🔼The name Mehetabel: Summary
- God Benefits, God Will Cause To Be Best
- From (1) the verb יטב (yatab), to be good or pleasing, and (2) the word אל ('el), God.
🔼The name Mehetabel in the Bible
The name Mehetabel is assigned to two people in the Bible, one woman and one man:
🔼Etymology of the name Mehetabel
In names אל ('el) usually refers to אלהים ('elohim), that is Elohim, or God, also known as אלה ('eloah). In English, the words 'God' and 'god' exclusively refer to the deity but in Hebrew the words אל ('l) and אלה ('lh) are far more common and may express approach and negation, acts of wailing and pointing, and may even mean oak or terebinth.
The first part of the name comes from the verb יטב (yatab), meaning to be good or pleasing:
The verb טוב (tob) means to be good or pleasant, and ultimately to be sustained or sustainable, first relative to society but ultimately to the universe at large. Adjective and noun טוב (tob) means good; noun טוב (tub), describes a good thing or goodness, and noun טובה (toba) denotes welfare.
Closely related verb יטב (yatab) means to be or do good (to do sustainable things). Noun מיטב (metab) means the best.
A proposed root טבב (tabab) may have meant something like to keep forever, to be perpetual, to be stable.
The name Mehetabel is constructed by forming the verb after the active causative form (that's where the he comes from, or so sayeth Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names), and then turning it back into the noun meaning the best (hence the mem), hence rendering the name Mehetabel the meaning of God Will Cause To Be Best. But perhaps there were creative minds among the Hebrew audience who saw the interrogative pronoun מה (me): what? Or who? That way the name Mehetabel would mean Who Pleases God?
For a meaning of the name Mehetabel, both NOBSE Study Bible Name List and BDB Theological Dictionary read God Benefits. Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names reads Benefited of God.