Why isn’t Reuel a more popular name? Plenty of other obscure Old Testament names like Amaziah and Joah are more popular and getting trendier. Moreover, it’s one of J. R. R. Tolkien’s middle names, giving it some serious nerd cred. And for spiritual folks, it has a fantastic meaning: “friend of God.” Yet in 2015, only 8 boys were given this name in the U.S. I would expect it to register at least 30 times, but apparently there were fewer than 10. What’s up with that?
The name Reuel also has a number of fairly prominent bearers outside the Bible. Here are some:
- Senator Reuel Williams of Maine, Democrat (1783-1862). His parents were named Seth and Zilpha, and his grandparents Abigail and Benaiah (wow!). You can read more about him here, in the Memoir of Hon. Reuel Williams.
- St. Regulus or St. Rule (4th-century?) – Curiously, Reuel is listed under the profile of a Greco-Scottish St. Regulus at catholic.org, though this profile itself originated on Wikipedia. I wonder if someone simply took alternate spelling Rieul (from Regulus, not Reuel) and thought the saint could be called Reuel too. Nevertheless, the thought of using Reuel to honor a saint is interesting!
- Reuel Colt Gridley (1829-70). During the Civil War he raised a quarter million dollars for wounded Union veterans with a sack of flour!
- Jairus Reuel Aquino (born 1999) – A teen actor from the Philippines.
What do you think of Reuel? Do you think it could take off?