Category: Old Testament girls’ names
By Linda Rosenkrantz
Have you noticed that even ancient names from the Bible go in and out of style?
This was not true in the recent past, when names like Sarah, Rachel, Rebecca, Leah and Hannah were high on the list; now Hannah is the sole survivor in the Top 50. There are, however, others showing definite signs of revival, such as Naomi at Number 77, Delilah at 116, Esther at 203, Ruth 293, and Miriam 294, with Deborah and Judith further down, still hindered by their midcentury nicknames of Debby and Judy.
But there are viable girl names in the Old Testament beyond this constricted circle and here are some of the best.
When we finally finished researching and writing our encyclopedic name book, the day came when we had to decide what to call it. (The working title of Big Baby Name Book just wasn’t going to cut it.)
This turned out to be almost as laborious a task as writing the book. Dozens and dozens of lists of possibilities were emailed back and forth. Our book editor and even our agent entered the fray, offering their own suggestions. (We actually chronicled this painful process in an article we wrote for Publishers Weekly magazine, called Naming the Name Book.) We finally settled on The Baby Name Bible because, well, we hoped people would make it their baby naming bible.
It never entered our minds that some people would take it literally as a book of biblical names. But on our earlier, smaller website, before nameberry was born–babynamebible.com– many visitors did come to search solely for Old and New Testament names. And of course they found them, but a lot more besides.
Biblical names have a long history in this country. They came to colonial America with the early Puritans, who scrutinized the Good Book for names of righteous figures, believing that such names could shape the character of their offspring, and often using extreme examples, like Zelophehad and Zerubbabel. Over the centuries and decades since then, there has been a steady stream of biblical names: individual Old Testament examples, in particular, have drifted in and out of fashion, for both boys and girls.