Summary of Genesis 30:1-13:
Rachel gets mad at Jacob, blaming him because she has had no children. Jacob rightly tells her that it is God, not he, that is preventing her from having children. So Rachel gave Jacob her servant, Bilhah, to have kids for her. Bilhah had Dan, which means “he has vindicated.” Bilhah had another son by Jacob named Naphtali, meaning “my struggle.” Leah, seeing what Rachel did, gave Jacob her maidservant, Zilpah, to bear kids for her. Zilpah bore Gad, meaning “good fortune, or a troop,” and Asher, meaning “happy.”
BSF Study Questions Genesis: Lesson 20, Day 2: Genesis 30:1-13
3a) Rachel says she’s jealous of Leah and angry. The names mean, “he has vindicated” and “my struggle” shows Rachel’s pain at not having children. Leah is just being petty and jealous too with Zilpah. She already had 4 kids; she does not need more. Pretty sure Leah and Rachel did not talk to each other and probably pretended the other didn’t exist, sad as sisters.
b) It’s human to be zealous of others. We all can relate, especially those who have struggled to have kids. Prayer truly is all that fixes it.
4a) He rightly corrected her, telling her God was in charge. Yet, he wrongly went along with her plan. No one learns in OT times, it seems.
b) Not slept with the maidservants and prayed to God instead.
5a) Pray about it. Pray about your feelings towards that person. Pray for that person. Love that person despite the pain or hurt. Pray to forgive them. Pray for God to solve the problem.
b) God is with you. God answers prayers, even when He doesn’t answer them, that is His answer. Have faith God knows what He is doing.
Conclusions BSF Study Questions Genesis: Lesson 20, Day 2: Genesis 30:1-13
Noticed Jacob didn’t protest any of this nonsense, especially Leah’s request. She already had kids. She was being petty here. No one learned from Abraham here. You could argue Jacob was a typical man here. Who turns down an offer of free sex? Since there is no mention of Jacob’s protest, this seems likely.
End Notes BSF Study Questions Genesis: Lesson 20, Day 2: Genesis 30:1-13
Note that these are the first words recorded in the Bible that Rachel uttered, showing the depth of her despair: “Give me children, or I’ll die!”
Jacob seems unsympathetic to Rachel’s plight here, probably due to the culture at the time. Still, we saw in Genesis 25 how Isaac prayed for Rebekah to have a child. What would have happened if Jacob had done the same instead of answered with “that’s your problem”? Would God have answered and no maid servants would have been needed?
Scholars debate if the surrogate (Bilpah) was sitting on the lap of the adoptive mother during conception and birth. There is no proof that this custom was followed or practiced. Some believe the child was merely placed n the knees of the one who adopted the child.
In the competition between the two women, Jacob’s 5th son was born, Dan, and his 6th, Naphtali. Rachel felt somewhat vindicted now, as Dan’s name implies.
Leah ups the ante in this petty competition by providing her maidservant, Zilpah. Jacob’s 7th and 8th sons are born, Gad and Asher, respectively.