🔼The name Jaala(h): Summary
- Mountain Goat, She Who Gets Somewhere Because She's Good At Something Useful
- From the verb יעל (ya'al), to profit or be of practical use.
🔼The name Jaala in the Bible
The names Jaala and Jaalah are different, but not so different that they should be regarded as two completely different names. In this case, the letters he and aleph are both vowels and sound alike. Hence these two letters, when they represent vowels, have the tendency to swap, without altering the meaning of the word. Something similar happens with the name Ezra / Ezrah.
The name יעלא (Jaala) occurs in the Book of Nehemiah, where it is assigned to a family-head of temple servants, who descended from the temple servants of Solomon's time (Nehemiah 7:8). The same list of names occurs in Ezra's account, but now this man is called יעלה (Jaalah — Ezra 2:56).
Note that the name Jaala is a feminine word applied to a masculine character, while the related name Jael is a masculine noun applied a feminine character.
🔼Etymology of the name Jaala
Both versions of this name come from the verb יעל (ya'al), to profit or be of practical use:
The verb יעל (ya'al) means to profit, benefit or be of any (or much) practical use. Curiously, nouns יעל (ya'al) and יעלה (ya'ala) describe the male and female mountain goat respectively. Some scholars insist that these nouns derive from a whole other but unused verb, namely one meaning to ascend. Others propose that physical ascension requires finding literal footing, whereas figurative ascension (in prosperity and cultural diversity) is fundamentally based on the mastery of practical and useful skills. That would make the mountain goat literally a "benefiter of practical skill."
For a meaning of the name Jaala NOBSE Study Bible Name List reads Wild She-Goat. Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names suggests Ibex or Mountain Goat.
It's curious that the only male who was named after this root, carries the female version of it, while the only female (Jael) has the masculine version. Still, many masculine names are feminine nouns and vice versa.