Friday, June 17, 2011

Genesis 30:1-24 PART 2

Yesterday we were looking at Rachel’s demand for a child. Like Jacob’s grandmother, Sarah, she decides to work out the problem herself instead of waiting on God , and offers her maidservant, Bilhah, to Jacob as a surrogate. It was an accepted custom that the child of the maidservant would become the child of the master and mistress.

So she gave him her servant Bilhah as a wife. Jacob slept with her, and she became pregnant and bore him a son. Then Rachel said, “God has vindicated me; he has listened to my plea and given me a son.” Because of this she named him Dan.

Rachel’s servant Bilhah conceived again and bore Jacob a second son. Then Rachel said, “I have had a great struggle with my sister, and I have won.” So she named him Naphtali. (Gen 30:4-8)

Leah decides to get back in the game and gives Jacob HER maidservant, Zilpah, who bears Gad, meaning good fortune, then another son, names Asher, meaning happy. If it weren’t so tragic, this competition would be funny:

During wheat harvest, Reuben went out into the fields and found some mandrake plants, which he brought to his mother Leah. Rachel said to Leah, “Please give me some of your son’s mandrakes.”

But she said to her, “Wasn’t it enough that you took away my husband? Will you take my son’s mandrakes too?”

“Very well,” Rachel said, “he can sleep with you tonight in return for your son’s mandrakes.”

So when Jacob came in from the fields that evening, Leah went out to meet him. “You must sleep with me,” she said. “I have hired you with my son’s mandrakes.” So he slept with her that night.

God listened to Leah, and she became pregnant and bore Jacob a fifth son. Then Leah said, “God has rewarded me for giving my maidservant to my husband.” So she named him Issachar.

Leah conceived again and bore Jacob a sixth son. Then Leah said, “God has presented me with a precious gift. This time my husband will treat me with honor, because I have borne him six sons.” So she named him Zebulun.

Some time later she gave birth to a daughter and named her Dinah. (vs. 14-21)

What’s with the mandrakes? They were thought to be an aphrodisiac as well as a fertility aid. Here Rachel again is foiled by her own desperation! She gives Leah a night with Jacob in return for the mandrakes - then Leah, not Rachel, becomes pregnant! Note that Leah is still hoping to gain some respect, is not love, from Jacob. She has not yet learned to let God (and six sons and a daughter) be enough! Anyone seeing any joy in this family??? And yet, God continues to extend grace:

Then God remembered Rachel; he listened to her and opened her womb. She became pregnant and gave birth to a son and said, “God has taken away my disgrace.” She named him Joseph, and said, “May the LORD add to me another son.” (vs.22-24)

At last Rachel has her son! Is she satisfied? No. She names this baby Joseph, meaning may he add, as a prayer for MORE. She’s already thinking about the next one!

Tomorrow we’ll take one final look, because I want to share some perspective on this from Jon Courson, and we need to see what lessons God is trying to teach us from this family!


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