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Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature
(Heb. shem, שֵׁם; Gr. ὄνομα ). On the names of persons in Oriental countries, and especially in ancient Israel, the following particulars may be noticed. (See Hauptmann, De Hebrceor. ὀνοματοθεσίᾷ [Gera, 1757]; Schwarz, De nomin. V.T. propriis [Gott. 1743].)
(1.) A name among the Hebrews was given to the male child at the time of its circumcision, but it is probable that previous to the introduction of that rite the name was given immediately after its birth. All Oriental proper names have a special significance, which is more or less obvious, and generally may be ascertained. This meaning is often alluded to or explained in the Old Testament (Genesis 27:36; 1 Samuel 25:25; Ruth 1:20). But some have attempted to show that the explanations given in the Pentateuch of the names of the patriarchs, etc., are not historically correct, on the ground that they are mutually inconsistent, or that they violate the analogies of the language; and refer them to a desire on the part of the writer to interweave the name significantly with the narrative (see Ewald, Isr. Gesch. 1:429). Those of modern nations, e.g. the English and Germahs, have also their meaning, but it is more difficult to discover, as these languages do not preserve the roots in so pure a form as Oriental tongues. In early times they were conferred (by the mother, as Genesis 4:1; Genesis 4:25; Genesis 19:37 sq.; Genesis 29:32 sq.; Genesis 30:18; Genesis 30:20 sq.; Genesis 35:18; 1 Samuel 1:20; 1 Samuel 4:21; comp. Isaiah 7:14; Odys. 18:6; Eurip. Phaniss. 57; yet also by the father, Genesis 16:15; Genesis 17:19; Genesis 21:3; Exodus 2:22; Hosea 1:4 sq.; see Tournefort, Voyage, 2:434) sometimes in reference to remarkable circumstances preceding or attending the child's birth, to peculiarities of its bodily constitution, to a wish connected with its future, or as an expression of endearment; sometimes borrowed from religion, and in this case applied both as a pious remembrancer and an omen of good. Sometimes the name had a prophetic meaning (Isaiah 7:14; Isaiah 8:3; Hosea 1:4; Hosea 1:6; Hosea 1:9; Matthew 1:21; Luke 1:13; Luke 1:60; Luke 1:63). In these classes belong many compounded in Hebrew with יָהוּ יוֹ אֶל (comp. Hengstenberg, Pent. 1:267 sq.), just as the Assyrian, Aramaean, and Phoenician names with Nebo (Nebu), Bel, Baal; the German Gottlieb, Gotthold, Ehregott, Christlieb, etc.; and the Tyrian names, ῎Ασταρτος, Δελαιάσταρτος, in Josephus, Apion, 1:18 (on which see Hamaker, Miscell. Phoenic. page 213; Fromann, De cultu deorum ex ὀνοματοθεσίᾷ illustra. [Altdorf, 1745]). For examples of the first class, see Genesis 25:25 sq.; Genesis 29:32 sq.; Genesis 30:6 sq.; Genesis 35:18; Genesis 41:51; 1 Samuel 2:20; 1 Samuel 4:21; comp. Rosenmiller, Morgenl. 1:139, 173; Seetzen, in Zach's Correspondenz, 19:214; Gesen. Com. in Jes. 1:303; Bohlen, Genes. page 292. Such names take various forms among the Shemitic nations, following in each language the name it applies to God; e.g. Hannibal (חִנַּיבִעִל ) and John (יוֹחָנָן ); Abibal (אָבַיבִעִל ) and Abijah (אֲבַיָּה ); Ezrubaal (עֶזְרוּבִעִל ) and Azriel (עִזְרַיאֵל ). See Ludolf. Histor. AEth. 4:3. 