Abarim Publications' online Biblical Hebrew Dictionary
The verb חנה (hana) reflects both a circular and a contracting motion. It's used of a day drawing to its close (Judges 19:9), or a temporary settling in of one person (Genesis 26:17) or a people (Exodus 13:20). It's used to indicate an army camping somewhere (Joshua 4:19), and with specific particles it can even mean to camp near something (Exodus 14:2) and even against some enemy (Joshua 10:5).
This verb's derivatives are:
- The feminine noun חנות (hanut), meaning cell. This word is only used in Jeremiah 37:16 and scholars assume this word was invented possibly because Jeremiah's cell had a curved vault. But it may just as well be because Jeremiah reposed in it, or because it was subterranean. We don't know.
- The feminine noun חנית (hanit), meaning spear. BDB Theological Dictionary, wondering what a spear has to do with our verb, refers to the great theologian Gesenius, who assumed it was because a spear is flexible. Here at Abarim Publications we don't know much about spears, and we would never dare to blatantly oppose Gesenius, if it weren't that spears are notoriously rigid since it's no good to hurl a flopping, wagging branch at someone. Perhaps this particular word for spear derived from a custom of thrusting one's spear into the ground to mark one's crib (1 Samuel 26:7). See our article on the Greek word κυριος (kurios) for more on the ceremonial importance of a man's spear.
- The masculine noun מחנה (mahaneh), meaning camp (Genesis 32:22, Numbers 2:17), or military company (Genesis 50:9).
- The feminine noun תחנה (tahana), meaning encamping or encampment. This word occurs only in 2 Kings 6:8. Note that this noun is spelled the same way as תחנה (tehinna), meaning favor, from the verb חנן (hanan), meaning to be gracious.