Genesis 35:18 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Genesis 35:18, NIV: "As she breathed her last--for she was dying--she named her son Ben-Oni. But his father named him Benjamin."

Genesis 35:18, ESV: "And as her soul was departing (for she was dying), she called his name Ben-oni; but his father called him Benjamin."

Genesis 35:18, KJV: "And it came to pass, as her soul was in departing, (for she died) that she called his name Benoni: but his father called him Benjamin."

Genesis 35:18, NASB: "And it came about, as her soul was departing (for she died), that she named him Ben-oni; but his father called him Benjamin."

Genesis 35:18, NLT: "Rachel was about to die, but with her last breath she named the baby Ben-oni (which means 'son of my sorrow'). The baby's father, however, called him Benjamin (which means 'son of my right hand')."

Genesis 35:18, CSB: "With her last breath--for she was dying--she named him Ben-oni, but his father called him Benjamin."

What does Genesis 35:18 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Rachel was the woman Jacob desperately loved and worked hard for, though he was tricked into also marrying her sister, Leah (Genesis 29:30). After years of being barren, Rachel finally gave birth to a son, who she named Joseph (Genesis 30:24). That name, itself, was a prayer for more sons. Whether or not Rachel gave birth to any daughters after Joseph, Scripture does not say. Years later, as Jacob's family relocates, Rachel goes into a state of extremely intense, difficult labor. The midwife is able to reassure Rachel that she's just had another son (Genesis 35:16–17).

Sadly, the birth of this boy will end Rachel's life. With her dying breath, she imparts a name on the boy: Ben-oni, which most likely means "son of my sorrow" or "son of my pain." Jacob rejects this name, choosing instead the name Binyāmin', transliterated in English as Benjamin, meaning "son of the right hand." The exact reason why Jacob rejects his wife's dying words is not stated. Perhaps he didn't wish to leave the reference to sorrow in his son's name.