🔼The name Becher: Summary
- First Born, Camel Calf
- From the verb בכר (bakar), to be born first.
🔼The name Becher in the Bible
There are two men named Becher in the Bible:
- The first Becher we meet is a son of Benjamin, the youngest son of Jacob and Rachel and patriarch of one of the twelve tribes of Israel (Genesis 46:21).
- The other Becher is a son of Ephraim, son of Joseph, who is a full brother of Benjamin (Numbers 26:35). This second Becher became the patriarch of the בכרי, the Becherites (Numbers 26:35).
🔼Etymology of the name Becher
The name Becher comes from the verb בכר (bakar), meaning to be born first:
The verb בכר (bakar) means to be born first or rise early or earliest. The masculine noun בכור (bekor) describes the firstborn or eldest son, and the feminine counterpart בכירה (bekira) describes the first-born daughter. Noun בכרה (bekora) refers to the right of the first-born. Noun בכורים (bikkurim) means first fruits. Noun בכורה (bikkura) refers to the first ripe fig; a proverbial delicacy.
Feminine noun בכרה (bikra) came to denote the young of a camel, which is not merely cute but quite significant. The adult camel was the unit of international trade, and the word for camel — namely גמל, gamal — derives from a verb that means to ripen or come to fruition; hence the link to first fruits. A camel calf symbolizes an emerging market.
The name Becher doesn't occur as a proper noun, but taken from the verb it would mean something like Rise Early or Born First. But both BDB Theological Dictionary and NOBSE Study Bible Name List seem to assume that Becher is a masculinization of the feminine noun בכרה, denoting the young of a camel, and read Young Camel. Alfred Jones (Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names) sticks to the verb and proposes First Born.