Jacob’s Wives and Children
Questions and Proposed Answers Supplied
Background and Printed Text: Genesis 29:15-30:24
Genesis 29:15 And White (Laban) said unto He-Will-Heel (Jacob), “Because thou art my brother, and wilt thou serve me for nothing? Tell to me, what is thy wage?”
16And to White (Laban) are two daughters. The name of the big is Weary (Leah) and the name of the little is Ewe (Rachel). 17And the eyes of Weary (Leah) are soft. And Ewe (Rachel) was beautiful of figure and beautiful of appearance. 18And He-Will-Heel (Jacob) loved Ewe (Rachel).
And he said, “I will serve thee seven years for Ewe (Rachel) thy little daughter.” 19And White (Laban) said, “Good is my giving her to thee from my giving her to another man. Dwell with me.”
20And He-Will-Heel (Jacob) served seven years via Ewe (Rachel). And they were in his eyes as single days via his love of her.
21And He-Will-Heel (Jacob) said unto White (Laban), “Render my woman. For my days were filled. And I came unto her.” 22And White (Laban) gathered all the men of the place. And he made a drinking-party. 23And he was in the evening. And he took Weary (Leah) his daughter. And he brought her unto him. And he came unto her. 24And White (Laban) gave to her Her-Trickling (Zilpah) his slavewoman—to Weary (Leah) his daughter, a slave-woman.
25And he was in the morning. And behold, he is Weary (Leah)! And he said unto White (Laban), “What is this thou did unto me? Did I not serve with thee via Ewe (Rachel)? And why did thou beguile me?” 26And White (Laban) said, It is not so done in our place—to give the young to the faces of the firstborn. 27 Fill this seven, and we have given her to thee—also this—via the slavery that thou shalt serve with me yet seven other years!” 28And He-Will-Heel (Jacob) did so. And he fulfilled this seven. And he gave Ewe (Rachel) his daughter to him for a woman. 29And White (Laban) gave Via-Languishing (Bilhah) his slavewoman to Ewe (Rachel) his daughter for a slavewoman to her. 30 And he also came unto Ewe (Rachel).
And he also loved Ewe (Rachel) more than Weary (Leah). And he served with him yet seven years after. 31And Yehovah saw that Weary (Leah) is hated. And He opened her womb. And Ewe (Rachel) is barren.
32And Weary (Leah) conceived. And she childed a son. And she called his name See-ye-a-son! (Reuben). For she said, “For Yehovah saw via my humiliation! For now my man will love me!” 33And she conceived again. And she childed a son. And she said, “For Yehovah hearkened! For I am hated! And He has given also this to me!” And she called his name Hearkening (Shimon). 34And she conceived again. And she childed a son. And she said, “Now is the stroke! My man will join unto me! For I have childed three sons to him!” Therefore he called his name My-Joining (Levi). 35And she conceived again. And she childed a son. And she said, “The stroke! I will confess Yehovah!” Therefore she called his name He-Confessed-Yehovah. And she stood childing.
(Chapter 30) 1And Ewe (Rachel) saw that she did not child to He-Will-Heel (Jacob). And Ewe (Rachel) envied against her sister. And she said unto He-Will-Heel (Jacob), “Render children to me! And if not, I am dead!” 2And He-Will-Heel’s (Jacob’s) anger was kindled against Ewe (Rachel). And he said, “Am I the under Gods Who withheld fruit of the womb from thee?” 3And she said, “Behold my maid Via-Languishing (Bilhah)! Come unto her! And she shall bear upon my knees. And I, even I have built from her!” 4And she gave him Via-Languishing (Bilhah) her slavewoman for a woman. And He-Will-Heel (Jacob) came unto her.
