🔼The name Bishlam: Summary
- In Peace, Son Of Peace
- From (1) either the prefix ב (be), "in," or the noun בן (ben), "son," and (2) the verb שלם (shalem), to be or make whole or complete.
🔼The name Bishlam in the Bible
The name Bishlam occurs only once in the Bible. Bishlam is one of three named of a larger group of men who worked for king Artaxerxes of Persia south of the river Euphrates, and who wrote a letter to their king to persuade him to order the Jews to stop repairing the city of Jerusalem (Ezra 4:7). It worked and Artaxerxes ordered the work to stop, which it did until the second year of king Darius (Ezra 4:24).
🔼Etymology of the name Bishlam
There are a few ways to go about explaining the B of the name Bishlam, but scholars generally agree that the core of our name comes from the widely used Semitic root שלם (slm), meaning peace:
The verb שלם (shalem) means to be or make whole or complete, and is also used to describe a righteous recompense or proper restitution (whether positive or not). The familiar noun שלום (shalom) means wholeness, completeness or peace.
Other derivatives are: noun שלם (shelem), peace offering; verb שלם (shalam), to be in a covenant of peace; adjective שלם (shalem), perfect, whole, complete, safe; noun שלם (shillem), recompense; nouns שלמן (shalmon), שלום (shillum), שלם (shillum) and שלמה (shilluma), reward or proper recompense.
The letter ב (beth), with which our name starts might be a remnant of the word אב ('ab), so that our name is the same as Absalom. This is, however not very likely because this kind of contraction of אב ('ab) doesn't appear to happen anywhere else in the text. It's more probably that this letter ב (beth) is either of these:
- The common prefix ב (be) that means in, within or because of. This same prefixed particle is the letter of the Hebrew Bible and the first word in translations: In the beginning:
Prefix ב (be) means in, within or by means of.
- A truncated version of the familiar word בן (ben), meaning son or son of. There are about half a dozen names in the Hebrew Bible that are suspected to be formed from this truncated form of בן (ben); see for instance the names Bera, Birsha, Bidkar:
The noun בן (ben) means son, or more general: a member of one particular social or economic node — called a "house", which is built upon the instructions of one אב ('ab), or "father" — within in a larger economy (hence: the "sons of the prophet" are the members of the prophet-class; the prophets). This noun obviously resembles the verb בנה (bana), to build, and the noun אבן ('eben), stone.
Our noun's feminine version, namely בת (bat), means daughter, which resembles the noun בית (bayit), meaning house. Sometimes our noun is contracted into a single letter ב, whose name beth comes from בית (bayit) and means "house" as well. As a prefix, the letter ב (be) means "in." The word for mother, אם ('em), is highly similar to that of tribe or people, אמה ('umma).
For a meaning of the name Bishlam, both NOBSE Study Bible Name List and Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names take the letter ב (beth) to be the prefixed particle and read In Peace. BDB Theological Dictionary does not translate our name but does list it under the contracted ben-names, in which case it would mean Son Of Peace.