Rachel and Leah
Book of Genesis Chapters 30 Through 33
In last week’s lesson we saw that “deception” can destroy a family.
In this week’s lesson we will see that “jealousy” can reek havoc on any family and “envy” besides being a great sin can also cause many family problems.
There are many reasons we do not need two wives, and in this lesson, we get to see some of those reasons.
Bigamy has never been blessed by the Lord!
It is far better to believe that God knows what He is doing than to go against Him in any way!
We will see in this lesson, that though Jacob had left home because of the fear of death from his brother Esau.
Jacob had now been away from his parents for 20 years.
We will see that Jacob did not love Leah as he did Rachel, because Leah had been a major part of the deception of Jacob by her father Laban.
Jacob’s home was full of tension simply because Jacob was spiritually weak at this time!
It was as much Jacob’s fault he was deceived, as it was Laban’s.
Lust will blind our eyes to the truth!
We do not know if Jacob celebrated too much at that feast of Laban.
Gen 29:22 And Laban gathered together all the men of the place, and made a feast.
Or it could have been his lust for Rachel that clouded his eyes, which is more the truth.
Gen 29:21 And Jacob said unto Laban, Give me my wife, for my days are fulfilled, that I may go in unto her.
We do know that Leah was substituted for Rachel.
Gen 29:23 And it came to pass in the evening, that he took Leah his daughter, and brought her to him; and he went in unto her.
Leah could have told Jacob what was happening, and she did not.
We must remember there was no electricity for lights in those days. When night came it was dark!
Leah wronged Rachel as much as she did Jacob and we can only suspect that she would do anything to get away from her father’s house.
We do not know about Rachel other than Laban had removed her out of the picture, probably locked away from Jacob.
None of these things changed Jacob’s desire for Rachel!
In God’s eyes, Leah became the wife of Jacob and she bare him many sons, one of them being Judah who would carry on with the Covenant made to Abraham.
The Messiah came from the line of Judah.
The title Jew comes from the name Judah.
We all have a tendency to yield our feelings to the love story of Jacob and Rachel, but once Jacob sealed his marriage with Leah then she was his true wife.
One more thing we must see is, that Jacob was a shepherd who worked really hard to obtain a wife.
In typology this is exactly what the Lord Jesus Christ did.
It is by the work of the Lord Jesus Christ that we become the “Bride of Christ”.
We can see our Savior throughout the Old Testament!
Laban gave Rachel to Jacob with the understanding that he would serve him 7 more years.
Leah who was the less loved, bore Jacob 4 sons in short order while Rachel was barren.
Jealousy and envy brings this family their first problems.
*Gen 30:1 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.
Gen 30:2 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?
Immediately jealousy now brings with it envy.
We might ask ourselves, why did God show us all these things?
God wants us to know that these were real people who suffer through the same things all people suffer through today.
This is the reason that “God’s Grace” is so important!
Where would we be without the “Grace” of God?
It was in fact sin that was working in this family.
Satan was hard at work to destroy this family!
Leah was having children and Rachel was not, so the problem was not Jacob.
Rachel was not so much upset over her barrenness, as she was of Leah’s fruitfulness.
This could mean many things which we will not discuss here.
The point is it is God who controls the womb. It is the parent who controls the health of the child in one way or another.
Envy is grieving at the good of another.
There is not much greater sin than this in the eyes of God!
Envy leads to strife, and division, and railing, and hatred, and sometimes murder!
Rachel did not even consider that it was God who made the difference, and we know Leah had been praying constantly to God and God listens to those who are harmed.
Except for bearing children, Rachel had all the advantages of love from Jacob.
We must never be envious of our brothers and sisters in Christ when God has blessed them with some good thing!
One child would never satisfy Rachel! It would take more than one child to stop her envy as she tells Jacob, “give me children”.
Rachel decided if she could not have more than one child with Jacob, then she would just die.
We know that Rachel did die with the birth of her second child.
