Bible Geek: Names and Keeping the Bible Real


We easily become complacent about the familiar. When I was writing my first Christian novel, The Dragon Tree, I decided to use the Hebrew names of the people in the Bible who I was portraying. It was a device to snap readers out of their preconceived views of those figures and place them into a new mindset; but it was also done as a sign of respect. I hate seeing beloved people regarded as “characters.” They become fictional. We can lose sight of the humanity of those in the Word, and this can lead to ungodly behaviour, such as excessive judgement about their life events.

Consider this, when you enter Heaven, what name would you like to be called by? I would like to be known as Cate, because that is my name. Over times names morph as culture and pronunciation changes, but I would still like my name to sound like it is now, the way I know it. For that reason, I dug around to find out what King David’s name would have sounded like and would be written as. In my head, I use that, not King David.

I sometimes write his name as Daviyd. It is not the only version though. In Yiddish, or as used by the Ashkenazi Jews (who are part of my lineage), his name is Dovid, some call him Dawid. In parts of the Middle East, the slang word for David is Daud. Dod or dowd, appears to the the root of the word, David. What does it mean? According to the Strongs Concordance of Hebrew words, it may mean beloved. As the youngest son of Jesse, that would be apt. [Strongs reference 1732]
As for the word king, this caused me a great deal of confusion. Not all words are clear to me and there are many reference sources. I had to standardise and just use Strongs. The term most used by the Rabbis is Melek [Strongs reference 4430]. It is pronounced as it sounds. Remember, that Hebrew is read from right to left, so King David is actually Daviyd Melek.

The other name which indicates the greatest respect is Hashem, which means “the Name.” You may be aware that Jews will not use the word God, Yahweh, and some won’t use Adonai (Lord.) This quote from explains why. “This is four Hebrew letters (Yod, He, Waw and He) called the “Tetragrammaton”. The four characters are the four Hebrew letters that correspond to YHWH and are transliterated IAUE or Yahweh. Yahweh is the name of the Almighty Father in Heaven that people commonly call “The LORD” or “God”. The reason we see “LORD” and “God” in our bibles is because of a Jewish tradition that the name Yahweh was not to be spoken, for fear that the name be blasphemed.”

In researching my Jewish heritage and studying David, I have watched a lot of Jewish television online and one day, I stumbled across a great video by Ari Goldwag, which was encouraging people to remember that Hashem (God) loves them, no matter what crisis points and stresses they hit in their day. It felt a little strange to see an “Hashem Loves You” sticker in the video, but the message was spot on!


Back in 2000, I had the joy of meeting a Messianic Rabbi and we were talking about the differences between my church and the Messianic congregations. I was telling him how I felt that some Christians had fallen into a vending machine form of Christianity. You put your offering and prayers in and the correct answer, just the way you want it, is expected to come out. There is a lack of respect for Who the Lord is; a lack of reverence and the fear of the Lord is often missing, and I include myself in that last one. We are very comfortable as Christians and while that is a good thing, it can be problematic. We take God for granted.

This is part of the reason why I love listening to the Rabbi’s point of view and reading my Messianic Bible. They say Hashem, they call David, Daviyd Melek and it pulls me up and makes me reconsider who I am thinking about, with respect. We need to use and love and speak the name of Jesus but we also need to remember WHO we are addressing and adjust our attitude from one of “do it my way,” to “Lord, YOUR will be done.”

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