Genesis 29:31 Commentary - The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges
31. hated ] By this is meant that Jacob had less affection for Leah than for Rachel. Cf. Deu 21:15, “if a man have two wives, the one beloved and the other hated.” In order to prevent the evil effects of jealousy, the marriage by one man of two sisters is forbidden in Lev 18:18. See, also, Mal 1:2-3, “I loved Jacob, but Esau I hated.”
31 35 (J); Gen 30:1-24 (J, E and P)
In this section is narrated the account of the birth of eleven sons and one daughter. Six of the sons, viz. Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar and Zebulun, and the daughter Dinah, are the children of Leah; Gad and Asher are the sons of Zilpah, Leah’s handmaid; Dan and Naphtali are the sons of Bilhah, Rachel’s handmaid; and Joseph is the son of Rachel. These are all born to Jacob in Haran. The only son born in Canaan is Benjamin (see Gen 35:16-19).
It has been conjectured that this account not only furnishes the popular etymology of the names of the tribes of Israel, but may also symbolize, under the terms of family life, the growth of Israelite clans into a united, though composite, people in the land of Mesopotamia, before the migration into Canaan.
The explanation of the meaning of the names is of the usual popular kind, based upon resemblances of sound. The fact that in some cases more than one etymology is given reflects the composite nature of the narrative (cf. Gen 30:16; Gen 30:18; Gen 30:20; Gen 30:23-24).
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The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges
The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges is a biblical commentary set published in parts by Cambridge University Press from 1882 onwards. Anglican bishop John Perowne was the general editor. The first section published was written by theologian Thomas Kelly Cheyne and covered the Book of Micah.
Perowne exercised limited editorial control over the writers of individual commentaries: his aim was "to leave each contributor to the unfettered exercise of his own judgment".