🔼The name Elonbeth-hanan: Summary
- Oak Of House Of Grace
- From (1) probably the noun אלון ('allon), oak, (2) the noun בית (beth), house, and (3) the verb חנן (hanan), to be gracious.
🔼The name Elonbeth-hanan in the Bible
The name Elonbeth-hanan occurs only once in the Bible. It's mentioned as one of the four cities under the control of Ben-deker, who was one of the twelve deputies of king Solomon (1 Kings 4:9). BDB Theological Dictionary suggests that Elonbeth-hanan might be the same as the Danite town simply called Elon in Joshua 19:43, but there's no certainty either way.
🔼Etymology of the name Elonbeth-hanan
The name Elonbeth-hanan consists of three separate elements and it's a bit of a mystery why in English the first two are fused. The first part of our name is the same as the name Elon, and derives from either the verb אלל ('ll) or אול ('wl):
The root אלל ('alal) predominantly describes a protruding or sticking out. This may be positive (when one leads a collective), neutral (when one is a tree), or negative (when one fails convention). The latter sense in particular describes foolishness, or at least a failure to live up to cognitive standards or common codes of conduct.
Nouns אלון ('allon), אלה ('alla) and אלה ('elah) refer to oaks or terebinths but note the similarities with the demonstrative pronoun אלה ('elleh), "these," and אלה ('eloah) meaning god or God.
Nouns אליל ('elil) and אלול ('elul) mean worthlessness or a worthless thing (a thing that sticks out of the economy of useful things). Adjectives אויל ('ewil) and אולי ('ewili) mean foolish, and noun אולת ('iwwelet) means foolishness or folly. Noun אול ('ul) may mean belly or leading man.
Nouns אולם ('ulam) and אילם ('elam) mean porch. The former is identical to an adverb that means "however" or "but." Another adverb אולי ('ulay) means "perhaps."
Noun איל ('ayil), "protruder," refers in the Bible to a ram, a pillar, a chief and, yet again, a terebinth. Noun איל ('ayyal) means stag or deer — hence the panting deer of Psalm 42 also describes an ignoramus longing for instruction — and its feminine counterpart אילה ('ayyala) means doe.
The verb יאל (ya'al) means to be foolish, gullible or even simply compliant and pleased to go along in no particularly negative way.
The second part is the familiar word בית (bayit) meaning house:
The noun בית (bayit) means house. It sometimes merely denotes a domestic building, but mostly it denotes the realm of authority of the house-father, or אב (ab). This ab is commonly the living alpha male of a household, but may very well be a founding ancestor (as in the familiar term the "house of Israel"). The אב (ab) may also be a deity, in which case the בית (bayit) is that which we know as a temple.
In the larger economy, a house interacts with other houses. These interactions are governed by the אב (ab), or "father" and executed by the בנים (benim), or "sons": those people living in the house, irrespective of any biological relation with the אב (ab). The "sons" combined add up to אם ('em), which means both "mother" and "tribe".
The final part of our name is the same as Hanan, and comes from the verb חנן (hanan), meaning to be gracious:
The verb חנן (hanan) means to be gracious or to favor. Nouns חן (hen), חנינה (hanina), תחנה (tehinna) and תחנון (tahanun) mean favor or grace. Adverb חנם (hinnam) means freely or gratis, and adjective חנון (hannun) means gracious.
For a meaning of the name Elonbeth-hanan, NOBSE Study Bible Name List reads Oak Of House Of Grace, and Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names proposes Oak Of The House Of Hanan. BDB Theological Dictionary does not offer an interpretation of this name.