🔼The name Izliah: Summary
- Drawn Out/ Preserved (By Yah)
- He Will Suitably Dismiss
- From (1) an otherwise non-existent Hebrew root זלא (zala'), to draw out, and perhaps (2) a garbled form of יה (yah), the name of the Lord.
- From (1) the Aramaic verb זלל (zalal), to think lightly of, and (2) יאה (ya'ah), fitting.
🔼The name Izliah in the Bible
🔼Etymology and meaning of the name Izliah
There's nothing in Hebrew that looks like the name Izliah, and it's safe to say that its origin and meaning are unknown. But that hasn't kept theorists from guessing:
The formidable and undeterred theologian Gesenius knew of an otherwise unused root זלא (zala'), meaning to draw out, and translated our name with Whom God Draws Out/ Will Preserve. How he arrived at the "God"-part is unclear, because a name that refers to God does so by sporting the element אל ('el), which our name doesn't do. Certain grammatical nuances indeed allow a transition from זלא (zala') to יזליאה (izlia), and Gesenius doubtlessly implied God as the subject of a more undetermined but consistent translation of He Will Draw Out.
BDB Theological Dictionary likewise refers to an unused root זלא (zala') but resolutely declares its meaning unknown. BDB commonly treats verbs by referring to similar words in cognate languages but does not do so here, which seems to suggest that there aren't any, and that BDB allows our root זלא (zala') merely on the merit of backformation from the name Izliah.
Alfred Jones (Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names) follows Gesenius in deriving our name from an otherwise unused root זלא (zala'), to draw out, but proposes that the end of it, namely יאה is actually the familiar theonym יה (yah), which is short for יהוה or YHWH. Hence Jones translates our name with a cumbersome He Will Be Drawn Out Of The Lord and NOBSE Study Bible Name List has a similar Yahweh Delivers.
The problem here is that יה (yah) is never spelled יאה (ya'ah). A solution might be to assume that our name not only derives from an otherwise unaccounted verb, it's actually spelled wrong and should be יזלאיה (Izlaiah). The problem with this solution is that it additionally needs to assume that a Hebrew scribe misspelled the name of his own deity, then managed to slip this error past sensors, proof readers and fellow copyists, and that this flawed version of our name somehow managed to completely outcompete any other copies with the right name in it. And all this in a world where an entire scroll would be burned when it was found to contain a single error. It's a pretty big assumption.
Since Chronicles was written in the post-exilic Aramaic period, the name Izliah may be Aramaic rather than Hebrew. The element יאה (ya'ah) exists in Aramaic with the meaning of fitting/right/nice. And the first part of our name could be construed to come from the verb זלל (zalal), to be light, slender, of little value, or despised or disregarded. That gives our name a perfectly feasible Aramaic meaning of He Will Suitably Dismiss.