🔼The name Kenan: Summary
- Networker, Composer
- From the verb קנן (qanan), to weave into dynamic networks.
🔼The name Kenan in the Bible
Kenan is the son of Enosh, the son of Seth, the third son of Adam and Eve (Genesis 5:9). Apart from the mysterious Cainan, the name Kenan is used only once in the Bible. We don't know what became of him, except that he died before the flood of Noah.
🔼Etymology of the name Kenan
The name Kenan obviously derives from the root קנן (qanan), which describes the act of weaving any kinds of strands into dynamic networks:
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.
Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names proclaims that the name Kenan (קינן) is the same as Cain (קין), which is obviously not the case, and renders both Possession, which is inaccurate too as our verb does not describe possessing, which is a static affair, but rather acquiring, which is a dynamic affair.
The name Kenan may even be construed to come specifically from the verb קונן (qonen), to chant a dirge (Ezekiel 27:32, 1 Samuel 1:17), from the noun קינה (qina), lamentation or sad poem which is sung (Jeremiah 7:19, Ezekiel 2:10). That way the name Kenan means Lamenter, but with the emphasis on the composition rather than the actual lamenting.
However, through the apparently related name Kenite, Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names notes a relation to the verb קנן (qinnen), meaning to make a nest (Isaiah 34:15). That way the name Kenan may mean Nester, but again emphasizing the constructing rather than the perching.
NOBSE Study Bible Name List reads Fixed for both Cainan and Kenan, which fails to incorporate the signature dynamic nature of the verb.