hazel : behind the name


we did not choose the name hazel because it had a significant meaning. in fact, i didn’t think it really had any meaning it all. it seemed like my own name — Brooke — which literally just means one who lives by a brook (stream) and has english origins. (side note: much later in my life, God brought new life and insight into the meaning of my name and it is wonderful!). most baby name books and sites said that Hazel just refers to the tree of the same name and has old english origins. 

so, we named hazel hazel because it sounded pretty. and because it was old-fashioned and rare enough to suit my Type 4 sensibilities. not very deep reasons. 

but after she was born, our friend Tony pointed out to us that Hazel has some associations with healing. Witch Hazel is an herb used for several uses in herbal medicine (according to wikipedia: Witch hazel is mainly used externally on sores, bruises, and swelling). and the wood of the hazel tree is worn as jewelry against the skin to reduce inflammation and acid conditions. given that the gift of healing is one that i’ve been petitioning God for, and a gift that He seemed to be growing me in even during my pregnancy with Hazel, this is really meaningful to me. and i pray that she will bring healing wherever she extends her hands. 

this is significant enough for me. 

but yesterday i discovered another meaning of hazel:

Alternatively, the name can also be derived from the Hebrew hazā’ēl (God sees). 

— From A World of Baby Names by Teresa Norman

wow! i love this!

one of my all-time favorite Bible stories is the story of Hagar who, found to pregnant with Abram’s first child after his own wife could not produce an heir for him, is scorned by his wife and forced to flee. she is hiding under a bush in her misery and despair when God himself seeks her out, finds her, and talks to her. He instructs her about what to do next (return to her mistress) and gives her promises for her son (who will be Ishmael). after this encounter with God, she calls Him El Roi – the God who sees [me]. 

how many times God has demonstrated to me that He sees me. He sees the most hidden corners of my heart and responds to them in deeply personal and meaningful ways. the grace astounds me every time He does that. even in giving me this daughter, i have felt seen by Him. 

and as it turns out, my daughter’s name is a derivative of a hebrew word meaning “God Sees.” 

it makes me laugh to think that i thought we were giving our daughter a meaningless name… only to find out that God has great meaning for it. for her. what a lovely surprise. 


14 thoughts on “hazel : behind the name

  1. So lovely to have revealed all the hidden meanings God has in our lives. We can only partially grasp the mind and heart of Yahweh. Brooke was chosen for you, not because of the baby name definition, but because I have always loved the joyful and soothing sound water makes as it babbles over the rocks in streams. You, my dearest daughter, have also made these joyful and soothing sounds as you have babbled over the rocks encountered in the stream of your life… love you…mom xo

  2. My daughter’s name is Hazel, we too thought the name was meaningless but old fashioned and absolutely beautiful. I truly believe God sent Hazel to us she is our miracle child. Thanks, for your article i stumbled across on…now I am overjoyed that God definitely has HIS hand on every aspect of our lives.

  3. Hi
    My name is Hazel. I just read your article regarding the name Hazel; It is an old name and many people like the name. I have not met alot of people name Hazel in my life time; but when I do they appear to me to be somewhat in tune with many things. They to were over joyed to meet someone named Hazel. Since the 1950’s regarding baby books; Hazel at that time was meaning God’s Child; and I can understand how it means God sees. For some reason some appear to want to by pass the name, but to me Hazel is a strong name, to me somewhat exceptional. Too me its, exceptional, healing, caring, councelor, a concern for the welfare of others. Ears to hear and eyes to see, wisdom,and best of all love and understanding.

  4. Hi,
    My name is also Hazel, but this is not my birth name given by my parents. It is actually a name that I chose for myself when went to Sydney to study. I have always thought that it is a pretty name, but has no deeper meaning, of course until I come across your blog. So thank you for sharing this with all of us. I do believe that God has lead me here to make me understand and to strengthen me.

    God bless ^_^

  5. my daughter Rebekah who is 17 had a daughter hazel. Hazel is now 17 months, for everything that we went through that wee girl has brought healing, reconciliation and restoration she is a miracle baby in my eye’s and i no that i no gods hand was so upon that situation. Praise God that he sees everything..

