Hanukkah Baby Names: Sweet-Spot Biblical Boys
By Linda Rosenkrantz
To commemorate Hannukah, the Jewish 8-day “festival of lights” — when eight candles are lit to celebrate the miracle that a small quantity of oil to light the ancient Temple’s menorah lasted eight days—we seek some Old Testament boys’ names that are in the sweet spot, meaning names that are well used enough to be familiar and on the Social Security list but down below the Top 100.
With Noah as the Number One boys’ name (given to 19,000+ baby boys last year), and followed by others in the Top 25– Benjamin, Jacob, Elijah, Ethan, David, Joseph, Samuel and Gabriel–it might seem that all the good Old Testament boy names might be taken—or at least taken by multiple thousands of newborns each year. But, take heart!– if you’re the kind of parent who doesn’t want such a popular name for your son, there are lots of other great biblical boy names that are considerably less common.
Listed below are some of those choices—a few of them quite surprising– starting from the least popular ones, those positioned in the lower depths of the Social Security list, and ending with those that are higher up but still below the Top 100.
Ranked from the 800s way down to Number 997.
In the 700s
Ranked smack in the middle, from the 500s to 600s
Ranked in the 300s to 400s
From the 100s to 200s
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on December 11th, 2017 at 12:02 am
Reuben, Amos, and Jonah seems to me particularly strong yet gentle sounding.
on December 11th, 2017 at 3:27 am
I never really think of Biblical names being my thing, but I absolutely love Asa, Samson, Jesse and Nathaniel!
Reuben surprises me being so low on the US list — it’s top 50 here, with several variant spellings also in the top 1000.
on December 11th, 2017 at 5:48 am
I really love Ephraim, Reuben, Elisha, Jedidiah, Zechariah, Amos, Asa, Raphael, Seth, Abram, Zachariah, Moses, Abel, Abraham, Ezekiel, Jesse, Joel, Judah, and Nathaniel.
Hmm – would have been quicker to list the ones I don’t love! 😉
The only on that list I would actively avoid, is Enoch, because of its association with the late British politician, Enoch Powell. My British-born grandfather did not think much of him!
on December 11th, 2017 at 10:32 am
I love Biblical names for boys! A TON of these are among my favorites (Cain, Amos, Raphael, Samson, Seth, Gideon, Solomon, Moses, Abel, Abraham, Joel, Jonah, Judah, Malachi, Micah, Nathaniel). Judah is certainly the most “Hanukkah” name–I wonder if Maccabee gets any use? I could see it working well in the LDS naming tradition, in particular.
Outside of the top 1000, I also love Boaz–now that Ezra’s going mainstream, I predict Boaz will supplant it as a fresh, on-trend Biblical name. Absalom is one that I don’t think’s in use at all, likely due to negative associations with the Biblical namesake, but I really like it as a name on its own merits.
on December 11th, 2017 at 11:02 am
Boaz, Solomon and Zechariah are my favorite biblical names.
on December 11th, 2017 at 4:33 pm
Asa is out-of-this-world beautiful to me. It’s one of my favorites for boys, and goes well with my other favorites. It’s an amazing name that can easily blend in yet stand out, and I can imagine it on all ages and personalities. It’s truly a wonderful name.
Reuben, Samson and Jesse are also amazing, but Asa is the winner in my book.
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