Category: biblical baby names

An Atlas of Biblical Place Names

By Luke Williamson

Looking into Biblical names? You don’t need to limit yourself to those that have always belonged to people. Check out the place names!

Place names often have a wide range of associations, because places exist for hundreds of years. An example is the way Shiloh is referred to in three books of the Bible: it’s a backdrop for a prophesied king in Genesis, a disturbing event in Judges and holy gatherings in 1 Samuel.

Bible places are a source of fresh names (and some bizarre ones). While the flavors of the original languages are almost lost in the familiarity of the personal names Timothy and Hannah, the place names Athens and Kadesh still strongly savor of Greek and Hebrew. Only a handful of Biblical places are familiar as personal names (Jordan, Sharon). If you do pick a less familiar name, research the pronunciation.

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Yes, Noah is Number 1 in popularity and Jacob and Benjamin and Samuel are right up there too, but there’s a whole generation of new biblical boys—all as old as Methuselah—who are in line to challenge them. Some of them, like Amos and Abel, are usably familiar, while others—Hezekiah, anyone?—were considered too clunky in the recent past. Here are 12 Old Testament boy names that are moving up the popularity ladder.

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By Linda Rosenkrantz

The surprise top name for boys in 2013 was the Old Testament Noah, followed by the not so surprisingly high-on-the-list Jacob, Ethan, Daniel, Benjamin, David, Joseph, Joshua and Samuel—in other words many of the same biblical boys’ names that have been recycled for eons.

I thought that today, in commemoration of the Jewish High Holy Days, we would shake things up a bit and look at some Bible names that aren’t even in the Top 1000, but might be worthy of some consideration

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By Brian Tomlin

Looking at names that were popular in the early days of the U.S. gives us a chance to reflect on how much we have changed and evolved over the last two centuries. We are clearly more multicultural as a society in terms of how many different countries, languages, ethnicities and cultural traditions we draw from in choosing names for our children.

Most of the common names in the early nineteenth century in this country came from the British tradition, and in fact, the lists of popular names would be almost identical for England and America. And yet names were chosen from some of the same sources as today: family histories, celebrities, religious traditions and popular entertainment. The lack of variety or originality of the name lists from this period belies the fact that names were chosen to denote respectability rather than the individuality valued today.

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posted by: rebekah83 View all posts by this author

By Rebekah Anderson

Our son’s name is Job. No, not “job,” as in a vocation. It is pronounced with a long “o,” and rhymes with robe. As in, the book of Job in the Bible, the story about a man who is visited with overwhelming trials. Yeah—that Job.

My husband and I decided on the name because we loved Job’s faithfulness. We loved the sound of the name’s short, classic strength, and the cutesy but cool nickname “Joby” was quite appealing.

We started receiving pushback almost immediately. It started with friends and family. We both come from Christian homes, so the name Job is familiar to many in our circle. We were somewhat entertained by the emotional reactions; it was suggested that if we were to name our baby after someone who experienced so many trials, well, perhaps we were setting our kid up for hard times. And besides, the official meaning of Job is “persecuted” or “afflicted.” Surely we wouldn’t want to give our son a name with such a meaning!

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