🔼The name Anamim: Summary
- Responding Waters
- From (1) the verb ענה (ana), to answer, and (2) the noun מים (mayim), waters.
🔼The name Anamim in the Bible
🔼Etymology and meaning of the name Anamim
The name Anamim looks like it comes from the rich root group ענה (ana):
There are four verbs of the form ענה ('nh), or perhaps one verb with four distinct usages:
Verb ענה ('ana I) means to answer, respond or correspond, and since in the old world time was considered a cycle, noun עת ('et) means time. Temporal adverb עתה ('atta) means now; adjective עתי ('itti) means timely or ready, and conjunction יען (ya'an) means on account of. Noun מענה (ma'aneh) means an answer and noun ענה ('ona) means cohabitation.
Verb ענה ('ana II) means to be busy or occupied with. Noun ענין ('inyan) means occupation or task, and noun מענה (ma'ana) means place for or agent of a task.
Verb ענה ('ana III) means to afflict, oppress or humble. Noun ענו ('anaw) refers to the poor, afflicted or needy. Noun ענוה ('anawa) means humility. Noun ענות ('enut) means affliction. Adjective עני ('ani) means poor or afflicted. Noun עני ('oni) means affliction or poverty, and noun תענית (ta'anit) means humiliation.
Verb ענה ('ana IV) means to sing.
However, there no certainty whether the name Anamim was actually derived from this root group. It its signature abrupt style, BDB Theological Dictionary deems the 'form dubious and locality unknown,' and hints no further to any meaning
According to Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names, the ana-part of the name Anamim is derived from the first group of meanings, ענה (ana I), meaning to answer, respond, testify. The mim-part is identical to מים (mayim) meaning waters:
The noun מים (mayim) means water, or rather: waters. It's a plural word for which there is no singular form. But if there were it would be מי (mi), which is identical to the common particle of inquisition, מי (mi), meaning "who?". In constructions (waters of such and such), the final ם (m) drops off, and what remains is identical to our particle of inquisition.
Water represents the great unknown from which the dry land (ארץ, 'eres) of the known emerges. The ancients knew that vapor rises from the seas and becomes rain and compared this cycle to that of cognition (Isaiah 55:10-1). The words for rain and teacher are the same: מורה (moreh), which are closely related to the familiar word Torah.
And thus, Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names translates this name as Responding Waters.
It should be noted that the extension ים is a common indication of plural (much like the English -s), which leads to the possibility that our word Anamim is in fact the plural of ענם. That word does not occur in the Bible except as an (assumed) text error: the city Anem (1 Chronicles 6:73), meaning Double Fountain. This would give to Anamim the meaning Clusters of Double Fountains, which is a bit excessive.