The Bible is full of names, and many that were once regarded as unusual, Moses, for example, and Delilah are now familiar in classrooms throughout the US. Looking to the good book for inspiration is an excellent choice as the storied names it contains sound classic and are often unique in a contemporary context. Now, we know you’ve heard of Sarah and Ruth but have you considered the name Zilla from the Old Testament? Chances are you might not recognize that name and we wanted to find more like it.
We have taken a deep dive into Biblical baby names for girls to discover which names have been historically looked over and deserve more attention. So, if you are an expecting parent looking for holy baby name inspiration that is somewhat off the beaten path today, you have come to the right place. We found some undiscovered baby names from the Bible that new parents should consider as they are beautiful yet not ubiquitous. Let’s dig deep and find inspiring baby names for girls that are rare today but still deserve your consideration! Here are 25 rare Biblical baby names for girls that warrant more attention.
One of the most attractive Old Testament names that has yet to enjoy wide acclaim is Atara. The name is mentioned in the Book of Chronicles. The name can be found spelled as we have suggested or as Atarah. This Biblical baby name for girls with Hebrew origins means “crown.”
Abital is popular for boys as well as girls in Israel, but we rarely hear it here. In the Old Testament, Abital was one of King David’s wives and the mother of his fifth son. You will also encounter this name as Avital, but it’s dealer’s choice. Abital has Hebrew roots and means “my father is dew.”
Beulah was once a top 500 name in the US but it has fallen in popularity since its glory days and has a decidedly retro sound today. We find that appealing. In the Bible, Beulah is a place, not a person, applied to the land of Israel by the prophet Isaiah. The land of Beulah has sometimes been viewed as a reference to heaven. Beulah began to be used as a given name in England at the time of the Reformation and was used by the seventeenth-century Puritans. This Hebrew name means “married.”
In the New Testament, Damaris was an Athenian woman converted to Christianity by St. Paul. Known for her charitable work, her name was a darling among the Puritans. Having fallen off the bottom of the top 1000 in 2012, Damaris might be worthy of more attention by parents in search of a New Testament name that is unusual but accessible. Damaris has Greek origins and means “dominant woman.”
Drusilla appears in the New Testament as the wife of Felix. Drusilla is an ancient Roman name, likely borne by descendants of Antony and Cleopatra, and is one of the “-illa” names that are ready for a comeback, especially with its charming short form Dru. The name was popular in the US until 1914 and we think it is beyond time to bring this baby back. Drusilla has Latin origins and means “fruitful.”
Elisheva was the original name of Aaron’s wife in the Book of Exodus. The name brings us a more popular option today, Elizabeth. Elisheva has never been popular in the US but you will find it popular among Jews in Russia and Israel. This Hebrew name means “pledged to God.”
Galilee is a highly significant place name, Galilee being a vast region in northern Israel, the home of Jesus for at least thirty years of his life, and also where he cured a blind man. The Sea of Galilee gets its name from the area. This Hebrew name is criminally underused and it means “the province.”
This Hebrew name of Queen Esther is beloved in Israel, especially for girls born around the holiday of Purim, and in the US is the name of a Zionist women’s charitable organization. Formerly thought as hyper-religious, this name entered the top 1000 in 2007. We think parents find the nickname Haddie quite attractive. Hadassah is a Hebrew name that means “myrtle tree.”
Though there are a few men named Havilah in the Bible, it’s also a Biblical place-name that can work as an unique choice for modern girls. The name for boys means “to dance,” which is lovely. But, as a place-name this Hebrew treasure means “stretch of sand.” We wish this name could find a home in the US today because it is lovely.
Helah is a wife of Ashhur, father of Tekoa in the Old Testament of the Bible. This baby name for girls could be a perfect alternative to Hannah or Helen! Helah has Hebrew origins and it means “rust” or “to pierce.”
A name perfect for a baby girl born around Palm Sunday, Hosanna might be the perfect offbeat choice for religious parents. “Hosanna blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord,” is a passage that comes to mind. Hosanna is often translated as “Please Save Us.” It is a Greek word “ὡσαννά” that most scholars believe is the transliteration of two Hebrew words- יָשַׁע- “yasha” which means “to save or deliver” and אָנּאָ – “anna” which means “please, I beseech.”
You can go about this fabulous name in a few different ways. You can spell it Jahel, Jael, Yael, or Ya’el. However you get there, this name is pronounced yah-ehl. It’s a popular gender-neutral option in Israel where it means “mountain goat” or “to ascend.”
