🔼The name Meshullam in the Bible
The name Meshullam is among the most popular in the Bible (and note that this name is also highly similar to the familiar proper name Muslim). There may be up to twenty-one different men named such, although the real number is probably a bit lower as the following may overlap some:
- The father of Azaliah, the father of Shaphan the scribe, whom king Josiah of Judah sent to the temple of YHWH, to meet with high priest Hilkiah in order to obtain funds for repairs on the temple (2 Kings 22:3).
- A son of Zerubbabel who led the second wave of returnees home from Babylon (1 Chronicles 3:19).
- One of the seven sons of Abihail of Gad (1 Chronicles 5:13).
- One of the sons of Elpaal of Benjamin (1 Chronicles 8:17).
- A son of Hodaviah of Benjamin and father of Sallu, one of the family heads of Benjamin who were among those who returned from Babylon (1 Chronicles 9:7).
- A son of Shephatiah, also of Benjamin, who also made it back from exile (1 Chronicles 9:8).
- The father of Hilkiah, the father of Azariah, who was among the priests to return from Babylon (1 Chronicles 9:11).
- A son of Meshillemith and great-grandfather of Maasai, another priest who made it back from the exile (1 Chronicles 9:12).
- One of the Kohathite foremen who were musicians by vocation but who managed the workers on the temple during the period of post-exilic restorations (2 Chronicles 34:12).
- One of the men whom Ezra sent to Iddo to acquire Levites for the temple service he planned to restore (Ezra 8:16).
- One of the four brave souls who opposed the mass divorce of men of Israel who had married foreign women (Ezra 10:15).
- One of the sons of Bani, who would divorce their foreign wives during the purge of Ezra (Ezra 10:29).
- A son of Berechiah, son of Meshezabel, who made repairs on the wall of Jerusalem during the time of the restoration (Nehemiah 3:4, 3:30). This Meshullam was a bit of a big shot because Jehohanan — son of the Ammonite official Tobiah — had married his daughter (Nehemiah 6:18).
- A son of Besodeiah, who repaired Jerusalem's Old Gate together with Joiada son of Paseah (Nehemiah 3:6).
- A son of Joed, and the father of another Sallu of Benjamin, whom Nehemiah reports to have returned from Babylon (Nehemiah 11:7).
- One of the men who stood by Ezra when he read the Book of the Law to the people (Nehemiah 8:4).
- One of the ratifiers of the Sealed Document (Nehemiah 10:7)
- A household head of the family of Ezra, who could be the famous Ezra and Meshullam might be his son (Nehemiah 12:13) and who may be the same as the Meshullam (mentioned directly after Ezra) who was present at the dedication of the restored wall (Nehemiah 12:33).
- A household head of the family of Ginnethon (Nehemiah 12:16).
- A gatekeeper in the time of Jehoiakim the high priest in the post-exilic period (Nehemiah 12:25).
Note that the name Meshullemeth is the feminine form of the name Meshullam.
🔼Etymology of the name Meshullam
The name Meshullam could be construed to be a participle drawn from the root-verb שלם (shalem), meaning to be unbroken or whole:
For a meaning of the name Meshullam, NOBSE Study Bible Name List reads Recompensed, Rewarded. Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names proposes Repaying. BDB Theological Dictionary does not offer an interpretation of the name Meshullam but does list it under the verb שלם (shalem).
Here at Abarim Publications we surmise that the M of the name Meshullam could come from the particle מ, which denotes an agent or instrument of the action of the verb. In this case Meshullam would literally mean Peace-maker or Unifier, which appears to also sum up the sentiments of scholars known as the Nazarenes.