Genesis 30:1-3,9,15,22-23 Now when Rachel saw that she bore Jacob no children, she became jealous of her sister; and she said to Jacob, “Give me children, or else I die.” Then Jacob’s anger burned against Rachel, and he said, “Am I in the place of God, who has withheld from you the fruit of the womb?” She said, “Here is my maid Bilhah, go in to her that she may bear on my knees, that through her I too may have children”… When Leah saw that she had stopped bearing, she took her maid Zilpah and gave her to Jacob as a wife… But she said to her, “Is it a small matter for you to take my husband? And would you take my son’s mandrakes also?” So Rachel said, “Therefore he may lie with you tonight in return for your son’s mandrakes”… Then God remembered Rachel, and God gave heed to her and opened her womb. So she conceived and bore a son and said, “God has taken away my reproach.”
These are the names of the twelve children of Jacob – Rueben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Dan, Naphtali, Gad, Asher, Issachar, Zebulun, Dinah, Joseph. There were born to his wives Rachel and Leah and through their maids Bilhah and Zilpah.
In today’s chapter, we see the problem of polygamy because it creates jealousy and bitterness. The two wives of Jacob want to bear more children so that he would love them more and so that through them their children would carry Abraham’s great blessing.
Nowadays one or two kids is common or no kids is starting to become natural too. Twelve from 4 women sounds like a real responsibility and all caused because of the error of having two wives.
Where was God in Jacob’s life and what does He intend to teach us through this passage? (more…)