Old Testament Girls' Names
What's in a Name
Although Eve is generally believed to be Adam's first wife, some scholars believe that this honor actually goes to a woman named Lilith who was thrown out of Eden because she refused to be subservient to Adam.
Some names from the Bible are more familiar and common in their Anglicized versions, such as Rebecca instead of Rebekah. Use whichever appeals to you – a more traditional spelling will make the name more uncommon but won't affect the pronunciation.
- Abigail: "Father is rejoicing." Abigail was a wife of King David.
- Deborah: "Bee." Deborah was an important prophetess and judge.
- Delilah: "Delicate." Also the name of Samson's mistress. She cut off all his hair and rendered him defenseless in the face of the Philistines.
- Dinah: "Judged" or "vindicated." She was a daughter of Jacob and Leah.
- Esther: From the Persian word for "star". Esther was the wife and queen of Ahasuerus who saved her people from the evil Haman.
- Eve: "Life." The name of the first woman in the Bible.
- Hannah: "Gracious" or "full of grace." Hannah was the mother of Samuel.
- Jemimah: "A dove." She was the first of Job's three daughters.
- Judith: This name is the feminine form of the male name Yehudit, meaning "He will be praised." Judith was one of the wives of Esau.
- Leah: "Gazelle" or "wild cow." Leah was the oldest daughter of Laban and became Jacob's first wife.
- Michal: "Who is like God?" Michal was the first wife of David, who cast aspersions on him after she saw him rejoicing in the streets following his recovery of the ark of the covenant. The resulting division in their marriage is what is believed to have kindled David's desire for Bathseba.
- Miriam: This name is thought to mean "bitter" or "rebellious," although no one knows for sure. Miriam was the sister of Aaron and Moses.
- Naomi: "Joy" or "delight." Naomi was the wife and mother who lost her family; her story is told in the book of Ruth.
- Rachel: "Ewe." Rachel was the younger daughter of Laban, who was also given to Jacob as a wife.
- Rebekah: "Noose." Rebekah was the wife of Isaac and the mother of the twins Esau and Jacob.
- Ruth: "Friend" or "companion." Ruth was Naomi's daughter-in-law, who took care of her after the death of her husband and children.
- Sarah: "Princess." Sarah was the half sister and wife of Abraham.
- Tamar: "Date palm." There are two Tamars in the Bible: one was a daughter-in-law of Judah; the other was a daughter of King David.
More on: Choosing a Name
Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Baby Names © 1999 by Sonia Weiss. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
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