Hebrew Old Names For New Babies The origin of Hebrew names is from the language, Hebrew. One of two official Israeli state languages (the other is Arabic), Hebrew, is spoken by over 7 million Israelites and globally by numerous Jewish communities. Hebrew is part of the Afro-Asiatic family and a Semitic language. Classical Hebrew is The Hebrew alphabet contains 22 symbols descended from Aramaic having been derived from the alphabet of the Phoenicians. The Hebrew language is written from right to left using the Hebrew alphabet, an abjad. Hebrew names are often the names given to those of Jewish ethnicity or religion. Also, called Israeli names due to the country of origin. However, many Christian and Muslim names are of Hebrew origin. The Islamic community has adopted many Hebrew names, especially if it's found in the Qur'an, the Muslim bible. Dov (bear) and Orli (light is mine) are modern uses for Hebrew names taken from Hebrew vocabulary words. The ancient Hebrew names are still used today. The Return To The Hebrew Language Classical Hebrew is the language in which the Old Testament of the Bible was written. Used by the Hebrews from 1200 BC – 60 AD, it was supplanted by Aramaic and Mishnaic Hebrew during the Jews Babylonian exile. In 1948, following the establishment of Israel as a state, hebraicization (reverting back to the Hebrew surname origin) was encouraged and Hebrew once again, became Israel's official language. The State of Israel's 1st Prime Minister, David ben Gurion demonstrated his commitment to the re-establishment for Hebrew by changing his family name from Gryn to ben Gurion. He encouraged all government, military and citizens of Israel to do the same. The Old Testament The typical source for Hebrew names for people in Judaism and Christendom is the Jewish Tanakh. The Tanakh is the first 5 books in the Old Testament, called the 5 Books of Moses (The Torah) and 2 additional collections called the Kethuvim (The Writings) and the Nevi'im (The Prophets). Nearly all names taken from the Old Testament are Hebrew in origin. Many various forms or variants for common Hebrew names have been produced by the phonologies from different languages. Greek translations, Aramaic domination in the Middle East, and English variants have all resulted in various modifications in the original Hebrew names which carried specific name elements reflecting meaning. The name elements which were originally utilized in the Semitic naming are provided below. Hebrew Name Elements:
Examples in names_
“Jehovah” or “YHWH”
(Isaiah, Jeremiah, Elijah)
“Jehovah” or “YHWH”
(Joseph, Joel, John)
(Gabriel, Michael, Elijah, Joel)
“son” (Aramaic origin)
Other Sources For Hebrew Names
Hebrew expressions and phrases which have been adapted are also sources for Hebrew names. These names describe unusual birth conditions or embody special meaning unto the receiver. The name Reuben which means “Look, a son” is a name indicating unique circumstances at birth. Judah is another example assigning a personal meaning. References to the Hebrew God, Elohim, Jehovah & YHWH, were used in common name elements expressing devotion. Isaiah and Elijah are two examples. Hebrew names could also reflect praise. The name Tobiah means in Hebrew, “Good of, is the Lord”. Many Christian usage for these type of Hebrew names are typically shorter endings based upon later Greek translations incorporating European languages, primarily English. The names Jeremiah, Jeremy, and Toby are English versions for the Hebrew names.
Christian usage for Hebrew names in the Old Testament was not until recent times and followed the Protestant Reformation. Hebrew names and variants used commonly as English names include Aaliyah, Joshua, Sarah, David, Rebecca, Aaron, Leah, Abagail, John, Jacob, Joseph, Caleb, Jaden, Gabbi, Jack, and Benjamin. Zohar which means “light, brilliance” can be used for both boys and girls. Zechariah, used frequently in the Old Testament, comes from the Hebrew (Zekharyah) which translates to “YHWH remembers”. The New Testament includes this name as well. Zechariah was John the Baptist's father who because of his unbelief was struck dumb by an angel until John was born. Greek translations for the Bible use the spelling Zacharias, a name which has showed American popularity in the past decades. A Hebrew name used in the West since the 15th century is Jonathan. Taken from Yehonatan and abbreviated to Yonatan which means “YHWH has given”. A famous bearer was the Anglo-Irish The famous satirist, Jonathan Swift (1667-1745), was the Anglo-Irish writer of 'Gulliver's Travels'. Bathsheba, was the beautiful Old Testament Israelite who had an adulterous affair with King David becoming pregnant. David had her husband, a soldier in his army, killed and married her. Their newborn son's life was the cost of their fornication and murderous plot. Noah, the famous ark builder who no one, but his immediate family listened to his warnings regarding God's wrath. He built a boat according to the Lord's specifications which held 2 (male/female) of every land animal and bird, as well as his family for nearly 6 months when God covered the Earth in water.