Imagine having a name like Pain or Trouble, a permanent reminder of the sorrow that you brought your mother at birth. Wouldn’t it make you want to redeem yourself somehow in the eyes of your parents and others? This reality may be part of the background in Jabez’s story.
The Bible says that Jabez was a descendant of Judah and that he was more honorable than his brothers. It doesn’t even say why he was more honorable, but we can probably assume that it is because of the noble prayer he offered to God. Jabez’s name sounds like the Hebrew word for pain, which explains why his mother gave him that name when she bore him in pain.
The social stigma that Jabez endured because of his name’s associations must have been great, because he prayed that God would do various things that would redeem his name. He prayed that God would bless him and enlarge his territory, meaning that God would grant him even more land than that which had been granted to his family as part of their original inheritance in the Promised Land. He also asked that God’s hand, presumably of blessing and protection, would be with him and that He would keep him from harm. In this way he would be free from pain.
You may not have an actual name like Pain or Trouble, but perhaps your name—that is, your reputation—has become permanently associated with some other negative characteristic, and you desire to redeem your reputation. Ask God to bless you and help you to overcome whatever negative traits have been associated with your name.