🔼The name Maon: Summary
- Abode, Habitation
- From the noun מעון (ma'on), hide out or habitation, which probably relates to ענן ('nn), to cover.
🔼The name Maon in the Bible
The name Maon belongs to one man and at least one city:
- Maon the man was a son of Shammai and the father of Beth-zur. All of them were descendants of Caleb of Judah (1 Chronicles 2:45). This Maon is mentioned no more in the Bible.
- Maon the city was situated in the hill country of the territory allotted to the tribe of Judah (Joshua 15:55). It became the hometown of Nabal, the inelegant brute who taunted David (1 Samuel 25:2), who was at that time hiding from Saul in the wilderness of Maon (2 Samuel 23:24). When Nabal died, David married Nabal's wife Abigail (1 Samuel 25:42).
In Judges 10:12 we meet a nation or people called Maon (some translations read Maonites, but the Hebrew reads מעון; Maon). It is mentioned along with the Egyptians, Amorites, Ammonites, Philistines, Sidonians and Amalekites as enemies of Israel but there is no extant account of any conflict between Israel and a city or nation called Maon. Scholars generally seem to suggest that this mysterious Maon is either the same as the people called Meunim or Meunites (1 Chronicles 4:41), or else their unidentified town or country of origin.
🔼Etymology of the name Maon
The name Maon is identical to the noun מעון (ma'on), meaning refuge or habitation, from the unused root עון (wn):
The verb ענן ('nn) appears to describe the deriving of solid theories out of hardly related observations. It's used to mean to divine, and noun ענן ('anan) means cloud (which appears like a solid object but is really a bunch of barely relating droplets).
Verb עון ('wn) probably means to conceal or cover. Nouns מעון (ma'on) and מענה (me'ona) refer to the lair, refuge or hideouts of animals, but often too to the habitation of the Creator, which is heaven. And that links this word back to the previous word meaning cloud.
For a meaning of the name Maon, NOBSE Study Bible Name List reads Abode and Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names has Place Of Habitation. BDB Theological Dictionary does not translate our name but does confirm that it is the same as the noun מעון (ma'on).