Genesis 29:32 MEANING

Genesis 29:32
(32-35) She called his name Reuben.--There is something very touching in the history of these four births. When the first child is born, Leah joyfully calls him "Reuben," that is, See, a son! and fondly hopes that now she is a mother her husband will love her. And the mention of her "affliction" shows that, while she loved Jacob tenderly, he was to her more than unloving. Her second son she calls" Simeon," that is hearing, and, disappointed in her first hope, regards the child as a gift of Jehovah to compensate her for the lack of the affection for which she so longed. Her third son she calls "Levi," that is, joined, still hoping that as in her tent alone there were children to play around the father, he would be more united to her. But her hope remains unfulfilled. And when her fourth son is born, she calls him "Judah," that is, praise. Throughout, in the midst of her melancholy, there is a tone of fervent piety, and that not merely to God, but to the covenant Jehovah. And now slowly she parts with her hope of human affection, and finds comfort in Jehovah alone. This time, she says, I will praise Jehovah. And it was this son of the despised one, whose birth called forth from her this hymn of simple thanksgiving, who was fore-ordained to be the ancestor of the promised seed.

Verse 32. - And Leah conceived, and bare a son, and she called his name Reuben (literally, reuben, Behold a Son! an expression of joyful surprise at the Divine compassion): for she said, Surely the Lord hath looked upon my affliction. Though not directly contained in the term Reuben, the sense of these words is implied (Kalisch). As Leah's child was an intimation that she had been an object of Jehovah's compassion, so did she expect it to be a means of drawing towards herself Jacob s affection. Now therefore (literally, for now) my husband will love me. She was confident in the first flush of maternal joy that Jacob's heart would turn towards her; she believed that God had sent her child to effect this conversion of her husband's affections; and she regarded the birth of Reuben as a signal proof of the Divine pity.

29:31-35 The names Leah gave her children, expressed her respect and regard, both to God and to her husband. Reuben, or See a son, with this thought, Now will my husband love me; Levi, or joined, expecting, Now will my husband be joined unto me. Mutual affection is both the duty and comfort of the married relation; and yoke-fellows should study to recommend themselves to each other, 1Co 7:33,34. She thankfully acknowledges the kind providence of God in hearing her. Whatever supports and comforts us under afflictions, or tends to our deliverance from them, God must be owned in it. Her fourth son she called Judah, or praise, saying, Now will I praise the Lord. This was he, of whom, as concerning the flesh, Christ came. Whatever is the matter of our rejoicing, ought to be the matter of our thanksgiving. Fresh favours should quicken us to praise God for former favours; Now will I praise the Lord more and better than I have done. All our praises must centre in Christ, both as the matter of them, and as the Mediator of them. He descended after the flesh from him whose name was Praise, and He is our praise. Is Christ formed in my heart? Now will I praise the Lord.And Leah conceived, and bare a son, and she called his name Reuben,.... That is, "see the son", as if she by this name called upon her husband, her friends, and all about her, to look at him, and view him; perhaps hoping and imagining he might be the famous son, the promised seed, the Messiah that was to spring to Abraham, in the line of Jacob; but if she so thought, she was greatly mistaken; for this son of hers proved unstable, and did not excel; or rather God hath seen or provided a son, as Hillerus (w) gives the signification of the name, which seems better to agree with what follows:

for she said, surely the Lord hath looked on my affliction; being deceived by her father, not so much loved by her husband as her sister was, and perhaps slighted by her:

now therefore my husband will love me: more than he has done, and equally as my sister, having bore him a son.

(w) Onomastic. Sacr. p. 918.

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