🔼The name Jokneam: Summary
- Let The People Acquire
- From (1) the verb קנה (qana), to acquire or create, and (2) the noun עם ('am), people or kinsman.
🔼The name Jokneam in the Bible
The city called Jokneam existed before the conquest of Canaan. According to the conquered kings list of Joshua 12, Jokneam was situated in the Carmel region (Joshua 12:22). It later became part of the territory allotted to the tribe of Zebulun (Joshua 19:11), but when the tribes had to donate cities to the Levites, Zebulun gave Jokneam and its pasture lands to the Merarites (Joshua 21:34).
🔼Etymology of the name Jokneam
The name Jokneam consists of two elements, the final one being עם ('am), meaning people:
The verb עמם ('mm) probably expressed to be inclusive or comprehensive. Its rare uses in the Bible relate to making secrets or making info available to an in-crowd. Preposition עם ('im) means 'with', מעם (me'im) means 'from', and עמה ('umma) means 'beside'. Noun עם ('am) means a people, ranging from all of mankind to the in-crowd of a small village. Noun עם ('am) refers to one's (paternal) kinsman.
It's not clear where the first part of our name comes from, but it may be from the verb קנה (qana), which means to acquire or create:
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.
For a meaning of the name Jokneam, NOBSE Study Bible Name List reads Let The People Inquire, but this is probably a mistake for Let The People Acquire; there is no Hebrew verb meaning to inquire that can be associated to our name. Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names has Possessed Of The People. BDB Theological Dictionary doesn't interpret this name or its etymology.