You may well have been invited to read a passage aloud from the Word for a special service like Christmas Lessons and Carols and found yourself struggling with the way to pronounce one of those Biblical names of a person or a place. ‘Kirjath Jearim’ would be a case in point – it comes a dozen times in the Word. It was a city of Judah. ‘Jehoiachin’ was one of the kings of Judah after King Solomon (you are alright with Solomon of course).
We are told that everything mentioned in the Word is part of its overall spiritual meaning and is significant. Even these names. Names have meanings. Meanings are spiritually relevant. Kirjath-Jearim means ‘City of Forests’, ‘Jehoiachin’ actually means ‘God establishes or God sets up’.
If you know that Bethlehem (just a name of a town that we read) means ‘House of Bread’ it takes you straight into the powerful and helpful spiritual idea that God was born on earth in a place of food and nourishment. God’s purpose in coming to be with us was – is – to feed us and provide for us.
But all our Bibles to date only give the name Bethlehem! If we were to have a Bible that bypassed the strange names and gave us the rich meanings each time, we might well find that the Bible – the Lord’s Word – speaks to us in a much more helpful and direct way.
Here, as a test case, is the same verse as normally given and then with the name meanings given instead. It’s Exodus 17.8
“Now Amalek came and fought Israel in Rephidim.”
“Now ‘warlike valley dweller’ came and fought ‘striving prince for God’ in the ‘supporting places of rest’.
…..all this might well set your mind thinking in brand new directions…