List Lists: Rare-ish 19th-century Old Testament names in England & Wales

Rare-ish 19th c. old

For this List Lists post, we will be taking a look at some of the Old Testament names which had been rarely used (but not too rarely used) in England & Wales from 1838-1899.

For a name to qualify a spot on this list, the name needs to have around 50-200 records (on either gender) on the Birth Index for the whole period which I’ve mentioned above.

So, let’s kick things off with:

  • Asaph – this is the name of a venerated Welsh saint, but it also belongs to several minor characters of the Old Testament. It comes from Hebrew אָסַף (asaf) generally meaning “to gather.”
  • Barzillai – this name belongs, among others, to a Gileadite, known for his loyalty and hospitality to David, and it is derived from Hebrew בַּרְזֶל (barzel) meaning “iron.”
  • Bithiah – this name belongs to a pharaoh’s daughter and it is made up of Hebrew בַּת (bat) meaning “daughter” and Yahweh, the name of the Hebrew God.
  • Carmi – this name belongs to a son of Reuben and it is derived from Hebrew כֶּרֶם (kerem) meaning “vineyard.”
  • Eder – this name belongs to a son of Beriah and it originates from עֵדֶר (‘eder) meaning “a flock, a herd, a drove.”
  • Hadassah – this is the Hebrew name of Queen Esther and it is derived from Hebrew הֲדַס (hadas), which refers to a myrtle.
  • Hori – this name belongs to a father of Shaphat and it generally means “cave-dweller,” from Hebrew חֹר (khor) meaning “cave, hole.”
  • Huldah – belonging to a prophetess, this name is a feminine equivalent to the word חֹלֶד (kholed) meaning “weasel.”
  • Issachar – this is the name of one of the twelve sons of Jacob and Leah and it may be derived from Hebrew שָׂכַר (sakhar) meaning “to hire, to reward.”
  • Jael – this name belongs to the wife of Heber the Kenite who hammered the head of Sisera, the Canaanite army captain, with a tent peg. It originates from Hebrew יָעֵל (ya’el), which refers to an ibex.
  • Joab – belonging to the commander of King David‘s army, this name is derived from Yahweh and אָב (‘av) meaning “father.”
  • Jubal – this name receives a mention, belonging to the first person to be a musician and it is derived from יוּבַל (yuval) meaning “tributary, stream.”
  • Mehetabel – this name comes from the Hebrew name מְהֵיטַבְאֵל (Meheitav’el) possibly meaning “God makes happy,” from יָטַב (yatav) meaning “to be happy” and אֵל (el) meaning “god, supreme deity.”
  • Merab – this name belongs to a daughter of Saul and it is derived from Hebrew מֵרַב (merav) meaning “abundant, increase, maximum.”
  • Peninnah – this name belongs to the one of the wives of Elkanah and it may be derived from פְּנִינָה‎ (p’nina) meaning “pearl.”
  • Zadok – this name belongs notably to the high priest of Israel during both David‘s and Solomon‘s reigns and it means “righteous,” taken from Hebrew צָדַק (tzadak) meaning “to be right.”
  • Zibiah – this name belongs to the mother of King Joash of Judah and it is a feminine equivalent to the name Tzvi (צְבִי), originating from a word which refers to a gazelle. So, in other words, Zibiah refers to a female gazelle (or maybe a roe).

To me, the names on this list have an interesting look to it in various ways and many of them are my new discoveries. Carmi would be one of those interesting discoveries, being that this name is related to Carmel and Carmen, both of which I like to an extent.

What are your thoughts on the names shown on this list? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below the sources.

Name sources used for origins and meanings:
Behind the Name – https://www.behindthename.com/
Wiktionary – https://en.wiktionary.org/
Strong, J. 1890, The Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible. Cincinnati: Jennings & Graham.
Smith, W. 1863. Smith’s Bible Dictionary. 1st ed. London.
Hitchcock, R. D. 1869. Hitchcock’s Bible Names Dictionary.

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