Addendum to List of Bible Names


An expectant parent wrote- We wanted to give our baby boy the name Darius, but realized there are several meanings to this name. We are quite confused as to which one is the original meaning? Besides, this name is not commonly used and we start to wonder if there are any negative connotations about the name. Questions such as, Was he a believer (doesn't sound like it since he did not seem to know Daniel's God), was he eventually defeated?

Biblebell's answer-
A) *Darius* is the Anglicized way to spell and pronounce "Dareyavesh," a title (rather than name) of several Persian kings. "Dareyavesh" has its origin in the Persian language {Strong's #01867}.

  • My resources give the most probable meaning as "He who investigates and governs."
  • This meaning is consistent with the use of "Dareyavesh" as the title of a king. It connotes that a ruler who is worthy of the title "Dareyavesh" is a person who finds out the facts before he makes a decision. He is a person who makes decisions and rules based upon investigating the facts, and NOT arbitrarily.
  • In other words, the title connotes that the king is a fair and just ruler.

B) There were 3 persons with the title "Darius" who reigned as Kings over Medo-Persia during the days of the Bible's Old Testament. During those times, the Jews were subjects of the Medo-Persian empire. Therefore, the Jews were subjects of these 3 kings, and the land of Israel belonged, at that time, to the Medo-Persian empire...

  • Darius the Mede was son of King Ahasuerus (Dan 9.1) and co-ruler with Cyrus. King Darius and King Cyrus were very kind to their Jewish subjects (Dan 6.28). It was King Cyrus whom God anointed to allow the Jews to return to the land of Israel (Isa 44.28, Isa 45.1). No doubt, King Darius consented to freeing the Jews inasmuch as he was co-ruler with Cyrus.
  • Darius Hystaspis {521-480 BC} is the second Darius. He ruled as sole king of all Persia. He also was kind to the Jews, & confirmed Cyrus's decree that allowed the Jews to return to Israel & rebuild there (Ezra 6.1-14).
  • Darius the Persian {424-404 BC) is the third Darius. He also ruled as sole king of all Persia (Neh 12.22). The Bible tells us very little about his reign. Obviously, however, he continued to allow the Jews to resettle and rebuild their homeland.

C) There is no Biblical evidence that any of these 3 kings was a believer in the one true God. Thus, it is likely that they were either atheists, or agnostics, or else believed in one or more of the pagan gods of Persia. However, as shown above, all three of them were very kind to the Jews. Jewish history books speak well of these kings. Moreover, the Bible reveals that these kings were willing tools in God's plan for returning His people back to their own land.

D) Accordingly, it is Biblebell's conclusion that -- from the Biblical standpoint -- *Darius* is a very honorable name. IMHO, its concise meaning is "investigator/governor".

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Miriam, Mary, Maria-

Binu writes- I am going to be father in May. I would like to name my baby as Miriam. I would like to confirm the following regarding this . . .

  • 1) The exact meaning of the Name.
  • 2) The person's presence in Bible is good till the end?
  • 3) How to spell it correctly... Miriam or Miriyam

Biblebell's answer-
A) "Miriam" means "obstinate; stubborn; rebellious; bitter."

B) As you read the following explanations, please remember that God gave us the Old Testament written on manuscripts in the Hebrew language. He gave us the New Testament written on manuscripts in the Greek Language. Therefore, all of our Bibles are TRANSLATIONS of the Hebrew and Greek manuscripts.

C) In the Old Testament, Miriam was the sister of Moses and Aaron. She was a godly woman. At one time she rebelled against the leadership of Moses because he had married a Cushite woman. God punished Miriam for doing that. (Num 12.1-16)

D) In the New Testament there are several women named "Mary."

  • "Maria" or "Mary" is a transliteration of the Greek way of writing the Hebrew name "Miriam."
  • The most famous Mary was the virgin Mary. She was the mother of Jesus, according to the flesh.
  • It is very likely that the parents of the virgin Mary actually named her "Miriam." Why? Because she was a Jewish girl and would most likely be given a Hebrew name.
  • Another "Mary" was Mary Magdalene -- one of the closest female disciples of Lord Jesus, who stuck by Him even when He was arrested and crucified.
  • All of the other New Testament women named "Mary" were also dedicated followers of Lord Jesus.

