🔼The name Galal: Summary
- A Rolling
- From the verb גלל (galal), to roll.
🔼The name Galal in the Bible
It's not clear how many different men named Galal there are in the Bible. Pretty much every commentary speaks of two, but here at Abarim Publications we are not so sure.
The first Galal we meet is one of the Babylonian returnees. He is mentioned in 1 Chronicles 9:15 as one of the returning Levites. One verse later we learn about a man named Obadiah, who is a son of Shemaiah, who in turn is a son of a man named Galal. It's by no means certain that this latter Galal is not the same as the first one. Nehemiah mentions an Abda, son of Shemaiah, son of Galal, who is possibly the same as the Obadiah previously mentioned (Nehemiah 11:17).
🔼Etymology of the name Galal
The name Galal is an expression of the root גלל (galal), meaning to roll:
The verb גלל (galal) primarily expresses rolling, whirling or heaping and may also denote a broad sweep (of land or time). Noun גל (gal) means heap or pile; גיל (gel), a heap specifically of dung; גלל (galal), dung; גלול (gillul), idols. Noun גלה (gulla) means bowl, basin or spring; noun גלילה (gelila), circuit, boundary or territory. Noun גליל (galil) denotes a supporting cylinder or rod; adjective גליל (galil), probably describes a cylindrical hinge column, noun מגלה (megilla) means scroll. Noun גלגל (gilgal) means wheel; noun גלגל (galgal), wheel or whirlwind. Noun גלגלת (gulgoleth) means skull or head. In cognate languages verb גלל (galal) extends to also describe the nobility of someone who rules a region.
The parallel verb גיל (gil) expresses a circular motion as is mostly associated with expressions of joy and celebration (dance). Nouns גיל (gil) and גילה (gila) mean a rejoicing. Noun גיל (gil) describes a circle or time: an age.
For a meaning of the name Galal, NOBSE Study Bible Name List reads A Rolling. Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names proposes He Has Rolled Away, and explains this as the Lord having rolled away the reproach of Galal's parents (but this is obviously unsubstantiated conjecture). BDB Theological Dictionary doesn't translate or interpret our name but does list it under the verb גלל (galal), meaning to roll.