Tell me your name, I will tell you who you are. There is always a stringent value and significance attached to names. Obviously, names are believed to have spiritual, psychological or superstitious which could affect it bearer.
Identity is most likely the value attached to people in Europe and America in particular, little wonder they bear names like ‘Hazard’, ‘Sand’, ‘Stove’, ‘Weed’, ‘Alien’, ‘Ghost’ etc.
In Nigeria and African as a whole, it is strongly believed that the name a child bears has a vital role to play in what he becomes in future. Names are linked with historical events, particularly when such names are biblical. Therefore, there are some biblical names that are ‘forbidden’ in Nigeria and some African Christian Homes.
What are these names?
- Esau: He was the twin brother of Jacob, and their parents were Isaac and Rebekah. Isaac loved Esau, but Rebekah loved Jacob. The former was said to have sold his birthright to the latter, while Rebekah also played a role in ensuring that Jacob got the blessing meant for Esau from their father Isaac. Esau sought his birthright with tears but lost it all.
- Jabez: The name Jabez has a foundation to birth and the circumstance that surrounded his birth. His mother gave him the name because she bore him with sorrow. But the story of Jabez later changed as he turned out to become a fortunate fellow, irrespective of the negative impressions people had about him.
- Pharaoh: He was a hardened king who after ten warning and plagues before he decided to let the Israelites go. But if you read the Bible, it wasn’t Pharaoh’s fault that he did not ‘let my people go.’ God intentionally hardened Pharaoh’s heart because He wanted some signs and wonders to manifest. All parents want their children to be a king, but not like that of Pharaoh.
- Naman: He was the man with leprosy that was healed. Although he is not a bad person but cause of the leprosy attached to his livelihood.
- Cain: He was the elder brother of Abel, whom he eventually murdered out of envy. Both Cain and Abel were the first children of Adam and Eve. Cain was the first man to kill in the Bible. Obviously, you won’t to bear such a killer name.
- Jezebel: She was the wife (Queen) of King Ahab. She is seductive and power driven. She instigated the King to kill Naboth and take over his inherited pieces of land.
- Saul: There are two Saul’s in the Holy Bible; Saul the king and Saul of Tarsus, an anti-Christian campaigner who later became Paul the Apostle. He was blind for three days, and he wrote more books in the bible. He was the best writer. Some of his books include Colossian, Thessalonians and Galatians.
- Goliath: A great Philistine warrior, he was killed by little David with a stone.
- Nebuchadnezzar: You can read more about King Nebuchadnezzar in Daniel 3. He was the one who ordered Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego to be cast into the burning furnace because they refused to bow to the golden image he commanded his people to worship. He was also the same king of Babylon who lived a wild life.
- Haman: He was one of the closest aides of a king. Due to the hatred and envy he had for Mordecai, Haman tried to influence the king to kill the former by hanging, but all his antics became a source of promotion and honour for Mordecai.
Final words from Author Ade Nathaniel: “Africans mind the names given to you because it has effect on your livelihood”