Today’s name is ‘Shim•on,’ the second son of Leah and Jacob.
You may remember what happened before the births of Shimeon and Reuben, his older brother. 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.
“And she conceived again, and bore a son; and said, ‘Because the Lord has heard that I was hated, he has therefore given me this son also’; and she called his name Shimeon”
Leah explains that the Lord ‘has heard’ that she was hated. The name, Shimon, comes from the verb ‘shama,’ which means ‘to hear.’ But this verse is missing the other meaning of ‘shama.’ Shama, as it is in the famous prayer, ‘Shema,’ also means either ‘obey’ when it refers to the person-God relationship, or ‘harken,’ when the reference is the God-person relationship. Harken (also hearken) also comes from ‘hearing’ but carries an extra meaning: hearing with sympathy, to accede.
In this verse, it is clear that Leah is thankful to God for harkening to the scorn she faced by giving her another son that perhaps will turn Jacob’s heart to love her now.