🔼The name Kelaiah: Summary
- Congregation Of The Lord, Called Together By Yah
- Dishonored By Yah, Yah Esteems Light
- From (1) the verb קהל (qahal), to contract or group up, or קול (qul), to call out, and (2) יה (yah), the name of the Lord.
- From (1) the verb קלל (qalal), to be light-weight, or קלה (qala), to belittle or dishonor, and (2) יה (yah), the name of the Lord.
🔼The name Kelaiah in the Bible
As a curious addition, this man named Kelaiah is also said to be known as Kelita. This caused some commentators to understand that the names Kelaiah and Kelita have the same meaning but that is not at all implied. It's not unusual that Biblical characters have two names (Jethro a.k.a. Reuel; Simon a.k.a. Peter) and when a person's two names mean the same thing, it's because these two names aren't really different but the same in two different languages (Peter a.k.a. Cephas; Simon the Zealot a.k.a. Simon the Kanaanite).
🔼Etymology of the name Kelaiah
The name Kelaiah consists of two elements, the final one being יה (yah), which is short for יהוה or YHWH.
The first part of our name may stem from the verb קהל (qahal), meaning to contract or group up, or the verb קול (qul), to call out in order for people to gather up:
The unused verb קהל (qahal) probably had to do with contracting or compacting. Nouns קהלה (qehilla) and קהל (qahal) mean assembly, group, company or congregation and the denominative verb קהל (qahal) means to assemble or group up. Noun מקהל (maqhel) also means assembly.
The unused and probably related verb קול (qul) has to do with speaking or addressing an assembly, or perhaps even with the sound that emanates from an assembly. Noun קול (qol) means voice, speech or proclamation. It may also describe the sounds animals make and even that of musical instruments, the sea or other items.
But the first part of our name may also derive from the verbs קלל (qalal), meaning to be light-weight, or קלה (qala), to belittle or dishonor:
The verb קלל (qalal) means to be light-weight and hence to be swift or trifling. It's the opposite of being weighty and thus important or glorious. Adjective קל (qal) means light or swift. Noun קל (qol) means lightness or frivolity. Noun קללה (qelala) means "a making light" or a dishonoring. Adjective קלקל (qeloqel) means contemptible or worthless. Noun קיקלון (qiqalon) means disgrace.
Likewise, verb קלה (qala) means to be lightly esteemed or dishonored. Noun קלון (qalon) means shame or dishonor. Surprisingly hip, this verb may also be used in the sense of to roast or burn. Noun קלי (qali) denotes parched grain, which was a common staple in Biblical times.
For a meaning of the name Kelaiah, NOBSE Study Bible Name List appears to go with the verb קלל (qalal) and reads Yahweh Is Light. This is rather confusing (light as in made-light-of, not as in not-dark), and better would be Slighted By Yah or Yah Esteems Light.
Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names goes with the verb קהל (qahal) and reads Congregation Of The Lord. BDB Theological Dictionary deems the name Kelaiah (קליה) a variant of Kolaiah (קוליה), for which BDB reads Voice Of Yah.