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Joined: 2005/7/4
Posts: 21
Fresno, CA

 Did I make a terrible mistake?

Dear friends in Christ,

My name is Nathan and I’ve been a great admirer of Sermon Index for a few years now. Although I haven’t posted much, I thought this would be a good place to request some godly advise concerning a predicament I'm in. It concerns my daughter who is about 5 months old. . . .

About 10-12 months ago when my wife and I found out we’re having a daughter, we began praying about a name for her. . . . We searched and brainstormed but we couldn’t figure out the right name . . . Finally I asked my wife what her greatest prayer would be for our daughter and she said that she prays our daughter will be a really strong and mighty woman of God. That night we discovered on the internet the name Athalia which means “Mighty is the LORD.” (According to [url=]this link[/url]). . . . My wife thought it was a beautiful name and I was very happy with the meaning. We did a google search and confirmed the meaning of the name. So we chose the name Athalia for our daughter. . . .

Since our daughter’s birth we’ve proudly introduced her as Athalia which means “Mighty is the LORD.” Everyone in our church and our circle of family and friends knows her name. And of course, while playing with our daughter, my wife has come up with a cute song based on her name Athalia. . . .

Now, comes the problem. . . . Yesterday a friend at church happened to notice the name Athliah in the Bible (spelled just a little different with an “h” at the end). It’s in 2 Kings 11. I was surprised and unaware that the name was in the Bible. I quickly started reading the passage and suddenly discovered that Athaliah in the Bible was a wicked queen who tried to murder the sons of the royal family in Judah in an attempt to hold onto power. After reining for 6 years, she was eventually put to death and the entire city celebrated that she was removed. I discovered that the same story is also in 2 Chronicles 23. There it even goes as far as saying that she was a wicked woman who’s sons broke into the temple of God and used its sacred objects to worship Baal. . . .

Needless to say I feel very disappointed about this discovery. I feel like I made a terrible mistake while naming our daughter and I’m very embarrassed. My precious daughter whom I desire to grow up as a great and powerful woman of God was given the name of a wicked and treacherous queen in the Bible. My wife was also surprised because I generally know the Bible very well but I was not aware of this account in the Bible concerning the name Athaliah. . . .

My question now is what should I do? Should I consider changing her name? Or should I just ignore that story in the Bible because she was given that name to honor God who is mighty? Right now I’m thinking that the second choice is better. After all, even though there was a wicked queen in the Bible with that name, our vision for our daughter is to be a woman of God who is mighty in God like the name Athalia implies. . . . .

I would really appreciate any input or insight from anyone on this topic because I feel really down about it and unsure what I should do. . . .Thank you very much for taking the time to read this. . . .

Blessings in Christ,

P.S. Here's some [url=]pics of our little girl[/url].


 2006/10/30 9:27Profile

Joined: 2005/5/2
Posts: 3777

 Re: Did I make a terrible mistake?


What a lovely name! Rejoice in it, and praise God that HE led you to it. There is no special power in a name in iteself - even if it is found in the Bible. (My apologies to all who call their sons Joseph or David, or who call their daughters Mary.)

God knows, there may have been hundreds of Athalia's who have brought glory to his name. Speak blessing into the name and into your daughter.

And, by the way, Congratulations!! May Athalia become mighty is the LORD.



 2006/10/30 9:36Profile

Joined: 2006/6/28
Posts: 3405
Dallas, Texas


What a lovely name!

Yes, I agree with my sister. Athalia (with or without the "h" at the end) is quite a beautiful name. Though Athaliah was wicked, we shouldn't let the person of who she was stigmatize the name. Eli, for example, was a shameful high priest - so shameful, in fact, that God had to kill him - but that doesn't stop people today from naming their kids Eli!

Don't worry about this, dear brother. You've chosen an honorable name for your daughter, a royal name. Pray that she does justice to her needlessly-maligned gorgeous name, as a woman who will give God glory, and whose honor and faith will rise beyond the price of rubies.

Paul Frederick West

 2006/10/30 10:06Profile

Joined: 2006/1/14
Posts: 50


Athalia is a gorgious name!
I can tell that God has given you both this name for your daughter. I agree whith Diane, ´cause is not the power in her name itself, but the power of His NAME upon her that will gide her to declare in her existence that only the LORD is mighty!
God bless your precious Athalia!



