🔼The name Shecaniah: Summary
- Yah Dwells, Yah Is Social Identity
- From (1) the verb שכן (shakan), to dwell, and (2) יה (yah), the name of the Lord.
🔼The name Shecaniah in the Bible
It's not wholly clear how many different men named Shecaniah there are in the Bible, but most commentators count seven or eight. There's bound to be some overlap in the following list of men named Shecaniah:
- The father of Shemaiah and descendant of Solomon, and thus David and thus Judah (1 Chronicles 3:21-22).
- One of the descendants of Aaron and thus Levi, whose duties were assigned in the reinstated priesthood in the days of David (1 Chronicles 24:11). This instance of our name is spelled שכניה, Shecaniahu. It's not uncommon for names that terminate in יה (yah) to also exist in the יהו (yahu) variant.
- A priest in the days of king Hezekiah (2 Chronicles 31:15). This instance of our name is also spelled שכניה, Shecaniahu.
- A patriarch of a group of returnees from the exile in Babylon (Ezra 8:3). These sons of Shecaniah were a subset of the sons of Parosh. We don't know which tribe Parosh was from but obviously not Levi.
- Apparently another patriarch of another group of returnees (Ezra 8:5).
- A son of Jehiel, son of Elam, who spearheaded the confession of wrong in regards to the Israelites marriage to foreign women, and proposed to have everybody divorce these wives (Ezra 10:2). It's worthy to note that the Lord never reacts to this matter.
- The father of Shemaiah, the "keeper of the East Gate", who helped with the repair works to Jerusalem's wall (Nehemiah 3:29). It's entirely possible but not necessary that this Shemaiah son of Shecaniah is the same as mentioned in 1 Chronicles 3:21-22. It's not unusual in the Bible that couples or even triplets of generational names are repeated on different branches of the family tree.
- A son of Arah, whose son in law Tobiah was an Ammonite official who teamed up with Sanballat the Horonite and Geshem the Arab to pester Nehemiah and thwart the restoration of Jerusalem (Nehemiah 6:18).
- One of the Levitical family heads who joined Zerubbabel's wave of returnees (Nehemiah 12:3).
- The father of Joseph, the head of his priestly family in the days of Joiakim (Nehemiah 12:14).
🔼Etymology of the name Shecaniah
The name Shecaniah(u) consists of two elements, the final one being יה (yah) or יהו (yahu), which are both abbreviations of יהוה or YHWH.
The first part of our name comes from the verb שכן (shakan), to dwell or reside, or rather to form a social identity:
The verb שכן (shakan) means to dwell or to reside, but emphasizes the social identity that emerges from many people sharing a language, a culture and a body of science and technology. Noun שכן (shaken) means neighbor. Noun משכן (mishkan) means dwelling place, or rather "agent" or "instrument" of joint existence or social identity. This latter noun serves in the Bible mostly to indicate the tabernacle, which was not so much God's earthly residence but rather an instrument with which over time the people were to acquire a social identity that coincided with the identity of God.
For a meaning of the name Shecaniah, NOBSE Study Bible Name List has Yahweh Has Dwelt. Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names reads Inhabited Of The Lord. And BDB Theological Dictionary proposes Yah Hath Taken Up His Abode.