Zacchaeus – a baby naming story

Zacchaeus means “clean, pure” and is a Hebrew-origin name. Every parent likes to think of his child as new, unblemished and perfect. In a larger sense, we also want children to live a clean, good life.

The Zacchaeus in the Bible was a tax collector. Most tax collectors in that time were crooks who over charged the public and pocketed the difference. Zacchaeus was no different. He swindled many people by over charging for their taxes and keeping the extra money. Not a great name, right? But that’s not the whole story. The Bible records that he became curious about the visiting rabbi, Jesus. Since Zacchaeus was short, he even climbed a tree to get a better look. I admire that tenacity! After meeting and talking with Jesus, Zacchaeus repented of his life and promised to give back four times the difference of anything extra he took and he gave away many of his riches.

We liked Zacchaeus’ story of deciding to live a clean, pure life. We also like that “Zac” makes a nice nickname, similar to Zack or Zach, popular names derived from Zackary. Naming our son Zacchaeus make his moniker a little different from run-of-the-mill Zacks. And with Zac as a nickname, it sounds pretty mainstream, too.

Submitted by Deborah M.