5And Via-Languishing (Bilhah) conceived. And she childed a son to He-Will-Heel (Jacob). 6And Ewe (Rachel) said, Elohim adjudicated me! And He hath also hearkened into my voice. And He gave a son to me!” Therefore she called his name Adjudicator (Dan). 7And she conceived again. And Via-Languishing (Bilhah) Ewe’s (Rachel’s) slavewoman childed to He-Will-Heel (Jacob) a second son. 8And Ewe (Rachel) said, “I have wrestled the wrestlings of Elohim with my sister. Also I was able!” And she called his name My-Wrestling.
9And Weary (Leah) saw that she stood (from) bearing. And she took Her-Trickling (Zilpah) her slavewoman. And she gave her to He-Will-Heel (Jacob) for a woman. 10And Her-Trickling (Zilpah), Weary’s (Leah’s) slavewoman childed a son to He-Will-Heel (Jacob). 11And Weary (Leah) said, “Via a troop!” And she called his name Troop (Gad). 12And Her-Trickling (Zilpah) Weary’s (Leah’s) slavewoman childed a second son to He-Will-Heel (Jacob). 13And Weary (Leah) said, “Via my happiness! For daughters ‘happied’ me!” And she called his name Happy (Asher).
14And They-Saw-A-Son (Reuben) walked in the days of wheat harvest. And he found mandrakes in the field. And he brought them unto Weary (Leah) his mother. And Ewe (Rachel) said to Weary (Leah), “Give, na, to me from thy son’s mandrakes.” 15And she said unto her, “Is (it) small that thou hast taken my man? And wilt thou take away my son’s mandrakes also?” And Ewe (Rachel) said, “Therefore he shall lie with thee tonight in the place of thy son’s mandrakes.”
16And He-Will-Heel (Jacob) came out of the field in the evening. And Weary (Leah) went out to meet him. And she said, “Thou shalt come unto me. For hiring, I hired thee via my son’s mandrakes!” And he lay with her in that night. 17 And Elohim hearkened unto Weary. And she conceived. And she childed the fifth son to He-Will-Heel (Jacob). 18 And Weary (Leah) said, “Elohim gave my hire that I gave my slavewoman to my man!” And she called his name There-is-a-Hire (Issachar). 19And Weary (Leah) conceived again. And she childed the sixth son to He-Will-Heel (Jacob). 20And Weary (Leah) said, “Elohim endowed me a good endowment! The stroke my man will cohabit with me, for I childed six sons to him!” And she called his name They-Shall-Cohabit (Zebulun).
21And afterward she childed a daughter. And she called her name Her-Adjudication (Dinah).
22 And Elohim remembered Ewe. And Elohim hearkened unto her. And He opened her womb. 23 And she conceived. And she childed a son. And she said, “Elohim collected my reproach!” 24 And she called his name He-Adds (Joseph), saying, “Yehovah added another son to me!”
I. Laban’s Business Dealings (verse 15)
Laban found that Jacob was a good worker; Jacob had worked without wages except for food and necessary supplies for the work. He wanted to know what wage Jacob desired.
1. Why did Jacob serve Laban for nothing? The text doesn’t say, but Jacob was earning room and board (that is, a place to stay, and food to eat). He was also establishing his reputation as a good worker, and was demonstrating his good character.
2. Why did Laban offer to pay Jacob? Again, the text doesn’t say why, but if Laban never offerred to pay Jacob, Jacob might go to another place to live and work. Good and faithful workers are hard to find now, and they were hard to find then.
3. Was Jacob Laban’s brother? He wasn’t his direct brother, but he was related. Jacob’s mother was Laban’s brother.
II. Laban’s Daughters (verses 16-18)
Laban had two daughters: Leah and Rachel (or Raquel). Leah’s eyes are soft. Raquel had a beautiful figure and a beautiful appearance. Jacob fell in love with Raquel.
