The important names in the Bible were not given in random. As the story concerning each character unfolds, we learn how connected it is to the narrative, provided that we focus on the Hebrew name. English, Spanish, Greek and Latin, along with all other world languages, fall short in demonstrating how: 1. The Biblical name foreshadows the life events of each personality, 2. The Hebrew name both mirrors and substantiates the truthfulness of biblical events and prophecies.
Although reading the Bible in English is also perceived by believers as reading truth, the immediate sense of substantiation, as reflected in the mere Hebrew name, is missing from the non-Hebrew reading experience. This is just one reason why it is so important for every Bible follower to obtain some knowledge of Hebrew.
Today’s word, ‘shem,’ means a ‘name,’ and its plural is ‘she•mot.’ Shem, however, is also a name; it is the name of Noah’s first-born son, Shem. The people of Israel are the descendants of this son and therefore they are called Semites – or Semitic – the sons of Shem. Among this large family of descendants we find: Akkadians, Assyrians, Arameans, Phoenicians, Hebrews (Jews), Arabs, and their descendants. Despite this, when one hears the term ‘anti-Semitic,’ it is obvious that the reference is to being anti-Jewish and not against any other nation. As such, the mere name, ‘Shem,’ carries a heavy significance and burden that follows the Jewish people (the Semitic nation) since its inception and to this very day.
In Hebrew grammar, the word ‘shem’ means a ‘noun.’
There are several ways to introduce ourselves to others, some using ‘shem.’ Here are examples of David introduces himself:
1: Hashem sheli David — my name is David.
2: Sh’mi David — my name is David.
3: [without using ‘shem’] Ani David — I’m David.
To ask for a person’s name:
1: [speaking to a male] Ma ‘shim•cha’? — What’s your name?
1: [speaking to a female] Ma ‘sh’mech? — What’s your name?