Why We Named our Baby Hazel | The Biblical Meaning

The Biblical Meaning of the Name Hazel

Our Hazel Sue is here and we are over the moon in love! I wanted to write about why we chose the name Hazel since a few people have asked if it came from an ancestor (it doesn’t).

Ryan and I talked about baby names far before we ever got pregnant. We didn’t discuss it at length, but we knew the names we both agreed on. It wasn’t until we knew we were having a girl that the name Hazel came up. I am very passionate about choosing a name that has a thoughtful meaning, especially if it has Biblical meaning. I liked the name Hazel enough by itself since it’s unique yet classic. Slightly disappointed that most name books just said that the name Hazel refers to the tree and has English heritage but after I did a little digging, I found an alternative of meaning of Hazel in the Bible that I fell in love with and became a big part of the reason why we chose to name our daughter this beautiful name.

Hazel onesie

The Biblical Meaning of the Name Hazel

The name Hazel is a derivative of the Hebrew name Hazā’ēl meaning “God has seen”.

Hazael (/ˈheɪziəl/; Hebrew: חֲזָאֵל or חֲזָהאֵל‎, Modern: Ḥaza’ēlTiberian: H̱azā’ēl;[1] Aramaic: חזאל, from the triliteral Semitic root h-z-y, “to see”; his full name meaning, “El/God has seen

There are only a few places where this phrase of “God sees” is used in the Bible, God’s Hebrew name El Roi, and that is in the story of Abraham, Sarah, and Hagar.

During the two and a half years we struggled to get pregnant, I found a lot of inspiration from the stories of barren women in the Bible. I connected with Sarah because of her struggle to have a child but as I read through the whole story, Hagar’s struggle resonated with me and her story made me fall even more in love with the name Hazel.

Hazel Sue as a newborn

Hagar — Genesis 16

The specific story I am referring to can be found in Genesis 16. Hagar finds out she was pregnant and because of rising contention between her and her mistress Sarah, Hagar flees to her homeland (Genesis 16:6). This was a dangerous thing for a woman to do. She could have been taken captive and being pregnant, she could have lost her baby from the rigors of traveling. Plus, having escaped probably in the night, she would have had few supplies. She made it to a fountain of water in the wilderness and sat down exhausted. Hagar probably felt alone, neglected, overlooked, and used. Hagar knew about Abraham and Sarah’s God and must have wondered if He knew or cared about her and her situation. She most likely felt abandoned by everyone.

God Knows Your Name

But an angel of God seeks her out, finds her, and talks to her. It says so in verse 7, “And the angel of the Lord found her by the fountain of water.” (Genesis 16:7). God finds her and the very first word this angel says (acting as God Himself) is “Hagar” (Genesis 16:8). God not only knows her (the lowest in society – a young woman Egyptian slave), but He knows her name.

Hagar Gives God a Name

God gives her instructions — to go back to her mistress — and tells her she will bear a son. His name will become Ishmael, which means “God hears“, “because the Lord heard thy affliction” (Genesis 16:11). She returns back to Abraham’s household, finding strength in knowing that God hears and sees her. Hagar calls out the name of Lord that spake unto her and says El Roi (Hebrew: אל ראי), “Thou God seest me” (Genesis 16:13). She says, Have I also in this place looked at him that seeth me? Meaning, I saw the One who sees me.

Hagar felt seen and known—which is all anyone really wants. It gave her the courage to face her dire circumstances with the confidence that God was with her, watching over her, never going to let her go.

She declares “this place” sacred and names the nearby well Beer-lahai-roi, which means “the well of Him who liveth and seeth me“. A God who lives and sees me. So powerful. But it doesn’t end there.

After she had her son Ishmael and she was forced to leave once more, she again wandered in the wilderness. This part of the story is in Genesis 21:9-20. When all their water was gone, she placed Ishmael under a bush and pled with God to not have to watch her son die. Talk about feeling abandoned, neglected, and alone all over again! When she was at her lowest point of despair and misery, she “sat over against him, and lift up her voice, and wept” (Genesis 21: 16). The angel of the Lord again calls out her name, tells her to fear not and that God has heard the voice of the lad where he is.