1. What do soft eyes sometimes indicate? They sometimes indicate that a person is soft-hearted, very kind and observant.
2. Who had the greater advantages, Leah or Raquel? It seems that beautiful folks have much greater advantages. They don’t have to be kind to get what they desire, and they please others just by being around because of their looks. In reality, those who are not pretty or handsome will have to work much harder on their own characters to obtain approval, because humans like good-looking folks more than folks who are not so good-looking. Yehovah looks at actions and words when He judges; those show character. Folks who have good characters have approval from Yehovah. Most beautiful women and handsome men don’t have good character; they are physically as beautiful as they are character-ugly. There are rare exceptions. Most folks who are not beautiful also don’t have very good characters, but more do have good characters than those who are truly beautiful. Sometimes, folks who are not beautiful are bitter because God didn’t make them beautiful, and folks who are beautiful are proud because of their beauty. (Pride is never good in the Bible.)
While Raquel had the greater advantages, Yehovah favored Leah.
3. Why would parents name a daughter Weary? The child’s mother may have had a very hard pregnancy! The text doesn’t say why.
4. Did Jacob dislike Leah? The text doesn’t say that here.
5. What is love? Love is seeking the highest, best interest for another without regard to oneself. The opposite of love can be defined as seeking the highest, best interest for self without regard to others. This is selfishness.
Another part of love is panting after another. The Hebrew word for love is ahava, which sounds like panting after someone or something. This is not wrong as long as such a relationship is right. (If a man pants after a woman married to another, that is wrong.)
III. The Answer (verses 18-19)
Jacob agreed to serve Laban for seven years in order to obtain Rachel for a wife. Laban said that it was better to give Rachel to Jacob than to another man. Laban desired Jacob to dwell with him.
1. Why was Jacob willing to serve Laban for seven years for Raquel? He truly loved her, and she was worth that much to him! He would get to see her, and this was a goal that was worthwhile to him. This was quite an expression of his love.
2. Why did Laban believe that it was better to give her to Jacob than to another man? Another man who wasn’t a relative might take her and leave. This way, Laban could keep his relationship with his daughter and use the work that Jacob provided. Laban saw this as a very good business deal.
Another man might pay for her in cash, but seven years of labor and risk is much more valuable.
3. What did Laban mean by, “Dwell with me”? Shepherds and cowboys had to follow the flock and the herd. They could try to maintain a house made of wood and stone, but many had to live in tents, moving to fresh pastures. Laban already had other shepherds who dwelt with him; they would have their own tents, but they would work together with Laban. The offer to dwell with him didn’t mean that he slept in the same structure that Laban slept (as you will see); it means that Jacob and Laban stayed or moved together on the land.
IV. Serving and Waiting (verse 20)
Jacob did not mind waiting for this beautiful girl. Seven years went by as if they were a few days. His love for this girl lasted.
1. Did Jacob forget about going home? Wasn’t he homesick? He did forget about going home! He wasn’t homesick. Seven years flew by.
2. Was Jacob good at what he did? He was very good. (This will become apparent.) He was a shepherd of sheep. That is much work.
3. Was being a shepherd of sheep very profitable? That is very low-class work! It is usually work that one in poverty would do. The owner of the flock might do better, but being a shepherd puts that person at the very bottom of society.
V. The Trick (verses 21-24)
When Jacob said, “Render my woman,” he wasn’t being rude. He was telling Laban that it was time to give Raquel to him as they had agreed. Jacob’s seven years (“my days”) were completed (“filled”). Jacob desired to come unto her (to have sexual intercourse with her). He had purchased her for his woman (for his wife); they were already legally married.
Laban gathered all the men of the place and made a drinking party to celebrate this union of Jacob to his daughter. The party lasted into the evening. Then Laban took Leah, and brought her to Jacob. Jacob came unto Leah (in sexual intercourse).
In the meantime, Laban gave to Leah a slavewoman named Zilpah to help with the chores.
1. Jacob said, “Render my woman. For my days were filled. And I came unto her.” There seems to be no consideration of the women by the men. Jacob wants Rachel now, because he wants to go unto her (have sexual intercourse with her). Does this show that men saw women as property, and as pretty toys to be used? No, this doesn’t show this. Some men (like Jacob) had great respect for their women, and did not treat them as ‘pretty toys to be used.’ Other men did misuse women, but that has been part of life from the before Noah’s flood.
