Genesis Chapter 30
"Jacob's Wives and Children."
Bible Study is written by Roger Christopherson, and it's
Genesis 30:1 "And when Rachel saw that she bare Jacob no children, Rachel envied her sister; and said unto Jacob, "Give me children or else I die."
There is problems within Jacob's family, and a touch of jealousy is setting in Rachel, against Leah her sister. Rachel is upset, and threatening Jacob.
Genesis 30:2 "And Jacob's anger was kindled against Rachel: and he said, "Am I in God's stead, Who hath withheld from thee the fruit of the womb?"
"Am I in God's stead?" is asking the question, "Are you putting me in God's place?" Jacob is telling Rachel, don't blame me, but go and ask God for your children. It is quite obvious that it wasn't Jacob's fault, because Leah is doing quite well.
Genesis 30:3 "And she said, "Behold my maid Bilhah, go in unto her; and she shall bear upon my knees, that I may also have children by her."
"She shall bear upon my knees," is an Hebrew idiom or form of expression saying, "that I may adopt her children".
Genesis 30:4 "And she gave him Bilhah her handmaid to wife: and Jacob went in unto her."
Genesis 30:5 "And Bilhah conceived and bare Jacob a son."
Genesis 30:6 "And Rachel said, "God hath judged me, and hath also heard my voice, and hath given me a son:" therefore called she his name Dan."
We now that the tribe of Dan, the fifth son of Jacob was born to Rachel's handmaid, who is now the third wife of Jacob. The right to give her to Jacob in marriage was Rachel's'.
Genesis 30:7 "And Bilhah Rachel's maid conceived again, and bare Jacob a second son."
This would be considered legally a second son through Rachel, by adoption.
Genesis 30:8 "And Rachel said, "With great wrestlings have I wrestled with my sister, and I have prevailed:" and she called his name Naphtali."
The name "Naphtali" means "wrestling's of el [God]'" in the Hebrew.
Genesis 30:9 "When Leah saw that she had left bearing, she took Zilpah her maid, and gave her Jacob to wife."
We see some competition building between the two sisters, and the count is four sons for Leah and two sons for Rachel, by adoption. Zelpah is the maid that Laban gave to Leah upon her marriage to Jacob. So now Jacob has four wives, and six sons; only Leah can no longer bare children.
Jacob's acceptance of these handmaidens to be his wives was strictly in accordance with the code of Khammurabi. These laws existed prior to the laws given by God to Moses on Mount Sinai, and when you see the two sets of laws side by side, there is special Divine communications in the Babylonian laws. These Laws of Khammurabi were codified in the age of Abraham, and in Genesis 14:1 we saw where King Khammurabi was known in the Hebrew tongue as King Amraphel.
the writings of the code of laws of Khammurabi was discovered in Susa by M. J. de Morgan, and the date listed for the writing was 2139 B.C. The time between the two sets of laws, of Khammurabi and Moses were eight hundred years. It was under the code of Khammurabi then that Jacob was marrying these women, and the children were being adopted.
Genesis 30:10 "And Zilpah Leah's maid bare Jacob a son."
Genesis 30:11 "And Leah said, "A troop cometh:" and she called his name Gad."
Leah recognized that the family was growing into quite a troop, and so she named Jacob's seventh son "Gad".
Genesis 30:12 "And Zilpah Leah's maid bare Jacob a second son."
Genesis 30:13 "And Leah said, "Happy am I, for the daughters will call me blessed:" and she called his name Asher."
The name of "Asher" means happy. Zilpah, Leah's handmaid, bare two children for Jacob, and this added two more of the twelve patriarchs that will form Israel.
Genesis 30:14 "And Reuben went in the days of wheat harvest, and found mandrakes in the field, and brought them unto his mother Leah. Then Rachel said to Leah, "Give me, I pray thee, of thy son's mandrakes."
It is time to understand a few things before we continue. Leah's womb had dried up, and she could have no more children. The "mandrakes" are a great fruit, or root that would implement conception, and that is why Leah had sent Reuben for the "Mandrakes". In the Arab world these mandrakes are called "Satan's apples", because of the name, and use they will be used for.
Genesis 30:15 "And she said unto her, "Is it a small matter that thou hast taken my husband? and wouldest thou take away my son's mandrakes also?" And Rachel said, "Therefore he shall lie with thee to night for thy son's mandrakes."
