I was born David A. Hoover on January 10, 1960 in Bowling Green, Ohio. However, I legally changed my name to David Ben-Ariel (with help of my Jewish lawyer) during Spring of 1989. It cost me $300.00.
It also required that I take out a small ad in a newspaper announcing my intentions 30 days beforehand. I placed my ad in Bowling Green Sentinel.
I also had to appear before a judge (it depends on what county you were born) for him to privately question my motivations. He was assured by my lawyer that I wasn't running from law or trying to escape some outstanding debt, but that my reasons were religious in nature. The judge accepted that but wanted to impress upon me that I could have "trouble" with that name in America, without elaborating. I felt he meant because it was Jewish and/or could be difficult for some to know how to pronounce. I told him I wasn't concerned about it since I planned on moving to Israel anyway.
My reasons for changing my name were religious in nature. Why? Because I honestly feel that Ben-Ariel is a God-given name. And why would I feel that way? Because after a Hebrew class where my teacher mentioned how many people change their names when they move to Israel, I went home wondering what surname I would have in Israel, knowing my first name is already Hebrew.
I had always liked Hebrew last name of Ben-Ammi, after reading it in Leon Uris' book Exodus, since it means "son of my people," but while thinking about it and wondering what name my father would've given me, if he would've given me a Hebrew name, I didn't know. I then knelt down in prayer and asked God what name, IF ANY, would He give me since He's my Heavenly Father, and I couldn't ask my dad because he died when I was twelve.
I expected God to perhaps lead or guide or influence me to like a particular name, but immediately ARIEL flashed into my mind and immediately I rejected it. Why? Because it means "the Lion of God" and I felt such a name only belongs to Jesus Christ, Lion of Tribe of Judah. While wondering about name of Ariel, I remembered that Israel's defense minister was Ariel Sharon (whom I've since met in Jerusalem and Hebron). I reluctantly decided to keep name in reserve (since it was really impressed upon me!) until God or circumstances might lead me to accept another, and went to bed.
The Bible mentions MANY INCIDENTS where God chose to change someone's name or to name them before their birth. It is unusual but it's not unscriptural. There was Abraham, Sarah, and Isaac (Gen. 17:5, 15, 19); Ishmael (Gen. 16:11); Solomon (I Chron. 22:9) and Solomon's nickname Jedidiah (2 Sam. 12:25); Cyrus (Isa. 44:28; 45:4); John Baptist (Lk. 1:13); Jesus (Matt. 1:21); Peter and two brothers James and John whom Jesus nicknamed "sons of thunder" (Mk. 3:16-17); just to name a few.
God promises to give us each a new and unique name in Kingdom, either in place of or in addition to our current one (Rev. 2:17), as well as sharing Jesus' new name and bearing Father's name as Priest-Kings (Rev. 3:12, 14; Ex. 28:36; Lev. 8:9). God has many name or titles, descriptive of His wonderful qualities and characteristics (Isa. 9:6). The Jews even teach that God's Hebrew name Elohim (literally Gods) is plural due to fact that God is too great to be constrained to one name, and is used in sense of royal "We." That's why Elohim said "let us...." We understand that it's also because there's presently two God-Beings in one Kingdom of God, like Adam and Eve were two separate people who both shared surname Adam as one family unit (Gen. 2:24; 5:2; Jn. 10:30).