Abarim Publications' online Biblical Hebrew Dictionary
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).