[b-hebrew] The Name "Joseph"

Jan Hagen jan.hagen at gmx.de
Fri Jan 18 20:40:20 EST 2008

Dear Jim,

I understand your position in 1. now. Point 2. seem more a matter of
opinion or statistics. For 3. I need some more time to think about it.

Jan Hagen

On Fri, 18 Jan 2008 17:58:06 EST
JimStinehart at aol.com wrote:

> Jan Hagen:
> Let me address your various points in a different order.
> 1.  You wrote:  “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, 
> Jim
>  and the others, agree?  If so I'd 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.”
> (a)  I am not qualified to analyze fine points of Hebrew grammar.  I will let 
> the experts on the b-Hebrew list do that.
> (b)  I myself have no problem at all with your proposed translation: "YHWH is 
> adding (for) me another son".  I would not see that as a reference to 
> Benjamin, though, or as a reference to Rachel hoping that she will bear another son 
> in the future.  No, Rachel is thinking about her precious newborn son at this 
> moment:  Joseph.
> Rachel desperately wants Jacob to view Joseph as being “another son”, that 
> is, another son of Leah-Rachel as Jacob’s one and only main wife #1.  What 
> Rachel does not want is for Jacob to view Joseph as being the firstborn son of 
> Jacob’s main wife #2, Rachel.  Because if Jacob views Joseph in that way (which 
> is in fact what ultimately turns out to be the case), then no matter how much 
> Jacob favors Joseph, Joseph will end up having Ishmael’s sad fate.  Each of 
> Joseph and Ishmael is a Patriarch’s favorite son by the Patriarch’s main wife 
> #2.  Each of Joseph and Ishmael is involuntarily separated from his father’s 
> family at the age of 9½ regular years, marries an Egyptian woman, and has no 
> realistic chance of being named the leader of the next generation of the new 
> Hebrews.
> 2.  You wrote:  “Why would a great sounding name further Joseph’s future?”
> It worked wonders for Judah.  Judah is the one and only son of Jacob who has 
> a grand name.  “Judah” means “praise YHWH”.  That’s a great name.  And Judah 
> ends up being the winner.
> 3.  You wrote:  “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.”
> Yes, Jacob loved Rachel more than Leah, so it is no surprise that Rachel’s 
> son Joseph became Jacob’s favorite son.  After Jacob’s disappearance and 
> presumed death, Rachel’s other son, Benjamin, became Jacob’s favorite son.  Unlike 
> Joseph, Benjamin had little personal merit.  So you are right that the 
> favoritism toward first Joseph, and then Benjamin, is primarily reflecting the fact 
> that Jacob loved Rachel more than Leah.
> But note that Jacob’s love for Rachel, and Jacob’s love for Joseph, turned 
> out not to be a critical factor.  Each Patriarch is a younger son whose 
> marriage to a firstborn daughter produces the next leader of the new monotheists.  
> Nefertiti was a firstborn daughter, and Akhenaten’s successor, Smenkhkare, 
> married Akhenaten’s firstborn daughter.  Note how the pattern is the same, whether 
> in the well-documented secular history of the mid-14th century BCE or in the 
> Patriarchal narratives.  The winning candidate is not a firstborn son, is not 
> his father’s favorite son, does have as his birth mother the original main wife 
> #1 of the prior leader, does marry a firstborn daughter, and, in every case, 
> has a very pushy mother.  All these objective facts are the same.
> J, E, P and D knew nothing, and cared less, about such things.  The 
> Patriarchal narratives were composed by a northern pre-Hebrew in the mid-14th century 
> BCE, not by one or more southern Hebrews in the mid-1st millennium BCE. 
> Jim Stinehart
> Evanston, Illinois
> **************Start the year off right.  Easy ways to stay in shape.     
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