Jacob did consider Raquel his property, but he also considered himself her property. That is what is meant by holy matrimony, since holy means owned! Being owned is very good as long as the ownership is beneficial to both (and to others). Being unowned can be a great problem!
Are you owned?
2. Did Laban do wrong to gather the men of the place and to throw a drinking party? No, Laban did not do wrong by doing this. He did right. As long as participants are not alcoholics, and as long as there is no danger of getting others killed, throwing a drinking party is fine!
Modern drinking parties can include the following that make them very bad:
- Driving automobiles; anyone drunk who drives an automobile is attempting to murder others.
- Violence; some folks who become drunk also become loud, rude, violent, and mean.
Drinking parties in the Bible did not tend to have violence and rude behavior, because folks depended on each other in so many ways. Anyone who was violent would be put out from camps. Cooperation was so necessary for life.
3. Did Laban do wrong to bring Leah instead of Rachel to Jacob on this honeymoon night? Laban will give a reason in the verses coming up. What Laban did wasn’t right, but there was no stated rule by which Jacob could have known what to expect.
4. Why didn’t Jacob notice that he was having sexual intercourse with Leah instead of Raquel? The place was dark. Lighting a party outside before electricity required too many candles and oil lamps. When Jacob took Leah into the tent, he couldn’t see her. Besides this, Jacob had drunk much alcohol as part of the celebration; he was not able to see and think as well as he would had he not drunk any alcohol.
5. Were slaves often given with daughters when the daughters were given in marriage? Yes, they were! Household chores that seem easy today were very difficult in history. Fixing breakfast could require much work, and doing laundary required hours of work. Animals had to be tended, and there was no refrigeration; food that went uneaten would soon spoil. Much food had to be fixed fresh. A day’s work was very difficult. Having another with whom to work made it tolerable, and sometimes even made it enjoyable, but it was still very hard!
VI. The Confrontation and Bargain (verses 25-30)
The morning came. Jacob saw—”and behold, he is Leah!” He awoke with another woman in bed with him! He confronted Laban. “What is this thou did unto me?” Jacob reminded Laban of the bargain. He then asked, “Why did thou beguile me?” Laban’s reply was that it was against tradition to marry off the younger daughter before the firstborn daughter!
Laban told Jacob to fulfill this seven (one week). At the end of the week, Rachel will be given to Jacob, on the condition that he will serve for another seven years! Jacob agreed to this. So Jacob had to wait only another seven days to get the one whom he loved.
Rachel was given Bilhah to serve her. Jacob then had sexual intercourse with Rachel.
1. Why did Jacob confront Laban, but he didn’t confront Leah? Leah was only doing what her father told her to do. Jacob had no reason to be angry or bitter against Leah. Jacob went to the one with whom he had made the agreement. (Jacob is a wise man.)
2. Did Laban beguile Jacob? Yes, he did! He could have told him about this tradition in the first place, but Laban desired to keep Jacob working for him for another seven years!
3. Did Laban speak the truth when he said, “It is not so done in our place—to give the young to the faces of the firstborn”? The readers are left to decide this for themselves. I cannot tell if this is the truth or not. Jacob took it as the truth; Jacob is a wise man.
4. How did Leah feel on the next morning after the honeymoon night? The text does not say. She also desired to be married. I propose that she had conflicting feelings, including fear. If Jacob did not love her, that would be years of misery for her.
5. What was part of fulfilling the seven (week) of a woman (verse 27)? The seven days included her being in a new environment with a man of a different culture. That week would show her how the years might go. Therefore, a wise man would treat the woman very well, and would speak well to her, give her pleasure, and speak plans with her, finding her desires.
6. In Jacob’s mind, he was truly serving Laban for Rachel for fourteen years. Was this worthwhile to him? It was very worthwhile to him!
