Category: Old Testament baby names
By Linda Rosenkrantz
There’s a new biblical boy on this year’s Top 10 list and his name is Benjamin—actually the only new boy to enter that hot spot. An Old Testament name that has had a continuous presence on the list through time, but had never before reached this level of popularity, now joins Noah and Jacob.
In 2015, more than 13,000 parents chose Benjamin for their sons. And why? First, for its combination of heritage and history—the bible story of Jacob’s youngest son, who became a symbol of a son adored by his father. Then there’s its appealing sound, with the jaunty j in the midde, plus its accessible nicknames from gentle Ben to cute Benji to retro Benny
So let’s salute some of the many notable Benjamins across time.
My husband and I are expecting our third baby on February 7. We have decided that we won’t find out the gender. We’ve already used the two boy names we have always loved for our two sons: Henry Hiram (often called Hal) and Joseph Magnus. Both names carry personal and religious significance for us.
If this baby is a girl, we are considering Mary Grace. Whenever I tell people we’re thinking about the name Mary, they wince and seem to really not like it! They say it’s too common, even though my kids do not know one little girl with the name and very few people of any age with the name anymore. We also like Elizabeth and Lydia.
I have a gut instinct, however, that this next child will be another boy. My husband and I are so stuck! Nothing seems right.
I like Thomas, James, Patrick, John, or perhaps Charles. My husband doesn’t like any of these, and the name I love the most, Patrick, has been rejected because of the starfish on SpongeBob SquarePants. He has suggested Abraham called Bram, Sven, and Simon Peter – which seems very heavy to me. Ephraim is a possible middle name. We have ruled out Brigham, Phillip, Benjamin, Ezra, Judah, Caleb, and Theodore.
We tend to like more traditional first names with less conventional middles. All of a sudden, February 7th seems so close, and if this baby is a boy, he does not have a name at all!
The Name Sage replies:
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.
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!
It seems that just about every few decades since the 1940’s, one Old Testament patriarch name has entered the popularity list’s Top 5, some lingering longer than others. From the forties through the early eighties it was David, joined by Joshua in 1983, Daniel for the single year 1985, Jacob ten years later– and holding first place for the past thirteen years– and Ethan (a more minor biblical figure) in 2002.
And now we have Noah, which entered the golden circle last year at Number 5.
Noah fits right into this group—like the earlier Joseph, and David, Jacob and Ethan, it’s a simple, modern-sounding two-syllable name with a strong first syllable and softer second. And like Joseph, David, Daniel, Joshua and Jacob, Noah comes with a dramatic narrative that’s well known to most children.
As every Sunday school alumnus knows, Noah was deemed the only righteous man of his time, singled out by God to survive the great flood sent to punish an evil world, and instructed to build an ark to save his family and all species of animals from the flood.
Are there really any good unusual boys’ names left in the Bible? Old Testament names for boys have been fashionable for going on half a century now, from the 1960s Adam to the present day Asher. Could there possibly be any obscure-yet-usable choices left?
Hundreds of them, in fact. The Bible is so full of unusual boys’ names that the choices seem nearly infinite, and as a new generation moves from hoary to hottie, others that once seemed to strange to consider start to feel possible.
Here, a dozen unusual Biblical names for boys you might want to consider.