Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Genesis 29:31-35 comments: Leah's first sons

31 ¶  And when the LORD saw that Leah was hated, he opened her womb: but Rachel was barren. 32  And Leah conceived, and bare a son, and she called his name Reuben: for she said, Surely the LORD hath looked upon my affliction; now therefore my husband will love me. 33  And she conceived again, and bare a son; and said, Because the LORD hath heard that I was hated, he hath therefore given me this son also: and she called his name Simeon. 34  And she conceived again, and bare a son; and said, Now this time will my husband be joined unto me, because I have born him three sons: therefore was his name called Levi. 35  And she conceived again, and bare a son: and she said, Now will I praise the LORD: therefore she called his name Judah; and left bearing.

See comments on chapter 25:29-34 for an explanation of how hate can be used as to hold in low esteem or to hold in contempt or just to love less. God gives His blessing on Leah by making it possible for her to conceive as she is held in lower esteem by Jacob than Rachel. But Rachel was barren in that she could not conceive. In gratitude Leah named her first born, Reuben, which means, “Behold, a son,” according to Strong, while the context would imply God seeing Leah’s misery, her affliction. In fact, there are those other than Strong’s who define this Hebrew name as, “who sees the son,” or, “the vision of the son.” Another Jewish source has it as, in opposition to Strong’s view, is, “He has seen my affliction (misery.)” Look at the context and think for yourself what Reuben’s name means. Strong’s, while depended upon by most Bibles today is not the absolute source of definition for Bible words and names. The Bible itself is. I would presume that the Holy Spirit knows what He wants a word to mean in context.

Leah and Jacob’s second son is named Simeon. In the context meaning, “he has heard,” also confirmed by Jewish sources. Levi, the third son, would then mean, “joined to,” and Judah, from whom the line of Christ comes, would mean, “praise.” We might think of these four births as saying, “God has seen my misery. He has heard me. Now, my husband and I will be united and I will praise God.”

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