🔼The name Ethan: Summary
- Perpetuity, Perennial
- From the adjective איתן ('etan), ever-flowing or perennial.
🔼The name Ethan in the Bible
There are three different men named Ethan in the Bible:
- An Ezrahite, son of Zerah of Judah, whose wisdom had become proverbial to such a degree that Solomon's wisdom was said to supersede that of Ethan (1 Kings 4:31, 1 Chronicles 2:6). This Ethan was quite the poet as well. One of his works became known as Psalm 89. His unwise nephew Achan became known as Achar the Troubler of Israel (Joshua 7:1).
- A musical son of Zimmah of Gershom of Levi (1 Chronicles 6:42).
- A son of Kishi of Merari (1 Chronicles 6:44).
🔼Etymology of the name Ethan
The name Ethan is identical to the adjective איתן (etan), meaning ever-flowing or perennial:
The root תנן (tanan) speaks of luring and scavenging and preying upon the weak and gullible. Verb תנה (tana) means to hire (predominantly of a prostitute) and nouns אתנן ('etnan) and אתנה ('etna) describe the hire of a prostitute.
It should be noted that societies were considered "houses" and their central governments their "house-father". The Bible often uses the prostitute to describe a society, which would typically be a society without central rule and which maintains its fading identity by means of shifting allegiances with neighboring states.
Still, on rare occasions this verb is also used to describe how God displays his splendor in the heavens, presumably to lure humanity to him, even though humanity does not accept the formal knowledge of natural law (that's the Word of God) as their king.
The noun תן (tan) describes some kind of predatory animal, possibly a jackal. Noun תנין (tannin) refers to a mythological aquatic serpentine creature, which appears to dwell in the caustic undertows of human society.
The unused verb יתן (yatan) probably denoted the permanence of flowing water (it does so in cognate languages). The adjective אתן or איתן ('etan) means perennial or ever-flowing.
The noun אתון ('aton), from an assumed root אתן ('atan), describes a female donkey or she-ass. In the ancient world camels signified international trade (like our trucks), horses signified military might (our jeeps), oxen signified heavy farm work or local commerce (our tractors and lorries), and donkeys, particularly female donkeys, signified the spontaneous congress of peaceful and free civilians (our Volkswagens and campers).
Female donkeys were the units of social networks and symbolized both the freedom, peace and prosperity, and the curiosity about and concern for one's neighbor upon which any social network is based. This is why mankind's King rides a donkey (Zechariah 9:9): donkeys mostly carry stories, and mankind's King, obviously, is the Word of God, or the formal manifestation of natural law.
For a meaning of the name Ethan, NOBSE Study Bible Name List reads Perpetuity. Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names takes the idea of perpetuity and interprets it according to its application in describing the perpetuity of cities and nations. Hence Jones reads the rather liberal Firmness.