Genesis 30

Genesis 30 is a chapter that consists of a race by two women to get the attention of their shared husband Jacob.  Rachel begins by confronting Jacob about her barrenness.  She says “Give me children, or I shall die”.  That seems a bit dramatic, but it certainly got his attention.  It seems that she felt it was necessary to try and keep up with Leah, who had bore four sons by now, so she asks her servant Bilhah to sleep with Jacob and she does – bearing him two sons.  Leah wasn’t about to be outdone so she asks her servant Zilpah to do the same and bears two more sons for Jacob.

So he’s up to 8 sons now from three women.  Rachel is accused by Leah of stealing her husband.  And then Leah cuts a deal with Rachel to sleep with Jacob again in exchange for some mandrakes so she could eat.  And God blesses that attempt and Leah bears Jacob two more sons and a daughter.  So now he has 10 sons, and Rachel is still barren.  “Then God remembered Rachel, and God listened to her and opened her womb”.  And a son is born – Joseph – and when that happens Jacob is ready to move on and find his “own home and country”.  He asks Laban to “Give me my wives and my children for whom I have served you, that I may go, for you know the service that I have given you”.

Laban isn’t so sure about that request.  He knows that life is very different since Jacob showed up.  “Laban said to him, If I have found favor in your sight, I have learned by divination that the Lord has blessed me because of you. Name your wages, and I will give it”.  Laban doesn’t want to lose the source of his blessing.  But Jacob knows he needs to focus on building his own wealth and creating a sustainable place for his family to grow.  And He knows God has been with him.  “For you had little before I came, and it has increased abundantly, and the Lord has blessed you wherever I turned”.

So Jacob continues to pursue moving on.  Laban asks what fair wages would be for what Jacob has done for him.  Jacob says “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”.  So that is what they agree to, and Jacob sorts his lambs and goats off.  And God continued to bless him – “the man increased greatly and had large flocks, female servants and male servants, and camels and donkeys”.  As a key part of God’s covenant to create a mighty nation, his success and creating a strong family was paramount.

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