Question: "What is the meaning of 'Hephzibah' in the Bible?"
Answer: In Old Testament times, the Israelites understood the power behind a name. Whether there was actual spiritual blessing or power imparted through a God-given name, or whether the names given simply powerfully influenced the thoughts and beliefs of persons about themselves, the names of the Old Testament characters in many ways predicted or foreshadowed important characteristics or the roles that they would play. “Hephzibah” is found twice in the Old Testament, 2 Kings 21:1 and Isaiah 62:4. Translated from the original Hebrew, Hephzibah literally means, “My delight is in her.” In 2 Kings 21:1, Hephzibah is the name of King Hezekiah’s wife. The name Hephzibah or Hafzbah expresses a very clear idea. Since the same root hafz means "guarding" or "taking care of," all words from this root suggest the idea of "safeguarding," and therefore the name Hephzibah means not only someone who evokes delight, but also "one who is guarded," a "protected one."
The more enigmatic use of the term can be found in Isaiah 62:4: “No longer will they call you Deserted, or name your land Desolate. But you will be called Hephzibah, and your land Beulah; for the LORD will take delight in you, and your land will be married.” In this passage, God is speaking to the nation of Israel, who had turned from a monotheistic worship of the one, true God to a mishmash of idolatry, including worship of the Baals and Ashtoreth, in combination with worship of God. Because of this “adultery,” God turned from Israel, and the Northern Kingdom was invaded by the Assyrians in 732 BC, which resulted in the loss of the northern territory surrounding the Sea of Galilee. In 722 BC, the Samarian area fell to Assyria, resulting in the deportation of vast numbers of the Israelites to other parts of the Assyrian Empire.
Isaiah 62:4 is a message of hope to the nation of Israel. God plans to change its name from Deserted and Desolate to Hephzibah and Beulah. Beulah means “married.” When God changes a name in the Bible, it conveys transformation, a second chance, and a new beginning. This passage promises the restoration of Israel to a place of favor and protection in God’s sight. Through this passage, the whole world knows that God finds delight in Israel and is married to her. He will no longer forsake His people. The Lord has sworn to never again allow a conqueror to overcome Israel, and Israel will exist in a sanctuary of safety.
Israel would prepare the way for all those to come to receive the Lord’s salvation. Ultimately through Israel, Jesus came bringing His reward and recompense, fulfilling the Old Testament prophetic passages for the Messiah. Israel will be called “the Holy People, the Redeemed of the LORD; and you will be called Sought After, the City No Longer Deserted” (Isaiah 62:12). Since its rebirth in 1948, the nation of Israel has survived despite the fact that it is totally surrounded by enemies sworn to its destruction. For those familiar with Isaiah 62:4, however, the persistence of Israel should come as no surprise. The message of hope to the nation of Israel is ultimately a message of hope to all mankind, for from Israel comes the hope of the ages, the Messiah, Jesus Christ.
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