Biblical name (said to mean ‘behold, a son’ in Hebrew), borne by one of the twelve sons of Jacob, and so the name of one of the twelve tribes of Israel. Genesis 29:32 explains it as follows: ‘and Leah conceived, and bare a son, and she called his name Reuben: for she said, Surely the Lord hath looked upon my affliction; now therefore my husband will love me’. In Genesis 30:14–15, Reuben is depicted as a devoted son to his mother, but he incurred his father's wrath for seducing his concubine Bilhah and on his deathbed Jacob, rather than blessing him, cursed Reuben because of this incident (Genesis 49:4). Despite this, the name has enjoyed steady popularity as a Jewish name. Among Christians (chiefly Nonconformists) it came into use after the Reformation, survived into the 20th century, and is currently enjoying a modest revival.