🔼The name Eliehoenai: Summary
- Unto Yahu Are Mine Eyes, God The Lord Of My Eyes
- From (1) the word אל ('el), God or indicating motion toward, (2) the divine name יהו (yahu), and (3) the noun עין ('ayin), eye or fountain.
🔼The name Eliehoenai in the Bible
There are two men with the graceful name Eliehoenai in the Bible, although this name is nearly the same as the names Elioenai and Elienai. The men named Eliehoenai are:
- The seventh of seven sons of Meshelemiah, son of Kore, who was one of the gatekeepers of the tabernacle during the reign of king David (1 Chronicles 26:3).
- A son of Zerahiah, of the family of Pahath-moab, who returned from the Babylonian exile together with Ezra and 200 of his family members (Ezra 8:4).
🔼Etymology of the name Eliehoenai
The name Eliehoenai appears to consist of several elements and scholars don't wholly agree on which ones those are. But most seem to agree that the central part is יהו (yahu), which is a truncated form of the familiar Tetragrammaton יהוה, YHWH, or Yahweh, the name of the Lord.
The part in front of יהו (yahu) may be אל (El), the prominent Canaanite deity whose name became applied to the God of Israel, or the common abbreviation of Elohim, the genus God. But it may also be אל ('el), the preposition that expresses motion towards someone or something (or frankly any of the similar words listed below):
In names אל ('el) usually refers to אלהים ('elohim), that is Elohim, or God, also known as אלה ('eloah). In English, the words 'God' and 'god' exclusively refer to the deity but in Hebrew the words אל ('l) and אלה ('lh) are far more common and may express approach and negation, acts of wailing and pointing, and may even mean oak or terebinth.
The final part of our name comes from עין ('ayin), which may mean eye 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.
For a meaning of the name Eliehoenai, BDB Theological Dictionary takes the אל-part to be the particle of motion and reads Unto Yahu Are Mine Eyes.
Alfred Jones (Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names) acknowledges no difference between the names Eliehoenai and Elioenai and interprets the אל-part of both as being El or short for Elohim and reads God The Lord Of My Eyes for both.
NOBSE Study Bible Name List appears to erroneously translate yahu with God (better, or at least consistent would be Lord) and proposes Toward God Are My Eyes.