🔼The name Iphtahel: Summary
- God Will Open
- From (1) the verb פתח (patah), to open, and (2) the word אל ('el), God.
🔼The name Iphtahel in the Bible
🔼Etymology of the name Iphtahel
The name Iphtahel consists of two elements, the final one being אל (El), either the prominent Canaanite deity whose name became applied to the God of Israel, or the common abbreviation of Elohim, the genus God:
In names אל ('el) usually refers to אלהים ('elohim), that is Elohim, or God, also known as אלה ('eloah). In English, the words 'God' and 'god' exclusively refer to the deity but in Hebrew the words אל ('l) and אלה ('lh) are far more common and may express approach and negation, acts of wailing and pointing, and may even mean oak or terebinth.
The first part of our name is as good as the same as the name Jephthah, and is an active form of the verb פתח (patah), meaning to open:
The verb פתח (patah) means to open. And since the opening of lips precedes speaking, and the opening of ears precedes hearing, our verb may also mean to speak and to hear (and to see, to be hospitable, to ask for with open hands, and so on). Our verb may be applied to the opening of constricting things, which gives it the meaning of to loosen or release. This verb (or perhaps a whole separate one) may also be used to mean to engrave, although engraving and opening a surface so that the surface speaks are not that far apart.
Noun פתח (petah) means opening or doorway. Similar noun פתח (petah) means opening in the sense of an unfolding. Noun פתון (pithon) also means opening. Noun פתיחה (petiha) denotes a drawn sword (the edge of a sword was known as the "mouth" of it). A prefixed מ usually indicates place or agency and noun מפתח (miptah) means utterance and the similar masculine noun מפתח (mapteah) means key.
For a meaning of the name Iphtahel, NOBSE Study Bible Name List reads God Will Open. Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names (for Jiphthah-el) has It Will Be Opened Of God. And BDB Theological Dictionary proposes God Openeth.