ע
ABARIM
Publications
Abarim Publications' Biblical Dictionary: The Hebrew word: חנן
Please help us financially

Abarim Publications' online Biblical Hebrew Dictionary

חנן

The root-verb חנן (hanan) shows up all over the Semitic language spectrum in meanings from to grant a favor, to be gracious and to favor. In Arabic this verb means to feel sympathy or compassion.

In the Bible our verb "depicts a heartfelt response by someone who has something to give to one who has a need" (in the words of HAW Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament). The verb covers the actions of people towards people (Judges 21:22, Psalm 37:21, Job 19:21), but mostly that of God towards man (Genesis 33:11, Psalm 119:28, Amos 5:15).

Our verb comes with the following derivations:

  • The masculine noun חן (hen), meaning favor or grace (of appearance: Proverbs 31:30; acceptance: Zechariah 4:7). This word is featured in the familiar phrase "finding favor" on the eyes of someone (Genesis 30:27, Exodus 33:12).
  • The adverb חנם (hinnam), meaning freely, gratis (Genesis 29:15); in vain or for no purpose (Malachi 1:10); without cause, undeservedly (1 Samuel 19:5).
  • The masculine noun חין (hin), probably meaning grace. It occurs only in Job 41:4, and (in the words of BDB Theological Dictionary), "the meaning is not very appropriate in this context ( . . . ) but nothing better has been proposed".
  • The adjective חנון (hannun), meaning gracious and only used as an attribute of God (Exodus 22:27, Psalm 116:5).
  • The feminine noun חנינה (hanina), meaning favor (Jeremiah 16:13 only).
  • The feminine noun תחנה (tehinna), meaning favor (Joshua 11:20), or supplication (1 Kings 8:52). Note that this noun is spelled the same way as תחנה (tahana), meaning encampment, from the verb חנה (hana), meaning to decline or encamp.
  • The masculine counterpart of the previous noun: תחנון (tahanun), which in the Bible occurs only in plural: תחנונים (tahanunim; Proverbs 18:23, Psalm 143:1).

Associated Biblical names

Please help us