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Quick Facts on Rebekah

  • Gender:
  • Girl
  • Origin:
  • Hebrew
  • Number of syllables:
  • 3
  • Ranking popularity:
  • 468
Simple meaning:

Characteristics of Rebekah

  • Freedom-loving
  • Adventurous
  • Adaptable
  • Intellectual
  • Easygoing
  • Progressive
  • Sensual

Etymology & Historical Origin - Rebekah

Rebekah is a spelling variant of Rebecca and one which is used in many if not most versions of the Bible. Rebekah obviously comes from the Bible as the wife of Isaac and the mother of Jacob and Esau. As such, she is a prominent matriarchal figure – the grandmother of the future tribes of Israel – and thus a favorite name among Jewish people (like Sarah and Rachel). The etymology of the name is debated. The Hebrew name “Rivka” possibly means ‘to snare, bind, trap’ but it is also said to mean ‘captivating’ (we like this meaning best). Some etymologists believe the name is of Aramaic origin (an ancestral language of Arabic) meaning ‘soil, earth.’ Perhaps it will be more helpful to understand Rebekah’s story in the Old Testament. In Genesis, Abraham does not want Isaac to marry a local Canaanite woman so he sends his servant to find a wife in his own ancestral land of Haran in upper Mesopotamia. The servant is skeptical at the prospect of success, doubtful that a woman will follow him back to Canaan, but Abraham assures him God will assist in this endeavor - however, if the woman does not follow the servant back of her own accord, then Abraham absolves him of all responsibility (at which point we’re sure the servant sighs a proverbial “phew!”). Upon arrival in the city of Nahor in Mesopotamia, the servant beholds Rebekah: “The young woman was very attractive in appearance, a maiden whom no man had known.” [Genesis 24:16]. That’s Biblical-speak for virgin. Rebekah graciously offers the servant water for himself and his camels, thus fulfilling his prayer to the Lord indicating that she must be the one. After negotiations with her family and the offering of gifts, it comes down to Rebekah’s decision to follow the servant back to Canaan to marry Isaac. Her words are simple: “I will go.” So she’s not exactly ‘snared and trapped’ as one of the etymological origins might suggest; quite the contrary. The name’s other possible meaning (i.e., ‘captivating’) makes more sense for this beautiful, compassionate and kind young maiden. Given the name’s Biblical origins in the Old Testament, Rebecca has always been a common Jewish name; however, it’s been used by Christians in the English speaking world since the 14th century. The name’s popularity grew during the Reformation and the Puritans picked it up in the 17th century and would eventually bring the name to America. Rebekah is considered an “old-school” version of the more commonly used English Rebecca.

Popularity of the Name Rebekah

For all intents and purposes, Rebekah came into use in America during the 1950s. She slowly climbed the charts until reaching her peak popularity during the 1980s and 90s. Although she never made the Top 100 list of most commonly used female names in the United States, she did hover around #150 for a while. Today, Rebekah is back down to mild moderation and definitely not as popular as Rebecca (although impressively close on a relative basis). Rebekah feels like a more ancient, Biblical version of the more modern looking Rebecca. At the end of the day, Rebecca was derived from Rebekah (this spelling came first) in case you’re a super-traditionalist. Rebekah is the spelling used in the King James Version of the Bible. Plus, a lot of American parents love weird spelling variations of names, and while Rebekah is not a made-up spelling by any means, it certainly adds some uniqueness to the more common Rebecca. Becky and Becca are darling pet forms (or even Reba if you’re a fan of the country music singer).
Popularity of the Girl Name Rebekah
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Cultural References to the Baby Name - Rebekah

  • Literary Characters of the baby name Rebekah

    Literary Characters of the Baby Name Rebekah

    Becky (A Little Princess) Becky is the scullery maid in Frances Hodgson Burnett’s 1905 children’s book, A Little Princess. The title refers to seven year old Sara Crewe, a child at Miss Minchin’s boarding school in London, whose wealthy father dies abroad while she is there, and she is turned from a schoolgirl into a servant, sharing quarters with Becky. Becky proves to be a true friend to Sara, helping her to accept the restrictions of her lowered circumstances. Sara has never been condescending to the servant girl, so Becky responds in kind. Now that Sara is poor, the only thing that Becky wishes to do for her is to be her servant. In time-honored tradition, Sara’s wealth is restored and having grown older, she takes Becky away with her to a just reward.

