Posted in Hiding His Word

What’s in a Name?

Today in the daily Bible we began the book of Daniel.

I have studied this book quite a bit but am always left to wonder why in our modern day corporate studies and our retelling of Bible stories, we usually use the Chaldean names (or Babylonian names) given by the King when we speak of Daniel’s three friends instead of their Hebrew names. I much prefer the Hebrew: Hananiah, Misha’el, Azariah over Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego.

What is in a name? If you have never looked at this, you may find it interesting. I have listed the meaning of their names below – for the Hebrew and also the Chaldean names given to them. I have also included these for Daniel. I can understand fully why the king would want to change their names, but I can’t understand why I would ever want to call them such. I believe when we meet these three mighty men of God in heaven we won’t be calling them by any Babylonian name…Praise GOD!

Hebrew etymologies:
Daniel means “God is my Judge”
Hananiah means “Jah who is gracious”
Misha’el means “Who is like God?”, also means “to feed” or “to provide”—as in how a husband provides for his family
Azariah appropriately means “Jah has helped”

Chaldean etymologies:
Daniel was given the name Belteshazzar, meaning prince of Bel or Bel protect the king.

It has been asserted that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego’s names all pertained to pagan Babylonian gods.
Shadrach possibly is derived from Shudur Aku “Command of the moon god”
Meshach is probably a variation of Mi•sha•aku, meaning “Who is what Aku is?”, and may have been an alteration of his Hebrew name Mishael
Abednego is either a corrupted or deliberate use of Abednebo, “servant of Nebo/Nabu,” or Abednergo, a variation of Abednergal, “servant of the god Nergal”

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