🔼The name Eliphelet: Summary
- God Is Deliverance
- From (1) the word אל ('el), God, and (2) the verb פלט (palat), to deliver.
🔼The name Eliphelet in the Bible
There are four to six men named Eliphelet in the Bible:
- A son of king David, born to him in Jerusalem by a formally unnamed wife (1 Chronicles 3:6). In 1 Chronicles 14:5 this man is called אלפלט (Elpelet), which is the same name except for the central letter י (yod).
- An older brother of the first Eliphelet (2 Samuel 5:16, 1 Chronicles 3:8, 14:7). It's not clear why David would name two of his sons by the same name (or why the author of Samuel leaves one out). The famous medieval rabbi David Kimchi tried to solve this problem by concluding that David's first son Eliphelet died and the second one was named in memory of the first. The same thing happened with Eliphelet's brother(s) Elishama.
- A son of Ahasbai and one of David's mighty-men (2 Samuel 23:34). Note that this Ahasbai may or may not be the same as Maacah, the wife of king David, and this Eliphelet therefore the same as the surviving previous Eliphelet and the brother of Absalom.
- The third son of Eshek of Benjamin (1 Chronicles 8:39). This man appears to be a descendant of Jonathan, son of Saul.
- One of the 63 descendants of Adonikam who made it back from the exile in Babylon (Ezra 8:13).
- One of the sons of Hashum, who had married foreign women and were going to divorce them during the Purge of Ezra the Reformer (Ezra 10:33).
🔼Etymology of the name Eliphelet
The name Eliphelet, and the compacted version Elpelet, consist of two elements, the first one being אל (El), 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 פלט (palat) means to bring into security:
The verb פלט (palat) means to bring into security, cause to escape, or to deliver. Noun פלט (pallet) means deliverance. Nouns פליט (palit) and פליט (palet) mean fugitive. Noun פליטה (peleta) means escape or deliverance. Noun מפלט (miplat) describes an agent or place of escape or deliverance.
The letter י (yod) that ties these two elements together in the name Eliphelet may be a possessive yod, creating the meaning of El of, or it belongs to the verb and turns it into an active form.
For a meaning of the name Eliphelet, both NOBSE Study Bible Name List and BDB Theological Dictionary read God Is Deliverance. Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names proposes God Of Salvation or God The Savior.