🔼The name Elienai: Summary
- God Of My Eyes, God Of My Fountains
- From (1) the word אל ('el), God, and (2) the noun עין ('ayin), eye or fountain.
🔼The name Elienai in the Bible
There's only one man named Elienai in the Bible, but it should be noted that this name is nearly the same as the more popular names Elioenai and Eliehoenai.
🔼Etymology of the name Elienai
The name Elienai consists of two elements, but it's not clear which the first one is. It 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 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 end of our name comes from the noun 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 Elienai, Alfred Jones (Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names) takes the אל-part to be El, and reads God Of My Eyes.
NOBSE Study Bible Name List seems to think that we're dealing with the preposition of motion and reads Toward God Are My Eyes, but in this case the God-part would be implied. If the central י yod is taken to be a remnant of the name יהוה, YHWH or Yahweh (plausibly assuming that Elienai is a contracted version of Eliehoenai), a better translation would be Toward Yahu Are My Eyes or even Toward The Lord Are My Eyes.
In a rare case of neglect, BDB Theological Dictionary appears to not treat Elienai.