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Meaning and etymology of the name Reuben

Reuben Reuben

Reuben is the first son of Jacob (Gnesis 29:32). His mother is Leah. Reuben forfeits his position as first born when he sleeps with Bilhah, the mother of Jacob's sons number five and six (Genesis 35:22). Reuben's progeny becomes one of the twelve tribes of Israel.

'...and [Leah] named him Reuben, for she said, "Because the Lord has seen my affliction..."' (Genesis 29:32).

The name Reuben is a combination of two words:

The first part comes from the verb raa (ra'a) meaning see, look, inspect in all the literal senses and unavoidably also the many figurative ways: understand, perceive etc. Some derivatives: raa (ro'eh), meaning seer; raa (ro'eh), meaning a prophetic vision; rei (re'i), meaning mirror; mara (mar'a), meaning vision; mara (mar'a), mirror.

The second part of the name Reuben is the word ben (ben) meaning son, offspring. This same word occurs in the name Benjamin.

NOBS Study Bible Name List and Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names agree: The name Reuben means Behold A Son. Still, the name Reuben also means Son Of Vision, or Son Who's Seen. Other names derived from the verb ra'a are Beer lahai roi, Ezra, Haroeh, Irijah, Mamre, Reaiah, Reuben and perhaps Sisera.



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