I have re-entered the Book of Judges in my Bible-reading, and yesterday the name Chushanrishathaim (in Judges 3:8-9) jumped out at me. He is mentioned as a “king of Mesopotamia” who oppressed Israel and was overthrown by Israel’s first judge, Othniel, the nephew of Caleb.
It isn’t every day you run across a name like this. It consists of two elements: a proper name, “Chushan,” which can also be rendered “Cush,” and relates either to a region north of Babylon or south of Egypt; and a kind of title, “Rishathaim,” which, in ancient times, meant “double wickedness,” and also could mean “governor of two presidencies,” or both at once. So the name belongs to a powerful bad guy named “Chushan” or “Cush” who came into Israel from, probably, somewhere to the north of Babylon.
If we could pin the man down more precisely, we might have a shot at getting a firm date for the beginning of the period of the Judges. But no such luck. The Book of Judges harks back to a very unsettled era from which little hard information has come down to us from non-Biblical sources–kind of like the 5th and 6th centuries in Britain. The Bible is not concerned with events in Egypt and Babylon; and they had troubles aplenty of their own.
As I pursued my research, I came upon a website called “Names of Cute Baby’s [sic]” ( http://namesof.com/name-Chushanrishathaim ). If you want to name your baby “Chushanrishathaim,” they’ll teach you where the name comes from, what it means, and how to pronounce it.
“What should we name our baby, dear?”
“Oh, I dunno. How about Chushanrishathaim?”
“Oh, I like that! It has a certain ring to it! Wasn’t he on Dancing With the Stars?”
Why in the world would you want to name your baby Chushanrishathaim? It was bad enough when every other baby boy was being named Zack, and baby girls got stuck with names like Cadence and Destiny. But Chushanrishathaim is going a bit too far.
What ever happened to names like Tommy and Susan?