🔼The name Bukkiah: Summary
- Emptied Of Yah, Examined Of Yah, A Nitpicker Is Yahu
- From (1) the verb בקק (baqaq), to empty, or בקה (baqa), to examine, and (2) יהו (yahu), the name of the Lord.
🔼The name Bukkiah in the Bible
The name Bukkiah is actually spelled Bukkiahu; the many Hebrew names that end on יה (yah) often also appear as the slightly less common יהו (yahu) variant, and only on rare occasions do names only appear with the יהו (yahu) ending. Both these forms are short for יהוה or YHWH, but modern convention in its never waning quest for simplicity tends to omit the latter version all together.
The name Bukkiah(u) appears only twice in the Bible and probably covers the same man. Bukkiah is first mentioned as one of fourteen sons of Heman the singer (1 Chronicles 25:4). Heman and his sons were to sing and make music in the temple, together with the sons of Asaph and Jeduthun; all together 288 men (25:7).
To divide the duties among these 288, lots were cast and the list that follows contains many names we've seen before and some we haven't. That means that it's not wholly certain that the Bukkiah upon whom fell the sixth lot (25:13) is the same as the afore mentioned son of Heman.
🔼Etymology of the name Bukkiah
It's also not wholly certain how the name Bukkiah was formed, but the candidates for the first part of our name are the verbs בקק (baqaq) or בוק (boq), to empty, and the verb בקה (baqa), to examine:
Verbs בקק (baqaq) and בוק (boq) mean to be or become empty (of items, lands, etc). Nouns בוקה (buqa) and מבוקה (mebuqa) both mean emptiness. Noun בקבק (baqbuq) means flask.
A second verb בקק (baqaq) means to be luxuriant and may either be imported from a cognate language or else refer to a proverbial wealth of bottles to empty.
There was probably also a verb בקה (baqa) that meant to search, scout out or examine, with a similarly spelled noun meaning gnat. Perhaps the link with the previous was accidental but perhaps the erratic flight of the gnat reminded observers of vainly criss-crossing an emptied land in search of something that was no longer there. Or perhaps the gnat was proverbial for something that required careful straining (see Matthew 23:24).
For a meaning of the name Bukkiah, NOBSE Study Bible Name List reads Proved Of Yahweh and BDB Theological Dictionary has the similar Proved Of Yah. Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names proposes Emptying Of The Lord.
In Matthew 23:24, Jesus rebukes the scribes and Pharisees with the words, "You blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel," which suggests that the gnat was proverbially known as a tiny contamination that had to be carefully searched out and removed. And that ties all our words together.
Our name Bukkiah stems from what we moderns call nitpicking, and although a nit is an egg or young of a louse or other parasitic insect, in bygone times the word also denoted a mature gnat.