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Israelite Names:  Joshua, &c.
From History of Christian Names, by Charlotte M. Yonge, 1884.

A still more sacred personal Divine Name was revealed to Moses upon Mount Horeb—the name that proclaimed the eternal self-existence of Him who gave the mission to the oppressed Israelites.

The meaning of that Name we know, in its simple and ineffable majesty; the pronunciation we do not know, for the most learned doubt whether that the usual substitute for it may not be a mistake.  The Jews themselves feared to pronounce it commonly in reading their scriptures, and substituted for it Adonai, that which is indicated by the 'LORD,' in capital letters in our Bibles, while the French try to give something of the original import by using the word ľ Éternel, and thus the tradition of the true sound has been hidden from man, and all that is known is that the three consonants employed in it were J, or rather Y V H.

Yet, though this holy name was only indicated in reading, it was very frequent in combination in the names of the Israelites, being the commencement of almost all those that with us begin with je or jo, the termination of all those with iah.  Nay, the use of the name made it Jehoshea or Joshua, "the Lord my salvation," fitly marking out the warrior, who, by Divine assistance, should save Israel, and place them safely in the promised land.

That name of the captain of the salvation of Israel seems to have been untouched again till the return from the captivity, when probably some unconscious inspiration directed it to be given to the restorer of the Jews, that typical personage, the high priest, in whom we find it altered into Jeshua; and the Greek soon made it into the form in which it appears as belonging to the author of the book of Ecclesiasticus, and which, when owned by the apostate high priest, under Antiochus Epiphanes, was made by him from Jesus into Jason, to suit the taste of the Greek rulers.  It had become common among the Jews; it was the current name for the ancient Joshua, when it was assumed by Him Who alone had a right to it.

A feast in honour of that Name "to which every knee shall bow," has been marked by the Western Church, and it is probably in consequence of this that the Spanish Americans actually have adopted this as one of their Christian names—a profanation whence all the rest of Christendom has shrunk.  There too a and ita are added to it to make it feminine.

In the unfortunate son and grandson of the good Josiah (yielded to the Lord), we see some curious changes of name.  The son was called both Eliakim and Jehoiakim, in which the verb meant "will establish or judge;" the only difference was in the Divine Name that preceded it.  This miserable prince died during the first siege of Jerusalem, and his son Jehoiachin (appointed of the Lord), reigned for three months till the city was taken, and he was carried away to Babylon.  The above-mentioned seems to have been his proper name, but he was commonly called Jeconiah, and Jeremiah denounces his punishment without the prefix, as "this man Coniah."

After the death of Nebuchadnezzar, Jehoiachin was brought out of prison, and lived in some degree of ease and favour at Babylon; and by Greek authors a sort of compromise was made between his name and his father's, and he becomes sometimes Jeconias, and sometimes Joacim.

There was an early tradition that Joachim had been the name of the father of the Blessed Virgin, but her private history did not assume any great prominence till about 1500, and in consequence the names of her parents are far less often used before than after that era.  Her mother's name, as we shall see, had a history of its own; and was earlier in general use than that of her father, which scarcely came into England at all, and was better known to us when Murat ascended the throne of Naples than at any other time.  Being however found in the apocryphal Gospels, it was in use in the Greek Church, and is therefore to be found in Russia.  Its forms are,


The Germans, French, and Portuguese have the feminine Joachime, Joaquima; or, in Illyrian, Acima.*

* Dr. Pusey's Commentary on the Prophets; Kitto's Biblical Dictionary; Jameson's Legends of the Madonna; Michaelis.


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