🔼The name Heman: Summary
- From the verb אמן ('aman), to confirm or support.
🔼The name Heman in the Bible
It's not clear how many men named Heman there are in the Bible. NOBSE Study Bible Name List lists two, Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names counts three, and BDB Theological Dictionary gives up counting all together.
In 1 Kings 4:31 we read about the proverbially wise sons of Mahol. Their names are Ethan the Ezrahite, Heman, Calcol, and Darda. But in 1 Chronicles 2:6 we meet the sons of Zerah, who is a son of Judah and Tamar, and their names are Zimri, Ethan, Heman, Calcol, and Dara. Considering all possible reasons for this curious broken symmetry, it's probably most prudent to assume that Mahol and Zerah are either the same person, or Mahol is not a personal name but a regular noun meaning a dance, and the "sons of the dance" simply a designation for the members of the musical guild (like the phrase "sons of prophets" for a prophet — 1 Kings 20:35).
But Zerah was not only the father of five exceptionally wise men (four of whom may have turned to music), he was also the father of Zabdi (some say he's the same as Zimri, but Zabdi may also be a sixth and not-too-clever son), who was the father of Carmi, whose son Achan broke a vital law, which negatively influenced the battle of Ai (Joshua 7:1).
Heman is also the name of a celebrated musician of the time of king David (1 Chronicles 6:33), which is a few centuries after the time of Zerah. This Heman is a Kohathite and probably a Korahite, and a son of Joel, the son of Samuel, the son of Elkanah of Levi (1 Chronicles 6:33). Heman becomes a leading figure when David moves the Ark from the house of Obed-edom of Gath to Jerusalem (1 Chronicles 15:17) and remains on the tabernacle staff to continuously glorify the Lord (1 Chronicles 16:41). Much later, Heman is present when the Ark is placed in the new Temple (2 Chronicles 5:12).
Heman is called the king's seer in the words of God, and God gave Heman fourteen sons and three unnamed daughters (1 Chronicles 25:5). Of the eleven Psalms that are ascribed to the sons of Korah, one is written by Heman, and that's Psalm 88. In that Psalm's title, Heman is called an Ezrahite, just like the brother of his ancient namesake, named Ethan.
🔼Etymology of the name Heman
The verb אמן ('aman) means to affirm or support. The familiar adverb אמן ('amen), its lesser known feminine version אמנה ('omna) and the plural variant אמנם ('umnam) mean verily or truly.
Noun אמן ('omen) means faithfulness and noun אמנה ('amana) means faith or support. Noun אמן ('omman) denotes a skilled or "true" worker. Noun אמן ('emun) means trusting or faithfulness. Noun אמונה ('emuna) means firmness, steadfastness or fidelity. And noun אמנה ('omna) means a bringing up or nourishment.
For a meaning of the name Heman, the usually discordant NOBSE Study Bible Name List, Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names and BDB Theological Dictionary all read Faithful. The word הימן occurs once in the narrative of the Bible, namely in Daniel 6:23, with the meaning of He Trusted.