🔼The name Kitron: Summary
- Place Of [Sacrificial] Burning
- Little One
- From the verb קטר (qatar), to produce thick smoke.
- From the verb קטן (qaton), to be small.
🔼The name Kitron in the Bible
The name Kitron occurs only once in the Bible. It's the name of a town, apparently in the territory allotted to the tribe of Zebulun. In Judges 1:30 we read that Zebulun failed to expel the indigenous Canaanites from Kitron and Nahalol, but put them to slave labor. In Joshua 19:15 the boundaries of Zebulun are listed, and among the cities mentioned are Kattah and Nahalal. Because of the similarity between Nahalal and Nahalol, scholars assume that they are the same, and continue to conclude Kattah and Kitron are also the same.
🔼Etymology of the name Kitron
The name Kitron looks like it comes from the root קטר:
The verb קטר (qatar) probably originally meant to rise up but came to denote the rising up of sacrificial smoke, which in turn commonly marked celebrations and surplus, and smelled pleasant after roasts or incense.
The difference between (a) selective distribution of food and merriment to one's favored customer or project and (b) unselective distribution to everyone around is the same difference between the generosity of modern philanthropy and that of God: the former "gives" only to whatever endeavor makes the giver stronger, whereas God gives to all people without discrimination (Matthew 5:45, Joel 2:28), and allows everybody to grow into whatever they can and sort their stuff out by their own authority and responsibility.
Nouns קטרת (qetoret), קטר (qitter), מקטר (muqtar) and קטורה (qeturah) refer to incense. Noun קיטור (qitor) refers to thick smoke. Noun מקטר (miqtar) describes a place of sacrificial smoke, מקטרת (miqteret) means censer and מקטרה (meqattera) means incense altar.
Our name could be construed as constructed from a noun taken from the verb קטר, extended with ון to create a personalized or localized form.
However, for some reason, scholars reject the obvious similarities between the name קטרון (Kitron) and the verb קטר (qatar), and assume that our name came to be through the exact same text error that produced the curious word קטרות in Ezekiel 46:22. The idea is that both the author of Ezekiel 46:22 and the author of Judges 1:30 wrote קטר (qatar), meaning to burn incense, but really meant קטן (qaton), meaning to be small:
The verb קטן (qaton) means to be small or insignificant. Adjectives קטן (qatan) and קטן (qaton) mean small, young or insignificant. Noun קטן (qeton) refers to the little finger.
To any Hebrew audience, especially those who imagined that the Bible writers wrote what they meant to write, the name Kitron would have meant Place Of Incense Burning.
For a meaning of the name Kitron, Alfred Jones (Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names) proposes that our name comes from קטר II, but gives that verb the meaning of to be bound. He then makes a giant leap of interpretive creativity and translates our name with Knotty.
BDB Theological Dictionary doesn't translate our name but does list it under קטר II. That root, however, BDB deems dubious and refers for its only occurrence to the verb קטן (qaton), meaning to be small.
NOBSE Study Bible Name List agrees with all of this and reads Shortened, Little.