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God: Compound Names
TitleGod: Compound Names
Publication TypeBook Chapter
Year of Publication2022
AuthorsParry, Donald W.
Book TitleThe Jesus Christ Focused Old Testament: Making Sense of a Monumental Book
Pagination51-53
PublisherBook of Mormon Central
CitySpringville, UT

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The Israelites frequently gave their children Hebrew compound names that included a name of God plus another grammatical component such as a noun or verb. Scholars call these compound names theophoric (Greek: “bearing the name of God”) names. There are approximately 450 theophoric names in the Bible, of which about four hundred are personal names and the other fifty are place names.[1] Biblical scholar Dana Pike wrote, “The very fact that so many of the names in ancient Semitic societies, including the Israelites, were of a theophoric nature demonstrates a strong disposition toward the role of the divine in the lives of these people. These names indicate what attributes and qualities were associated with a specific deity by the general populace of a society.”[2]

A common theophoric name includes the name El, which is generally translated in English as “God.” El may appear at the beginning of the name (as in Elidad, Eliezer, Elijah, Elisha, Elkanah, Elnaam, Elnathan) or at the end of the name (as in Ariel, Jezreel, Joel, Michael, Samuel, Uriel). In addition to the name El, theophoric names include a verb, a noun, or another grammatical component that serves to describe God or one of His divine characteristics, attributes, or qualities. For example, the name Uzziel (“God is my strength”) shows that God is strength; Elnaam (“God is gracious”) sets forth God’s divine grace; Daniel (“God is my judge”) presents God’s judgeship; and Uriel (“God is my light”) reveals that God is our light. A few names describe aspects of the Atonement and Resurrection. These include Elkanah (“God has purchased”), Elisha (“God is salvation”), Elishua (“God is salvation”), Paltiel (“God is my deliverance”), Meshezabel (“God saves”), Eliakim (“May God raise up”), Mehujael (“God causes to live”), and Raphael (“God has healed”).

Theophoric names were popular in Israelite communities. For example, about thirteen biblical personalities had the name Joel; eleven persons possessed the name Eliezer; and another eleven had the name Michael.

There are many other El names in the Old Testament, but space limitations preclude listing them all in this chart.

Name

Meaning*

Abdeel

Servant of God

Abiel

My father is God

Adiel

God has adorned Himself

Ammiel

My kinsman is God

Ariel

Lion of God

Asahel

God has made

Azarel

God has helped

Azriel

My help is God

Barachel

God blesses

Eldaah

God desires

Eldad

God has loved

Elead

God has witnessed

Eleasah

God has made

Eleazar

God has helped

Elhanan

God has shown favor

Eliab

My God is father

Eliakim

May God raise up

Eliam

God is kinsman

Eliasaph

God has added

Eliashib

God causes to return

Eliathah

You are my God

Elidad

My God has loved

Eliel

My God is God

Eliezer

My God is help

Elihu

He is my God

Elijah

My God is the Lord

Elimelech

My God is king

Eliphaz

My God is fine gold

Eliphelehu

May my God distinguish him

Eliphelet

My God rescues

Elisha

God is salvation

Elishama

God has heard

Elishaphat

God has judged

Elishua

God is salvation

Eliud

My God is majesty

Elizaphan

My God has protected

Elizur

My God is a rock

Elkanah

God has purchased

Elnaam

God is gracious

Elnathan

God has given

Elpaal

God has acted

Elzabad

God gives a gift

Ezekiel

May God make strong

Gabael

God is raised up

Name

Meaning

Gabriel

God is strong

Gaddiel

My fortune is God

Gamaliel

My reward is God

Hanamel

God has shown favor

Hanniel

Favor of God

Hazael

God has seen

Immanuel

With us is God

Iphtahel

God opens

Ishmael

God hears

Jahaziel

God sees

Jahdiel

God rejoices

Jahleel

Wait for God

Jathniel

God is constant

Jediael

God knows

Jehallelel

He will praise God

Jehiel

May God live

Jerahmeel

May God have pity

Jeruel

Foundation of God

Jesimiel

God establishes

Jezreel

God sows

Joel

The Lord is God

Kadmiel

God is before me

Lael

Who belongs to God

Lemuel

Who belongs to God

Mahalalel

Praise of God

Malchiel

My king is God

Mehetabel

God does good

Mehujael

God causes to live

Meshezabel

God saves

Methushael

Man of God

Michael

Who is like God?

Mishael

Who belongs to God?

Nethanel

God has given

Paltiel

God is my deliverance

Pedahel

God ransoms

Pethuel

Youthfulness of God

Raphael

God has healed

Reuel

Friend of God

Samuel

His name of God

Shealtiel

I have asked God

Shelumiel

God is my peace

Uriel

God is my light

Uzziel

God is my strength

Zabdiel

Gift of God

* The meanings of some names are subject to dispute.

 



[1] Odelain and Séguineau, Dictionary of Proper Places, xiii.

[2] Pike, “Names, Theophoric,” 4:1019.

 

Chart by Donald W. Parry. God: Compound Names.

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