🔼The name Bani: Summary
- From the verb בנה (bana), to build.
🔼The name Bani in the Bible
The name Bani is surprisingly popular in the Bible. There are seven to nine men who have that name; most of them clustered in the post-exilic era, so it's sometimes hard to tell whether the Banis mentioned are the same or separate persons. Matters are made even more complicated by the existence of the name Bunni (also spelled בני), also in the post-exilic era, and the similarity in spelling of these two names and the construct בני, meaning 'sons' (for instance, the first two words of Ezra 2:10 are בני בני, taken to mean 'the sons of Bani'; in Nehemiah 9:4 we meet two Bani's and one Bunni).
The members of the following list are likely to overlap somewhat:
- A Gadite who was counted among David's mighty-men (2 Samuel 23:36)
- A descendant of Merari, son of Levi (1 Chronicles 6:46).
- An ancestor of Uthai of Judah, who returned to Jerusalem after the exile (1 Chronicles 9:4). He was not alone; Ezra counts 642 descendants of Bani, of which some ended up divorcing their foreign wives (Ezra 10:29 or perhaps 10:34, see next). Nehemiah calls this man Binnui and counts 648 descendants who returned (7:15).
- Another family-head whose descendants divorced their foreign wives during the purge of Ezra (Ezra 10:34).
- One of the latter's descendants (Ezra 10:38).
- One of the proto-rabbis who explained what Ezra read to the people (Nehemiah 8:7).
- One of the signers of the sealed document (Nehemiah 10:13).
- A leader of the people during the time of Nehemiah and several of the other Banis (Nehemiah 10:14).
- The father of Uzzi of Asaph, the overseer of the Levites in Jerusalem (Nehemiah 11:22).
🔼Etymology of the name Bani
The name Bani is usually assumed to derive from the verb בנה (bana), meaning to build:
The verb בנה (bana) means to build, mostly of stone buildings and thus of houses and thus of families and dynasties: hence the association between this verb and the nouns אבן ('eben), stone, and בן (ben), son.
Noun בניה (binya) means a building in the sense of a structure. Noun מבנה (mibneh) means building in the sense of place of building. Noun תבנית (tabnit) means building in the sense of the act of building: a construction, pattern or image.
Noun תבן (teben) means straw (the stems of grains), which was inserted into clay to enhance the structural integrity of the building. We do the same today with carbon fibers.
For a meaning of the name Bani, both NOBSE Study Bible Name List and Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names read Built. BDB Theological Dictionary does not translate this name but does list it under the root בנה.