25 Ancient Jewish Names Still In Use Today

Top 25 Ancient Jewish Names that Are Still Popular Today

Name trends change dramatically depending on the era, but there are some that are tried and true. Jewish names fall under this category. The act of naming one’s baby is very symbolic in the Jewish faith. A child is formally named at a bris (circumcision) for boys, or for girls, at a naming ceremony in a synagogue.

Jewish names are Biblical and have stood the test of time. We are very familiar with common Jewish names such as Daniel, Alexander and Michael, which have now been incorporated as some of the top names in North American culture. But there are other ancient Jewish names that are not surprisingly popular as well. You’ll fall in love with this extensive list.

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26  Aaron

You might remember this name from the Old Testament of the bible. This name is borne by the older brother of Moses. Aaron acted as a spokesperson for his brother and was considered a powerful figure, remembered for the miraculous blossoming of his staff or rod.

In Judaism, Aaron means exalted or high mountain. If you like this name you're not alone, this name has been popular in North America for years. Famous people with the name Aaron include: Aaron Rodgers, Aaron Carter and Aaron Burr.

Aaron can also be used to name a little girl with the alternate spelling of Erin.

25 Adam

This might be one of the oldest names, and definitely one of the most well known names around. Adam literally means, "made from the ground/clay/earth." Pretty fitting considering the story of how Adam came to be. According to the Old Testament, Adam was the first man created from the Earth by God. People with this name tend to be leaders with powerful personalities.

Famous people with the name Adam include: Adam Levine, Adam Sandler and Adam West.

24 Benjamin

Benjamin is the youngest of Jacob’s sons and father of the southern tribes of the Hebrews. His beloved mother, Rachel, died in childbirth. Benjamin is a enduring name and means, "son of the right hand."

In ancient times, the first born was usually the one who inherited a double portion of their father's fortunes, so being the first born son meant being their father's right hand so they could learn everything they would need to know from their father so they would be ready to inherit their father's estate and look after their ailing parents

Popular alternatives to Benjamin are Bennett, Ben and Bartholomew.

Famous people with the name Benjamin include: Benjamin Franklin, Benjamin Bratt and Ben Stiller.

23 Daniel

This influential Hebrew prophet served in the court of Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar and was thrown into the lion's pit for refusing to stop praying to God. Afterward God saved Daniel from the lion’s den by stopping the lions from opening their mouths. He rose to prominence by his ability to see the future and interpret dreams.

This ancient name means, "God is my judge." This is why God saved him from the lions, because he found Daniel to be blameless in his eyes.

Famous people with the name Daniel include: Daniel Stern, Daniel Baldwin and Daniel Radcliffe and a popular girl's alternative is Daniela or Daniella.

22 David

David was the second king of Israel and the ancestor of all future kings. This is a strong name for one of the most influential and celebrated names in the Torah. In the Bible, David had an amazing story, after defeating the giant Goliath, he was to succeed Saul as king. But Saul sought to destroy David and caused David to run for his life for much of his reign.

Once David was appropriately seated as king, he continued to have some personal struggles, but remained true and close to God. David appropriately means beloved, which David was by God and his people.

Famous people with the name David include: David Schwimmer, David Spade and David Letterman.

21 Eli 

Eli was one of the High Priests of Shiloh in the Old Testament. He is best known for caring for the prophet Samuel when Samuel was a child and was a priest who cared fro the Ark of the Covenant.

Eli means ascend or uplifted in ancient Hebrew. You may even recognize this name from a Denzel Washington movie called, The Book of Eli. Famous people with the name Eli include: Eli Roth, Eli Whitney and Eli Wallach.

20 Elisha

Elisha is a biblical figure who was adopted by the prophet Elijah and brought under Elijah's wing to learn about the prophetic office. He eventually grows to be Elijah’s successor and is also present when God takes Elijah away in a chariot to heaven.

He is famous for asking for a double portion of the prophetic prowess that Elijah had. This is interesting as his name means, "God will help" or "God will listen."  This name is truly unisex, so parents can decide if they prefer it for males or females. Famous people with the name Elisha include: Elisha Cook Jr. and Elisha Manning.

