In the etymology of the name, the first part of Benaiah comes from the root-verb בנה (bana), which is a common Hebrew verb meaning "to build". The second part of Benaiah is יה (Yah) = יהו (Yahu), a derivative of the Tetragrammaton.
Benaiah, son of Jehoiada
Benaiah was one of King David’s mighty men, commander of the 11th rotational army division; a Pirathonite of the tribe of Ephraim (2 Samuel 23:30; 1 Chronicles 11:31; 27:14). He helped David's son Solomon become king, killed Solomon's enemies, and served as the chief of Solomon's army. On Solomon's instructions he was responsible for the deaths of Adonijah (1 Kings 2:25), Joab (1 Kings 2:34) and Shimei (1 Kings 2:46). He was in charge of the Cherethites and Pelethites. Several verses in 1 Kings 1 make clear that Benaiah was closely associated with Solomon's party and excluded from Adonijah's faction. He is also mentioned in 2 Samuel 8:18, 23:20-23, 30 and 1 Chronicles 27:5-6.
Other Benaiahs of the Hebrew Bible are:
- A Levite musician who played his stringed instrument accompanying the Ark of the Covenant when it was brought to Jerusalem and placed in the tent David had prepared for it (1 Chr. 15:18, 20; 16:1, 5).
- A priest who played a trumpet when the Ark was brought to Jerusalem during David’s reign (1 Chr. 15:24; 16:6).
- A Levite descendant of Asaph, son of Berachiah the Gershonite (2 Chr. 20:14).
- A Simeonite, possibly a contemporary of King Hezekiah (1 Chr. 4:24, 36-43).
- A Levite appointed by Hezekiah to help care for the bounteous contributions to Jehovah’s house (2 Chr. 31:12, 13).
- Father of Pelatiah, one of the wicked princes seen in Ezekiel’s vision (Eze. 11:1, 13).
- Four men who, at Ezra's admonition, dismissed their foreign wives and sons. These four were descendants of Parosh, Pahath-Moab, Bani, and Nebo respectively (Ezr. 10:25, 30, 34, 35, 43, 44).
- Eerdmans 2000, p. 447.
- The root-verb בנה (bana) means to build. It is used to describe the construction of all kinds of buildings; a city (Genesis 4:17), a tower (Genesis 10:11), an altar (Genesis 22:9), a house (Genesis 33:27), the temple (2 Samuel 7:5), a fortress (2 Chronicles 17:12), a wall (1 Kings 3:1). It is also used to describe YHWH's making of woman from a rib of man (Genesis 2:22).
- Abbreviated forms of the Tetragrammaton יהוה, YHWH, or Yahweh.
- Eerdmans 2000, p. 164.
- 1 Kings 1:8, 10, 26, 32, 36, 38 and 44