🔼The name Hymenaeus: Summary
- Pertaining To Hymen, Having To Do With Celebratory Joining
- From an ancient root that means to bind.
🔼The name Hymenaeus in the Bible
The name Hymenaeus occurs twice in the New Testament, but apparently describes only one man. In his first letter to Timothy, the apostle Paul contrasts his protégé's persistence in faith and a good conscience with the lack thereof of Hymenaeus and Alexander (1 Timothy 1:20).
What precisely evoked the wrath of Paul isn't clear, and neither is what Paul did in retaliation. He submits that he has delivered them over to satan so that they may be taught not to blaspheme but what that entails is a mystery.
The second time Paul mentions Hymenaeus is in his second letter to Timothy, in which he warns him to not engage in worldly and empty chatter, which leads to further ungodliness and cancerous consumption. Apparently, Hymenaeus and Philetus were guilty of such behavior, and additionally preached that the resurrection had already taken place, to the confusion of some (2 Timothy 2:17).
🔼Etymology of the name Hymenaeus
The name Hymenaeus is not a common personal name (and perhaps Paul isn't referring to some wayward dude but rather a custom, ritual or theory) but rather the name of a song sang at weddings as well as a secondary name of the god of marriage, mostly known as Hymen:
The noun υμην (humen) means skin (hence "hymen"). The noun υμνος (humos) means song (hence "hymn") or rather any joyful joining of celebrants. Both these words probably come from an ancient root that meant to bind, which caused it to be applied to marriage. In the Greek world, marriage was governed by a deity fittingly called Hymen (= one who joins), who liked it when people joined in song (hence the hymn).
The name Hymenaeus literally means Pertaining To Hymen or Having To Do With Celebratory Joining.