The Hebrew language is the historical language of the Jewish people in antiquity and the modern era. Hebrew is the language in which the Bible was written and one of the oldest languages in the world that still lives, develops and is used by millions of people in Israel and worldwide in their daily lives.
Many Jewish or Hebrew names for boys and girls have their roots in different languages such as Canaanite, Phoenician, Egyptian, and Aramaic. Most of the Hebrew names are theophoric in nature, which has suffixes related to them. Most of these Hebrew names are dedicated or a derivative for the love of God.
Hebrew names for boys have been in use for several reasons. Most of these Hebrew names are widely used in English-speaking countries despite having a Hebrew origin. In fact, most of these Hebrew names are popular in the US. While some names are prevalent, some names are unique and used only in Jewish culture.
Most of these Hebrew names have certain variations. These names have eventually evolved over the name. It is for this reason that most of the common names often become unique in nature.
We will be happy to answer any questions about the names: meaning, origin, popularity in Israel, and among the Jews worldwide. Write the question or message at the bottom of the post, and we will answer it.
Aharon has a special mention in the Bible, for he was the brother of Moses and the first High Priest. Accordingly, the meaning of Aharon is ‘shining’ and ‘mountains.’
Aharon has a figure in the Bible and was popular as someone who loved the peace and pursued peace. One of the most popular variations of Aharon is Aaron, which is a prevalent name used around the US.
Adam is one popular Hebrew name for boys that means ‘son of the red earth.’ Furthermore, Adam also means ‘ground.’ It is a primary name in the Bible. Adam was the first man on Earth, a prominent creation of God.
Hence, Adam was further used as a generic term for humans. Later on, Adam was revived during the sixties as a cowboy name. Some of the common variations of Aram include Axel, Avery, Aidan, and Aiden.
The name Akiva shares a resemblance with Jacob or Yaakov, which translates to ‘held by the heel.’ The very popular Rabbi Akiva belonged to the Talmudic times. Rabbi Akiva belonged to the shepherd class, who is 40-years old and does not know Aleph-Bet.
The story of Akiva states that once on his way, he found a stone that was holed because of one drip of water. He further said- ‘If something as soft as water can carve a hole in solid rock, how much more so can Torah — which is fire — make an indelible impression on my heart.’ It was after this incident that Akiva dedicated himself to the study of Torah. Despite being uneducated, Akiva became the greatest sage of his time, having more than 24,000 students at once.
Jacob, popularly pronounced as Yacob (in Hebrew), is one of the most popular Jewish names. It is used widely in the US as well. In Hebrew, Jacob means ‘supplanter.’ Jacob is derived from the Hebrew name ‘Ya’aqov.’
Jacob holds a significant place in the Bible, where he is regarded as the greatest patriarch, i.e., Israeli tribes. In the Bible, Jacob is the youngest son of Rebecca and Isaac and the twin brother of Esau. Jacob is the husband of Leah as well as Rachel. It is said that his sons formed the 12 main tribes of Israel.
Alexander came from Alexander the Great, the King of Macedonia. According to the Talmud, when the High Priest of the Temple in Jerusalem met Alexander, the latter dismounted and bowed to show his respect. This is one great incident because rarely did Alexander bow to anyone. Talking of the incident, Alexander said that he had dreamt of the High Priest, which he considered a good omen.
Alexander further went on to bring Israel into his vast empire. As a dedication, Sages agreed that they should name all the boys in Israel that year as Jewish. Alexander is thus one of the most popular Jewish names even today.
Ariel is often confused with being a girl’s name; however, boys are named Ariel in Jewish culture. According to Isaiah 29:1, Ariel refers to the ‘lion of God.’ Ariel is one popular name in Jerusalem and is used for the altar of the Holy Temple, according to Ezekiel 43:15. Furthermore, in Isaiah 33:7, Ariel is an angel who set out for the mission of spreading peace.
Joseph is one of the most famous Hebrew names. It used to be much more popular in the past, however, it’s still popular today within the religious communities in Israel.
In Hebrew, the name translates to ‘Jehovah increases.’ Joseph is the English version of the Hebrew name, Yosef which is a derivative of the verb Yasaf that means ‘to increase’.
In the Bible, Joseph was the favorite son of Jacob and Rachel. The feminine version of Joseph is Josephine. Some of the popular variations of Joseph include Josef, Jose and Giuseppe.
