Today’s name is Yosef, Joseph.
You may remember that Jacob, who wanted to marry Rachel and worked for 7 years to win her, was cheated by her father, Laban, who gave him at the wedding night his other daughter, Leah, instead of Rachel. He was forced to serve Laban for 7 more years for the right to marry Rachel, whom he loved. According to the Hebrew Bible, Leah was hated by Jacob, but God opened her womb and gave her six sons and one daughter, while Rachel was still barren. With the birth of Joseph, Rachel’s honor is restored by God, who finally opens her womb to give birth to her first son.
Despite being the first-born son of Rachel, Jacob’s beloved wife, Joseph never became the name for one of the tribes of Israel. The father of the twelfth tribe was Ephraim, his second son. Look for the Hebrew Word of the Day titled ‘Ephraim.’
“And God remembered Rachel, and God listened to her, and opened her womb. And she conceived, and bore a son; and said, ‘God has taken away my reproach’; And she called his name Joseph; and said, ‘The Lord shall add to me another son’”
In this verse, once again we witness a two-fold substantiation for the name of the new-born son; and, once again, the English text cannot highlight either of the reasons. Look at these transliterated excerpts from this verse: ‘…a•saf Elohim et cher•pa•ti.’ ‘Va•tik•ra et she•mo Yo•sef le•mor yo•sef li Adonai ben a•cher.’
The first highlighted word, ‘asaf,’ is a verb that means ‘gathered’ (translated as ‘taken away’). It looks and sounds like the name ‘Yosef.’ The second word, ‘yosef,’ is a future- tense verb, which means ‘will add’ and is identical to the name Joseph−Yosef. The wording raises the interesting question as to whether Rachel means that Joseph was a son added to her—although she never gave birth before, but rather was given a son through her maidservant—or she is speaking in the future tense (as the verb ‘yosef’ suggests) and is hoping for one more son. Kind of a strange statement to say when having your first-born son; but given the fierce child-bearing competition with her sister, it may reflect the urgent need to add one more to the ‘collection,’ and, by doing so, move ahead in importance in the eyes of Jacob .