The Story of Naming Things

Joshua 22:10-34

There was a new boy at Beth's school. The new boy was from a country in Africa that Beth had never heard of.
When Beth asked the new boy what his name was, he said, "My name is Lakuba. That means 'man with a bird in his heart.'"
Beth thought it was strange that names meant something other than just the person that they named.
When she got home, Beth asked her mother, "Mother, why do names mean two things?"
"People and places are often given names which remind us of why they are important," answered her mother. "Here, come sit on my lap and I'll give you an example from the Bible."
And this is the story she told:

One day Reuben's kids, Gad's kids, and half a group of Manassehs crossed the Jordan river into Canaan and built a really nice altar there.
When the Israelites heard about this, they said, "Look, Reuben's kids, Gad's kids, and half a group of Manassehs built an altar across the river in Canaan." Then they all got together so that they could kill Reuben's kids, Gad's kids, and the half a group of Manassehs.
Before going to kill their new enemies, the Israelites sent Phinehas and ten prices to talk to Reuben's kids, Gad's kids, and the half a group of Manassehs. Phinehas said to them, "Why did you built the altar when God didn't want you to, huh? Are you God's enemies now? Haven't we had enough problems already without this? We're all going to get in trouble because of you. Why don't you come back over the Jordan river with us and live where God wants you to live? There's a nice temple there already, so you don't need this altar. You don't want to be hit with rocks and set on fire like Achen, do you?
Then Reuben's kids, Gad's kids, and the half a group of Manassehs said, "God knows that we're not against him. We just built the altar so that people would know that we like God even though we're across the river from his temple. We don't want you saying that we don't like God.
Phinehas and the princes listened to Reuben's kids, Gad's kids, and Manassehs' kids and liked what they heard. Phinehas said to them, "I guess that God still likes you because you haven't done anything wrong." And with that, he and the princes went home.
When Phinehas and the princes got back across the Jordan, they told the Israelites what had happened. The story made the Israelites happy, so they decided not to go across the river and kill everyone.
After that, Reuben's kids and Gad's kids called their altar Ed.

Beth thought about this for a moment. "Ed? They named it Ed?" Beth said, puzzled.
"Yes, Dear One," said her mother.
"Why? What does it mean?"
Beth's mother stroked her daughter's hair gently, "It means that the altar is a sign that the people across the Jordan are loyal to God. We know that because the Bible tells us so."
"Does that mean that Eddie Munster's name means'The-People-Across-the-Jordan-Are-Loyal-to-God Munster'?" Beth asked.
"Yes, Dear One."
Beth thought for another moment. "Why did you and Father name me Beth? Does that mean something special?"
"Indeed it does," said her mother. "Your father and I were introduced by a nice woman named Bess and if it had not been for her you would never have been born. We chose your name to remember Bess by."
"But why did you name me Beth instead of Bess?"
"Our good friend Bess had a lisp, Dear One. Naming you Beth helps us remember her even better. Now do you understand?"
"I think so," Beth said, smiling and hugging her mother. All her questions had been answered.