🔼The name Evi: Summary
- From the verb אוה ('wh), to desire.
🔼The name Evi in the Bible
There's only one man in the Bible with the name Evi. He is one of the five kings of Midian, whom Moses, Phinehas and the Israelite army defeated (Numbers 31:8). When Canaan was divided, the territories of these five kings befell the tribe of Reuben (Joshua 13:21). In that same war against Midian the famous oracle Balaam was killed.
🔼Etymology of the name Evi
There's no word אוי in the Hebrew of the Bible, but it seems obvious that the name Evi stems from any of the roots אוה ('wh):
There are four different verbs אוה ('wh), which all appear to express a desire or movement toward something. Noun אי ('i) means coast, which has been mankind's preferred place to settle since time immemorial. Nouns או ('aw), מאוי (ma'away), אוה ('awwa) and תאוה (ta'awa) all mean desire. The noun אות ('ot) means mark or sign, and humanity's earliest marks were not to assert private ownership but rather a collective identity: something to draw toward and gather around. Noun אי ('i) means jackal, and noun איה (ayya) means hawk or falcon. These creatures were possibly named after their supplicatory calls, or else their rapturous method of predation.
The conjunction או ('o) means "or." The interjection אי ('i) expresses regret: "alas!" Adverb אי ('i) may serve as a particle of negation ("to be desired" and thus not so), or as an interrogative adverb, meaning "where?", usually in rhetorical questions. The substantive אין ('ayin) expresses negation or nothingness and occurs hundreds of times in the construct מאין (m'ayin), which literally means "from where is not?", as introduction to a rhetorical question concerning something that is true in all known parts of the world: "where isn't it so that such and such, hmm?"
Our name may be constructed from the noun או ('aw), meaning desire, and turned into an adjective by adding the letter י (yod). It may also be a regular noun, which existed but was never used in the Bible.
For a meaning of the name Evi, NOBSE Study Bible Name List reads the adjectival Desirous. Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names proposes the noun Desire. BDB Theological Dictionary proposes the same noun Desire, but adds a question mark to indicate that we're all just guessing.