    Becky Sharp (Vanity Fair) Becky Sharp is the incomparable young woman in Vanity Fair, William Makepeace Thackeray’s satire of 1847/8, who willingly plays up the contrast between herself and Amelia Sedley, the good young heroine of the piece. She is a witty, cunning, sly, conniving, cheating, faithless, manipulative, amoral social climber. In other words, she is completely memorable! She shamelessly flirts, marries secretly, has affairs, has a child but neglects him, and in general, roundly shocks society. Her come-uppance? A healthy retirement, funded by her wealthy (albeit neglected) son, in which she is free to do charitable work. Let it be said in her favor, however, that she was often unimpressed and bored with the fruits of her social ambition. We should all be so lucky.

    Becky Thatcher (The Adventures of Tom Sawyer) Becky Thatcher is a Mark Twain creation out of the pages of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, published in 1876. She is the daughter of the wealthy Judge Thatcher, quite the little aristocrat in Tom’s eyes, and he falls in love with her at first sight. She is an enchanting little girl with long blonde hair and definite opinions. Tom wins her heart for good when he takes the blame for a misdeed of her making, and sustains a whipping for it. Becky Thatcher’s character was based upon a real little girl Samuel Clemens attended school with in Hannibal, Missouri – Laura Hawkins. (When the humorist became famous, at least twenty-five women claimed to have been the model for Becky, but Mr. Clemens named Miss Hawkins.)

    Rebecca For more literary references on Rebekah, go to the Rebecca name page (a more commonly used character spelling than Rebekah)

    Rebekah (Rebekah) Rebekah is the central character in Orson Scott Card’s 2001 novel, “Rebekah” from the Women of Genesis series. It is the second novel in the series (after “Sarah”). It precedes “Rachel and Leah”. The novel follows Rebekah and the story of Isaac through her perspective. Although the storyline does not deviate from the Genesis story, Card takes some liberties to expand on some of the details and themes in order to create a more fictionalized yet interesting account of this remarkable woman.

  • Popular Songs on Rebekah

    Popular Songs on Rebekah

    Hey Rebekah - a song by The Fold

    Rebekah - a song by The D4

  • Children's Books on the Baby Name Rebekah

    Children's Books on the Baby Name Rebekah

    Isaac and Rebekah (Arlene C. Rourke) - Now You Can Read Series. A retelling of the Old Testament story of how Isaac came to marry Rebekah and found the twelve tribes of Israel. Recommended for ages 5-7.

    Rebekah as her Journey Begins (K.C. Pyatt) - Rebekah, a small black dog that has been abused terribly by humans, has no idea what God has planned for her. She doesn't know if she can trust the young couple that have adopted her. Because she has never had the opportunity to establish a relationship with anyone, even other animals, the discovery that other dogs and cats can talk as well as she does, is only the beginning of what lies ahead for her. Soon she is partnering with one of God's angels to assure God's will is realized for those with special wishes. To accomplish these tasks, she must battle evil. But her question is, "How? I am just too little." Recommended for ages 7-10.

    Rebekah in Danger: Peril at Plymouth Colony (Colleen L. Reece) - Time Period: 1620 . Freezing weather, lack of food, and sickness make the first winter at Plymouth Colony a difficult and dangerous time. What would that winter be like for a ten-year-old girl? Find out in Rebekah in Danger, part of the Sisters in Time series. Written especially for eight- to twelve-year-old girls, this dramatic story shows how a seventeenth-century girl-not terribly different from girls of the twenty-first century-overcame some of the most challenging difficulties imaginable. Though the main character is fictional, the events and experiences are very real-providing an ideal vehicle for teaching American history and Christian faith. Recommended for ages 9-12.

    Rebekah The Mother Of Twins (Carine MacKenzie) - The story of Rebekah accurately retold from the Bible (from the book of Genesis 24-28). Illustrated by Duncan Maclaren. The Bibletime series by Carine Mackenzie have been praised for their accurate retelling of great bible stories. This timeless collection has been printed in many languages throughout the world and sold in their millions. They can be read over and over again. Recommended for ages 3-7.

    The Beautiful Bride; Rebekah (Ros Woodman) - When Rebekah helped the servant at the well, she discovered that he was on a special journey. Solve the puzzles, crack the codes and discover some fascinating facts about Rebekah. Recommended for ages 4-8.

    The Tale of Rebekah Rabbit (Jean McCurdy Meade) - Where did the story of the Easter Bunny come from? What does Easter, the Day on which Jesus was raised from the dead that Christians celebrate every year with great joy, have to do with a rabbit that brings joy to children? Maybe she was a little bunny named Rebekah, who was curious about the strange rumbling she felt early, early that Sunday morning, and the beautiful light that came with the dawn, so out she hopped into the garden, all alone, while her brothers and sisters slept. And there she met the most wonderful person in the world - and somehow she knew Him and He knew her!! And then maybe that little bunny was able to say something without words to those women - and they included her in their story to the others. But then, over the centuries, the part about the rabbit and the first Easter day got forgotten -mostly. Recommended for ages 4-8.