4. The terms of endearment are appropriated especially to girls, and are often taken from the names of valued animals and plants (רָחֵל, Rachel, a sheep; תָּמָר, Tamar, palm-tree; צַבְיָה, Zibia, roe; צפֹּרָה, Zipporah, sparrow; קְצַיעָה, Keziah, cassia). Comp. Hartmann, Pentat. 276 sq. On the transfer of names from animals to children, see Bochart, Hieroz. 1:2, 43; Simonis Onomast. pages 16, 390 sq. At a later period, when a sufficient number of words had become proper names by usage, a suitable choice was made among them, or the child took the father's name (Tobit 1:9; Luke 1:59; Josephus, Ant. 14:1, 3; War, 5:13, 2; Euseb. H.E. 1:13, 5), or yet oftener the grandfather's (1 Samuel 22:9; 1 Samuel 23:6; 1 Samuel 30:7; 2 Samuel 8:17. See Eisner, Observ. 1:176 sq.; Simonis Ononast. V.T. page 17; comp. Eustath. Ad Iliad. 581, 4). This was the case alo with the Phoenicians (see Gesen. Monum. Phan. page 100), and is still with the Egyptians (Descript. de l'Eqypte, 23:59 sq.), Frieslanders, and Danes. Sometimes that of a highly-esteemed kinsman was taken (comp. Luke 1:61; Lightfoot, Hor. Hebr. ad loc.; Rosenmiiller, Morgenl. 5:158). In the Roman period we meet with many persons who were named by prefixing Bar, בִּר, son, after the Aramaean custom, to the names of their fathers; as in the N.T. Bartholomew, Bartimeus, Barjesus, Barabbas. Many of these were originally only surnames, as in Matthew 16:17, but by custom the personal name was entirely dropped (as in Arab. e.g. Ibn- Sina). But some Orientals, at the birth of a son, put off their own names, and thenceforth bear that of the child, with the prefix Abu,,father, e.g. Abu-Nausel; comp. Arvieux, Nachr. 2:292. According to Gesenius (Isaiah 1:278), a person in earlier times was sometimes accosted or described as the son of this or that man, in order to disparage him, either because the father was obscure, or because the personal merit of the son would thus be questioned. But, besides, there are many Hebrew proper names which cannot be classed among appellatives; the roots of which, however, have been preserved. These have received proper attention in modern Lexicons. (See Gesenius, Geschichte Hebr. Sprache. On the formation of Hebrew proper names, see Ewald, Ausfuhrl. Lehrb. de Hebr. Spr. page 491 sq.). It must further be observed that
(a) among the later Jews many old names were commonly shortened or otherwise modified in form; e.g. Lazarus for Eleazar. This shortening of names in the N.T. has been examined by Winer (Gram. N.T. page 113 sq.: comp. besides J.C. Mylius, Diss. de varietat. V.T. page 12; Simonis Onomast. V.T. page 12). Aramaean names, also, had crept in among those of true Hebrew origin — as, Martha, Tabitha, Cephas.
(b) After the age of the Seleucide, Greek names came into circulation; as Lysinachus, 2 Maccabees 4:29; Antipater, 1 Maccabees 12:16; Bereniae, Herod (among these must be reckoned Andrew, see Joseph. Ant. 12:2, 2; although Olshausen [Bibl. Comment. 1:321] would refer it to the Hebrew נָדִר, to dedicate); especially those Hebrew names which had been translated in the Greek versions; as Dositheus, Δωσίθεος, 2 Maccabees 12:19; or Theodotos, θεόδοτος, 2 Maccabees 14:19; 3 Maccabees 1:4; comp. the Hebrew גִּבְדַּיאֵל יוֹזָבָד זְבִדְיָה; Nicodemus or Nicolaus, Νικόδημος, Νικόλαος , comp.
