What’s In A Name?

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Have you ever heard the expression, “What’s in a name”?
In our society, names are often chosen for their cadence, rhyme, or because they have some sentimental connection.  However, in the Middle East, in ancient times…and sometimes even today…names were given as a badge, creeds, or attributes.

One such name that has been almost universally misread and misunderstood is Calib.  Of the twelve spies in the book of Numbers who went to check out the land of Canaan for Moses, only he and Joshua returned with positive reports.  Because of infidelity, all the original Hebrews over the age of twenty who fled Egypt in the Exodus (with the exception of Calib and Joshua who remained devoted to Jehovah, Numbers 26:64-65) died in the wilderness.  Only Calib and Joshua entered the Promised Land.  Joshua’s “badge” means, “Jehovah saves.”  Calib’s name, unfortunately, is usually interpreted as “dog.”  That’s because the little dots used in Hebrew writing called “nekkudot” and “dagesh” change the pronunciation of a word – the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia explains: “ כָּלֵב kalebh; in the light of the cognate Syriac and Arabic words, the meaning is not “dog,” which is כֶּלֶב kelebh, in Hebrew, but “raging with canine madness“; αλέβ, Chaleb.”  Notice that the Hebrew letters are the same in both words, but the “dots” are not, changing the meaning and pronunciation. We learn that Calib’s badge was not dog at all, but that of a man with strength and determination, someone who could rage with passion against God’s enemies.  This attribute was apparent in his life and his dedication to Jehovah God and to Moses.  We see in the fourteenth chapter of Joshua, beginning in verse 6, that at the age of eighty-five (verse 10) Calib was still conquering giants.

An intriguing example of how God sometimes uses names (badges) as a means to communicate an idea or hidden message is found in the introduction to the book of Zechariah“In the eighth month, in the second year of Darius, came the word of the LORD unto Zechariah (Yahweh Remembers), the son of Berechiah (Yahweh Blesses), the son of Iddo (The Appropriate Time) . . . .”  God is amazing.  In the first verse of this book, in the meaning of the names, God is telling Israel that He will “remember and blesses at the right time.”

As in the case with Calib, it is often difficult to ascertain the exact meaning of Biblical names.  It frequently takes searching through many lexicons, study aids, Hebrew lexicons and even that often disappoints.  Sometimes it may require an effort to search out the original roots composing the names.  Good news for us – the late Chuck Missler and his gang at “Koinonia” did the hard lifting for us.  Let’s see what hidden Gems in Genesis reveal to us – it is ASTONISHING!  

In the third chapter of Luke, beginning in the thirty-sixth verse, we find the pre-flood genealogy of our Lord, Jesus Christ.  Beginning with Adam we have: Adam; Seth; Enos; Cainan; Mahalalel; Jared; Enoch; Methuselah; Lamech; and Noah.  Each name, being a badge, translate as follows:

Adam can actually be translated either as red…being the color of clay or earth…or man.  Seth means appointed.  Genesis 4:25 says, “[Eve] called his name Seth: For God, [said she], hath appointed me another seed instead of Abe[l].”  Seth’s son was Enosh, meaning mortal or frail.   In Enosh’s time men began to defame God.  Enosh’s son was actually named Kenan and not Cainan as often presumed.  The name means sorrow or dirge.  His son was Mahalalel.  Notice this name ends in “el” which always means God.  The prefix translates blessed or praised.  He fathered Jared, meaning shall come down.  The name of his son is Enosh, which means teaching or commencement.  Interestingly, according to Jude 1:14, 15, Enosh gave the second prophecy in Scripture (the first being by God at Genesis 3:15).

Jude 14-15 (KJV) “And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him.

In Genesis 5, at the age of three hundred sixty-five, it appears that Enosh was raptured.  His son, Methuselah, was the longest living human.  He died at the age of 969.  His name means, “his death shall bring.”  Methuselah fathered Lamech, which means, lament or lamentation.  And Lamech was the father of Noah, meaning comfort or to bring relief.  Interestingly, Methuselah outlived all his forefathers and his son Lamech.  As predicted, when Methuselah died, the deluge came upon the earth.  Sounds like the Judgment of God from Jude 14-15 which we can also apply to the return of Christ in Judgment of the wicked.

If we string the names of Christ’s lineage together logically, we come up with an astonishing prophecy:
 “Man (is) appointed mortal sorrow; (but) the Blessed God shall come down teaching (that) His death shall bring (the)despairing rest.”

God’s plan of redemption expressed to us in Genesis through the names of the pre-flood lineage of our Lord and Redeemer, Jesus Christ.  We have an AWESOME God!

Here we see God’s justice, judgment, mercy, and integrity—always true to His Word – “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” James 1:17 (KJV)

Exploring Scripture~because it matters—it really does!

Final Note:
has the meaning of “rest” or “comfort.

Joseph Sutcliffe’s Commentary on the Old and New Testaments:
“And called his name Noah; that is, comfort or rest; a name prophetic of his reparations of the world destroyed by water. He outlived the wicked race—he established agriculture—he gave the world an example of religion, obtaining at the altar the special tokens of divine favour in the renewal of the covenant, and the blessing of God upon the earth. Thus he became the Deucalion or second father of the world.”

When he offered his sacrifice after the drying up of the waters, it is said that God smelled a savor of Rest, and said he would not curse the ground any more for man’s sake, Ge 8:21. And that we would always have the four seasons – despite political debate, God promised: “during all days of the earth, seed-time and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night, do not cease.'”

Genesis 5:29 (KJ2000) And he called his name Noah, saying, This same shall comfort us concerning our work and toil of our hands, because of the ground which the LORD has cursed.

Source Material:
King James Bible
Companion Bible Appendixes (available online)
“Hidden Treasures” (is a treasure in itself)
Copyright 2000 by Chuck Missler
Published by Koinonia House
P.O. Box D, Coeur d’Alene, ID 83816-0347

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