🔼The name Libni: Summary
- White, My Whiteness
- From the verb לבן (laban), to be white.
🔼The name Libni in the Bible
- A son of Gershom, one of three sons of Levi (Exodus 6:17, 1 Chronicles 6:17). It appears that this Libni was also known as Ladan (1 Chronicles 23:9). We don't know much about this Libni, but his progeny became known as the לבני (Libnites, which is spelled and pronounced identical to the name Libni; Numbers 3:21, 26:58).
- A son of Merari, also one of three sons of Levi. This second Libni is even more mysterious than the first one, and is mentioned only this once in the Bible.
🔼Etymology of the name Libni
The name Libni comes from the verb לבן (laben), meaning to be or become white:
The verb לבן (laben) means to be or become white. Contrary to modern understandings of white as a symbol, in the Bible white either denotes a blank state (and thus emptiness or stupidity) or the state of greatest resistance to the absorption of light, which comes down to pride, stubbornness and more stupidity. Hence leprosy, or the "white disease" signifies unwarranted pride and arrogance.
Contrary to popular conception, black and white are both dark, but black things absorb light and become hot (or smart), whereas white things reflect light and stay cold (or stupid).
Adjective לבן (laban) means white (i.e. blank, un-written upon: stupid). Noun לבנה (lebanah) refers to the moon. Nouns לבנה (lebonah) and לבונה (lebonah) describe frankincense. Noun לבנה (lebneh) describes the poplar. Noun לבנה (lebenah) means brick, and the denominative verb לבן (laban) means to make bricks.
The letter י (yod) upon which our name ends, may either create an adjective (white), a possessive form (my whiteness), or may be a remnant of יה (Yah) = יהו (Yahu) = יו (Yu), which in turn are abbreviated forms of the Tetragrammaton יהוה, YHWH, or Yahweh.
For a meaning of the name Libni, NOBSE Study Bible Name List reads White, Pure. Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names only has White. BDB Theological Dictionary does not interpret this name but does list it under the verb לבן (laben), meaning to be or become white.