Gen. 29:31-30:24, Jacob's children

Discussion in '2000-02 Archive' started by Helen, Jul 2, 2002.

  1. Helen

    Helen
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    God does not see people the way we do. Jacob preferred Rachel. God preferred Leah. It was through Leah that the Christ line would come. It was Leah who bore the many sons to Jacob. It was Leah who survived all her times in childbirth. And it was Leah who is never mentioned in terms of being loved, but was put in a position of danger by Jacob when they went to meet Esau later, while he protected Rachel. And yet we will see that Leah was buried in the cave at Machpelah along with Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, and Rebekah.

    In Genesis 29:31, we wee that it was BECAUSE the Lord saw Leah was not loved that He gave her the first son. This son was Reuben, whose name sounds like the Hebrew for "He has seen my misery." Her next son was Simeon, meaning "He who hears," referring to God hearing she was not loved. Her third son was Levi, which word may be derived from the Hebrew word meaning 'attached.' Her fourth son was Judah, which may be derived from the Hebrew word for 'praise.' It was Judah through whom the Christ line would go.

    Rachel is furious by now and blames her husband! "Give me children or I will die!" she declares. Obviously the fault was NOT with Jacob! So she does the "Sarah thing" and offers her maidservant Bilhah to Jacob. Bilhah becomes pregnant by Jacob and the boy is named Dan, meaning "He has vindicated."

    So evidently Rachel had Bilhah give it another go, and another son was born. This one was named "Naphtali," meaning "my struggle." Rachel felt she was in competition with her sister regarding having children!

    Not to be outdone, Leah gives HER maidservant, Zilpah, to Jacob to take to bed and Zilpah becomes pregnant! That boy was named Gad, which means either "good fortune" or "a troop"!

    So now Zilpah is to go another round and she has another son! This one is Asher, which means 'happy.'

    By now Reuban, the firstborn, is old enough to go out to the wheat fields, either as a worker or just to watch. He finds some mandrake plants. These were thought to help with conception. He brings these plants to his mother, Leah.

    What happens next is really interesting. Rachel wants the mandrake roots, and the deal is made that she will allow Leah to sleep with Jacob in return for those roots. This means that Rachel was queen bee, so to speak, in this extended family. She decided who her husband would sleep with; he didn't! This would make for a very interesting situation...

    Nevertheless, Leah is once more with her husband and God blesses the union. She has a fifth son whom she names Issachar, which sounds like the Hebrew for "reward."

    And then again Leah was allowed access to her husband, and for a sixth time God blesses her with a boy. Her sixth boy is named Zebulun, which is thought to mean "honor." When he was born, Leah was hoping this precious gift from God would cause her husband to honor her.

    Her daughter, Dinah, came along either later or last. There may have been other girls, but we don't hear about them. It was Dinah who caused so much trouble later, so she is mentioned at this point.

    Finally, finally, Rachel herself becomes pregnant. Her child is a son, whom she names Joseph. Rachel is already looking beyond Joseph, for his name means "May He add," in anticipation of other sons!

    At this point Jacob has eleven sons: six by Leah, two by each of the maidservants, and one by Rachel. The problems caused by Rachel are going to extend to Joseph. However, these problems are to be used by God to accomplish some remarkable things for the entire family! We cannot 'blame' God for Rachel's snottiness, but we can stand in awe at the way God used the problems it caused to benefit the entire family later! Only God could do that sort of thing...
     
  2. AF Guy N Paradise

    AF Guy N Paradise
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    I read this chapter last night and am confused on why it is ok for other women to give a baby to the father? Is it being condoned here? It happened to Abraham too with Sarah. I thought adultery is a bad thing. Please expound and forgive my ignorance. I am new at all of this Bible reading and still get confused easy. Mahalo!
     
  3. AF Guy N Paradise

    AF Guy N Paradise
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    By the way, awesome job with this book by book and chapter by chapter commentary. I hope all of this stays archived for a long time to go back and look over....Thansk again.

    [ July 09, 2002, 06:12 PM: Message edited by: AF Guy N Paradise ]
     
  4. Helen

    Helen
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    Hi Guy!

    Paradise (Hawaii for those who don't know where he is stationed) is hot this time of year, isn't it??

    When you read through the Bible, I think one of the things you will see consistently is that God works through cultures. He does not change them. He does not seek to change them. Although He gave Adam only one wife, and this is the God-ordained pattern, King David was described as a man after God's own heart and he had a number of wives!

    God's kingdom, as Jesus so bluntly stated, is NOT of this world. Nevertheless, God is willing, praise Him, to work within our faulty, sin-ridden little kingdoms here on earth to touch the hearts of individuals within those kingdoms.

    There are some mental games it is fun to play as long as you don't count on them for theology. For instance, suppose Jacob had originally accepted Leah and Leah alone as God's choice for him, despite Laban's deceit? Leah was a good child-bearer and might easily have given him more sons on her own. He would have learned not only to love her, but to appreciate her submission and humility. There would have been no need, presumably, for him to have continued working for Laban, which he did for another seven years for Rachel. Would Laban have talked him into staying? I don't know, but I do know when he left, there would have been no Rachel to steal the idols. There would have been, however, no Joseph to have caused such jealously, either. And God used that....

    My own mind comes to a stop here because it is limited and it must. But it does show me that although none of us follow God's perfect will, and a good many of us humans run (not walk!) in exactly the opposite direction, God is still quite able to use anything we wee mortals do to His glory and the benefit of those who love Him.

    Such is our God.

    One other note, I don't think Jacob's or Abraham's other women were adulterous. They were considered wives or concubines in those cultures and therefore within the bounds of marriage morality. Bigamy or polygamy, yes, however -- those terms definitely fit.

    ===========

    Edit: by the way, thank you for your encouragement. Once in awhile in the evening when it is time to do the study I feel so tired I think "Oh, why bother? No one is reading and responding anyway!" I know better, but the encouragement is very welcome and thank you.

    Yes, I believe both Bible study sections are getting archived in perpetuity! I know this one will take about two years to finish!

    [ July 09, 2002, 07:41 PM: Message edited by: Helen ]
     
  5. tyndale1946

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    Is this a coincidence or what I was just thinking the same thing yesterday... What do we have here a competition between Women... Rachel and Leah?... Why do they send in their handmaids?... Out of these Women Leah, and the handmaids came the 9 tribes of Israel!... Notice Levi and Joseph are left out. Benjamin, Ephraim, and Manasseh are added later... Leah who bore Judah surely the lineage Christ came from the Lion of the tribe of Judah but the child of promise was Joseph a type and shadow of Christ... Is this getting good or what!... Brother Glen [​IMG]
     
  6. ElizabethB

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    Helen, I just wanted you to know that I read your posts and Clint's every day. [​IMG]
     
  7. Clint Kritzer

    Clint Kritzer
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