What’s in a Name? My Children

I’ve always had an interest in names and meanings of names.  When my husband and I named our children, we focused on Biblical names and the verses given to us regarding their names.   It was not until our youngest was about 12 that I saw a pattern in how we named our children.

Jesse, the Stump of Faith

Jesse was our firstborn son.  My husband chose Jesse’s name from Isaiah 11:1-2, “A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse, from his roots a branch will bear fruit.”   For his middle name we had combined the names of our fathers, Dennis and Harold, to create Harden.  When I was about six months pregnant, we had an experience that showed us that we would have our son, Jesse Harden.   While on a little excursion in Estes Park, Colorado, we saw on the marquis of the Holiday Inn, “Congratulations Jesse and Hardin”.

Josiah, Faithful to the Torah

Josi, our daughter, was our second child.  We liked the name Jacob for a son, but we had no name for a daughter.  One Sunday while sitting in church, I was flipping through my Bible.  I began reading in 2 Kings 22-23 about King Josiah.  I wrote the name Josiah on a piece of paper, crossed out the ‘ah’ so that only Josi was written.  I showed it to my husband and he nodded.  In that moment, we chose the name for our daughter – Josi.  Several months later we had a baby girl.  Her middle name was Leigh after her two grandmothers–Leanore and Bonnie Lee.

Jacob, the Grafting into Israel

Several years after Josi’s birth, I was sitting in the dark in a rocking chair and the Lord spoke to my heart.  He said, “You are going to have a son and you will name him Jacob.”  My response back was that I was not even pregnant.  When I found out several weeks later that I was expecting, I knew that I was having a son and his name was Jacob.  The hardest part of naming our son Jacob was that my sister had a son after Josi was born and named him Jacob.  I was not sure about having two Jacobs in the same family.

When Jacob was born, we were still somewhat unsure about the same two names in the family so we gave my sister the final decision. We called our son Sweet Baby J and played with other names that were derived from Jacob – Jamis, James etc.  We were content with not naming him immediately because we had decided to circumcise him on the eighth day of his life and name him at that time.  My sister finally said she really didn’t care if her son and ours had the same name because we lived 1500 miles apart.  We circumcised our son and gave him the name Jacob after my grandfather.  His middle name, Perry, was the name of my husband’s grandfather.

Jemima, Our Inheritance

Our final child, a daughter, received the name Jemima.  Soon after Jesse was born I learned of the name Jemima from a very strange experience at a cookie exchange.  Each of the women at the party had the name of a Biblical woman put on her back.  She was to ask the other women questions about the person on her back until she could guess the name.  Well, no one knew the person on my back so my questions were futile.  I lost the game, but learned the name Jemima from the book of Job.

Jemima was one of Job’s daughters who received an inheritance along with her brothers and sisters.   “The first daughter he named Jemimah, the second Keziah and the third Keren-Happuch.  Nowhere in all the land were there found women as beautiful as Job’s daughters, and their father granted them an inheritance along with their brothers”  (Job 42:14).  It was my desire to name each of our subsequent children Jemima if it was a girl, but my husband was reluctant as he had visions of  pancake syrup and Aunt Jemima.  When I told him I was pregnant, he said that if it was a girl, we would name her Jemima.  He had changed his mind after seeing the Disney movie, “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” with the little blonde girl’s name being Jemimah!  I knew I would be having a daughter and she would be Jemima.

A Faith Walk

Without ever having an ultrasound to reveal girl or boy babies, the LORD gave us names that allowed us to know our children from before birth because He knew them before the foundations of the world.  Each of the names He gave us had perfect timing and significance to our walk of faith.

From the stump of Jesse a shoot came forth:  our family.    From the root of that stump, there would be spiritual fruit.  We didn’t know at the time we named our son, but if the root is holy so are the branches” (Romans 11:16).  Fruit from a holy root receives life from living water and would become a significant foundational factor in our walk of faith.

King Josiah, born from the House of David, was eight years old when he became King of Judah.  He was a good King and restored the Torah back to the people.  He tore down the Asherah poles and everything else that defiled the land that made the LORD angry.  He got rid of all the mediums and spiritists, the household gods and idols that were in Judah and Jerusalem.    He brought back the celebration of Passover.  “Neither before nor after Josiah was there a king like him who turned to the LORD as he did – with all his heart and with all his soul and with all his strength, in accordance to the Torah of Moses” (2 Kings 23:25).

It was soon after the birth of Josi that we realized we needed to get rid of all of those celebrations and doctrinal idols that were not found in the Bible – the unholy roots.  We had to remove other gods and Asherah poles. When Josi was 20 months old, we were grafted-into the Biblical roots of our faith and celebrated our first Passover with Jewish people who believed in Jesus.   We spent the next few years returning to the LORD and being restored to the Torah given to Moses.

Several miscarriages and a molar pregnancy followed the birth of my first two healthy children.   I liken this time to being in the wilderness when the LORD  brought me closer to him and made me walk by faith when I had no understanding of the circumstances.   By the time I heard the LORD’s voice in the rocking chair, our Biblical faith was firmly established in the Holy One of Israel.  We were celebrating the Feasts of the LORD and understanding the depth of Yeshua’s Jewishness –  he was born a Jew, lived life as a Jew, died a Jew and rose from the dead as a Jew and will return to Jerusalem as the King of the Jews. We had rid our walk of foreign celebrations rooted in other gods and idolatry.  Four years after our first Passover experience and a walk in the wilderness we had a very different Biblical faith.   From the twelve sons of Jacob, the nation of Israel was born.  Over a four-year span of time,  we drank living water from the root of the Olive Tree and became part of the commonwealth of Israel.  Into this faith,  Jacob was born.

“This is what the LORD says: ‘Sing for joy for Jacob; shout for the foremost of the nations.  Make your praises heard, and say, ‘the LORD save your people the remnant of Israel’” (Jeremiah 31:7).

After another miscarriage, we had Jemima.   Jemima took a long time to arrive – from soon after the birth of Jesse until 10 years later.    Yet she arrived.   As I was being wheeled out of the hospital after her birth, an elderly woman stopped us.  She looked at my precious newborn daughter and asked her name.  I said, “It’s Jemima.”  I will never forget her response.  “Oh, you named her after one of Job’s daughters!”  I couldn’t believe my ears.   She knew of Job and his daughters?!  What incredible confirmation from the Lord regarding our daughter’s name.  We gave her the middle name Mae after her two great-grandmothers – Effie Mae and Arrie Mae.    As Jemima received an inheritance along with her two sisters and brothers, our daughter became the symbol of our future inheritance.

“But on Mt. Zion will be deliverance; it will be holy, and the house of Jacob will possess its inheritance” (Obadiah 1:17).  

“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come you who are blessed of the Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world” (Matthew 25:34).

Jesse, Josi, Jacob, Jemima.  Roots, Restoration, Citizenship, Inheritance.  What an incredible way our Father revealed to us His plan for our walk of faith in the Messiah of Israel!

©2012 Tentstake Ministries Publishing, all rights reserved.  No copying or reproducing of this article without crediting the author or Tentstake Ministries Publishing.

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