In 1 Samuel chapter 4, KJV we read:

21 "And [Phinehas's wife] named the child I-chabod, saying The glory is departed from Israel: because the ark of God was taken, and because of her father in law and her husband"

(In the preceding verses, Israel had just lost a battle against the Philistines, who took with them the ark of the covenant.)

I-chabod is defined in my scriptures as "Where is the glory?"

This naming scheme seems odd to the modern reader. Phinehas's wife is naming her child after a historical event. This would be like giving an infant born 1 Jan 2000 the name "Y2K"

Why did she do it? Was there some sort of cultural influence going on?

  • It is probably quite common even now to mark historical event in babies' names: Victoria and Dolores spring to mind
    – Henry
    Jun 14, 2022 at 14:22
  • @henry: indeed, the Hebrews seem to do this quite a bit; the Bible suggests Jesus was to be referred to as “God with us.” Jun 14, 2022 at 14:45

1 Answer 1


Many of the Bible characters were named after events. Here is a sample:

  • "Reuben"; Gen 29:32 - And Leah conceived and bore a son, and she called his name Reuben, for she said, “Because the LORD has looked upon my affliction; for now my husband will love me.”
  • "Simeon"; Gen 29:33 - She conceived again and bore a son, and said, “Because the LORD has heard that I am hated, he has given me this son also.” And she called his name Simeon.
  • "Levi"; Gen 29:34 - Again she conceived and bore a son, and said, “Now this time my husband will be attached to me, because I have borne him three sons.” Therefore his name was called Levi.

In fact, all of Jacob's children were named for events surrounding their birth. Here are a few more examples:

  • "Peleg" means division, a reference to the fact that just before his birth, the world was divided, Gen 10:25
  • "Eve"; Gen 3:20 - The man called his wife’s name Eve, because she was the mother of all living.
  • "Abraham"; Gen 17:5 - No longer will you be called Abram [exalted Father], but your name will be Abraham [Father of many], for I have made you a father of many nations
  • "Maher-shalal-hash-baz" (Isa 8:1-4)  means The spoil speeds, the prey hastens  or Swift to plunder, quick to carry away 

... and so forth. Many, many people were named after events.

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