Theophoric names and their significance (Numbers 31)

In the ancient word people and sometimes places often were given “theophoric” names – proper names that included the name of a deity. This practice occurred in pagan lands as well as in -israel, ans such names can convey significant information to scholars today. For example, the name Sennacherib (a well-known Assyrian king) means “Sin (the moon god) has substituted (for) the dead brothers”. This suggests that Sennacherib was born into a family that worshipped the moon god Sin and that at least two of his brothers born before him  died before reaching adulthood.

The God of Israel, as we know, was called by the name of Yahweh. Not surprisingly, after God had established His covenant with Israel at Sinai, many Israelites gave their children names that included some element of Yahweh. Sometimes the Yahweh part of the name came first in the form of yeho or yo; sometimes it came at the end of the name in the form of yahu or ya. For example, Jonathan may be rendered yeho-nathan, which means “Yahweh has given”. Micha stems from mi-k-ya of mi-k-yahu, meaning “Who is like Yahweh?”

Israelite proper names given prior to the Sinai covenant typically did not contain an element of Yahweh. For example, the name Eleazar is derived from el-azar, meaning “God (el) has helped”-

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