31 וַיַּ֤רְא יְהוָה֙ כִּֽי ־ שְׂנוּאָ֣ה לֵאָ֔ה וַיִּפְתַּ֖ח אֶת ־ רַחְמָ֑הּ וְרָחֵ֖ל עֲקָרָֽה ׃ 32 וַתַּ֤הַר לֵאָה֙ וַתֵּ֣לֶד בֵּ֔ן וַתִּקְרָ֥א שְׁמ֖וֹ רְאוּבֵ֑ן כִּ֣י אָֽמְרָ֗ה כִּֽי ־ רָאָ֤ה יְהוָה֙ בְּעָנְיִ֔י כִּ֥י עַתָּ֖ה יֶאֱהָבַ֥נִי אִישִֽׁי ׃ 33 וַתַּ֣הַר עוֹד֮ וַתֵּ֣לֶד בֵּן֒ וַתֹּ֗אמֶר כִּֽי ־ שָׁמַ֤ע יְהוָה֙ כִּֽי ־ שְׂנוּאָ֣ה אָנֹ֔כִי וַיִּתֶּן ־ לִ֖י גַּם ־ אֶת ־ זֶ֑ה וַתִּקְרָ֥א שְׁמ֖וֹ שִׁמְעֽוֹן ׃ 34 וַתַּ֣הַר עוֹד֮ וַתֵּ֣לֶד בֵּן֒ וַתֹּ֗אמֶר עַתָּ֤ה הַפַּ֙עַם֙ יִלָּוֶ֤ה אִישִׁי֙ אֵלַ֔י כִּֽי ־ יָלַ֥דְתִּי ל֖וֹ שְׁלֹשָׁ֣ה בָנִ֑ים עַל ־ כֵּ֥ן קָרָֽא ־ שְׁמ֖וֹ לֵוִֽי ׃ 35 וַתַּ֨הַר ע֜וֹד וַתֵּ֣לֶד בֵּ֗ן וַתֹּ֙אמֶר֙ הַפַּ֙עַם֙ אוֹדֶ֣ה אֶת ־ יְהוָ֔ה עַל ־ כֵּ֛ן קָרְאָ֥ה שְׁמ֖וֹ יְהוּדָ֑ה וַֽתַּעֲמֹ֖ד מִלֶּֽדֶת ׃ 30 1 וַתֵּ֣רֶא רָחֵ֗ל כִּ֣י לֹ֤א יָֽלְדָה֙ לְיַעֲקֹ֔ב וַתְּקַנֵּ֥א רָחֵ֖ל בַּאֲחֹתָ֑הּ וַתֹּ֤אמֶר אֶֽל ־ יַעֲקֹב֙ הָֽבָה ־ לִּ֣י בָנִ֔ים וְאִם ־ אַ֖יִן מֵתָ֥ה אָנֹֽכִי ׃ 2 וַיִּֽחַר ־ אַ֥ף יַעֲקֹ֖ב בְּרָחֵ֑ל וַיֹּ֗אמֶר הֲתַ֤חַת אֱלֹהִים֙ אָנֹ֔כִי אֲשֶׁר ־ מָנַ֥ע מִמֵּ֖ךְ פְּרִי ־ בָֽטֶן ׃ 3 וַתֹּ֕אמֶר הִנֵּ֛ה אֲמָתִ֥י בִלְהָ֖ה בֹּ֣א אֵלֶ֑יהָ וְתֵלֵד֙ עַל ־ בִּרְכַּ֔י וְאִבָּנֶ֥ה גַם ־ אָנֹכִ֖י מִמֶּֽנָּה ׃ 4 וַתִּתֶּן ־ ל֛וֹ אֶת ־ בִּלְהָ֥ה שִׁפְחָתָ֖הּ לְאִשָּׁ֑ה וַיָּבֹ֥א אֵלֶ֖יהָ יַעֲקֹֽב ׃ 5 וַתַּ֣הַר בִּלְהָ֔ה וַתֵּ֥לֶד לְיַעֲקֹ֖ב בֵּֽן ׃ 6 וַתֹּ֤אמֶר רָחֵל֙ דָּנַ֣נִּי אֱלֹהִ֔ים וְגַם֙ שָׁמַ֣ע בְּקֹלִ֔י וַיִּתֶּן ־ לִ֖י בֵּ֑ן עַל ־ כֵּ֛ן קָרְאָ֥ה שְׁמ֖וֹ דָּֽן ׃ 7 וַתַּ֣הַר ע֔וֹד וַתֵּ֕לֶד בִּלְהָ֖ה שִׁפְחַ֣ת רָחֵ֑ל בֵּ֥ן שֵׁנִ֖י לְיַעֲקֹֽב ׃ 8 וַתֹּ֣אמֶר רָחֵ֗ל נַפְתּוּלֵ֨י אֱלֹהִ֧ים ׀ נִפְתַּ֛לְתִּי עִם ־ אֲחֹתִ֖י גַּם ־ יָכֹ֑לְתִּי וַתִּקְרָ֥א שְׁמ֖וֹ נַפְתָּלִֽי ׃ 9 וַתֵּ֣רֶא לֵאָ֔ה כִּ֥י עָמְדָ֖ה מִלֶּ֑דֶת וַתִּקַּח֙ אֶת ־ זִלְפָּ֣ה שִׁפְחָתָ֔הּ וַתִּתֵּ֥ן אֹתָ֛הּ לְיַעֲקֹ֖ב לְאִשָּֽׁה ׃ 10 וַתֵּ֗לֶד זִלְפָּ֛ה שִׁפְחַ֥ת לֵאָ֖ה לְיַעֲקֹ֥ב בֵּֽן ׃ 11 וַתֹּ֥אמֶר לֵאָ֖ה בגד 1 וַתִּקְרָ֥א אֶת ־ שְׁמ֖וֹ גָּֽד ׃ 12 וַתֵּ֗לֶד זִלְפָּה֙ שִׁפְחַ֣ת לֵאָ֔ה בֵּ֥ן שֵׁנִ֖י לְיַעֲקֹֽב ׃ 13 וַתֹּ֣אמֶר לֵאָ֔ה בְּאָשְׁרִ֕י כִּ֥י אִשְּׁר֖וּנִי בָּנ֑וֹת וַתִּקְרָ֥א אֶת ־ שְׁמ֖וֹ אָשֵֽׁר ׃ 14 וַיֵּ֨לֶךְ רְאוּבֵ֜ן בִּימֵ֣י קְצִיר ־ חִטִּ֗ים וַיִּמְצָ֤א דֽוּדָאִים֙ בַּשָּׂדֶ֔ה וַיָּבֵ֣א אֹתָ֔ם אֶל ־ לֵאָ֖ה אִמּ֑וֹ וַתֹּ֤אמֶר רָחֵל֙ אֶל ־ לֵאָ֔ה תְּנִי ־ נָ֣א לִ֔י מִדּוּדָאֵ֖י בְּנֵֽךְ ׃ 15 וַתֹּ֣אמֶר לָ֗הּ הַמְעַט֙ קַחְתֵּ֣ךְ אֶת ־ אִישִׁ֔י וְלָקַ֕חַת גַּ֥ם אֶת ־ דּוּדָאֵ֖י בְּנִ֑י וַתֹּ֣אמֶר רָחֵ֗ל לָכֵן֙ יִשְׁכַּ֤ב עִמָּךְ֙ הַלַּ֔יְלָה תַּ֖חַת דּוּדָאֵ֥י בְנֵֽךְ ׃ 16 וַיָּבֹ֨א יַעֲקֹ֣ב 1 מִן ־ הַשָּׂדֶה֮ בָּעֶרֶב֒ וַתֵּצֵ֨א לֵאָ֜ה לִקְרָאת֗וֹ וַתֹּ֙אמֶר֙ אֵלַ֣י תָּב֔וֹא כִּ֚י שָׂכֹ֣ר שְׂכַרְתִּ֔יךָ בְּדוּדָאֵ֖י בְּנִ֑י וַיִּשְׁכַּ֥ב עִמָּ֖הּ בַּלַּ֥יְלָה הֽוּא ׃ 17 וַיִּשְׁמַ֥ע אֱלֹהִ֖ים אֶל ־ לֵאָ֑ה וַתַּ֛הַר וַתֵּ֥לֶד לְיַעֲקֹ֖ב בֵּ֥ן חֲמִישִֽׁי ׃ 18 וַתֹּ֣אמֶר לֵאָ֗ה נָתַ֤ן אֱלֹהִים֙ שְׂכָרִ֔י אֲשֶׁר ־ נָתַ֥תִּי שִׁפְחָתִ֖י לְאִישִׁ֑י וַתִּקְרָ֥א שְׁמ֖וֹ יִשָּׂשכָֽר ׃ 19 וַתַּ֤הַר עוֹד֙ לֵאָ֔ה וַתֵּ֥לֶד בֵּן ־ שִׁשִּׁ֖י לְּיַעֲקֹֽב 1 ׃ 20 וַתֹּ֣אמֶר לֵאָ֗ה זְבָדַ֨נִי אֱלֹהִ֥ים ׀ אֹתִי֮ זֵ֣בֶד טוֹב֒ הַפַּ֙עַם֙ יִזְבְּלֵ֣נִי אִישִׁ֔י כִּֽי ־ יָלַ֥דְתִּי ל֖וֹ שִׁשָּׁ֣ה בָנִ֑ים וַתִּקְרָ֥א אֶת ־ שְׁמ֖וֹ זְבֻלֽוּן ׃ 21 וְאַחַ֖ר יָ֣לְדָה בַּ֑ת וַתִּקְרָ֥א אֶת ־ שְׁמָ֖הּ דִּינָֽה ׃ 22 וַיִּזְכֹּ֥ר אֱלֹהִ֖ים אֶת ־ רָחֵ֑ל וַיִּשְׁמַ֤ע אֵלֶ֙יהָ֙ אֱלֹהִ֔ים וַיִּפְתַּ֖ח אֶת ־ רַחְמָֽהּ ׃ 23 וַתַּ֖הַר וַתֵּ֣לֶד בֵּ֑ן וַתֹּ֕אמֶר אָסַ֥ף אֱלֹהִ֖ים אֶת ־ חֶרְפָּתִֽי ׃ 24 וַתִּקְרָ֧א אֶת ־ שְׁמ֛וֹ יוֹסֵ֖ף לֵאמֹ֑ר יֹסֵ֧ף יְהוָ֛ה לִ֖י בֵּ֥ן אַחֵֽר ׃
Jacob’s Children 31 When the Lord saw that Leah was w hated, x he opened her womb, but Rachel was barren. 32 And Leah conceived and bore a son, and she called his name Reuben, 1 for she said, “Because the Lord y has looked upon my affliction; for now my husband will love me.” 33 She conceived again and bore a son, and said, “Because the Lord has heard that I am hated, he has given me this son also.” And she called his name Simeon. 1 34 Again she conceived and bore a son, and said, “Now this time my husband will be z attached to me, because I have borne him three sons.” Therefore his name was called Levi. 1 35 And she conceived again and bore a son, and said, “This time I will praise the Lord .” Therefore she called his name a Judah. 1 Then she ceased bearing. 30 1 When Rachel saw that b she bore Jacob no children, she envied her sister. She said to Jacob, “Give me children, or I shall die!” 2 Jacob’s anger was kindled against Rachel, and he said, “Am I in the place of God, c who has withheld from you the fruit of the womb?” 3 Then she said, “Here is my servant d Bilhah; go in to her, so that she may give birth e on my behalf, 1 that even I may have children 2 through her.” 4 So she gave him her servant Bilhah as a wife, and Jacob went in to her. 5 And Bilhah conceived and bore Jacob a son. 6 Then Rachel said, “God has f judged me, and has also heard my voice and given me a son.” Therefore she called his name Dan. 1 7 Rachel’s servant Bilhah conceived again and bore Jacob a second son. 8 Then Rachel said, “With mighty wrestlings 1 I have wrestled with my sister and have prevailed.” So she called his name g Naphtali. 2 9 When Leah saw that she had ceased bearing children, she took her servant Zilpah and h gave her to Jacob as a wife. 10 Then Leah’s servant Zilpah bore Jacob a son. 11 And Leah said, i “Good fortune has come!” so she called his name i Gad. 1 12 Leah’s servant Zilpah bore Jacob a second son. 13 And Leah said, “Happy am I! For women j have called me happy.” So she called his name Asher. 1 14 In the days of wheat harvest Reuben went and found k mandrakes in the field and brought them to his mother Leah. Then Rachel said to Leah, “Please give me some of your son’s mandrakes.” 