Israel (name)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Pronunciation "Iss-Rael"
Gender Male
Word/name Hebrew
Meaning Israeli
Other names
Related names Izzy, Isaac, Rae, Joseph, Jacob, Jesus

Israel is a Biblical given name. The patriarch Jacob was given the name Israel (Hebrew: יִשְׂרָאֵל, Standard Yisraʾel Tiberian Yiśrāʾēl; "Triumphant with God", "who prevails with God"[1]) after he wrestled with a "man" (Genesis 32:28 and 35:10). The name already occurs in Eblaite and Ugaritic texts as a common name.[2] Commentators differ on the original literal meaning. Some say the name comes from the verb śarar ("to rule, be strong, have authority over"), thereby making the name mean "God rules" or "God judges".[3] Other possible meanings include "the prince of God" (from the King James Version) or "El fights/struggles".[4] "The Jewish Study Bible" of Oxford University Press says on page 68 "The scientific etymology of Israel is uncertain, a good guess being '[The God] El rules.'"[5] Jacob's descendants came to be known as the Israelites, eventually forming the tribes of Israel and ultimately the kingdom of Israel, whence came the name of modern-day Israel.

In Israel, the name "Israel Israeli" is sometimes used to mean someone whose name is unknown or unspecified.

Israel was a common name among Chaldeans till recent times. A famous Chaldean author is Bishop Israel Audo, famous for authoring a book about the Chaldean Genocide.

In Nazi Germany, male Jews who did not have "typically Jewish" given names were forced to add "Israel" as of January 1939. This decree was revoked by the allies in 1945.

Given name[edit]



  1. ^ James P. Boyd, Bible dictionary, Ottenheimer Publishers, 1958
  2. ^ Michael G. Hasel, Domination and Resistance: Egyptian Military Activity in the Southern Levant, Brill, 1998
  3. ^ Hamilton 1995, p. 334
  4. ^ Wenham 1994, pp. 296–97
  5. ^