🔼The name Jehucal: Summary
- Yah Is Able
- From (1) יה (yah), the shortened name of the Lord, and (2) the verb יכל (yakol), to be able.
🔼The name Jehucal in the Bible
The name Jehucal occurs once in the Bible, but the man named such appears twice. King Zedekiah had been instated as Babylon's vassal king in Jerusalem, but he rebelled against the emperor and evoked a war. When the Chaldeans were at the gates, word arrived that the army of Egypt was on the move as well, and the Chaldeans began to pull out. And thus, the otherwise ungodly Zedekiah sent Jehucal (יהוכל), son of Shelemiah, and Zephaniah, son of Maaseiah, to the prophet Jeremiah to pray for a happy ending (Jeremiah 37:3).
Jeremiah informed the men that a happy ending was in the pipeline, but only if Judah went willingly to Babylon. That didn't sit well with the officials, who beat and imprisoned Jeremiah. When Jeremiah wouldn't stop delivering the Lord's message that Judah was supposed to go to Babylon, a few men — among whom Jucal (יוכל), son of Shelemiah (Jeremiah 38:1) — pleaded with the king to have Jeremiah executed on account of discouraging the troops. Zedekiah didn't kill Jeremiah, but kept him incarcerated until the day that Jerusalem fell.
The names Jehucal and Jucal are really quite alike. Jucal is short for Jehucal the way Jake is short for Jacob, and it's commonly accepted that Jehucal, son of Shelemiah and Jucal, son of Shelemiah are the same man.
🔼Etymology of the name Jehucal
The name Jehucal, and the compressed version Jucal, consist of two parts, the first being יה (Yah) = יהו (Yahu) = יו (Yu), which in turn are abbreviated forms of the Tetragrammaton יהוה, YHWH, or Yahweh.
The second part of our name comes from the verb יכל (yakol), meaning to be able:
The common verb יכל (yakol) means to be able, and often translates as "can." It also carries the nuance of prevailing or being better that the person who "can" not. This verb has no extant derivations.
For a meaning of the name Jehucal, NOBSE Study Bible Name List reads Yahweh Is Able, and BDB Theological Dictionary proposes the similar Yah Is Able. Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names, curiously, misses out on the יה-part and sees the first part of our name as indicative of a future form of the verb. Hence Jones translates Jehucal with He Will Be Made Able, but explains it with "i.e. Strengthened Of The Lord".