  6. Thank you for this post. My husband and I have been struggling with a name for our daughter, due January 2014. Our son had a very meaningful name for us, Samuel (“God has heard”), and this post helped answer why I’ve been so hung up on the name Hazel, a seemingly ‘meaningless’ name for us too – until now! Again, I just wanted to thank you for writing, and for helping me close the loop and move closer towards a decision I take very seriously in naming our child 🙂

    • that’s so awesome, meghan! i’m so glad this helped confirm your gut feeling about the right name for your daughter. all the best to you in your upcoming birth!

  7. my expecting teenage daughter recently chose the name Hazel to name her baby (if its a girl) at first I thought it was just a cute name because it was out dated with the current names that are being chosen. But what really caught my attention was that I had been praying that the holy spirit would open her heart to desire to want to praise God!! and I saw your article. It nearly brought me to my knees, I quickly ran to her and told her what I read: All I can say is Thank You God!! for your word and your blessings. God Bless you all!!

  8. Hello my name is Hazel too and I thought that it was old fashioned. I was tormented growing up because kids would call me Witch Hazel and sometimes they would substitute the “w” a “b” How I hated my name. But later in life people would always say how beautiful the name was.
    I later became a Christian and have always loved the word of God. During a bible study, God brought back to my remembrance a picture of my baby shower cake. What was written on the cake as “To Francine, Have a happy life”. But at the last minute my first name was changed to Hazel and Francine became my middle name. My mother changed it because her best friend was named Hazel.

    So God was showing me he called me from my mother’s womb and changed my name to what He wanted. Yes Hazel is an almond tree. Jeremiah 1:11-12 11 Moreover the word of Jehovah came unto me, saying, Jeremiah, what seest thou? And I said, I see a rod of an almond-tree.
    12 Then said Jehovah unto me, Thou hast well seen: for I watch over my word to perform it.