19 Emanuel

This is a powerful name in Judaism. Tradition states that this was the foretold name of the Messiah. It has been popular in continental Europe as well, particularly Spain and Portugal. In the Old Testament, Emanuel is also spelled Emmanuel and Immanuel, both mean, "God is with us."

Famous people with the name Emmanuel include: Emmanuel Lewis, Emmanuel Moire and Emmanuel Sanders.

18 Ethan 

Ethan was believed to be a cymbal-player in King David's court and his name appears several times in the Bible. It is a powerful name that means "long-lived." It is associated with someone of strength and courage, with a will to persevere. Those are all qualities you could possibly want for your child to have.

Some of the best features of the name are that Ethan can be spelled phonetically, making it easy to pronounce and spell, and it's a great sounding name! Not sure, just take a look at the list of famous people who also have this name. Celebrities with the name Ethan include: Ethan Hawke, Ethan Allen and Ethan Roth.

17 Ezra

The Hebrew bible says that Ezra was a high priest who had been exiled to Babylon and came back to Jerusalem with the Torah. Ezra means "helper," this is truly the name for a leader. Legend has it that the biblical Ezra led a group of 1,500 Israelites out of Babylon and into Jerusalem. No small feat.

Ezra currently sits at 92 on the popular names list. While your child may not have another Ezra in their class, they won't be the only person within miles to have this great name. Famous people with the name Ezra include: Ezra Miller, Ezra Pound and Ezra Henderson.

16 Seth

Seth is an important part of biblical history. He was the third son born to Adam and Eve. His birth comes after the death of Abel. Other than this, Seth doesn't have much of a role in the old Hebrew text. People with this name tend to be great thinkers and philosophers. Which is probably why the name means, "placed" or "appointed one."

Currently the name Seth sits at #278, while back in 2000 it sat in the #63 spot. So if you don't want your baby to have the same name as 2 other people in their class, consider this name. Famous people with the name Seth include: Seth Rogen, Seth Meyers and Seth Green.

15 Yosef 

Meaning "God will increase," this is a name that indicates strength and endurance. Yosef is one of Jacob’s 12 sons who was sold into slavery and later served as the prime minister to Pharaoh in Egypt. A very popular and more widely used alternative is Joseph. In fact Yosef is an important character since his life and works connect the narrative of Abraham , Isaac and Jacob.

Another thing you may not know is that the name Yosef peaked in 2005 as a popular boy's name. Although Joseph is the more popular form of Yosef, this name is still a great ancient name from years ago. Famous people with the name Yosef: Yosef Zimmerman, Joseph Gordon Levitt and Joseph Mazzello.

14 Zechariah

This biblical figure appears as one of the 12 Minor Prophets. He was a priestly figure and was slaughtered in Temple. Zechariah was best known as the gentle husband of Elizabeth, Mary’s cousin, who was originally thought to be barren. Elizabeth later gave birth to a miraculous baby (John the Baptist). The name means "remembering God," and is so appropriate given the pious nature of the biblical figure behind it.

There was an earlier figure with the name Zechariah who was amongst the exiles sent out of Judah and Benjamin who were told to make their homes in a distant land far from home because they would be there for a long period of time.

You can also use Zachary as a form of Zechariah and call your little man Zack for short. Some people may have trouble spelling Zechariah or even pronouncing it.

Famous people with the name Zechariah include: Zechariah Pierce, Zechariah Metlzer, and Zechariah Lee. A popular alternative is Zack or Zachary.

13 Ariel

While we're more familiar with this name as a feminine name, it's actually a symbolic name for Jerusalem, meaning "victorious under God," and in the bible as far back as Ezekiel 43:16 as anothe rterm for an alter and represents the lion-like strength of Isreal.

This name is popular for more than just being the name of the princess from Disney's The Little Mermaid. In the Old Testament, Ariel was another name for Jerusalem and the Holy Temple.

Another  alternative in the Jewish faith is Ariella, but due to the success of the Disney film and our obsession with everything princess-related, Ariel tends to be the more trendy choice.

Famous people with the name Ariel include: Ariel Winter, Ariel Gade and Ariel Meredith.

12 Dinah

Dinah was the only daughter of Jacob and a very powerful woman, after having been the subject of a heinous crime, her brothers took vengeance on her behalf. A girl with this name, which means "to be judged or avenged," carries great strength.  She is capable of handling herself gracefully in times of immense difficulty and strife.