E) Although Miriam in the Old Testament rebelled against Moses, all of the New Testament women named Mary/Miriam were good people, and they were highly honored by God.

F) As to how to spell it correctly -- Miriam or Miriyam --

  • As noted above, the Bible came to us in Hebrew and Greek, and those languages use alphabets that are MUCH different from our alphabet.
  • Therefore, when you see a person's name in the Bible it is a *transliteration*. That is, they have written a Hebrew or Greek name using OUR alphabet so that it sounds similar to the way that it would be pronounced by a person speaking Hebrew or Greek.
  • Often there will be more than one way to correctly transliterate a Hebrew or Greek name. This is the case with the Hebrew name "Miriam. In Hebrew, that name is pronounced "meer-YAHM." Therefore, it is equally correct to spell it as "Miryam" or "Miriam".

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Kelly wrote- My husband and I named our daughter "Michaiah". I found the name in the Old Testament. The name originally belonged to a woman that was the mother of a king. I did not see this name on your list of baby names for girls and was also wondering about the exact meaning of the name.

Biblebell's answer-
A) "Michaiah" means "Who is like Yah?"

  • "Yah" is transliterated as "iah" in "Michaiah." Yah is short for YaHWeH -- God's personal covenant name.
  • For example, the real name of Jesus (the name given to Him by His mother and Joseph) was "Yeshua" -- short for "Yehoshua" -- short for "YaHWeH shua." In Hebrew, "shua" means "saves." Therefore "YaHWeH shua" (the true name of Jesus) means "YaHWeH saves."
  • The meaning of Michaiah (Who is like Yah?) is a question that implies an answer of "NO one!!!" In other words, the question, "Who is like Yah?" is a declaration that God alone is awesome, amazing, & wonderful.
  • There are several ways used by various Bible translations to spell (transliterate) the name Michaiah. These include Micah, Micaiah, Micha, Michah. All have the same meaning.

B) By the way, "Michael" is NOT an alternate way to spell Michaiah. The "el" in Michael is short for "Elohiyim" -- which means God. Thus, Michael means, "Who is like God?" whereas Michaiah means "Who is like Yah?"

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"Jamin" literally means "right-hand."

By implication, "Jamin" means "strong & dexterous" because a person's right hand was generally stronger & more dexterous than one's left hand.

Further, in Bible times the right hand was usually the weapon hand, so "Jamin" could also denote a trusted warrior -- as in saying: "He is my right-hand-man."

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Bill wrote- Could you please tell me what the name Korah means and the Bible verse it refers to. I am remembering that he was a not-too-nice person. The name Korah has been used in our family since the early 1800's, but following your guidelines for naming a child, I don't think it should be used again today.

Biblebell's answer-
Korah is based on a Hebrew word with two meanings: "bald" and "ice." The first meaning (bald) is probably the meaning that first gave rise to the use of Korah for naming a child. My second daughter was bald as a cue ball when she was born, & stayed so for the first several weeks of her life. I often referred to my beloved baby daughter as "little baldy." She is grown now, & has children of her own -- as well as a full head of lovely hair.

So my guess is that the first Korah (Genesis 36.5, 36.14, 36.16) was born a baldy, & was named accordingly. He eventually became a chieftain of his people. It is probable that many children were named Korah in his honor, because he was one of the first great chiefs of his people. Another example of a Biblically-mentioned Korah is at First Chronicles 2.42-43.

The Korah who *got in trouble* was the son of Izhar (Exod 6.21). He led a rebellion against Moses (Num 16). God punished this sin, but Korah was NOT an accursed person. Jeconiah and Judas were pronounced to be accursed, but not Korah. Moreover, that rebel Korah was not the only one of God's people who was a sinner. David was a murderer and adulterer. Moses disobeyed God to such an extent that God didn't allow him to enter the promised land. Peter denied Christ three times. Moreover, Korah's sons were honored by God in Psalm 42.1, so it is very evident that the name of "Korah" is NOT anathema.

Accordingly, I see no reason why the name "Korah" should be regarded as "dishonored" -- any moreso than are the names of David, Peter, Moses, and many other sinners who are saved by the grace of God and ONLY by the grace of God. Bottom line: in my OPINION "Korah" is an excellent Bible name.

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Skibak wrote - Can Ezra be a girls name?

