Unusual Boys’ Names: 12 Fresh Biblical Choices

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.

Addar, “mighty one.” The name of a son of Bela (a Biblical king, not the Twilight heroine), Addar might make a good substitute for Aidan or Asher.

Ara, “lion.” Ara is a son of Jether, from a family of Asherites. This sleek simple name feels eminently modern.

Asaiah, “the Lord hath made” There are several Bibilcal personages with this name, including a prince. Another name you might want to consider if you love Asher but fear it’s becoming overused, or if you like Asa but want to start with something longer.

Boaz, “swiftness.” Boaz is associated with the Jewish holiday Shavuot–as that is when the Bible story of Ruth is read in the synagogue, and Boaz was Ruth’s wealthy and generous second husband–and so is sometimes given to boys born on that holiday.

Ephai, “gloomy.” Ephai is mentioned in the Book of Jeremiah.

Hanan, “graciousness.” Several important yet minor figures are named Hanan, a simple yet strong name.

Jorah, “early rain.” Jorah was an ancestor of a large family who accompanied Ezra out of Babylon. The ah ending, which might have felt feminine at one point, has firmed up thanks to the popularity of Noah and Joshua.

Machi, “decrease.” Machi, whose sound is kind of a spin on Micah, was the father of Geuel, itself a much more difficult choice.

Mahlon , “sickly.” Mahlon was a son of Naomi and the husband of Ruth, who arranged to have a child who would bear his name after his death. That child became the grandfather of King David. Mahlon’s downside: sad meaning.

Rosh, “chief.” Rosh is a son of Benjamin mentioned in Genesis. He had brothers named the much-less-attractive Muppim andHuppim.

Tiras, meaning uncertain. A grandson of Noah and one of the sons of Japheth, itself an unusual name. Tiras is reminiscent of Silas, which is rising in popularity.

Zerah, “to arise; dawn.” Several personages in the Old Testament are named Zerah, including one mentioned as having a scarlet thread on his wrist. Interesting alternative to Ezra.

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22 Responses to “Unusual Boys’ Names: 12 Fresh Biblical Choices”

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mominisrael Says:

January 17th, 2012 at 2:28 am

You’ll want to be aware that Tiras means corn in modern Hebrew. Guess it fits with Silas (silo?).

Mahlon and Mahla (a daughter of Tzelafhad, mentioned in Exodus) probably mean “dance” and not illness.

Poppy528 Says:

January 17th, 2012 at 3:18 am

I think Ara (אריה), spelled Arya, would be a great blend of my love of Hebrew names and hubby’s love of Game of Thrones! 

Jorah and Jori are really cute! I’ve known Jewish girls with these names. 

And eeek, Rosh means head! Beyond anatomy, I can only think of dirty jokes here 😛

Nook of Names Says:

January 17th, 2012 at 5:52 am

I rather like Tiras.

I could see some of these — Ara, Asaiah and Zerah in particular — being taken up as girls’ names rather than being used for boys, like some other biblical boys’ names in the past (Elisha, Azariah, etc).

skizzo Says:

January 17th, 2012 at 7:03 am

^^ Pretty sure Elisha and Azariaah are more common as male names, especially Elisha.

Anyway, I quite like Ara, Ephai, Jorah, Machi (could be a nn for Malachi) and Zerah.

skizzo Says:

January 17th, 2012 at 7:09 am

As for Ara, Asaiah and Zerah usage for girls, I guess I could see it. But to be honest, the -ah ending is so masculine looking to me, that I find it hard to see parents using it for girls. Asaiah is just a longer and more polished version of Asa – as you know Asa is relatively popular for boys and not used on girls at all. I’d think Asa would be more quickly used on girls than Asaiah, but it seems to have remained in the blue team. If Asa can survive, I see no reason for Ara to be different – plus it seems like a mix of Asa and Ira, both solidly masculine. As for Zerah, I lookis like Ezra and Jorah mixed up together. Or maybe Zachariah.

mominisrael Says:

January 17th, 2012 at 8:13 am

The h in Zerach is vocalized– The guttural “chet” in Hebrew. Not a feminine ending at all. Exactly like Noah. 🙂 The -ah ending in many biblical names like Asaiah is really y-a-h, or God.

i.heart.nerds Says:

January 17th, 2012 at 8:56 am

Asaiah makes me think of a creative spelling for Isaiah. Like Olivia and Alivia.
Ara sounds like Ira and Sara so it could swing either way.
Zerah could get mixed with Zarah but it could just as easily stick masculine.
The rest are completely masculine to me.

i.heart.nerds Says:

January 17th, 2012 at 8:58 am

I would love to see Ephraim on this list. That was my grandfathers name. Ephraim Aloysius. Lol.

Alexia Mae Says:

January 17th, 2012 at 10:10 am

Beautiful names. I’ve felt Boaz deserved more attention for a while, now.

linzybindi Says:

January 17th, 2012 at 1:33 pm

My friend has a little boy name Asiah…they were wanting to use Asaiah but thought that spelling may be confusing to pronounce. So they went with Asiah.

pam Says:

January 17th, 2012 at 1:49 pm

Interesting because to me, Asiah is more confusing — I wonder whether it’s pronounced like Asia? Although Asaiah might be ay-ZEYE-uh or ay-ZAY-uh.

Can you enlighten us, Israeli or Biblical-scholar berries?

tikicatt Says:

January 17th, 2012 at 2:12 pm

Would like to second the vote for Asa, Ephraim and Boaz. There was a baby baptised at church on Sunday with the name Hugo Jeroboam. Jeroboam while a great name, was not the best bible hero. But why let that get in the way of a great name?

Hannah-Banana Says:

January 17th, 2012 at 6:02 pm

There’s a little boy in my mom’s group named Boaz nn Bo. I love it so much, but DH thinks it’s weird.

Poppy528 Says:

January 17th, 2012 at 6:35 pm

To me, I’d rhyme Asiah with Messiah. I can’t find the Hebrew to know how it’s really supposed to be pronounced though.

AmandaJordan Says:

January 17th, 2012 at 7:13 pm

Boaz nn Bo is cute. I like that.

thetxbelle Says:

January 17th, 2012 at 8:16 pm

In regards to pronunciations: I found these online at
http://www.ecraustin.org/biblicalnameguide.pdf

Ara: Ar’-a
Asaiah: As-eye’-a
Addar: Add’-ar
Ephai: Ee’-fie

You have to take into account that some biblical name pronunciations can be either/or but I am not familiar with these names at all so I have no clue if this is right or not but coming from a biblical guide and not just a babyname site or wikipedia I am inclined to say they probably are. I included the link for those who would like to explore the list!

miloowen Says:

January 18th, 2012 at 12:08 am

Some of my favourite not that well-known Biblical names for boys are:

Abijah
Adriel
Benoni
Jotham
Nehemiah

The best place to look for authentic pronunciation of Hebrew names is through the Chabad website.

clairels Says:

January 19th, 2012 at 4:41 pm

Jehoshaphat is still my favorite.

Darci Says:

January 21st, 2012 at 1:37 am

My daughter has a Hezekiah in her class, which is a name that’s growing on me. I could do without the spelling though-Hezyckiah. It’s unusual enough without adding more to it.

LEliseStar Says:

April 19th, 2012 at 8:43 pm

I don’t think I could do Hanan. It sounds too much like Haman, the man who wanted to destroy the Jews in the book of Esther.

chan Says:

August 10th, 2013 at 7:31 pm

Boaz and Jehosaphst are my favorites

Best 100 Cool Unusual Boys’ Names – Baby Name Blog – Nameberry Says:

March 16th, 2014 at 6:40 am

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