Wednesday, March 02, 2011

The Name Game

Naming babies can be so hard, can't it?  This fact is evidenced by the bazillion websites there are dedicated to baby name meanings and even books written about it.  You can even find baby name books in the grocery store checkout line on any given day!  Whether they consciously know it or not, I would guess that most people have rules or guidelines when it comes to naming their children.  I'm just thankful we didn't set out like the Duggar's and limit ourselves drastically (all their children have names beginning with 'J' and they have 19 children now).  When Mitch and I first started this journey, we decided we wanted to choose all names from the Bible.  We picked out 4 that we loved right from the beginning and planned to use them all.  They were:  Micah, Eden, Caleb, and Hannah.  So we had them in that order:  first Micah, then Eden, then so obviously Caleb we started calling him Caleb as soon as we knew we were pregnant.  I equally assumed #4 was a girl.  God had other plans.  Hannah never came.  By the time our second girl was born, 10 years after the first, she came months too late to be called Hannah--my brother snatched it up for his daughter.  :) 

Over the years we have tended to like the less-popular names.  Yes, we have a Caleb and a Joshua and those are pretty high up on the popularity list, but otherwise we tend to be lower in the ranks with our names.  Another unwritten rule we have (but are firm on) is that the person in the Bible must have a good story (or at least not a bad one).  Unknowing friends have suggested Jezebel and Delilah.  We suggest they brush up on their Bible stories.  :)  And for the record, Judas and Ahab are out too.  ;)

One exception to this has been the story of Manasseh.  A few years ago I read an incredible sermon by Charles Spurgeon on Manasseh.  As in the wicked king of Israel.  It is incredible.  I encourage you to take time to read it.  A little Spurgeon is good for the soul.  Reading this sermon allowed the name "Manasseh" to make my short-list of names for the baby.

Want to see my list?  First of all, a little review.  Here are the names we've already used:
Micah Andrew
Eden Rebekah
Caleb James
Ezekiel Paul
Joshua Eleazar
Malachi Jude
Tirzah Joy

We announced to the kids on Labor Day last year that we were expecting again.  Mitch wrote them a message on our white board then at the bottom marked off an area for name suggestions.  Here are some of the names we received:
Zechariah, Andrew Micah (wonder who put that?), Ruth, Esther, Sam Wise (Mitch put that one), Naomi, Joel, Timothy, Elisabeth, Julia, Lydia, Abishur, Claudia, Joanna, Miriam, Susanna, Mibzar, Jonah, Cherith, Obadiah Justus.
Once we knew we are having a boy we narrowed the list considerably.  We opened ourselves up for suggestions from friends.  Some other suggestions we have received that I liked and were worth considering (but not on my short list for various reasons):
Silas, Titus, Isaiah, Isaac, Elijah, Levi, Reuben, Ezra
We have also received lots of suggestions that are quite common (Timothy, Michael, Luke) or names that are not actually in the Bible at all but are derivatives of Bible names.  I guess these are part of our unwritten rule sets--they need to be less common and they need to be actually as-written in the Bible (unless I have a really compelling reason to choose otherwise).  But with 7 siblings who can locate their names in the Bible, I think this little guy would be feeling quite left out if his name weren't also in the Bible.  Oh...also important to point out, all of the kids' first names are found in the Old Testament and their middle names are found in the New Testament.  The only exception is "Eleazar" which is actually Old Testament...but in the New Testament you would recognize it as "Lazarus."  So it is not a hard-and-fast rule, but it is a nice pattern we have going.

Here are the names that I have seriously considered (Mitch only seriously considers names half the time...the other half the time he is just having fun) from my short list:
Judah (with Jeremiah as a middle name?), Jedidiah, Obadiah (with Justus or Benjamin as a middle name?), Zechariah (not really a favorite of ours but the little boys in our home love it), Josiah, Manasseh, Jotham,  (edited to add) Nathanael.
Mitch suggested Bartholomew a while back during a serious moment, then quickly added, "Barf all over you?"  LOL  So, no, that one is definitely out.  Last night I was looking through names again (on this website) and saw the name Sergius.  It means "a wonderful birth" according to that particular site (other sites differ).  Sounds good to me!  The story of Sergius in the Bible was also kind of neat.  But I'm not really considering it.  I will admit that I like Judah the best, but I'm still not sure.

