🔼The name Miniamin: Summary
- From The Right Hand
- From (1) the preposition מן (min), "from" and (2) the noun ימין (yamin), the right hand or side.
🔼The name Miniamin in the Bible
It's not clear how many men named Miniamin are mentioned in the Bible, but there are two or three:
- A Levite mentioned in a list of Levites who distributed goods to other workers in the Temple during the days of king Hezekiah (2 Chronicles 31:15, spelled מנימן).
- A patriarch of a Levitical sub-clan (Nehemiah 12:17). This Miniamin is mentioned only by Nehemiah, in a list of heads of priestly families in the time of high-priest Joiakim. This Miniamin is apparently a patriarch of a priestly family but the name of the present family head appears to have dropped out of the list. Perhaps this Miniamin is the same as the previous one, or else this Miniamin is still alive and heading his clan. And to add to the confusion: scholars feel confident that this Miniamin is the same as Mijamin the priest mentioned elsewhere.
- A trumpet player whom Nehemiah mentions as part of his celebratory delegation that attended the dedication of the restored wall of Jerusalem (Nehemiah 12:41). It may be that this Miniamin is the same as the previous one.
🔼Etymology of the name Miniamin
The name Miniamin consists of two elements. The first part is the preposition מן (min), meaning from:
The interrogative pronoun מן (man) means "what?" but the preposition מן (min) means "out of" or "from". The latter is often deployed as prefix, in which only the מ (m) is written. Nouns formed from "מ plus root" commonly describe an "agent" or "place-of" whatever the action of the root describes.
Noun מן (men) describes a harp string and is an Aramaic loan word.
Verb מנה (mana) means to count or assign. Nouns מנה (mana) and מנת (menat) mean portion or part. Noun מנה (maneh) is a unit of weight; the mina. And noun מנה (moneh) means time (not clock time but as in ten "times").
The second part of our name comes from the noun ימין (yamin), meaning the right side or right hand:
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 Miniamin, Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names reads From The Right Hand. NOBSE Study Bible Name List interprets this name as Fortunate (yet reads From The Right Side for Mijamin, which is the contracted form of this name). BDB Theological Dictionary neither translates nor interprets this name.