🔼The name Kenath: Summary
- Branches, Stalks, Acquisition
- From the noun קנה (qaneh), branch or stalk, from the verb קנה (qana), to acquire or create.
🔼The name Kenath in the Bible
The name Kenath belongs to a town of unclear location, but probably on the east side of the Jordan river.
Kenath and its satellite villages were conquered by Nobah, who renamed the town after himself (Numbers 32:42). This new name seems to have stuck for a while because Gideon and consorts ran by a town called Nobah, roughly in the vicinity of Kenath and thus probably the same. The much later writers Pliny and Jerome, however, ignored the name Nobah and spoke of Canatha.
Kenath appears to have attracted its share of conquerors because around the same time of Nobah's campaign, Geshur and Aram helped themselves to the towns of Jair and Kenath with its villages (1 Chronicles 2:23).
🔼Etymology of the name Kenath
The name Kenath possibly comes from the verb קנה (qana), meaning to acquire or create, or the noun קנה (qaneh), meaning branch or stalk. The plural of the latter is spelled identical to our name and occurs in Exodus 25:36 and 37:22 denoting the "branches" or the Menorah:
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 Kenath, both NOBSE Study Bible Name List and Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names read Possession, but that interpretation fails to reflect the dynamic nature of the root and Acquisition would be preferred. BDB Theological Dictionary does not offer an interpretation of our name and lists it alphabetically and not under a specific root.