Why “Benoni: Son of My Sorrow” is a Wrong Translation – Using Igbo language

For Hebrew, may we suggest that a noun form of word and a name ‘Benoni’ translated ‘son of my love’ may in fact be wrong, and that it consequently means that ‘Benyamun/Benyamin’ translated ‘son of my right hand’ ‘son of my lord’ may also be wrong. The interpretation is a victim of its past, a translation that is not unlike other probable wrong ‘translations’ from Hebrew to English. To stray a bit, we may look at Genesis 3;17, “cursed (arurah) is the ground because of you” or similar translations “cursed (arur) are you than the ground because of you”. And these curses follow after Ham and his descendant in the Bible. Well with Igbo, there is no way we can overlook the blunder that ‘curse’ is supposedly ‘arur’ or ‘aruh’ since the right translation of the word ‘aru’ or ‘arurah’ in Igbo is evil and forbidden and not ‘curse’ in particular. In Igbo, ‘aruh’ means ‘forbidden’ and in Igbo ‘aruru-ala’ means, ‘evil against the land’ or a form defiling of the land. What follows aru or aruru-ala in Igbo is a ‘curse’. To be clear as part of the ‘omenala’ of Igbo, aruh or aruru-ala, means ‘evil’ or ‘forbidden’, making it clear that Ham and his his children > possibly Canaan, committed ‘evil’ and defiled the land. But say such a thing as a Nigerian would look the part of defense inspite of the incomparable injury that is done to history and the Bible via Genesis.


With Igbo language, I for one, can demonstrate that ‘Beni-oni’ means ‘son of my lord’ and that Benyamun/Benjamin (Benjamin) is more accurately translated ‘son of my love’ or ‘son of my sorrow’. It will be fitting – at least to me – that during the birth of Benyamin by Rachel, she, seeing her child as a boy wouldn’t have uttered ‘son of my sorrow’ for Benoni. A woman who just had a child has no benefit in naming her child ‘son of my sorrow’ …what sorrow? Child bearing was a time of Joy – not sorrow. It was Jacob who spent years (14 years of hardwork) trying to win Rachel hands in marriage. For this commitment, he was duped twice. Leah (Rachel’s elder sister) was not a bad choice but in terms of Rachel and Jacob, it was a question of the heart, a matter of love. If there is anything that Rachel didn’t have which Leah had, it was the Children – especially male Children. When Leah gave bith, he named his Children ‘Reuben’ > first son of his father, Judah > ‘praise the lord’, etc. Rachel on the other hand was the sum of Jacob’s defiance of ‘love denied’ and their love affair was already legendary by the time they left Laban, yet she didn’t have male children until much later. And throughout the life of Jacob, he loved Rachel more than any woman. It was Jacob who loved more, he lost more when Rachel died. Benjamin was the ‘son of his sorrow’ ‘son of his old age’ ‘son of his love’, prove of this was that the disappearing of Benjamin towards end of Jacob’s life broke his life. In all possibility, reason does not exist that any sorrow could have come over Rachel when the baby male was born. In essence, what sorrow could have filld her heart at the birth of yet another son ‘Ben jamin’. Benjamin was not to be a factor, couldn’t have been more than any he was alloted to by providence saving for the death of the dearly beloved ‘Rachel’. it was in this hour that the name began to count, the boy was the sum of his labor of love, now lost at old age of Jacob.



When we draw the first blood that ‘Benoni’ refers to ‘son of my love by Hebrew’, we realize that easy that ‘beni’ or ‘bin’ or ‘bini’ in Hebrew refers to ‘son’ or ‘offspring’. The only puzzle as we shall also realize is that final word at the end of Beni-oni (bin-oni) – is possibly ‘oni’. In terms of Benjamin or in Hebrew ‘Benyamin’ ‘Benyamun’ ‘Bin-yamin/amun’, we realize that the question of the word for word interpretation of the said words can be reduced to two separate and independent words, ‘oni’ and ‘amun’ (amin). For here, we shall begin by suggesting that if there is any Hebrew or Arabic word ‘oni’ that refers to ‘love’ or if there is a word in Hebrew or Arabic that speak of ‘amun’ or ‘amin’ as ‘lord’ ‘master’ or ‘father’, many pundits would have used it buttress on the matter.