7. How would Leah feel to now have her sister become a wife to her man? Because of the labor involved in life, she might be a little jealous, but that was her sister. They knew each other well, and they were of the same culture. They had already worked together, and they could coordinate the family very well. The real issue to Leah was whether Jacob would love her (Leah); she already knew that Jacob loved her sister.
8. Is being married to more than one woman at a time wrong, according to the Bible? It is not wrong as long as the culture and the society do not see it as wrong. Pastors cannot have more than one wife in any culture, according to the Bible. Yehovah did not originally design marriage to include multiple wives, but He never disallowed it, knowing that wars would slaughter many men, leaving women without enough men to go around. Women often desire to have children; that would put the women into too much competition, and would leave some totally unfulfilled. Therefore, Yehovah did not stop multiple wives. He never permits a woman to have more than one husband.
VII. Hard Feelings (verses 30-31)
Jacob loved Rachel more than Leah. Jacob served seven more years.
Yehovah saw Leah’s situation: she was hated. Yehovah opened her womb so that she could conceive. Yehovah did not open Rachel’s womb (at this time); she was barren.
1. Was Jacob wrong to love Rachel more than Leah? Jacob’s love had been toward Raquel in the first place. Leah was placed as his woman by a form of deceit. He wasn’t wrong; it was up to Leah to change it. She had participated in the deceit even if she had obeyed her father in the process.
2. Who hated Leah? This text doesn’t state that Jacob hated her. Yehovah left her hater as unidentified. It could have been Raquel who hated her, or even the slavewoman who came with Raquel. I do not assume that Jacob hated her. The text doesn’t need to say both: “he also loved Rachel more than Leah,” and “Leah is hated,” if both refer to Jacob.
3. Why did Yehovah open Leah’s womb? He did this, according to this text, because she was hated. Yehovah had compassion on her (He treated her well and with mercy).
4. Why was Raquel barren? Did Yehovah do this to her? The text does not state that Yehovah did it to her. A woman isn’t necessarily barren because Yehovah made her barren; she can be barren for a number of natural reasons.
VIII. The Race is On! (verses 32-35)
Leah conceived and childed (bore) a son.
Son #1 is Reuben (See ye, a son!). Leah said that Yehovah saw via her humiliation. She also thought that her man would now love her.
Leah conceived again, and bore a second son.
Son #2 is Shimon (Hearkening). Leah said that Yehovah hearkened. She stated that she was hated, and that Yehovah gave also this son to her.
Leah conceived a third time.
Son #3 is Levi (Joining). Leah said, “Now is the stroke!” meaning, “This time!” She continued, “My man will join unto me, for I have childed three sons to him!”
Leah conceived a fourth time.
Son #4 is Judah (He confessed Yah). Leah this time confessed Yehovah herself. That was the last child she had.
1. Was Leah right when she said, “Yehovah hath seen via my humiliation”? Was this why she became pregnant? She was right! This was why she became pregnant! Yehovah did not view her as having done wrong in the deception of Jacob.
2. Was she right thinking that her man will love her? She wasn’t right yet; but Jacob did have sexual intercourse with her so that she became pregnant. If his character had been like many men, he would not have done that. Those children were his children, and Leah was their mother.
3. To what did Yehovah hearken? What does this mean? The word hearken means to listen and to do. Yehovah hearkened to Leah’s calling to Him, because she was hated, and Yehovah gave her further pregnancy.
4. Did Yehovah give her this second child? Yes, He did. He is the one who gives all children. He chooses the parents to whom He will give children.
5. If Yehovah gives children to parents, why do some parents abuse their children and even some kill them? Some parents do not see or value the image of God in their children; they see their children as a burden, a responsibility that stops them from doing what they want to do without anything stopping them. They hate what their children require from them, and they are bitter against God. Yehovah will hold them responsible for what they do to their children. Children are gift from God.
