What does Genesis 35:18 mean?
ESV: And as her soul was departing (for she was dying), she called his name Ben-oni; but his father called him Benjamin.
NIV: As she breathed her last--for she was dying--she named her son Ben-Oni. But his father named him Benjamin.
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.
CSB: With her last breath--for she was dying--she named him Ben-oni, but his father called him Benjamin.
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').
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.
Verse Commentary:
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.
Verse Context:
Genesis 35:16–29 describes Jacob's painful losses following God's great blessing at Bethel. His beloved wife Rachel dies giving birth to his twelfth son, Benjamin. Jacob buries her and builds a stone pillar to mark her tomb. Next, his firstborn son, Reuben, defiles the family by sleeping with one of Jacob's servant-wives. Though Jacob seems to do nothing, at first, Reuben will lose his birthright as a result. Finally, Jacob's father Isaac dies at 180 years old. Jacob and Esau reunite to lay their father to rest at the family burial cave at Mamre. The rest of Genesis will explain how the people of Israel came to live in Egypt.
Chapter Summary:
God commands Jacob to build an altar to Him at Bethel. This will fulfill vows Jacob made after encountering the Lord for the first time, as he was fleeing for his life from Esau. Jacob rids his family of all their false idols and travels to Bethel. God appears to him again, reaffirming all the covenant promises. As they travel away, Rachel dies giving birth to Jacob's twelfth son. His first son, Reuben, sleeps with Jacob's servant-wife Bilhah, losing his birthright as a result. Finally, Jacob's father Isaac dies at 180 years old.
Chapter Context:
Recent events have left Jacob fearful of the people of the land. His sons slaughtered an entire town to avenge their sister's rape. However, God apparently uses this bloodshed to inspire fear. Nobody attacks Jacob's family as they travel to Bethel, setting up an altar and renewing their covenant with God. Rachel dies giving birth to Benjamin. Jacob's eldest son sleeps with one of his servant-wives, losing his birthright. Isaac dies, and Jacob and Esau bury him in the family burial cave in Mamre. The story then focuses on Jacob's sons, primarily Joseph, as the family finds themselves drawn into Egypt.
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 4/22/2024 3:33:37 AM
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