🔼The name Matthew: Summary
- Gift Of Yah
- From (1) the noun מתת (mattat), gift, from the verb נתן (natan), to give, and (2) יה (yah), the shortened name of the Lord.
🔼The name Matthew in the Bible
There's only one Matthew in the Bible, although his name isn't really Matthew. For some reason, the early English translators of the Bible chose to transliterate the names of key players in the Bible a lot smoother than the lesser characters. And so Paulus became Paul, Stephanos became Stephen, Iakobos became James, and so on. Some names were kept in there Greek form. The name Jesus, for instance, never became Jees, and Titus stayed Titus, possibly to prevent people having to read from the Book of Tit.
But the name Matthew isn't really Matthew but Matthaios. And that name belongs to one of the apostles of Jesus, who was a tax collector before Jesus called him (Matthew 9:9). His original name was Levi, and he was a son of Alphaeus (Mark 2:14).
Matthew remains a minor character in the Bible and his name appears a mere 5 times in the New Testament; see full concordance. We read that he was present in the upper room in Jerusalem after the ascension of Christ (Acts 1:13) and that's it. But he wrote the Gospel of Matthew, and that made him one of the most famous apostles. When Judas had to be replaced, the lot appointed Ματθιας (Matthias), whose name is nearly identical to that of Matthew (Acts 1:23).
🔼Etymology of the name Matthew
The name Matthaios is a transliteration of a Hebrew name, probably something like מתיה (Mattaiah), which doesn't occur in the Hebrew Bible. This name would consist of two elements, the final one being יה (Yah) = יהו (Yahu) = יו (Yu), which in turn are abbreviated forms of the Tetragrammaton יהוה, YHWH, or Yahweh.
The first part of our name comes from the verb נתן (natan) meaning to give:
The shape-shifting verb נתן (natan) means to give in a broad bouquet of senses, from regular giving or bestowing, to setting or putting, to transforming one thing or situation into another.
This verb's three nouns מתן (mattan), מתנה (mattana) and מתת (mattat) all mean gift, again broadly ranging from a regular present to an offering to an innate talent (being "gifted").
The name Matthew means Gift Of The Lord, or more precise: Gift Of Yah.