🔼The name Hashabneiah: Summary
- Yah Devises Into Eminence
- Devise, Please, Yah!
- From (1) the verb חשב (hashab), to think up or devise, (2) the noun נה (noah), eminency, and (3) יה (yah), the name of the Lord.
- From (1) the verb חשב (hashab), to think up or devise, (2) the particle נא (na'), please, and (3) יה (yah), the name of the Lord.
🔼The name Hashabneiah in the Bible
The name Hashabneiah occurs twice in the Bible and it's not clear whether there are one or two men named such. Hashabneiah is the name of the father of Hattush who was among the people who made repairs to the wall and buildings of Jerusalem, just after the return from the exile in Babylon (Nehemiah 3:10). Possibly the same and possibly another Hashabneiah is mentioned among the Levites who delivered a great sermon to the mourning Israelites upon their rediscovery of the Law (Nehemiah 9:5).
🔼Etymology of the name Hashabneiah
The name Hashabneiah is probably the name Hashabnah extended with the familiar termination יה (yah), which is short for יהוה or YHWH.
The first part of our name comes from the verb חשב (hashab), to think up or devise:
The verb חשב (hashab) means to think but instead 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.
Some scholars ascribe the letter נ (n) that sits between these elements to a scribal error but read our article on the name Hashabnah for a closer look at the reality of this. Here at Abarim Publications we are more drawn toward 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.
And since the letters א and ה occasionally alternate, particularly between Aramaic and Hebrew, and the people in the time of Nehemiah spoke mostly Aramaic, there is an obvious association with the common particle of entreaty נא (na'):
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 Hashabneiah NOBSE Study Bible Name List ignores the נ (n) and reads Yahweh Has Regarded Me. Likewise Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names proposes Esteemed Of The Lord. BDB Theological Dictionary likewise reckons our name as an erroneous variant of Hashabiah, for which it reads Yah Has Taken Account.
Here at Abarim Publications we doubt that an accidental scribal error would have made it very far in the Jewish scribal traditions, and suspect that our name expresses the understanding that a government that is carefully composed according to the natural laws of Yah would lead itself and the people it governs to a paradisiacal state: Yah Devises Into Eminence. Alternatively, it manifest a plea to Yah to bring these things about: Devise, Please, Yah!