Then God shows her a well of water to save her son and strengthen her for their journey back to Ishamel’s father Abraham. Again, the Lord reminds Hagar the amazing promises he will give to her son and her posterity.

The God who hears me.

A tiny tangent, but I love that in Genesis 16:11 where it says, “because the Lord hath heard thy affliction”. Not her prayer, but God heard her affliction. When we were in year two of fertility treatments, I stopped praying for a child. It was always in my heart but I thought, “why keep praying for it?” But God heard my affliction and responded in such personal and meaningful ways.

Because God is so good, He mirrors this listening love again to Hagar in Genesis 21:17: “And God heard the voice of the lad…for God hath heard the voice of the lad where he is“. Before she had her son, God mentions that He heard Hagar’s affliction. Now, as a new mother, I am positive she felt reassured and loved when the angel told her that the Lord heard not only heard her weeping cries but specifically her teenage son Ishmael’s prayers. (We can estimate that Ishmael was around 14-19 since Abraham was 86 when he was born and then 100 when Isaac came).

The God who sees me.

God has demonstrated to me again and again in my life that He sees me. I have felt validated and seen by the One who loves me unconditionally. Through my miscarriage, I felt heard and seen by Him in a number of ways. And in giving us this beautiful daughter, He has shown us He had amazing promises to give.

The story of Hagar is so encouraging for those who are suffering and feel God has abandoned them. He has not forgotten you. He sees you.

​My little Hazel’s middle name Sue is my middle name as well as my mother’s and I can’t think of a better example of someone who makes people feel seen and loved than my mom.

We are so grateful for our little Hazel Sue and I hope we can raise her to help others feel God’s love for them too!

[2022: The more I study Hagar’s seen story, the more I love it. Updates to give more personal biblical insight have been added to this post and I wanted to share current photos of our sweet Hazel who is now 3. She radiates light and has such a zest for life. She has a gift of seeing others who are sad and empathizing with them — even as a 1-year-old, she would lay down next to a playmate who was feeling down and make sure they were okay. Now she is an older sister and she is his little mini mama who ensures he is seen and gets his fair share of treats and neck tickles. We sure love our little Hazel!]

If you enjoy reading birth stories, you can find Hazel’s here and my son James’ here. I shared my experience with miscarriage here. If you are interested in learning more about Biblical stories, about Jesus, and His gospel, I recommend going to comeuntochrist.org.

Another thing I highly recommend is watching the show The Chosen. The video below is a part of the Christmas special they made and the very first monologue from this clip is about this name: Adonai El-Roi.

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37 thoughts on “Why We Named our Baby Hazel | The Biblical Meaning

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  1. Absolutely loved your vulnerability and resonated with parts of your story and love for God. I don’t normally leave replies to something I’ve read but your blog really moved me.

  2. I woke up one morning from a disturbing dream and started praying for my 35 year old son (I have 2 sons and nothing is wrong with them but I pray for them always) and i heard these words…”look up Hazel in the Bible” … “read the blog”. My first thought was, there is no blog in the the Bible. In fact, I have never seen Hazel in the Bible. So, at work that day I googled Hazel in the Bible…and after reading the verses about Hazael I started searching for different interpretations of the verses and there was your “blog”. I don’t know exactly what this is supposed to mean but I was truly amazed when I read your story about Hagar. I feel that it was a gift from God, to let me know He knows me and my children. Thank you so much for this blessing.

    1. Oh Regina, you don’t know how much happiness this brings me! In the small way I have answered your prayer, you have answered a prayer for me, as I’ve been trying to decide if I dedicate more time to this little blog of mine and write more about Christian topics and what I believe in. God surely does see you and knows each of us so well. Thank you for taking the time to comment and read the post!

