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Rachel's Substitute Child-Bearer
"Give me children, or I'll die!" Rachel would gripe at her
husband. But know that this statement that Rachel had made, caused Jacob to become extremely upset. And he responded by saying: "Am I in the place of God, who has kept you from having children?"
(Bible Study Online Article Covers : Genesis 30:1-8)
In the last article, we'd read about the emotional hardships, that Leah was enduring, behind Jacob's (her husband) unfair treatment of her. We were reminded of the fact -- that Jacob did not love Leah, nor did he want to marry her. Now we find, that the true feelings that he has for her -- were beginning to show, when it came to his overall treatment of her:
"Then Jacob also went in to (sleep with) Rachel, and he also loved Rachel more than Leah. And he served with Laban still another seven years [for the right to marry her].
"[And] when the Lord saw that Leah was unloved, He opened her womb; but Rachel was barren (couldn't have children)." -- Genesis 29:30,31
And because of this, the Lord had blessed to Leah, to be in a very fortunate position -- when it came to her marriage, and the role that she would play, when it came to Jacob's household overall?
And the Lord would begin this process, by allowing Leah, to enter into a season of child-bearing.
Now understand, that this would give Leah a tremendous advantage (over Rachel), when it came to winning favor with Jacob? And because of the favor, that the Lord had bestowed upon her, when it came to child-bearing? Leah would end up giving birth to Jacob's first four sons: Reuben, Simeon, Levi and Judah.
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Rachel Loses Her Advantage Over Leah
And needless-to-say, because of Leah's new found favor with the Lord -- we now find, that Rachel has become very envious, and jealous of her older sister. And because of this, Rachel decided to take matters into her own hands? For she refused to wait, and trust in the Lord, when it came to her being able to have her own children. Now keep in mind, it was because of her beauty, that Rachel once held a tremendous advantage over Leah, when it came to winning the love of Jacob. But now, she finds herself losing that upper-hand, to the blessing that the Lord had bestowed upon Leah -- which was the gift of child-bearing.
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Rachel Tells Jacob -- Give Me Children!
As we move forward a bit, we now find that Rachel begins to complain to Jacob: "Give me children, or I'll die!" Now after Jacob had heard this, he snapped back: "Am I in the place of God, who has kept you from having children?" Now after hearing Jacob's reply, Rachel responded desperately by saying: "Here is Bilhah, my maidservant. Sleep with her so that she can bear children for me and that through her I too can build a family." -- Genesis 30:3
Now you would think, that when it came to Jacob, and with him being aware of the history of his forefathers -- that he would have remembered how his grandfather Abraham, who'd went by the name Abram at the time -- had given in to this same type of proposition, from his wife Sarah (who was known as Sarai at the time):
"Now Sarai, Abram's wife, had borne him no children. But she had an Egyptian maidservant named Hagar; so she said to Abram, 'The Lord has kept me from having children. Go, sleep with my maidservant; perhaps I can build a family through her.' [And] Abram agreed to what Sarai [had] said." -- Genesis 16:1,2
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Taking a quick look back - Abram & Sarai?
So as the passage above points out -- Abram ended up agreeing to Sarai's proposal. For the Sacred Record reveals, that he did marry Hagar the Egyptian maidservant -- and that he did, sleep with her that night. And because of this, Hagar would become pregnant with Abram's seed. So on the surface, Sarai's plan seemed to be working for the moment?
But unfortunately for Sarai, this wasn't, truly the case? Being that things would begin to turn sour for her. For the Sacred Record would reveal -- that Hagar attitude towards Sarai, would begin to change for the worse. Know that Hagar would begin to despise, and look down on Sarai -- for she no longer respected her, since Sarai was barren, and that she couldn't bring Abram an heir. And you know? Often times I wonder, if Hagar probably thought, that she would make a better wife for Abram, than Sarai could:
"Then Sarai said to Abram, 'You are responsible for the wrong I am suffering. I put my servant in your arms, and now that she knows she is pregnant, she despises me. May the Lord judge between you and me.'" Genesis 16:5
Nonetheless, after hearing this, Abram would try to counter this argument by stating: "Your servant is in your hands. Do with her whatever you think best." So Sarai would begin to mistreat Hagar, so-much-so, that the Egyptian maidservant would eventually flee from Abram's household.
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Rachel's Plan Seems to be Working?
However that may have been, let's move back to our current recorded account. For we will now find Rachel, presenting her maidservant Bilhah as a wife, to her husband -- just like Sarah (Sarai) had once done, before her. And just like his grandfather before him, Jacob too, would go along with his wife's plan. For the Sacred Record would confirm, that Jacob would marry Bilhah -- and that he had also consummated the marriage union, by sleeping with her that night.
And because of this, Bilhah would become pregnant with Jacob's son: "God has vindicated me, he has listen to my plea and given me a son." Rachel (not Bilhah) would say, as she named him "Dan." For the name meant "judge." Know that Rachel names the boy, according to the way she had felt, when it came to her current child-bearing situation. For we must understand, that Rachel had felt like she was being judged by God -- since she was the only woman from within Jacob's household, who had to endure a season of barrenness.
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Rachel Now Feels Vindicated?
But now that Dan was born, she had felt some kind of vindication, because God had allowed her maidservant to bear a child to Jacob. A child that Rachel would claim, to be her own. But know that things wouldn't stop there? For we would also learn, that soon after, Bilhah would bear Jacob a second son. And needless-to-say, this had made Rachel even happier, than before:
"I have had a great struggle with my sister, and I have won." Rachel would declare, as she named the child Naphtali. For the name meant (wrestling). And again, the naming of this child, would be a reflection of the way, that Rachel was feeling at the time. For she had felt, like she had wrestled with God in fervent prayer, for many nights -- and finally, through God's grace and mercy, at last, the Lord answered her prayers. Therefore, making her feel, like she had prevailed.
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But Rachel Just Doesn't Get It?
Now understand, that when it came to earning Jacob's love? Rachel was so determined to compete with her sister, that she was willing to take credit for any type of child-bearing progress, by treating the blessed event, as some sort of victory for herself? For it didn't matter to her, that those boys had come from Bilhah's womb, and not her own. Also keep in mind, that Rachel would ignore the fact -- that Leah's children had came directly from her own womb. So therefore, Leah would forever hold the propriety (order) of birth advantage, over Rachel as well, being that her sons were born first unto Jacob.
In the next Bible Study Online Article:
So the question now remains: "How will Leah respond to this new competitive child-bearing environment, that has been created by a jealous and prideful Rachel, and her maidservant Bilhah?" Will Leah be satisfied with her current advantages over Rachel? Or, will she make the mistake of giving in to her insecurities, by trying to compete with her sister? And will she lose her advantage, by doing so?
May God blessings be upon you, and thank you for your support
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