Besides having all the meanings above, “Ke-ren” is also a beautiful female name, both in Hebrew and English. It’s hard to tell which of these meanings inspired the giving of this name, but it leaves each Keren or Karen among us an ample spectrum to choose from. It is related to the root letters “k-r-n.”
The most frequent biblical use of this noun is in a form of the expression: “le-ha-rim ke-ren,” which literally means to “lift up a horn.” The meaning of “lifting up a horn” is to exalt, to give honor. It always relates to a nation (even an enemy) or to a very high-ranking person such as a king, but is never in reference to ordinary people.
“He also exalts the horn of his people, a praise for all his pious ones, for the children of Israel, a people near to him. Praise the Lord!”
The “horn” itself is probably the ram’s horn that has been used as a “shofar,” a ritual article used in Israel since the biblical era. It seems, though, that the “keren” was also used as a holy vessel, containing the oil that was used to anoint kings. Perhaps we are witnessing an ancient ritual by which lifting up the anointing container (the horn) became a symbol of honor and success.
“Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the midst of his brothers; and the spirit of the Lord came upon David from that day forward…”
“…and he shall give strength to his king, and exalt the horn of his anointed”
One of the world’s greatest distortions that were caused by misunderstanding Hebrew was demonstrated by the otherwise genius artist, Michelangelo. In his famous sculpture, Moses, found today in San Pietro in Vincoli in Rome, Michelangelo carved Moses with two horns on his head. How did he arrive at this stupid addition to Moses’ head?
He misunderstood the verb “k-r-n” (ka-ran) in the biblical verse that speaks about Moses face glowing while coming down from Mount Sinai. Glow or shine is also “ke-ren” in Hebrew. The artist took that verb and interpreted it as “Moses’ face grew horn.”
And it came to pass, when Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the two tablets of Testimony in Moses’ hand, when he came down from the mount, that Moses knew not that the skin of his face shone while he talked with him. And the people of Israel saw the face of Moses, that the skin of Moses’ face shone; and Moses put the veil upon his face again, until he went in to speak with him.