🔼The name Hashabnah: Summary
- Devise Into Eminence
- Devise, Please!
- From (1) the verb חשב (hashab), to think up or devise, and (2) the noun נה (noah), eminency.
- From (1) the verb חשב (hashab), to think up or devise, and (2) נה (na) or נא (na'), please.
🔼The name Hashabnah in the Bible
The name Hashabnah occurs only once in the Bible. He is mentioned among the signers of the sealed document (Nehemiah 10:25).
🔼Etymology of the name Hashabnah
The name Hashabnah consists of two elements. The first part of our name comes from the verb חשב (hashab), to think up, plan or devise:
The verb חשב (hashab) means to think but in stead of mere musing or theorizing this verb emphasizes mental activity with a practical (synthetic, technical or artistic) purpose in mind: to think up, to plan or devise.
Noun חשבון (heshbon) describes the entire library of artistic and technological knowledge. Noun מחשבה (mahashaba) denotes a thought, a plan, a device, an artistic object.
The second part of our name is harder to explain. Most commentators appear to agree that the name Hashabnah (חשבנה) is really the same as the name Hashabiah (חשביה), and that some sleepy scribe accidentally wrote ־נה (-nah) for ־יה (-yah).
Others realize with calm clarity that ־יה (-yah) is short for יהוה or YHWH, and stands for the single most dominant concern of anybody even remotely associated to the scribes that produced these texts, and that these texts were revered to the point where a whole scroll would be burned if one single letter was found added, left our or changed (Deuteronomy 4:2, 12:32, Matthew 5:18, Revelation 22:18-19).
Furthermore, the name Hashabiah relates to the name Hasshub the way Hashabnah relates to Hashabneiah, so no, no sleepy scribe accidentally wrote ־נה (-nah) for ־יה (-yah) because the name Hashabneiah combines these two elements into ניה (-neiah).
The element ־נה (-nah) of our name possibly comes from the verb נוה (nawa) and particularly from the noun נה (noah), meaning eminency or distinction:
There are either three separate verbs נוה (nawa), or one that simultaneously means (1) to be high or eminent, (2) to beautify, and (3) to be or be in an abode. If this cluster of assumed roots is indeed just one, it obviously deals with perfect societies, splendid palaces and seats of benevolent government. Particularly the third meaning is associated with shepherding, which relates to the idea of a king as shepherd of his people.
From the first meaning comes the noun נה (noah), eminency or distinction. From the third comes the noun נוה (naweh), abode, pasture, habitation, country or area of residence. This noun used as a verb means to dwell or abide. Used as adjective it means abiding. Noun נוה (nawa) means pasture or meadow.
The verb נאה (na'a) means to be beautiful, and is closely related to the verb נוה (nawa II), to beautify. Its derived adjective נאוה (na'weh) means beautiful.
The letters א and ה tend to alternate, particularly between Aramaic and Hebrew spellings, and the form נה exists in Aramaic as alternative to the form נא. By the time of the return, the people spoke mostly Aramaic and had to have the Hebrew scriptures explained to them, which resulted in the rabbinic tradition (Nehemiah 8:8). That means that the chances are excellent that some among Nehemiah's original audience considered the termination of the name Hashabnah to be the same as נא (na'), meaning please (whether technically justifiable or not):
The particle נא (na') is the Bible's common particle of entreaty and means please!. It shows up incorporated in various standard phrases: אמרי־נא (amari-na'), speak please; שא־נא (sa'na'), look out please; השמרי־נא (hashmari-na), watch out please, and of course the familiar הושיעה נא (hoshi'a na), save please.
A similar נה (na) added to a verbal stem results in a feminine plural imperative (and a family or company is feminine).
For a meaning of the name Hashabnah, Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names reads Esteemed Of The Lord (following the assumption that -nah is really -yah). NOBSE Study Bible Name List doesn't translate this name. BDB Theological Dictionary also doesn't offer an interpretation of this name and also submits that it's probably a text error for Hashabiah.
Here at Abarim Publications we expect that the chance that an actual error, and particularly an error concerning the name of the Lord, was first made and then not detected by scores of readers and subsequent copyists would approach zero for all practical purposes and realistic scenarios. That means that our name expresses the desire that a carefully composed government would lead itself and the people it governed to a paradisiacal state. And for the creative listeners in an audience, our name could also become an imperative to that goal: Devise, Please!.