🔼The name Elioenai: Summary
- Unto Yah Are My Eyes, Yah The God Of My Eyes
- From (1) the word אל ('el), God or expressing motion toward, (2) the divine name יה (yah), and (3) the noun עין ('ayin), eye or fountain.
🔼The name Elioenai in the Bible
There are five or six different men named Elioenai in the Bible, but note that this name is highly similar to the names Eliehoenai and Elienai. The men named Elioenai are:
- A descendant of Solomon, whose seven sons were the last generation recorded by the Chronicler (1 Chronicles 3:23).
- A family leader of the tribe of Simeon (1 Chronicles 4:36).
- One of the sons of Becher, who was a son of Benjamin (1 Chronicles 7:8).
- One of the sons of Pashhur, who had married and would divorce their foreign wives during the Purge of Ezra (Ezra 10:22). Since the sons of Pashhur are mentioned among the priests, it's possible but not certain that this Elioenai is the same as the priest called Elioenai who played trumpet during the dedication ceremony of the restored wall of Jerusalem (Nehemiah 12:41).
- One of the sons of Zattu, who did and would do the same thing (Ezra 10:27, spelled אליועני).
🔼Etymology of the name Elioenai
The name Elioenai consists of three elements. The first one is either אל ('el), the preposition that expresses motion towards someone or something. Or it is the more familiar אל (El), the prominent Canaanite deity whose name became applied to the God of Israel, or the common abbreviation of Elohim, the genus God:
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 last part 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.
And in between these two parts sits the element יו (yu), which is a shortened form of the Tetragrammaton יהוה, YHWH, or Yahweh.
For a meaning of the name Elioenai, NOBSE Study Bible Name List appears to interpret the אל-part as the particle of motion, but erroneously translates יו (yu) with God (Lord would been still wrong but at least more consistent) and reads Toward God Are My Eyes.
Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names takes אל for El and reads God The Lord Of My Eyes.
BDB Theological Dictionary believes אל is the particle and translates the whole name as Unto Ya Are Mine Eyes.