15 But she said to her, “Is it a small matter that you have taken away my husband? Would you take away my son’s mandrakes also?” Rachel said, “Then he may lie with you tonight in exchange for your son’s mandrakes.” 16 When Jacob came from the field in the evening, Leah went out to meet him and said, “You must come in to me, for I have hired you with my son’s mandrakes.” So he lay with her that night. 17 And God listened to Leah, and she conceived and bore Jacob a fifth son. 18 Leah said, “God has given me my wages because I gave my servant to my husband.” So she called his name Issachar. 1 19 And Leah conceived again, and she bore Jacob a sixth son. 20 Then Leah said, “God has endowed me with a good endowment; now my husband will honor me, because I have borne him six sons.” So she called his name l Zebulun. 1 21 Afterward she bore a daughter and called her name Dinah. 22 Then God m remembered Rachel, and God listened to her and n opened her womb. 23 She conceived and bore a son and said, “God has taken away o my reproach.” 24 And she called his name Joseph, 1 saying, p “May the Lord add to me another son!”
Jacob has 12 children Introduction This passage shows Jacob being blessed abundantly. Which will start the process of Jacob gathering up his own wealth and household and being in a position to return to Canaan. 12 children in total; completeness. A crowd. Strife and conflict pervades. Strategies for more children; prayer, bartering, superstition, substitute mothers. Yet God works through the sin and strife to populate 12 tribes! And thus carry out his promises. This genealogy raises a background tension; who will inherit? Reuben? Joseph? Seems to point to Joseph in light of Reuben's incest, Simeon and Levi's crimes, and Judah's sin. And then of course the story follows him. He gets an incredible inheritance, in one sense, after his humiliation and suffering. Recording all this is not justifying or condoning it. Rather, the narrative shows the terrible pain and generational conflict that stems from polygamy. And the awful emotional journey that all the ladies concerned were forced into. 1. Leah has four boys, v31-35 v31 YHWH's compassion on the outcast ones. This passage shows God's compassion for the neglected, unloved woman. cf Hagar. At a purely social level, illustrates how a man might not love a woman for what she thinks is precious (e.g., lots of children, or a particular weight); and vice versa. Another child won't repair an unhealthy marriage. cf Proverbs 30.21-23 a terrible thing for society when a wife is not loved Reuben his firstborn will go on to betray him rather than honour him v35 Judah: Leah seems to give up on the idea of winning Jacob's love. Rather she praises God. She learns to praise God despite her husband's lack of affection? 2. Bilhah and Zilpah have four boys, v1-13 'that she may bear upon my knees' - idiom v8 Hebrew, wrestlings of God - cf Jacob soon. 