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Name Meanings in the Bible

HomeChristianity and the BibleName Meanings in the Bible

A lot of people have written and asked for a list of the meanings of the names of people in the Bible. Most of them come from readers of Name Changes in the Bible, one of the most popular GodWords articles. So: you asked for it, you’ve got it. Keep in mind that many names found in the Bible are not translated in the Bible, and that we often rely on translations of the name from other sources.

This list is, of course, incomplete. I mean, just look at how short it is. We’re just getting started. If you can add a name and meaning to it, just use the form at the bottom of the page and let me know.

Name Language Meaning Notes
Abba Chaldee Father In the Bible, Abba is a name applied to God three times, all in the New Testament.
Abda Hebrew Servant of Jehovah There are two Abbas in the Bible:
  1. The father of Adoniram
  2. The son of Shammua
Abel Hebrew Breath The second son of Adam and Eve, Abel’s name may reflect the shortness of his life.
Abijah Hebrew Yahweh is my Father Abijah combines abi (my father) and jah (Yahweh).
Abraham Hebrew Father of many Abraham combines abi (my father) and raham, (plentiful).
Abram Hebrew Exalted Father Abram combines ab (father) and ram (exalted), where “father” refers to God.
Cephas (Peter) Aramaic Rock
Daniel Hebrew My judge is God There are three Daniels in the Bible:
  1. Daniel the Prophet
  2. The second son of King David and Abigail, also known as Kileab
  3. A leader of the Jews and descendant of Ithamar who returned from Babylon with Ezra
Elijah Hebrew My God is Yahweh There are four Elijahs in the Bible:
  1. Elijah the Prophet
  2. The The son of Jeroham and a clan leader
  3. A man who married and divorced a foreign wife
  4. Another man who married and divorced a foreign wife
Elisha Hebrew My God is Yahweh This is the same name as Elijah.
Enoch Hebrew Dedicated There are two Enochs in the Bible:
  1. The son of Cain
  2. The father of Methusaleh, descendant of Seth, who did not die
Hosea Hebrew Yahweh is salvation Hosea is a Hebrew name, a variant form of Hoshe’a, which was Joshua’s name before Moses changed it.
Israel Hebrew To prevail, to become great in number From both isra (Arabic: to prevail) and tharrah (Arabic: to become great in number)
Jacob Hebrew Heel From both aqeb (heel) and aqob (deceitful)
Jesus 16 Languages Yahweh is salvation Jesus is a transliteration of Iesous, which is a Greek form of the Aramaic Yeshu’a, which is a shortened form of Yehoshu’a. This is the same name as Joshua.
Jonah Hebrew A dove
Joshua Hebrew Yahweh is salvation Joshua is the same name as Hosea and Jesus.
Jotham Hebrew Yahweh is perfect There are three Jothams in the Bible:
  1. The king of Judah, son of Uzziah
  2. The son of Caleb and Jahdai
  3. The son of Gideon
Methusaleh Hebrew Two-hundred and thirty His name appears to be a combination of matayim and shloshim, meaning two hundred and thirty. According to certain Jewish traditions, this refers to the number of parables about God that Methusaleh would share. His name may also suggest having the name of God engraved on his sword. Alternate traditions suggest meanings like “man of the deity” and “man of the weapon.” Yet another tradition suggest that his name is a form of Met-Ushelach, which means death and dispatch.
Michael Hebrew (Mikael) Who is like God There are eleven Michaels in the Bible:
  1. The Father of Sethur, one of Israel’s spies sent into Canaan.
  2. Head of one of the seven Gadite clans who settled near Gilead and Bashan.
  3. A son of Jeshishai and an ancestor of Michael #2.
  4. A son of Baaseiah, and Levite and ancestor of Asaph.
  5. A son of Izrahiah and a chief in the tribe of Issachar.
  6. A son of Beriah and a leader in the tribe of Benjamin, who lived in Aijalon. Related to King Saul.
  7. One of King David’s warriors at Ziklag.
  8. The father of Omri, who was an official during the reign of King David.
  9. A son of Jehoshaphat, killed when his brother Jehoram succeeded their father.
  10. The father of Zebadiah, who returned from Babylon to Jerusalem with Ezra.
  11. An archangel, one of the chief princes and “one who protects” God’s people. He fought on God’s behalf against satanic forces in Persia and Greece, and protects those whose name is found ‘written in the book.’ He oversees the work of the nations so that God’s purposes will come to pass, fights with Satan, and disputed with the devil over Moses’ body.
Nehemiah Hebrew Yahweh Comforts There are three Nehemiahs in the Bible:
  1. Cupbearer to Artaxerxes, king of Persia. Governor of Judea, son of Hakaliah, for whom the biblical book Nehemiah is named, who led the Israelites back from exile in Babylon
  2. Son of Azbuk, a district governor who helped the exiles rebuild Jerusalem
  3. Another of the exiles returning to Jerusalem
Noah Hebrew Rest There are two Noahs in the Bible:
  1. Son of Lamech and grandson of Methuselah, Noah was a righteous man who obeyed God and built an ark to save his family and animals from a great flood. His name means ‘rest’ in the sense of ‘coming to rest,’ or quietness. It may also mean ‘comfort.’
  2. One of the daughters of Zelophehad, who lived during the time of Moses. While her name is spelled the same, the meaning is different because it comes from a root word meaning ‘wanderer’ or ‘shaker.’
Peter Greek Rock
Sarai Hebrew Princess
Sarah Hebrew Mother of multitudes Sarah appears to be a form of the Arabic tharrah, ‘to become great in number’
Simeon Hebrew To hear There are three Simeons in the Bible:
  1. The second son of Jacob and Leah and head of one of Israel’s 12 tribes
  2. A devout man who blessed Jesus as a child
  3. Simeon Niger, a prophet and teacher who helped ordain Saul and Barnabas
Simon Greek Obedient (to hear and obey) Simon is the Greek rendering of the Hebrew name Shimon or Simeon. There are nine Simons in the Bible. They are described differently in Scripture, to tell them apart:
  1. Simon Peter, one of Jesus’ 12 disciples
  2. Jesus’ brother
  3. A Pharisee
  4. Simon the Zealot, another of Jesus’ apostles
  5. Simon the Leper, who owned the home where a woman anointed Jesus’ feet
  6. Simon Iscariot, father of Judas Iscariot
  7. Simon the Cyrene, who was forced to carry Jesus’ cross
  8. Simon the Sorcerer
  9. Simon the Tanner

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