      If you haven’t watched “The Chosen” yet (the 1st season is on Netflix), they have a short scene where Jesus tells Eden (the character they created for Peter’s wife) that He sees her and hearing that phrase anywhere always brings me so much joy. Little treasures like these are hidden and weaved within every fiber of the gospel and they just need a small amount of digging to discover. I also love this reminder that God uses us to answer each other’s prayers and we are all so much more connected than we know. Thanks for connecting us together! 🙂

      Lastly, if you’re looking for ways to add more of God’s love and light in your life (more than you already have, I love your connection with the Holy Spirit through dreams!) you can join me in an annual invitation to light the world during this Christmas season at https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/comeuntochrist! Hope you have a wonderful start to your holiday season and thanks again for sharing.

  3. Your inspiring story popped up while researching the name Hazel, for a song I am writing about my Aunt Hazel. She was a single mom to 5 kids and shunned by her family. When I read the meaning of hazael…God sees…I burst into tears! He is truly amazing!

    1. I absolutely love that you are writing a song for your Aunt Hazel, how beautiful. I am so glad you found this meaning of her name, God is so good!

  4. This is a beautiful story! I’ve been considering naming my baby Hazel after Julian of Norwich’s ‘hazelnut’ (God made it, loves it, and sustains it), but I didn’t know this meaning! Do you know what the other scripture references are that use this phrase? I felt so blessed to find this <3 thank you!

    1. Hi Kathleen! I just updated the blog post with more of my own biblical interpretation and have sources for the Bible verses! You can find both stories of Hagar in Genesis 16 and part of 21. I am so glad you came across this little blog post and we need all the sweet Hazel’s in this world as we can get! Congrats and God bless!

  5. Yet another Hazel here 🙂

    Today whilst doing Bible study with my home group, we were asked the meaning of our names. I said I am a nut 🙂 but later I googled and found your post and the beautiful meaning of my name. Thank you for sharing the story of God’s goodness to you. Much love to the little Hazel.

  6. Thank you for posting this public so I could get to read it. I had both an Aunt Hazel and and Aunt Myrtle. Today I finally realized these are both trees but now I see their Biblical meanings too.
    I was prompted by The Lord because I was praying for a dear friend whose husband is very ill and I see from this response that she needs encouragement…as I do too.
    I sure appreciate your writing! You have a gift from God and are using it to glorify Him! All Praises to His Holy Name!!!

    1. Joan, I love that you found your way here and have found an answer to a prayer. Thank you for the kind words and I know you are doing great things for God for your friends and family!

  7. Grace Abosede Ayodele

    I stumbled on this pose by searching for the meaning of Hazel, then I come across your link and clicked the link to read and I was happy I did, knowing that God did sees my afflictions which I believe He did not abandon me to suffer in vail because the afflictions is much to the extend i find it hard to pray again, though I am still waiting for the fruit of the womb for the past 7 years now, my husband has moved on by taking another wife with 2 kids (daughter). Am even tired of everything but reading this I believed am not alone.
    Thanks for sharing your story

    1. Oh I am so sorry you are going through this. You are never ever alone. I am glad you found your way here. God is with you dear friend.

  8. My last name is Hazel and, being the keeper of our family history, I too have found the various stories of Hazel being a tree or grove of trees. I much prefer the meaning of “God sees” and your references to Hagar’s story. This past year has been a troublesome one for me and sometimes the path has been dark. It’s good to know that God is still lighting my way and continues to see me even when the way is dim.

    I wanted to thank you for this blog. I hope your little Hazel is thriving and bringing sheer joy into every day. God’s blessings on you one and all.

    ~Donna Hazel

    1. How cool, I haven’t heard of Hazel as a last name, I love it. Thank you for your comment and I am also glad God is lighting my way even in troubling times. God is great!

  9. My gal was named Hazel but the dad hates it that it is a cursed name.
    Thank you for putting more light on the name

  10. This is beautiful! We just adopted a little girl named Hazel and I had no clue her name (which her birth mom picked) had such an amazing meaning. Thanks for sharing!!

