🔼The name Milcah: Summary
- Queen, Counsel
- From מלכה (malka), queen, which in turn comes from the noun מלך (melek), king.
🔼The name Milcah in the Bible
There are two Milcahs mentioned in the Bible:
- The most famous one is the niece and wife of Nahor. This Milcah is the sister of Iscah and both are daughters of Haran, the brother of Nahor and Abraham.
- The other Milcah is one of five daughters of Zelophehad, the great-great-great-grandson of Manasseh, the eldest son of Joseph (Numbers 26:33). Her sisters' names are Mahlah, Noah, Hoglah and Tirzah.
🔼Etymology of the name Milcah
The name Milcah comes from the noun מלך (melek) usually translated as 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.
For a meaning of the name Milcah, BDB Theological Dictionary refers to the feminine noun מלכה (malka), meaning Queen, but adds a question mark. Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names is more resolute and reads Queen without ado. NOBSE Study Bible Name List, surprisingly, goes with the rare Aramaic meaning used in Nehemiah 5:7, and reads Counsel.