The Kraig Josiah Rice
Devotional Bible Commentary on Genesis

Genesis chapter 30

Kraig J. Rice
www.7-star-admiral.com

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TABLE OF CONTENTS
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Genesis chapter thirty
 Chapter 30- God blessed Jacob with children
 Gen. 30:1 - 8 Bilhah had Dan and Naphtali
 Gen. 30:9 - 13 Zilpah had Gad and Asher
 Gen. 30:14 - 21 Issachar, Zebulun, and Dinah
 What is a mandrake?
 Drama in the household of Jacob
 Gen. 30:22 - 24 Delay Does Not Mean Denial
 Jacob had a total of 12 sons
 Gen. 30:25 - 43 God's gift of multiplication
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Genesis Chapter 30
God blessed Jacob with children and wealth

Bilhah had Dan and Naphtali:
"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. 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? 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. And she gave him Bilhah her handmaid to wife: and Jacob went in unto her. And Bilhah conceived, and bare Jacob a son. 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" And Bilhah Rachel's maid conceived again, and bare Jacob a second son. And Rachel said: with great wrestlings have I wrestled with my sister, and I have prevailed: and she called his name Naphtali"
(Genesis 30:1-8).

Rachel envied Leah. The sin of envy is referred to by some folks as one of the seven deadly sins or the green eyed monster. Where there is envy, there is trouble. 3 times in the bible book of Genesis does envy become a problem
(Genesis 26:14, 30:1, & 37:11).

Envy can influence a person to act in a peculiar way. I remember one time, when I was a lad in the Boy Scouts, I was on a 50 mile hike. I was just one boy in a long line of scouts hiking single file through the mountains of northern California. Each scout was responsible for his own drinking water and pack equipment. I had a full canteen of water that I had slung over my shoulder. As we hiked, I heard the sound of water falling on the ground. I looked around and saw the boy scout behind me pouring water out of my canteen onto the ground. I grabbed my canteen away from him and questioned him as to why he had poured out some of my water. He replied that I had more water than him (he was envious) and so he poured out some of mine. So, envy, influenced that boy scout to act in a peculiar way.

What did envy influence Rachel to do? Rachel followed the example of Sarah. Remember, Sarah was delayed in having a child of her own so she gave her slave, Hagar, to Abraham to wife. So, Sarah used her slave as a surrogate mother for her husband's child. And Sarah owned Hagar's baby, Ishmael
(Genesis 16:4). So Rachel followed Sarah's example and gave her slave, Bilhah, to Jacob to wife.

In other words, Rachel had a slave named Bilhah. Bilhah got pregnant by Jacob and was a surrogate mother for Rachel. The law in those days stated that any children of the slave belonged to the slave master. Since Bilhah belonged to Rachel then Bilhah's children belonged to Rachel. In other words, Bilhah's children would be cared for by Rachel as legally born by Rachel. The two sons of Bilhah were Dan and Naphtali.

The name Dan means "judging, judged, judgment, or he that judges". The name Naphtali means "he that struggles, struggled, or fights".

But then, Leah took the same course of action and gave her slave maid to Jacob to wife.


Zilpah had Gad and Asher:
"When Leah saw that she had left bearing, she took Zilpah her maid, and gave her Jacob to wife. And Zilpah Leah's maid bare Jacob a son. And Leah said: a troop cometh: and she called his name Gad. And Zilpah Leah's maid bare Jacob a second son. And Leah said: happy am I, for the daughters will call me blessed: and she called his name Asher"
(Genesis 30:9-13).

Leah had a slave named Zilpah. Zilpah got pregnant by Jacob and was also a surrogate mother for Leah. She had two sons named Gad and Asher.

The name Gad means "a band or a troop". Some folks think that it means "fortune". The name Asher means "happy or happiness".


Leah had Issachar, Zebulun, and Dinah:
"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. 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. 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. And God hearkened unto Leah, and she conceived, and bare Jacob the fifth son. And Leah said: God hath given me my hire, because I have given my maiden to my husband: and she called his name Issachar. And Leah conceived again, and bare Jacob the sixth son. 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. And afterwards she bare a daughter, and called her name Dinah"
(Genesis 30:14-21).

