This lesson begins in Genesis 30:1 “And when Rachel saw that she
bare Jacob no children, Rachel envied her sister; and said unto Jacob,
Give me children, or else I die.”
This is a hard thing to understand. In our society, if a man had
more than one wife, it is called bigamy. When God created man and
woman, He said they two shall become one flesh. Any arrangement aside
from this brings trouble. Jealousy and strife had entered Rachel in
this case. There is no grief like a married woman who is not able to
bear children. Women do not feel fulfilled, until they have children.
This is the case even more so with Rachel, because her sister had,
had four children. Rachel blamed Jacob.
Genesis 30:2 “And Jacob’s anger was kindled against Rachel: and
he said, [Am] I in God’s stead, who hath withheld from thee the fruit
of the womb?”
Even when you love someone as Jacob loved Rachel, you can not
bear being blamed for something you had nothing to do with. He reminded
Rachel, here, that God had refused the blessing of children to her.
Genesis 30:3 “And she said, Behold my maid Bilhah, go in unto
her; and she shall bear upon my knees, that I may also have children
Genesis 30:4 “And she gave him Bilhah her handmaid to wife: and
Jacob went in unto her.”
Genesis 30:5 “And Bilhah conceived, and bare Jacob a son.”
How these women ever thought that their maid’s children would be
theirs, I cannot imagine. This plan would cause more confusion, not
less. Now, instead of being jealous of Leah, Rachel will have Bilhah
to be jealous of also.
Genesis 30:6 “And Rachel said, God hath judged me, and hath also
heard my voice, and hath given me a son: therefore called she his name
Now, this was really a strange situation. The mother was not even
allowed to name her baby. Rachel named him Dan and even claimed him
for her own. It reminds me of the surrogate mothers of our day.
The mother who bears the child has no rights at all to the child.
“Dan” means judge.
Genesis 30:7 “And Bilhah Rachel’s maid conceived again, and bare
Jacob a second son.”
Genesis 30:8 “And Rachel said, With great wrestlings have I
wrestled with my sister, and I have prevailed: and she called his name
This was so ridiculous. It had become a contest to see who God
would allow to have the most children. “Naphtali” means my wrestling.
Genesis 30:9 “When Leah saw that she had left bearing, she took
Zilpah her maid, and gave her Jacob to wife.”
Genesis 30:10 “And Zilpah Leah’s maid bare Jacob a son.”
This seems as if Jacob had no say so about who his bed partner
would be, but we know this was not true. God had planned to start twelve
tribes of very different people. This was God’s plan being unwittingly
carried out by these jealous women. God arranges things to fit His
plans, not for our convenience.
Genesis 30:11 “And Leah said, A troop cometh: and she called his
“Gad” means fortune
Genesis 30:12 “And Zilpah Leah’s maid bare Jacob a second son.”
Genesis 30:13 “And Leah said, Happy am I, for the daughters will
call me blessed: and she called his name Asher.”
“Asher” means happiness. Asher was the eighth son of Jacob.
Blessings from God, many times, come in the form of children. Leah
knew God had abundantly blessed her.
Genesis 30:14 “And Reuben went in the days of wheat harvest, and
found mandrakes in the field, and brought them unto his mother Leah.
Then Rachel said to Leah, Give me, I pray thee, of thy son’s
Genesis 30:15 “And she said unto her, [Is it] a small matter that
thou hast taken my husband? and wouldest thou take away my son’s
mandrakes also? And Rachel said, Therefore he shall lie with thee to
night for thy son’s mandrakes.”
It seems as if these mandrakes were similar to fertility drugs of
our day. Rachel wanted a child and would go to any length to get one.
It seems a great deal of time had elapsed since Rachel married Jacob,
or else Reuben would not be old enough to go to the field alone.
Ungers says that the mandrake plant is a narcotic and could kill if
taken in quantity. The Bible did not indicate that at all. It
indicated life, not death.
Genesis 30:16 “And Jacob came out of the field in the evening,
and Leah went out to meet him, and said, Thou must come in unto me;
for surely I have hired thee with my son’s mandrakes. And he lay with
her that night.”
Genesis 30:17 “And God hearkened unto Leah, and she conceived,
and bare Jacob the fifth son.”
This was a strange situation, as we said before. It seems Jacob
did what ever Racheal wanted him to do, even to sleeping with her
sister. In God’s sight, Leah had got the worst of this deal, and He
blessed her and made her fruitful.
Genesis 30:18 “And Leah said, God hath given me my hire, because
I have given my maiden to my husband: and she called his name
“Issachar” means he will bring reward.
Genesis 30:19 “And Leah conceived again, and bare Jacob the sixth
Genesis 30:20 “And Leah said, God hath endued me [with] a good
dowry; now will my husband dwell with me, because I have born him six
sons: and she called his name Zebulun.
“Zebulun” means dwelling, or habitation. From all of this, it
seems that even though Leah had blessed Jacob with six sons, that he
did not really live with her. It seems Jacob lived with Rachel and
Genesis 30:21 “And afterwards she bare a daughter, and called her
“Dinah” means justice. Daughters were not ordinarily mentioned,
unless they play a prominent roll of some kind. Such was the case here,
as we will see as we go on with the lesson.
Genesis 30:22 “And God remembered Rachel, and God hearkened to
her, and opened her womb.”
Genesis 30:23 “And she conceived, and bare a son; and said, God
hath taken away my reproach:”
Genesis 30:24 “And she called his name Joseph; and said, The LORD
shall add to me another son.”
Verse 22 indicates that Rachel had been praying to God, when it
said …”.harkened to her “……The fervent prayer will not go
unanswered. Sometimes, the answer is a long time in coming, but God
hears and answers prayers. As we have said before, these people
believe being barren was a punishment from God. To bear children was
Joseph was not to be like the others. This son was from a love union of
the spirit. These other sons had to do with flesh and worldliness. He
would be Jacob’s favorite. “Joseph” means Jehovah add.
This was the son whom God would send the blessings through. Joseph
would be God’s man. We must watch him carefully. Through him we will
see a type and shadow of Jesus. Joseph was the eleventh child of Jacob.
In future lessons, we will find Jacob loved Joseph more than the
others. This will cause trouble in the family. We will watch the
miraculous protection provided Joseph in the worst of circumstances.
This son was called of God for a time and a purpose. There would be one
more son born to Rachel which would round out the twelve tribes of Israel.
For the time being Joseph was the youngest, and the favorite, born of Jacob’s
We will begin in Genesis chapter 30 verse 25 in the next lesson.