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And he called the name of the first daughter Jemimah, and the name of the second Keziah, and the name of the third Keren-happuch. (Job 42:14)

These are his three new daughters after God restored his fortune. No other names of previous children or of new sons are given. What's the purpose in naming them?

  • What are the meanings of the names?

  • What is the importance of giving us the names in the wider context of the book?

5

I like your question (and I am very curious about it too), but I'm not sure if there can ever be a definitive answer. There doesn't appear to be enough information to say for sure. I find it equally interesting that, not only were they named, but the subsequent verse describes their beauty, and the inordinate value that Job placed upon them (elevating them uncharacteristically to level of their brothers).

Given the fact that their names all appear to reference their intrinsic beauty (cf. @user12422's answer), it seems to me that these verses are intended to convey the remarkable abundance of Job's restoration. God didn't just give Job 10 new children to replace the ones who died -- He gave him the three most beautiful daughters in the land. This coincides with the fact that God doubled Job's possessions from what he had previously; cf. Job 1:3. (Note that God doubled his possessions but not the size of his family, because, presumably, "7 sons" was already considered an ideal number, and "3 daughters" was a sign of completeness and divine approval; cf. Job, F. Anderson, p. 79.)

The prevailing idea seems to be that God didn't just restore Job to his previous condition, but blessed him abundantly beyond what he had experienced before his misfortune. In that sense, the names of the daughters might just be an expression of Job's delight in his new-found blessing (similar to the way that the names of Joseph's children symbolize the work of grace that took place in Joseph's heart; cf Genesis 41:51-52). In other words, these names are Job's personal testimony that warmth and perfume and fruit have once again filled his soul.

Not a definitive answer, mind you; just my own reverent meditations.

  • 1
    I realize there are no definitive answers, but I'd encourage you to apply a hermeneutic, make an assertion, and walk us through your reasoning and evidence. You're on the path to an answer, however you only briefly touched on the names themselves, summarizing them, but not in detail. Maybe if you did there would be more to connect? Don't worry about other answers, make your own complete and comprehensive. – Joshua May 16 '16 at 22:46
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    @Joshua: I completely agree with you. Your suggestions are spot-on. Unfortunately, I don't have the time right now to contribute such a fully-formed response. Perhaps someday I can circle back around and expand this answer. Thanks. – kmote May 17 '16 at 15:52
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The Septuagint often translated proper names of people and places into their literal meanings in Greek when such a meaning existed. Here:

  • Jemimah ~ ἡμέρα (hēmera), "day"

  • Keziah ~ κασία (kasia), "cassia" (the spice); also mentioned in Psalm 45:9

  • Keren-happuch ~ Ἀμαλθείας κέρας (amaltheias keras), "horn of Amaltheia"; a kind of blue eyeshadow, also mentioned in Jeremiah 4:30

I don't think Jemimah actually means "dove" in Hebrew, but perhaps I might be corrected. The name "dove" came to be associated with the name because it is close to the Arabic "yamāmatun" (يَمَامَةٌ), which means "little dove" in that language.1 The original written Hebrew was ימימה, which the Masoretes vowelized to יְמִימָה. I'm not sure how the Alexandrians might have seen "day" in the written text, but apparently Jerome also did in the proto-Hebrew he consulted, where the first daughter is called Dies. Another answer to the question does point out, however, that the Talmud also associated the name Jemimah with "day".


1. Enhanced Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon (6th ed.)

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Yemimah because she was bright as the day, Keziah because her perfumery odor spread like that of cassia; Keren-hapuch, because, said R. Chisda, she spread forth a savor like garden comes, as it is written (Jer. 4:30) (Bava Batra 1:40)

Importance of giving names as in all Bible is to give the character's essence. And/Or to give persons traits!

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    OK but why tell the reader? And what's their significance? All you did was list off the names and give their Hebrew meaning. I'm not looking for just what they mean, but what the meaning was of naming them that and then telling us. – Joshua May 16 '16 at 0:08
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The meaning of Job’s daughter’s names: Jemimah (Dove) could be associated with the Holy Spirit i.e. Spirit/Mercury. Keziah (Fragrance/Cinnamon) suggests an essential oil (Soul/Sulfur), and Keren-happuch (Horn of Antimony) refers to a cosmetic holder (container), which suggests the Body (Salt) that contains the Spirit/Soul.

protected by Community Sep 1 '18 at 17:41

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