Jacob’s Wives and Children
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-Yah (Judah). 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 under Elohim 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 (Naphtali).
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 (Leah). 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?
2. Why did Laban offer to pay Jacob?
3. Was Jacob 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?
2. Who had the greater advantages, Leah or Raquel?
3. Why would parents name a daughter Weary?
4. Did Jacob dislike Leah?
5. What is love?
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?
2. Why did Laban believe that it was better to give her to Jacob than to another man?
3. What did Laban mean by, “Dwell with me”?
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?
2. Was Jacob good at what he did?
3. Was being a shepherd of sheep very profitable?
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?
2. Did Laban do wrong to gather the men of the place and to throw a drinking party?
3. Did Laban do wrong to bring Leah instead of Rachel to Jacob on this honeymoon night?
4. Why didn’t Jacob notice that he was having sexual intercourse with Leah instead of Raquel?
5. Were slaves often given with daughters when the daughters were given in marriage?
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?
2. Did Laban beguile Jacob?
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”?
4. How did Leah feel on the next morning after the honeymoon night?
5. What was part of fulfilling the seven (week) of a woman (verse 27)?
6. In Jacob’s mind, he was truly serving Laban for Rachel for fourteen years. Was this worthwhile to him?
7. How would Leah feel to now have her sister become a wife to her man?
8. Is being married to more than one woman at a time wrong, according to the Bible?
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?
2. Who hated Leah?
3. Why did Yehovah open Leah’s womb?
4. Why was Raquel barren? Did Yehovah do this to her?
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?
2. Was she right thinking that her man will love her?
3. To what did Yehovah hearken? What does this mean?
4. Did Yehovah give her this second child?
5. If Yehovah gives children to parents, why do some parents abuse their children and even some kill them?
6. What does stroke mean in, “Now is the stroke”?
7. What does “my man will join unto me” mean?
8. Did Jacob join to her at this time?
9. Was Jacob cruel to Leah?
10. When she said, “The stroke! I will confess Yehovah,” did something change?
11. What does Yah mean?
12. What does “she stood childing” mean?
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?
2. What did she mean by, “Render children to me”?
3. Would she really die if she didn’t become pregnant?
4. Who is Elohim?
5. What did he mean by, “Am I under Elohim?”
6. Did Elohim truly withhold fruit of Raquel’s womb from her?
7. Why did Yehovah withhold fruit from Raquel?
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?
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?
2. Did Elohim really adjudicate Raquel?
3. Had Elohim hearkened into Raquel’s voice, and had He given a son to her?
4. When Bilhah again had a baby, Raquel said, “I have wrestled the wrestlings of Elohim with my sister.” What did she mean?
5. What does “I was able” mean?
6. Did she succeed?
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?
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?
3. When Zilpah again became pregnant, Leah said, “Via my happiness! For daughters ‘happied’ me!” What did she mean?
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?
2. What are mandrakes?
3. Had Raquel really taken Leah’s man?
4. Why was Leah willing to bargain with Raquel for the mandrakes?
5. Did Leah accept this bargain?
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?
2. What is an endowment?
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?
2. Why did Leah name her daughter with this name?
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?
2. Did the mandrakes have anything to do with her becoming pregnant?
3. Did Elohim collect her reproach?
4. Did Raquel really see the sons of her slave as her own sons?
5. Are these all the children that Jacob will have?