🔼The name Chenani: Summary
- Yah Has Established, Firmly, My Firmness
- From (1) the root כנן (kanan), to be set up, fixed or established, and (2) possibly followed by יה (yah), the name of the Lord.
🔼The name Chenani in the Bible
The name Chenani occurs once in the Bible. Nehemiah mentions him among the Levites who stood on their dedicated platform, loudly hailing the Lord, just prior to the Great Sermon and the signing of the Sealed Document (Nehemiah 9:2).
🔼Etymology of the name Chenani
The name Chenani appears to derive from the root כנן (kanan):
Root כנן (kanan) and hence verb כון (kun) mean to set, establish, fix, and so on. Nouns כן (ken), מכונה (mekona) and מכנה (mekona) denote a base or pedestal, noun מכון (makon) describes some fixed or established place, and noun תכונה (tekuna) means place or arrangement. Noun כון (kawwan) expresses a sort of ritualistic or sacrificial setup.
Adjective כן (ken) means right, true or honest, and adverb כן (ken) expresses confirmation: "thus" or "so". Verb כנה (kana) means to give a title or epithet or cognomen. Slightly unexpected, the noun כן (ken) denotes a gnat; the sort of proverbially plaguy insect that appears in huge swarms.
The ultimate meaning of our name is hard to establish. The letter י (yod) upon which this name ends may create a possessive form (my כנן), or it denotes an adjective כנן-ly. But the name Chenani is probably a contracted form of the name Chenaniah, and the final י is a remnant of יה (Yah) = יהו (Yahu) = יו (Yu), which in turn are abbreviated forms of the Tetragrammaton יהוה, YHWH, or Yahweh.
NOBSE Study Bible Name List doesn't treat Chenani separately but reads Yahweh Has Established for Chenaniah.
BDB Theological Dictionary doesn't interpret our name but does list it under the verb כנן I (kanan I), meaning to be firm or established. That would give our name the meaning of Firmly or My Firmness.
Alfred Jones (Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names) insists on using the mysterious noun כנה that occurs only in Psalm 80:16, gives its parent root the curious meaning of to perfect or to protect, and renders our name the meaning of Perfector. It's not very likely that a Hebrew audience would have arrived at the same conclusion.