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Surname

SURNAME

sur'-nam (kanah; epikalein):

A word derived from the French., meaning "an additional name"; in modern English always the family name of a person. Indeed, the spelling "surname" in the King James Version 1 Macc 1:10; 2:2; 6:43 may be due to a confusion with "sire's name." But the custom of family names was entirely unknown among the Hebrews. The word is used twice in the King James Version of the Old Testament, namely, Isaiah 44:5; 45:4. The Hebrew word means "to give flattering or honorary titles." In the former passage foreigners are so envious of the prosperity of the Jews that they are anxious to be surnamed by the name of Israel, i.e. to be enrolled as members of the Jewish nation. In the latter case Yahweh gives Cyrus an honorary title, namely, "servant of Yahweh," and thus appoints him to be His instrument in the restoration of His people. The same word is rendered in Job 32:21, the King James Version "give flattering titles." Elihu declares his intention to examine the situation without fear or favor. He will not allow such high-sounding titles as "Your Worship" or "My Lord" to stand in his way. He will not be overawed by Job's social position. In the New Testament the word is used in the case of Peter--Simon whose surname is Peter (Acts 10:5,32; 11:13); of Mark--John whose surname was Mark (Acts 12:12,25; 15:37); of Judas--surnamed Iscariot (Luke 22:3); of Barsabbas--who was surnamed Justus (Acts 1:23); and of Judas--surnamed Barsabbas (Acts 15:22). It was a widespread custom in the ancient world to give honorary and symbolical titles. our Lord surnamed Simon Peter (Mark 3:16), and James and John Boanerges (Mark 3:17). Acts 15:37 the King James Version has "surname" for the simple "call" (so the Revised Version (British and American)).

T. Lewis


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Bibliography Information
Orr, James, M.A., D.D. General Editor. "Entry for 'SURNAME'". "International Standard Bible Encyclopedia". 1915.