We should be careful what we ask for.
These things would never gain her favor with God. Neither will they work for good in our own relationship with the Lord!
Rachel decided, much like Sarah decided, that she would solve this problem herself, when she should have gone to God in repentance of her sin.
*Gen 30:3 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.
Gen 30:4 And she gave him Bilhah her handmaid to wife: and Jacob went in unto her.
Now Jacob was God’s man, but he allows himself to get caught up in Rachel’s envy and jealousy.
Compare Jacob to Job for a moment: Job told his wife.
Job 2:10 But he said unto her, “Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh”. What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? In all this did not Job sin with his lips.
These would have been good words for Jacob to tell Rachel.
Jacob had told his wife Rachel that she need not come to him when she should be going to God, which was the truth.
We do not know if she ever did.
What do we know? Whatever we want comes by the hand of God!
Jas 1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.
We can believe this or not, but it is true!
Rachel pleaded with Jacob for more than one child and we know she died with the birth of her second child Benjamin.
We know that in the Scriptures we find Hannah and Hannah was barren and she prayed for only one child from God, and then she had many.
Leah also prayed to the Heavenly Father and had many children.
We should be able to see the difference here!
The substitution of Bilhah would only add to the sin of Jacob, but by the culture of that day those children from Bilhah would be considered the children of Rachel.
Much like the surrogate mothers of today.
We would have thought that her own sister’s children would have given her more reason to love them than those from some surrogate.
Jacob gave in to this sin of his wife.
*Gen 30:5 And Bilhah conceived, and bare Jacob a son.
Gen 30:6 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.
Rachel named the first child of Bilhah, a boy, Dan. The name Dan means a judge, because Rachel felt that God had judged her, but now God had given her a son.
Jacob later, when he pronounced his blessing upon Dan, said he would judge his people.
This could have been a prophecy of Samson who was of the tribe of Dan.
In reality, Rachel believed it was an injustice for God to leave her barren and Leah so fruitful.
This is no way to build upon a personal relationship with our Heavenly Father!
It is a fact, with her attitude she did not deserve the blessings of God, and He certainly would not hear her prayers.
Bilhah gave another son.
*Gen 30:7 And Bilhah Rachel’s maid conceived again, and bare Jacob a second son.
Gen 30:8 And Rachel said, With great wrestlings have I wrestled with my sister, and I have prevailed: and she called his name Naphtali.
All of a sudden, we realize that Rachel was trying to make it a competition with her sister as to who could provide Jacob the most sons.
Naphtali was Jacob’s fifth son but other than this, we do not know much more about him.
These are certainly things we see in a family where bitterness, envy, jealousy, and strife are!
Now Leah gets caught up in this thing with her sister.
*Gen 30:9 When Leah saw that she had left bearing, she took Zilpah her maid, and gave her Jacob to wife.
Gen 30:10 And Zilpah Leah’s maid bare Jacob a son.
Gen 30:11 And Leah said, A troop cometh: and she called his name Gad.
Gen 30:12 And Zilpah Leah’s maid bare Jacob a second son.
Gen 30:13 And Leah said, Happy am I, for the daughters will call me blessed: and she called his name Asher.
Isn’t it amazing how some of these names came about?
Because of envy Rachel had put her personal maid into the bed of her husband Jacob she said she loved.
Now Leah because she was barren for a year did the same.
We can see the power of rivalry.
We also see that mischief and scheming is the result of the ignorance of God’s “Grace”.
More important, we see the inability to put confidence in the promises of God.
It is in the promises of God where our hope lies!
We should understand the wisdom of God which joins one man to one woman!
Jacob the father of these children, has now became a bedroom servant to his now four wives, rather than a husband and priest to one wife and family.
God was not in all these man-made problems or I should say woman-made in this instance.
We also see the many problems of “bigamy”.
We see that God is left out of the picture between these two sisters.
God will never bless bigamy!
