🔼The name Zethan: Summary
- Blossom, Olive, Eager To Bear Fruit
- From the noun זית (zayit), olive, possibly from the verb זתת (zatat), to be fresh and new.
🔼The name Zethan in the Bible
🔼Etymology of the name Zethan
The name Zethan appears to be the word זית (zayit), meaning olive tree, extended with a final ן (nun), which possibly serves as a diminutive and possibly as an intensifier:
It's not clear whether the verb זהה (zaha) or זתת (zatat) ever existed but if it did it probably meant to emerge fresh or bloom (it does so in cognate languages). Note that a flower contains a plant's reproductive organs and by displaying its flowers a plant indicates its willingness and readiness to reproduce. In our modern times flowers have managed to attain a kind of romantic innocence but their native function and original symbolism is that of sexual union (which is why dudes bring flowers), or rather more general: the willingness and ability of being fruitful.
Besides some names, its sole surviving derivative is the noun זית (zayit), olive or olive tree. The blossoming of the olive tree was a sign that the winter was over and spring (ziv) had arrived. The oil from the olive was used in lamps and in medical procedures and became known as a light bringer and a healer. Kings, prophets and priests were anointed into their offices with olive oil, and in proper societies these offices are not political but based on demonstrable levels of practical, fruit bearing wisdom.
For a meaning of the name Zethan, Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names reads Olive. NOBSE Study Bible Name List and BDB Theological Dictionary both propose Olive Tree, but BDB adds a question mark indicating that this is a mere estimation.
Assuming that our name derives from the same general idea from whence comes the word for olive tree, here at Abarim Publications we would interpret this name as Blossom or even Eager To Bear Fruit.