🔼The name Ithlah: Summary
- It Will Be Conspicuously Displayed
- From the verb תלה (tala), to display conspicuously.
🔼The name Ithlah in the Bible
The name Ithlah (or Jethlah as older translations have it) occurs only once in the Bible. It's mentioned among the towns that were allotted to the tribe of Dan (Joshua 19:42) and heard from no more after that.
🔼Etymology of the name Ithlah
The name Ithlah is an active form (a third person singular) of the verb תלה (tala), meaning to hang:
For a meaning of the name Ithlah, NOBSE Study Bible Name List reads a descriptive An Overhanging Place.
BDB Theological Dictionary does not offer an interpretation of our name but does list it under the verb תלה (tala), meaning to hang.
Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names proposes He (i.e. God) Will Exalt It, but there's no evidence that God is performing the action of the verb. It just as well means: It Will Hang, which is formally correct, but which really means: It Hangs.
Jones' proposal that our name has anything to do with being exalted is incorrect, and rather the opposite is true. Our name literally means It Will Be Conspicuously Displayed, which brings to mind what Jesus said: "A city on a hill cannot be hidden" (Matthew 5:14), which instead of denoting glory rather denotes vulnerability.
The name Ithlah would best serve a city that was conquered, destroyed and left to smolder in plain view for all to see.