God changed Abram's name, when he was ninety-nine years old, to Abraham because of the blessings he would bestow on him. Sarai, the wife of Abraham, also had her name changed to Sarah since she would ultimately become the mother of MANY nations and kings.
1. And when Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to Abram and said to him, "I am the Almighty God! Walk before Me and be perfect. 2. And I will make My covenant between Me and you, and will multiply you exceedingly." 3. And Abram fell on his face. And God talked with him, saying, 4. "As for Me, behold, My covenant is with you, and you shall be a father of many nations. 5. Neither shall your name any more be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham; for I have made you a father of many nations.
15. And God said to Abraham, "As for Sarai your wife, you shall not call her name Sarai, but her name shall be Sarah. 16. And I will bless her, and give you a son also of her. Yes, I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations - kings of people shall be from her." (Genesis 17:1 - 5, 15 - 16, HBFV throughout)
She was going to have twins, and before they were born, they struggled against each other in her womb (this struggle would continue for many, many years to come) . . . The first one was reddish . . . (he was given the name Esau, which can also mean 'red stew' - He became the father of a tribe of people known as the Edomites). The second one was born holding on tightly to the heel of Esau . . . . (this child was given the name of Jacob, a name God would later change to Israel, Genesis 25:22, 25 - 26)
When Rachel, Jacob's favorite wife, realized she could not have children she DEMANDED that he give her some! Jacob, of course, responded that he did not have the power to grant her request. Rachel then decided to give him her servant girl Bilhah in order to create a family through her. Bilhah soon gave birth to sons named Dan and Naphtali.
1. Now when Rachel saw that she bore Jacob no children, Rachel envied her sister. And she said to Jacob, "Give me sons, or else I will die." 2. And Jacob's anger was kindled against Rachel. And he said, "Am I in God's stead Who has withheld from you the fruit of the womb?" 3. And she said, "Behold my handmaid Bilhah; go in to her, and she shall bear upon my knees, and yea, that I may also have children by her." 4. So she gave him her handmaid Bilhah as a wife. And Jacob went in to her. 5. And Bilhah conceived and bore Jacob a son. 6. And Rachel said, "God has judged me, and has also heard my voice, and has given me a son." Therefore, she called his name Dan. 7. Then Rachel's handmaid Bilhah conceived again and bore Jacob a second son. 8. And Rachel said, "With the wrestlings of God I have wrestled with my sister, and I have prevailed." And she called his name Naphtali (Genesis 30:1 - 8)
When Leah, another of Jacob's wives, believed she could no longer have children she gave her husband a slave woman named Zilpah through which she could have a family. The maidservant Zilpah produced sons of Israel named Gad and Asher (Genesis 30:9 - 13)
Cities of the patriarchs
It as Abraham who named the city of Beersheba (Genesis 21:31). Jacob renamed the city of Luz to Bethel (Genesis 28:19). He also renamed the place where he and Laban agreed to peacefully separate to Galeed (Genesis 31:47). Jacob also named the cities of Mahanaim (32:2), Peniel (32:30) and Succoth (33:17).