What do you think?  Do you like a name from the short list?  One of the others?  A whole new suggestion??  Leave me a comment!


  1. Hmmm...I like Jedidiah, Josiah and Judah best! Of course Andrew would be my first choice ;) How fun though to be picking out names!

    Heather (wouldn't let me use my google account to post so I'll be anonymous today!)

  2. I've got a suggestion: Jabez (pronounced Ya-Bez). I think Jabez's story is really cool. It's found in 1 Chronicles. The writer of 1 Chronicles stopped right in the middle of a geneology because he thought that Jabez was so cool that we just needed to know about him. Here's the story:
    Jabez was more honorable than his brothers. His mother had named him Jabez, saying, “I gave birth to him in pain.” Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, “Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain.” And God granted his request.
    Otherwise, I think I really like Judah, Manasseh, and Josiah.

  3. Anna, let's think about this for a minute. "I gave birth to him in pain." LOL Not exactly what I'm aiming for BEFORE I actually go into labor. :) Thank you for your suggestions!!

  4. I'm partial to Josiah!
    __Katie Phifer

  5. From the Old Testament I like the names Seth, Gideon, Hosea, Amos and Eli. And from the New Testament I like Simon, Phillip, Jason, Lucas and Gabriel. :) Of course there are many others, but these are my favorites. :)
    From your short list I really like Judah, Obadiah, and Josiah. :)

  6. I liked Judah when I was pregnant. It had a great meaning. I also like Elijah.

  7. We like Nehemiah, Elias John, Amos, Boaz LOL, Simeon, Rueben, Levi, Moses. Just to name a few!

  8. Obadiah Benjamin or Josiah

  9. Ooooh I like Boaz too! But that one has never made it to the short list...(I don't think Mitch likes it very much). Simon almost made it to my short list as well as Phillip. :) Great suggestions and helpful input!

  10. I vote Judah! Love it!!!

  11. I personally would stay away from the O names with either a J middle name " OJ" or a B middle name "OB". I think he would end up being called OJ (yuck) or OB (makes me think of Star Wars.
    Just my opinion

  12. From the short list I like Judah Jeremiah. I don't particularly care for Zechariah because I think it would typically be shortened to Zeke and you've already got one of those :). I also don't really like Josiah because of a name association...

    From other suggestions, I do like Boaz. Also (and I realize this may be too common) I really like Jesse.

  13. Ohhh, I like Jesse! I wonder how common it actually is. I'll have to look it up on social security administration website.

    Boaz is one of my favorite men in the Bible.

    How about Judah Nathanael?

    Even though I love Bonnie and care very much about her opinion, I'm still liking the name Obadiah Benjamin. :) :) :) And yes, I'm well aware that his nickname would be Obi Wan. Mitch says he would call him Old Ben right from the beginning. :)

  14. Jesse ranks 113, which is not far from Micah at 118. It has been falling in popularity the past few years. Tirzah and Obadiah don't even make the top 1,000 names. :) Joshua is still in the top 10. Sheesh!

  15. oh yes, Boaz is a great name as well!!! :)

  16. We're expecting our seventh, and all have been Bible names. Our boys are Isaac, Zechariah (often goes by Zech), and Ezra, so I'm partial to those names. (You couldn't have an Ezra after Tirzah, though, IMO! :)) Oh, and our current youngest is Stephanie (other two are Mary and Phoebe), which really threw people for a loop. We explained it's the feminine form of Stephen, which is my dh's fave Bible character.
    My husband has always loved Boaz and Ezekiel. If this baby's a boy, he's likely Jonah Ezekiel or Ezekiel Jonah. I love Jonah and Gideon. And, Judah. Oh, and Obadiah is nice, and there's NOTHING wrong with Obi-Wan Kenobi. He's my favorite! :)