Daniel is one of the most popular names in Israel for boys and surprisingly (?) Daniel is one of the most popular names in Ireland. According to the Jewish language, Daniel means, ‘God is my Judge.’ Danielle is the feminine version of Daniel.
Daniel is derived from the Hebrew words: Dan (דן) and El (אל). Dan means to judge, and El means God, so together, God judges. ‘El’ is one of the most commonly used suffixes in Hebrew names for boys and girls.
The Book of Daniel is one of the main parts of the Bible that describes the prophet’s life in captivity in Babylon. It also talks about His visions of Earth in his last days. Danny and Dan are the common nicknames for Daniel.
In the Hebrew language, Noah means ‘rest and repose.’ Noah was originally derived from Noach, which is further derived from much, which means root. Noa is a feminine alternative for Noah.
Noah is the prominent character of the story of Noah’s Ark. According to the Bible, Noah is the righteous man of his time who survived the great flood which was sent by God to punish the world.
Asher stands for the ‘fortunate, blessed, and happy ones.’ Asher has an important impact on Jerusalem, with so many boys being named after it.
In the Bible, the book of Genesis 30:13, Asher was one of Jacob’s twelve sons who led a tribe in Israel. Asher is the derivation of the Hebrew word, Osher, which comes down to ‘happiness.’ According to the Rabbinical scholars, the Asherite tribes lived up to their names because the male children of this tribe were excellent wisdom.
Although unique, Avigdor as a Biblical name has a subtle touch to it. According to the Jewish people, Avigdor means ‘the father of the ones who developed/established boundaries.’ Hence, many believe that Avigdor is the traditional name for Moses. Avigdor finds its mention in the Bible, in 1-Chronicles 4:4.
Elijah is derived from the Hebrew name ‘Eliyahu’ and is made using two different elements, el and yah, which means God. The Hebrew meaning of Elijah is ‘Yahweh is God’.
According to the Bible, Elijah is the prophet’s name who rode his chariot of fire and reached Heaven. The Greek variation of Elijah is Elias.
The mention of the Hebrew origin name, Avner, is made in 1-Samuel 14:50, meaning ‘my father is light.’ Avner made his appearance as the uncle of King Saul and Army Commander in the Bible.
Homophonous to Ariel, Azriel is one of the most common names used for Jewish boys. According to religious texts, Azriel is an angel. The name Azriel means ‘helper of God.’ Azriel’s mention has been twice in the Bible, once in 1-Chronicles 27:19 and Jeremiah 36:26. According to the Bible, Azriel is the father of the Naftali tribe’s leader.
While Ariel means “lion of God,” Aryeh translates to a lion or the King of Beasts. According to the Code of Jewish Law O.C. 1, the lion is a symbol for someone ready to pounce on the opportunity to conduct the mitzvah. According to the Bible, Aryeh is the nickname of Judah. Judah was given this name as the blessing stating that he would be the Jewish King of tribes. (Genesis, 49:9). The common variations of Aryeh include Ari and Arieh.
Abba is not a much-used Jewish name. Abba means ‘father.’ The word came to be popular as a name during the Talmudic era. The Talmud suggests that the most popular Abba was the 2nd-3rd century Babylonian scholar.
Avraham holds significance in the Jewish culture, for he was the first patriarch of the Jewish people. According to the Jewish culture, Avraham dedicated his entire life to teaching the world about the love of One God. It is said that Avraham was the master of kindness. Avraham translates to ‘father of many nations’ as per Genesis 17:5. Some of the most common variations of Avraham include Abe, Avram, and Abraham.
Caleb is one of the most common Hebrew names for boys, which means ‘devotion to God.’
In the Bible, Caleb and Joshua were two ancient Israelites who took up Egypt’s journey to get into the promised land.
According to the Yiddish language, Alter means ‘old.’ According to Jewish tradition, if a child born sick were given Alter’s name, he would recover and grow up to become old and healthy. The Jewish people considered this name to be a blessing.
The Bible had 12 minor prophets, Amos who was out of them. Amos was a prophet with wide wisdom, hence, the name translates to ‘loaded’ or ‘crowded’.
The father of Moses or Amram was the leader of Jewish people in the generation before the beginning of Exodus. The story of Amram is mentioned in Exodus 6:20. The name Amram means ‘mighty nation’.
