🔼The name Imnah: Summary
- Right Hand Side, Prosperity
- From the root ימן (ymn), which has to do with the right hand side and the southern direction.
🔼The name Imnah in the Bible
There are two men with the name Imnah (or Jimna, according to some translations) in the Bible:
- A son of Asher, the eighth son of Jacob and second of Zilpah, and one of the sixty-six proto-Israelites who traveled with Jacob to Egypt (Genesis 46:17). By the time of Moses' second census, the posterity of Imnah appears to have developed into the Asherite sub-clan of the Imnites (Numbers 26:44). However, this term is spelled ימנה, which is the same as the name Imnah. A proper ethnonym derived from ימנה would be ימנהי, and the term used here is a singular group term (like Jacob for Israel or Moab for the Moabites).
- The father of Kore the Levite who was the gatekeeper of Jerusalem's eastern gate, and also in charge of the freewill offerings and contributions for YHWH and the "most holy things," as well of a contingent of Levites who distributed shares to their cities. All this as a result of the reforms of king Hezekiah of Judah (2 Chronicles 31:14).
🔼Etymology of the name Imnah
According to both Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names and BDB Theological Dictionary, the Imnah occurs in Arabic and may even be imported from there. Apparently it refers to the right hand (says Jones) or right side (says BDB) but should be interpreted in the sense of prosperity (says Jones) or good fortune (says BDB). Since Arabic is a Semitic language, closely related to Hebrew, our name is obviously also related to the Hebrew root ימן:
The root ימן (ymn) is of unclear pedigree and meaning but it has to do with both the right hand side and the southern direction, which are both decidedly positive (whereas left and north have negative connotations). This also indicates that one normally faces east, which corresponds to the past.
Noun ימין (yamin) means right, i.e. right hand, side or the right of other parts of the body. Adjective ימיני (yemini) meaning on the right. Verb ימן (yaman) means to go or choose the right or use the right hand. Adjective ימני (yemani) meaning right hand or right. Noun תימן (teman) meaning south.
For a meaning of the name Imnah, both NOBSE Study Bible Name List and Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names read Prosperity. BDB Theological Dictionary doesn't interpret our name beyond the reference to the Arabic words meaning good fortune and right side.