🔼The name Gaza: Summary
- From the verb עזז ('azaz), to be strong.
🔼The name Gaza in the Bible
There are two towns with the name Gaza mentioned in the Bible, both situated in Israel. The lesser known Gaza is a town in Ephraim (1 Chronicles 7:28). The famous Gaza is a Canaanite and later Philistine city, conquered by Joshua (Joshua 10:41). This Gaza was destroyed a few times, by Alexander the Great among others, but consistently rebuilt.
The name Gaza is mentioned once in the New Testament (Γαζα). In Acts 8:26, an angel instructs Philip to go on the road between Jerusalem to Gaza, but leaves out where Philip is supposed to end up and what he is to do there. But Philip goes anyway and meets the Ethiopian treasurer in service of Candace and converts him to Christ.
🔼Etymology of the name Gaza
The name Gaza comes from the Hebrew verb עזז ('azaz), generally meaning to be strong.
The verb עזז ('azaz) means to be strong. Adjective עז ('az) means strong, mighty or fierce and adjective עזוז ('izzuz) means mighty or powerful. Nouns עז ('oz) and עזוז ('ezuz) mean strength, might or fierceness.
Noun עזניה ('ozniya) denotes some kind of bird of prey (this word may actually be a convenient import from another language) and noun עז ('ez) denotes a she-goat (this word may actually derive from a verb that means to be wayward or perhaps strong-headed).
Verb עוז ('uz) means to bring into refuge or to seek safety. Noun מעוז (ma'oz) describes a place or agent of safety.
The name Gaza is the noun עז ('oz) made feminine with the letter he.
For a meaning of the name Gaza, Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names proposes Strong. NOBSE Study Bible Name List reads Strong Place.
Note the striking similarity between the names עזה (Gaza) and עזה (Uzzah).