🔼The name Gilalai: Summary
- Weighty, Rolled Off Of The Lord
- From the verb גלל (galal), to roll.
🔼The name Gilalai in the Bible
The name Gilalai occurs only once in the Bible. It's the name of one of the Levite musicians who played on the "instruments of David" and followed Ezra the scribe during the ceremony of the dedication of the restored wall of Jerusalem (Nehemiah 12:6).
🔼Etymology of the name Gilalai
The name Gilalai comes from the root גלל (galal):
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.
The letter י (yod) upon which our name ends, may either create an adjective (galal-like), a possessive form (my galal), or may be a remnant of יה (Yah) = יהו (Yahu) = יו (Yu), which in turn are abbreviated forms of the Tetragrammaton יהוה, YHWH, or Yahweh.
NOBSE Study Bible Name List appears to view this name as an adjective that reflects the high rank of someone who governs a certain region, and translates our name with a stretched but elegant Weighty. Alfred Jones (Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names) sees in the final yod a remnant of YHWH and proposes the curious Rolled Off Of The Lord. BDB Theological Dictionary does not interpret our name.