Rachel asked for more before she finished what was on her plate.
Thus, Jacob had children by four different women. Rachel is the last to give birth, in Genesis 30:22 it reads:
Then God remembered Rachel; he listened to her and enabled her to conceive. 23 She became pregnant and gave birth to a son and said, “God has taken away my disgrace.” 24 She named him Joseph and said, “May the Lord add to me another son.”
My bible notes that Joseph means another.
The name Rachel gave Joseph had to do with something else that she wanted: another son. She named Joseph: “May the Lord add to me another son.” Basically, before she even had experienced the joy of being a mother, before she felt the pain of hearing him cry uncontrollably, before she even said thank you to God for providing a son, she found herself saying: give me another son.
Have you ever been to a restaurant and waited for your meal and then, when it arrives, half of the plate is empty because it was a small portion? Before you even dive into the plate you ask aloud: where’s the rest? You haven’t enjoyed what you have and you already want more. This is what Rachel did . She gave birth and said “That’s it? Give me another.” She was so fixated on the next one that she even gave Joseph a name that shows he was considered incomplete.
1 What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? 2 You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. 3 When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.
Rachel’s constant desire for more causes her to see everything around her as not enough. Consider this account from Genesis 30:14:
14 During wheat harvest, Reuben went out into the fields and found some mandrake plants, which he brought to his mother Leah. Rachel said to Leah, “Please give me some of your son’s mandrakes.”
15 But she said to her, “Wasn’t it enough that you took away my husband? Will you take my son’s mandrakes too?”
“Very well,” Rachel said, “he can sleep with you tonight in return for your son’s mandrakes.”
16 So when Jacob came in from the fields that evening, Leah went out to meet him. “You must sleep with me,” she said. “I have hired you with my son’s mandrakes.” So he slept with her that night.
16 Then they moved on from Bethel. While they were still some distance from Ephrath, Rachel began to give birth and had great difficulty. 17 And as she was having great difficulty in childbirth, the midwife said to her, “Don’t despair, for you have another son.” 18 As she breathed her last—for she was dying—she named her son Ben-Oni. But his father named him Benjamin.
This story is humbling me now. In the footnotes my bible says that “Ben-Oni means son of my trouble” and “Benjamin means son of my right hand.” Rachel called Benjamin son of her trouble and Jacob called him son of his right hand. At once represented trouble and authority.
As I think about these women, I wonder: why were they tiring themselves out? Rachel’s longing for more, for another, killed her. It’s very sobering but she teaches us to learn contentment. She teaches us not to define our value in what we have but in who we are and whose we are.