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Bible Dictionaries

Morrish Bible Dictionary


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These are often expressive of character or of relationship. God was revealed to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, as GOD ALMIGHTY, which indicates the character in which God was pleased to be known by them: He was not known to them as JEHOVAH. Exodus 6:3 . This does not mean that they had not heard of the name, but that it did not express the character of His relationship with them. To Moses He said, "I am JEHOVAH," and by this name He was known to Israel: it formed the basis of their relationship with God. When power was committed to the Gentiles under the headship of Nebuchadnezzar it was said, "THE GOD OF HEAVEN hath given thee a kingdom, power, and strength, and glory." Daniel 2:37 . In Christianity God is made known under the name of FATHER. John 20:17 . Much is involved in the various names by which God has been pleased to make Himself known. So the Lord Jesus has various names: Son of God, Immanuel, Son of man, etc.: they all designate one Person, but each has its own import. Throughout the N.T. HIS NAME is the centre of all blessing. Isaiah 9:6; Philippians 2:9-11 .

God has authority to give names: cf. Revelation 2:17; and the name given by God indicates that which God sees fit to express in the one to whom it is given. Hence 'name' is characteristic. He altered the names of some persons: Abram was changed to Abraham; Sarai to Sarah; Jacob to Israel; and He gave reasons why they were altered; and the Lord Jesus gave Simon the name of Peter. God also applied to Israel symbolical names: as Lo-ammi, 'not my people;' and Lo-ruhamah, 'not having obtained mercy,' to mark His attitude towards them.

In the O.T. persons often gave their children names of significance: thus the wife of Phinehas, when she heard that the ark of God was taken, and that her husband and her father-in-law were dead, called her child Ichabod, 'where is the glory?' for the glory was departed from Israel, the ark being taken. Where the reason for a name is mentioned, all is plain; but where no reason is given, the meaning cannot always be ascertained. A name may bear several meanings, by being traced to different roots. For many years lists of the O.T. proper names, with their significations, have been given in Concordances, etc. (mostly as drawn from Gesenius), and sometimes certain deductions have been drawn from those meanings as giving the character of the persons bearing the names; but it should be remembered that in many instances, several persons have borne the same name, persons who were quite different in their status and character; so that the names could have had nothing to do with their characters. It is evident also from the case of John the Baptist that it was customary to name a child after some of his ancestors. On this ground objection was made to his being called John. Luke 1:59-63 .

Besides this, modern Hebrew scholars give very different meanings to some of the names, making their signification more and more uncertain. For instance, Abishai signifies, according to Gesenius, 'father of a gift'; but Fürst interprets it, 'Ab is existing,' or 'God is existing.' Adami signifies 'human,' Gesenius; but 'fortress,' Fürst. Adonikam signifies 'lord of the enemy,' Gesenius; but 'Adon is assisting,' Fürst. In some words other lexicographers, as Ewald, differ from both of the above.

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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Morrish, George. Entry for 'Names'. Morrish Bible Dictionary. 1897.

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