🔼The name Beno: Summary
- His Son
- From (1) the noun בן (ben), son, and (2) the third person masculine pronominal suffix, ו, his.
🔼The name Beno in the Bible
Whether the name Beno actually exists in the Bible is disputed. Most translations think so (NAS, ASV, KJV, NIV, Young), but others don't (JSP, Darby). If it does, our name occurs in 1 Chronicles 24:26-27, which reads, "The sons of Merari: Mahli and Mushi, sons of Jaaziah: בנו (= our name), sons of Merari: of Jaaziah בנו and Shoham and Zaccur and Ibri".
There are all kinds of ways to explain this curious list. It could be a complete mess-up by a sleepy scribe, although the rigorous rules that surrounded the production and copying traditions of sacred Hebrew texts make that highly unlikely and surely the least attractive option. It could be that there are two men named Beno: that the Beno of verse 26 is a son of Merari, while the Beno of verse 27 is a more remote descendant, through Jaaziah, the brother of Beno the First. And it can also be that Beno is a legendary figure in the "sons of Jaaziah" sub-class, who thus is mentioned along with his father as "sons of Merari" but also in the list of regular sons of Jaaziah.
And then of course, it could be that Beno was like a nick-name of Jaaziah; Jaaziah-beno, so to speak. We really don't know.
🔼Etymology of the name Beno
The "name" Beno comes from the word בן, meaning son:
The noun בן (ben) means son, or more general: a member of one particular social or economic node — called a "house", which is built upon the instructions of one אב ('ab), or "father" — within in a larger economy (hence: the "sons of the prophet" are the members of the prophet-class; the prophets). This noun obviously resembles the verb בנה (bana), to build, and the noun אבן ('eben), stone.
Our noun's feminine version, namely בת (bat), means daughter, which resembles the noun בית (bayit), meaning house. Sometimes our noun is contracted into a single letter ב, whose name beth comes from בית (bayit) and means "house" as well. As a prefix, the letter ב (be) means "in." The word for mother, אם ('em), is highly similar to that of tribe or people, אמה ('umma).
The letter ו upon which our name ends can be seen as the masculine pronominal suffix: his. For all we know, Jaaziah was known as Jaaziah-his-son, because he was competing with some other Jaaziah, say Jaaziah-his-cousin or Jaaziah-his-neighbor.
For a meaning of the "name" Beno, NOBSE Study Bible Name List reads His Son. Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names doesn't acknowledge Beno as a name and has no entry for it. BDB Theological Dictionary notes the dispute but decrees that translators should render the passage in Chronicles with "Jaaziah his son.."..
Read our article on the name Huram-abi for a similar difficulty.