Genesis 30 – Reading Note – Jacob’s Wives Fight for Children

  • Rachel became jealous of her sister when she realized she was barren (v 1).
  • Like Sarah (Genesis 16:3, 4), Rachel doesn’t wait for God to bless her with children. Instead, she takes matters into her own hands and gives her maid to her husband as a wife (v 3 – 6). This is different from Rebecca’s case in which her husband (Isaac) prayed to God for Rebecca and He answered. It seems that in the case of both Sarah and Rachel, God made them barren intentionally so that if prayers were said, no results would have been forthcoming.
  • It is interesting that in the cases of both Sarah and Rachel, the wives took the children borne by their maids to be their own – at least Sarah did until she bore her own son (16:2), (30:3-6). What choice did the maids have in this and how did they feel about it, I wonder. Hagar may have been overjoyed to give Abraham a son where Sarah could not (she did become proud and disrespectful) but I do not know of Bilhah (Rachel’s maid).
  • When Rachel’s maid gives birth to a son, she (Rachel) attributes this to the work of God, not her own in giving Jacob her maid. Therefore, it seems that she demonstrates knowledge of God’s sovereignty.
  • The chapter mentions Jacob’s sons, but did he have any daughters besides Dinah that were not mentioned?
  • The women took turns spending the night with Jacob and when Leah told him that Rachel had sold her turn for mandrakes, Jacob didn’t protest. “You must sleep with me,” she said. “I have hired you with my son’s mandrakes” (v 14 – 16)
  • God granted Leah’s desire for more children, even though she had so much more than her sister (v 17). Does that count as greed and what does it say about how God treats our wants and desires?
  • Leah viewed her action in giving her maid to her husband as a service deserving of a reward (v 17, 18) rather than a desire for more children. Or was she simply saying that God saw that she wanted more children and blessed her. If so, couldn’t she have been less ambiguous?
  • Six sons for Leah meant that her husband would now treat her with honor (v 19, 20) afterall, she had been such a blessing to him. To be honest, that is a lot of sons but was she suggesting that Jacob had not given her the honor she was due so far? She was the first wife afterall (if that meant anything then) and she had the most sons.
  • Six sons for Leah, two for Bilhah and two for Zilpah and all this while, Rachel is still barren. That must have been terrible for her. Why did God prolong it so? For His own good purpose, I presume but this is not time for speculation.
  • “Then God remembered Rachel; he listened to her and opened her womb. She became pregnant and gave birth to a son and said, ‘God has taken away my disgrace.’ She named him Joseph and said, ‘May the LORD add to me another son.’” (v 22 -24)

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I’m Tracy

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