🔼The name Hazar-enan: Summary
- Village Of The Fountain
- From (1) the noun חצר (haser), village, and (2) the noun עין ('ayin), eye or fountain.
🔼The name Hazar-enan in the Bible
The name Hazar-enan occurs four times in two different scenes in the Bible, but with two slightly differing spellings. In Numbers 34:9-10, YHWH informs Moses about the borders of the promised land. The northern border will extend from the Great (= Mediterranean) Sea and end in Hazar-enan (חצר עינן), where it will go south along the eastern border. The author of Numbers spells Hazar-enan both times with two consecutive nuns.
When, may years later, the prophet Ezekiel sees his vision pertaining to the restoration of the Temple and of Israel at large, his angelic host conveys the words of the Lord and lays out the boundaries of the land. The northern border, again, stretches from the Great Sea to Hazar-enan (Ezekiel 47:17). In this instance our name is spelled חצר עינון, with the letter waw preceding the final nun. But in Ezekiel 48:1, introducing the chapter where the areas of the tribes are specified, our names appears again, but this time spelled like the author of Numbers spelled it: nun-nun.
It's not clear why these two separate spellings exist, but one possibility is that the name Hazar-enan was applied to that town long before people started inserting the letter waw into words to represent a vowel (which was roughly around the start of the post-exilic period). Since the Hebrew language was not standardized, people wrote words phonetically, and so sometimes different spellings of one word made it into the Bible. But why two different spellings appear in such close proximity (separated by a mere six verses) remains unclear.
🔼Etymology of the name Hazar-enan
The name Hazar-enan obviously consists of two elements. The first part comes from any of the roots חצר (hsr):
The verb חצר (hasar) relates to the first visual manifestations of a gathering or emergence of some sort: to begin to cluster or gather or emerge.
The noun חציר (hasir) means grass, which is the first plant to sprout after, say, a fire. Noun חציר (hasir) means leek (a bigger version of grass) and חצצרה (hasosra) means trumpet, i.e. the perhaps leek-like instrument with which a gathering of humans is instigated.
The noun חצר (haser) denotes a hamlet or settlement or loose, rudimentary federation; the initial beginning of what some day might become a village or even a city. Noun חצר (haser) refers to an enclosure in the architectural sense, or even a court in the sense of it being a place where people loosely gather.
The second part of our name comes from the noun עין (ayin), meaning either fountain or eye:
The noun עין ('ayin) means both eye and fountain, well or spring. This might be explained by noting that the eye produces water in the form of tears, but perhaps more so in that water and light were considered deeply akin (see our article on the verb נהר, nahar, both meaning to shine and to flow). In that sense, the eye was considered a fountain that watered the outward face with water and the internal mind with light. Verb עין ('in) means to eye or regard. Noun מעין (ma'yan) describes a place with a spring.
How exactly to interpret the final nun or the waw-nun couple isn't clear. The waw-nun may indicate that this is a noun derived of some root עין, which also gave rise to the noun עין, meaning eye or spring (perhaps meaning to be wet or to flow or something like that). Gesenius has suggested that this final nun comes from an irregular plural, but this plural does not occur elsewhere in the Bible. Still, commentators appear to find this explanation most appealing.
Another name that consists of the same two roots is En-hazor.
The name Hazar-enan can be construed to be a combination of any of the above, from Narrow Eye to Fountain Village. For a meaning of our name, NOBSE Study Bible Name List reads Village Of Springs and Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names has Village Of Fountains. BDB Theological Dictionary does not translate this name.