[b-hebrew] The Name "Joseph"

TedBro at aol.com TedBro at aol.com
Fri Jan 4 11:53:31 EST 2008


 
Hi, Jim:
 
In the context of the Patriarchal Age, what evidence do we have for  
believing that the 7th son had special status?
 
Cheers,
ted brownstein
 
In a message dated 1/4/2008 11:48:48 A.M. Eastern Standard Time,  
JimStinehart at aol.com writes:

Here is  the third level of meaning of the name “Joseph”.  As always, the 
name  “Joseph” means what it is explicitly stated to mean at Genesis 30:  
23-24:  “
gathered, added”.

3.  Level #3:  Rachel’s  Brilliant Attempt to Portray Her Firstborn Son as 
Being the 7th Son of  Leah-Rachel

We must now come to grips with Rachel’s odd comment at  Genesis 30: 24:

“And she called his name Joseph [YWSP], saying:   'The LORD [YHWH] add [YSP] 
to me another son.'”

Rachel here is  trying to present Joseph as being just “another son”.  If 
Leah and  Rachel were considered, collectively, to be Jacob’s main wife #1, 
and if  
only their blood sons were considered to be in the running to be named the  
leader of the next generation of the monotheists, then Rachel’s firstborn  
son 
would be the auspicious 7th son of Leah-Rachel.  Leah had borne 6  sons prior 
to 
Joseph’s birth.  (Each of Leah’s female servant, and  Rachel’s female 
servant, 
had born 2 sons as well.  Joseph was Jacob’s  11th son, but the four sons 
borne by the female servants probably were not  legitimate candidates to 
become the 
leader of the next generation of the  Hebrews.)  By looking only at blood 
sons 
of Leah and Rachel, Joseph  is the auspicious 7th son (of Leah-Rachel).

Rachel desperately wanted  Jacob to view himself as having only one main wife 
#1, who was  Leah-Rachel, with the two sisters being considered for this 
purpose to be  a single main wife #1.  Why?  Why was that such a critical  
matter?

Rachel knew the sad story of Ishmael well.  Ishmael’s only  real “sin” was 
that his mother, Hagar, was not his father’s main wife  #1.  Rachel certainly 
had 
more status than Hagar, so perhaps there  was some hope here.  Yet Rachel was 
not Jacob’s main wife #1, even  though Jacob loved Rachel more than Jacob 
loved 
Leah.  You see, Jacob  had married Leah 7 days before he married Rachel.  
That 
meant that  Leah, not Rachel, was Jacob’s main wife #1.

In the two preceding  Patriarchal successions, the winning candidate was 
always a blood son of  the old Patriarch’s main wife #1.  Isaac beat out 
Ishmael in 
large  part because Isaac’s birth mother was Abraham’s main wife #1, Sarah,  
whereas that was not the case for Ishmael.  That issue was moot in  the 
contest 
between Esau and Jacob, because they were twins, each of whose  mother was 
Isaac’
s main wife #1.  But here in the third (and last)  Patriarchal succession, 
Rachel terribly feared that this issue would come  back into play and doom 
her son’
s chances.  If Jacob viewed Joseph as  being the firstborn son of Jacob’s 
main 
wife #2, then Joseph would be in  terrible danger of being in Ishmael’s 
situation:  he cannot win,  because his birth mother is not his father’s main 
wife #1.

Rachel  neatly tries to circumvent this problem by calling her firstborn son  
“
gathered, added”.  If one “gathered” together all blood sons borne  by 
Leah-Rachel, and “added” Joseph to that gathering, then Joseph would be  
viewed as 
being the auspicious 7th son of Leah-Rachel.  That was  Rachel’s master plan. 
 
That was why Rachel brilliantly chose that odd  name “Joseph”, which is not 
an 
impressive name at all, but rather means  “gathered, added”.  Now Rachel’s 
seemingly odd statement at Genesis  30: 24 makes perfect sense, as Rachel 
desperately tries to position her  beloved son Joseph as being just “another 
son”.

*     *       *

We are now in position to  understand all three of the Patriarchal 
successions.  The same rigid  rules govern all three Patriarchal successions. 
 Rachel knew 
all  those rules, all too well.  She tried, but failed, to circumvent those  
rules by calling her son “Joseph”.

What were those precise rules  that govern all three Patriarchal successions? 
 
And equally  importantly, why did those particular, odd rules apply?  What  
powerful ruler would be pleased to see those particular, peculiar rules of  
succession be set forth in the Patriarchal narratives as the proper rules  of 
succession for the new monotheists?

We are starting to get close  to the heart and soul of the Patriarchal 
narratives here.

Jim  Stinehart
Evanston, Illinois







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