🔼The name Nathanael: Summary
- God Has Given
- From (1) the verb נתן (natan), to give, and (2) the word אל ('el), God.
🔼The name Nathanael in the Bible
Nathanael plays a cameo role in the gospel of John, but is remembered for having sat under the fig tree before meeting Jesus (John 1:48), and expressing his amazement and that of many after him about the Messiah coming from Nazareth (John 1:46). Apparently, Nathanael stayed closely associated to Jesus and the other disciples. After the resurrection he appears to seven disciples, and Nathanael is one of them (John 21:2).
It has been suggested that Nathanael and the apostle Bartholomew are the same person. Also note that in the gospel of John Nathanael is the first the pronounce Jesus King of the Jews, which parallels him to the Magi of the Matthean gospel (2:1). Note further that both the names Nathanael and Matthew come from the same verb נתן (natan), meaning to give, and that the name Nathanael is a paraphrased version of the name Zebedee.
🔼Etymology of the name Nathanael
In names אל ('el) usually refers to אלהים ('elohim), that is Elohim, or God, also known as אלה ('eloah). In English, the words 'God' and 'god' exclusively refer to the deity but in Hebrew the words אל ('l) and אלה ('lh) are far more common and may express approach and negation, acts of wailing and pointing, and may even mean oak or terebinth.
The first part of the names Nathanael and Nethanel comes 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 Nathanael, NOBSE Study Bible Name List reads God Has Given. Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names doesn't treat this Greek name, but for the Hebrew equivalent Nethanel Jones reads Given Of God.