HOME | Contact | Links

Proudly Hosted by JaguarPC.com

[an error occurred while processing this directive]




Later Israelite Names.
From History of Christian Names, by Charlotte M. Yonge, 1884.

By the time the kingdom was established most of the Israelite names were becoming repetitions of former ones, and comparatively few fresh ones come to light, though there are a few sufficiently used to be worth cursorily noting down.

Hezekiah meant strength of the Lord, and in the Greek became Ezekias.  Ezekiel is like it, meaning God will strengthen.  The great prophet who was the chief glory of Hezekiah's reign was Isaiah (the salvation of the Lord), made by Greek translators into Esaias, and thence called by old French and English, Esaie, or Esay.  The Russians, who have all the old prophetic names, have Eesaia; but it is not easy to account for the choice of Ysaie le Triste as the name of the child of Tristram and Yseulte in the romance that carried on their history to another generation, unless we suppose that Ysaie was supposed to be the masculine of Yseulte! the one being Hebrew, and meaning as above, the other Keltic, and meaning a sight.

Contemporary with Hezekiah, and persecuted by the Assyrian monarch when he returned to Nineveh after the miraculous destruction of his host, was the blind Israelite of the captivity whose name is explained to have been probably Tobijah (the goodness of the Lord), a name occurring again in the prophet Zechariah, and belonging afterwards to one of the Samaritan persecutors.  Probably, in Greek, came the variation of the names of the father and son; perhaps the latter was once meant for Tobides, the son of Tobias.

The marvellous element in the book of Tobit gained for it much popularity; scenes from it appeared in art.  Thus Tobias had a diffusion in the later middle ages much greater than the names of his contemporaries of far more certain history, and in Ireland Toby has enjoyed the honour, together with Thaddeus and Timothy, of figuring as an equivalent for Tadgh, a poet.


Hephzibah (my delight is in her), was the wife of Hezekiah, and it may have been in allusion to her that Isaiah spoke of the land being called Hephsibah.  It has been rather a favourite name in America, where it gets turned into Hepsy.

As Judah sinned more and more and her fate drew on, Jeremiah stood forth as her leading prophet.  His name meant exalted of the Lord, and became Jeremias in the Greek, Jeremy in vernacular English.  As the name of some of the early eastern saints it has had a partial irregular sort of use in the West, and is adopted direct from the prophet in the Greco-Slavonic Churches.  The French, struck by the mournful strain of the prophet, use Jeremiade to express a lamentation; and the English are rather too ready to follow their example.  Jeremy is considered as another variety of equivalent for the Gaelic Diarmaid, and this has led to the frequency of Jerry among families of Irish connection.  In Switzerland, Jeremias is contracted into Meies or Mies; in Russia it is Jeremija; but nowhere has it been so illustrious in modern times as in the person of our own Jeremy Taylor.  The king whom Jeremiah saw led into captivity was Zedekiah (justice of the Lord).

The prophet of the captivity, Daniel, bore in his name an amplification of that of Dan (a judge).  The termination signified God the judge, and the alias Belteshazzar, imposed upon him by the Chaldean monarch, is considered to translate and heathenize the name, making Bel the judge.  It is observable that Daniel never calls himself thus, though he gives these heathen titles to his three companions.

Daniel has always flourished as a name in the East.  Daniel and Verda (a rose), were martyred by Shapoor in 344; another Daniel was crazy enough to succeed Simeon Stylites on his pillar; and thus the Armenian, Montenegrin, and Slavonian races are all much attached to Daniela, or Daniil, as they call it in Russia; or in Esthonia, Taniel or Tanni.  The Welsh adopted it as Deiniol, the name of the saint who founded the monastery of Bangor, the High Choir, in the sixth century, and it was thus known to the Bretons; and in Ireland it was adopted as the equivalent to Domnall, Donacha, and other names from Don (or brown-haired), thus causing Dan to be one of the most frequent of Irish contractions.

