The Ten: Longest (and hardest) names in the Bible

Ahh, the Bible—a reliable source for some out-of-the-box baby names.

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1) Mahershalalhashbaz (Isaiah 8:1, 3)

God told Isaiah to name his son this whopping 18-letter, six syllable name—the longest name in the Bible. Why? Heaven only knows! Meanwhile, his mother is a mysterious woman simply called “the prophetess”.

2) Zaphnathpaaneah (Genesis 41:45)

This name was given to Joseph when he became the prime minister of Egypt. Why we don’t give our modern-day prime ministers grand names like this is a mystery, really.

3) Tilgathpilneser (1 Chronicles 5:6, 20)

We’ll call him Tilga for short. As one of the ancient kings of Assyria, Tilga had keen intentions to expand the Assyrian Empire. He became very wealthy by ravaging and conquering neighbouring lands and forcing local leaders to pay him 10,000 talents of silver as a thank-you gift. How kind.

4) Chushanrishathaim (Judges 3:8-10)

This guy was the king of Aram-Naharaim, or northwest Mesopotamia, and the first oppressor of the Israelites after their settlement in Caanan. God allowed the Israelites to be taken by this king for eight years as punishment for worshipping other gods, but when the Israelites “cried out to the Lord”, He saved them (Judges 3:8, 9).

5) Nebuchadnezzar (Daniel 4:28)

He’s considered the greatest king to ever lead the Babylonian Empire and credited with constructing the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. His whirlwind story involves him conquering Judah and destroying Jerusalem, having some crazy dreams, creating a gold statue of himself, throwing some “troublesome” Jews into a furnace, being turned into an animal-like guy who “ate grass like an oxen . . . [and] grew hair as long as eagles feathers and nails like birds’ claws” (Daniel 4:33), and then finally surrendering to God.

6) Berodachbaladan (Isaiah 39:1)

Originally named Berodach, this guy was the king of Babylon, and quite a sentimental dude. When his father died, he wanted to do something to remember him, so chucked his father’s name onto the end of his own. Hence, Berodachbaladan.

7) Mephibosheth (2 Samuel 4:4)

Mephibosheth was the son of Jonathan and the grandson of Saul, king of Israel. He was only five years old when his father and grandfather died in battle with the Philistines at Mount Gilboa. Having lost his heritage, he lived as a cripple in a desolate place called “Lo Debar” meaning “land of nothing”. David made an oath to Jonathan to find and care for Mephibosheth (1 Samuel 20:15-16, 42; 2 Samuel 9).

8) Hazarmaveth (Genesis 10, 1 Chronicles 1)

He was the third of 13 sons of Joktan, the son of Eber, son of Shem—thus, he made it into the genealogy of the sons of Noah in the Old Testament. His name means “dwelling of death”. What a lovely name to call your
baby . . .

9) Ammishaddai (Numbers 1:12, 2:25)

Our mate here is listed in the book of Numbers as the father of Ahiezer, who was chief of the Tribe of Dan when Moses led the people during the Exodus. It is one of the few names compounded with the name of God, or “Shaddai”.

10) Chedorlaomer (Genesis 14)

Also spelled “Kedorlaomer”, this guy was one of the kings of Elam. Genesis explains that he was allied with three other kings from the region and fought against five other Caananite nations. Chedorlaomer won of course, seized all the Caananites’ goods and food, and carried off Abram’s nephew Lot and his possessions with them. Cue Abram’s valiant rescue mission!