Joshua bar-Joseph of Nazareth

A fine point to add to Cecil’s answer about Jesus’s real name: I’ve heard it said that the name “Jesus” rendered in the Greek is close to another Greek word meaning “healer.”

Isn’t there also a word “ben” in hebrew that refers to the mother? As in “Joshua ben-Miriam” which would be son of Miriam, or Mary?

“Ben” in Hebrew means son-of.

So X-ben-Y would mean X the son of Y. Y could be the father or the mother.

“Bar” is Aramaic for son-of.

Zev Steinhardt

I’m a bit dubious about this one. According to, Joshua (and my name is Joshua and I’m Jewish) comes from the Hebrew name Yehoshua. It says that the name Jesus comes from the Hebrew name Yeshua. Not quite the same. Joshua was, of course, Moses’ lieutenant in the Old Testament. At least, that’s who I was named after :slight_smile:


Actually, Yeshua is just another variant of Yehoshua, and they can be used interchangeably for the same person. For example, the first High Priest in the second Temple is alternately called Yehoshua ben Yehotzadak (as in Haggai 1:1) and Yeshua ben Yotzadak (as in Ezra 3:2). Not only that, but the Joshua, after whom you’re named, is called Yeshua in one place (Nehemiah 8:17).

Thanks Zev. So, I wonder, does the name “Benjamin” mean “son of Jamin” (or Yamin)?

Almost forgot,

Does either Hebrew or Aramaic have a word for “daughter of”?

Yes. The word (in both languages) is “bas.”

My daughter is Tzivya Machla bas Zev Ari.
Zev Steinhardt

According to translations I’ve read, Benjamin means “son of the south” or “son of the right hand.” So Jamin would mean “south” or “right hand”- I’m not sure if it was likely to be a person’s name. Zev obviously knows Hebrew; I don’t.

Literally translated, the word “yamin” means right (as opposed to left). So, Binyamin (as the name would be said in Hebrew) could literally mean “son of the right” or “son of right.”

Zev Steinhardt