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Origin of the name MARTHA.
Etymology of the name MARTHA.
Meaning of the baby name MARTHA.


MARTHA.  In Irish use as an equivalent for Meadhbh (q.v.), meaning "merry."

... the Martha used in Ireland is only as an equivalent for the native Erse Meabhdh, Meave, or Mab,... Martha used also to be used for Mor... (History of Christian Names, Yonge, 1884)

MARTHA.  Biblical.  [N.T. Greek and Aramaic = "lady," the feminine form of later Aramaic Mare = "Lord"].  In Hebrew it is written מַרְתָּה, in Aramaic מַרְתָּא, in Greek Μάρθα.  Usage: America, England, Hungary.

    Perhaps the Jews had in some degree adopted the Roman fashion of similar names in a family, since the sister of the Blessed Virgin bears the same as her own, and there is a great similarity between those of the sisters of Bethany, which both probably come from mara (bitter), although some deduce Martha from the Aramean mar (a lord), which we often hear as the title of Syrian bishops, as Mar Elias, &c.
    Even the earliest writers on the Gospels were at a loss whether to identify the meek contemplative Mary of Bethany, by the woman that was a sinner, who is recorded as performing the same act of devotion, and with Mary Magdalen, once possessed by seven devils and afterwards first witness of the Resurrection.  While inquiry was cautious, legend was bold, and threw the three into one without the slightest doubt, going on undoubtingly to narrate the vain and sinful career of Mary Magdalen, describing her luxury, her robes, and in especial her embroidered gloves and flowing hair, and all the efforts of Martha to convert her, until her final repentance.  The story proceeded to relate how the whole family set out on a mission to Provence, where Martha, by holding up the cross, demolished a terrific dragon; and Mary, after having aided in converting the country, retired to a frightful desert with a skull for her only companion...
    It is curious to observe how infinitely more popular her name has been than her sister's, i.e. accepting the mediaeval belief that they were sisters... (History of Christian Names, Yonge, 1884)

    Apparently the oldest member of the family at Bethany which our Lord at times visited, and for which He had a special affection (John xi. 5).  She is first mentioned by St. Luke, who calls the house "her house" (Luke x. 38), as if she was the head of the family.  Probably she was a widow to whom the house had descended from her late husband, and the order of ages in the family seems to have been Martha, Mary, Lazarus (John xi. 5).  When first (?) our Lord visited Bethany, Martha received Him into her house, and bustled about to make such an entertainment as she considered suitable to His dignity and worth.  Evidently prone to lay small disappointments too much to heart, she was annoyed, and even went the length of complaining to Jesus, that her sister Mary, who was sitting at His feet listening to His words, was failing in her duty of giving assistance in preparing the meal.  The reply was, "Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: but one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her" (Luke x. 38-42).  Martha possessed the temperament of action, and when, after the death of her brother Lazarus, she heard that Jesus was on His way to the house of mourning, she went out to meet Him instead of waiting for His arrival.  It was in the interview which took place between them that our Lord, to console her, uttered the sublime words commencing "I am the Resurrection and the Life," which have been so precious in all subsequent ages to bereaved mourners.  She was present with her sister when Lazarus was raised from the dead (John xi. 1-57).  The last we hear of her is that six days before the passover at which our Lord was to suffer "they made Him a supper, at which Martha served," and Lazarus was one of the guests (xii. 1, 2). (The Sunday School Teacher's Bible Manual, Hunter, 1894)


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