Biblebell's answer-
Ezra is an Old Testament name. God originally gave us the Old Testament in the Hebrew language. Ezra is, of course, a Hebrew-based name. It means "help; helper; helpmate"

The name Ezra is derived from a Hebrew root word
ezer. Genesis 2.18 makes it clear that God created woman to be an ezer -- a helper and nurturer. With Hebrew words in <brackets> here is a quotation of God's decision to create woman...

***The LORD <YHWH> God <'elohiym> said <'amar>, It is not good <towb> that the man <'adam> should be <hayah> alone.
I will make <`asah> a helper <`ezer> comparable to him. Genesis 2.18***

Per Strong's Hebrew Lectionary, <ezrah> -- Strong's #5833 -- is the feminine of <ezer> -- Strong's #5828. Thus, I conclude that Ezrah would be appropriate for use in naming a girl...

Strong's Hebrew Lectionary # 05833 `ezrah, ez-raw'
feminine of 5828; aid:--help(-ed, -er).

Strong's Hebrew Lectionary #05830 `Ezra', ez-raw'
a variation of 5833; Ezra, an Israelite:--Ezra.
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Leigh wrote - I noticed Sophia on your Biblical names list. I couldn't find this name in my concordances, etc. Where did you find it?

Biblebell's answer-
God gave us the original manuscripts of the New Testament in the Greek (Koine) language. The word "sophia" is the Greek word for "wisdom." It appears in the Greek text of the New Testament hundreds of times. Here is an interlinear example...

And <kai> when he (Jesus) was come <erchomai> into <eis> his own <autos> country <patris>, he taught <didasko> them <autos> in <en> their <autos> synagogue <sunagoge>, insomuch that <hoste> they <autos> were astonished <ekplesso>, and <kai> said <lego>, Whence <pothen> hath this man <touto> this <houtos> wisdom <sophia>, and <kai> these mighty works <dunamis>? Matthew 13.54***

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This name occurs only once in the Bible:
And the border of the Canaanites was from Sidon as you go toward Gerar, as far as Gaza; then as you go toward Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, and Zeboiim, as far as Lasha. Genesis 10.19

Lasha (Gen 10.19) was the geographical name of a place located on the southern boundary of the Canaanites along with Gomorrah, Adnah and Zeboiim. Eusebius, Onomasticon, & Seetzen and Ritter identify Lasha with the sulpherous hot springs at Callirrhoe in Wady Zerqa Ma`in, on the East of the Dead Sea; in this agreeing with Targum Jerusalem.

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Athena wrote - I thought Salome had a negative association because she was responsible for the death of John the Baptist? Do people really name their daughters this and is it acceptable?

Biblebell's answer- Salome was one of the holy women who was a disciple of Lord Jesus in Galilee, and ministered to Him (Mark 15.40-41). That same Salome had the courage and love to remain near to Lord Jesus as He was crucified (Mark 15.40). She was among those who came to the tomb of Jesus on resurrection morning (Mark 16.1-2). Comparison with Mt 27.56 clearly identifies Salome as being the wife of Zebedee. It is she, therefore, who is the mother of our Lord's disciples James and John. Truly, therefore, Salome is one the most Godly and wonderful women who has ever walked on God's green earth!

As for the daughter of Herodias who danced before Herod, and obtained as reward the head of John the Baptist (Mt 14.3-11; Mark 6.17-28), she is never named in the Bible. A NON-Biblical book (Josephus "Antiquities", XVIII, v, Mark 4.1-41) says that Salome was that bad woman's name, but her name is not given anywhere in God's Holy Bible.

The name "Salome" means "Peaceable" and is the feminine equivalent of Solomon. It is derived from the Hebrew word "shalom" -- which is defined by Strong's Hebrew lexicon as follows...

07965 shalowm or shalom
from 7999; safe, i.e. (figuratively) well, happy, friendly; also (abstractly) welfare, i.e. health, prosperity, peace

Accordingly, Salome is an altogether lovely, honorable, and Godly name to bestow on any newborn little lass.
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Javan was the fourth son of Japheth, the son of Noah. The Bible's first mention of Javan is at Genesis 10.2. As shown in the following quotation of Gen 10.2, "Javan" is a transliteration of <Yavan> from the Biblical languages...

Gen 10:2 The sons of Japheth were Gomer, Magog, Madai, Javan <Yavan>, Tubal, Meshech, and Tiras.

