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Patriarchal Names:  Job.
From History of Christian Names, by Charlotte M. Yonge, 1884.

We must not quit the patriarchal names without mentioning that of Job.  This mysterious person is stated in the margin of the Alexandrian version to have originally borne the name of Jobab, which means shouting; and a tradition of the Jews, adopted by some of the Christian fathers, makes him the same as the Jobab, prince of Edom, mentioned in the genealogy in the 33rd chapter of Genesis, a supposition according with his evident position as a great desert sheik, as well as with the early date of his history.

Job, however, as he is called throughout his book, is explained by some to mean persecuted; by others a penitent; and it is evident from a passage in the Koran that this was the way that Mahommed understood it.  The tradition of his sufferings lived on among the Arabs, who have many stories about Eyub, or Ayoub, as they pronounce the name still common among them, and their nickname for the patient camel is Abi Ayub, father of Job.

Jöv, probably from their eastern connections, is a name used by the Russians, and has belonged to one of their patriarchs.  Otherwise it is a very infrequent name even in England.

Job's three daughters, Jemima, Kezia, and Kerenhappuch, are explained to mean a dove, cassia, and a horn of stibium.  This latter is the paint with which eastern ladies were wont to enhance the beauty of their eyelashes, and it is curious to find this little artifice so ancient and so highly esteemed as to give the very name to the fair daughter of the restored patriarch, perhaps because her eyes were too lovely to need any such adornment.  Hers has never been a popular name, only being given sometimes to follow up those of her sisters; Kezia is a good deal used in England, and belonged to a sister of Wesley, who was called Kissy; but Jemima is by far the most general of the three.

The Hebrew interpretation of Jemima makes it a day, but the Arabic word for a dove resembles it more closely, and critics, therefore, prefer to consider it as the Arab feminine version of that which the Israelites had among them as Jonah (a dove).  This belonged to the prophet of Nineveh.  It is not usual in Europe, but strangely enough the Lithuanians use it as Jonsazus, and the Lapps as Jonka.

What strange fancy can have made Mehetabel, the wife of one of the princes of Edom, leave her four syllables to be popular in England?  Many village registers all over the country show it.  Was it a remnant of the East in Cornwall, or did Puritans choose it for its meaning, God is beneficent?  It was at Jarrow as early as 1578.

Tamar, a palm tree, it may here be mentioned, has continued common among eastern Christians, especially since a distinguished Armenian queen was so called.  Now and then very great lovers of biblical names in England give it, and likewise Dinah (judgment).*

* Smith's Dictionary of the Bible; Kitto's Biblical Cyclopædia; Proper Names of the Bible.


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