Hebrew and Biblical Names

The Meaning and Significance

Hebrew Bible
Hebrew Pentateuch of his late Royal Highness the Duke of Sussex. - c 1900: An Illuminated Manuscript page containing elements of ancient Hebrew text and graphics from books from the Bible.

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Biblical names are interesting choices for your children because they are somewhat unusual and they often refer to strong historical figures and role models. However, if you are planning to name your children using these generally Biblical names, it is a good idea to see whether the meaning of the Hebrew name you choose is appropriate for your family.

Hebrew Names for New Children

  • There are hundreds of names to be found in the Hebrew Bible that can be chosen for your new little girl or boy.
  • Hebrew names are often based on words meaning character attributes, such as "pleasant" or "joyous."
  • They can also be derived from proper nouns like "song" or "peace."
  • You can also find the names of strong men and women from the Bible.

Hebrew names include not only names of remarkable people from the Bible, but pleasing attributes, like "pleasantness" or "swiftness," as well as names for objects, like "ewe" or "palm-tree." Many of the names have the word for "God" incorporated into them, so one consideration might be how pious or mundane do you your new child's name to be.

Biblical Names for Girls

  • Abigail: Abigail was said to be King David's wisest wife, described in 1 Samuel as a woman "of good sense and of beautiful form." Her name is a contraction of two Hebrew words "Avi" (father of) and "Gil" (joyous stirrings).
  • Ada: Sometimes spelled Adah, in Genesis, Ada was the wife of Lemech, Noah's father, and her name means "adornment."
  • Batya: Batya (or rather Bithiah) was Pharaoh's daughter who rescued the infant Moses from his basket in the Nile; her name means "daughter of God."
  • Chava: Chava is the Hebrew version of the name "Eve," the first woman and the mother of the human race (Genesis 3:20) and all of her names mean "the mother of all life."
  • Deborah: Deborah's name means "bee" in Hebrew, and there are two in the bible. One was an older first cousin to Rebecca, who acted as Rebecca's wet nurse (Genesis 35:8). The more famous Deborah was a judge and prophetess of God, a wise and God-fearing woman who people flocked to her for advice and assistance. (Judges 4:4).
  • Eliana: Hebrew name meaning "God has answered."
  • Esther: Esther (Asheirah or Hadassah in Hebrew) was the heroine of the Purim story, according to the book of Esther, who was selected to marry the Persian king Ahasuerus as he ascended the throne. She bargained with her own life to save her nation from a decree to kill all the Jews.
  • Hannah: Hannah (Gracia in Sefardi) means "grace" in Hebrew, and she was the wife of Elkahan and the mother of the prophet Samuel.
  • Hila: Hebrew name meaning "sparkle."
  • Jessica: Another name for Sarah, meaning "foresight."
  • Judith: Judith (Yehudit in Hebrew) means "woman of the tribe of Judea." In Genesis and the book of Judith, she was the daughter of Beeri the Hittite and the wife of Esau. She is the beautiful woman who snuck into the tent of the Assyrian chief Holofernes, who was attacking the Jews.
  • Leah: Leah (or Lia) means "delicate." In Genesis, she was the older daughter of Laban, Leah was the plainer sister of Rachel, who was Jacob's first choice for a wife. She is one of four Matriarchs of the Jewish people.
  • Miriam: In Exodus, Miriam was the sister of Moses and Aaron, a prophetess and great Jewish leader who gave the Jewish people heart during their Egyptian exile. Her name means a variety of things "sea of sorrow," "rebellion," or "wished-for child."
  • Peninah: Wife with Hannah of Elkahan, who bore the only children to Elkahan until Hannah bore Samuel; her name means "coral" or "pearl."
  • Rachel: Beautiful younger daughter of Laban and sister to Leah, Rachel was the second favored wife of Jacob and mother of Josef and Benjamin; one of the four matriarchs. Her name means "ewe" or "sheep."
  • Rebecca: In Genesis, she was the niece of Abraham, the wife of Isaac, and the mother of the twin boys Jacob and Esau. One of the four matriarchs and her name means "join, tie, snare."
  • Reyna: A Hebrew name meaning "pure."
  • Ruth: A Moabite woman who, according to the Book of Ruth, on the death of her husband Chilyon, left her people to live with her mother-in-law Naomi, eventually marrying Boaz.
  • Sarah: The "mother of nations" Sarah was the wife of Abraham and the mother of Isaac, the first of the four matriarchs and the progenitor of the Jewish people.
  • Sharon: Not a woman of the Bible, but her name is taken from the Song of Solomon (2:1), "I am the Rose of Sharon and the lily of the valleys."
  • Shira: A name meaning "song" in Hebrew.
  • Talia: A name for a Hebrew girl meaning "morning dew."
  • Tamar: In Genesis, Tamar was the wife of Er, first son of Judah. Her name means "date," "date palm," or "palm tree."
  • Yael: A female prophet, wife of Chever, who killed King Yaven of Canaan and was praised by Deborah in the Book of Judges. Her name means "mountain goat."
  • Zipporah: In the book of Exodus, Zipporah (or Tzippora) was the wife of Moses, daughter of Jethro, and mother of Gershom and Eliezer. Her name is derived from the word for "bird."

