Mara & Mary?

Hi CA Community,

I noticed in a couple of places in my Bible that the Hebrew word for “bitter” is mara, or marah (at the part in Exodus when the Israelites find bitter water in the desert and from the Book of Ruth). Is “mara” or “marah” connected to the name “Mary”?


The Catholic Encyclopedia has a section on the name of Mary and it seems to say that the etymology of Mary’s name is uncertain, but one possibility is that it derives from “marah.” Actually, it seems to mention this twice: Other meanings assigned to miryam viewed as a simple word are: bitter one, great sorrow (from marar or marah…) And then a little later: Mariam and Maria are the later forms of the Hebrew miryam…[and] it is a simple though derivative noun… Pre-supposing these principles, the name miryam may be derived either from marah, to be rebellious, or from mares’, to be well nourished. … ut it is hardly probable that the name of a young girl should be connected with the idea of rebellion… The article thus seems to say your idea is a possibility but an improbability, at least in the view of the authors of that article. I hope that helps.

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