RUBEN and REUEL RUBEN (Reouven) probably has got something to do with the Hebrew verb “ra-ah” (Resh – Aleph – He), “to see”. His mother Leah does not say “Behold, a son”, although his names does sound like “re’u Ven” (or Ben, which is the Hebrew word for “son”). The name also sounds like “ra’a be’onyi” (“be” means “at” and “onyi” is “my trouble”, as Rachel does say: “The Lord has seen my trouble …” so she named him Ruben. M.Noth gives yet another explanation from an Arabic parallel: “restore” (i.e. the number of children by giving a substitute for a child that has died), but this seems quite uncertain. The name REUEL (Resh – Ayin – Lamed) often appears as REGUEL (it does in all German bibles, as far as I can see), and this is possibly due to the fact that the letter Ayin is interchangeable with Gimel in Aramaic (Gomorra appears as Amorra, but the Aramaic course I took was 20 years back, so don’t quote me on this; but I know that the name appears as Ragouel in the Greek Septuagint and as Rauhel in the Latin Vulgata). As verbal roots there are “ra-ah” (Resh-Ayin-He – “to give pasture” or “to make friends” in a certain grammatical form) and “ra-a’” (Resh-Ayin-Ayin – “to be evil”). The latter doesn’t make much sense, so the most probable translation would be “friend of God”
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