This isn't quite true for both Jacob and Rachel still had a deep love for each other. Keep in mind that it was by the deception of Laban of Jacob's wedding night that tricked Jacob into marrying Leah first. Rachel had not taken Rachel's husband, however you could say it was the other way around.
So we see the deal that Rachel has made with Leah is that if Leah gives Rachel the mandrakes, then Rachel will send Jacob to Leah that night. Rachel believed that it would help her to conceive and bare a son.
Genesis 30:16 "And Jacob came out of the field in the evening, and Leah went out to meet him, and said, "Thou must come in unto me; for surely I have hired thee with my son's mandrakes." And he lay with her that night."
This was a strange arrangement, conceived by Jacob's two wives, however Jacob was willing to go along with with the agreement.
Genesis 30:17 "And God hearkened unto Leah, and she conceived, and bare Jacob the fifth son."
It was Rachel that received the mandrakes that night, in hopes of childbirth, however God revealed His power and opened Leah's womb again, and Leah bare her fifth son. It is God that is in control, and it is only God that can give life.
Genesis 30:18 "And Leah said, "God hath given me my hire, because I have given my maiden to my husband:" and she called his name Issachar."
"Issachar" means "my hire".
Genesis 30:19 "And Leah conceived again, and bare Jacob the sixth son."
Genesis 30:20 "And Leah said, "God hath endued me with a good dowry; now will my husband dwell with me, because I have born him six sons:" and she called his name Zebulun."
"Zebulun" means "the dwelling".
Genesis 30:21 "And afterwards she bare a daughter, and called her name Dinah."
"Dinah" is the feminine form of the word Dan, or Judge [Judgment].
Genesis 30:22 "And God remembered Rachel, and God hearkened to her, and opened her womb."
Genesis 30:23 "And she conceived, and bare a son; and said, "God hath taken away my reproach:"
Genesis 30:24 "And she called his name Joseph, and said, "The Lord shall add to me another son."
The name "Joseph" means adding.
Genesis 30:25 "And it came to pass, when Rachel had born Joseph, that Jacob said unto Laban, "Send me away, that I may go unto mine own place, and to my country."
Jacob thinks that enough time has passed that Esau's death threat will be long forgotten. Jacob wants to return to his home.
Genesis 30:26 "Give me my wives and my children, for whom I have served thee, and let me go: for thou knowest my service which I have done thee."
Jacob is reminding Laban that he has more then fulfilled his part of all the agreements.
Genesis 30:27 "And Laban said unto him, "I pray thee, if I have found favour in thine eyes, tarry: for I have learned by experience that the Lord hath blessed me for thy sake."
Laban is telling his son-in-law that he can see all the blessings and favors from God, and he knows it is because of you, Jacob.
Genesis 30:28 "And he said, "Appoint me thy wages, and I will give it."
Laban is out to strike another deal, and he tells Jacob just stay, and you cane name any wage you desire.
Genesis 30:29 "And he said unto him, "Thou knowest how I have served thee, and how thy cattle was with me."
Jacob is reminding Laban that by his hard work he has made Laban a very rich man.
Genesis 30:30 "For it was little which thou hadst before I came, and it is now increased unto a multitude; and the Lord hath blessed thee since my coming: and now when shall I provide for mine own house also?"
Jacob is reminding Laban that for years he has built Laban's household, and now it is time to start building for his own future. Jacob has four wives, and eleven sons and a daughter, and he hasn't started investing in his own family.
Genesis 30:31 "And he said, "What shall I give thee?" And Jacob said, "Thou shalt not five me any thing: if thou wilt do this thing for me, I will again feed and keep thy flock."
While Laban is trying to figure out the cost of keeping Jacob and his family, he is about to be out-smarted by his nephew, Jacob. Jacob is going to drive a hard bargain, and under the new agreement, it is Jacob that is in control.
Genesis 30:32 "I will pass through all thy flock to day, removing from thence all the speckled and spotted cattle, and all the brown cattle among the sheep, and the spotted and speckled among the goats: and of such shall be my hire."
This sounded to good to be true to Laban, and immediately, that same day, Laban went out to separate all the speckled, spotted, and brown cattle, sheep and goats from his herd, because the longer they stayed, the more likely that the imperfect marked males would sire his females. Laban and Jacob had a bargain, with Jacob having the upper hand, and Laban not aware of it.
A sheep is to be white in common terms, as well as the goats, and other cattle are to be pure in color. When one of the sheep is black or spotted, its fir is undesirable, and rejected. However, this is what Jacob will build his herd around. Jacob wants all the undesired animals.
