🔼The name Gedaliah: Summary
- Yah Has Made Great
- From (1) the verb גדל (gadel), to become strong or great, and (2) יה (yah), the shortened name of the Lord.
🔼The name Gedaliah in the Bible
There are five people named Gedaliah in the Bible:
- The son of Ahikam, son of Shaphan, and Babylonian instated governor of Judea (2 Kings 25:22). He was slain by Ishmael, son of Nethaniah. Note that this name is most often spelled with the final waw: גדליה (Gedaliahu), which is really the same name.
- One of six sons of Jeduthun, who played the harp and prophesied during the time of David (1 Chronicles 25:3 and 25:9). In these two instances, our name is spelled with the final waw as well.
- One of the brothers of Jeshua, son of Jozadak, who had married a foreigner and who divorced her during the purge of Ezra (Ezra 10:18).
- A son of Pashhur who was among the small group of counselors that advised king Zedekiah to execute the prophet Jeremiah (Jeremiah 38:1).
- The paternal grandfather of the prophet Zephaniah (Zephaniah 1:1).
🔼Etymology of the name Gedaliah
The name Gedaliah consists of two elements, the final bit being יה (Yah) = יהו (Yahu) = יו (Yu), which in turn are abbreviated forms of the Tetragrammaton יהוה, YHWH, or Yahweh.
The first part of our name comes from the verb גדל (gadel) meaning to become strong or great:
The verb גדל (gadel) means to become strong or great, particularly by combining many ordinary elements into a big strong strand or collection of some sort.
The noun מגדל (migdal) or מגדול (migdol) literally describes a place or agent for greatness. It's the word for tower, and a tower is not only a big strong thing consisting of many bricks, it also formed the center of a community around which all houses and all activity unfolded. From their tower people kept lookout over the community's territories, and launched offensives when the community was attacked. A tower could carry a fire and from it folks trumpeted signals. Towers drew its people from wherever they might roam. Over time they developed into central storage houses, banks and seats of government. Towers are buildings around which the greatness of a people forms and in which it becomes manifested.
Participle or adjective גדל (gadel) means a becoming great or growing up. Noun גדל (godel) means greatness or pride. Plural noun גדלים (gedilim) refers to tassels or festoons made from twisted strands. The very common adjectives גדול (gadol) and גדולה (gadola) mean great. Noun גדולה (gedulla) means greatness or great one.
For a meaning of the name Gedaliah, NOBSE Study Bible Name List reads Yahweh Has Made Great. Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names proposes Magnified Of The Lord. And BDB Theological Dictionary has Yah Is Great.