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EXPLANATION OF THE PRINCIPAL PROPER NAMES MENTIONED IN SCRIPTURE.
The names in Scripture, both of persons and of places, are remarkable for their significancy, not having been given in an arbitrary or indifferent manner, but were given to express some peculiar circumstance, either relating to the person so named, to his disposition, or to some event connected with his history. In some instances, names were given, 1. Directly by God, as Adam, Israel. The meaning of these names will strikingly show with what peculiar propriety they were imposed. Thus, the name, Adam, given by God to our first parents, Gen. v. 2, signifies earth, or red earth, being expressive of their origin, so that every time their name was mentioned, they received a lesson of humility, and an intimation that “their foundation was in the dust,” Job iv. 19. Israel means a prince with God, because Jacob “by his strength had power with God,” Hos. xii. 3. Wherefore God said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel, for as a prince hast thou power
with God and with men, and hast prevailed,” Gen. xxxii. 28. 2. Names were also given by a spirit of prophecy, as Jesus, which means a Saviour, and Emmanuel, God with us,—“And she shall bring forth a son', and she shall call his name Jesus'; for he shall save his people from their sins. (Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet', saying, Behold a virgin shall be with child', and shall bring forth a son', and they shall call his name Emmanuel ; which, being in. terpreted, is, God with us,") Matth. i. 21–23. And, 3. Sometimes names were imposed by men, as Manasseh, which means forgetfulness. For, said Joseph, “God hath made me forget all my toil.” Gen. xli. 51. Samuel signifies “ asked of God," and he was so named by his mother, “ Because she asked him of the Lord," 1 Sam. i. 20. Ichabod means," where is the glory." And she named the child Ichabod, saying,
The glory is departed from Israel,” 1 Sam. iv. 21, 22. (“ because the ark of God was taken.") The significancy and propriety of Jacob's name, as descriptive of his character and disposition, is pathetically adverted to by his brother Esau. After Jacob had by deceit obtained the prophetic blessing of his father Isaac, when Esau knew it, he said, “ Is not he rightly named Jacob? for he hath supplanted me these two times : he took away my birthright, and, behold, now he hath taken away my blessing," Gen. xxvii. 36. The name Jacob signifying a “supplanter.” A pointed allusion is made by Abigail to the propriety of her husband's name, “ As his name is, so is he:
Nabal,” (that is, a fool) “is his name, and folly is with him," 1 Sam. xxv. 25.
With regard to the names of places, they were often given to commemorate some remarkable event that happened at them. Thus, when Abraham, at the Divine command, was about to offer up his son Isaac, and when, by the Divine command, he was stayed from slaying him, and saw a ram provided by God in stead, Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt-offering in the stead of his son.
And Abraham called the name of that place Jehovah-jireh.” That is, the Lord will see, or provide :-“as it is said to this day, In the mount of the Lord it shall be seen,” Gen. xxii. 14. And when the children of Israel murmured because
there was no water for the people to drink,” Moses “called the name of the place Massah”, that is, Temptation, “and Meribah,” that is, Contention, “because of the chiding of the children of Israel, and because they tempted the Lord, saying, Is the Lord among us, or not ?" Exod. xvii. 7,
It may be proper to remark, that some persons in Scripture had two names, and they are occasionally called by the one and sometimes by the other. Thus Matthew was called Levi; Peter was called Simon; Saul was the Jewish name of the great apostle of the Gentiles, while his Roman name was Paul. Many names also in the Old Testament are differently spelled in the New, being taken from the Greek version of the Old Testament, as Esaias for Isaiah ; Jeremy for Jeremiah. In some parts of the
New Testament the Latin form of names has been retained,—thus, we have Marcus for Mark; Silvanus for Silas; and Timotheus for Timothy.
It may be also noticed, that those names which either begin with je, or end with el, or iah, have al. ways a relation to God, as Jehoida, praise, or knowledge of the Lord, 1 Kings i. 8. Jehoshophat, the Lord will judge, 1 Kings xxii. 41. Bethel, the house of God, Gen. xxviii. 17, 19. Peniel, the face of God, Gen. xxxii. 30. Isaiah, salvation of the Lord, Isa. i. 1. Jeremiah, exaltation of the Lord, Jer. i. 1.
Aaron, means, a mountain of strength, teaching, or
a teacher. Abaddon, destruction, the destroyer. Abdiel, the servant of God. Abed-nego, servant of Nego, or light. Abel, vanity, vapour, mourning. Abel- Mizraim, the mourning of the Egyptains, Gen.
my father is king.
Abinadab, my father is a willing prince.
Bezek, (for he was king of that city.).
of men, or one that turns away evil. Alleluia, praise the Lord, or praise to the Lord. Amalek, a people that uses ill, or that strikes,