🔼The name Ishmaiah: Summary
- Yah Hears
- From (1) the verb שמע (shama'), to hear, and (2) יה (yah), the shortened name of the Lord.
🔼The name Ishmaiah in the Bible
There are two men named Ishmaiah in the Bible, although one Ishmaiah is spelled with a final ו (waw) and the other one isn't. This is perfectly normal; most names that end on יה (Yah) also exist ending on יהו (Yahu).
The Ishmaiahs of the Bible are:
- A Gibeonite who joined David at Ziklag (1 Chronicles 12:4). Apparently, he was counted among the famous thirty mighty-men, and was even counted among their leaders (although the thirty appeared to have as many leaders as there were mighty-men). This Ishmaiah is spelled ישמעיה.
- A son of Obadiah of Zebulun who was in charge of his tribe during the reign of king David (1 Chronicles 27:19). This Ishmaiah is spelled ישמעיהו.
🔼Etymology of the name Ishmaiah
The name Ishmaiah(u) 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 element of our name is an active form of the verb שמע (shama'), meaning to hear:
The verb שמע (shama') means to hear and may also mean to understand or obey. Noun שמע (shema') means sound. Nouns שמע (shoma') and שמועה (shemu'a) mean tidings, report or mentions. Noun השמעות (hashma'ut) describes that which is caused to be heard. Noun משמע (mishma') means rumor or a thing heard. Noun משמעת (mishma'at) refers to a group or listeners.
For a meaning of the name Ishmaiah, NOBSE Study Bible Name List reads Yahweh Hears and BDB Theological Dictionary has the similar Yah Heareth.
Alfred Jones (Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names) typically translates the active form in its most proper way, as a future tense: He Will Hear The Lord. But this future tense in Hebrew correlates to a regular present tense in English, so the interpretations of NOBSE and BDB are probably closer to the actual applicable meaning of our name.