Don’t know what to call your newborn baby? How about one of these very long and very complicated names? Your little one will be the only Mahershalalhashbaz in his class!*



1. Mahershalalhashbaz

(Isaiah 8:1, 8:3)

Mahershalalhashbaz was the son of Isaiah and a woman known simply, and quite intriguingly, as ‘the prophetess’. God told Isaiah to give his son this name. Heaven only knows why.


2. Chushanrishathaim

(Judges 3:8-10)

Chushanrishathaim was King of Mesopotamia. And the first oppressor of the Jewish people. He enslaved them all for eight years. It’s safe to say he was not a nice man. And you might do best not to name your son after him.


3. Zaphnathpaaneah

(Genesis 41:45)

This is the name the pharaoh of Egypt gave to Joseph. That same Joseph who wore the famous coat. So why the musical wasn’t called Zaphnathpaaneah and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat is anyone’s guess.


4. Tilgathpilneser

(Chronicles 1 5:6, 5:20)

Not a clean, crisp pilsner beer from the Czech Republic, but the ancient king of Assyria. He was a very keen on expanding the Assyrian Empire. When he conquered neighbouring lands, he’d make local leaders pay him 1,000 talents of silver. This made him very rich. Drinks were on him.


5. Berodachbaladan

(Isaiah 39:1)

King of Babylon. He was originally called Berodach. But when his father died he wanted to do something to honour him. So he decided to stick his father’s name onto the end of his own. Unsurprisingly, his father had been called Baladan. Hence Berodachbaladan.


6. Zerubabbel

(Ezra 3:2,8; 5:2)

When the ancient Jewish people were being held captive by the ancient Babylonian people, Zerubabbel led them to freedom. And then he built a temple.


7. Mephibosheth

(2 Samuel 4:4)

Mephiboseth was the grandson of King Saul and the friend of King David. When David returned to Jerusalem after a long period of absence, he was greeted at the city gates by Mephibosheth. Awkwardly, Mephibosheth was wearing a shirt covered in yesterday’s dessert, his hair was a mess and he hadn’t trimmed his beard. Worse, the smell from his feet brought tears to David’s eyes. Not in a good way. Think old Cheddar. Or Stilton. Mephibosheth hadn’t got the memo about David’s return in time, or he’d have made more of an effort. Or so he said. But the two patched it up. Presumably after a quiet chat about personal hygiene.


8. Nebuchadnezzar

(Daniel 4:28)

The brutal and ambitious King of Babylon. Nebuchadnezzar once had a dream in which he saw himself with a head of gold. He asked his astrologers and wisemen to interpret the dream. They couldn’t. So he had them killed. Nowadays, the names of ancient biblical kings are used for wine bottles of different sizes. A Nebuchadnezzar is one of the biggest bottles of wine around. It holds 15litres of wine. But the Midas is the bottle you want. A Midas bottle contains 30litres of wine, usually champagne. You need four people to carry it. And, possibly, four people to drink it.