Old Testament Baby Names Are Now Popular

An article in the Times Colonist (part of Canada.com) highlights the current popularity of Old Testament baby names. This trend is also seen among the rich and famous — at least if recent celebrity baby names count. Take, for instance, Shiloh Jolie-Pitt and Moses Paltrow-Martin (see my previous comments on Shiloh as a baby name here).

According to the British Columbia article,

In B.C., six of the top 10 names for boys in 2005 had Hebraic roots. It’s a fact that Victoria Rabbi Meir Kaplan finds “fascinating,” even if he’s not convinced the parents had much awareness of their historic significance.

The Top 10 boys names in B.C. include Ethan at No. 1 (292) Joshua at No. 2 (265 plus 13 Joshes), Matthew No. 3 (241), Jacob at No. 4 (222 plus 56 Jakes and 33 Jakobs), Nathan at No. 5 (206 plus 15 Nates) and Noah at No. 10 (179).

Other popular boys’ names of Hebrew origin are Daniel (174) Benjamin (172), Samuel (142), Zachary (116) and Adam (101). Calebs, Isaacs and Elijahs also abounded. Even Soloman got the nod in 13 families.

For B.C. girls, Old Testament names accounted for two in the Top 10 list collected by B.C. Vital Stats. Hannah placed fourth (189 plus 19 Hannas) and Sarah landed at No. 7 (160 plus 64 Saras).

I’m glad to see that Isaac isn’t too popular (that’s my son’s name — and we were not trying to be trendy or popular!).

Some names from the Old Testament that I would dare someone to use include Nabal (“fool”; see 1 Sam 25:3), Ish-bosheth (“man of shame”; see 2 Sam 2:10), Maher-shalal-hash-baz (“swift is the booty, speedy is the prey”; see Isa 8:3), Shear-jashub (“a remnant will return”; see Isa 7:3), Lo-ammi (“not my people”; see Hos 1:9), among others.

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2 Responses to Old Testament Baby Names Are Now Popular

  1. D. P. says:

    Actually, there is an actor by the name of Mahershalalhashbaz Ali. He was on “Crossing Jordan.” My favorite odd Old Testament name is Mephiboseth. I just like the way it rolls off the tongue :-).

  2. dave beldman says:

    I’m thinking that Ichabod wouldn’t be too high on the list. Recently a relative of mine (an aspiring OT scholar) and his wife named their daughter Aviyah—equivalent to Abijah in the OT. Quite lovely, I think, and very meaningful.

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