[b-hebrew] The Name "Joseph"

Bryant J. Williams III bjwvmw at com-pair.net
Fri Jan 18 18:16:23 EST 2008

Dear Jan,

MT, יסף יהוה לי בן אחר
LXX, καὶ ἐκάλεσεν τὸ ὄνομα αὐτοῦ Ιωσηφ λέγουσα Προσθέτω ὁ θεός μοι υἱὸν ἕτερον.
NRSV, and she named him Joseph,g saying, “May the Lord add to me another son!”
KJV, The LORD shall add to me another son.

It appears that the MT and LXX are pretty straightforward in terms of the
translation. NRSV treats Rachel's comment as an entreaty, while the KJV treats
Rachel's comment as a statement. The question is without the Massoretic vowel
pointing is whether it יסף (yasaph) should be treated as a participle/verb or
treated as a noun (porper noun =Joseph) from 'saph (asaph- take away from verse

Verse 23 reads, "God has taken away my reproach." Rachel is saying that with
birth of Joseph God has taken away the reproach of barrenness. that is
definitely true. What we have here is a definite "pun" on the sound not the
spelling of the words involved. Yoseph is a masculine PROPER NAME (according to
BDB, p. pr. m). Thus the play on the word in verse 23 with verse 24, where God
"has taken" the reproach of Rachel by "adding" a son. The difference is the
aleph and the yod.

Rev. Bryant J. Williams III

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Jan Hagen" <jan.hagen at gmx.de>
To: <b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org>
Sent: Friday, January 18, 2008 3:11 PM
Subject: Re: [b-hebrew] The Name "Joseph"

> On Wed, 16 Jan 2008 10:38:33 EST
> JimStinehart at aol.com wrote:
> >
> > Jan Hagen:
> >
> > You wrote:  “Why don't you read YSP as participle, which it is, and read v24
> > as a nominal wish sentence?  Rachel wishes another son after Joseph, and not
> > him being another son.”
> >
> > On your theory of the case, then, the name “Joseph” would mean:  “I hope I
> > have another son later, in addition to this son”.
> >
> > That would not be a grand name for Rachel’s firstborn son.  Why wouldn’t
> > Rachel’s thoughts at this point, after being barren for almost 7 years, be
on her
> > infant son whom she has just now borne?  Why would Rachel give her newborn
> > infant a name that means that Rachel hopes to bear another son later?
> Maybe she hoped that her berreness had ended now. Why would a great sounding
> name further Josephs futur. If indeed this was her thought it proved not that
> helpful, as you mentioned. Jacob loved Rachel and I guess that's the reason he
> Joseph was his favourite son and not because his well chosen name. The birth
> a son.
> But getting back to the Hebrew text to get the grammar analysed before the
>  interpretation. For me the sentence Rachel is saying
>  יסף יהוה לי בן אחר
> looks like a nounclause ( the way it is vocalized be the Masoretes). Do you,
> and the others, agree?
> If so I'ld translate it as "YHWH is adding (for) me another son".
> I'm not yet that experienced with the grammar, so please bear with me taking
> small steps.
> Jan Hagen
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