[b-hebrew] Names of Rachel's Second-Born Son

Ishinan ishinan at comcast.net
Sun Sep 25 22:35:18 EDT 2011

JIM wrote: Names of Rachel's Second-Born Son Each of Rachel and Jacob gives Rachel's second-born son a name.  [In English, this son is called Benjamin.]  Rachel dies in childbirth after giving this child the name BN-)WNY.  Genesis 35: 16-19 This post will focus primarily [but not exclusively] on Rachel's name for her second-born son:  BN-)WNY.  Scholars split as to the intended meaning of this name.  Robert Alter comments at p. 199 of "Genesis":  "Ben-oni.  The name can be construed to mean either 'son of my vigor' or, on somewhat more tenuous philological grounds, 'son of my sorrow'


ISHINAN:  )WNY actually means: my helper, my assistant, my true friend (i.e. a friend I can depend upon in times of need.) Unfortunately, nothing can be referred to as sorrow, I am afraid.  The name is from the Semitic trilateral root )WN which means primarily: help or assistance. Incidentally the Bedouins in the desert call dates or salt; Abw `awn being metonymically thus called because they help in digesting food. BTW Jim, since you are interested in Biblical names, the name )WNY is quite current in the Arab world today as )Awniy. You can Google it yourself by typing: `Awniy.


Ishinan Ishibashi

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