It's interesting that the names of all the children born either by Rachel or on her behalf (through Billah) have somewhat ambiguous names, while the children born to Leah and, for the most part even to her servant Zillah, have definitively positive names.  Here's how it breaks down.

Seen, Reuben - Leah
Heard, Simeon - Leah
Attached, Levi - Leah
Praise, Judah - Leah
Judged, Dan - Rachel (Billah)
Wrestled, Naphtali - Rachel (Billah)
Good Fortune, Gad - Leah (Zillah)
Happy/Blessed, Asher - Leah (Zillah)
Wages/Payment, Issachar - Leah (for mandrakes)
Honor, Zebulun - Leah
(Judged/Vindicated, Dinah - Leah) [Note this is just the female form of Dan.]
May he add/taken away, Joseph - Rachel
Son of my Sorrow/Son of my Stregth, Ben-Oni -Rachel / Son of my Right Hand, Benjamin - Jacob 

Rachel is a perplexing figure.  Beloved and beautiful, mother to the the savior Joseph, yet tricky and rash in a way seemingly less virtuous than Jacob's wise-as-a-serpent cunning by which he evades those who would thwart the Promise or the Covenant.  But then it's always ambiguous.  She steals Laban's household gods, but is that a bad thing?  She certainly doesn't seem to honor them, sitting on them when "the way of women" is with her (or so she says).  Perhaps it was a last effort to cleanse her father's house of idolatry as she left?  Or was it just a case of plundering a father whom she felt betrayed by?  She certainly seems spiteful toward her sister at times, even naming one of her sons after her mental/emotional wrestling match with the envy she felt over her sister's good fortune in the child bearing department.  I'm never sure what to think of Rachel.

And in Leah I can't help but see a bit of Mary and Hannah, the poor that are remembered and raised up by the Lord with children whose significance will astound. 

7/9/2012 03:30:42 am

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3/25/2014 07:43:26 pm

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