🔼The name Guni in the Bible
There are two men named גוני (Guni) in the Bible, one of whom became the patriarch of the גוני (Gunites):
- The second son of Naphtali, who was the sixth son of Jacob and the second son of Bilhah (Genesis 46:24). This Guni is the patriarch of the Gunites (Numbers 26:48). Note that the ethnonym גוני (Gunite) is spelled and pronounced the same as the name Guni.
- The grandfather of Ahi and the father of Abdiel of Gad, who was the seventh son of Jacob and the first one of Zilpah (1 Chronicles 5:15).
🔼Etymology of the name Guni
The origin of the name Guni is disputed. The brilliant theologian Gesenius believed that it came from an otherwise unused root גון (gwn), which is comparable to a Syriac verb that means to color, or a Chaldean verb that means the same. BDB Theological Dictionary declares the meaning of the whole root גון "dubious," but nevertheless proposes that it may indeed be related to the Syriac verb that Gesenius found, but also to an Aramaic verb that means to tinge, or an Arabic noun that means reddish black.
But a Hebrew audience — and especially those who didn't speak Syriac, Chaldean, Aramaic or Arabic — would probably have associated the name Guni with the root-verb גנן (ganan):
The letter י (yod) upon which our name ends, may either create a possessive form: my גון; or it creates an adjective: גון-like.
For a meaning of the name Guni, NOBSE Study Bible Name List goes with Gesenius' Syriac verb and reads Colored. Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names goes with the Hebrew verb גנן (ganan) and reads My Garden. But Jones also refers to Gesenius' interpretation of Painted With Colors. BDB Theological Dictionary doesn't interpret our name but does list it under the "dubious" root גון.