I was initially slowed down by spelling it Mehitabel. I guess Mehetabel is the more common, who knew? So then to a baby name site
. Result: Mehetabel means "God makes happy" in Hebrew, and it's mentioned briefly in the Old Testament. For a context for that I'm off to Biblegateway
. Surprise! It's mentioned briefly three times
in the Old Testament!
1. Genesis 36:39 When Baal-Hanan son of Acbor died, Hadad succeeded him as king. His city was named Pau, and his wife's name was Mehetabel daughter of Matred, the daughter of Me-Zahab.
This is in a list of kings who reigned in Edom before they had Israelite kings. Don't ask me any more, I don't know. Esau and his descendents are mentioned on both sides of the relevant section of this chapter, and in some random searching it looked like Hadad was the son of Ishmael, but I didn't feel like getting into it. Read into that what you will.
2. 1 Chronicles 1:50 When Baal-Hanan died, Hadad succeeded him as king. His city was named Pau, and his wife's name was Mehetabel daughter of Matred, the daughter of Me-Zahab.
Familiar? Yes. Moving on.
3. Nehemiah 6:10 One day I went to the house of Shemaiah son of Delaiah, the son of Mehetabel, who was shut in at his home. He said, "Let us meet in the house of God, inside the temple, and let us close the temple doors, because men are coming to kill you—by night they are coming to kill you."
This looks like a story. So I read a little more. Nehemiah had made himself some enemies by undertaking the rebuilding of Jerusalem's city walls, and Shemaiah was hired by two guys (who would indeed have liked to kill him) to try to get him into a trap by convincing him to hide in the Temple which, as a layman, he wasn't supposed to go in. He didn't buy it, though, don't worry. This mention of Mehetabel intrigues me, like a lot of mentions of women in the Bible intrigue me. If they're mentioned as people's mothers, it makes me think people would have known who they were. Why?!
I couldn't find anything about a Persian princess Mehi[e]tabel except in reference to Archie and Mehitabel. But I did find one page saying that it's "a name which, for some reason, has become associated both with backwoods people and with cows"
All for now. Picture of the finished bag coming soon!