Jacob’s eight children. Jacob prospers at Laban’s expense.
VERSE 1. When Rachel saw that she bore Jacob no children, Rachel envied her sister. She said to Jacob, “Give me children, or else I will die.”
children. Here are Jacob’s five wives and the children he had with each:
RACHEL: Joseph (verse 24)
VERSE 2. Jacob’s anger burned against Rachel, and he said, “Am I in God’s place, who has withheld from you the fruit of the womb?”
VERSE 3. She said, “Behold, my maid Bilhah. Go in to her, that she may bear on my knees, and I also may obtain children by her.”
Behold, my maid Bilhah. Go in to her. Rachel offered her servant Bilhah to Jacob, asking that he have sexual intercourse with her.
A very similar thing happened with Sarai and Abram. Sarai offered her servant Haggar to Abram, asking that he have sexual intercourse with her.
In Abram’s case, God frowned up on what he did. Abram was relying on human works instead of relying on the LORD God’s miraculous provision.
But in the case of Rachel offering her servant Bilhah to Jacob, the LORD God seems to have accepted what they decided.
that she may bear on my knees. In those days, in that part of the world, the father would receive the newborn infant on his knees. This was his way of saying it was his child.
Rachel indicates that she will receive the newborn on her knees. This probably signaled that she would adapt the child as her own.
VERSE 4. She gave him Bilhah her servant as wife, and Jacob went in to her.
VERSE 5. Bilhah conceived, and bore Jacob a son.
VERSE 6. Rachel said, “God has judged me, and has also heard my voice, and has given me a son.” Therefore she called his name Dan.
VERSE 7. Bilhah, Rachel’s servant, conceived again, and bore Jacob a second son.
VERSE 8. Rachel said, “I have wrestled with my sister with mighty wrestlings, and have prevailed.” She named him Naphtali.
VERSE 9. When Leah saw that she had finished bearing, she took Zilpah, her servant, and gave her to Jacob as a wife.
VERSE 10. Zilpah, Leah’s servant, bore Jacob a son.
VERSE 12. Zilpah, Leah’s servant, bore Jacob a second son.
VERSE 14. Reuben went in the days of wheat harvest, and found 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.”
VERSE 15. Leah 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, “Therefore he will lie with you tonight for your son’s mandrakes.”
VERSE 16. Jacob came from the field in the evening, and Leah went out to meet him, and said, “You must come in to me; for I have surely hired you with my son’s mandrakes.” He lay with her that night.
VERSE 17. God listened to Leah, and she conceived, and bore Jacob a fifth son.
VERSE 18. Leah said, “God has given me my hire, because I gave my servant to my husband.” She named him Issachar.
VERSE 19. Leah conceived again, and bore a sixth son to Jacob.
VERSE 20. Leah said, “God has endowed me with a good dowry. Now my husband will live with me, because I have borne him six sons.” She named him Zebulun.
VERSE 22. God remembered Rachel, and God listened to her, and opened her womb.
VERSE 23. She conceived, bore a son, and said, “God has taken away my reproach.”
Joseph (verse 24) is the one child of Rachel.
Joseph. This word means “may he add.”
VERSE 25. When Rachel had borne Joseph, Jacob said to Laban, “Send me away, that I may go to my own place, and to my country.
VERSE 26. Give me my wives and my children for whom I have served you, and let me go; for you know my service with which I have served you.”
VERSE 27. Laban said to him, “If now I have found favor in your eyes, stay here, for I have divined that the LORD has blessed me for your sake.”
I have divined. Laban resorted to divination.
In the future, divination would be forbidden for God’s people.
VERSE 28. He said, “Appoint me your wages, and I will give it.”
VERSE 29. Jacob said to him, “You know how I have served you, and how your livestock have fared with me.
VERSE 30. For it was little which you had before I came, and it has increased to a multitude. The LORD has blessed you wherever I turned. Now when will I provide for my own house also?”
The LORD has blessed you wherever I turned. The LORD God’s blessings overflowed from Jacob to Laban.
Some Christians call that “overflow” blessings. One person receives so many blessings that they overflow into the lives of other people.
VERSE 31. Laban said, “What shall I give you?” Jacob said, “You shall not give me anything. If you will do this thing for me, I will again feed your flock and keep it.
VERSE 32. I will pass through all your flock today, removing from there every speckled and spotted one, and every black one among the sheep, and the spotted and speckled among the goats. This will be my hire.
VERSE 33. So my righteousness will answer for me hereafter, when you come concerning my hire that is before you. Every one that is not speckled and spotted among the goats, and black among the sheep, that might be with me, will be considered stolen.”
VERSE 34. Laban said, “Behold, let it be according to your word.”
VERSE 35. That day, he removed the male goats that were streaked and spotted, and all the female goats that were speckled and spotted, every one that had white in it, and all the black ones among the sheep, and gave them into the hand of his sons.
VERSE 36. He set three days’ journey between himself and Jacob, and Jacob fed the rest of Laban’s flocks.
VERSE 37. Jacob took to himself rods of fresh poplar, almond, and plane tree, peeled white streaks in them, and made the white appear which was in the rods.
VERSE 38. He set the rods which he had peeled opposite the flocks in the watering troughs where the flocks came to drink. They conceived when they came to drink.
VERSE 39. The flocks conceived before the rods, and the flocks produced streaked, speckled, and spotted.
VERSE 40. Jacob separated the lambs, and set the faces of the flocks toward the streaked and all the black in Laban’s flock. He put his own droves apart, and didn’t put them into Laban’s flock.
VERSE 41. Whenever the stronger of the flock conceived, Jacob laid the rods in front of the eyes of the flock in the watering troughs, that they might conceive among the rods;
VERSE 42. but when the flock were feeble, he didn’t put them in. So the feebler were Laban’s, and the stronger Jacob’s.
VERSE 43. The man increased exceedingly, and had large flocks, female servants and male servants, and camels and donkeys.
CHAPTERS: 01, 02, 03, 04, 05, 06, 07, 08, 09, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 50
Unless otherwise noted, all Bible quotations on this page are from the World English Bible and the World Messianic Edition. These translations have no copyright restrictions. They are in the Public Domain.