🔼The name Taanach: Summary
🔼The name Taanach in the Bible
The name Taanach occurs six times in the Bible. It's the name of a city or region close to and often mentioned in tandem with Megiddo. It was conquered by Israel under Joshua (Joshua 12:21), initially given to the tribe of Manasseh (Joshua 17:11) but passed onto the Kohathite Levites (Joshua 21:25).
Apparently, Manasseh's generous gift of Taanach to the Kohathites was little more than a token gesture, since the former failed to drive out the indigenous Canaanites of that region (Judges 1:27).
The annexation of Taanach appears to have happened during the campaigns of Deborah and Barak (Judges 5:19), and by the time of Solomon, Taanach and environs had its own royal official running things, namely Baana, son of Ahilud (1 Kings 4:12).
🔼Etymology and meaning of the name Taanach
It's unclear what the name Taanach might mean, where it comes from or even from which language. But the letter ת (taw) is a fairly common prefix, so the source of our name is doubtlessly a root ענך ('nk). Unfortunately, this root is not used in the Bible in any other way, so we have no idea what it might have meant to a Hebrew audience.
BDB Theological Dictionary declares our name to be Egyptian (it's mentioned in Egyptian texts, along Megiddo) but offers no meaning. Alfred Jones (Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names) has heard of an equivalent Arabic verb that means to wander, and translates our name with Wandering Through.
Other, more modern sources appear to be convinced that our name has to do with being Sandy, but none of the consulted sources reveals who came up with that idea, via which route and in which language (suggesting that nobody has any idea, the original proposer made a mere poetic guess, and all are copy-pasting the rest).