🔼The name Mattaniah: Summary
- Gift Of Yah
- From (1) the noun מתן (mattan), gift, and (2) יה (yah), the shortened name of the Lord.
🔼The name Mattaniah in the Bible
There are quite a few men named Mattaniah in the Bible, and it's not always clear where one ends and the other starts. The following Mattaniahs may overlap somewhat:
- The last king of Judah, who not only rebelled against God, but also against Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, who had installed him and changed his name to Zedekiah. The result was the second deportation (2 Kings 24:17).
- A son of a Levite named Mica, of the family of Asaph, who returned from exile (1 Chronicles 9:15). Nehemiah notes that this Mattaniah was a "leader in beginning the thanksgiving at prayer" (Nehemiah 11:17) while his great-grandchild Uzzi was an overseer of the Levites in Jerusalem (Nehemiah 11:22). Scholars generally assume that this Mattaniah is the same as the one "who was in charge of the songs of thanksgiving" and who Nehemiah lists among the priests and Levites who returned with Zerubbabel (Nehemiah 12:8).
- One of fourteen sons of Heman the seer, who served in the tabernacle as musicians (1 Chronicles 25:4). Note that in this instance of our name, it's spelled with a final letter waw: מתניהו (Mattaniahu), which is essentially the same name. They cast lots for their duties and this Mattaniah is probably the same as the one to whom fell the ninth lot (1 Chronicles 25:16). Here our name is spelled as מתניהו (Mattaniahu) as well.
- The forefather of Jahaziel who spoke the words of the Lord to all of Israel just prior to the miraculous war against Ammon, Moab and Seir (through which Israel only sang and the other nations destroyed themselves — 2 Chronicles 20:14).
- A descendant of Asaph who rose up to restore and cleanse the temple at the command of king Hezekiah (2 Chronicles 29:13). Here too our name is spelled with the final waw.
- Four men who had married foreign wives and divorced them during the purge of Ezra:
- A gatekeeper during the days of Joiakim, son of Jeshua the high priest at the time of the return (Nehemiah 12:25). Some scholars declare him to be the same as Mattaniah number two on our list, but since number-two has an able bodied great-grandson overseeing Levites in Jerusalem, this valiant gatekeeper is probably not him.
- The father of a man named Zaccur, whose son Hanan is one of the men in charge of the post-exilic storehouses and fair distribution of goods (Nehemiah 13:13). Some scholars declare this Mattaniah to be the same as the second one of our list. But he has a son named Hashabiah (Nehemiah 11:22) and this one has a son named Zaccur.
- Another Mattaniah, whose father is named Micaiah (for which Mica is short), and who is a son of Zaccur. At the dedication of the restored wall of Jerusalem, his great-grandson Zechariah plays an instrument that is associated with king David (Nehemiah 12:35).
And note that the name Mattenai, bore by three men in the Bible, is probably a truncated form of Mattaniah.
🔼Etymology of the name Mattaniah
The name Mattaniah is really a compilation of two names, the latter one being יה (Yah) = יהו (Yahu) = יו (Yu), which in turn are abbreviated forms of the Tetragrammaton יהוה, YHWH, or Yahweh.
The first part of Mattaniah is the name Mattan, which is equal to the noun מתן (mattan), meaning gift, from the verb נתן (natan), meaning to give:
The shape-shifting verb נתן (natan) means to give in a broad bouquet of senses, from regular giving or bestowing, to setting or putting, to transforming one thing or situation into another.
This verb's three nouns מתן (mattan), מתנה (mattana) and מתת (mattat) all mean gift, again broadly ranging from a regular present to an offering to an innate talent (being "gifted").
For a meaning of the name Mattaniah, NOBSE Study Bible Name List reads Gift Of Yahweh and Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names has the similar Gift Of The Lord. BDB Theological Dictionary does not translate this name.