🔼The name Malchi-shua: Summary
- The King Is Salvation, King Of Help, My King Is Opulence
- From (1) noun מלך (melek), king, and (2) probably the verb ישע (yasha'), to save.
🔼The name Malchi-shua in the Bible
There's only one man in the Bible by the name Malchi-shua, and that is a son of Saul (1 Samuel 14:49, 1 Chronicles 8:33 and 9:39). Malchi-shua doesn't get much Biblical screen time. The only time his name appears not in a genealogy is when he dies by the hands of the Philistines on Mount Gilboa, along with his father and brothers Jonathan and Abinadab (1 Samuel 31:2, 1 Chronicles 10:2).
Note that this name Malchi-shua is spelled מלכי־שוע in Chronicles, but מלכישוע in Samuel.
🔼Etymology of the name Malchi-shua
The name Malchi-shua obviously consists of two elements. The first part comes from the noun מלך (melek), meaning king:
The noun מלך (melek) means king, and a king is not merely a glorified tribal chief but the alpha of a complex, stratified society, implying a court and a complex government.
The Bible insists that a society must be governed by a triad of anointed sovereigns, namely prophets, priests and the king. A good king causes his people to be prosperous and peaceful whereas a bad one causes poverty and strife. The difference between the two is dictated by how close to the Law of Nature (a.k.a. the Word of God) the king operates. A kingdom that is wholly in tune with the Law consists of only sovereign individuals and is thus without a physical king.
An Aramaic cognate verb מלך (malak) means to consult, which confirms that the concept of royalty indeed evolved from wisdom and intellectual prowess rather than brute physical or political strength, as is commonly suggested.
From this noun derives the verb מלך (malak): to be or become king, the nouns מלכה (malka) and מלכת (meleket): queen or court-lady, the noun מלוכה (meluka): kingship or royalty, and the nouns מלכות (malkut), ממלכה (mamlaka) and ממלכות (mamlakut), meaning sovereignty or kinghood.
The noun מלך comes with an attached letter י (yod), which creates a possessive form, meaning either "king of" or "my king".
The second part of our name comes from the following root group and may carry a variety of meanings:
The verb ישע (yasha') means to be unrestricted and thus to be free and thus to be saved (from restriction, from oppression and thus from ultimate demise). A doer of this verb is a savior. Nouns ישועה (yeshua), ישע (yesha') and תשועה (teshua) mean salvation. Adjective שוע (shoa') means (financially) independent, freed in an economic sense.
Verb שוע (shawa') means to cry out (for salvation). Nouns שוע (shua'), שוע (shoa') and שועה (shawa) mean a cry (for salvation).
For a meaning of the name Malchi-shua, NOBSE Study Bible Name List reads The King Is Salvation. Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names proposes King Of Help. And BDB Theological Dictionary settles on My King (= YHWH) Is Opulence. BDB suggests that the king-part refers to YHWH, but it may very well refer to Molech, the idol of the Ammonites.