🔼The name Azaliah: Summary
- Yah Has Set Aside, Yah Has Reserved
- From (1) the verb אצל ('asal), to approximate, and (2) יהו (yahu), the shortened name of the Lord.
🔼The name Azaliah in the Bible
The name Azaliah (or rather: Azaliahu) occurs twice in the Bible but in the same context. In the eighteenth year of his reign, king Josiah of Judah sent Shaphan, son of Azaliah, son of Meshullam the scribe to the high priest Hilkiah in order to settle the wages of the people who were restoring the temple (2 Kings 22:3).
The Chronicler tells the same story, but in his (her) version, the king sent Shaphan, son of Azaliah, and Maaseiah a civic officer of some sort and Joah, son of Joahaz the recorder, in order to start the project (2 Chronicles 34:8).
Both versions, however, agree that at some point the Book of the Law was found, which led to substantial reforms during the reign of Josiah (2 Kings 22:8, 2 Chronicles 34:15).
🔼Etymology of the name Azaliah
The name Azaliah consists of two elements. The first part of our name comes from the verb אצל ('asal) meaning to approximate:
Unused verb אצל ('sl) probably meant to join. Noun אצל ('assil) means a joint or joining.
Preposition אצל ('esel) means beside and denominative verb אצל ('asal) means to approximate or disintegrate — i.e. to move toward a position just next of a solid state. Noun אציל ('asil) describes an item, condition or status that sits just next to another (greater, better, higher) item, condition or status.
The second part of our name is יה (Yah) = יהו (Yahu) = יו (Yu), which are abbreviated forms of the Tetragrammaton יהוה, YHWH, or Yahweh. Names that end with יה commonly also exist ending with יהו (Yahu) and English translators have decided long ago to ignore all final ו's, for no particularly good reason. That's why we read about Azaliah who was really named Azaliahu.
For a meaning of the wonderful name Azaliah, NOBSE Study Bible Name List reads Yahweh Has Set Aside, Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names has Reserved Of The Lord and BDB Theological Dictionary proposes Yahweh Hath Reserved.