Jacob’s Children, Spotted Flock (Genesis 30) Commentary

When Rachel saw that she bore Jacob no children, she envied her sister. What might have been taken humbly before the Lord was instead a fuel for envy and hate.  We do not gain what we do not have because we do not ask God, and when we do ask, it is out of envy and for selfish ambition. (See James 4:1-3) She said to Jacob, “Give me children, or I shall die!” This scream is frustration, There was an intense pressure to bear children for women, and the envy of Leah intensified it  Jacob’s anger was kindled against Rachel, At her envy, for it was undoubtedly stressing them both  he said, “Am I in the place of God, who has withheld from you the fruit of the womb?” Approach God for your needs; Rachel does not, and we have no indication that Jacob himself did either. Abraham consulted God, as did Isaac. Then she said, “Here is my servant Bilhah; go in to her, so that she may give birth on my behalf,  Following the misguided steps of Sarah with Hagar  And Bilhah conceived and bore Jacob a son.  Then Rachel said, “God has judged me, and has also heard my voice and given me a son.” God has shown her favor, as in contest to her sister, but she misunderstands, as the Lord’s purpose is not to satisfy envy; Dan- meaning judge   Rachel’s servant Bilhah conceived again and bore Jacob a second son. As one would not be enough to outdo Leah Then Rachel said, “With mighty wrestlings I have wrestled with my sister and have prevailed. Her envy stamps the names of her children Naphtali meaning struggle/wrestle

When Leah saw that she had ceased bearing children, she took her servant Zilpah and gave her to Jacob as a wife. To compete with Rachel for Jacob; not at the counsel of God. She named them Gad (meaning “fortunate”) and Asher (meaning “happy) in contrast to names of envy. Leah felt fortunate, so she named him Gad Leah’s servant Zilpah bore Jacob a second son.  Feeling blessed, she named him Asher, meaning happy

 In the days of wheat harvest Reuben a young boy at the time went and found mandrakes in the field plants of some sort, but not sure what, but special  and brought them to his mother Leah as a gift  Then Rachel said to Leah, “Please give me some of your son’s mandrakes.” Rachel was covetous, out of envy again;   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 was monopolizing the time of Jacob;  There is wisdom in monogamous marriage Rachel said, “Then he may lie with you tonight in exchange for your son’s mandrakes.” Rachel decides where her husband should lie; was it any different when she bedded him with her servant? Here she sells his company for plants;  And God listened to Leah, and she conceived and bore Jacob a fifth son. Leah had called upon the Lord  Leah said, “God has given me my wages because I gave my servant to my husband.” Perhaps insinuating God has had compassion on her for that reason  Issachar- meaning reward  

And Leah conceived again, and she bore Jacob a sixth son. Naming him Zebulun, meaning “dwelling”;  hoping Jacob would dwell with her now that she bore him six sons;  Afterward she bore a daughter and called her name Dinah. Meaning judged, vindicated

Then God remembered Rachel, and God listened to her  Rachel appealed to God  She conceived and bore a son and said, “God has taken away my reproach.” God has forgiven her envy, taken away her distress and disgrace, and given her a child. It was the first child she had borne, the others were through her servant.  And she called his name Joseph, saying, “May the Lord add to me another son!” A prayer, a blessing for another child

As soon as Rachel had borne Joseph, Jacob said to Laban, “Send me away, that I may go to my own home and country. Jacob desired to return the land promised him, as his time of service was over, but Laban found him too valuable, and once again asks him to name his price.  Jacob desired the means to provide for himself and his family.  Let me pass through all your flock today, removing from it every speckled and spotted sheep and every black lamb, and the spotted and speckled among the goats, and they shall be my wages. Therefore Jacob’s earnings would be easy to acknowledge, and to Laban’s favor, would be the rarer of the offspring.   Laban said, “Good! Let it be as you have said.”  Laban agreed, believing he could easily manipulate the results.  But that day Laban removed the male goats that were striped and spotted, and all the female goats that were speckled and spotted, every one that had white on it, and every lamb that was black, and put them in the charge of his sons. So Jacob would not have them, and believing he had eliminated or at least limited the possibility of their reproduction  And he set a distance of three days’ journey between himself and Jacob, and Jacob pastured the rest of Laban’s flock. That Jacob would not be aware of this deception, and there was no chance of Jacob taking them back

Jacob noticed the disappearance of the colored sheep. He resorted to another method. He peeled white streaks in sticks and set them in front of the flocks. The providence of God caused  brought forth striped, speckled, and spotted offspring, and was favorable to Jacob.  Jacob was also able to use the strongest of the flock for the breeding. It was not the sticks or anything that Jacob did, but the blessing of God that grew Jacob’s prosperity.

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