Avi is the short name for Avraham. The mention of Avraham is made in Genesis 17:5 as the first patriarch of the Jewish people. According to the Jewish people, Avi means ‘my father.’
Jonathan is one of the most popular Hebrew names for boys which means ‘gift of Jehovah.’
According to the Bible, Jonathan was the eldest son of King Saul. It is owing to his close friendship with his brother-in-law David that the renowned expression for friendship ‘Jonathan and David’ came up. Jonathan and David stand as the symbol of steadfast and dedicated friends.
Betzalel stands for “shadow of God.” As was told in the Bible, Betzalel played an important role in the construction of the Tabernacle. He is the one who built the Tabernacle, the holy and portable sanctuary, which was used for the religious ritual of the Jewish people in their journey of 40 years across the desert.
Benjamin is derived from the Hebrew name Benyamin. It stands for the ‘son of my right hand’ talking of the strength of Jesus. According to the Bible, Benjamin was one of the twelve sons of Jacob who contributed to forming Israel’s tribes.
Caleb’s variation is Calev. Calev stands for ‘like a heart.’ According to Bible Numbers 13:6, Calev was one of the 12 spies who made his way to the Land of Israel. According to the stories, Caleb was betrothed to Moses’ sister, Miriam. Calev is also spelled as Kalev.
As the name goes, Ben Tzion means the son of excellence or the son of God. Accordingly, Ben-Tzion suggests strength. The first mention of Ben-Tzion is done in the Mishna, Eduyot 8:7 of the Jewish Bible.
Isaac’sIsaac’s name is derived from the Hebrew name, Yitzchaq, which was further made from the Hebrew word, tzachaaq (צחק). While Isaac stands for laughter, tzachaaq stands for to laugh. Hence, the main meaning of Isaac would be spreading mirth, laughter, and joy.
Isaac was the son of the elderly couple Sarah and Abraham in the Bible. After a long wait, the couple conceived Isaac, which eventually brought laughter and mirth into their lives. Isaac was the cousin of Isaiah. Isaac from Isaac is the favorite character of Puritans.
Nathan is derived from the Hebrew name Natan which is made up of the Hebrew verb Natan (נתן). Nathan stands to forgive or given.
Nathan is one prevalent character in the Bible. Nathan was a Prophet and one of the sons of King David. Some of the common names related to Nathan include Jonathan and Nathaniel.
Boaz stands for swiftness. In the Bible, Boaz is the husband of Ruth and the great grandfather of King David. Although there isn’t much mention of Boaz in the Bible, the name did spring up into popularity for being one of the many popular Hebrew names for boys.
Chagai stands for festivals and festivities. The literal meaning of Chagai translates to ‘my festival’. According to the Bible, Haggai was one of the 12 minor prophets. In Genesis 46:16 there is a mention of Chagai but as a variation. In the work, he is described as Jacob’s grandson.
Standing for life, Chaim does live up to the meaning. Chaim first appeared in the Jewish culture as one of the earliest Tosafot commentators of Talmud. According to the tradition of Jewish people, only the Messiah will be given the name Chaim. In the meanwhile, The name is very common, especially among religious Jews
Chananya has a charm in itself. It is one of the many unique and effective names in Jewish culture. Even in Jewish culture, Chananya is one of the less commonly used Hebrew names for boys. Chananya stands for ‘God bestows charm.’ There’s a mention of Chananya in Jeremiah 28:1 as one of the Jewish culture’s major prophets.
Samuel is derived from the Hebrew name Shemu’el which stands for ‘told by God.’
In the Bible, Samuel was one of the main judges and prophets in Israelites who was destined to have a noble birth. Later on, Samuel grew to establish the Hebrew monarchy coming over King Saul and King David.
Levi is mostly a popular family name in the Jewish culture. Accordingly, Levi stands for the Hebrew origin meaning ‘attached or joined.’
Levi is one of the energetic Biblical names that have a strong resemblance in the Bible. Levi was the third son of Jacob and Leah. Levi comes from the Hebrew word yelaveh (ילווה), which translates to he will join.
Chanan is yet one of the unique Hebrew names for boys. Chanan stands for ‘God bestows Charm.’ It is not a widely used name for boys, but it can be unique. If you’re looking forward to naming your child uniquely, then Chanan would be the right choice. Chanan was the name of the leader of the Benjamin tribe in the Bible, according to 1-Chronicles 8:23.