<Yavan> is #03120 in the Hebrew/Aramaic lexicon of "Strong's Exhaustive Concordance," & is based on <yayin>, Strong's #03196. The Strong's definitions for 03120 & 03196 are quoted as follows...

Strong's 03120 Yavan
probably from the same as 3196; effervescing (i.e. hot and active); Javan, the name of a son of Japheth, and of the race (Ionians, i.e. Greeks) descended from him, with their territory; also of a place in Arabia

Strong's 03196 yayin
from an unused root meaning to effervesce; wine (as fermented)

The definitions given by the Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew/Aramaic Lexicon are quoted as follows...

Brown-Driver-Briggs H3120
Javan = “Ionia” or “Greece”
1) a son of Japheth and grandson of Noah (noun proper masculine)
2) Greece, Ionia, Ionians (noun proper locative)
2a) location of descendants of Javan
A Related Word by BDB/Strong’s Number: probably from the same as H3196

Brown-Driver-Briggs H3196
BDB Definition:
1) wine
Part of Speech: noun masculine
A Related Word by BDB/Strong’s Number: from an unused root meaning to effervesce

Note that both Strong's & B-D-B state that <Yavan> also denotes Ionia or Greece. This is because the descendents of Javan settled in that area of Greece known as Ionia. Thus, depending upon context, the Bible sometimes translates <Yavan> as Greece or Grecia, as shown by the following example...

Zech 9:13 For I have bent Judah, My bow, fitted the bow with Ephraim, and raised up your sons, O Zion, against your sons, O Greece <Yavan>, and made you like the sword of a mighty man.

IMO, Japheth's fourth newborn son was a lively fellow, kicking and gooing and grabbing at his daddy's finger. Thus, his loving parents named him <Yavan> -- the lively one. They most certainly would not have named their infant son by a word meaning "makes sad" or "deceiver."

The Bible words for "sad" (zaaph, car, ra`, yara`, ka'ah, ka'ab) are unrelated to <Yavan>, as are the Bible words for "deceive; deceiver" (pathah, ta`a`, shagah, nakal, shalah, nasha'). The only Bible name that is sometimes INCORRECTLY related to "deceiver" is <Yakov> (Jacob) -- but that name literally means "heel catcher," NOT deceiver.

In summary: The Bible name "Javan" is based on the name given to Japheth's fourth son, <Yavan>. That name is based upon <yayin> -- an effervescent wine. Hence, the name means "effervescent and (by inference) high-spirited; active." This is confirmed by Strong's, B-D-B, & other authoritative lexicons of Biblical languages.

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Abel- Biblebell's definitions of Old Testament names are based upon a multiplicity of authoritative lexicons for Biblical Hebrew-Chaldee. Those include but are not limited to "Theological Wordbook of the OT" plus lexicons authored/edited by Gesenius; Pick; Strong; Young; Judson, Cornwall, Smith; Brown, Driver, Briggs.

D) In the case of "Abel" the following is a brief summary of what those resources have to say...

1) "Hebel" (H1893) is a more accurate transliteration of the Hebrew than is "Abel."

2) H1893 is based on H1892: habel {hab-ale'}; from H1891; emptiness or vanity; figuratively, something transitory and unsatisfactory; evanescent; frail. Ref.Job 7.16; Prov 13.11, 21.6, 31.30; Ps 39.6; Ecc 1.2, 1.14, 2.11, 2.17, 2.23, 4.4, 4.8, _6.4_, 6.9, 11.10; etc.

3) H1891 habal {haw-bal'} a primitive root; to be vain in act, word, or expectation; specifically to lead astray

E) I have accordingly elaborated upon our name list's definition of Abel, but the name retains its somewhat negative & sad connotations. From this standpoint, I am merely the messenger of these facts -- ***PLEASE do not shoot the messenger***

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  • Breastplate- Per Gesenius' Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon to the Old Testament, Baker Book House, 1979: "probably the name given to Mount Hermon by the Sidonians (Deu 3.9). This name appears to have been taken from its resemblence to a breastplate."
  • Little prince- Per Dictionary of Scripture Proper Names, J.B. Jackson, Loizeaux Brothers, 1909; & per Exhaustive Dictionary of Bible Names, Dr. Judson Cornwall & Dr. Stelman Smith, Bridge-Logus, 1998

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