Name Help: Baby EightName Help is a series at Appellation Mountain. Every week, one reader’s name questions will be discussed.

We’re relying on thoughtful comments from the community to help expectant parents narrow down their name decisions. Thank you in advance for sharing your insight!

Jenny writes:

I’m expecting baby #8 in just a few short weeks and having the hardest time finding a name.

We have 2 boys, Isaac Aiden and Levi Josiah.

We have 5 girls, Jordan Grace, Eden Elizabeth, Selah Rose, Zivah Joy, and Petra Jayne.

This will be another girl!

Thus far our trend has been two-syllable first names each beginning with a different letter, and dad prefers something at least vaguely related to the Bible or Hebrew, but none of those are hard and fast rules we must stick with.

A few names we’ve tossed around are Olive, Ruby, Esther, and Noa, and some possible middle names are Louise or Margaret, which are both family names.

Any suggestions would be happily considered!

Please read on for my response, and leave your thoughtful suggestions in the comments.

Dear Jenny –

Congratulations on your new daughter!

This makes for a little bit of a name game, doesn’t it? Every time I think I’ve found The Name, I realize it repeats an initial. Or maybe the origins aren’t quite right.

Still, I did find a few that satisfy your requirements and I think that’s the trick – to find a pool of possibilities that you and your husband can consider.

I’ve avoided all names starting with E, I, J, L, P, S, and Z. But I’ve also tried to avoid other -a ending names, even though that’s not a rule of yours at all! It just adds some more options.

Two-Syllable Girl Names

Anya – It’s a form of Ann, by way of Russian. That’s a strong link to the Old Testament, as well as the New. And it offers a lovely meaning, too – grace.

Celeste – Maybe this is too much of a stretch, but Celeste comes from caelestis – heavenly. That’s Latin, of course. But the King James version of the Bible, and many other translations, use the word celestial. (Others prefer heavenly.) So it’s not a complete leap.

Chloe – Chloe’s roots are Greek, but the name does appear in the New Testament.

Dinah – A great, underused Old Testament possibility.

Marie – Okay, I know – it seems like it ought to be really common. Lots of women have Marie as their middle name. But as a given? It’s surprisingly rare. And it connects to Mary – again, far less common than you’d guess – and Miriam, so it’s Hebrew and Biblical, too.

Rachel – I know. Rachel feels a little 90s, a name forever sipping coffee at Central Perk on Friends. Except it’s really quite the classic, an Old Testament name with a long history of use.

Tamar – Another Old Testament name rare in the US today.

Vera – I’ve avoided most -a enders, but Vera is too good to resist! It means faith in Russian and truth in Latin. The latter connects it to lots of phrases, like vera cruz – true cross. So while it misses your requirements for origins, I wonder if it still has the right spirit?

From your list, I love Ruby and Olive – probably because they satisfy your requirements plus have a different ending sound, which seems ideal.

But from my suggestions, I wonder if you’d consider Celeste? It’s not specifically Biblical – and it’s not Hebrew at all – but it feels like it’s in the same general space. Plus, it balances out the rarer names (Petra, Zivah) and the more popular ones (Levi, Eden).

I know the community will have some great suggestions, so let’s turn it over to them.

What would you name a sister for Levi, Isaac, Jordan, Eden, Selah, Zivah, and Petra?

About Abby Sandel

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What do you think?


  1. The first to pop into my mind was Shiloh since it’s another Biblical place name, if you’re willing to double up on S. I also like the suggestions of Miriam and Keziah.

  2. Congratulations on baby number 8! You are my opposite equal – I have 6 boys and 2 girls!
    A lot of my thoughts have already been mentioned below.
    I don’t know if it was mentioned but what about Micah. I know it’s a male prophet, but I know a very beautiful girl inside and out with the name.
    Love the names you are tossing around especially Olive and Ruby
    What about Ruth or Ruthie

  3. Esther is the perfect name imo. Sounds just different enough from your other kids and is so soft and pretty.

  4. Love these names! What about

    Charis (christian charity)

    Love the middle name Paz, Cruz or Lux

    It isn’t three syllables but I also thought of Naomi. Naomi Pax (pleasant peace).

  5. The first thing I thought of from your list of names was Naomi. I know it’s 3 syllables, but it seemed so perfect I’m throwing it out there anyway. 🙂

    For 2 syllable names:

    If you are willing to consider Tamar and Dinah, perhaps Rahab? I know there are some unsavory elements to her backstory, but she showed faith, courage, and intelligence and is also such a beautiful redemption story. Whereas both Tamar and Dinah are mainly described as tragic victims.

    1. Congratulations on number 8! Below are a few names that meet the requirements of biblical and/or Hebrew.

      — Adriel means flock of God in Hebrew and is from 1 Sam. 18:19. Okay 3 syllables but still a cool name.
      — Adah means assembly in Hebrew and is from Gen. 4:19.
      — Abigail means a father’s joy and is from 1 Sam. 25:3. Again three syllables but the nick name Abbey is two. I know a little one called Abbey Grace and she is adorable. Made me love this double name.
      — Myra is from Acts 27:5. Oh but that repeats Mateo!

      Another name that I think fits is Helen. It means light so there is a vague religious reference there. Plus it is similar to the ending of Jordan and Eden to balance out the a/ah ending of Zivah, Petra and Selah.

  6. Maren Louise. Then the boys share the long I, 3 girls have – a endings and 3 girls have – n endings.

    Other options: Naomi, Talia, Therese, Hannah, Mary, Marta or Martha, Corinne or Cora (for Corinthians), Ruth or Ruthann.