22 Then God remembered Rachel, and God listened to her and opened her womb. 23 She conceived and bore a son and said, “God has taken away my reproach.” 24 And she called his name Joseph, saying, “May the LORD add to me another son!”
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Ge 30:22–24). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
30:23my reproach: In Rachel’s culture a married woman without children was scorned.
30:22–24. Finally Rachel gave birth to Joseph (yôsēp̱) but not by the mandrakes. This shows that births are given by God, not manipulated by people. Joseph’s name, like Zebulun’s, had a double meaning. She said, God has taken away (’āsap̱) my disgrace; and she prayed that He would add (yōsēp̱) another son. Finally Rachel was jubilant, looking in faith for a second child from God.
This passage (29:31–30:24) is a combination of small narratives, accenting the puns on Jacob’s sons’ names. Each name was interpreted by Leah or Rachel to reflect concrete family conditions at the price of the pious substance which they had as testimonies to God as the Giver of Life.
Certainly the passage shows how God prospered Jacob and started to make from him a great nation. All Israelites could thus look back and see their ancestry in Jacob and in the conflict of the women. As brothers the sons of Jacob, who became “Israel,” were not to become envious like their mothers.
To Israel these narratives were more than interesting little stories. The rivalry that appears here explains much of the tribal rivalry that followed. But Genesis is clear: God chose the despised mother, Leah, and exalted her to be the first mother. The kingly tribe of Judah and the priestly tribe of Levi trace back to her, in spite of Jacob’s love for Rachel and her son Joseph.
30:22–24God remembered Rachel (v. 22). After many years of waiting, Rachel eventually bears
Jacob a son. (On God’s “remembering,” see note on 8:1.) The repetition of “God” in 30:22 emphasizes that he is the One who has enabled Rachel to conceive and give birth. This is reinforced when Rachel acknowledges that God has taken away my reproach (v. 23). Since throughout Genesis fertility is often associated with divine blessing, a woman’s inability to bear children could be interpreted as reflecting divine disapproval. Given the resentment that existed between the sisters, Leah may well have taunted Rachel over her inability to bear children. As with all the other sons born to Jacob, Joseph’s name is derived from a remark made by his mother; in Hebrew Joseph (v. 24) sounds like the verb “add to.” For the sad answer to her prayer, see 35:16–20.
30:22–24 For the third time in Genesis God is said to have remembered someone (cp. 8:1; 19:21), an event that always indicates the onset of a beneficial act by God. In this case he gave Rachel her firstborn son … Joseph, whose name (Hb yoseph) is actually a verb that expressed Rachel’s prayerful hopes—“May he [the Lord] add” another son. The Lord would give Rachel her desire, but with bitter results (35:16–19).