🔼The name Hanani in the Bible
There are up to six men in the Bible with the name Hanani. Some scholars see this name as a truncated form of the name חנניה (Hananiah), with which quite a few Biblical men are endowed. And that would make Hanani(ah) one of the most popular names in the Bible. The men named Hanani in the Bible are:
- The father of Jehu, who prophesied against the wicked king Baasha of Israel (1 Kings 16:1)
- One of the fourteen sons of Heman, king David's seer (1 Chronicles 25:4). These sons of Heman were to sing in the house of the Lord and play cymbals, harps and lyres. Other duties were dispensed through casting lots, and Hanani received the eighteenth lot (1 Chronicles 25:25).
- The seer who spoke against king Asa of Judah, for allying himself with Ben-hadad the king of Aram and giving him treasures from the temple (2 Chronicles 16:7). King Asa wasn't very pleased with Hanani's words and had him imprisoned.
- One of the sons of Immer who had married and divorced foreign wives during the purge of Ezra (Ezra 10:20). This Hanani may be the same as the next.
- A man whom Nehemiah calls "one of my brothers" (which may indicate any close relationship, from biological fraternity to a shared passion or mission), who visited Nehemiah in Susa together with some men from Judah, and informed him about the dire state of the people and the buildings of Jerusalem (Nehemiah 1:2). That visit got the ball rolling, and inspired Nehemiah to launch the famous restoration project. When Jerusalem's wall was finally rebuilt he put his brother Hanani in charge of the city together with a military commander named Hananiah (Nehemiah 7:2).
- One of the musicians who played the musical instruments of David, while Ezra went before them, during the dedication ceremony of Jerusalem's wall (Nehemiah 12:36).
🔼Etymology of the name Hanani
The name Hanani derives of the verb חנן (hanan), meaning to be gracious:
The letter י (yod) upon which our name ends, may either create an adjective (graciously), a possessive form (my grace), or may be a remnant of יה (Yah) = יהו (Yahu) = יו (Yu), which in turn are abbreviated forms of the Tetragrammaton יהוה, YHWH, or Yahweh.
For a meaning of the name Hanani, NOBSE Study Bible Name List appears to favor the adjective hypothesis and reads Gracious. Alfred Jones (Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names) sees in the final yod a remnant of YHWH and translates this name the same as Hananiah, namely as Graciously Given Of The Lord. BDB Theological Dictionary doesn't translate our name but considers it (perhaps) abbreviated from Hananiah. And BDB translates Hananiah as Yah Has Been Gracious.