🔼The name Mehujael: Summary
- Destroyed Of God, Smitten Of God
- From (1) the verb מחה (maha), to wipe out or to strike, and (2) the word אל ('el), God.
🔼The name Mehujael in the Bible
Our name Mehujael occurs only twice, both times in Genesis 4:18, but in two versions: מחויאל (Mehujael) and מחייאל (Mehijael). This may seem a bit curious, but it's very common in the Hebrew Bible to use two variations of the same name in one statement. Translations commonly choose to call this man Mehujael, but that's a mere arbitrary preference.
🔼Etymology of the name Mehujael
The name Mehujael seems to be a compilation of two elements, the final part being אל, the common abbreviation of Elohim, the genus God:
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 Mehujael seems to have to do with the verb מחה (maha) meaning either to wipe out or to strike:
The verb מחה (maha) means to wipe — of a mouth, a face, or decidedly more forceful: of a city like a dish. This verb perhaps even more forceful, or else a whole other yet identical verb, means to strike. Noun מחי (mehi) means stroke. Perhaps a third verb, or else still the same one yet spelled slightly different: the verb מחא (maha') means to clap, albeit as an expression of joy rather than anger, destruction or the desire to wipe things.
Verb מחח (mhh) is surely a whole other verb, and although it doesn't occur in the Bible, in cognate languages it means to be fat or contain marrow. Derived nouns that do occur in the Bible are noun מח (meah), meaning fatling, noun מח (moah), meaning marrow, and the denominative verb מחה (maha), meaning to be marrow-filled or marrowy. This verb is identical to the verb(s) מחה (maha) meaning to wipe and strike.
For a meaning of the name Mehujael, Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names reads Destroyed Of God. NOBSE Study Bible Name List proposes Smitten Of God.