[b-hebrew] The Name "Simeon"

JimStinehart at aol.com JimStinehart at aol.com
Fri Dec 7 15:50:47 EST 2007

Isaac Fried:
1.  You wrote:  “Do you see a connection between GAD of Genesis 30:11 and 
that of 
 Isaiah 65:11? Also between A$ER of Genesis 30:13 and the A$ERAH of 
Deuteronomy 16:21?”
We will get to Gad and Asher in due course.  Thank you for alerting me to 
your concerns about these particular issues.
2.  You wrote:  “Do you think that Leah called her first born son R)UBEN for ‘
look, a  boy, my troubles are over, my husband will really love me now.”
(a)  In my post on “Reuben”, I set forth my views on the puns involving that 
(b)  On one level, Yes, Leah is portrayed as naming her firstborn son “Reuben”
 on the basis of her view that YHWH had “looked upon my affliction”/R-B-N.  
R-B-N are the three true Hebrew consonants, in that order, in the phrase “
looked (R) upon (B) my affliction (N)”.  Leah’s hope was that Jacob would love 
Leah as much or more as Jacob loved Rachel, once Leah bore Jacob a fine son.  So 
Yes, that is one level of meaning that the author of the Patriarchal 
narratives is creatively giving to the name “Reuben”.
(c)  But on a more profound level, the author of the Patriarchal narratives 
is using the name “Reuben” to foreshadow Reuben’s most important actions later 
in Reuben’s life, as I discussed in some detail in my post on the name “
Reuben”.  Yet in that post, I fear I may have forgotten to say the following:  
When Reuben “looks” (R) “upon” (B) one of Jacob’s minor wives, Reuben will 
cause Jacob “affliction” (N):  R-B-N.  So this is a great set of puns all around.
3.  You wrote:  “Do you think that Leah called…LEVI for ‘now my husband will 
accompany me’?”
The name “Levi” will be the subject of my next post on a name of Jacob’s 
sons.  But even before I do that post, can’t you see how the name “Levi” 
beautifully foreshadows what Levi does in the rest of the text?  
4.  You wrote:  “Recall also that Rachel stole the household TRAPIM.”
Yes, that is a very important story in the Patriarchal narratives.  It 
closely tracks one of the most important and prominent storylines in the Amarna 
Letters from the mid-14th century BCE.  How many times in 5,000 years of human 
history did an early monotheist from far to the west rudely break with his 
father-in-law from the upper Euphrates River, with the last straw in the historic 
rupture being, believe it or not, certain statues (gold statues in the Amarna 
Letters, teraphim in the Patriarchal narratives) that the outraged father-in-law 
demanded be delivered to him forthwith by his monotheistic son-in-law, but 
which were never in fact delivered?  No “later editors” would have known 
anything about that history from the 2nd millennium BCE.
But here on the b-Hebrew list, we should focus on Hebrew language matters, 
and I fear that I am probably not following your precise point here.  What, in 
your view, does Rachel’s theft of her father’s teraphim have to do with the 
names of Jacob’s 12 sons?  I myself want to focus on the puns on the names of 
Jacob’s 12 sons at this point, and try not to get sidetracked on too many other 
issues right now.
5.  I would like to review the names of Jacob’s 12 sons one by one.  I don’t 
want to jump ahead.  So at this moment, I don’t want to say much about any 
such names except “Reuben” and “Simeon”.  Then the name “Levi” will be next.
Jim Stinehart
Evanston, Illinois

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