Genesis 30:33 "So shall my righteousness answer for me in time to come, when it shall come for my hire before thy face: every one that is not speckled and spotted among the goats, and brown among the sheep, that shall be counted stolen with me."
So in the agreement, to keep Laban happy, Jacob told Laban you can be sure I have not taken one of your animals by simply looking at my herd. If there is a pure bred in my herd, you can consider it yours, for I will have only the speckled, spotted and brown animals. On these terms Laban knew the agreement was slanted on his side. Remember though that Jacob is also as crafty as his uncle Laban.
Genesis 30:34 "And Laban said, "Behold, I would it might be according to thy word."
Laban didn't want to add one thing to the agreement, but to hold Jacob to his own terms. It will be Jacob doing the work, with Jacob tending to the care of the animals, and Laban will not have to worry about the undesired animals amongst the herd.
Genesis 30:35 "And he removed that day the he goats that were ringstraked and spotted, and all the she goats that were speckled and spotted, and every one that had some white in it, and all the brown among the sheep, and gave them into the hand of his sons."
In the past fourteen years that Jacob had been in the Laban household, God had blessed Laban well, and his herd had grown mightily. So the separation took place and Jacob's sons were to care for Jacobs animals.
Genesis 30:36 "And he set three days' journey betwixt himself and Jacob: and Jacob fed the rest of Laban's flocks."
So there would be no misunderstanding as to any underhanded dealing by Jacob, before Laban's eyes; Jacob put a three days journey between his sheep and goats and that of uncle Laban's his sheep and goats. While Jacob's sons cared for Jacob's animals, Jacob took care of Laban's animals.
Genesis 30:37 "And Jacob took him rods of green poplar, and of the haxel and chesnut tree; and pilled white strakes in them, and made the white appear which was in the rods."
Jacob is now going to play Laban's crafty games, as he has been dealt underhandedly for the past fifteen years, since he came into Laban's household. It will be done in such a fashion that it will appear to be proper, should anyone be watching. Though Jacob's herd is a three days journey from the other herd of Laban, both herds are watered at the same watering hole. So Jacob separated all the females from the males and brought them to the hole first, and tied them to to these posts of green poplar, haxel, and chestnut trees.
Genesis 30:38 "And he set the rods which he had pilled before the flocks in the gutters in the watering troughs when the flocks came to drink, that they should conceive when they came to drink."
These stakes were placed all around the feeding troths, and watering hole, and then with the females all tied to these posts so they could not stray away, Jacob brought Laban's herds in to be fed and watered. of course, Jacobs male cattle were not in the area to sire any part of Laban's herd. Laban watched and everything appeared to be proper, with Jacob's sheep and goats all tied up, and no males in the area.
As Laban's herd passed by, the animals were allowed to mix, and thus all the female animals of Jacob's herd were taken care of.
Genesis 30:39 "And the flocks conceived before the rods, and brought forth cattle ringstraked, speckled, and spotted."
Genesis 30:40 "And Jacob did separate the lambs, and set the faces of the flocks toward the ringstraked, and all the brown in the flock of Laban; and he put his own flocks by themselves, and put them not unto Laban's cattle."
In the normal time of conception, the sheep and goats had their little ones, and of course they were all speckled, spotted, and brown. As the births came, Jacob immediately separated them from Laban's herd, and added them to his own. We can see that Laban's herd is not growing, yet Jacob's herd is multiplying fast.
Genesis 30:41 "And it came to pass, whensoever the stronger cattle did conceive, that Jacob laid the rods before the eyes of the cattle in the gutters, that they might conceive among the rods."
After Jacob had his strong speckled, spotted and brown females tied near one of the watering holes, then he selected only the strongest of Laban's herd, and the best to water at the watering hole near his females, thus giving Jacob's newborns a good strong herd for the future. The weak and feeble animals watered at another well.
Genesis 30:42 "But when the cattle were feeble, he put them not in: so the feebler were Laban's, and the stronger Jacob's."
In this process of separation, the stronger cattle were in Jacob's herd, and the weaker ones were added to Laban's herd, simply by the method of breeding.
Genesis 30:43 "And the man increased exceedingly, and had much cattle, and maidservants, and menservants, and camels, and asses."
Jacob became a very rich man. This event continues into Genesis 31.
Plough .~ Seeds .~ Vine .~ Potter .~ Seasons .~ Sonshine .~ Rain .~ Field