Dinah is an easily recognizable name, since there is a children's song that talks about a woman named Dinah (I've Been Working On the Railroad). It's pretty easy to say and spell, which could help build confidence in your little one when they begin learning to spell their own name.

Famous people with the name Dinah include: Dinah Shore, Dinah Washington and Dinah Manoff.

11 Esther

Esther was a pivotal figure in Jewish history. Although she was named Hadassah at birth, upon being adopted by her uncle Mordecai, she was renamed Esther. Her beauty was well known and she became part of King Xerxes haram. It was in this harem that she was able to orchestrate the plan to save hundreds of Hebrews who were allowed to settle in Persia.

She famously saved the Jewish people from Haman’s genocidal plot by revealing herself as a Jewess and Haman's plot to kill her and her people. All through this ordeal Esther had a strength and grace about her.

Esther, which means "hidden," was a woman of beauty, chosen to be queen. Her inner qualities were as wonderfully pure as her outer beauty.

Famous people with the name Esther include: Esther Williams, Esther Rolle and Esther Smith.

10  Hannah

Hannah's story closely resembles that of Sarah and Rebecca. She was deemed infertile and her son was considered a true miracle. She went on to have seven children and was known for her perseverance and faith. Having her first son also helped to seal her place in society.

Hannah, which means "favour" or "grace," is the mother of the prophet Samuel. This is a wonderful name for a strong little girl who is a fighter from the start. Not only is the name beautiful, but it's also easily recognizable since it has been used in Disney's television show, Hannah Montana.

Famous people with the name Hannah include: Hannah Murray, Hannah Simone and Hannah Waddingham. Popular alternatives include Hana, Anna, Ana and Annika.

9 Leah

Leah is one busy lady, which makes a lot of sense considering the name means "to be tired."  She is the bustling wife of Jacob, and mother to six of the 12 tribes of Israel. Leah is a woman with great responsibility. How Leah became Jacob's wife is a pretty interesting story.

According to the Torah, Leah was supposed to marry Jacob's older brother, Esau, but she didn't want to marry him and began weeping. Upon hearing her cries, God allows her to marry Jacob instead, but through deception. When Jacob asks to marry her sister Leah's father says yes, but on the wedding night switches Leah as the bride and asks Jacob to work 7 years for his other daughter's hand in marriage.

Famous people with the name Leah include: Leah Remini, Leah Jenner and Leah Gosselin. Popular alternatives include Leanne, Lena and Lea.

8 Delilah

Delilah was Samson’s sultry mistress in the bible. Samson was a Nazarite who was given great strength by God, but was betrayed by Delilah when the lords of Philistine offered her eleven hundred pieces of silver each if she would betray Samson and reveal the secret behind his strength. Samson gave Delilah 3 false answers about the source of his strength.

After the fourth time she questioned him, he told her it was his hair, which she cut off after he fell asleep and then offered Samson over to his enemies. In Hebrew Delilah means, "she who weakened." In Arabic the name means "to flirt." Other popular alternatives are Lila, Lillian and Leila. Lila itself means "night" which would be perfect for a dark haired beauty.

Famous people with the name Lila include: Lila Lee, Lila McCann and Lila Kedrova.

7 Miriam

Miriam grew up during the Exodus period when Jews were enslaved by the Egyptians. She also happens to be the protective older sister of Moses and a prophetess. Miriam is the one who placed Moses in a basket and sent him down the river. Her beautiful and giving nature helped bring courage to all who knew her. She's the one who led the triumphal song and dance after escaping the Egyptians through the Red Sea.

In Hebrew, the name can also be spelt as Maryam and means "wished for child." The name Miriam on the other hand means "bitter sea."  The name may mean bitter, but Miriam is sweet to the core. Her beautiful and giving nature helped bring courage to all who knew her.

Famous people with the name Miriam include: Miriam McDonald, Miriam Shore and Miriam Colon.

6 Naomi

In the old testament, Naomi is the wife of Elimelech and Ruth’s mother-in-law. During the move from Judea to Moab, Naomi loses her husband and her two sons. In her desperate situation, Naomi seeks to return to Judea accompanied by Ruth. When Ruth goes out to make some money to support herself and Naomi she is recognized by Boaz, a kinsman to her late husband.

