Parents in the Old Testament tended to select names based on circumstances surrounding the birth or words spoken near the time of birth.
- Ishmael – God Hears; From this pregnancy, you’ll get a son: Name him Ishmael;for God heard you, God answered you. (Gen 16:11, MSG)
- Isaac – He Laughs; Abraham fell with his face to the ground. He laughed and said to himself, “Can a 100-year-old man have a son? Can Sarah have a child at the age of 90?” (Gen 17:17, NIRV); Sarah was well past the age for having children. 121 P 3.6. So she laughed and said to herself, “Now that I am worn out and my husband is old, will I really know such happiness?” (Gen 18:12, CEV); and Sarah said, “God has made me laugh.21.6 God has made me laugh: In Hebrew “Isaac” sounds like “laugh.” And now everyone will laugh with me. (Gen 21:6, CEV)
- Benjamin – With her last breath, for she was now dying, she named him Ben-oni (Son-of-My-Pain), but his father named him Ben-jamin (Son-of-Good-Fortune) . (Gen 35:18, MSG)
- Jesus – He saves; Jesus’ name is the Greek version of Joshua, Meaning “He Saves” (NIV Starting Place Study Bible, Zondervan, 2019)… There’s also of course the name Immanuel “God with Us”; “A virgin will have a baby boy, and he will be called Immanuel,” which means “God is with us.” (Mt 1:23, CEV)