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Abarim Publications' Biblical Dictionary: The Hebrew word: בכר

Source: http://www.abarim-publications.com/Dictionary/b/b-k-r.html

Abarim Publications' online Biblical Hebrew Dictionary

בכר

The verb בכר (bakar) occurs in many Semitic languages, and it means something like to rise early or do something early. In Ezekiel 47:12 it's used in the sense of bearing fruits early or bearing fruits newly. Deuteronomy 21:16 prohibits "first-borning" someone, which is, assigning the predicate first-born to a favorite but not first born son. Leviticus 27:26, similarly, speaks of a first-born among animals. Jeremiah 4:31 tells of a "first-bearer"; which is a woman who is giving birth for the first time.

This root yields the following derivatives:

  • The masculine noun בכור (bekor), meaning firstborn or eldest son. This noun occurs over a hundred times in the Bible. Scholars aren't sure whether this noun came from the verb or the verb from the noun.
  • The feminine noun בכרה (bikra), is the common feminine form of the previous word, but it somehow became specifically attached to the young of a camel (Jeremiah 2:23, Isaiah 60:6). This phenomenon also occurs in the cognate languages. Note that a mature camel was known as a גמל (gamal, the source of our word camel), which derives from the verb גמל (gamal, which is also used in the sense of to ripen or bear ripe fruits.
  • The feminine noun בכרה (bekora), meaning the right of the first-born (Genesis 25:32).
  • The feminine noun בכירה (bekira), meaning (female) first-born (Genesis 19:31, 1 Samuel 14:49).
  • The masculine noun בכורים (bikkurim), which appears as a proper plural but is treated as a singular word, meaning first fruits (Leviticus 2:14, Ezekiel 44:30). The feast called yom habikkurim is the Day Of Firstfruits, or Pentecost (Numbers 28:26).
  • The feminine noun בכורה (bikkura), meaning the first ripe fig, or early fig; a delicacy (Micah 7:1, Isaiah 28:4).

Associated Biblical names