🔼The name Ornan: Summary
- Large Pine, Cheering
- From the verb ארן ('aran), to be agile, aroused or at the center of cheer.
🔼The name Ornan in the Bible
There's only one man named Ornan in the Bible, although he is called ארונה (Araunah) throughout 2 Samuel 24, האורנה (Ha'avarnah, or The Araunah) in 2 Samuel 24:16, and ארניה (Araniah) in 2 Samuel 24:18. Throughout 1 Chronicles 21 and in 2 Chronicles 3:1 he is called ארנן (Ornan).
Ornan, the last of the Jebusites mentioned in the Bible, offers his land and threshing floor as a gift to king David, who was instructed by the prophet Gad to build an altar on it (1 Chronicles 21:18). David doesn't want to accept the site as a gift and pays 600 gold shekels for it (although the story in 2 Samuel speaks of 50 shekels of silver — 2 Samuel 24:24).
🔼Etymology of the name Ornan
The name Ornan comes from the root group ארן:
The cheerful verb רנן (ranan) means to produce a ringing cry, either out of joyous cheer, distress or to introduce a declaration of some sort. Nouns רן (ron), רנה (rinna) and רננה (renana) all describe ringing cries. Plural noun רננים (renanim) refers to birds that deliver piercing cries.
The unused verb ארן ('aran) appears to have meant to be nimble, agile, or even high up or aroused, and in cognate languages it yields a noun for a kind of wild mountain goat. The indeed Biblical noun ארן ('oren) means fir or cedar.
The noun ארון ('aron) is the word that is usually translated with Ark (that is the Ark of the Covenant, not the Ark of Noah). But this noun is also used for the coffin in which Joseph's bones were repatriated, or the chest in the temple in which money was collected.
It's not clear whether these boxes were known from the wood they were made of (namely the sprightly fir or cedar), caused society to be nimble, agile or elevated, or perhaps because these boxes were designed to exist within a collective verbal expression from bystanders (after the verb רנן, ranan).
It's not clear where the double נן (nun-nun) of our name comes from. It may be the remnant of the common ון extension, which localizes or personifies the root (see the name Arnon). The name Ornan would thus mean Cedar Man.
For a meaning of the name Ornan, Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names reads Large Pine. BDB Theological Dictionary does not translate either version of this name, and doesn't particularly comment on the name Ornan. NOBSE Study Bible Name List entirely omits the name Ornan.