🔼The name Amana: Summary
- Permanent, A Confirmation
- From the verb אמן ('aman), to confirm or support.
🔼The name Amana in the Bible
It's not clear how often the graceful name Amana occurs in the Bible. It's mentioned for sure in the Song of Solomon, where the groom invites the bride to come down with him from Lebanon and down from the summit of Amana (Song of Solomon 4:8), and this would indicate, among other things, that Amana was a mountain in the Lebanon range.
Then, in 2 Kings 5:12, the Aramean general Naaman fumes at Elisha's messenger that the two rivers of Damascus are better than all the waters in Israel. Some ancient Hebrew manuscripts of the Bible name these two rivers Abanah and Pharpar, while others call the first Amana. Most translations follow the first reading, but some (for instance The Jewish Society Publication's Bible of 1917, or the German Luther Translation of 1545) have Amana. So it appears that Amana may also have been a river in Aram.
🔼Etymology of the name Amana
The name Amana comes from the verb אמן ('aman), meaning to confirm or support:
The verb אמן ('aman) means to affirm or support. The familiar adverb אמן ('amen), its lesser known feminine version אמנה ('omna) and the plural variant אמנם ('umnam) mean verily or truly.
Noun אמן ('omen) means faithfulness and noun אמנה ('amana) means faith or support. Noun אמן ('omman) denotes a skilled or "true" worker. Noun אמן ('emun) means trusting or faithfulness. Noun אמונה ('emuna) means firmness, steadfastness or fidelity. And noun אמנה ('omna) means a bringing up or nourishment.
This name for a river is quite telling. In the Hebrew symbolic system, a "lying" river would be a dry river (Job 6:15, Jeremiah 15:18 — also see our article on the verb כזב (kazab), meaning to lie). A river by the name Amana is a river whose waters are sure (see Isaiah 33:16).
For a meaning of the name Amana, NOBSE Study Bible Name List reads Permanent, Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names offers A Confirmation, and BDB Theological Dictionary proposes Constant.
BDB adds its signature question mark, probably to indicate that the etymology might be popular and not scientific. But no Hebrew poet would be deterred by this lack of scientific confirmation.