🔼The name Igdaliah: Summary
- Great Is Yah, Yah Makes Great
- From (1) the verb גדל (gadel), to become strong or great, and (2) יהו (yahu), the shortened name of the Lord.
🔼The name Igdaliah in the Bible
The graceful name Igdaliah — which actually is spelled Igdalyahu, but in English transliterations we usually leave the final u away — occurs only once in the Bible.
The Lord instructs the prophet Jeremiah to bring the family of the Rechabites to the temple and offer them wine to drink. They refuse because their father Jonadab, son of Rechab, has instructed them to not drink wine, and so they haven't. Jeremiah is then to ask them, why they obey their earthly father but not their heavenly Father.
All this takes place in the chamber of the sons of Hanan, the son of Igdaliah, the "man of God" (Jeremiah 35:4).
🔼Etymology of the name Igdaliah
The name Igdaliah consists of two elements, the final one 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 is an expression of 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.
The letter י (yod) with which our name starts comes from the grammatical form that formally governs a future tense, but in translations usually is reflected by a present tense.
For a meaning of the name Igdaliah, NOBSE Study Bible Name List reads Great Is Yahweh and BDB Theological Dictionary has the similar Yah(u) Is Great. Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names proposes The Lord Will Make Great.