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Most popular biblical baby names

  • Most popular biblical baby names

    What’s in a name? Well, when it comes to biblical names, the answer is: plenty.

    Names from the Bible have been popular as long as the Good Book has existed, and many have grown steadily in usage in recent years.

    A few biblical characters made names for themselves performing miracles, like Aaron, who transformed his walking staff into a serpent and showed that he could bring on plagues of blood, frogs, and lice. Isaiah predicted the virgin birth of Christ, and Gabriel was the archangel who told the Virgin Mary the news of the Annunciation. Elijah performed miracles and upon his death was taken to heaven in a horse-drawn chariot of fire.

    Some of the most intriguing namesakes are the stars of stories told generation after generation. Jonah was swallowed by a whale and sat in its belly for three days before he was hurled onto dry land. Delilah cut off her strong lover Samson’s hair, rendering him powerless. Joseph was given a brightly colored coat by his father, making his brothers so jealous that they sold him into slavery and faked his death. Daniel was thrown into a den of lions, who did not eat him alive because an angel sent by God intervened.

    Some names were popular in the Middle Ages, adopted by royalty and powerful popes. Others fell into disuse for centuries before they were brought back. Many have found their way into popular culture, as in the hit song “Hey Jude,” the classic novel “Silas Marner,” and the unstoppable Princess Leia of “Star Wars.”

    To determine the most popular biblical baby names, Stacker consulted the name origin site Behind the Name and the Social Security Administration’s baby names database. We ranked the top 50 names from Behind the Name’s Biblical Names origins list of 564 names, based on how many babies had been given these names in 2019.

    Click through to find out which biblical names have stood the test of time.

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  • #50. Jude (boys)

    - Name popularity rank in 2019: #153 (2,527 babies born)

    Jude is a variation of Judas, the apostle who is believed to have written the Epistle of Jude. In English, Jude has been a given name since the Protestant Reformation. The Beatles helped popularize it with their 1968 song “Hey Jude,” and it is also the name of British actor Jude Law.

  • #49. Jesus (boys)

    - Name popularity rank in 2019: #152 (2,530 babies born)

    The name Jesus is a version of the Aramaic name Yeshua. Yeshua ben Yoseph is better known by the name Jesus Christ, the central figure in the New Testament and origin of the Christian faith. As a given name it is popular in Latin, Catholic countries.

  • #48. Jonah (boys)

    - Name popularity rank in 2019: #141 (2,666 babies born)

    Jonah comes from the Hebrew name Yonah, which means “dove.” In the Old Testament, Jonah was a prophet who defied God’s orders to preach to the people of Nineveh and fled by boat, was hit by a terrible storm at sea, and then thrown overboard by resentful shipmates. He was swallowed by a whale and sat in its belly praying for help for three days, after which the whale hurled him out onto dry land.

  • #47. Julia (girls)

    - Name popularity rank in 2019: #99 (2,775 babies born)

    The feminine form of the Roman name Julius, Julia was the name of Julia Augusta, who was the wife of Emperor Augustus, and Julia the Elder, the wife of Tiberius. It only became common as a given name after the 18th century. More modern examples are chef Julia Child and actress Julia Roberts.

  • #46. Lydia (girls)

    - Name popularity rank in 2019: #94 (2,985 babies born)

    In Greek, this name denotes someone from Lydia, a coastal region of Asia Minor believed to have been named for a legendary king named Lydos. In the Bible, a woman named Lydia was converted by St. Paul to Christianity.

  • #45. Zachary (boys)

    - Name popularity rank in 2019: #124 (3,064 babies born)

    Zachary comes from Zacharias, a name found in some versions of the New Testament. Famous holders of the name are U.S. president Zachary Taylor and, these days, actors Zachary Quinto and Zac Efron.

  • #44. Nathaniel (boys)

    - Name popularity rank in 2019: #123 (3,072 babies born)

    Nathaniel is a variation on Nathanael found in the New Testament. Nineteenth-century American author Nathaniel Hawthorne wrote “The Scarlet Letter,” and Nat King Cole sang the hits “Unforgettable” and “Mona Lisa.”

  • #43. Delilah (girls)

    - Name popularity rank in 2019: #88 (3,133 babies born)

    Delilah means “delicate” and “weak” in Hebrew, but the most famous Delilah hardly fits the description. In the Old Testament, she is the lover of Samson, who had great strength rooted in his long hair. Delilah betrayed Samson to his enemies by cutting off his hair.

  • #42. Sarah (girls)

    - Name popularity rank in 2019: #81 (3,287 babies born)

    Sarah was the name of Abraham’s wife, the matriarch of the Jewish people. She had no children until she became pregnant with Isaac at age 90. Sarah was one of the most popular names in the 1970s and '80s. Famous people with the name include actresses Sarah Bernhardt and Sarah Jessica Parker, politician Sarah Palin, and Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York.

  • #41. Micah (boys)

    - Name popularity rank in 2019: #110 (3,461 babies born)

    Micah was a minor prophet in the Old Testament who wrote the prophecy-filled Book of Micah. He wrote the words imploring Christians “to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with our God.”

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