The Tanach frequently tells us that somebody's name was changed, by God or people (Abraham, Sarah, Jacob, Joseph, Jethro, etc.), for a stated reason. But the Sages added that some latter-day biblical characters were the same as earlier ones: Keturah was Hagar, Melchizedek was Shem, Ethan haEzrachi was Abraham, etc.). If this is intended as factual, why wasn't it stated in Tanach? If these are intended as parables, what is the lesson?

Is this matter discussed anywhere?

  • Perhaps you should ask, "what's in a name?" I have understood names in Tanach as being representative of the essence of a person. Sometimes we see the name change (e.g. by Avram -> Avraham in Bereishis 17:5, where the name change represents אב המון גויים); perhaps sometimes we don't see the change (like from Shem to Malkitzedek).
    – Yehuda
    May 31, 2021 at 6:17


Browse other questions tagged .