Home    Topics    Contact    Support

Plowing through History from the Aleph to the Tav

Topics Definition of Hebrew Names


By Jeff A. Benner

Now the names of the twelve apostles are these: The first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; (ASV, Matthew 10:2)

And James the son of Zebedee, and John the brother of James; and he surnamed them Boanerges, which is, The sons of thunder: (Mark 3:17)

James is identified as the son of Zebedee, a Hebrew name, זבדי (zav’di, Strong's #2067), meaning "my gift." James is the brother John, both of whom are called, in the Greek, Boanerges, which in Hebrew is בני רגז (beney regaz). This is the word בן (ben, Strong's #1121) meaning "son" (but written in the plural form – sons) and רגז (regaz, Strong's #7266) meaning "rage" – sons of rage.

In the New Testament Greek text the name James is written as Iakobos, a transliteration of the Hebrew name יעקב (ya’akov, Strong's #3290). This name is the verb עקב (Ah.Q.B, Strong's #6117) meaning "to grab the heel," and the prefix י (yud) meaning "he" – he grabs the heel.

The Hebrew name Ya’aqov in the Tanach (Old Testament) is Latinized as Jacob. Because the Greek Iakobos is a transliteration of the Hebrew Ya’akov, his name in the New Testament English translations should be Jacob, not James.

I would like to point out a common myth about this name. It has been suggested that the name "James" was introduced for "Jacob" in the King James Version of the Bible because King James told the translators that he wanted his name in the Bible, so they exchanged Jacob for James. This is a myth, as James is used in the Geneva Bible which predates the King James Version.

If you would like to be notified of new articles from this website...
Join the Mail List

Related Pages by Jeff A. Benner

HowHow to do a Hebrew Word Study (Video Course)
Learn the methods to uncover the deeper meanings of Hebrew words behind the English translations.

TheThe Living Words - Introduction (Article)
An introduction to Mr. Benner's book The Living Words expounding on the Ancient Hebrew culture and philosophy.

DefinitionDefinition of Hebrew Words (Articles)
Defining Hebrew words within their original cultural context.

Search the AHRC Website

Web Ancient-Hebrew.Org