Bible Names and Their Meanings

The name most used in the original writings is the creator’s name, the Father’s, Yahweh. It is written in whole or in part, around 6,000 times. Yet, most translations have substituted the name for the title “LORD,” following Jewish superstition that to write the divine name was too dangerous. It is thought by some that the divine name was originally included in the New Testament, especially where it quoted from the Old Testament. However, the practice of replacing the divine name (Yahweh, a.k.a. the tetragrammaton), in all scripture, with the title “Lord” gained momentum in the second or third century A.D. (George Howard of the University of Georgia, in Journal of Biblical Literature, Vol. 96, 1977, p.63).

Just think if you were the author of a book and someone replaced your name. How would you feel? Yahweh, wants his name to be remembered/memorialized among the nations as shown below: (This has been copied from the chapter “How God’s kingdom will be as in ancient times”)

Some translations have put the divine name back in the New Testament where it is quoting from the Old Testament and it contains the divine name. But most have not. However, some use all uppercase LORD to signify the divine name, as most do in the Old Testament – See Matthew 22:44 below. Most retain an abbreviated form of the divine name from the Hebrew scriptures, Yah,  as part of a Greek expression (a.k.a. hallelujah meaning to praise Yah (or Jah)) in Revelation 19:1,3-4,6. Compare this with Psalms 135:1-3:

Revelation 19:1,3-4,6 (WEB):

19 After these things I heard something like a loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, saying, “Hallelujah! Salvation, power, and glory belong to our God;

A second said, “Hallelujah! Her smoke goes up forever and ever.” The twenty-four elders and the four living creatures fell down and worshiped God who sits on the throne, saying, “Amen! Hallelujah!”

I heard something like the voice of a great multitude, and like the voice of many waters, and like the voice of mighty thunders, saying, “Hallelujah! For the Lord our God, the Almighty, reigns!

Psalms 135:1-3 (WEB):

Praise Yah!
    Praise Yahweh’s name!
    Praise him, you servants of Yahweh,
you who stand in Yahweh’s house,
    in the courts of our God’s house.
Praise Yah, for Yahweh is good.
    Sing praises to his name, for that is pleasant.

Matthew 22:44 (KJV):

44 The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool?

Psalms 110:1 (WEB):

Yahweh says to my Lord, “Sit at my right hand,
    until I make your enemies your footstool for your feet.”

Malachi 1:11 states that Yahweh will make his name great among the nations. This purpose was reflected in the prayer that Jesus gave as an example to his disciples at Matthew 6:9, to sanctify his Father’s name. Yahweh himself stated that his name should be a memorial, to be remembered among the nations, at Exodus 3:15 (WEB) ; “God said moreover to Moses, “You shall tell the children of Israel this, ‘Yahweh, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you.’ This is my name forever, and this is my memorial to all generations.” In contrast, Yahweh stated that the names of other gods should not even be mentioned, at Exodus 23:13 (WEB); “Be careful to do all things that I have said to you; and don’t invoke the name of other gods or even let them be heard out of your mouth.”

It is interesting to look at the meanings of many bible names and find deeper meaning. As an example, a deeper scriptural understanding can be found by looking at the meaning of Israel’s second king’s name, David. The meaning of the name, David, in Hebrew, means “beloved.” God also used the word “beloved,” regarding Jesus, when Jesus was baptized:

Luke 3:21,22 (YLT):

21 And it came to pass, in all the people being baptised, Jesus also being baptised, and praying, the heaven was opened,

22 and the Holy Spirit came down in a bodily appearance, as if a dove, upon him, and a voice came out of heaven, saying, `Thou art My Son — the Beloved, in thee I did delight.’ “

This can be taken a step further with cross-comparing how people, in many instances, proclaimed Jesus to be “the son of David.” An excellent example is found at Matthew 21:9 where Jesus was riding into Jerusalem, mounted upon an ass, the crowds in front and behind him were loudly proclaiming it, with joy!

