🔼The name Eran: Summary
- Alert, Focused
- From the verb עור ('ur), to be roused, from the root ערר ('arar), to accumulate.
🔼The name Eran in the Bible
The name Eran occurs only once in the Bible. Apparently, Eran is the patriarch of a sub-clan within the tribe of Ephraim, fittingly called ערני; the Eranites (Numbers 26:36). But Eran and the Eranites are also listed among the sons of Shuthelah. It's not wholly clear what the relationship is with Shuthelah, but it seems that the latter is the patriarch of yet a larger clan, of which the Eranites are part. No Shuthelahites are mentioned, however.
🔼Etymology of the name Eran
The name Eran may come from any of the roots עור ('ur), but scholars generally assume it's from עור I, meaning to rouse oneself, be awake:
The root ערר ('arar) describes an accumulation in one place that results in an emptiness or barrenness everywhere else — both cities and clouds form from this principle, and indeed any sort of commercial or intellectual fortune. Adjectives ערירי ('ariri) and ערער ('ar'ar) mean stripped, childless or destitute. Noun מערה (me'ara) literally means "place of being stripped" and is the Bible's common word for cave. Noun ערוער ('aro'er) denotes some kind of tree or bush (probably one without leaves).
Noun עיר ('ir) is the Bible's common word for city, which constitutes an accumulation of people and goods, usually in the middle of a wide area without remaining trees. Noun עיר ('ayir) came to specifically denote the wild ass, but apparently stems from the more common behavior of standing around in clusters in the middle of a field that's been grazed clean (in other languages this word also denotes gazelles and such).
Verb עור ('awar) means to be or make blind, and blindness occurs most commonly due to a cataract (which looks like a skin forming over the eye, and is due to a cloudy accumulation of protein in the ocular lens). Adjective עור ('iwwer) means blind. Nouns עורון ('iwwaron) and עורת ('awweret) mean blindness.
Verb עור ('ur I) means to rouse oneself — literally to collect and bundle one's feelings. Noun עיר ('ir) means excitement.
Identical verb עור ('ur II) means to be exposed or laid bare. Noun מעור (ma'or) means nakedness and noun מערם (ma'arom) means naked one. Adjectives עירם ('erom), ערם ('erom), ערום ('arom) and ערם ('arom) mean naked. Noun עור ('or) means skin or hide.
Verb ערה ('ara) also means to be naked or bare. Nouns ערה ('ara), מערה (ma'ara) and מער (ma'ar) refer to bare or exposed places. Nouns ערוה ('erwa) and עריה ('erya) mean nakedness or exposure. Noun תער (ta'ar) denotes a thing that makes bare: a razor or sheath of a sword.
The letter nun upon which our name ends may be a remnant of the familiar waw-nun extension, which personifies or localizes a root. The name Eran would thus mean Awake Man.
For a meaning of the name Eran, both NOBSE Study Bible Name List and Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names read Watchful. BDB Theological Dictionary doesn't translate or interpret our name but does list it under the verb עור I ('ur I), meaning to rouse oneself, be awake.