🔼The name Hananel: Summary
- God Has Been Gracious
- From (1) the verb חנן (hanan), to be gracious, and (2) the word אל ('el), God.
🔼The name Hananel in the Bible
The name Hananel (or as some translations have it: Hananeel) occurs four times in the Bible, but always in association with a tower: the Tower of Hananel, which was located somewhere on the periphery of Jerusalem and, judging from Jeremiah 31:38, perpendicularly across from the Corner Gate, and according to Nehemiah, either one of two or else the same as the tower of Meah (Nehemiah 3:1, 12:39).
Who Hananel was we don't know, and we can't even be sure that Hananel was some person. It may very well be that this tower was built as homage to God, and named accordingly.
But whatever the case may be, this tower of Hananel served as a reference point during the post-exilic period of restoration and so throughout the following ages (Zechariah 14:10). Although Zechariah prophesies about the Messianic age, the tower of Hananel is not mentioned in the New Testament. But note that the name Magdalena is a transliteration of the name Migdal-el, which means Tower of God.
🔼Etymology of the name Hananel
The name Hananel consists of two elements, the final one being the familiar word אל (El), either the prominent Canaanite deity whose name became applied to the God of Israel, or the common abbreviation of Elohim, the genus God:
In names אל ('el) usually refers to אלהים ('elohim), that is Elohim, or God, also known as אלה ('eloah). In English, the words 'God' and 'god' exclusively refer to the deity but in Hebrew the words אל ('l) and אלה ('lh) are far more common and may express approach and negation, acts of wailing and pointing, and may even mean oak or terebinth.
The first element of our name 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 Hananel, NOBSE Study Bible Name List reads God Has Been Gracious. Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names proposes Graciously Given Of God. And BDB Theological Dictionary has El Is Gracious.