Matthew 21:9 (YLT):

and the multitudes who were going before, and who were following, were crying, saying, `Hosanna to the Son of David, blessed is he who is coming in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest.’ “

Of course, things have to be taken into perspective when looking at the meanings of the names. As an example, the meaning of the Hebrew name Abijah is: “My father is YAHWEH” and the meaning of the Hebrew name Abiel is: “God is my father.” This does not literally mean that Abijah or Abiel are Jesus, just because Jesus called God his Father many, many times (Luke 10:21,22).

To hear the name of the Almighty, Yahweh, is different than knowing his name by experience. The knowing of Yahweh naturally has different depths of understanding via experience.

Abraham knew of God’s name Yahweh and was even given a promise from him. But Abraham did not know his name (His majestic power in action) as Moses and the Israelites would by seeing the ten plagues and being delivered from Egyptian bondage and to their promised land.

As brought out by the Apologetics Press: “The expressions “to know the name of Jehovah” or simply “to know Jehovah” frequently mean more than a mere awareness of His name and existence. Rather, “to know” (from the Hebrew word yada) often means to learn by experience.”

Compare Genesis 15:7(WEB) with Exodus 6:2-3(WEB). Both Abraham and Moses knew the name of the Almighty. But Moses had a much deeper awareness of his (Name) majesty by the acts of God.

I thought it to be most appropriate to start with the Almighty’s name, Yahweh (Jehovah), as many names have it as part of their name.

YAH or JAH: an abbreviation of YAHWEH

YAHWEH (The God of the Israelites): “He Brings into Existence Whatever Exists” (a.k.a. Jehovah)

ABIEL: “God is my Father”

ABIJAH: “My father is Yahweh”

ALVAH: “his highness”

AMARIAH: “YAHWEH has said”

AMMIEL: “God is my kinsman”

AMRAM: “exalted nation”

ANAIAH: “YAHWEH has answered”

ARIEL: “lion of God”

AZARIAH: “YAHWEH has helped”

AZAZIAH: “YAHWEH is strong”

AZRIEL: “my help is God”

BARAK: “lightning”

BENAIAH: “YAHWEH has built”

BETHUEL: Possibly means “God destroys”

BITHIAH: “Daughter of YAHWEH”

DANIEL: “God is my judge”

DAVID: (Dawid): “Beloved.” God called Jesus beloved, when Jesus came up out of the water. See introductory comments.

DELAIAH: “YAHWEH has drawn up”

ELDAD: “God has loved”

ELIAKIM: “God rises”


EMMANUEL (Same as IMMANUEL): “God is with us.” This name is given to Jesus. This is a statement. It does not mean that Jesus is God, no more than Ishmael or Eliakim is God. It is similar to the meaning of Ithiel; “God is with me” or the meaning of Jehu; “Yahweh is he.” Jehu is not Yahweh. The meaning is simply a proclamation to the people.

To further understand the meaning of Emmanuel (“God is with us”), it is good to look at the context of the places it is found in Isaiah and Matthew:

These two passages show that Jesus was this “Emmanuel”:

Isaiah 7:14 (NETS); “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Look, the virgin shall be with child and bear a son, and you shall call him Emmanouel.” This is talking about Jesus.

Matthew 1:21-23 (YLT); “21 And she shall bring forth a son; and thou shalt call his name Jesus; for it is he that shall save his people from their sins. 22 Now all this is come to pass, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying, 23 Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, And they shall call his name Immanuel; which is, being interpreted, God with us.”

The next two occurrences are in Isaiah 8:8-10. Older manuscripts than the MS (Masoretic Text – Which most translations are based), such as the Greek Septuagint, do not include the name but the meaning, in verse 8. The Septuagint is around 1,000 years older than the MS. I am quoting from the (NETS) which I feel is a good compromise between the NRSV, the Greek Septuagint, and the spirit of the Hebrew language, of the day. In this case, I feel it is important to use these examples, to help bring out the true meaning of the phrase, “God is with us:”

Isaiah (Esaias) 8:8-10 (NETS);

“…God is with us. (9) Learn, you nations, and be defeated;

listen as far as the end of the earth;

be strong, and be defeated;

for if you become strong again, again you

shall be defeated!

