🔼The name Rephaiah: Summary
- Yah Has Healed
- From (1) the verb רפא (rapa'), to heal, and (2) יה (yah), the shortened name of the Lord.
🔼The name Rephaiah in the Bible
There are five men named Rephaiah in the Bible:
- A son of Hananiah, and grandson of Zerubbabel, the leader of the second wave of returnees from the Babylonian exile. (1 Chronicles 3:21).
- One of the leaders of the Simeonite contingent that disposed the Amalekites of Mount Seir in the days of king Hezekiah of Judah (1 Chronicles 4:42).
- One of the sons of Tola, who was the first-born of Issachar, who was ninth son of Jacob and the fifth of Leah (1 Chronicles 7:2).
- A descendant of king Saul through Jonathan (1 Chronicles 9:43). In 1 Chronicles 8:37 this man is called רפה (Rapha).
- A son of Hur, who was an official over half the district of Jerusalem, and who helped with the restoration effort after the return from the Babylonian exile (Nehemiah 3:9).
🔼Etymology of the name Rephaiah
The name Rephaiah consists of two elements, the final one being יה (Yah), which is an abbreviated form of the Tetragrammaton יהוה, YHWH, or Yahweh.
The first part of our name probably comes from the verb רפא (rapa'), meaning to heal:
The verb רפא (rapa') means to heal or rather to restore or even repair. Noun רפאה (repu'a) describes a remedy, and nouns רפאות (rip'ut), מרפא (marpe') and מרפה (marpe) mean a healing or a restoration.
The verb רפה (rapa) means to lower, sink down, let drop or be slack, whether literally or figuratively. Since healing often had to do with bringing a fever down, this verb and the previous are obviously akin. Adjective רפה (rapeh) means slack or weak.
The difficult noun רפאים (repai'm) refers to the "sunken ones," i.e. ghosts or shadows of people that are no longer alive. This is probably best understood as the waning legacy of foregone generations that still influence and shape our world today, even though the members of that generation are dead, inert and decomposing in the ground.
For a meaning of the name Rephaiah, NOBSE Study Bible Name List reads Yahweh Has Healed and Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names has Healed Of The Lord. BDB Theological Dictionary does not offer an interpretation of the name Rephaiah but does list it under the verb רפא (rapa'), meaning to heal.