of these names occur in the Bible; it's simply not mentioned, as many more towns and settlements must be. Alfred Jones (Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names), however, insists that Meholathite describes someone from Abel-meholah. This is of course possible, but no real proof exists.

The ethnonym Meholathite occurs twice in the Bible, but each time it describes the same man: Adriel, son of Barzillai, who was given Merab the daughter of king Saul for a wife (1 Samuel 18:19). But before she became Adriel's wife, Merab had been promised to young David (1 Samuel 18:17). David at first shied away from so much honor, but nevertheless married Merab's younger sister Michal. That marriage went sour, as was evidenced by Michal's mocking of her husband (2 Samuel 6:20), and when the Gibeonites demanded the retaliative execution of Saul's kin, David readily surrendered the five sons of Merab and Adriel to be hanged (2 Samuel 21:8).

🔼Etymology of the name Meholathite

It's not directly clear where the name Meholathite comes from, although a Hebrew audience would have quickly noticed that Meholathite is the name Mahalath with the letter י (yod) attached to it. Thus a Hebrew audience, especially one sensitive to contextual parity, would have likely associated our name with the noun מחלת (mahalath), possibly meaning entreaty:

But perhaps others would have understood our name to have come from the verb חול (hul), meaning to whirl or writhe, and particularly with the derived noun מחולה (mehola), meaning dancing:

🔼Meholathite meaning

The moniker The Meholathite, being an adjective, could be surmised to mean The Entreating (One) or The Supplicating (One), or even The Dancing (One).

None of the sources used actually dares to translate the name Meholathite. NOBSE Study Bible Name List explains it as "a native of Meholah", but doesn't feature an entry for Meholah. As stated above, Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names refers to Abel-meholah, and translates that name with Meadow Of Dancing (taken from the noun מחולה, mehola). BDB Theological Dictionary gives up all together and lists our name alphabetically under the letter מ (mem).

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