🔼The name Manaen: Summary
- From (1) the prefix מ (me), agent of, and (2) the verb נחם (naham), to be sorry or to comfort.
🔼The name Manaen in the Bible
In Acts 13:1 we learn that the church in Antioch was home to several prophets and teachers, among whom Saul or Paul, Barnabas, Simeon Niger and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen, the συντροφος (suntrophos), literally the co-fed (that is: one raised together with) Herod the tetrarch (that's Herod Antipas, son of Herod the Great).
The historian Josephus tells the story of a certain Essene (the Essenes were a pre-Jesus Christian Jewish sect; John the Baptist was probably an Essene), whose name was Manahem. One day Manahem chanced upon a child and somewhat jocular foretold him that he would once be the divinely ordained king of the Jews. Then he wacked the child on the tush to remind him that fortunes may always change according to one's behavior (Ant.XV.10.5).
When this child became king Herod the Great, he summoned Manahem and asked about the future length of his reign. Manahem told him twenty or thirty years, and Herod honored him and his fellow Essenes. In which ways the Essenes were honored Josephus doesn't tell, but right after his story of Manahem and young Herod, Josephus embarks on the description of the great temple to YHWH which Herod built in Jerusalem.
Later lore established that the Manaen mentioned in Acts 13:1 was a son or grandson of Herod's friend Manahem, whom Herod had adopted out of gratitude and had brought up along side his own sons, among whom Herod Antipas. Whether this is true can no longer be established, but note that Herod's elaborate building program extended also to Antioch, where he erected a huge and imposing colonnade (and read our article on the name Stoic for a look at the possible significance of this).
🔼Etymology of the name Manaen
The name Manaen is the same as the Hebrew name Menahem, which derives from the prefix מ (me), which indicates agency or place of, plus the verb נחם (naham), meaning to be sorry or to comfort:
The verb נחם (naham) basically means to be sorry. It may mean to have regret but also to have compassion and often to comfort and console whoever one is sorry for. This verb often describes God's attitude toward mankind.
Noun נחם (noham) means sorrow or repentance. Nouns נחום (nihum) and נחמה (nehama) mean comfort or compassion. Noun תנחום (tanhum) meaning consolation.
The name Manaen means the same as Menahem, which is Comforter according to NOBSE Study Bible Name List, BDB Theological Dictionary and even Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names. The latter adds Consoling as alternative.