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Meonenim meaning

מעוננים
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🔼The name Meonenim in the Bible

It's not entirely clear whether Meonenim is actually supposed to be considered a name or not. The New American Standard doesn't think so and neither does the New International Version. But the King James does, and so do the American Standard, Darby and Young. The Jewish Society Publication doesn't only think that Meonenim is a name, it figures it's in fact Elon-meonenim. It's unclear, and the jury will probably be out forever.

Our "name" occurs only once in the Bible, namely in Judges 9:37, where the insurrectionist Gaal points out to mayor Zebul that Abimelech and his gang are on a rapid approach: people are coming down from the heartlands and one head comes down אלון מעוננים road. The question is: is that road known by a proper name or by a description?

🔼Etymology of the name Meonenim

The whole phrase אלון מעוננים (alon me'onenim) consists of two parts. The first part is the word אלון ('allon), probably meaning oak:

The second part of our phrase appears to come from the verb ענן ('anan), and there are two of those:

The letter מ (mem) with which the second part of our phrase starts is probably a prefix that means either "from," or else "place of". Note that the term מעוננים (me'onenim) also occurs in Micah 5:12, and is there commonly translated with 'fortune-tellers' or 'soothsayers'.

🔼Meonenim meaning

The whole phrase אלון מעוננים could mean The Diviners' Oak (NAS) or The Soothsayers' Tree (NIV). But it may just as well mean Dumb Clouds. In fact, it may very well be that the story of Abimelech at Shechem is also about the power that may arise from an effective organization around an inert belief system. It's very obvious that a large group of fanatical people don't necessarily have to believe in something powerful to be powerfully united because of it. The author of the epistle of Jude seems to warn us for just that (Jude 1:10).

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