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The longest name in the Bible is Mahershalalhashbaz which is found in Isaiah 8:1 and 8:3. It belongs to the name of the child born of Isaiah and ‘the prophetess.’
“Moreover the Lord said to me, “Take a large scroll, and write on it with a man’s pen concerning Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz. And I will take for Myself faithful witnesses to record, Uriah the priest and Zechariah the son of Jeberechiah.” Then I went to the prophetess, and she conceived and bore a son. Then the Lord said to me, ‘Call his name Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz; 4 for before the child shall have knowledge to cry ‘My father’ and ‘My mother,’ the riches of Damascus and the [c]spoil of Samaria will be taken away before the king of Assyria.'” (Isaiah 8:1-4).
Maher-shalal-hash-baz was Isaiah’s second son and means “Speed the spoil, hasten the prey.” This name was meant to signify the imminence of the Assyrian invasion foretold in Isaiah 7:17–25. The longest name in the Bible was a warning that judgment was soon approaching. This judgement would fall on those who rejected God’s warnings. For nearly a year before Mahershalalhashbaz’s birth, the name bore its message to the inhabitants of Jerusalem. This was to give ample opportunity to ponder its importance and repent.
The name of Isaiah’s first son, Shear-jashub, means “[a] remnant [shall] return.” This child’s name signified to the people that they must return to God. It also signified that those who return would only be a few. This is similar to those who would choose the right path.”Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” (Matthew 7:14).
While most of God’s people had turned away, God’s still desired to save them. The name “Isaiah” means “Jehovah [will] save.” This message of salvation is in fact, the theme of the book of Isaiah. “Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the Lord Jehovah is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation.” (Isaiah 12:2).
Purpose of Isaiah, Shearjashub and Mahershalalhashbaz
Isaiah and his sons were ordained of God to be living signs to the people of Judah (Isaiah 8:18). Through them God proclaimed a vital message to His people. Each name was a message from God in phases. The first to remind them of God’s offer of salvation (Isaiah). The second that He would accept those who return (Shearjashub). Finally, a warning to them of coming destruction (Mahershalalhashbaz).
God would not make a full end of Judah at the time of Isaiah’s first son. This was because there were still some who were open to repentance. However, by the time Mahershalalhashbaz was born, time was almost out.
God used the names of Isaiah and his sons as a teaching tool to help His people understand the plan of salvation. It is always God’s plan to save. This is the meaning of the name of Jesus. “And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:21).
Message to God’s people today
We live in a time when many people who once knew God have turned away. This is a sign of the soon coming of Jesus (2 Thessalonians 2:3, 2 Timothy 3). Just as God’s people in the days of Isaiah, so today God’s people need this message. First, God’s people need to understand the message of salvation through Jesus Christ. (1 Thessalonians 5:9). Then, they need to repent of their sins, even if this is not popular (Acts 2:38-40). Finally, they must live ready to meet their Lord who is coming soon (1 Peter 4:7).
The fact that this is the longest name in the Bible gives it significance. It is a way to gaing attention as a warning. May we learn from the message of Isaiah and his sons. When we live this message in our lives, we can be confident in our salvation.
“Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” (Isaiah 1:18).
In His service,
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