  • Famous People Named Rebekah

    Famous People Named Rebekah

    Famous People Named Rebekah - Rebekah Cochran (author); Rebekah Hurth (musician); Rebekah Palmer (writer); Rebekah Johnson (songwriter); Rebekah Brooks (journalist/editor); Rebekah Kochan (actress); Rebekah Ryan (singer); Rebekah Teasdale (model)

  • Children of Famous People Named Rebekah

    Children of Famous People Named Rebekah

    Famous People Who Named Their Daughter Rebekah - We cannot find any celebrities or famous people who have named their child Rebekah.

  • Historic Figures

    Rebekah - Girl Baby Name - Historic Figures

    Rebekah (The Bible) - Rebekah shows up in the Bible very early on in the book of Genesis. She is from the ancestral lands of Abraham and thus related to him as his grand-niece. She is also the sister of Laban, who will eventually become the father of Leah and Rachel (wives of Jacob). In the Bible, Abraham sends his servant to find a wife for his son Isaac in Mesopotamia (his homeland); he does not want Isaac marrying a Canaanite woman given their proclivity for idolatry. The servant is doubtful that a maiden will travel so far (from Mesopotamia to Canaan) to fulfill Abraham’s wishes, but he goes dutifully. Upon reaching the ancestral lands, he prays that God will give him a sign – which ever woman offers him and his camels water from her well will be the one. Before he is even done with his prayer, the servant immediately sees the beautiful Rebekah. She kindly offers this leathery old stranger water from her well, and so he knows she is the one. Returning to her household, and equipped with offerings of gifts, the servant asks to bring the maiden back to Canaan to marry Isaac. The family resists, wanting to keep the girl longer, but agree to ask Rebekah to decide. Women didn’t have much of a voice back then; Rebekah can be considered a feminist symbol for her free-will and independent-mind. “I will go.” She says. She returns to Canaan and upon seeing Isaac quickly covers her face with a veil, so impressed is she by his spiritual aura. After Isaac and Rebekah marry, it takes her 20 long years to conceive a child (now in ancient times, this would be serious torture for a woman like Rebekah). Both Isaac and Rebekah pray mightily for offspring, and finally she conceives twins. She feels them unsettled in her womb; worried, she goes to God. She is told that “the older will serve the younger” and that “one people will be stronger than the other.” We know now that this prophesy would be fulfilled. Her son Esau was born first and Jacob came out of her womb immediately after “holding the heel” of his brother. As Rebekah’s favorite son, she would go onto help Jacob steal Esau’s birthright and blessing. She intuitively knows that Esau is simply not responsible or holy enough to receive the blessing himself. Rebekah devises a plan whereby Jacob – in the guise of Esau – will bring Isaac his goat meat as he lay blind and close to death. After his meal, Isaac will give his blessing to Jacob (unwittingly) and not Esau. Jacob immediately sees a flaw in his mother’s plan. You see, Esau is hairy and Jacob is smooth-skinned. Not to worry, Mama Rebekah had that one figured out, too. She takes the hairy skin of the goat and wraps it around Jacob. When he goes to his father, Isaac will feel the hair and know it’s Esau. Everything goes as planned, and Jacob receives the blessing. Of course, Esau arrives moments later to see this deception and furiously vows to kill Jacob, so Rebekah sends Jacob off to live with her brother Laban (this is how Leah and Rachel come into the picture). She would eventually die an old woman and never see the eventual reconciliation of her sons. Nonetheless, Rebekah is one of the more colorful women in the Bible – a matriarch, a free-thinker, a proactive go-getter – and if this isn’t enough, she’s beautiful, spiritual, compassionate and caring.

Personality of the Girl Name Rebekah

The number Five personality loves the excitement of life and can easily adapt to all situations. As natural adventurers, these personalities thrive on the new and unexpected and prefer to be in constant motion. It makes them feel alive. They'll stir up some action if there's not enough around, and as inherent risk-takers they enjoy pushing the envelope. Naturally rebellious, the Five personality has no fear and never resists change.  Traveling and new experiences feed their souls. Fives are very social and attract friends with ease. People love to be around the Five fun-loving and exciting energy.  This is also a lucky number in numerology (like the Threes), so fortune seems to shine on them, helped along by their own optimism and good-nature. Fives have a quick wit, a cerebral mind, and are generally very persuasive. 

Variations of the Baby Name - Rebekah

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