Rachel was barren, as Sarah and Rebecca, as Chana and the mother of Samson. She wanted as child so much that she tried to do everything in order to give birth (conversations with Jacob, an inspiration from Bilhah, the mandrakes that Reuben brought).
Only after Jacob was a father of 8 sons, God finally remembered her and she was pregnant. The nine months are not described in the Bible, and I assume that this was a time with a lot of stress. This stress is brought to us when we read the first explanation of joseph’s name, as written:
“וַיִּזְכֹּ֥ר אֱלֹהִ֖ים אֶת־רָחֵ֑ל וַיִּשְׁמַ֤ע אֵלֶ֙יהָ֙ אֱלֹהִ֔ים וַיִּפְתַּ֖ח אֶת־רַחְמָֽהּ׃ וַתַּ֖הַר וַתֵּ֣לֶד בֵּ֑ן וַתֹּ֕אמֶר אָסַ֥ף אֱלֹהִ֖ים אֶת־חֶרְפָּתִֽי׃”
“And God remembered Rachel, and God hearkened to her, and opened her womb.And she conceived, and bare a son; and said, God hath taken away my reproach:” (Genesis 30:22-23)
However’ Joseph is the only son that has two explanations for his name, one for the past- God gathered the disgrace of Rachel; one for the future-God will add another son for Rachel in the land of Canaan, as written:
“וַתִּקְרָ֧א אֶת־שְׁמ֛וֹ יוֹסֵ֖ף לֵאמֹ֑ר יֹסֵ֧ף יְהוָ֛ה לִ֖י בֵּ֥ן אַחֵֽר׃ וַיְהִ֕י כַּאֲשֶׁ֛ר יָלְדָ֥ה רָחֵ֖ל אֶת־יוֹסֵ֑ף וַיֹּ֤אמֶר יַעֲקֹב֙ אֶל־לָבָ֔ן שַׁלְּחֵ֙נִי֙ וְאֵ֣לְכָ֔ה אֶל־מְקוֹמִ֖י וּלְאַרְצִֽי׃”
“And she called his name Joseph; and said, The Lord shall add to me another son.And it came to pass, when Rachel had born Joseph, that Jacob said unto Laban, Send me away, that I may go unto mine own place, and to my country.”(Genesis 30:24-25)
Only after Joseph was born Jacob can come back to the promised land- and as they say at the movies-mission accomplished!
Have a great weekend, Eli