🔼The name Eliashib: Summary
- El Restores, El Causes To Return
- From (1) the word אל ('el), God, and (2) the verb שוב (shub), to restore.
🔼The name Eliashib in the Bible
There are quite a few men named Eliashib in the Bible:
- A son of Elioenai and descendant of Solomon and Zerubbabel (1 Chronicles 3:24)
- A descendant of Aaron who became a temple official during the reign of king David (1 Chronicles 24:12).
- A Levitical singer who divorced his foreign wife during the purge of Ezra (Ezra 10:24).
- Another man, descending from Zattu, who divorced his foreign wife (Ezra 10:27).
- And another one, a son of Bani, who also divorced his foreign wife (Ezra 10:36)
- A high priest who repaired the Sheep Gate during the period of post-exilic restoration (Nehemiah 3:1, 12:10). Nehemiah was not very good friends with Eliashib the high priest because the latter had fixed up a storage room in the temple for his Ammonite buddy named Tobiah to stay in. When Nehemiah found that out he threw all Tobiah's stuff out the door (Nehemiah 13:4). And if that wasn't enough, Eliashib's unnamed grandson had married a daughter of Sanballat the Horonite, a foreigner (see Nehemiah 2:10). Nehemiah had attacked the Jews who had done so by beating them and pulling out their hair, so Eliashib's grandson had some of that coming too (Nehemiah 13:28). Nehemiah's less volatile colleague Ezra had similar problems with Jews marrying foreigners, but he allowed them to voluntarily abandon their wives in an effort that we, here at Abarim Publications, wryly refer to as the purge of Ezra.
🔼Etymology of the name Eliashib
The name Eliashib consists of two elements. The first part is the word אל (El), either the prominent Canaanite deity whose name became applied to the God of Israel, or the common abbreviation of Elohim, the genus God:
In names אל ('el) usually refers to אלהים ('elohim), that is Elohim, or God, also known as אלה ('eloah). In English, the words 'God' and 'god' exclusively refer to the deity but in Hebrew the words אל ('l) and אלה ('lh) are far more common and may express approach and negation, acts of wailing and pointing, and may even mean oak or terebinth.
The second part of our name comes from the verb שוב (shub), meaning to turn back or restore:
The verb שוב (shub) tells of a reversal in motion; the point where an upward motion becomes a downward one, or vice versa, or a westward motion an eastward one, and so on. This very frequently occurring verb is mostly translated with to turn or return, and is often used to mean to convert or return to a more fruitful way of life, and hence to restore, to retrieve or even to abstain, to reply and to repeat. Noun שובה (shuba) means withdrawal; noun שיבה (shiba) means restoration, and noun תשובה (teshuba) means answer. Adjectives שובב (shobab), שובב (shobeb) and משובה (meshuba) mean backsliding, or transitioning from a positive to a negative way of life.
Verb ישב (yashab) means to sit (the act which occurs precisely in between a person's descent and ascent) or to remain or dwell (in between traveling to and from some place). Nouns שבת (shebet) and מושב (moshab) mean both seat or dwelling place. Noun תושב (toshab) means sojourner.
The verb שבת (shabbat) means to rest or cease activity, and the familiar noun שבת (shabbat) means a rest or stoppage. Noun שבת (shebbet) means cessation and is closely similar to the noun שבת (shebet), meaning seat, mentioned above. Noun משבת (mishbat) also means cessation. Denominative verb שבת (shabat) means to keep the Sabbath and the noun שבתון (shabbaton) denotes a sabbatical observance.
Verb שבה (shaba) means to take captive, or to put a halt to someone's preferred trajectory and coerce them to go somewhere else. Nouns שבי (shebi) and שביה (shibya) mean captivity or captives collectively, but with the emphasis on being moved somewhere rather than the static condition of being imprisoned. Likewise, the noun שביה (shebiya) means captive. Noun שבית (shebit) or שבות (shebut) means captivity but since the parent verb speaks of a sudden change of destiny rather than a particular destination, this noun may also be used to mean restoration. The noun שבו (shebo) describes some sort of gem, apparently a real "head-turner."
For a meaning of the name Eliashib, NOBSE Study Bible Name List reads God Will Restore. Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names proposes Whom God Restore or Whom God Leads Back Again. BDB Theological Dictionary has God Restores.