Yet in terms of other languages of the world, we may yet suggest that the word ‘amun’ is ever so close to the word ‘love’. For instance, we read in Igbo of the translation for the word ‘smile’ and we learn that to ‘smile with joy’ in Igbo is ‘imu amu’. In Igbo we learn that ‘onuma’ is the translation of the English word ‘mourn’ > to mourn. In Igbo we learn that ‘omu-iko’ is a term that is used a form of ‘endearment’, explains a condition of the heart driven my pity and sympathy, like ‘meek’. In Igbo, the word for ‘joy’ is ‘oyoyo’, where as ‘oyi’ in Igbo is just my partner. The meaning of these words of love is not denied in Spanish or even Latin. For ‘in Spanish and Latin, the word for ‘love’ is ‘amore’ ‘amor’ ‘amo’, accordingly, and when we speak on the word in Spanish ‘mi amore’, we are only saying ‘my love’ But of course this must be taken with as much grain of salt for reasons of the root of Spanish language which as they say is a ‘footnote’ to Arabic. But we know too well the version of the Arabic spoken Spain and wthat is Kufic of the Moors. Among these Moors is also saying ‘amorosa’ meaning ‘beloved’ or ‘my beloved’. Between these terms ‘amun’ ‘imu amu’ (smiles of joy in Igbo), amore (love in Spanish), amo/amor (love in Latin), the Hebrew term ‘amun’ – assuming the transcription is correct, should only – only yield these words ‘love’ ‘joy’ ‘smile’ – if not ‘sorrow’.



But as far African languages, we shall begin here with Igbo and if necessary Bini and Yoruba of Nigeria. There is plenty of evidence that in Igbo, the word for ‘son of the father’ or ‘son of my lord’ is ‘obinna’, with teh given parsimony we may write the word as ‘Binna’ refering to the ‘son of the father’. To be sure, Obi in Igbo does not particularly mean ‘son’, yes, it refers to son/s ‘Obi’ and to be quite sure, Igbo use Obi as a title for a lord. Where as in Igbo, the word for father is ‘nna’. Yet, we cannot pretend that ‘Obi nna’ does not conjure up images of the father’s son – and may lead that Obi is the word for ‘son’ where as it may refer to a descendant – possibly -, if not ultimately refers to the ‘male’. In Igbo, words such as ‘ono’ ‘onu’ refers to someone honorable. In Bini and in Yoruba of Nigeria, there is a term for a chief called ‘Ooni’. An Ooni (Oni) is a Chief or a kind of ruler, but definitely a Chief of ‘honour’. In some parts of Igbo, the word ‘Oni’ is lightly used for a Chief or a man of honour. In a combination of these languages, we can easily suggest and conclude that ‘Obinna’ which is close but not same with Hebrew’s ‘Benoni’ refers to ‘son of the father’ ‘son of my lord’. That it is possibly – if not reasonable to suggest that ‘Bin-oni’ is a term that cannot in any wide refer to ‘son of my love’.



Considering the term, ‘Bin-yamin’ ‘Ben-yamun’ as in Benjamin, translated ‘son of my right hand’ ‘son of my love’, we will now properly understand why Jacob missed his wife. Also, we msut quickly – if not entirely defeat the claim about a Jew who discovered a place in South Africa and didn’t know what to do with it and called it ‘Benoni’ in supposed memoirs of his wife. According to the story, the man latter discovered that the place was bedecked with Diamonds. Tyrants always have a creative affection. It is common sense that the man expriopated the land from the natives knowing fully well that it was rich in diamonds. In order to calm the people chasing after him, he gave a name that will wet the emotional appetite of others. In essence, the land was named after the facts of the Diamond. We can indicate that the word ‘Bini-oni’, most probably refers to ‘son of my lord’ and not probably ‘son of my love’.



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