749. Naming the Child

 •  2 min. read  •  grade level: 8
Luke 1:5959And it came to pass, that on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child; and they called him Zacharias, after the name of his father. (Luke 1:59). It came to pass, that on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child; and they called him Zacharias, after the name of his father.
It was customary among the Jews to give names to children at the time of their circumcision. The rabbins say that this was because God changed the names of Abram and Sarai at the same time that he instituted circumcision. It was very rarely that the son received the name of the father; there was, doubtless, some special reason in this case why the friends wished the babe to be called Zacharias. The custom of naming the child at the time of circumcision is also illustrated in the case of Jesus. See Luke 2:2121And when eight days were accomplished for the circumcising of the child, his name was called JESUS, which was so named of the angel before he was conceived in the womb. (Luke 2:21).
Other nations, as well as the Jews, gave names to their children on special days. Godwyn says: “The Romans gave names to their male children on the ninth day, to the female on the eighth. The Athenians gave names on the tenth. Others on the seventh. These days Tertullian calleth Nominalia. The Grecians, besides the tenth day on which they named the child, observed also the fifth, on which day the midwives took the child, and ran about a fire made for that purpose, using that ceremony as a purification of themselves and the child” (Moses and Aaron, book 6, chap. 1).
Morier gives an interesting account connected with the naming of children in Persia. He says: “The Persians have no ceremony that corresponds entirely to our christening, because their children become Mohammedans as soon as the Kelemeh Islam has been whispered into their ear; but they have one called the Sheb be Alain or ‘Be the night propitious,’ which is for the purpose of giving the child a name. If the father of the child be in good circumstances, he collects his friends together and makes a feast. He also requires the attendance of several Mollahs; and when the mejlis or assembly is complete, sweetmeats are brought in and eaten. The infant is also brought into the mejlis, and placed near one of the Mollahs. The father of the child then gives out certain names, five in number, each of which is written separately on separate slips of paper. These slips of paper are placed either within the Koran, or under the edge of the nummud, or carPeter The Fatheh, which is the first wed or chapter of the Koran, is read. One of the slips of paper is then taken out at random by the hand of the father, and the child is called after the name which is there inscribed. A Mullah takes up the babe, pronounces the name in its ear, and places the paper on its swaddling-clothes. The relations of the child then each give it money and other presents, and this custom they call the Roo-memah, or Showing the face” (Second Journey, p. 108).