Hebrew Names in the Bible
By Jeff A. Benner
Any study in the various names of the Bible should begin with an understanding of how names are formed in Hebrew. The name of a people, their land and their language begins with a patriarch, an individual who is considered the "father" of a people.
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In Genesis 10:22 we read that ארם (Aram) was the son of Shem.
A male descendent of Aram is called an ארמי (aramiy) such as in Genesis 25:20. Some translations, such as the RSV translate this name as Aramean while other translations, such as the KJV and ASV, use the name Syrian which comes from the Greek Septuagint.
A female descendent of Aram is called an ארמיה (aramiyah) as seen in 1 Chronicles 7:14. Some translations, such as the KJV and ASV translate this name as Aramitess while others, such as the RSV, translate it as Aramean.
The descendents of Aram are called ארמים (aramiym), simply the plural form of ארמי (aramiy), such as in 2 Kings 8:28. While the NRS translates this as Arameans, most translations use Syrians.
The land of the Arameans is called ארם (Aram), the same as the name of the Patriarch, such as in Numbers 23:7. Some translations use Aram and Syria for the Hebrew ארם (Aram) interchangeably. For example, in the KJV the name ארם (Aram) is written as Aram in Numbers 23:7 but is translated as Syria in 1 Kings 10:29. Other translations use Syria exclusively.
The language of the Arameans would be called ארמית (aramiyt) as seen in 2 Kings 18:26. This name is translated as Aramaic in some translations or as Syrian or Syriac in others.
When doing studies in the New Testament it is helpful to know how the Greek language deals with each of these names. The best way to examine this is through the Greek Septuagint which in some cases, as pointed out above, uses some very different methods for translating names.
Hebrew Names of God in the Bible
In our modern culture a title defines the position, or character, of an individual while a name is nothing but an identifier with no meaning. In Hebrew all names are words with meaning and represent the character of the individual. Using English as an example my name, from an Hebraic perspective, could be Jeff, father, husband, son or manager. The first column is the name in Hebrew, the second is an English transliteration, the third is its literal translation and the fourth is a Biblical reference with the name.
| אל || El || mighty one || Genesis 14:19 |
| אלוה || Elo'ah || power || Deuteronomy 32:15 |
| אלהים || Elohiym || powers || Genesis 1:1 |
| יהוה || Yehu || he exists || Genesis 4:1 |
| אהוה || Ehyeh || I exist || Exodus 3:14 |
| אדוני || Adonai || lords || Genesis 18:27 |
| אחד || Ehhad || one || Zechariah 14:9 |
| מלך || Melekh || king || Psalm 47:6 |
| אב || Av || father || Isaiah 64:8 |
| מושיע || Moshi'ah || deliverer || Isaiah 45:15 |
| רוח || Ru'ahh || wind || Genesis 1:2 |
| בורא || Borey || filler || Isaiah 40:28 |
| באל || Ba'al || master || Isaiah 54:5 |
| עושה || Oseh || maker || Isaiah 54:5 |
| אל שדי || El Shaddai || mighty breasts || Genesis 17:1 |
| אדוני יהוה || Adonai Yehu || Adonai of Yehu || Genesis 15:2 |
| יהוה אלהים || Yehu Elohiym || Yehu of Elohiym || Genesis 2:4 |
| יהוה יראה || Yehu Yireh || Yehu sees || Genesis 22:14 |
| יהוה נסי || Yehu Nisi || Yehu is my standard || Exodus 17:15 |
| יהוה שלום || Yehu Shalom || Yehu is completeness || Judges 6:24 |
| יהוה צדקנו || Yehu Tsid'qanu || Yehu is our righteousness || Jeremiah 23:6 |
| יהוה צבאות || Yehu Tseva'ot || Yehu of the armies || 1 Samuel 1:3 |
| אלהים צבאות || Elohiym Tseva'ot || Elohiym of the armies || Psalm 80:7 |