🔼The name Zaanan: Summary
- Rich In Flocks, Going Out
- From the noun צאן (so'n), a flock, perhaps from the verb יצא (yasa'), to go out or forth.
🔼The name Zaanan in the Bible
The name Zaanan occurs only once in the Bible, and that in Micah's little list of highly symbolical names (Micah 1:11).
Some of the names of this list belong to well-known cities but others are obscure to a point at which one may wonder if Micah made them up for the occasion. Micah is obviously matching the meanings of these names to whatever statement he is making, and that device appears to be much more important than the actual cities themselves.
Zaanan is one of the places that aren't mentioned anywhere else in the Bible, although some scholars have plausibly proposed that it's the same as the town called Zenan (צנן, Joshua 15:37).
🔼Etymology of the name Zaanan
Micah writes, "the inhabitant of Zaanan does not go out," and thus connects the name Zaanan (צאנן) to the verb יצא (yasa'), meaning to go out or go forth:
The verb יצא (yasa') describes a divergent motion: to go out or go forth. Noun צאצא (se'esa) means offspring or produce. Noun מוצא (mosa') denotes a place, agent or act of going out: a going forth, an utterance, a source or spring of water, a place of departure, a mine. It's also the word for sunrise. The similar noun מוצאה (mosa'a) means latrine. Noun תוצאה (tosa'a) denotes a full collection of whatever goings-out.
The unused verb צנן (sanan) probably meant something as vague as to be something that extends out, since all extant nouns describe items that go out or have gone out. Nouns צן (sen), צנה (sinna) and צנין (sanin) describe thorns, hooks or barbs. Noun צנה (sinna) means coolness. Noun צנה (sinna) denotes a large shield. Noun צנצנת (sinsenet) denotes a kind of jar (with a wide mouth and narrow neck?).
The noun צאן (so'n) describes a flock of small animals like sheep or goats, which proverbially wanders about and disperses during times of carefree ease.
For a meaning of the name Zaanan, NOBSE Study Bible Name List reads Rich In Flocks, yet the footnote in NOBSE's NAS text says Going Out. Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names too reads Rich In Flocks and derives it from an Arabic verb which corresponds to the Hebrew צאן (so'n).
BDB Theological Dictionary does not offer an interpretation of our name and lists it under צאן (so'n), although that might simply be because it's the next word alphabetically.