Hebrew naming practices
Posted By: Jerod
Date: Thursday, 3 October 2002, at 10:34 p.m.
I recently came across an interesting little site, www.parenthood.com, that helps you name babies. It gives you meanings of names. But there's something very interesting about Biblical names. As anyone that frequents this site knows, many of the names in the Bible have meanings. Big deal. My problem is that the names have a meaning in Hebrew. Every Biblical name I checked had a meaning in Hebrew, and ususally the meaning in some way described the person.
As far as I'm concerned, this is proof that the names in the Bible are not the names of the actual people represented in the stories. This probably isn't much of a surprise to anyone one this board, but no one else seems to think I have any point.
But I have yet to see a culture that gives names to their children names that mean something in their own language. For example, my name is meaningless in English, as the names of most English speakers are. But the word Isaiah means "salvation of the lord" in Hebrew. I find it hard to believe that someone would name their child "salvation of the lord". I believe this name was given to this man at a later time to reflect some aspect of his life. I could see maybe a couple of people actually given names that mean something in their own language. Indeed I know a girl whose name means "enough girls" in her own language (her mother was tired of having female children). But she's a rare example of this kind of naming. It just isn't typical for people to name children like this.
So did perhaps the Hebrews wait some time to name their children, or did the characters of the Bible change their names at a later point in their lives like Akhenaten did? Then of course the names used in the Bible could have been these people's real names. But could this be the case of every character in the Bible? All of their names mean something in their own language. Imagine if the history of the U.S. had been written and all of the figures had names that actually meant something in English. For example, "Fly Guys" for the Wright Brothers or "Jump Man" for Michael Jordan. We just don't name our children this way.
But did the Hebrews? This was the counter argument used against my claim that Biblical names were not the names of the actual people. And I didn't know if this was in fact the naming practise of ancient Hebrews. What do you think?
- Hebrew naming practices
Jerod -- Thursday, 3 October 2002, at 10:34 p.m.
- Reuben, a Case Study
Charles Pope -- Friday, 4 October 2002, at 9:21 a.m.
- Reuben, a Case Study
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