Chanoch stands for dedicated or education. It is one of the most popular names in the Jewish culture. Chanoch is one of the most popular names in the Jewish culture as he is the son of Cain in the Old Testament. Chanoch has been mentioned twice in the Old Testament once in Genesis 4:17 and another in 5:18.
David is one of the most commonly used names in Jewish culture. David stands for beloved. According to 1-Samuel 17:12, in the Bible, David was the second king of Israel. David, later on, grew to become the ancestor of future kings and even the Messiah.
One of the most popular names for Hebrew boys in Israel is Uri. Uri stands for ‘my flame, my light.’
Although short, Uri is a string name. There aren’t one but two characters named Uri in the Bible. The first Uri is the father of Betzalel, while the other one is the father of Geber.
Uri, the father of Betzalel, is an artisan who can create an ark and a tent. He was the one who acted as a covenant for Moses. Uri, the father of Geber, was a part of twelve officials who offered nourishment to Solomon.
In the Bible, Uri is symbolically referred to boys who took birth during Hanukkah. The longer names related to Uri are Uriel and Uriah, the archangel.
This is one of the unique names in the Jewish culture, standing for ‘God is my Strength.’ Chizkiyahu is slightly tough to pronounce, which is why you may not find many people of the same name.
However, Chizkiyahu is an essential character in the Bible, for he was the righteous king of Israel.
Noam is a unique unisex name in the Jewish culture. However, it is used mostly for men. The Hebrew meaning stands for pleasantness, charm, and tenderness.
Elchanan stands for “God is gracious.” Furthermore, the name makes its first appearance in the Bible as one of the warriors of King David’s army. According to 2-Samuel 21:19, Elchanan stood up to win a battle against the Philistines.
Eitan is considered to be a very pious and unique name in the Jewish culture. Eitan is the Hebrew version of Ethan. The name is derived from the Bible and is also the name of South Israel. While Ethan is used widely around the US, Eitan is used mostly in Israel only.
In Hebrew, Eitan means ‘strongly flowing’ (derived from Deut. 21:4). In the Bible, Eitan is the grandson of Judah (1-Chronicles 2:6). According to Midrash, Eitan is a nickname given to the first Jew, Abraham.
Eliezer stands for ‘my God has helped.’ It makes several appearances throughout the Bible. In Genesis 15:2, Eliezer appears as the helper or servant of Abraham. However, in Exodus 18:4, Eliezer was the son of Moses. It has several variations, too, like Laser and Lazer.
This is undoubtedly one of the most uncommon names in the Jewish culture. In Hebrew, Elyakim stands for ‘My God will establish.’ According to the Bible’s 2-Kings 18:18, Elyakim is “over the household.”
The Hebrew name for Gabriel, Gavriel, means ‘God is my strength.’ The Gavriel of the Bible is different from the Gabriel of the Christian Bible. However, in the Bible, Gavriel appears as the angel who predicted Isaac’s birth in Genesis 18:10.
Gavriel of the Bible is also the angel who appeared in front of Daniel (Daniel 8:16) and defeated Sodom (Genesis ch 19). The Jewish people believe that angels like Gavriel come to us while we are asleep at night.
The male version or variation of Delilah, Gedaliah is one of the most popular Hebrew names for boys. According to the Jewish people, Gedaliah too stands for the love of God, stating ‘God is great.’
Gedaliah is mentioned twice in the Bible, once in 2-Kings 25:22 and Jeremiah chapters. 40-43. According to the stories of the Bible, Gedaliah was a very popular Jewish people’s leader. However, Gedaliah was murdered by one of the inhabitants of Judah, and to this day, there is a day of fasting in his memory immediately after Rosh Hashanah.
48. Gershon and Gershom
Gershon and Gershom used to be very popular Jewish names for boys. While Gershom stands for ‘a stranger,’ Gershon stands for ‘to chase away.’
In the Bible, Gershom is Moses’s son (Exodus 2:22), while Gershon is the son of Levi (Genesis 46:11).
Gidon stands true to its meaning- the mighty warrior. One common variation of Gidon is Gideon.