When Naomi learns of this, she councils Ruth to go and seduce Boaz, but instead, Ruth outright asks to be legally wed to Boaz. He agrees and Naomi moves into Boaz's house with her daughter in law. She spends the rest of her days caring fro Ruth's children.

The name Naomi means "pleasant," and is associated with beauty and intelligence. Currently Naomi sits at #77 in the top 100 names of all time. Other variants of Naomi include: Noemie; the French version, Noemi; the Italian version.

Famous people with the name Naomi include: Naomi Watts, Naomi King and Naomi Scott.

5 Rachel

In the old Testament, Rachel was the daughter of Laban that Jacob intended to marry, when her father switched her for her sister Leah on her wedding night and tricked Jacob into working 7 years for Rachel's hand in marriage. According to the bible, only Leah was able to bear children for Jacob until God took pity on Rachel and she bore Joseph, who would become Jacob's favorite son.

Rachel, meaning "symbol of purity," was the cherished wife of Jacob who dies in childbirth. She was known for her love and devotion for her family. A little girl with the name Rachel could have a pure, maternal nature about her.

Famous people with the name Rachel include: Rachel Weisz, Rachel Bilson and Rachel McAdams. Popular alternatives are Rochelle and Raquelle.

4 Rinnah

The name Rinnah shows up in the bible during Chronicles, where lists of families are made. While we aren't given much information about who Rinnah is or what he and his family did the name 'Rinnah' itself has gone through an interesting transition. This names was listed as one of the sons of Shimon, but in more recent times the name has been given to little girls.

The name Rinnah has also been shortened to Rinna, or Rena, which is quite pretty. Other variations include Irena and Caterina. It is a popular name in many different cultures, including Europe and South Asia. It means "joyful."

If you're looking for a name that isn't overly popular, but still has a unique feel without sounding too out of the box, consider using Rinnah. Currently the name sits at #9983 on the popular names list at Nameberry.com. Famous people with the name Rina include: Rina Hill, Rina Lasnier and Rina Morelli.

3 Ruth

Ruth was the devoted daughter-in-law of Naomi. She stood by Naomi through thick and thin. In her story you can see that Ruth is a devoted daughter in law and very willing to put the needs of Naomi before her own. She even remarried in an effort to give her and Naomi a better life.

In Hebrew the name means "compassionate friend." In English the name means "sweet and pleasant." A little girl with the name Ruth is destined to be loyal and put family first.

At one point in time, Ruth was the third most popular name and remained in the top 100 names until some time in the 1920s. If you like old fashioned names, Ruth is currently #96 in Ireland and #293 in the US.  Famous people with the name Ruth include: Ruth Gordon, Ruth Wilson and Ruth Kearney.

2 Sarah

The name Sarah, meaning "princess," is a powerful one. The name can also be translated as "noblewoman." Sarah was a great prophet and the wife of Abraham in the Torah. She was reported to be a woman of great beauty, so much so, that Abraham worried that she would be taken form her and oftentimes during their travel would say that she was his sister so they would be treated well.

According to biblical lore, she pleaded to God to grant her a child and was older than 50 when she was granted her wish. In the bible her name was originally Sarai, but God changed her name to Sarah as part of a covenant after Hagar bore Abraham his first son. Sarah's first child was Isaac. She has helped give hope to many women who have been deemed infertile.

Famous people with the name Sarah include: Sarah Wayne Callies, Sarah Hyland and Sarah Michelle Gellar. Popular alternatives include Sarah, Maya, Cara and Selena.

1 Sharon

Sharon is not only a pastoral name, but is an actual plain in Israel and literally means "plain." This particular plain in Israel is famous for its fruitfulness.  In fact Sharon has been referred to in some way as farm land or fruitful land in the bible 17 times. The Rose of Sharon has become a symbol of fertility and people with this name are said to be beautiful and intense.

The best features of this name are its easy spelling and pronunciation. Sharon is a pretty recognizable name and still appealing even today. Another reason to choose Sharon would be the fact that your little girl will probably be the only one in her class.

Sharon was in the top 10 names  half a century ago, but has been declining in popularity since the 70s. Currently Sharon sits at #977 in the US. Famous people named Sharon: Sharon Tate, Sharon Stone and Sharon Osbourne.

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