What’s In A Name

Does anyone else get overwhelmed when it comes to selecting names for your children?  I mean talk about a high honor. God bestows on us the responsibility of selecting a name for our child.  The name that your child will be called by his entire life and one that your child will hopefully not wish was anyone else’s but his.  I mean no pressure, right?

Every parent sets different criteria for how they choose a name. Some want traditional names with a common spelling. Other’s prefer to stand out with names like Apple or North (West).  I fall in the camp of different but not one of a kind names.  For example Krystle is a fairly common name but the spelling of mine is different… unless you are a girl born in the 1980’s and your parents watched Dynasty and fell in love with the spelling of Krystle Carrington’s name.


In that case your name is probably spelled like mine. Michael Luke comes from a family of Biblical names so we chose to integrate that into my desire for different names.

So for us what that means is that we don’t look at names that are in the top 200 of the popular names for that gender.  While Noah is extremely popular for a boy’s name it doesn’t rank as high on the girl’s list thus making the cut for us.  I shared all about our selection of the names Noah and Esther here .

So how did we decide on the name Judah?

To begin with we didn’t begin to really think about names until we were matched because to me it’s just easier if you can cut down the names you need to look at by half just by knowing the sex.   Once we were matched I realized it was time to start thinking.

Boaz was a personal favorite name of mine that I had kept in mind ever since doing a study of Ruth earlier this year.  I still love Boaz but we decided that living in the south and with a little of my country drawl still remaining his name might have ended up sounding a little too country.  You can really draw out the name Boaz if you want to. Plus, there was the concern that his name could always be shortened to Bo… and I really wasn’t too keen on that. I still love the name though.

Boaz means “swiftness” which isn’t a bad trait to possess as boy. The meaning of the name is really important to us because Noah and Esther have certainly lived up to the meanings of “movement’ and “star” Don’t think it didn’t cross mine to try and figure out which name meant quiet or obedient. Hah!

I couldn’t help but think with a name like Boaz he might have also been destined to be a romantic.  To me there isn’t another more romantic love story in the Bible than the one between Ruth and Boaz.

Michael Luke shortlisted the name Malachi.  It quickly became one of my favorites.   The Malachi of the Bible was a prophet and his name meant “my messenger”. To me it sounds very manly. Maybe it’s because it rhymes with Jedi.  With a name like that you almost expect them to be good at martial arts.

Another name we both fell in love with was Jude.  Jude is a Hebrew name meaning “praise”  The name sounded very gentle to me and when I looked at the picture of our little one I could see a Jude… or Malachi in him.

Once we narrowed it down to either Jude or Malachi how did we end up with Judah?

Well, once we had our name choices narrowed down to two we decided to read both of the books Malachi and Jude in the Bible to learn more about them.  Malachi addresses the acts of the people of Judah and after reading those verses in chapter two I noticed that I liked that name and wondered why we had not thought about Judah as a name. I really didn’t think anything else of it though. Until, I started reading Jude! I did a little background search on the book of Jude and through that I discovered that Jude was an alternate spelling for the name Judah.

Ok, so there it was. Judah had popped out at me two times that morning and I could no longer ignore it. I began to pray asking God if this was the name He had selected or us.  Next, I messaged Michael Luke and asked him what he thought about the name Judah.  He responded that he too had noticed that name.

That’s all I needed to add Judah to the shortlist and to continue praying about God’s direction on this!

Judah means “praise”.  Like many characters of the Bible his low parts and high parts were both highlighted.  Many of us know Judah as one of the twelve sons of Jacob who later came to represent the twelve tribes of Israel.  Remember God renamed Jacob Israel.


Jew was a shortened term used to describe the people of Judah and later all the children of God. Judah was the one who came up with the “brilliant” idea to sell Joseph in to slavery. God worked in his heart though and later Judah placed his own life on the line as a promise to take care of Benjamin who Joseph was requesting to see in Egypt.

Judah married a Canaanite woman and had three sons. They grow up the oldest gets married, dies and then his wife Tamar is married to the next eldest.  God takes his life and then Judah was supposed to allow his youngest son to marry Tamar.  Judah choose not to so Tamar took matters into her own hands and deceived Judah and became pregnant with his child.

God had plans for this baby though because through the line of Judah would come David, Solomon, and finally Jesus!

Before Jacob died he blessed each of his sons.  Judah’s blessing was a foreshadowing of the Davidic kingdom that was to come through him.

Judah is a lion’s cub;
    from the prey, my son, you have gone up.
He stooped down; he crouched as a lion
    and as a lioness; who dares rouse him?
10 The scepter shall not depart from Judah,
    nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet,
until tribute comes to him;[a]
    and to him shall be the obedience of the peoples.
11 Binding his foal to the vine
    and his donkey’s colt to the choice vine,
he has washed his garments in wine
    and his vesture in the blood of grapes.
12 His eyes are darker than wine,
    and his teeth whiter than milk. – Genesis 49:9-12


The lion became the symbol for the tribe of Judah and was referenced again in Revelation 5:5:

And one of the elders said to me, “Weep no more; behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals.”

So while Judah like all of us made many mistakes in his life and fell short of the glory of God he was chosen to be one of the great-grandfathers of Jesus.  Through his family we were given the one who deserves all our praise.  I can’t wait to see how God uses our Judah to praise Him.

That’s what is in a name… and why I will probably be getting our little guy a stuffed lion!

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