🔼The name Elhanan in the Bible
It's not clear whether there's one or two men named Elhanan in the Bible, but if there are two, they are coincidently both from Bethlehem, both fighting men working for David at more or less the same time:
- A son of Jaare-oregim of Bethlehem (2 Samuel 21:19) also known as simply Jair (1 Chronicles 20:5). According to 2 Samuel, this Elhanan fought with David's army against the Philistines, and killed Goliath the Gittite (son and namesake of the famous Goliath) at the battle of Gob. According to the Chronicler, Elhanan killed Lahmi, the brother of the famous Goliath. Perhaps he killed both. Perhaps Lahmi was the deceased Goliath's legal representative (via, say, a Philistine equivalent of levirate law or something similar). And perhaps there's more going on in these texts than meets the eye, and will be revealed when the field of Scripture Theory develops further.
- A son of Dodo of Bethlehem, and one of David's celebrated mighty-men (2 Samuel 23:24, 1 Chronicles 11:26).
🔼Etymology of the name Elhanan
The name Elhanan consists of two elements. The first part of our name refers to אל (El), the prominent Canaanite deity whose name became applied to the God of Israel, or the common abbreviation of Elohim, the genus God:
The second part of our name comes from the verb חנן (hanan), meaning to be gracious:
For a meaning of the name Elhanan, both NOBSE Study Bible Name List and BDB Theological Dictionary read God Has Been Gracious. Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names proposes Whom God Graciously Gave.