🔼The name Tebaliah: Summary
- Yahu Has Immersed
- From (1) the verb טבל (tabal), to immerse, and (2) יהו (yahu), the shortened name of the Lord.
🔼The name Tebaliah in the Bible
The name Tebaliah is actually spelled as Tebaliahu but generally transliterated, as per convention, without the final -u. It occurs only once in the Bible, namely in 1 Chronicles 26:11 in the list of Davidic gatekeepers.
Tebaliah is listed as the third of four sons of Hosah the Merarite. Tebaliah's brother Shimri was not the first-born but was given the status of first-born son for undisclosed reasons (which reminds of Judah's acquisition of that same station).
There is, therefore, a reasonable chance that Tebaliah was the actual first-born son of Hosah who somehow managed to forfeit this position.
🔼Etymology of the name Tebaliah
The name Tebaliah consists of two elements, the final one being יהו (Yahu), which is an abbreviated form of the Tetragrammaton יהוה, YHWH, or Yahweh.
The first part of our name comes from the verb טבל (tabal), meaning to dip:
The verb טבל (tabal) means to immerse or dip, from fingers into blood to whole leprous generals into rivers. Most curious, however, is the noun טבול (tebul), meaning turban.
How a turban came to be known after a verb that means to dip isn't clear. Perhaps it came from another language and the similarity to the verb is accidental. Or perhaps a wearer could indicate his status by the color of his properly dyed turban. And perhaps the turban originated from a ritual akin to baptism, and the wearer would signify that he was once properly dipped. We don't know.
For a meaning of the name Tebaliah, NOBSE Study Bible Name List reads Yahweh Has Immersed, Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names has Baptized Of The Lord and BDB Theological Dictionary proposes Yah Hath Dipped.