🔼The name Enan: Summary
- Having Eyes, Having Fountains
- From the noun עין ('ayin), which means both eye and fountain.
🔼The name Enan in the Bible
There's only one man in the Bible named Enan, and we know about him because of his (more) famous son Ahira, who was a leader of the tribe of Naphtali at the time of the first census of Israel, just over a year after Israel had left Egypt (Numbers 1:15). Ahira the son of Enan is mentioned almost half a dozen times in the first ten chapters of Numbers.
🔼Etymology of the name Enan
There's no regular word in the Hebrew language that is identical to the name Enan, but it's obvious that it was derived from the noun עין (ayin), meaning fountain or eye:
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.
Perhaps the added letter nun has to do with the pronominal suffix meaning "his" or "their", so that Enan means Their Eye or His Fountain. Perhaps our name עינן is really a contraction of עינון, as in the name חצר עינון (Hazar-enan). And that form might be an irregular plural of our noun עין (ayin), meaning fountain or eye (as the brilliant theologian Gesenius proposed). But then, עינון may also be our noun עין expanded with the familiar ון-couple that personifies or localizes a root, and Enan would mean Fountain Boy.
The theologian Gesenius saw in the Enan-part of the name Hazar-enan, an irregular plural (which doesn't occur as such in the Bible, by the way), but the name Enan we're dealing with now, Gesenius translated with Having Eyes. Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names adopts this interpretation, and NOBSE Study Bible Name List seems to agree with the grammar at least, and reads Having Fountains. BDB Theological Dictionary doesn't interpret our name but does list it under the noun עין (ayin), meaning fountain or eye.