6. What does stroke mean in, “Now is the stroke”? This is the Hebrew way of expressing rhythmic time—time like what one would hear in an old-fashioned watch that ticks, or in a clock that ticks. Each stroke or beat is the movement of time.
Thus, she is saying, “Now is the time!” She is hopeful that Jacob will truly love her.
7. What does “my man will join unto me” mean? Leah is hoping that Jacob will finally become connect with her as a wife. She feels very disconnected from him, and it bothers her very much.
8. Did Jacob join to her at this time? Nothing changed.
9. Was Jacob cruel to Leah? He wasn’t at all cruel. He served her well. His love was emotionally directed toward Raquel.
10. When she said, “The stroke! I will confess Yehovah,” did something change? Yes. Something did change. She no longer even expected Jacob to love her in the way that he loved Raquel; she is now confessing Yehovah. It is her turning to faith.
11. What does Yah mean? This is a contraction (an abbreviation) for Yehovah, and Yehovah is a contraction for Yehiyeh-Hoveh-Hayah, meaning, He will be, He is, He was.
12. What does “she stood childing” mean? This means that she stopped having children. The word stood is like the word stop in English in this type of a statement.
IX. The Surrogate Mother (Chapter 30, verses 1-4)
Rachel was beautiful in every way, and had the affections of her husband. And she was an unhappy woman, for she was not getting pregnant. She told Jacob to render children to her, and that she was dead if he didn’t. Jacob became angry. He asked her, “Am I under (in the place of) Elohim Who withheld fruit of the womb from thee?”
Raquel’s solution was to have Jacob impregnate Raquel’s slave; this way, Raquel could build from her slave. Jacob did what she said.
1. What type of character did Rachel have? She envied her sister. She also lost patience with her husband as if her lack of pregnancy was his fault.
2. What did she mean by, “Render children to me”? She was telling him to get her pregnant. It wasn’t that he wasn’t trying; she was barren.
3. Would she really die if she didn’t become pregnant? She was slightly exaggerating. She was humiliated by this state she was in. Many women in many cultures feel totally unfulfilled if they do not bear a child.
4. Who is Elohim? Elohim is a title, not a name. It literally means gods/Gods. When the ‘g’ of gods is small, it refers to false gods; when it is capitalized (‘G’ in Gods), it refers to One God Who is all the Gods—the Creator. So far, I have found that this refers to Yeshua (Jesus).
5. What did he mean by, “Am I under Elohim?” This means, “Am I in the place of Elohim?” To be under means to take the place of. If a king dies and his reigns, in the Bible, his son reigns in the place of his father.
6. Did Elohim truly withhold fruit of Raquel’s womb from her? Jacob was not a man to accuse Elohim. If Jacob said that this is the case, it is. Thus, Raquel was not naturally barren, but barren because Elohim had withheld fruit from her.
7. Why did Yehovah withhold fruit from Raquel? The text doesn’t say why, but it does state that Yehovah gave Leah conception because she was hated. The only way that this would be an advantage is if Raquel must wait for conception.
8. Was Raquel’s giving her slave, Bilhah, to Jacob to have a baby wrong, and was Jacob wrong for doing this pregnancy that is outside of marriage? If Yehovah had determined that this was wrong, He would have indicated that. He didn’t. I know of no place in the Bible that commands against this type of pregnancy. It isn’t the same as fornication. Esau was a fornicator, and Yehovah hated him. Raquel desired a child, and she used a surrogate. (A surrogate is one who stands in for another, and in this case, to have a baby.)
X. Bilhah’s Produce (verses 5-8)
Son #5 is Dan. Rachel named Bilhah’s children, because they belonged to Rachel.
Rachel stated that Elohim adjudicated her, and that He hearkened into her voice. She claimed this child as her son.
Bilhah again became pregnant.
Son #6 is Naphtali. Rachel continued obtaining the fruit of the womb from Bilhah. Raquel saw this as a competition, a wrestling match with her sister.
