THE LETTER D - bible females
DAMARIS: (Greek= )
Damaris is mentioned only once. After Paul's sermon on Mars Hill, few Athenians convert, among them Dionysius the Areopagite and "a woman named" Damaris (Acts 17:34). After that, Paul goes to Corinth and Damaris is never heard from again.
Damaris is a wonderful name but its etymology might be a bit shocking for some. It comes from the word (damar) meaning wife. And the worddamar comes from the verb (damazo), generally meaning to overpower. According to Liddell and Scott - An Intermediate Greek-English Lexicon, this verb is tied into three distinct actions: (1) the breaking in, bringing under the yoke or taming of animals; (2)to subdue or conquer whatever's there to subdue and conquer (Homer uses this verb to describe being overcome by wine, or even to beat and kill somebody); and (3) to make maidens subject to husbands.
This is of course tremendously dreadful but not without foundation. Mankind has been largely patriarchal for as long as it existed; it's how the natural world happens to be ordered. And the Bible indeed teaches that the man is the head of the household, but it also teaches that the man has to surrender entirely to his wife, even die for her if that's required (Genesis 2:24, Ephesians 5:25).
Other interesting words are (damaios), meaning horse-tamer, an alias of Poseidon; (damasandra), meaning subduer of men (to some perhaps reminiscent of the name Alexandra); and (damasiphron), meaning heart-subduing (spirit-quenching).
The name Damaris may simply mean Wife, or it means Subdued, or perhaps Tamed. NOBS Study Bible Name List reads Gentle, which is kind but perhaps not fully synchronous.
A lot of people are unaware of the fact that Damaris is a Biblical name. She appears briefly in the New Testament (Acts of the Apostles 17:34) as a woman who listened to the Apostle Paul give a thundering speech in Athens to the pagan Athenians, preaching Jesus and the Resurrection. While many of the Athenians mocked the resurrection of the dead; others were eager to hear more. Damaris is specifically mentioned as a woman who “joined [Paul] and believed”. What’s noteworthy about the recording of Damaris’s name in the New Testament is that it provides evidence of her high-standing and education (not many women were invited to speeches given at the Areopagus in Athens circa 50 A.D.). Because Daramis is mention in the same verse as Dionysius of Areopagite, Christian tradition has held her to be his wife. This has placed Damaris on an even higher Christian pedestal because Dionysius of Areopagite became the first Bishop of Athens, and it is believed that she helped her husband organize the budding Christian Church there. It was also important for the Church to gain such privileged and influential converts; their impact would have been seen as critical in drawing more followers to the new faith. Not to mention their willingness to turn away from opulence and personal wealth would have served as a powerful example to other Athenians. There is some uncertainty and debate as to the etymological meaning of Damaris. Likely it comes from the Greek “damalis” meaning “calf, heifer”. Others claim it’s a Hellenized alteration of the Celtic Damara (a fertility goddess) since the Gauls did intermingle with the Greeks around the 3rd century B.C. (when the Celtic world extended down into Asia Minor and modern-day Turkey after a series of invasions). Lastly, and this one might be a stretch, but the Greek word “damianos” means “to tame, subdue” suggesting Damaris might be a female name meaning “dominant woman”. Yet others maintain the name means “gentle gift” or “gentle girl” but we could not find any supporting evidence to this (likely) folk etymology. Saint Damaris of Athens is celebrated in the Eastern Orthodox Church where her Feast Day is October 3. Damaris, like many other fleeting female names in the Bible, was eventually adopted by English-speakers in the 16th century (thanks to the Reformation). The religiously stricter off-shoots of the Roman Catholic Church (most notably the Puritans) combed through the Bible and resurrected many obscure names. Damaris was one such example. This particular name, however, has experienced little popularity overall. Except, randomly, in Chile where it’s a Top 100 favorite. This may have something to do with popular Peruvian folk singer Damaris Mallma Porras known simply as Damaris.
Meaning: a heifer
an Athenian woman converted to Christianity under the preaching of Paul (Acts 17:34)
Some have supposed that she may have been the wife of Dionysius the Areopagite.
1) DEBORAH: (Hebrew= )
Etymology: a bee
Deborah was a judge and prophetess, the “wife” (woman?) of Lapidoth. Jabin, the king of Hazor, had for twenty years held Israel in degrading subjection. The spirit of patriotism seemed crushed out of the nation. In this emergency, Deborah roused the people from their lethargy. Her fame spread far and wide. She became a “mother in Israel” (Judg. 4:6, 14;5:7), and “the children of Israel came up to her for judgment” as she sat in her tent under the palm tree “between Ramah and Bethel.”
Preparations were everywhere made by her direction for the great effort to throw off the yoke of bondage. She summoned Barak from Kadesh to take the command of 10,000 men ofZebulun and Naphtali, and lead them to Mount Tabor on the plain of Esdraelon at its northeast end.
