🔼The name Elizabeth: Summary
- God Is An Oath, God Of Oathing, God Of Seven
- From (1) the word אל ('el), God, and (2) the word שבע (shaba), either seven or to swear.
🔼The name Elizabeth in the Bible
Elizabeth is a Levite, like her husband, and the cousin of Mary, the mother of Jesus (Luke 1:36). Jesus was the legal son of Joseph (literally: son-by-law), and that makes him legally a man of Judah, as the prophets said he would be (Genesis 49:10, Micah 5:2), but since his mother was kin to Elizabeth, a Levite, it stands to reason that his human genes were Levite, and that makes him a Levite by descent. And this is a good thing, or else he wouldn't be allowed to be a priest, let alone a High Priest (Hebrews 5:5-6).
🔼Etymology of the name Elizabeth
The Greek name Elizabeth, or rather, the Hebrew name Elisheba, consists of two parts. The first part is 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 is identical to the name Sheba II, and comes from either שבע (sheba), meaning seven, or שבע (shaba), meaning oath, swear, adjure:
The root שבע (sb'), which in modern medieval times became pointed as שׁבע (shaba'), has to do with the number seven and the act of binding with an oath (i.e. with a proverbial seven seals or seven bonds).
Nouns שבע (sheba') and שבעה (shib'a) mean 7 and their plural שבעים (shib'im) means 70. The dual form שבעתים (shib'atayim), means sevenfold or seven times. Adjectives שביעית (shebi'it) and שביעי (shebi'i) mean seventh.
The noun שבע (sheba'), meaning seven, became the verb שבע (shaba'), meaning to bind with an oath. Subsequent nouns שבועה (shebu'a) and שבעה (shebu'a) mean oath.
The identical root שבע (sb'), which in modern medieval times became pointed as שׂבע (saba'), means to be sated or satisfied, either with food and such or with any act, deed, quality or phenomenon. Nouns שבע (soba'), שבע (saba'), and שבעה (sab'a or sib'a) mean satiety, fullness, contentment and so on.
When we project a mere quantity between six and eight upon the word שבע, and then equate God with שבע we are at odds with monotheistic doctrine. But in all its width and depth that same statement encompasses some of the most splendid and mysterious Biblical truths. Elisheba is a truly daring name and certainly among the most beautiful in the Bible.
The name Elisheba/ Elizabeth means God Of Seven and God Of Oath, which is not all that strange. Read our article on the root group אלה for a look at the close relationship between the words אל (El), and the verb אלה ('ala), meaning to swear.
Another Biblical name with two meanings, one of which having to do with a number, is Gethsemane.