    The word of the LORD came to me, What do you see, Jeremiah? I see the branch of an almond tree, I replied. The LORD said to me, You have seen correctly, for I am watching to see that my word is fulfilled.” Jeremiah 1:11-12
    Many of us have read the recent posts by Ron Reece, on which, he has calculated the rapture/sudden destruction to be January 28 of this year. And, while, I have always favored a Feast of Trumpets rapture, I find it both interesting and beneficial to at least consider the work of someone, who has spent so many hours in study, thought and prayer in reaching their conclusions.
    On doing some thinking about this, I realized that January 28 falls within the early part of the Jewish month of Shevat. Shevat is the eleventh month of the Jewish religious calendar and the fifth month of the Jewish civil calendar. And, January 28 falls on Shevat 4.
    Now, this is interesting because the month of Shevat has everything to do with two words that any watchman would recognize – watching and awakening! For it is during the month of Shevat, that the almond tree first begins to blossom. And, the almond tree is the first tree in Israel to bloom or awaken, while, the other trees are still dormant or sleeping.
    In fact, the Hebrew words for almond tree and watch are almost exactly the same word.
    Shoqed: Hebrew word # H8245 Strongs Concordance – “to awake, watch, wake, be alert”, and, to “keep watch of, be awakeful over”.
    Shaqed: Hebrew word # H8247 Strongs Concordance – “almond tree, almonds”
    So, with that in mind, consider once again the verse from Jeremiah 1:11-12 –
    “The word of the LORD came to me, What do you see, Jeremiah? I see the branch of a “shaqed”, (almond tree), I replied. The LORD said to me, You have seen correctly, for I am “shoqed” (watching) to see that my word is fulfilled”.
    This is Prophetic Sight. God Sees or will see through her. She will see into the distance.
    6822 tsaphah tsaw-faw’ a primitive root; properly, to lean forward, i.e. to peer into the distance; by implication, to observe, await:– behold, espy, look up (well), wait for, (keep the) watch(-man).
    Therefore, we can see that the almond tree and the concept of watching are inextricably tied together. One website, puts it this way:
    “The almond tree is the first tree to sprout and the last one to lose its leaves. Its flowers symbolize the cups that crown the seven branches of the Jewish candelabra (Ex. 25:33-36; 37:19-20). In the biblical books, the almond tree is mentioned several times (e.g., Gen. 30:37-39; 43:11; Qo.12.1-5). The prophet, Jeremiah, mentions it in a vision: The word of Yahweh was addressed to me asking, “Jeremiah, what to you see?” “I see a branch of the watchful tree,” I answered. Then Yahweh said, “Well seen! I too watch over My Word to see it fulfilled” (Jer. 1:11-12). In this text there is a word game between the Hebrew words shaqed, almond tree, and shoqed, I watch. Also, the image of the almond tree, the first tree to bloom, reminds us of the watchful eye of God, that watches over His word to set it to practice. God is the almond tree of Israel”.
    Therefore, the almond tree is very important; for the seven branched Menorah which stood in the Holy place was specifically designed by God to be fashioned liked one.
    Exod 25:31-40 “You shall also make a lampstand of pure gold; the lampstand shall be of hammered work. Its shaft, its branches, its bowls, its ornamental knobs, and flowers shall be of one piece. And six branches shall come out of its sides: three branches of the lampstand out of one side, and three branches of the lampstand out of the other side. Three bowls shall be made like almond blossoms on one branch, with an ornamental knob and a flower, and three bowls made like almond blossoms on the other branch, with an ornamental knob and a flower– and so for the six branches that come out of the lampstand. On the lampstand itself fourbowls shall be made like almond blossoms, each with its ornamental knob and flower. And there shall be a knob under the first two branches of the same, a knob under the second two branches of the same, and a knob under the third two branches of the same, according to the six branches that extend from the lampstand. Their knobs and their branches shall be of one piece; all of it shall be one hammered piece of pure gold. You shall make seven lamps for it, and they shall arrange its lamps so that they give light in front of it. And its wick-trimmers and their trays shall be of pure gold. It shall be made of a talent of pure gold, with all these utensils. And see to it that you make them according to the pattern which was shown you on the mountain.”
    From an article titled, “The Golden Lampstand” –
    “Each of the six branches and the center shaft ended in a cup made in the form of an open almond flower. At the very top the opened petals of the flower held an oil lamp. The branches and the central shaft were skillfully decorated with that same open-almond blossom design with three on each branch and four on the center shaft”. http://www.bible-history.com/tabernacle/TAB4The_Golden_Lampstand.htm
    So, as you can see, the design for the Menorah was very detailed and very specific; for the seven branced Menorah would be the only source of light in the Holy place of the temple burning olive oil day and night in its blossom shaped cups.
    The question is, why, was the almond tree God’s chosen design?
    And, while I can’t be exactly sure of the answer, it is interesting to note that the seven lampstands (churches) of Revelation 1:2 are most likely of the same design. And, Jesus while walking among them is examining them for their works; for believers, by virtue of the in-dwelling of the Holy Spirit are God’s one and only source of light in the world today, therefore, he expects to see their lights shining brightly and continuously, as did the Menorah in the temple of old.
    Interesting, when you compare to Song of Songs 6:11 where, the bridegroom goes down among the nut trees (most likely almond) to see if they are in bloom.
    “I went down to the grove of nut trees to look at the new growth in the valley, to see if the vines had budded or the pomegranates were in bloom”. (Pomegranate is another early bloomer).
    It is obvious to see, therefore, that the blossoming of the almond tree is important to the prophetic timing of God’s word and God’s strength and power to bring it to pass. Making it, therefore, one of the most important symbols in the fulfillment of Biblical prophecy.
    God was showing me the ministry he had called me too. I was called as a watchman-intercessor. To pray for his people to see ahead in the lives of His people, dreams and visions.
    I then thanked God for changing my name.
    May your Hazel be powerfully used by God. And don’t be surprised when she comes to you with her dreams

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