Biblical Names for Boys

  • Aaron: In Genesis, Aaron was the brother of Moses, traditional founder and head of the Israelite priesthood; his name means "lofty," "exalted," or "high mountain."
  • Abraham: The patriarch of all of the Abrahamic religions, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, in the book of Genesis, Abraham is the wife of Sarah, and God sends them to leave their homeland to form a new nation. His name means "father of multitudes." 
  • Adam: The father of the human race, Adam was the first person created by God. Husband of Eve, father of Cain and Abel. His name means, simply, "man."
  • Asher: Asher, whose name means "happy, fortunate, blessed" in Hebrew, was the eighth son of Jacob and the founder of the Tribe of Asher, one of the ten lost tribes.
  • Benjamin: Benjamin means "son of the right hand" or "son of the south" in Hebrew, and he was the youngest son of Jacob, and a founder of one of the 12 tribes, located north of Judah but south of Israel.
  • Caleb: Of the tribe of Judah, Caleb was one of the only two Israelites who left Egypt with Moses, wholeheartedly headed for the promised land. His name means "a dog" or "faithful."
  • Daniel: His name means "God is my judge" and Daniel is remembered for standing by his faith in Persia, despite being thrown into the Lion's den
  • David: The greatest of all the kings of Israel, David's name means "beloved" or "uncle" and his history is written in the books of Samuel. 
  • Eli: The high priest of Shiloh, Eli trained Samuel to be a priest; his name means "high," "elevated," or "my God."
  • Elijah: A Hebrew name meaning "the Lord is my God," Elijah was the boldest of God's prophets. 
  • Ethan: Also spelled Eitan, Ethan means "strong" or "enduring" in Hebrew, and there are several of them in the bible. 
  • Ezra: Ezra was a scribe and leader of the people of Israel when they returned from the exile in Babylon. His name means "help" in Hebrew. 
  • Jacob: Jacob was the craftier twin brother of Esau, who persuaded his brother to exchange his birthright for a bowl of soup--his birth name means "he grasps the heel" or "he deceives." He was also a prophet who wrestled with an angel; and the father of 12 tribes of Israel, and for all of his scheming and deception, God renamed him "Israel" which means "he struggles with God."
  • Jeremiah: Originally Yirmiyah, meaning "Yahweh will exalt," Jeremiah was the prophet who foretold the destruction of Jerusalem by Babylon, and his name means "God has uplifted."
  • Jonathan: Named in Hebrew for "God has given," Jonathon was the son of Saul who became the beloved friend of King David. 
  • Joshua: Joshua's name means "God is salvation," and he was the Israelite leader who took command of the children of Israel after Moses died, leading them to the promised land. 
  • Matthew: A form of the Hebrew name "Matityahu" meaning "gift of God," Matthew was the name of the Priest who was the leader and founder of the Maccabees, who defeated the Assyrians in the Hanukkah story. 
  • Michael: Michael's name means "who is like God" in Hebrew, and he was captain of the seven archangels who cast out the demons in the book of Revelation. 
  • Noah: Noah means "comfort" in Hebrew, it is he who built an ark to save his family and two of each animal species on earth from the Great Flood. 
  • Noam: Hebrew name that means "tenderness."
  • Omer: A Hebrew boy's name that means "firstborn son, long-lived, eloquent and gifted speaker."
  • Samuel: Samuel's name means "who God has called," the son of Hannah and Eli and a prophet, the last of the prophets and the man who anointed the first Israelite kings. 
  • Solomon: Hebrew for "peace," Solomon is one of the great Hebrew kings in the bible, who built the first temple in Jerusalem. 

Sources and More Names