Apparently, Jacob's wives took turns having sexual intercourse with him. One night he would spend with one wife while the next night he would spend with the other wife. Then the exception to this rule is mentioned in this passage of scripture. Rachel traded her night with Jacob for some mandrakes. This night became an important night for Leah. Why? Because it is the night that she got pregnant with Issachar. This is important in relation to God's timing as it was God's will for Issachar to be born at this time. When it comes to God's will, God will always make a way for the event to be accomplished. He is a great and loving God and is ALL POWERFUL. There is no set of circumstances that He cannot control for our good and His glory.


Mandrakes:
What is a mandrake? The mandrake plant's scientific name is atropa mandragora. It grew in the Land of Canaan and in the Paddan-Aram areas in those days. The plant looked like a lettuce plant but had dark green leaves. It's flowers were purple and it's fruit was ripe early in May. Each ripe fruit was about the size of a small yellowish-green apple so it was referred to by many folks as a mayapple. The fruit smelled and tasted good when eaten. The root of this plant could be processed into a narcotic. This narcotic could help a person sleep and could be used as an anaesthetic. Some folks in those days used this narcotic in small quantities as a stimulant and love potion- so the fruit and the root of this plant was in great demand and nick named "love apples". Later on, King Solomon's wife also used them
(Song of Solomon 7:13).

So, Leah had three more children: Issachar, Zebulun, and Dinah. The name Issachar means "reward or recompense". Some folks think that it means "hired or there is hire." The name Zebulun means "a habitation or dwelling." The name Dinah means "judgment or one who judges."

Jacob had other daughters not mentioned by name in the bible
(Genesis 37:35, 46:7). In the eastern oriental culture, the birth of a female baby was regarded as a misfortune. Why? Because the male was the family provider. Therefore, when a female baby was born there were no congratulations extended and no feast was made in celebration. I think that Dinah was mentioned here because of what happened to her, later on, at the town of Shechem in the Land of Canaan
(Genesis chapter 34).


Household Drama:
When Sarah gave her slave maid to her husband, Abraham, to wife, there was family drama. Two women in love with the same man can cause this to happen. The drama eventually erupted into a war between these women so Abraham got "divorced" from Hagar and Hagar lost everything but gained her freedom.

Can you imagine the drama in the household of Jacob? Four women in love with the same man can cause this to happen. Rachel envied her sister- an envious person can cause family problems. Then, there was Leah's statement to Rachel: "is it a small matter that thou hast taken my husband?" Leah could say this because she was married first to Jacob. There was sibling rivalry over who could have the most male children. Later, Reuben had sex with Bilhah
(Genesis 35:22).

Let us avoid as much drama in our household as is possible. Let one man be married to one woman who he loves. Let's raise our children in the fear and admonition of the Lord. Let's follow God's order as He has given it in His word because it is for our good and for His glory. Let's use the family drama situations from Abraham and Jacob to learn from and not repeat their mistakes.


Delay Does Not Mean Denial (Rachel had Joseph):
"And God remembered Rachel, and God hearkened to her, and opened her womb. And she conceived, and bare a son; and said: God hath taken away my reproach: and she called his name Joseph; and said: the Lord shall add to me another son"
(Genesis 30:22-24).

I see a miracle of healing here. God healed the womb of Rachel. God is a healing God- He healed in the Old Testament and New Testament days- and He heals today. If you need healing, pray and talk to the Lord about it. He is the Great Physician and nothing is too hard for Him.

The expression "God remembered" is used by Moses four times in his writings in the pentateuch (the first 5 books of the bible). This expression does not imply that God forgets because He cannot forget because He is omniscient (God knows everything). Then why did Moses use this expression? I believe that God had Moses use these words to explain a lengthy delay of time in the execution of God's will. In other words, from the perspective of mankind, it appeared that God had forgotten to do something because it took so long for it to come to pass
(Genesis 8:1, 19:29, & 30:22; Exodus 2:24). God's timetable is not the same as the timetable of mankind
(Ephesians 1:10).

One of the abc's of discipleship training is that delay does not mean denial. God was not denying Rachel a son. Rather, God wanted Rachel to have a son (Joseph) at a different time than those sons of Leah. I know that Rachel had been barren for many many years, but the birth of Joseph was delayed because God needed time to work out His plan.