God will never bless these marriages and we will see the results of envy and jealousy portrayed in these children as they grow older.
These children were raised in the roots of bitterness and envy and strife and mischief.
This is the same way they lived until they grew older and matured by getting closer to Jehovah (Yahweh).
These are all carnal things that go against the Word of God!
1Co 3:3 For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?
When we resemble the world we live in, we certainly are not like Jesus and therefore are not Christians.
Gal 5:21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
We see all these things play out in the world today, especially in the politics of our nation which has divided us all.
Let us not get caught up in these things.
Jas 3:13 Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom.
Jas 3:14 But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth.
Jas 3:15 This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish.
Jas 3:16 For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.
Jacob decided he needed a change in family and decided it was time to go home.
*Gen 30:25 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.
Out of respect to his father n law, Jacob asked for permission to leave with his family.
Jacob now had eleven sons and a daughter. He had been in Haran at least 14 years probably more.
Nothing in the plan of God called for him to remain in Haran.
All the promises of God were bound up in the promises to Abraham!
We all of have a yearning to go home if we know our Heavenly Father.
In fact as the children of God, most of us who are on up in years are yearning for our Heavenly home.
We know we are just strangers here on earth.
Jacob knew he would always be a stranger in Mesopotamia.
Jacob knew the promise of God was to his seed, and those twelve children who he now had were those seed.
One of those children, Judah, would lead to the Messiah!
We all as fathers have the responsibility to take care of our families!
1Ti 5:8 But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.
This is not only food and clothing and a place to live but their safety and most of all to teach them about our Savior, who is also our Creator.
If we do not take care of our family in all the ways of God, then we do not have faith in the truth of God and are worse than an infidel.
*Gen 30:26 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.
We see what Jacob was asking for was freedom.
Jacob sought for the freedom to take care of his own family.
Jacob had been working for Laban all these years and Laban had prospered far above what he could have gained by himself, under the power of his own family.
Jacob’s contract with Laban was fulfilled and he had no reason to hold him.
But Jacob’s children were also the grandchildren of Laban and he might resist Jacob from taking them away from him.
Laban had deceived Jacob!
We are being deceived by powers we do not understand today in our government and our freedoms are at stake.
We are wrong if we do not try to keep our freedoms!
The biggest problem we see here in America is the fear of losing our freedoms.
Our freedoms are eroding away especially since this plague has begun and our government has seen what they can get away with.
The people have been much more than lenient, but our patience is ending, and this new government is not very promising.
It is our desire to be free, yet most people are under the bondage of not only governments, but more important in bondage to Satan.
Only Jesus can set us free!
Joh 8:36 If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.
It all begins with the same faith that Abraham had that caused his righteousness.
Joh 8:39 They answered and said unto him, Abraham is our father. Jesus saith unto them, If ye were Abraham’s children, ye would do the works of Abraham.
Laban was not ready to just allow Jacob to leave for he knew for certain he would prosper as long as Jacob remained in bondage to him.
In this we see Satan in typology.
Satan prospers every time he captures the child of God!
Gen 30:27 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.
Laban was ready to do about anything to keep Jacob, not because of his love for Jacob, not even because of his love for his children and grandchildren, but because he knew the God of Jacob would cause him to prosper as long as Jacob was working for him.
It was greed that had controlled Laban all his days!
The one thing Laban did not count on was that Jacob could also be a deceiver.
*Gen 30:27 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.
Gen 30:28 And he said, Appoint me thy wages, and I will give it.
Jacob had been a faithful and hard worker for fourteen years working long hours to care for the animals of Laban and Laban had prospered greatly.
Jacob had fulfilled his part of the contract with Laban.
It was Laban who was the deceiver all this time.
Of course Jacob prospered in his work because God had promised Jacob many things.
Gen 28:15 And, behold, I am with thee, and will keep thee in all places whither thou goest, and will bring thee again into this land; for I will not leave thee, until I have done that which I have spoken to thee of.
God had also done as He had said He would do!
