🔼The name Cana: Summary
- Reed, Senatorial Government
- From the noun קנה (qaneh), reed, stalk.
🔼The name Cana in the Bible
🔼Etymology of the name Cana
The name Kana or Cana comes from the extensive root cluster קנה ,קין and קנן:
The verb קנן (qanan) isn't used in the Bible but it appears to tell of the weaving of many strands into a dynamic and interlocked network. These strands may be reeds and twigs that a bird weaves into a nest, or it may be acts of trade and routes of commerce that together combine into a bustling economy. Noun קן (qen) means nest, and verb קנן (qinnen) means to make a nest.
Verb קנה (qana) means to obtain, i.e. to acquire or in some instances to create. It's the regular verb for a commercial purchase. Noun קנין (qinyan) describes an item acquired (or created). Noun מקנה (migneh) means cattle (as unit of commerce). Noun מקנה (miqna) means purchase or purchase-price. Noun קנה (qaneh) denotes some herb on a stalk, or any rod, reed, branch- or stalk-like item (in this sense, a plant "acquires" its branches).
The verb קין (qyn), which isn't used in the Bible, occurs in cognate language with the meaning of to fit together, fabricate or forge (often of metal things). In the Bible occurs only the noun קין (qayin), meaning spear. Note that our modern word "franchise" comes from a word that meant spear, and originally denoted a free man, i.e. one who had the authority to bear arms, own property and thus conduct trade. The earliest republican government of Rome was called curia, literally spear-bearers, and the link between bearing a spear or other such ceremonial weapon and a senatorial government (a government by tribal elders) appears to have been pretty much globally understood throughout history.
Noun קינה (qina) denotes a kind of sad poem; a dirge or lamentation, which both had to be fabricated and could, presumably, pierce a person's soul like a spear (which is an obvious Biblical figure of speech; see Luke 2:35). The denominative verb קונן (qonen) means to do a dirge, which could be either to chant or compose one.
The verb תקן (taqan) means to make or become straight.
BDB Theological Dictionary, NOBSE Study Bible Name List and Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names all agree: Kana comes from קנה (qaneh), reed, stalk.
Practically inclined commentators tend to suggest that these places were named Kana because of the reed that presumably grew there, but readers who recognize that the strong symbolic overtones (a wedding feast, water into wine, fig trees and motherly meddling) completely overwhelm whatever historic and journalistic elements these stories might actually contain, may suppose that Kana tells of experiments in government and social order.
The Kana cycle is ultimately a commentary upon the celebrated democratic experiment of Athens (the Virgin to be with Child; see our article on the name Mary), which saw Greece's golden age succeeded by internal destabilization and betrayal, and ultimately defeat by the Romans.
For a meaning of the name Cana or Kana, NOBSE Study Bible Name List reads Place Of Reeds. Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names proposes the singular Place Of Reed. It should be noted that there is no reference to place in the name Kana or Cana. It simply means Reed.