God personally changed Abram's name (a quite rare occurrence in the Bible), when he was ninety-nine years old, to Abraham because of the blessings he would bestow on him. Sarai, his wife, also had her name changed to Sarah since she would ultimately become the mother of many nations and kings. God appeared to Abraham at 99 years old to promise him that he would produce many descendants.
And Abram fell on his face. And God talked with him, saying, "As for Me, behold, My covenant is with you, and you shall be a father of many nations. . . . but your name shall be Abraham; for I have made you a father of many nations (Genesis 17:3 - 5, HBFV throughout)
Isaac, the son of Abraham, prayed to God that his wife Rebekah, who was barren, would be healed. His request was heard and granted. It would be an answer that would change the course of human history.
She was going to have twins, and before they were born, they struggled against each other in her womb (this struggle would continue for many, many years to come) . . . The first one was reddish . . . (he was given the name Esau, which can also mean 'red stew' - He became the father of a tribe of people known as the Edomites).
The second one was born holding on tightly to the heel of Esau . . . . (this child was given the name of Jacob, a name God would later change to Israel, Genesis 25:22, 25 - 26)
Birth to a nation
Abraham's grandson was Jacob. When Rachel, Jacob's favorite wife, realized she could not have children she demanded that he give her some! Jacob, of course, responded that he did not have the power to grant her request. Rachel then decided to give him her servant girl Bilhah in order to create a family through her. Bilhah soon gave birth to sons named Dan and Naphtali.
And Bilhah conceived and bore Jacob a son . . . Then Rachel's handmaid Bilhah conceived again and bore Jacob a second son . . . And Rachel said, "With the wrestlings of God I have wrestled with my sister, and I have prevailed." And she called his name Naphtali (Genesis 30:1, 8).
When Leah, another of Jacob's wives, believed she could no longer have children she gave her husband a slave woman named Zilpah through which she could have a family. The maidservant Zilpah produced sons of Israel named Gad and Asher (Genesis 30:9 - 13).
Cities of the patriarchs
It was Abraham who named the city of Beersheba (Genesis 21:31). Jacob renamed the city of Luz to Bethel (Genesis 28:19). He also renamed the place where he and Laban agreed to peacefully separate to Galeed (Genesis 31:47). Jacob also named the cities of Mahanaim (32:2), Peniel (32:30) and Succoth (33:17).