'Mother of all battles'. 3. Leah has three more children, v14-21 Mandrakes - thought to aid fertility. Possibly aphrodisiac. Greeks called it 'love apple'. 'Issachar' is a pun on 'my wages' - v18 Dinah - mentioned here in order to tee up what is to come. And makes up 12. All 12 born 'outside' the promised land. Yet they are the people of the promise and that land is theirs. cf us and Hebrews 12 . God's glory : faithfulness. Adds to undeserving Jacob, despite the manifold problems. His compassion on both Leah and Rachel. FCF : Conflict! Outside (his wives; Laban; Esau) and inside for Jacob. Conflict from selfish ends. Establishing my value by what I can have 'over' you. Selfish desires lead to pragmatism and thus to unfaithfulness. 'M eans' really do matter; cf David refusing to kill Saul on two occasions. Internal conflict - being unable to be resolved on a course of action - can make us passive. Jacob a pawn in the business-style bartering of the women. He seems to grow more and more passive in the Laban section. cf a lesson for men who feel tied in in life/work; at a blind loop? Can make us passive at home? Now Jacob is a bit like Esau was at the first. Jacob in all of this, passive like Adam, Noah, Lot. Jacob acting passively like Abraham his grandfather was with Hagar. Person of Jesus . The self-giver. The one with compassion on the outcast. The one who blesses the undeserving. No internal conflict; he has come to 'explain' the Father and to do his will. Work of Jesus . Treated as a pawn for political expediency. Handed over. Bears the pain of the extremity of shame, nothingness, and death. God 'remembered' all his promises, and raised him to new creation life. Union with Jesus . We learn to praise God for himself, as Leah did with Judah. We look to the future with bright hope, as Rachel did. Knowing that all God's plans are steadfast love for his people, forever. All 12 born 'outside' the promised land. Yet they are the people of the promise and that land is theirs. cf us and Hebrews 12 . In Jesus, the best is yet to come. 4. Rachel has Joseph, v22-24 God's compassion for those struggling to conceive. cf Hannah, Sarah, Rebekah. 30.22 God 'remembered' her. He hadn't forgotten, but this is covenantal language. Language of deliverance. He moves his pledge forward a step. Through Joseph his people will be a blessing to the nations. This child is clearly his doing. Joseph's very name holds promise for the future. 'Add' speaks of the present and the future. Benjamin, and beyond. After this point the narrative turns structurally and thematically toward home. 'Joseph', concludes the passage; the promise of more to come. Wrap up: Now the story looks towards home. God has been so outrageously faithful. In Jesus, God has delivered on all his promises. And now the best is yet to come.