1. What does adjudicate mean? It means to formally judge (the action of a court of law). When the Bible says to judge, it usually doesn’t mean to go before judges, but it has to do with each person rendering a right decision based on all facts. Every person who can think must judge. Adjudicating, on the other hand, is much more formal, with judges who are either trained or are that thoughtful, or with Yehovah Who is quite a Judge!
2. Did Elohim really adjudicate Raquel? When I first looked at all these statements that these women made as they bore sons, I wondered if these things were true about them. Then I thought again: “Why would Yehovah put these things into the Bible? Aren’t they the opinions of these women?” I immediately knew that they were not the opinions of these women; they were prophetic. They were not about the women at all, though the women thought they were.
I don’t know if Elohim adjudicated Raquel at this point; if He did, the text doesn’t state what happened, except that she gained a child from Bilhah. I will later put these statements of these women together to show another picture.
3. Had Elohim hearkened into Raquel’s voice, and had He given a son to her? Raquel was in competition with her sister, and she was losing that competition. Later, Raquel will have idols that she will take from her father. I do not have evidence that Raquel believed in Elohim—at least the Elohim that the Bible describes. Raquel’s slave certainly bore a son, and the son did technically belong to Raquel, but this isn’t the end of this story!
4. When Bilhah again had a baby, Raquel said, “I have wrestled the wrestlings of Elohim with my sister.” What did she mean? Had she said, “I have wrestled with my sister,” I would have understood that this meant the obvious: the two sisters were wrestling with each other. This wording is different, since it involves “the wrestlings of Elohim,” as if Elohim is also wrestling. It is as if Raquel is saying, “I wrestled instead of Elohim, wrestling for Him, and struggling against my sister.” This doesn’t make sense, since the two sisters didn’t wrestle. What makes sense (to me) is that this is prophetic, referring to events to come during the Tribulation. When I combine these statements, this will make more sense. (You can combine them in advance to see what you see.)
5. What does “I was able” mean? This means that she succeeded in her struggle.
6. Did she succeed? I cannot tell that she did.
XI. Zilpah’s Produce (verses 9-13)
When Leah saw that she wasn’t any longer becoming pregnant, she gave her slavewoman to her husband so that he could get her pregnant.
Zilpah conceived and bore a son.
Son #7 is Gad. Leah declared, “Via a troop!”
Zilpah again conceived.
Son #8 is Asher. Leah declared, “Via my happiness! For daughters ‘happied’ me!”
1. Why did Leah still desire to produce more children, even if she obtained them through her slave? The text doesn’t tell us why. She may have been in competition with her sister—at least, that is what her sister thought, but no person is able to tell the motives of another person except Yehovah! (When folks start to claim to know the motives of others, they are gossiping; they are doing one of seven things that Yehovah says is an abomination to Him!) Leah did desire to give her husband more children. That isn’t gossip.
2. The phrase, “Via a troop!” is not a sentence. (A phrase is a piece of a sentence, not a sentence.) What does this phrase mean? Since via means by means of, this is declaring, “by means of a troop!” Yet, it doesn’t tell what is occurring by means of a troop. When we put the various statements together, it may make more sense.
3. When Zilpah again became pregnant, Leah said, “Via my happiness! For daughters ‘happied’ me!” What did she mean? Since via means by means of, she was saying, “by means of my happiness! For daughters ‘happied’ me!” To happy someone is to make the person happy; to give joy. I put the word ‘happied’ in quotes because that is not proper English! No one can ‘happy’ another person, in English, but a person can do something that will make another feel happy.
Who are these daughters? She had sons! Again, I will wait to string these together to see if something arises.
XII. The Mandrakes (verses 14-15)
Reuben found mandrakes while walking in the days of wheat harvest. He brought the plants home to his mama (Leah).