בַּלָעָם; Menelaus, Μενέλαος , comp. אוֹנַיָּה, Josephus, Ant. 12:5, 1. Instead of these, a Greek name of somewhat similar form and meaning was sometimes used; as ῎Αλκιμος (comp. אֶלְיָקַים ), Ι᾿άσων, etc. Ιησοῦς, Jesus, is also a Hebrew name, approaching a Greek form. (See JESUS). (On Ο᾿νίας, Σίμων , Hyrcanus, see Simonis Onomast. N.T. page 152.) The custom thus introduced was confirmed by increasing intercourse with the Greeks, and even some Latin names crept into Judaea. The names Philip, Ptolemy, Alexander, etc., were not rare (comp. especially Joseph. Ant. 14:10, 22). Jews took Latin names on various occasions; some, for instance, on emancipation from Ronman slavery. Among Egyptian Jews, Greek names were in use still earlier (comp. Philo, 2:528).
(c) Here we find in part the reason why, ini later times, some of the Jews bore two names at once; e.g. Johannes Marcus, Jesus Justus (Colossians 4:11). Other occasions were these: Bar was prefixed to the name of the father for a surname, as Joseph Barsabas; or it was acquired on some special occasion, as Simon Cephas or Peter, Joses Barnabas, Ι᾿ωνάθαν Ἀπφοῦς (1 Maccabees 2:5), Simon Canaanites (comp. also Josephus, War, 5:11, 5), or given to distinguish persons of the same name in one family or neighborhood; a distinction usually made in the Talmud by adding the name of the father, or of a trade or profession; elsewhere by that of one's residence or birthplace, as Mary Magdalene, Judas Iscariot. A complete catalogue of all the proper names used by Jews is given by Hiller, Onomast. Sacrum (Tubing. 1706); J. Simon, Onomast. V.T. (Hal. 1741), in connection with his Onomast. N.T. et libr. V.T. apocrapha (ibid. 1762); comp. B. Michaelis, Observatt. philol. de nomin. prop. Hebr. (Hal. 1729), and his Diss. nomina qucedam propr. V. et N.T. ex virilib. in mulietria, etc., versa suo restituens sexui (Hal. 1754); Potts, Sylloge, 7:26 sq. There is a useful catalogue of Phoenician and Carthaginian proper names in Gesenius, Monumenta Phen. page 395 sq.
(2.) The name was naturally given for the most part by the parents, but sometimes a number of their kinsmen and friends would agree in bestowing one; as in Ruth 4:17; Luke 1:59. Not seldom in the course of life this was changed for a new name which was full of significance among those who gave it; or was at first added to the original name, and gradually took its place. The latter happened with Cephas (Peter) and Barnabas. But princes often changed their names on their accession to the throne, as the popes do now (2 Kings 23:34; 2 Kings 24:17); comp. Joseph. Ant. 16:9, 4; Justin, 10:3; Ctes. Pers. 56; Ludolf, Histor. AEthiop.; Paulsen, Regier. d. Morgenl. page 78. This was done even in the case of private persons on entering upon public duties of importance. See Numbers 13:16; comp. John 1:42; Acts 4:36. This is still customary with monks on taking the vows of cloister life. To this head must be referred also the incident in 2 Samuel 12:25, where the prophet Nathan, on assuming the charge of Solomon's education, gave him the name Jedediah. So in reference to important epochs in life (Genesis 32:28; comp. Genesis 17:5; Genesis 17:15; Judges 6:32). The appellation Boanerges, which Jesus gave to James and John (Matthew 3:17), seems not to have been a permanent name, but simply the expression of an opinion as to their talents and disposition. In Genesis 41:45; Daniel 1:7; Daniel 5:12, the change of name takes place, not so much in reference to the change of circumstances or occupation as because Joseph and Daniel were in lands where their fbrmer Hebrew names were not understood or not readily pronounced. On the change of Saul's name to Paul, (See PAUL). Comp. Harmar, Observ. 3:368; J.H. Stuss, De mutatione nomtin. sacra et profana (Goth. 1735), 3:4; Hackett, Illust. Script. page 83; Thomson, Land and Book, 1:179; Noldeke, Hebr. u. Arab. Eigennamen, in the Zeitschr. f. deutsch. morgenl. Gesellschaft, 1861, page 806. (See PROPER NAMES).
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McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Name'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/eng/tce/n/name.html. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.