🔼The name Malchijah: Summary
- Yah Is King, King Of The Lord
- From (1) the noun מלך (melek), king, and (2) יה (yah), the name of the Lord.
🔼The name Malchijah in the Bible
There are quite a few men named Malchijah in the Bible, most of them in the post-exilic era. It's thus not always clear where one Malchijah ends and the other begins, and the following probably overlap somewhat:
- A Gershomite Levite who was part of the musician's guild that served in the tabernacle in the time of David (1 Chronicles 6:40).
- The fifth leader from among the descendants of Eleazar and Ithamar, the sons of Aaron, who was appointed a ministry in the tabernacle (1 Chronicles 24:9).
- The father of a priest named Pashhur, whose grandson Adaiah returned from the Babylonian exile (1 Chronicles 9:12). The same Malchijah is mentioned by Nehemiah, but with a few more generations between him and Adaiah (Nehemiah 11:12). The prophet Jeremiah also mentions a Pashhur, son of Malchijah, and he was among the officials who had him thrown into the cistern.
- The cistern in which the officials cast Jeremiah was in the court of the guardhouse and belonged to yet another Malchijah, who was king Zedekiah's son (Jeremiah 38:6). In Hebrew this name is actually spelled as מלכיהו (Malchijahu), which is really the same name. Many names that end with yah also exist with an ending of yahu.
- Three separate men named Malchijah divorced their foreign wives during the purge of Ezra, two identically named sons of Parosh (Ezra 10:25), and one son of Harim (Ezra 10:31). Nehemiah mentions the same man, but now applauding his restorative work on Jerusalem's wall and the Tower of Furnaces (Nehemiah 3:11)
- In that same effort, another Malchijah, son of Rechab and official of the district of Beth-haccerem, repaired the Refuge Gate (Nehemiah 3:14).
- A goldsmith named Malchijah worked near Jerusalem's Inspection Gate (Nehemiah 3:31).
- One of the men who stood to the left of Ezra as he opened the book of the Law to the people (Nehemiah 8:4). This Malchijah is probably the same as the signer of the sealed document (Nehemiah 10:3), and the singer who sang during the dedication of the restored wall of Jerusalem (Nehemiah 12:42).
🔼Etymology of the name Malchijah
The name Malchijah consists of two elements, the final one being יה (Yah) = יהו (Yahu) = יו (Yu), which in turn are abbreviated forms of the Tetragrammaton יהוה, YHWH, or Yahweh.
The first part of our name 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.
There are many different variations of this particular name (such as Malchiel or Malchiram), which all feature a letter י (yod) in the middle. If our name had originally been מלך plus י plus יה, the double yod in the middle would have contracted into one. That central yod would probably have served as a possessive: my king, or king of.
NOBSE Study Bible Name List appears to not believe that there was a central yod to our name and translates Malchijah with Yahweh Is King. Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names, on the other hand, does believe in the central yod and reads King Of The Lord. BDB Theological Dictionary also sees a central yod but ties the possessive to the melek-part, and reads My King Is Yah.