What does Genesis 29:34 mean?
ESV: Again she conceived and bore a son, and said, “Now this time my husband will be attached to me, because I have borne him three sons.” Therefore his name was called Levi.
NIV: Again she conceived, and when she gave birth to a son she said, 'Now at last my husband will become attached to me, because I have borne him three sons.' So he was named Levi.
NASB: And she conceived again and gave birth to a son, and said, 'Now this time my husband will become attached to me, because I have borne him three sons.' Therefore he was named Levi.
CSB: She conceived again, gave birth to a son, and said, "At last, my husband will become attached to me because I have borne three sons for him." Therefore he was named Levi.
NLT: Then she became pregnant a third time and gave birth to another son. He was named Levi, for she said, 'Surely this time my husband will feel affection for me, since I have given him three sons!'
KJV: And she conceived again, and bare a son; and said, Now this time will my husband be joined unto me, because I have born him three sons: therefore was his name called Levi.
NKJV: She conceived again and bore a son, and said, “Now this time my husband will become attached to me, because I have borne him three sons.” Therefore his name was called Levi.
Verse Commentary:
Leah's father, Laban, tricked her husband Jacob into marrying her. In fact, Laban had sneakily replaced Jacob's intended bride, Rachel, with Leah, her older sister, on the wedding night. The end result of this chaos was Jacob married to two women, but unexpectedly owing Laban another seven years of labor (Genesis 29:16–30). For this reason, it's not surprising to read that Jacob does not love Leah. Whether figuratively in comparison to his beloved Rachel, or literally, Jacob "hates" Leah (Genesis 29:31).

Seeing this pain, God has allowed Leah to conceive sons while the favored Rachel has remained childless. The prior boys were named to reflect Leah's hope that Jacob would come to love her. Their names, Reuben and Simeon, serve as reminders that God has seen (Genesis 29:32) and heard (Genesis 29:33) her pain.

Leah now bears Jacob a third son. Again she names the boy based on her longing for her husband to love her. In Hebrew, Leviy literally means "joined to," and is very similar to the root of a word spoken by Leah earlier in the verse, lavah, which means "to become attached." Leah hopes this third son will cause Jacob to be attached to her in a way that he apparently never had been before.
Verse Context:
Genesis 29:31–35 describes Leah's joy and heartbreak. Tricked into marrying Leah, Jacob's heart is never with her. He loves Rachel more; in fact, it would be fair to say he never loved Leah at all. The Lord, who is ever with Jacob, notices Leah's heartbreak and allows her to begin bearing children while Rachel remains childless. Leah's four sons are named in celebration of the Lord and His noticing her, as well as for her hope, or lack of it, that Jacob will come to love her.
Chapter Summary:
Jacob's journey from his home brings him to his uncle's household in Haran. He falls in love with Laban's younger daughter Rachel and agrees to work for Laban for seven years to marry her. When the time comes, Laban switches out Rachel for her older, less attractive sister Leah. Jacob is surprised to find he has consummated the marriage with the wrong sister. Manipulative Laban assures Jacob he can still marry Rachel the next week, as long as he will work another seven years. Jacob loves Rachel more than Leah, but with the Lord's help, unloved Leah bears Jacob his first four sons.
Chapter Context:
The previous chapter described Jacob fleeing from home to seek his uncle in Mesopotamia. This was both to escape the rage of his brother, Esau, and to look for a suitable wife. Now Jacob arrives and falls in love with his uncle's daughter Rachel. After working seven years to marry her, Jacob is tricked by his uncle into marrying the older daughter, Leah, instead. Laban allows Jacob to marry Rachel, as well, in exchange for another seven years' work. Though she is unloved by Jacob, the Lord notices Leah's heartbreak and allows her to bear four sons. In the next chapter, Rachel's jealousy sets off something of a birth war, as she and Leah compete to obtain children.
Book Summary:
The book of Genesis establishes fundamental truths about God. Among these are His role as the Creator, His holiness, His hatred of sin, His love for mankind, and His willingness to provide for our redemption. We learn not only where mankind has come from, but why the world is in its present form. The book also presents the establishment of Israel, God's chosen people. Many of the principles given in other parts of Scripture depend on the basic ideas presented here in the book of Genesis. Within the framework of the Bible, Genesis explains the bare-bones history of the universe leading up to the captivity of Israel in Egypt, setting the stage for the book of Exodus.
Accessed 5/25/2024 12:46:47 AM
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