In the Bible, Judges 6:11, Gideon is portrayed as one of the Israelite judges who overthrew the Midianites and established himself as the war hero.
Adiel or Adeel is not too common Hebrew names. It has made several appearances in the Bible. According to the Hebrew origin, adiel stands for ‘decorated or ornamented by the God or the Lord.’
Gamilel in Hebrew means ‘God is my reward.’ In the Bible, Gamilel stands for the leader of the tribe of Menashe as per Numbers 1:10. In the Talmudic times, Rabbi Gamilel was one of the prominent Jewish leaders.
Gil stands for joy in Hebrew. It is one very popular name for Hebrew boys. However, unlike most of the names, Gil doesn’t find its mention in the Bible.
Bartholomew is the Hebrew name derived from the Aramaic name “bar-Talmay.” According to the Hebrew meaning, Bartholomew stands for ‘rich in the land’ or having too many properties. Many believe that this name came to Europe only after the Crusades. People fighting in the Crusades bestowed the name to their children to honor Biblical assurance.
Hillel is the Hebrew for praises. Hillel makes its appearance in the Bible as the father of one or the Jewish leaders according to Judges 12:13. In the Talmud, Hillel stands for the greatest rabbinic sages of the Jewish people.
Despite having a tough pronunciation, Matitiyahu is used widely by the Jewish people.
According to the Bible, Matitiyahu had an essential role to play in the Chanukah story. He was the leader of the Maccabees. Matitiyahu translates to the ‘gift of God.’ Beit HaMikdash and Matitiyahu hold the same numeric value that is 861 according to the Kabbalah. Beit HaMikdash was the holiest temple for the Jewish people. One of the common variations of Matitiyahu is Matisyahu.
Leib is a Hebrew-Yiddish name and means the lion. Leib is one of Judah’s main symbols, one of the main monarchs of the Jewish tribe. Leibel is often used instead of Leib as the Hebrew names for boys.
Itamar translated to ‘island of palms.’ According to Exodus 6:23, Itamar was the youngest son of Aaron (Moshe’s brother). It’s one of the most popular names in Israel for many years.
Dov or Dov Ber is a non-Biblical Hebrew name for the boys. The Slavic-speaking Jews followed the guidance and took up the name Dov. In Hebrew, Dov means a bear. A bear cub is constantly under the touch of his parents until he grows into an adult bear.
According to Proverb 17:12, “May a bereaving beer encounter a person rather than a fool with his folly.” According to the Bible, the closer one is to his parents, the harder it will be to separate them.
The Hebrew name for ‘fruitful’ Efrayim is formed from the root word Peri. In Genesis 41:52, Efrayim is referred to as the son of Joseph, born in Egypt. “God has made me fruitful in the land of my affliction.” According to the Midrash, Tanchuma Vayechi 6, Efrayim was a humble guy who spent most of his time studying with his beloved grandfather Jacob.
Ever or Eber is derived from the Hebrew word Ivri. In Exodus 10:21-22, Eber is presented as Abraham’s spiritual mentor and the grandchild of Noah. Since Abraham learned under Ever, he was also known as Ibri.
According to Midrash, when the world’s people turned to commit evil, God brought upon two strong leaders, Eber and Shem. The mention of Eber is also made in the story of Jacob, where he flees and takes shelter at the Academy of Shem and Eber. It is in the Academy of Shem and Eber that Jacob took his lessons of the Torah according to the Talmud, Megillah 17a.
A derivative of Lazarus, Elazar used to be one of the most common Hebrew names for boys. Although etymologically identical with Eliezer, Elazar is a different name. According to the Bible, Elazar is Aaron’s son (Exodus 6:23), the High Priest. In Numbers 34:17, Elazar went on to work with Joshua, who further went on to conquer the Holy Land of Israel. In the English translation of the Bible, the name appears differently from how it is pronounced in the original Hebrew version.
Elimelech is the Hebrew meaning of ‘My God is King.’ Elimelech is one unique name that found its origin in the Biblical book of Ruth 1:2. Elimelech is the husband of Naomi and the father-in-law of Ruth.
According to the Midrash Avot D’Rabbi Nathan 37 Elimelech was a top role model back in his days. He had immense strength, as per the Midrash, Tanchuma Shemini 9. Another prominent figure is the Hasidic leader Rabbi Elimelech of Lizhensk
Ezra used to be one of the common Hebrew names for boys. Even the Americans have started to embrace this name for their sons.