Laban did not want to lose Jacob because of his skills with animals.
Laban was willing to do just about anything to keep Jacob working for him and now was willing to pay him wages.
Laban entered into a partnership with Jacob.
Notice that even the wicked deceivers know how to speak pleasant words when it is for their own benefit.
This is another trait of Satan and Satan’s followers!
Laban had seen the benefits of serving Yahweh, but Laban still considered Yahweh to be just one god among many other false gods.
Today we know there have been many lost souls who have benefited from the work of good Christian employees.
Many companies stay afloat because of good Christian workers and they do not want to lose them, but they are often not willing to treat them fairly.
At this time in Jacob’s life, he realized that he was bound in duty to take care of his own family.
As long as he worked under contract for Laban, his family had no benefit. His sons had no future except to be slaves forever for Laban.
It was time for Jacob to think about them!
Jacob was ready to place his future in God’s hands.
What would be Jacob’s wages?
Gen 30:32 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.
Gen 30:33 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.
Jacob agreed for Laban to remove all such animals from the herds, so there would be no crossbreeding and Jacob could only claim those born in the future.
Jacob believed it was in God’s hands for the color of the different animals and we should to.
So it began.
For six long years these things went on and Laban’s sons who were to spy on Jacob felt that he was in some way stealing their father’s animals.
Jacob did try some trickery, but that trickery was for the entertainment of those sons or Jacob thinking he could influence the birth of those animals, but the things Jacob had done could not have made those animals change their colors.
Gen 31:11 And the angel of God spake unto me in a dream, saying, Jacob: And I said, Here am I.
Gen 31:12 And he said, Lift up now thine eyes, and see, all the rams which leap upon the cattle are ringstraked, speckled, and grisled: for I have seen all that Laban doeth unto thee.
Gen 31:13 I am the God of Bethel, where thou anointedst the pillar, and where thou vowedst a vow unto me: now arise, get thee out from this land, and return unto the land of thy kindred.
Then Jacob decided it was time to leave with his family and leave in secret.
Many things happened as Jacob left for the Promised Land, but the most important thing was a wrestling match.
*Gen 32:24 And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day.
Gen 32:25 And when he saw that he prevailed not against him, he touched the hollow of his thigh; and the hollow of Jacob’s thigh was out of joint, as he wrestled with him.
Gen 32:26 And he said, Let me go, for the day breaketh. And he said, I will not let thee go, except thou bless me.
Gen 32:27 And he said unto him, What is thy name? And he said, Jacob.
Jacob had sent his family over the river and decided he needed some time alone with God. (We all do)
He would soon be meeting with Esau, and Jacob had real fear for his life, and for the safety of his family.
What does the name Jacob mean? Jacob means a supplanter.
To supplant is to have a stratagem, a plan, or a scheme to take away someone else s possessions.
Use tricks to gain the advantage on someone else.
We should understand that it was not by Jacob’s strength that he prevailed in this match, it was by Heaven’s power.
We see again where prayer is the answer to all our problems.
Jas 5:16 Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much
We should understand that when we are discouraged our Lord will not cause us more discouragement.
The Lord is the answer to all our problems!
*Gen 32:28 And he said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed.
The Lord gave Jacob a new name.
Israel means at this time meant “a prince with God” and as a prince he had power with God.
Israel the man, would also have power with men.
Jacob learned that to become a new man he would have to change his behavior.
He could be no longer the supplanter but a true man of God.
Another meaning of the name Israel is “prevailed”.
Jacob had prevailed with the help of God and he would prevail against Esau by the help of God!
What is our lesson here?
2Co 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
2Co 5:18 And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;
2Co 5:19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.
It takes a prayer asking for forgiveness and repentance to gain the favor of God and then by God’s “grace” we can also become a prince in the family of God!
God teaches us all these things in the Old Testament so we can see the same truths in the New Testament, and we will know our God is the same today as He was in the time of Jacob.