🔼The name Hammoleketh: Summary
- The Queen
- From the noun מלכת (meleket), queen, and the definite article ה (he).
🔼The name Hammoleketh in the Bible
There's only one Hammoleketh (or Hammolecheth, as some translations have it) in the Bible and she's the mother of Ishhod, Abiezer and Mahlah. (1 Chronicles 7:18). The Hebrew of 1 Chronicles 7:18 is a bit confusing and some scholars believe Hammoleketh is the sister of Bedan. The majority, however, believes she is the sister of Gilead, the grandson of Manasseh.
🔼Etymology of the name Hammoleketh
The name Hammoleketh comes from the noun מלך (melek), king, or more specifically, from the noun מלכת (meleket), meaning queen:
The noun מלך (melek) means king, and a king is not merely a glorified tribal chief but the alpha of a complex, stratified society, implying a court and a complex government.
The Bible insists that a society must be governed by a triad of anointed sovereigns, namely prophets, priests and the king. A good king causes his people to be prosperous and peaceful whereas a bad one causes poverty and strife. The difference between the two is dictated by how close to the Law of Nature (a.k.a. the Word of God) the king operates. A kingdom that is wholly in tune with the Law consists of only sovereign individuals and is thus without a physical king.
An Aramaic cognate verb מלך (malak) means to consult, which confirms that the concept of royalty indeed evolved from wisdom and intellectual prowess rather than brute physical or political strength, as is commonly suggested.
From this noun derives the verb מלך (malak): to be or become king, the nouns מלכה (malka) and מלכת (meleket): queen or court-lady, the noun מלוכה (meluka): kingship or royalty, and the nouns מלכות (malkut), ממלכה (mamlaka) and ממלכות (mamlakut), meaning sovereignty or kinghood.
The name Hammoleketh differs from the name Meleketh (of an idol) in the way it is pronounced (although the Masoretic pronunciation symbols were added long after the story was written) but also because it is preceded by what seems the Hebrew definite article (the particle ה, or the ha-part of the name). People were named after gods all the time (think of the many Baal-names), and perhaps the name Hammoleketh resulted from people talking about the Meleketh. Still turning the whole thing into a name is unusual.
NOBSE Study Bible Name List solves the problem by simply stating The Queen as meaning for Hammoleketh. Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names treats the name Hammoleketh by omitting the article and only treating Moleketh as a name. Hence Jones renders Queen.