Unusual Bible Names Feel Fresh Again
Unusual Bible names are finally feeling fresh again! Choosing a rare Biblical baby name can be a great way to combine individuality with deep historical and spiritual roots.
If you want to name your baby from the Bible but are put off by the popularity of Jacob or Abigail, consider these twenty-two obscure yet usable choices. I eliminated a few favorites, such as the jubilant Jubal, in favor of names more likely to be new to many Berries.
Some things I learned: brothers Huz and Buz and Muppim and Huppim (not kidding!) testify that matchy sibsets are nothing new. Many Hebrew names, especially ones ending in -iah (signifying Jehovah), are unisex. It’s difficult to ascertain the meaning of many names, partly due to homophony.
I hope you enjoy the list as much as I enjoyed compiling it!
Athaliah: Focusing on this name’s musical sound and great meaning (“Jehovah is exalted”) and ignoring its nasty Biblical bearer could make it a lovely modern choice.
Shiphrah: Also spelled Shifra, this name belonged to one of the Hebrew midwives in Exodus 1:15 who defied the Pharaoh’s command by refusing to kill the Hebrew boy babies they delivered.
Timna: This unisex name seems better suited to a girl these days. It could be a feminine way to honor a Timothy.
Tiria: It’s used only once, in 1 Chronicles 4:16 — for a man. To my twenty-first century American ears, it’s more feminine than masculine, but could certainly work for either sex.
Zillah: A wife of Lamech in Genesis 4:19, this zippy name was in the US Top 1000 in the 1800s. An important name in Madeleine L’Engle’s novel A Swiftly Tilting Planet, where it evolves through forms Zyll and Zylle, it deserves to be revived.
Ashbel: This soft name, which comes with cool nickname Ash, belonged to a son of Benjamin. Ashbel Smith was an American medical student befriended by James Fenimore Cooper when they were in Paris in the 1830s.
Thelasar: This Old Testament place name, also spelled Telassar, caught my eye because of its similarity to Elessar, one of Aragorn’s names. It’s also similar to rising star Balthazar.
Zaccai: The name of a man whose descendants returned to Jerusalem and probably the root of Zacchaeus, Zaccai sports hip initial Z and could be nicknamed either the mainstream Zac or the newly cool Cai.
Zimri: This vibrant name had a couple of bad-boy bearers (read about them in Numbers 25 and 1 Kings 16 before using it!) Ethan Allen had brothers named Zimri and Heber; in 1 Chronicles 2:6, Ethan, Zimri and Heber are listed as brothers.