🔼The name Tahan: Summary
- From the verb חנה (hana), to camp down.
- From the verb חנן (hanan), to be gracious.
🔼The name Tahan in the Bible
There are two men named Tahan in the Bible, both Ephraimites:
- A son (or more distant descendant) of Ephraim, son of Joseph, son of Jacob and Rachel (Numbers 26:35). He is mentioned as the patriarch of the sub-clan of the תחני, the Tahanites, at the time of the second census conducted by Moses and Eleazar. It may be that this Tahan is the same as one of the two men named Tahath mentioned as sons of Ephraim in 1 Chronicles 7:20.
- Another descendant of Ephraim, either a son or a brother of Telah (1 Chronicles 7:25), or the same Tahan as the previous one.
🔼Etymology of the name Tahan
There are two ways to go about this name. The sources we consulted agree that our name is an abbreviated form of the noun תחנה, but this form is produced by two different verbs:
Alfred Jones (Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names) thinks that our name is a truncation of the noun תחנה (tehinna), meaning favor, from the verb חנן, meaning to show grace:
The verb חנן (hanan) means to be gracious or to favor. Nouns חן (hen), חנינה (hanina), תחנה (tehinna) and תחנון (tahanun) mean favor or grace. Adverb חנם (hinnam) means freely or gratis, and adjective חנון (hannun) means gracious.
NOBSE Study Bible Name List and BDB Theological Dictionary, however, see more in the noun תחנה (tahana), meaning encampment, from the verb חנה (hana), meaning to encamp:
The verb חנה (hana) means to decline or camp down; to contract one's range of activities and settle in a secluded spot. Noun חנות (hanut) means cell. Noun מחנה (mahaneh) means camp, and noun תחנה (tahana) means encamping or encampment.
The odd one out is the noun חנית (hanit), which is one of a few words for spear. Why a word for spear derives from a verb that means to camp isn't clear, but perhaps a wandering warrior would thrust his spear into the ground to mark his flopping spot.
And so, for a meaning of the name Tahan, NOBSE Study Bible Name List reads Encampment and Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names proposes Supplication. BDB Theological Dictionary does not translate our name but lists in under the root חנה (hana), meaning to encamp.