Congregation at Duke Chapel

names

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Names and Naming in Genesis

presentation at Adult Forum by
Mari Joerstad
PhD student, Duke Divinity School
November 2, 2014

Eve - Ḥawâ
To live – ḥāya


Cain – Qayin
To make/aquire – qānah

Seth – Šet
To put/place – šît


Abel – Hābel
Breath/wind/vanity – hebel


Ishmael – Yišmāʿēl
To hear – šāmaʿ

Isaac – Yiṭḥaq
To laugh – ṭāḥaq


verse

šmʿ

ṣḥq

16:2

Sarah said to Abram…enter to my maid; perhaps I will be built up from her. And Abram listened to Sarai’s voice.

 

16:11

The angel of the Lord said to her:...you will call his name Ishmael, for the Lord has heard your affliction.

 

16:15

Abram named his son, whom Hagar bore, Ishmael.

 

16:16

Abram was the son of eighty-six years when Hagar boreIshmael to Abram.

 

17:25

Ishmael, his son, was thirteen years old when he was circumcised…

 

18:10

He said: I will return to you in due time, and look, a son will be to Sarah, your wife. Now Sarah was listening at the opening of the tent.

 

18:12

 

Sarah laughed to herself, saying: after I am worn out, will I have pleasure, and my Lord old?

18:13

 

The Lord said to Abraham: Why does Sarah laugh?

18:15

 

Sarah lied, saying: I did not laugh.

21:3

 

Abraham named his son, the one born to him, whom Sarah bore to him, Isaac.

21:4

 

Abraham circumcised his son, Isaac

21:5

 

Abraham was a son of hundred years when Isaac, his son, was born to him.

21:6

Sarah said: the Lord has made laughter for me; all who hear will laugh on account of me.

Sarah said: the Lord has made laughter for me; all who hear will laugh on account of me.

21:8

 

Abraham made a great feast on the day of the weaning of Isaac.

21:9

 

Sarah saw the son of Hagar, the Egyptian, whom she had born to Abraham, laughing.

21:10

 

Sarah said to Abraham: banish this slave woman and her son, for the son of this slave women will not inherit with my son, with Isaac.

21:12

God said to Abraham…in all that Sarah says to you, listen to her voice; for in Isaac seed will be named for you.

God said to Abraham…in all that Sarah says to you, listen to her voice; for in Isaac seed will be named for you.

21:17

God heard the voice of the boy. An angel of the Lord called to Hagar…Do not be afraid, for the Lord has heard the voice of the boy…

 

God of seeing - ʿēl rŏʾî

Well of the living one who sees me;
Well Laḥay roʾî
(Remember to live – ḥāyah)


Questions? Comments?


[additional materials for which there was insufficient time to discuss in class ...]

Discussion: Gen 29:31 – 30:24


Gen. 29:31 When the LORD saw that Leah was unloved, he opened her womb; but Rachel was barren. 32 Leah conceived and bore a son, and she named him Reuben (rĕʾûben – they saw a son); for she said, “Because the LORD has looked (rāʾâ) on my affliction; surely now my husband will love me.” 33 She conceived again and bore a son, and said, “Because the LORD has heard (šāmaʿ) that I am hated, he has given me this son also”; and she named him Simeon (šimʿon).


34 Again she conceived and bore a son, and said, “Now this time my husband will be joined (lāwâ) to me, because I have borne him three sons”; therefore he was named Levi (Lēwî). 35 She conceived again and bore a son, and said, “This time I will praise (yādâ) the LORD”; therefore she named him Judah (yĕhûdâ); then she ceased bearing.


Gen. 30:1 When Rachel saw that she bore Jacob no children, she envied her sister; and she said to Jacob, “Give me children, or I shall die!” 2 Jacob became very angry with Rachel and said, “Am I in the place of God, who has withheld from you the fruit of the womb?” 3 Then she said, “Here is my maid Bilhah; go in to her, that she may bear upon my knees and that I too may have children through her.” 4 So she gave him her maid Bilhah as a wife; and Jacob went in to her.


5 And Bilhah conceived and bore Jacob a son. 6 Then Rachel said, “God has judged (dîn) me, and has also heard my voice and given me a son”; therefore she named him Dan (dān). 7 Rachel’s maid Bilhah conceived again and bore Jacob a second son. 8 Then Rachel said, “With mighty wrestlings (naptûl) I have wrestled with my sister, and have prevailed”; so she named him Naphtali (naptālî).


Gen. 30:9 When Leah saw that she had ceased bearing children, she took her maid Zilpah and gave her to Jacob as a wife. 10 Then Leah’s maid Zilpah bore Jacob a son. 11 And Leah said, “Good fortune (gād)!” so she named him Gad (gād). 12 Leah’s maid Zilpah bore Jacob a second son. 13 And Leah said, “Happy (ʾošer) am I! For the women will call me happy”; so she named him Asher (ʾāšēr).


Gen. 30:14 In the days of wheat harvest Reuben went and found mandrakes in the field, and brought them to his mother Leah. Then Rachel said to Leah, “Please give me some of your son’s mandrakes.” 15 But she said to her, “Is it a small matter that you have taken away my husband? Would you take away my son’s mandrakes also?” Rachel said, “Then he may lie with you tonight for your son’s mandrakes.” 16 When Jacob came from the field in the evening, Leah went out to meet him, and said, “You must come in to me; for I have hired you with my son’s mandrakes.” So he lay with her that night.


17 And God heeded Leah, and she conceived and bore Jacob a fifth son. 18 Leah said, “God has given me my hire (śākār) because I gave my maid to my husband”; so she named him Issachar (yiśākār). 19 And Leah conceived again, and she bore Jacob a sixth son. 20 Then Leah said, “God has endowed me with a good dowry; now my husband will honor (zābal) me, because I have borne him six sons”; so she named him Zebulun (zĕbûlun). 21 Afterwards she bore a daughter, and named her Dinah.


Gen. 30:22 Then God remembered Rachel, and God heeded her and opened her womb. 23 She conceived and bore a son, and said, “God has taken away my reproach”; 24 and she named him Joseph (yosēp), saying, “May the LORD add (yāsap) to me another son!” >