🔼The name Elishama: Summary
- God Has Heard
- From (1) the word אל ('el), God, and (2) the verb שמע (shama'), to hear.
🔼The name Elishama in the Bible
The name Elishama belongs to seven different men in the Bible:
- A son of Ammihud and leader of the tribe of Ephraim just after the Exodus (Numbers 1:10, 1 Chronicles 7:26). Elishama and his tribe were stationed on the west side of the tabernacle (Numbers 2:18, 10:22), and theirs was the seventh day of offering donations during the tabernacle's dedication festival (Numbers 7:48).
- Two of the sons of David who were born in Jerusalem (2 Samuel 5:16, 1 Chronicles 3:6 and 3:8 and 14:7). It's not clear how this doubling works, but something similar happens to the two Eliphelets, brothers of the two Elishamas. Some scholars have suggested that the younger Elishama and Eliphelet were named after the elder ones who died. Others propose that the Elishama mentioned in 1 Chronicles 3:6 is the same as the Elishua mentioned in his stead in 1 Chronicles 14:5 and 2 Samuel 5:15.
- The grandfather of Ishmael, son of Nethaniah, who killed Gedaliah the governor of Babylon in Judah (2 Kings 25:25, Jeremiah 41:1).
- A son of Shallum of Judah (1 Chronicles 2:41).
- One of the priests who joined the contingent of itinerant teachers of the Law, as ordered by king Jehoshaphat (2 Chronicles 17:8).
- A scribe in the service of king Jehoiakim, who was among the men to whom Micaiah, son of Gemariah, told the words of Jeremiah he had heard from Baruch. The men went to inform the king about Jeremiah's message, but left the scroll in Elishama's chamber. The king ordered the scroll retrieved and proceeded to personally destroy it (Jeremiah 36:12,20,21).
🔼Etymology of the name Elishama
The name Elishama consists of the same two elements as the name Ishmael and is in fact the reverse of it. The first part of our name is 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 שמע (shama'), meaning to hear:
The verb שמע (shama') means to hear and may also mean to understand or obey. Noun שמע (shema') means sound. Nouns שמע (shoma') and שמועה (shemu'a) mean tidings, report or mentions. Noun השמעות (hashma'ut) describes that which is caused to be heard. Noun משמע (mishma') means rumor or a thing heard. Noun משמעת (mishma'at) refers to a group or listeners.
For a meaning of the name Elishama, both NOBSE Study Bible Name List and BDB Theological Dictionary read God Has Heard. Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names proposes God The Hearer or My God Will Hear.