Who was Ethan in the Bible & What does Ethan Mean?

Names are powerful pieces of who we are. They identify us and act as the cover for who we are. There are thousands of names in the Bible. Sometimes there are duplicates of one name. One name that is used multiple times is the name Ethan. There are many popular names today that came from the Bible, and Ethan is one of them. But who was Ethan in the Bible, and what did their life mean?

As mentioned before, there are many Bible stories with the name Ethan in them, and all of the accounts happen in the Old Testament. The name Ethan is not present in the New Testaments. Each one, however, can help us understand a Biblical truth. Ethan is used as a first name and is one of the prominent boy names in the Bible. 

Although Ethan is not the main character of any stories in the Bible, Ethan can still be considered one of the Biblical names, because it is present multiple times in scripture. 

Ethan, the Ezrahite

One of the Ethans that is used the most in scripture is Ethan, the Ezrahite. In Scripture, we see that Ethan was a wise man who was also a songwriter. He was considered wiser than almost everybody, and he wrote praise songs for God. 

The Man Who Soloman Was Wiser Than

Ethan was not as wise as King Solomon, but that means that he was still very wise. Solomon is considered the wisest man ever, so being second place to that is a good consolation. The wisdom of Solomon was supernatural, because God gave it to him. 

We can read about Ethan, the Ezrahite in the Bible, “29 God gave Solomon wisdom and very great insight, and a breadth of understanding as measureless as the sand on the seashore. 30 Solomon’s wisdom was greater than the wisdom of all the people of the East, and greater than all the wisdom of Egypt. 31 He was wiser than anyone else, including Ethan the Ezrahite” 1 Kings 4:29-31

Ethan is being singled out here, which means that Ethan must have been known for being particularly wise. The writer was trying to make a point about how incredibly wise King Solomon was, so he used Ethan as a contemporary of the time, who would have been seen as extraordinarily wise. 

This is not the only time that we hear of Ethan, the Ezrahite. 

Ethan as a Psalmist

Ethan, the Ezrahite is also the author of the 89th Psalm. At the beginning of the Psalm, it is revealed to us that Ethan is the writer of this Psalm. Not only was Ethan a wise man, but he was also a poet and worshiper.

The authorship of that poem is revealed in the title of Psalm 89 that Ethan, the Ezrahite is the author. Most books in the Bible have a single author, but the book of Psalm is a compilation of many different poems from many different authors. King David, the Sons of Korah, and others are all credited in the book as having written poems. Ethan, the Ezrahite is in good company, when it comes to who his poems are placed next to. 

The Meaning Behind Ethan, the Ezrahite’s Life

So, Ethan was a wise man, but he was also someone who worshiped. In today’s culture, people who worship God are considered foolish, but Ethan was a wise man who was a worshiper.

This shows us that worshiping is not foolish, but is wise. Ethan recognized God as the source of everything through his Psalm. His Psalm focuses on the blessing that comes with praising God and the destruction that comes with running from God. It is a wise message that we should all adapt to our lives. 

Ultimately Ethan, the Ezrahites was a wise man and a worshiper who revealed to us the wisdom in being worshipful. 

Ethan, the son of Kishi

Another Ethan in the Hebrew Bible is Ethan, the son of Kishi. He was a Meratite, and he was on the team responsible for the Tabernacle’s music. 

In 1 Chronicles it says, “31 These are the men David put in charge of the music in the house of the Lord after the ark came to rest there. 32 They ministered with music before the tabernacle, the tent of meeting, until Solomon built the temple of the Lord in Jerusalem. They performed their duties according to the regulations laid down for them…. 44 and from their associates, the Merarites, at his left hand: Ethan son of Kishi, the son of Abdi, the son of Malluk,” 1 Chronicles 6:31-32, 44

Ethan Was Appointed By the Anointed 

King David was one of the kings of Israel. During the time of King David, Israel grew in power and stability. In 1 Samuel, David was anointed to be king, and eventually, he did become king. He had the authority to oversee everything that happened in the Israeli government, including appointing leaders of the temple music. 

Ethan was a benefactor of David’s leadership because he was appointed to be responsible for the music of the Tabernacle. The temple was not built yet, so they met in a tent to worship God. 

The Significance of Leading Worship

Ethan had the important responsibility of ministering with music. In the time of David, he helped using the service of song for the Jewish people. That is a very important calling. We don’t know what instrument he played or if he sang, but we do know that he ministered with music.

This can set a precedent for us that worship leading is a meaningful calling. Although worshipping God’s faithfulness back then looked different, because they hadn’t recieved the savior yet, worship was still an import part of their lives. They didn’t have fog machines or fancy lights like we have in the United States, however their worship was supposed to be great.  Singing songs in church is not just something we do, but it is something we do based on the Biblical model set before us. Ethan set an example that God should be worshipped corporately. He wasn’t the only worship leader. 

Not only did Ethan lead worship for the Israelites, he lead worship close to the ark of the covenant. Based on Biblical history, this Ark of God was the place where God’s presence dwelled on Earth. The ark held the 10 commandments, and was considered a holy thing. 

 Ethan, the Zerahite

Another Ethan in the Word of God is Ethan, the Zerahite. We can read Ethan’s situation in 1 Chronicles 15. 

“16 David told the leaders of the Levites to appoint their fellow Levites as musicians to make a joyful sound with musical instruments: lyres, harps, and cymbals.

17 So the Levites appointed Heman son of Joel; from his relatives, Asaph son of Berekiah; and from their relatives the Merarites, Ethan son of Kushaiah; 18 and with them their relatives next in rank: Zechariah, Jaaziel, Shemiramoth, Jehiel, Unni, Eliab, Benaiah, Maaseiah, Mattithiah, Eliphelehu, Mikneiah, Obed-Edom and Jeiel, the gatekeepers.

19 The musicians Heman, Asaph, and Ethan were to sound the bronze cymbals;” 1 Chronicles 15:16-19

Ethan, A Levite

Ethan, the Zerahite is another Ethan, responsible for worship in the Bible. The tribe of Levi and the families of Levites were usually responsible for worship, so this calling is not out of the ordinary. The was specifically given the task of sounding the cymbals of brass. It might seem like a simple task, but the bronze cymbal brings dimension to worship. Ethan had a great responsibility when it came to leading worship. 

Ethan, the family of Judah

There is one more Ethan mentioned in the Bible, and he is Ethan of Judah. We learn about Ethan of Judah in 1 Chronicles 2. 

“3 The sons of Judah:… 6 The sons of Zerah: Zimri, Ethan, Heman, Kalkol and Darda—five in all.” 1 Chronicles 2:3,6

The Importance of Ethan’s Tribe: Judah

Judah was one of the greatest tribes in Israel. The head of that family was Judah who was the son of Leah and Jacob. They had much success in their time. A notable thing about the tribe of Judah is that Judah is the tribe of Jesus. 

Jesus came for the line of Judah. Although all of the Jews were related, tribes were considered a closer correlation to their families. Ethan was a relative of Jesus. 

So What is the Meaning of the Name Ethan in the Bible?

Most of the Ethan’s in the Bible had similar life purposes they were worship leaders. Because their calling is similar, similar meaning can be assigned to their life. They were called and appointed to lead the Jews in worship of their God. That does not mean that people named Ethan are predestined to be worship leaders. 

It might be a reminder, however, that God has a calling on each of our lives. God has goals and accomplishments that He has called us to. It is our responsibility to be willing to do God’s will.