🔼The name Timna: Summary
- From the verb מנע (mana'), to withhold or keep back.
🔼The name Timna in the Bible
It's not wholly clear how many Timnas there are in the Bible. But here they are:
- The concubine of Eliphaz, the son of Esau and Adah. She was the mother of Amalek (Genesis 36:12). We don't know anything about this Timna, where she was from or who her parents were, but many scholars and commentators have assumed that she was the same as the next Timna.
- The daughter of Seir the Horite (Genesis 36:22). Esau's wives were all from various Canaanite peoples (except, perhaps Basemath, who was the daughter of Esau's uncle Ishmael), and he had married them while he was still in Canaan. Timna was added to the family after Esau had moved his household and his herds to the land of Seir (Genesis 36:6). So there's no real objection to the above mentioned assumption, except perhaps that one would expect the author of these scenes to have mentioned her heritage if it was Horite.
- Chief Timna of Esau's progeny the Edomites (Genesis 36:40). Perhaps this chief Timna was a man of unknown descent, but perhaps she was the same as either of the previous Timnas. Whether any concubine could make tribal chief is rather doubtful. And if Timna the Horite was not the same as Timna the concubine (meaning she was merely the daughter of a minor and dispossessed patriarch), chiefdom for her would seem out of the question. But it's by no means certain that chief Timna was a man. There was also a chief Oholibamah, whose two namesakes were (1) the Hivite wife of Esau, and (2) the Horite great-granddaughter of Seir (Genesis 36:41, see 36:2 and 36:25).
🔼Etymology of the name Timna
The name Timna comes from the Hebrew verb מנע (mana'), meaning to withhold:
The verb מנע (mana') means to withhold, keep back or refrain. It has no extant derivations.
For a meaning of the name Timna, both NOBSE Study Bible Name List and Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names read Restraint. BDB Theological Dictionary does not interpret this name but does list it under the verb מנע (mana'), meaning to withhold.