A rare Biblical name, belonging to a niece of Abraham. Jescha means “to behold.” Jescha is thought to be the origin of the English name Jessica, which was invented by Shakespeare for a character in his 1596 play The Merchant of Venice. This name is also spelled Iscah but neither it nor Jescha have ever been popular in the US.
Juno is hot, June is showing signs of a comeback along with other month and day names, whereas Junia, the name of the first-century Christian referred to by the apostle Paul as an apostle, is yet to be discovered. Junia was once popular in the US in… 1883. It is definitely time to bring this gem, which means “born in June,” back!
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Israeli-born singer Keren Ann introduced this traditional Hebrew name to this country, where it could well be mistaken for Karen. This storied appellation can mean “strength” or “power” or “ram’s horn.” In the Bible, Keren-happuch was the youngest of the three beautiful daughters of Job.
Mahala, sometimes spelled, Mahalah, is the sister of Machir, and daughter of Hammoleketh, and identified as the granddaughter of Manasseh, Joseph’s first-born son. This name shares both Hebrew and Arabic origins and it means “tender.” How precious is that?
Micaiaha an obscure but attractive name used for both men and women in the Bible. The name is pronounced mick-KYE-ah. It’s what brings us the cherished names Michael and Michaela. This Hebrew name means “who is like God?” We’d love to hear this one more in classrooms and playgrounds!
Orpah is an Old Testament name of the daughter-in-law of Naomi, now eclipsed by Oprah, which itself is a very uncommon variant. Orpah has Hebrew origins and means “fawn” which makes it perfect for parents searching for a Biblical name that also works as a nature-inspired appellation.
In Romans 16.12 of the New Testament, Persis is a Roman woman who was an initial follower of Christ, mentioned by St. Paul in a letter as “beloved” and having “worked hard in the Lord.” The New Testament name has Greek origins and means “Persian woman.”
Prisca is a New Testament name, it was Priscilla with whom the apostle Paul stayed while spreading the gospel in Corinth. It was common in the ancient Roman world and later was a favorite of the seventeenth-century Puritans. Prisca and Priscilla can be used interchangeably as they are two variations of the same name. Prisca has Latin origins and means “ancient.”
Sapphira is a lovely name which unfortunately has an unsavory Biblical history. The New Testament Sapphira was killed by God for lying about a tax payment. The name has Greek origins and means “sapphire,” as in the stone. We think enough time has passed for Sapphira to shake off that undesirable connotation.
Most think Sherah is another form of Sarah, but this Old Testament name from the Bible is its own distinct moniker. This undiscovered treasure has Hebrew origins and means “kinswoman.” Wouldn’t you love to hear this baby name more often?
In the Bible, Shifra was the name of a midwife who helped deliver Moses. Today, it is probably most closely associated with the Israeli novelist Shifra Horn. Shifra has Hebrew origins that mean “handsome” or “good.” What’s not to love?
Tirzah is one of Zelophehad’s five daughters. We have no idea why this charming and energetic name has never been adopted. Tirzah is pronounced teer-zah, so perhaps it’s the “tear” sound that is scaring new parents away. We love this Hebrew baby name that means “delight.” It means “delight,” folks.
Although this Old Testament name is soft and delicate, it runs the risk of conjuring up the monstrous giant Godzilla. Zilla is far enough away from that creature for us. Zilla, which has never been popular in the US, is considered a German variation of Cecilia but its Hebrew roots mean “shadow.” We wish this beloved name would catch on because it really is a thrilling appellation.
There you go! Did you enjoy these unusual Biblical baby names? Many of us do not come across rare Biblical baby names so we hope these jostled your memory about a certain passage and that they appeal to you as possibilities for your daughter. We hope you feel inspired by these, mostly, Hebrew baby names that all appear in the Bible.
Andrew is a Chicago-based writer who enjoys finding the best of the internet, obsessively making lists, and cooking for friends. After studying Film and Art History, he developed a deep love for both topics. Celebrity news, pop culture, and stories that bring people together are his passions.
- 1 25. Atara
- 2 24. Abital
- 3 23. Beulah
- 4 22. Damaris
- 5 21. Drusilla
- 6 20. Elisheva
- 7 19. Galilee
- 8 18. Hadassah
- 9 17. Havilah
- 10 16. Helah
- 11 15. Hosanna
- 12 14. Jahel
- 13 13. Jescha
- 14 12. Junia
- 15 11. Keren
- 16 10. Mahala
- 17 9. Micaiaha
- 18 8. Orpah
- 19 7. Persis
- 20 6. Prisca
- 21 5. Sapphira
- 22 4. Sherah
- 23 3. Shifra
- 24 2. Tirzah
- 25 1. Zilla
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