🔼The name Ain: Summary
- Fountain, Eye
- From the noun עין ('ayin), which means both eye and fountain.
🔼The name Ain in the Bible
There are two separate towns named Ain in the Bible:
- A location in the east of Canaan, which served as a marker for the border of Israel's territory (Numbers 34:11).
- A town initially allotted to Judah when Joshua divided Canaan among the tribes (Joshua 15:32). When the tribe of Simeon was assigned territory within the area occupied by Judah, the city of Ain went to Simeon (Joshua 19:7). Then, when the Levites were assigned their cities, Ain befell the Kohathites (Joshua 21:16). The name Rimmon is often mentioned in conjunction with Ain, and it may be that the town Nehemiah calls En-rimmon (Nehemiah 11:29) is the same as Ain and Rimmon together.
🔼Etymology of the name Ain
The name Ain is identical to the noun עין ('ayin), which means both eye and fountain:
The noun עין ('ayin) means both eye and fountain, well or spring. This might be explained by noting that the eye produces water in the form of tears, but perhaps more so in that water and light were considered deeply akin (see our article on the verb נהר, nahar, both meaning to shine and to flow). In that sense, the eye was considered a fountain that watered the outward face with water and the internal mind with light. Verb עין ('in) means to eye or regard. Noun מעין (ma'yan) describes a place with a spring.
For a meaning of the name Ain, NOBSE Study Bible Name List reads Spring and Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names has Fountain. BDB Theological Dictionary does not translate this name.