Rachel found out about the plants, and asked for them. Leah responded that Rachel had taken her man. Was she going to take her son’s mandrakes too? Rachel struck up a bargain: give me the mandrakes, and you can have sex with him tonight. She agreed.
1. When is wheat harvest? It can happen several times in a season in the land where they were living, depending on where they were. Wheat grows quickly in the spring, and is ready in the early summer. Wheat is a grass-like plant. (See if you can obtain some ripe wheat with the wheat berries still on it, and eat the berries. Be certain you have wheat; farmers in the area may grow some. If you can’t find any, obtain some wheat berries (seeds) and grow your own so that you can try it!)
2. What are mandrakes? This plant was identified several centuries ago as Atropa mandragora, a plant similar to the belladonna. The plant’s root is like that of a beet with white and red fragrant blossoms. It is considered a potent sexual stimulant. It looks like the following:
3. Had Raquel really taken Leah’s man? No, she hadn’t. Leah should have known better than this.
4. Why was Leah willing to bargain with Raquel for the mandrakes? My impression is that Jacob normally slept in Raquel’s tent, not in Leah’s tent. Thus, Leah normally had to sleep alone, which also meant that she rarely (if ever) had sexual intercourse with Jacob. This was an opportunity for her to accomplish both.
5. Did Leah accept this bargain? Yes, she did.
XIII. Jacob is Hired (verses 16-20)
Jacob had no idea of these plans. Leah met him when he came out of the field in the evening. She told him that she had hired him via (by way of) her son’s mandrakes. Jacob did what he was told.
Elohim also hearkened unto Leah, and she conceived. This was her fifth son, and Jacob’s ninth son.
Son #9 is Issachar. Leah stated, “Elohim gave my hire that I gave my slavewoman to my man!” She understood this as payment for giving her slavewoman to her man!
Leah wasn’t done, yet. She conceived again, bearing the sixth child and Jacob’s tenth son.
Son #10 is Zebulun. She said, “Elohim endowed me a good endowment! The stroke my man will cohabit with me, for I childed six sons to him!”
1. Was Leah right when she said that Elohim gave her hire because she had given her slavewoman to her man? I don’t know if she was right. I again will wait to see what all the statements say together!
2. What is an endowment? It is like a gift, but it also normally has a specific purpose for being given. Leah thought that Yehovah gave this to her so that it would convince Jacob to cohabit with her (live with her during the nights).
XV. It’s a Girl! (verse 21)
Leah again became pregnant, but this time with a girl. She named her Dinah (pronounced Dee-Nuh with the accent on the last syllable).
1. Why did these women bear only boys, except for this one girl? Sometimes this happens! Yehovah will intentionally build the twelve tribes from the twelve sons, but He also provided one daughter.
2. Why did Leah name her daughter with this name? It is as if Leah thought that Elohim formally judged for her (Leah).
XV. Finally, Rachel (verses 22-24)
Yehovah finally remembered Rachel. He hearkened to her; He opened her womb. She greatly desired to have a child.
Son #11 is Joseph.
She saw this as Elohim collecting her reproach (like the trash would be collected and removed). She did not use this as his name, however. She saw this as an additional son (to the ones she obtained through her slave), so she named him He-Adds (Joseph).
1. Why did Elohim wait so long to give Raquel pregnancy? Jacob loved Raquel; she had great advantages. He thus gave her pregnancy at the very end.
2. Did the mandrakes have anything to do with her becoming pregnant? Elohim opened her womb. All the mandrakes in the world would have done nothing without Elohim opening her womb.
3. Did Elohim collect her reproach? Her reproach (her being viewed with contempt and with insults) left as soon as she bore a son. Elohim did collect it. Women in some cultures feel as if they are cursed if they don’t bear at least one child. Women in some other cultures must bear a son, or they will feel cursed. These feelings are not Biblical, but they are part of some cultures.
4. Did Raquel really see the sons of her slave as her own sons? She did!
5. Are these all the children that Jacob will have? No! There is one more son coming later: Benjamin!