"And the sons of Neariah; Elioenai, and Hezekiah, and Azrikam, three" (I Chronicles 3:23).
Elioenai's name is in a long list of names in the book of Chronicles. In fact, it is significant that the Bible contains the proper names of more individuals than can be found in all the other books of antiquity put together--strong evidence of its historical authenticity. These were real names of real people, and each would, no doubt, have a fascinating story to tell if he could. The ancient Israelites were very conscious of their divine calling as God's chosen people; family relationships and genealogical records were highly valued.
Godly parents were very conscious that "children are an heritage of the LORD" (Psalm 127:3) and commonly gave each of them a name with some special spiritual meaning. Neariah, whose name meant "servant of the LORD," was a distant descendant of David, and his firstborn son was Elioenai. This was a testimony of parental faith for it means "turning your eyes to the mighty God."
Very little else is known about Elioenai (except the names of his two brothers and seven sons), but the lengthy genealogies break off in the generation of his sons, indicating probably that his parents were in the generation taken captive to Babylon. It is fascinating to wonder why they gave Elioenai his name and to imagine how it may have influenced the life and spiritual growth of Elioenai himself.
In any case, it is a beautiful and meaningful name, and we can hope that his character developed accordingly. For, if so, believers will be able to meet him in heaven someday.
His name still bears an urgent message to us today: "Turn your eyes upon Jesus; turn to the mighty God, your Creator and Savior!" We should also remember the example of the godly parents in ancient times, in giving our children names that will inspire them and be a testimony to others. HMM