With his aid she organized this army. She gave the signal for attack, and the Hebrew host rushed down impetuously upon the army of Jabin, which was commanded by Sisera, and gained a great and decisive victory. The Canaanitish army almost wholly perished. That was a great and ever-memorable day in Israel.
In Judges 5 is given the grand triumphal ode, the “song of Deborah,” which she wrote in grateful commemoration of that great deliverance.
Bible: Deborah No. 1
2) DEBORAH: (Hebrew= )
Etymology: a bee
The other biblical Deborah was Rebekah’s nurse. She accompanied her mistress when she left her father’s house in Padan-aram to become the wife of Isaac (Gen. 24:59). Many years afterwards, she died at Bethel, and was buried under the “oak of weeping”, Allon-bachuth (35:8).
Bible: Deborah No. 2
DELILAH: (Hebrew= )
a Philistine woman who dwelt in the valley of Sorek (Judg. 16:4-20)
She was bribed by the “lords of the Philistines” to obtain from Samson the secret of his strength and the means of overcoming it (Judg. 16:4-18). She tried on three occasions to obtain from him this secret in vain. On the fourth occasion she wrung it from him. She made him sleep upon her knees, and then called the man who was waiting to help her; who “cut off the seven locks of his head,” and so his “strength went from him.”
DIANA: (Greek= )
so called by the Romans; called Artemis by the Greeks
the “great” goddess worshipped among heathen nations under various modifications
Her most noted temple was that at Ephesus. It was built outside the city walls, and was one of the seven wonders of the ancient world.
“First and last it was the work of 220 years; built of shining marble; 342 feet long by 164 feet broad; supported by a forest of columns, each 56 feet high; a sacred museum of masterpieces of sculpture and painting. At the center, hidden by curtains, within a gorgeous shrine, stood the very ancient image of the goddess, on wood or ebony reputed to have fallen from the sky. Behind the shrine was a treasury, where, as in ‘the safest bank in Asia,’ nations and kings stored their most precious things. The temple as St. Paul saw it subsisted till A.D. 262, when it was ruined by the Goths” (Acts 19:23-41). —Moule on Ephesians: Introduction
DIBLAIM: (Hebrew= )
Etymology: doubled cakes
the mother of Gomer, who was Hosea’s wife (Hos. 1:3)
DINAH: (Hebrew= )
Etymology: judged; vindicated
daughter of Jacob by Leah, and sister of Simeon and Levi (Gen. 30:21)
She was seduced by Shechem, the son of Hamor, the Hivite chief, when Jacob’s camp was in the neighborhood of Shechem. This led to the terrible revenge of Simeon and Levi in putting the Shechemites to death (Gen. 34). Jacob makes frequent reference to this deed of blood with abhorrence and regret (Gen. 34:30; 49:5-7). She is mentioned among the rest of Jacob’s family that went down into Egypt (Gen. 46:8, 15).
DORCAS: (Greek= )
Dorcas, also known as Tabitha, is a female disciple of Jesus living in Joppa, where she manufactures garments (Acts 9:36). When she falls ill and dies, her fellow disciples call for Peter, who is just in the neighboring town of Lydda. When Peter prays over her body and says, "Tabitha arise," she promptly does.
The name Dorcas is the same as the proper noun (dorkas), meaning deer or doe or at least denoting an animal of the deer kind (Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon). Liddell and Scott add that this animal is "so called from its large bright eyes". A related verb is (derkomai), meaning to look or see. And another one is (derko), meaning to look upon, see. (William J. Slater, Lexicon to Pindar - which is an ancient Greek poet).
Dorcas means Deer but indirectly it means Seer.
Meaning: a female antelope, or gazelle
a pious Christian widow at Joppa whom Peter restored to life (Acts 9:36-41)
She was a Hellenistic Jewess, called Tabitha by the Jews and Dorcas by the Greeks.
DRUSILLA: (Greek= )
Drusilla makes only a brief appearance in the Bible. She's mentioned as the wife of Felix who sends for Paul to hear about Jesus (Acts 24:24-25). Her mother is Salome, the daughter of Herodias, and her sister is Bernice.
The delightful name Drusilla is probably related to the masculine name Drusus, and both are related to the Latin word ros and the Greek word (drosos), which has to do with newness and tenderness. It commonly means dew, but is also used for other liquids; pure water or even blood. But, according to Liddell and Scott - An Intermediate Greek-English Lexicon, it also denotes "anything tender, like the young of animals."
Thus it becomes difficult to render the name Drusilla one single translation. The word Dew (with which this name is usually translated) wasn't called dew by the Greeks but "that delicate stuff that just showed up." Likewise, young of animals were called "those delicate things that just arrived."
The name Drusilla means Tender, Fresh and Newborn.
the third and youngest daughter of Herod Agrippa I (Acts 12:1-4, 20-23)
Felix, the Roman procurator of Judea, induced her to leave her husband, Azizus, the king of Emesa, and become his wife. She was present with Felix when Paul reasoned of “righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come” (Acts 24:24). She and her son perished in the eruption of Mount Vesuvius, A.D. 79.