  11. My name is Hazel, and I absolutely love this name and the meaning. When I was younger, I didn’t like it because I often couldn’t find my name on a mug or keychain, but as I have gotten older I realize it’s so unique and of a different time period. I love that you are bringing it back!

    1. I had the same problem with the name McKenzie not having an ‘a’ in it when it came to mugs and keychains so I feel your pain ha. I am glad the beautiful name is making a comeback!

  12. I just love your story.
    My name is Hazel I have no middle name.
    God bless you and your precious family!!!❤️

    I was reading my devotional this morning and it was in 1Kings19:9-12,15-18

    Verse 1Kings 19:15 I read it and then did some research on it.
    I wondered what the meaning of my name was.
    I love it!!

    And then click on Why we named our baby Hazel.

    Thank you for writing this.

    I’m the last born of 6 children in my family.
    My mother was in the hospital with TB for 22 months and 19 days after her release from the hospital and rehab then later down the road I was conceived.
    So much younger than my siblings.
    They thought I was their baby cause my mother worked and they took care of me is what I’m told.

    It means a lot to read this.

    Later in my life when my father passed away I was taken to Texas and left with my sister.
    My mom left and went back to our home town of Ky. And left me.

    I was raised by several people in my life growing up and God saw me through.
    I’m thankful I went through that to be the person I am today.

    As a child I didn’t like it wondering why my mother left me in Texas.
    But like I said God got me through and I’m so thankful.

    Thank you I needed to read this about your precious babies name!!!

    Love In Christ,
    Hazel Garrett

    1. I appreciate you sharing your story, it definitely sounds like God has seen you through all those years, He is so good!

      1. Hello,

        My name is Hazel Marie. I went by Hazel until I was in my early twenties. Then I started using my middle name. It did not sound so old fashioned.

        Some people still call me Hazel and now I would rather be called that. I was looking up it’s meaning and your blog popped up. I know God sees me and has my whole life. My mother was barren and adopted me at three days old. Your blog let me know just how special my name really is. Thank you. Your baby Hazel is beautiful.

        1. Hi Hazel! I am glad you found my blog post because your name is (obviously) one of my favorites and I’m glad you’ve come around to loving it again! It sounds like the perfect name for you and just goes to show how much God loves you!

  13. Your story was so touching. When searching for baby names Hazel was on the list. As soon as I read your story and learned more about the meaning behind the sweet classic name Hazel -we immediately we’re in love and knew this was the name to our Rainbow baby (despite not yet finding out the gender -I just knew our baby was a girl). So many people have asked why Hazel, and our reasoning is so similar that I just had to reach out to say “thank you” for sharing your story -our Little Hazel won’t be here til February, but she is our sweet gift as God saw all we were going through and because of our faith he blessed us with her after the storm. Thanks again for sharing! Oh also, where did you find the Hazel onsie? It is super sweet on your precious baby!

  14. I’ve loved following on this journey and so happy Hazel joined your family. . . she is THEE cutest! Where did you get the name sign? And do the letters come out like a puzzle? Thanks!

  15. I can’t remember how I stumbled upon this post but I’m so glad I did. I clicked the link to read your post about your miscarriage after reading this post and felt like I was reading my own story. In May of 2016, I “miscarried” our baby at 12 weeks after finding out at 9 weeks that we had lost him/her and opted to let things happen naturally. We then had a beautiful daughter in March of 2018 whom we named Hazel because the name means “God sees”. I hadn’t thought about the word “hazael” in the story of Hagar, but we were stuck between two old family names for our daughter after she was born and couldn’t decide so we looked up the meanings of the names and “Hazel” was so fitting given all the pain and suffering we had been through the past seven years (not infertility but several other afflictions). God heard our afflictions – he saw us, and gave us our Hazel. Much love to you and your Hazel! Thank you for sharing your story!

    1. Oh I loved reading this, thank you for sharing! I love that we share the same journey and how blessed we are for our Hazel’s! God is definitely great!