St. Jerome "transfixed with a dagger"—with his pen—the additional chapters of the Book of Daniel relating to the story of Susanna, to show that he did not regard it as genuine, but, like the story of Judith, it was greatly more popular than the narratives in the canonical books, and was commemorated in ballad, mystery, tapestry, and painting.  The name was properly Schuschannah (a lily), though we know it as Susannah.  It belonged to one of the holy women at the sepulchre, and it was likewise in the calendar, for two virgin martyrs, named Susanna, had suffered in the times of persecution, and though not commemorated in the Western Church, Queen Susanna, the "Lily of Tiflis," had died for the truth in the hands of Mahometans.  The name has been chiefly popular in France and Switzerland, as in England.  The Swiss contraction, Züsi-Ketti, for Susanne-Catherine, is quaint.*

* Proper Names of the Bible; Jones, Welsh Sketches; Michaelis; O'Donovan; Butler.


This may be the best place to mention the Aramean Tabitha, explained by St. Luke as the same as Dorcas (a roe or gazelle), the Greek word being from its full dark eye.  Tabitha and Dorcas both have associations unsuited to the "dear gazelle."  As the charitable disciple raised by St. Peter, her names were endeared to the Puritans.

Of the minor prophets, the names have been little employed.  Joel meant strong-willed; Amos, a burthen; Obadiah, servant of the Lord, has been slightly more popular, perhaps, in honour of him who hid the prophets in a cave, with whom the mediæval imagination confounded the prophet, so that loaves of bread are the emblem of Obadiah in ancient pictures of the twelve prophets.  Even the Abbacuc, as the Apocrypha calls him, who, in the story of Bel and the Dragon is carried off by the hair to feed Daniel in the den of lions, seems to have been likewise supposed to be the same person in the strange notions of Scripture history that once floated among our forefathers.  The name of Abacuck, or Habbakkuk, was conferred upon a child by one of the last persons one would have suspected of such a choice, namely, Mary, Queen of Scots.  On her way to mass, she was waylaid by one of her caterers, who acquainted her that he had a child to be baptized, and desired her to give the name.  "She said she would open the Bible in the chapel, and whatever name she cast up, that should be given to the child;" and for the child's misfortune it proved to be 'Abacuck!'  The name comes from the verb to clasp, and means embracing.

Micah is a contraction of Micaiah, and means "Who is like unto the Lord."  Nahum—to us connected with "Tate and Brady"—was consolation; Nehemiah expanded it, adding the Divine termination; Zephaniah is, protected of the Lord; Haggai (festival of the Lord), called Aggae, when brought through a Greek medium, is rather a favourite in Russia.

Zachariah (remembrance of the Lord), has been more in favour.  After belonging to a king of Israel and to the priest murdered by King Jehoash, it came forth after the captivity as Zechariah with the prophet; and in the New Testament, as Zacharias, names the father of the Baptist; and the mysterious martyr who was to fill up the measure of the iniquity of the Jews; and again appears as Zaccheus, the publican of Jericho.  It was rather frequent among Eastern Christians, and belonged to the pope who first invited the Franks into Italy to protect him from the Lombards; nor has it ever quite died away in the West, although nowhere popular.


Of those to whom these later prophets were sent, Ezra's name is thought to be the same as that of Zerah, son of Judah, the rising of light, from whom likewise Heman, the writer of the 88th Psalm, is termed the Ezrahite.  The name of Ezra is hardly to be recognized in that of Esdras, as the Greek translators rendered it.*  The house of Aphrah, mentioned in the Prophet Micah, means the hosue of dust, or ashes, and the Puritans, with their love of piteous names, adopted Aphra as a name.  As well it appears as 'Dust' and 'Ashes' in actual English.

* Proper Names of the Bible; Michaelis; Chambers, Records of Scotland.
Bardsley, Puritan Nomeclature.


More Names

A-Z Baby Names

Girl Names
A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, M, N, O, P, Q, R, S, T, U, V, W, X, Y, Z
Boy Names
A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, M, N, O, P, Q, R, S, T, U, V, W, X, Y, Z

Israelite Names
New Page 1
Moses and Aaron
Miriam or Mary
Elisheba, etc.
Joshua, etc.
From the Book of Judges
Names from Chaanach
Later Israelite Names
Angelic Names

New Page 1
Spirit of Nomenclature
Hebrew Nomenclature
Patriarchal Names
Israelite Names



not indexed yet

[an error occurred while processing this directive]

Web Design Copyrighted 20000-names.com