 2006/10/30 10:11Profile

Joined: 2004/4/1
Posts: 323

 Re: Did I make a terrible mistake?

whatever you and your wife feel led, and if it helps, you can tell your pastor or church friends you didn't know that evil queen's name was in the bible (and be thankful it isn't spelled exactly the same).
I hope things work out, and God helps you with this. I like the advice given here by the others, I think that is the way most people will see it too


 2006/10/30 10:38Profile

Joined: 2004/6/15
Posts: 1924

 Re: Did I make a terrible mistake?

bro Nathan
she is beautiful! and Athalia is a beautiful name! yesterday our Lord had me reading out of 2 Kings where the story of that wicked queen is. you have nothing to fear because if you raise her up in the ways of our Lord for whom she is named, she shall surely not disappoint us as a daughter nor her God as His child either.

God bless you bro

Farai Bamu

 2006/10/30 10:50Profile

Joined: 2003/7/18
Posts: 6566
Reading, UK

 Re: Did I make a terrible mistake?

My question now is what should I do? Should I consider changing her name? Or should I just ignore that story in the Bible because she was given that name to honor God who is mighty?


This is a difficult one.

There are at least two other people in the scriptures with this name but they would appear to be men and there is not much evidence to see what kind of characters they were. 1Chr 8:26; Ezra 8:7

My advice would be to think carefully about continuing with this name, simply because you and your lovely daughter are going to have this conversation over and over for the next 50 years or so if you decide to stick with it.

It is a pretty sounding name but there are some names which are so associated with terrible acts that they pass from use; eg Adolph means brother and was the name of many a German boy... It may be embarassing to change now but it will be much more difficult later.

Ron Bailey

 2006/10/30 14:31Profile

Joined: 2003/6/11
Posts: 9192
Santa Clara, CA


[b]Athaliah[/b] (Hebrew Atalyahu (עתליה), "God is exalted")

Or you might say she was named thus to restore the honor given to the name.

Beautiful girl brother.

Mike Balog

 2006/10/30 15:58Profile

Joined: 2005/7/26
Posts: 524
Tennessee, USA

 Re: Did I make a terrible mistake?

It is not the name that makes the person, it is the person that makes the name. If you worry about this, then so shall your daughter. Rather, if you give your daughter to God, He will shape her name in accord with His working in her.

If she is to be a mighty woman of God, then let it be that whoever hears the name "Athalia" thinks not of the biblical character, but of your daughter whom everyone says is a mighy woman of God. Only God can make this happen.

The name "Jesus" was a rather common name when it was given to Christ. I am sure there were some people with that name whose pasts were terrible. However, God still gave that name to His beloved son, because He knew that the name would be above all names, not because of it's meaning, but because what Christ would do on the cross.

Lastly, it could be quite possibly that God may use this in the future to speak to your daughter concerning a few things. You don't know. Just be open to His working in her life. Surrender it to Him, and He will lead your path.

May Christ bless you with peace in this.

In love,

Blake Kidney

 2006/10/30 16:17Profile

Joined: 2005/3/1
Posts: 156
Tacoma, WA

 Re: Did I make a terrible mistake?


I don't know if you made a mistake, but your concerns and question of your choice (as others have said) might become one.

There are several roads I have seen taken with persons and their names (albeit a bit more common with boys.) If her middle name seems to be a more appropriate title, you might consider calling her by that name.

I have to agree with the general sentiment, however, that is not the history of the name that matters, but the person who carries it. There has been in my life time at least one false prophet ("David Koresh") to carry my name - intentionally. And as far as I know, little boys are still being named Jeffrey and Theodore even though relatively recent events have had people shed bad light on those names here in the states(Jeffrey Dahmer and Ted Kaczynski). Another one that comes to mind is John Wilkes Booth, an assassin with whom many of my friends share a first name. I don't think that taints the name. And those are stories everyone (here) knows.

Frankly, I'd be more concerned about how much she'd going to get teased for an archaic name on the playground.

I think, sir, that since you as a family didn't choose rashly, that a great consideration for that should take place in your and your wife's decision here, as well.

Good luck and God bless!

David Reynolds

 2006/10/30 17:25Profile

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