🔼The name Mishmannah: Summary
- From the word שמן (shaman), either eight or to grow excessively fat.
🔼The name Mishmannah in the Bible
The name Mishmannah occurs only once in the Bible. He was the fourth of several Gadite men of valor who joined David at Ziklag (1 Chronicles 12:10). Nothing more about this man is known.
🔼Etymology of the name Mishmannah
The name Mishmannah appears to be a feminine version of the masculine noun משמן (mishman), denoting a robust man, from the root שמן I (shaman I), meaning to grow fat:
Verb שמן (shaman I) means to grow excessively fat (or arrogant or dull; anything that creates the emergence of a visible external excess). The identical root שמן (shaman II) has to do with the number eight. This is certainly curious but it is part of a larger system: the verb שׂבע (saba') means to be sated or saturated, whereas the word שׁבע (shib'a) means seven.
From שמן (shaman I), the adjective שמן (shamen) means fat or rich. Noun שמן (shaman) describes the overflowing fatness of the land. Noun שמן (shemen) refers sometimes to general fatness, but mostly it specifically denotes olive oil, which in turn symbolizes the richness of a country and its culture. Plural noun אשמנים ('ashmannim) describes an overly stout class of men. Likewise noun משמן (mishman) denotes a stout or vigorous one. Noun משמן (mashman) denotes a dripping fat portion of food.
From שמן (shaman II), nouns שמנה (shemoneh) and (shemonah) mean eight. Adjectives שמני (shemini) and שמנית (sheminit) mean eighth. Plural noun שמנים (shemonim) means eighty.
Why this man was known by a forced feminized noun isn't clear, but Hebrews were often named with names that commemorated events or qualities that were not related to them. Read our article on Biblical Names (see the link below) for more details.
For a meaning of the name Mishmannah, both NOBSE Study Bible Name List and Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names read Fatness. BDB Theological Dictionary does not offer an explanation of our name but does list it under the root שמן I (shaman I).