(10) And whatever counsel you take, the Lord

will scatter it,

and whatever word you speak, it will not

remain for you,

because the Lord God is with us.”

In the two passages from Isaiah 8, the term “God is with us” is a statement indicating that the Lord God is supporting them to victory over their adversaries. There is no hidden or secret meaning. It is simple. The thought can be compared to today. Some who go to war with success and feel that their God was with them so that they were victorious. But in this case, it is talking about having the support of the true Almighty God, Yahweh. It is not saying that Yahweh was physically with them. So when Jesus was born, it was a sure sign that Yahweh was with his people. Interestingly, John the baptizer, was to prepare the people for the arrival of the Messiah. This had to be done. It was prophesied. The people had to have the right attitude, in order to have God on their side. This thought is also shown in Isaiah 8:13-14 (ASV):

13 Jehovah of hosts, him shall ye sanctify; and let him be your fear, and let him be your dread. 14 And he shall be for a sanctuary…”

EZEKIEL: “God will strengthen”

GABRIEL: “Strong God,” “God is my strongman,” “God’s hero.”

I found it interesting how this name had so many different translated meanings.


HANANIAH: “YAHWEH is gracious”

HAZAEL: “God sees”

HEZEKIAH: “YAHWEH strengthens”

HILLEL: “Praise”

HODIAH: “majesty of YAHWEH”

HOSANNA: “deliver us” – This name was cried out when Jesus was entering Jerusalem, upon a colt. Of course, it did not mean that Jesus was the person Hosanna of old. The principle of the meaning is the important thing. Matthew 21:5-9 (YLT):

`Tell ye the daughter of Zion, Lo, thy king doth come to thee, meek, and mounted on an ass, and a colt, a foal of a beast of burden.’

And the disciples having gone and having done as Jesus commanded them,

brought the ass and the colt, and did put on them their garments, and set [him] upon them;

and the very great multitude spread their own garments in the way, and others were cutting branches from the trees, and were strewing in the way,

and the multitudes who were going before, and who were following, were crying, saying, `Hosanna to the Son of David, blessed is he who is coming in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest.’

HOSHEA: “Salvation”

ISAIAH: “YAHWEH is salvation”

ISHMAEL: “God will hear.” This is another good example of where the meaning is a statement. It does not mean that Ishmael is God.

ISRAEL: “God contends.” Jacob wrestled with an angel and would not let it leave until the angel blessed him. After receiving the blessing, Jacob is given this new name “Israel” (Genesis 32:22-28). This is a good example how a name receives a meaning – By the actions of the person.

ITHIEL: “God is with me”

JAHLEEL: “God waits”

JECONIAH: “YAHWEH will establish”



JEHORAM: “Exalted by YAHWEH”

JEHU: “YAHWEH is he”

JEREMIAH: “YAHWEH will exalt”

JERIAH: “Taught by YAHWEH”

JESUS: A contracted form of Joshua. See YESHUA

JOAB: “YAHWEH is father”



JOSHUA: “YAHWEH is salvation”

JOTHAM: “YAHWEH is perfect”

MALACHI: “My messenger” or “My angel”


MEDAD: “Love”

MEHETABEL: “God makes happy”

MICAIAH: “Who is like YAHWEH?”

MICHAEL: “Who is like God?”




SERAIAH: “Yahweh is ruler”

URIAH: “YAHWEH is my light”

UZZIAH: “My power is Yahweh”

YESHUA: “To deliver/rescue/save” (Jesus Christ)

ZEBADIAH: “Yahweh has bestowed”

ZECHARIAH: “Yahweh remembers”

ZEDEKIAH: “Justice of Yahweh”

ZURIEL: “My rock is God”