🔼The name Anath: Summary
- Eye, Fountain
- From the verb ענה ('ana), to answer.
- From the noun עין ('ayin), which means both eye and fountain.
🔼The name Anath in the Bible
There's only one Anath in the Bible, but it seems not too far fetched to assume that this man was named after the widely revered and horrifically violent Assyrian goddess Anat. The Biblical Anath is the father of Shamgar, who was the third judge of Israel, succeeding the judge Ehud and succeeded by Deborah (Judges 3:31, 5:6).
🔼Etymology of the name Anath
It's widely published that the etymology of the name of the goddess Anat is unclear. Some say it may have to do with the noun עין ('ayin), meaning either eye, or spring or 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.
The name of the father of Shamgar, however, seems to relate to any of the verbs ענה ('ana), meaning either to answer, to be busy, to afflict or to sing:
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.
For a meaning of the name Anath, NOBSE Study Bible Name List reads Answer, and Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names proposes the unnecessary elaborate Answer To Prayer. BDB Theological Dictionary does interpret this name beyond its plausible connection to the goddess' name Anat.