The name Joseph means "addition, increase, He adds, or may He add".


Jacob had a total of 12 sons:
Children born to Leah: Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Zebulun, and Dinah (the daughter).
Children born to Zilpah (Leah's slave servant maid): Gad, and Asher.
Children born to Bilhah (Rachel's slave servant maid): Dan, and Naphtali.
Children born to Rachel: Joseph, and Benjamin.
So, Jacob had a total of 12 sons.


God's gift of multiplication:
"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. 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. 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. And he said: appoint me thy wages, and I will give it. And he said unto him: thou knowest how I have served thee, and how thy cattle was with me. 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? And he said: what shall I give thee? And Jacob said: thou shalt not give me any thing: if thou wilt do this thing for me, I will again feed and keep thy flock. 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. 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. And Laban said: behold, I would it might be according to thy word. And he removed that day the he goats that were ringstreaked 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. And he set three days' journey betwixt himself and Jacob: and Jacob fed the rest of Laban's flocks. And Jacob took him rods of green poplar, and of the hazel and chestnut tree; and pilled white streaks in them, and made the white appear which was in the rods. 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. And the flocks conceived before the rods, and brought forth cattle ringstreaked, speckled, and spotted. And Jacob did separate the lambs, and set the faces of the flocks toward the ringstreaked, 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. 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. But when the cattle were feeble, he put them not in: so the feebler were Laban's, and the stronger Jacob's. And the man increased exceedingly, and had much cattle, and maidservants, and menservants, and camels, and asses"
(Genesis 30:25-43).

Many times in the bible we see that folks tried to help God. Sarah helped God by giving Abraham a child by Hagar. Rachel helped God by giving Jacob a child by Bilhah. Leah helped God by giving Jacob a child by Zilpah. It was really not necessary to help God then and not necessary to help God today. He is the ruler of Heaven and earth and holds the entire universe in His hands. He invented time and created all of the wonderful things on this planet. He is really that BIG and has everything under control in your life and my life.

How did Jacob help God? Owners of large herds of animals were superstitious about the breeding habits of their animals. Geneticists have determined that spotted goats come from a recessive gene in the DNA structure. The solid colored goats come from a dominate gene. So, even if he understood part of this, Laban stood to gain more than he lost and that is probably why he agreed to the deal with Jacob. Genetics is not based on the eyesight of animals. Many animals had bands of color- also stripes and spots. Placing the white streaks in the rods was not genetic manipulation. However, Jacob probably believed it was and he used it for his own purposes to try to gain wealth by his own self sufficiency. Jacob did not need to help God.

Jacob thought it was time to help God but Jacob got it backwards- it was time for God to help Jacob. God worked His miracles by giving Jacob his wealth. It was God's gift of multiplication to him. Later, Jesus multiplied the loaves and the fish in two separate miraculous events
(Matthew 16:9-10). God claimed that He gave Jacob his wealth
(Genesis 31:11-12). In other words, it was as if God said: "I blessed you in spite of your Uncle Laban."

Why did God financially bless Jacob? Was it because he was better looking or a better talker than his peers? No. There is a spiritual principle here. When a person pays their tithes to God, God always blesses that person back with abundance. I believe that to be a major reason for Jacob's prosperity and the intervention and provision of God on his behalf.

Were there other factors at play in these events? Maybe Jacob thought he was getting even with his Uncle Laban for decreasing his wages? Was Jacob suffering financial persecution authored by Satan? It appears that Laban delegated financial authority to his sons in regards to his animals. Maybe these sons did not practice "Christian ethics" in business and kept cheating Jacob. Maybe Laban did not exercise as much control over these sons as he should have?
(Genesis 30:35).

What was wrong with Jacob for having pride and self-sufficiency in business? In later years, King David of Israel ran into this problem of pride and self-sufficiency (maybe snobbery)
(1 Chronicles 21:8). The problem was then and is today- God and His Golden Rule are left out of the business deal. In dealing with people- showing love, trust, and honesty go a long way in business, government service work, and in other areas. A choice has to be made between one's self-sufficiency (pride) and one's humility in allowing God's will to shine forth. When faced with similar choices, let us make the right decisions.



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