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Jacob, Rachel And Leah

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CHAPTER 30 Jan. 17 
Jacob’s Children and Domestic Problems 
When Rachel saw that she bore Jacob no children, Rachel envied her sister. She said to Jacob, Give me children, or else I will die. 2Jacob’s anger was kindled against Rachel, and he said, Am I in God’s place, who has withheld from you the fruit of the womb? 3She said, Behold, my maid Bilhah. Go in to her, that she may bear on my knees, and I also may obtain children by her. 4She gave him Bilhah her handmaid as wife, and Jacob went in to her. 5Bilhah conceived, and bore Jacob a son. 6Rachel said, God has judged me, and has also heard my voice, and has given me a son. Therefore called she his name Dan. 7Bilhah, Rachel’s handmaid, conceived again, and bore Jacob a second son. 8Rachel said, With mighty wrestlings have I wrestled with my sister, and have prevailed. She named him Naphtali. 9When Leah saw that she had finished bearing, she took Zilpah, her handmaid, and gave her to Jacob as a wife. 10Zilpah, Leah’s handmaid, bore Jacob a son. 11Leah said, How fortunate! She named him Gad. 12Zilpah, Leah’s handmaid, bore Jacob a second son. 13Leah said, Happy am I, for the daughters will call me happy. She named him Asher. 14Reuben went in the days of wheat harvest, and found mandrakes in the field, and brought them to his mother, Leah. Then Rachel said to Leah, Please give me some of your son’s mandrakes. 15She said to her, Is it a small matter that you have taken away my husband? Would you take away my son’s mandrakes, also? Rachel said, Therefore he will lie with you tonight for your son’s mandrakes. 16Jacob came from the field in the evening, and Leah went out to meet him, and said, You must come in to me; for I have surely hired you with my son’s mandrakes. He lay with her that night. 17God listened to Leah, and she conceived, and bore Jacob a fifth son. 18Leah said, God has given me my hire, because I gave my handmaid to my husband. She named him Issachar. 19Leah conceived again, and bore a sixth son to Jacob. 20Leah said, God has endowed me with a good dowry. Now my husband will live with me, because I have borne him six sons. She named him Zebulun. 21Afterwards, she bore a daughter, and named her Dinah. 22God remembered Rachel, and God listened to her, and opened her womb. 23She conceived, bore a son, and said, God has taken away my reproach. 24She named him Joseph, saying, May Yahweh add another son to me.
Jacob Increases His Wealth 
25It happened, when Rachel had borne Joseph, that Jacob said to Laban, Send me away, that I may go to my own place, and to my country. 26Give me my wives and my children for whom I have served you, and let me go; for you know my service with which I have served you. 27Laban said to him, If now I have found favour in your eyes, stay here, for I have divined that Yahweh has blessed me for your sake. 28He said, Appoint me your wages, and I will give it. 29He said to him, You know how I have served you, and how your livestock have fared with me. 30For it was little which you had before I came, and it has increased to a multitude. Yahweh has blessed you wherever I turned. Now when will I provide for my own house also? 31He said, What shall I give you? Jacob said, You shall not give me anything. If you will do this thing for me, I will again feed your flock and keep it. 32I will pass through all your flock today, removing from there every speckled and spotted one, and every black one among the sheep, and the spotted and speckled among the goats. This will be my hire. 33So my righteousness will answer for me hereafter, when you come concerning my hire that is before you. Every one that is not speckled and spotted among the goats, and black among the sheep, that might be with me, will be counted stolen. 34Laban said, Behold, let it be according to your word. 35That day, he removed the male goats that were streaked and spotted, and all the female goats that were speckled and spotted, every one that had white in it, and all the black ones among the sheep, and gave them into the hand of his sons. 36He set three days’ journey between himself and Jacob, and Jacob fed the rest of Laban’s flocks. 37Jacob took to himself rods of fresh poplar, almond, plane tree, peeled white streaks in them, and made the white appear which was in the rods. 38He set the rods which he had peeled opposite the flocks in the gutters in the watering-troughs where the flocks came to drink. They conceived when they came to drink. 39The flocks conceived before the rods, and the flocks produced streaked, speckled, and spotted. 40Jacob separated the lambs, and set the faces of the flocks toward the streaked and all the black in the flock of Laban: and he put his own droves apart, and didn’t put them into Laban’s flock. 41It happened, whenever the stronger of the flock conceived, that Jacob laid the rods before the eyes of the flock in the gutters, that they might conceive among the rods; 42but when the flock were feeble, he didn’t put them in. So the feebler were Laban’s, and the stronger Jacob’s. 43The man increased exceedingly, and had large flocks, female servants and male servants, and camels and donkeys.


30:4 Jacob's sleeping with his wives' maids was contrary to the one man: one woman ideal of Genesis. But God tolerated it and used the children conceived as the founding pillars of His people Israel; He worked through the weakness of people rather than turning away in disgust and disappointment at their failures. God does the same with us, and we ought to have a similar hopeful patience in dealing with people who fail.
30:6 It seems that this was a case of Rachel trying to force God's hand rather than Him blessing her. Yet she eagerly interpreted events as meaning God was blessing her, just as we can- we too easily attach positive meaning to our poor behaviour.
30:8 Leah didn't fight back nor have any personal part in wrestling with Rachel; the wrestling was all in Rachel's mind. We can assume others are actively against us and even fighting against us when actually they are just innocent people in the situation they are in, and our wrestling is in fact against God and not them as persons. Jacob learnt the same lesson when he wrestled with the Angel in chapter 32.
30:11 Gad was the name of an idol, the god of luck or fortune. In this name choice we see the pagan influences in the family which God was trying to transform into His people.
30:16 Mandrakes were supposed to be aphrodisiacs. The record is framed to show how meaningless were these pagan beliefs- for if they had really worked, she would have had no need to order Jacob to sleep with her. God's patient working through their misunderstandings is seen later in how He worked through Jacob's belief in the myth of cattle bearing spotted offspring if they conceived in front of spotted rods (:37).
30:37-39 This was a pagan belief with no biological truth in it, but God still worked through it in order to bless Jacob; see on :16. The Lord Jesus did the same regarding the common belief that demons caused illness. His language went along with the idea, although the Bible is clear that demons don't exist and sickness is ultimately under God's control, in order to bring healing and blessing to those sick people. By doing so, He demonstrated that God's power is so far greater than that of demons that effectively, demons have no power and don't actually exist. God worked in the same way through the wrong ideas held by Jacob and his family.
 30:43 The man- stressing how Jacob humanly, in a fleshly sense, was blessed by God. Later on he must have reflected how this blessing was by Divine grace rather than because of any truth in the pagan beliefs of themselves, for afterwards he talks of how it was God who graciously gave him the extra cattle (31:9; 32:10).