🔼The name Helon: Summary
- From the verb חול (hul), to be strong.
🔼The name Helon in the Bible
The name Helon occurs five times in the Bible, but we only know about this man because of his famous son: Eliab, the son of Helon, who was the leader of the tribe of Zebulun in the first period of the wilderness years. This Eliab is mentioned five times in the first ten chapters of Numbers, starting at Numbers 1:9. Only in Numbers 10:16 this name is spelled חלון.
🔼Etymology of the name Helon
The name Helon probably comes from either the noun חיל (hayil), meaning might, which derives from the verb חול II (hul II), meaning to be firm or endure, or it comes from the verb חול I (hul I), meaning to whirl or writhe:
- Verb חול (hul I) denotes a whirling in circular motions. It comes with quite a cluster of derivatives, most notably the noun חל (hol), meaning sand; the noun חל (hil), meaning pain so bad that it makes one writhe (specifically childbirth); the noun חל (hel), which denotes a (circular) rampart, and the nouns מחול (mahol) and מחולה (mehola), which describe (whirling) dances.
- Verb חול (hul II) means to be strong, and the important derived noun חיל (hayil) means might.
- A by-form of the previous: the verb חלם (halam I) means to be strong.
- Verb חלם (halam II) means to dream, and its derived noun חלום (halom) means a dream.
These curious parallels suggests that the Hebrews saw dreaming as something cyclic; see our full dictionary article on these words for a closer look at dreams in the Bible. Also note the similarities in form with the חלל (halal) cluster.
The letter ן (nun) upon which our name ends could be regarded as a remnant (or predecessor) of the familiar waw-nun couple that personifies or localizes a root idea. Helon could thus be understood to mean Mighty Man, and would be comparable with the name Geber.
For a meaning of the name Helon, NOBSE Study Bible Name List simply reads Strong. Alfred Jones (Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names) takes the final nun to mark an intensive form of the source noun, and reads Very Strong. BDB Theological Dictionary doesn't translate our name and lists it under the verb חול I (hul I). That would render our name the meaning of Man Of Anguish.