Moriah, Marwa

Moriah is found twice in the Old Testament as the name of the mountain on which Isaac was to be sacrificed by Abraham and the hill on which Solomon built the temple. Its meaning is debated among Biblical scholars, however, many agree that it may mean “land of the Amorites.”

Its usage as an English given name only seems to go as far back as the 1980s, when it first appeared in the U.S. top 1000 most popular female names. It seems to have first caught among Evangelical Christian parents.

However, it has always been used as a female given name in the Arab world, in the form of Marwa(h)  مروة.

In Arabic Mount Moriah is known as Marwah, and in Islamic tradition Abraham (Ibrahim) had deserted Hagar and Ismael between Al-Safa and Al-Marwa, two hills near Mecca.

In Arabic Marwa can have several different meanings, it can either be the name of a fragrant plant and is used as a word to describe the quartz. Two other forms of the name include the Turkish Merve and the Bosnian Merva.

Interestingly enough, Moriah has never been used among Jews.

Currently, Moriah ranked in as the 788th most popular female name in the United States (2010), while Marwa‘s rankings are as follows:

# 77 (Catalonia, Spain 2009)
#169 (France, 2008)
#211 (the Netherlands, 2010)