Ezra finds a special mention in the Bible in the Book of Ezra. Ezra was a scribe who had an important role to play in the second wave of Jews and contributed to their return from Babylon and Israel.
At the beginning of the Second Temple era, Ezra was the leader of the religious revival. Ezra also grew to become one of the most influential personalities in Jewish history for he led the momentum of the Men of the Great Assembly.
In Yiddish culture, Feivish stands for the light and is often related to spirituality. Light brings happiness and warmth during Shabbat mostly during festivals and joyous occasions.
According to Ecclesiastes 2:13, “And I saw that wisdom has an advantage over folly as the advantage of light over darkness.” In the Tanya book Chapter 13, the Hassidic master states, “a little bit of light dispels much darkness.”
In Hebrew, Immanuel means God is with us. In Isaiah 7:14, Ahaz prophesied that Judah’s Kingdom would flourish with Isaiah’s wife giving birth to an infant, who will be called Immanuel.
One of the unique Jewish names, Abdiel, is often referred to as the Servant of God.
One of the most commonly used variations of Abel, Abell refers to the exhalation of breathing. In the Bible, Abel was one of the sons of mankind.
Amos is a name of Hebrew origin which means burdened or carried. It does not have many variations. Amos was one of the prominent books of the Bible.
Ezekiel is a name of Hebrew origin that stands for God’s strengths. In the Bible, the Book of Ezekiel is responsible for containing all prophecies
Jared is the Hebrew version of Jarrod. It is not one prevalent Hebrew name for boys. Jared is a pre-flood Biblical name often associated with Jordan. Jared means ‘descending.’
In Hebrew, Micah means “Who is like the Lord.” Mica is one of the most common spelling variations of Micah. In the Bible, Micah belongs to the category of Biblical Prophets.
Oren finds its origin in Hebrew and Gaelic. In Hebrew, Oren means pine tree or pale-skinned. Some of the common variations of Oren include Irene, Oran, Orrin and Orin.
In Hebrew, Doron means gift. Often Dori is also used for Doran. Dori, however, refers to my generation. It is necessary to determine the difference between the two, for they are two different meanings.
Elisha was a disciple of Elijah, the prophet. According to the Bible, Elisha performed several miracles, the most famous of which is the return of the son of a woman who had already helped her before to life.
There are very few Hebrew words that have wonderful meanings, and Hadar is one of them. In the Hebrew culture, Hadar stands for ornamented or beautiful. It also refers to or stands for honored.
Issachar is one of the most accepted names in the Bible. In Jewish, Issachar means “there is a reward.” In Jewish culture, Issachar is often given as a name to their children, for they are considered a blessing. In the Hebrew Bible or the Old Testament, Issachar was the son of Jacob.
Issachar is one of the most accepted names in the Bible. In Jewish, Issachar means “there is a reward.” In Jewish culture Issachar is often given as a name to their children for they are considered to be a blessing. In the Bible Issachar was the son of Jacob.
78. Joel (Yoel)
In Jewish culture, Joel stands for “God is willing.” Joel is the Hebrew version of Yoel. In the Bible, Joel was a very important Prophet.
3 thoughts on “Boy’s Hebrew Names, Their Meaning and Biblical Sources”
Thanks for posting this. I found it very interesting. Before our nephew was born, their parents were considering the name Ariel. Since they live in the US, they figured he’d get teased by the other kids for having a ‘girl’s’ name, so they named him Ben instead. For the name Yakov, I always thought it came from the word ‘eikev’, meaning heel. In the Torah, when Yakov is born he was holding onto o the would for ‘Esav’s heel. I never heard I was related to the word for ‘supplanter’.
sorry, my typing got all messed up. It should have said: In the Torah, when Yakov is born he was holding onto ‘Esav’s heel. I never heard the word was related to the word for ‘supplanter’.
In Hebrew, there is only one meaning to the name Yakov and it’s coming from the word “A’kev” (heel).
But when translating to English, this word can also be related to “follow, to be behind, to supplant, circumvent, etc…”
By the way, regarding the name Ariel, it’s a beautiful name and it is one of the names of Jerusalem.
One of my sons is Ariel but we are living in Israel where this name can be used for girls as well but it most common for boys.