🔼The name Tartan in the Bible
Tartan is not really a name but a title, much like Caesar in Rome or Candace in Nubia. Tartan was the title of the Assyrian commander-in-chief and is mentioned twice in the Bible, namely in 2 Kings 18:17 and Isaiah 20:1.
🔼Etymology of the name Tartan
The title Tartan, or tur-ta-nu in Assyrian, is probably very old and of Sumerian origin (says Elicitt's Commentary). Its original etymology and meaning are obscure but the Hebrew transliteration appears to go beyond a phonetic impression and forwards a stylized commentary of what the ancient scribes thought of the Assyrian commander-in-chief.
The first part of our title looks like it was to remind of the verb תור (tur), meaning to seek out or explore:
The second part of our name was made to resemble the noun תן (tan), denoting a carnivorous scavenger:
Whatever the title Tartan may have meant to the Assyrians, to a Hebrew audience it would have sounded like Scrounging Jackal.