Nothing is random in the Bible, certainly not a name that is given to a person and remains with him or her forever. Each name assigned contains meanings that will remain with the believer throughout their life, so it is good to know the meaning of names, especially before we decide to give it to a son or daughter.
Many things contained in the etymology of names are not really known, sometimes even in those most popular and used in different cultures.
There are for example some constants that characterize groups of names, such as those that end with “el”, in Italian “ele” many do not know that they contain the Holy Name of GOD, “EL” in its shortened form coming from “ELOHIM”. Also other names ending with “Ha” contain the Name of GOD, according to another abbreviated form of the Biblical tetragrammaton (“Ha” “Ja” or “Ya”).Also many names ending with “Ah” indicate the name of God through the use of the last consonant of the tetragrammaton.
Therefore in the Holy Scriptures the names are never accidental, and always lead back to a link with the reality or the context in which the person operates.
Reading the Bible we discover ways to conceive and understand the name quite different from modern use, because for the ancients in general the name contained in its essence something related to who was assigned.
To give a few examples among the most important in both the Old and New Testaments we find:
Adam who harks back to his origin from the earth, from which he was kneaded (“adam” in Hebrew comes from “adamah,” meaning “earth” ; Genesis 2, 7). Or an example of a person’s name referring to his behavior (1Samuel 25, 25: Nabal, whose name means “fool,” and who behaves according to his name, as an arrogant and foolish man.
Or even the name can contain information about a person’s destiny, as in Ex 2, 10 explains the name of Moses (actually an Egyptian name, with the verb mashah, “to draw out of,” “saved from”[the waters], and save will also be Moses’ mission to GOD’s chosen people of believers.
Joshua, on the other hand, is the leader who succeeded the prophet Moses and led the tribes of Israel to their first conquests after the end of slavery in the land of Egypt. His name means “the Lord Saves.”
Benjamin (Gen 35, 16-18) was given to the son of Jacob and Rachel, first called Ben-Oni, “son of my sorrow”, because he was given birth with his dying mother, and then called in a similar way but with a different meaning “son of the right hand”, and who will be the beloved of his father, Israel.
The Bible also affirms that “Without a name one does not exist” (Qoelet 6, 10) and without a name a man is worth nothing (Job 30, 8), and that pronouncing the name on an object is like taking possession of it (2Samuel 12, 28).
And again, “He who has written the name of GOD upon himself is his servant” (Isaiah 44:5 ), and he upon whom the name of a mighty one is pronounced is under his protection. So in the blessing by the priest pronouncing the Divine Name that is placed on the people and GOD blessing them (Numbers 6, 27).
To say that in the Temple dwells the “Name of GOD” means that in that place dwells GOD himself (Deuteronomy 12, 5). The name is so “close” to the person that the Jews, out of respect, never pronounce the Divine Name, using instead periphrases and one of these is precisely “Ha-Shem” which means “the Name“.
In the ancient world the relationship between person and name was much closer than it is today, and this is testified by the frequent changes of name of biblical characters on the occasion of crucial experiences, one of all Jacob who becomes Israel.
Biblical names, therefore, express not only the “essence” of a person, but also his “relationship” with the world that surrounds them and with GOD.
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