Learning Biblical Hebrew
9/29/12 at 01:30 PM 0 Comments

The Meanings of the Names of Joseph's Sons

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Dear friends, I am writing this post a day before my second son is going to be circumcised , and on this day, eight days after he came out to this world, we are going to reveal his name to all. Searching for names for your son is not an easy task. All your thoughts are about the name and the reaction of the people. Is the name old or new? Popular or odd? Biblical or Modern? Jewish or Universal?

Well, today I would like to dedicate this post to my father, whose name is Joseph, and actually to all the parents that needed to decide how to name their children.

I called him Elijah due to my two grandfathers names. My father like all his brothers and sisters was called after biblical names. Let us see how Joseph, the son of Jacob called his sons, as you can hear in the next video-


"Thus Joseph stored up grain in great abundance like the sand of the sea, until he stopped measuring it, for it was beyond measure. Now before the year of famine came, two sons were born to Joseph, whom Asenath, the daughter of Potiphera priest of On, bore to him.Joseph named the firstborn Manasseh, “For,” he said, “God has made me forget all my trouble and all my father’s household.”He named the second Ephraim, “For,” he said, “God has made me fruitful in the land of my affliction.”(Genesis 41:49-52)

Joseph was married to Osnath, who wasn't from his tribe and due to this, in the Jewish tradition there is a story about her conversion to Judaism or a rumour that she was related to Dinah, Joseph's sister.

However, we can see that Joseph was the one to choose the name of his two sons, two times, one is related to the past and the other to the present. The past appears in the name of Mennashe, who signifies what G-d made him forget about what happened to him in his father's house. The second is Efhraim who made Joseph remember that G-d was taking care of him at the present time in Egypt. One son caused him to forget the past and the other to remember his present. Maybe this was the reason why Jacob preferred Efhraim.

Thank you Jack, who asked me to write about these names, and gave me the opportunity to share with you some details about my personal life.

Have a great week, Eli




שֵׁם – šēm-Name


קָרָא-qārā'-He called

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