Rachel in grief for her barrenness giveth her maid Bilhah unto Jacob. Bilhah beareth Dan and Naphtali. Leah giveth Zilpah her maid, who beareth Gad and Asher. Reuben findeth mandrakes, for which Rachel yieldeth her husband to Leah. Leah beareth Issachar, Zebulun, and Dinah. Rachel beareth Joseph. Jacob desireth to depart, but is retained by Laban on a new agreement. Jacob's policy, whereby he becometh rich.
1AND when Rachel saw that she bare Jacob no children, Rachel 1envied her sister; and said unto Jacob, Give me children, 2or else I die.
1 Or, she became jealous.
2 That is, then I must die for grief of heart. Words of human frailty proceeding from impatience. See a similar phrase Gen. 20:3.
2And Jacob's anger was kindled against Rachel: and he said, 3Am I in God’s stead,a who hath withheld from thee the 4fruit of the womb?
3 That is, am I almighty then, to make thee fruitful? God alone is He Who can bestow children. See 1 Sam. 2:5; Psalm 113:9; 127:3. Similar words Joseph use Gen. 50:19.
4 That is, children, Deut. 7:13; 28:4; Psalm 132:11; Isa. 13:18. Thus Christ Himself also is called in regard of His human nature, Luke 1:42.
35And she said, Behold my maid Bilhah, go in unto her; and she shall bear 6upon my knees, that I may also 7have children by her.
5 She rather follows the example of Sarah, Gen. 16:2, then the commendable example of Isaac and Rebecca, Gen. 25:21.
6 That is, that I may receive the children she shall get by thee, into my bosom, and hold and tender them as my own. See the similar speech Gen. 50:23.
7 See of this manner of speaking Gen. 16 on verse 2.
4And she gave him Bilhah her handmaid 8to wife: and Jacob went in unto her.
8 See Gen. 16:3.
5And Bilhah conceived, and bare Jacob a son.
6And Rachel said, 9God hath judged me, and hath also heard my voice, and hath given me a son: therefore called she his name 10Dan.
9 That is, He has determined the cause to my advantage. See Gen. 15:14.
10 That is, one who pleads a cause, or shows the right, or pronounces sentence in judgment.
7And Bilhah Rachel's maid conceived again, and bare Jacob a second son.
8And Rachel said, With great 11wrestlings have I wrestled with my sister, and I have prevailed: and she called his name 12Naphtali.
11 That is, very great, extraordinary hard and difficult ones. See Gen. 13 on verse 10. The sense is, I and my sister have (so to speak) striven and fought against each other for getting of children. And I got my wish, at length, beyond my sister’s expectation. Or, wrestlings of God, that is, prayers to God, wherewith I have wrestled against my sister, and through His grace and favor have overcome.
12 That is, my wrestlings.
9When Leah saw that she had left bearing, she 13took Zilpah her maid, and gave her Jacob to wife.
13 Out of human contention, herself not being satisfied with the preceded blessing.
10And Zilpah Leah's maid bare Jacob a son.
11And Leah said, 14A troop cometh: and she called his name 15Gad.
14 Or, there is a company come; that is, this son, conjoined the former, will make a company, or troop of men. In the Hebrew there is a word, compounded of two, as if one would say, company-come, or, troop-come.
15 That is, company, troop, band of men.
12And Zilpah Leah's maid bare Jacob a second son.
13And Leah said, 16Happy am I, for the 17daughters will call me blessed: and she called his name 18Asher.
16 Or, unto my happiness; understand: is this son yet born to me.
17 Understand the women in general.
18 That is, happy, or one that makes happy, or brings happiness.
14¶And Reuben went in the days of wheat harvest, and found 19mandrakes in the field, and brought them unto his mother Leah. Then Rachel said to Leah, Give me, I pray thee, of thy son's mandrakes.
19 This word signifies a certain pleasant fruit or flower, very acceptable and grateful for smell, color, and taste; such as with us are called the love-flowers, or love-apples. The Hebrew word here used is nowhere to be found but in this place and Cant. 7:13.
15And she said unto her, Is it a small matter that thou hast taken my husband? and wouldest thou take away my son’s mandrakesb also? And Rachel said, Therefore he shall lie with thee to night for thy son's mandrakes.
b plants with narcotic roots
16And Jacob came out of the field in the evening, and Leah went out to meet him, and said, Thou must come in unto me; for surely I have 20hired thee with my son's mandrakes. And he lay with her that night.
20 Hebr. hiring, I have hired thee, that is, firmly, certainly, expressly. Other, for bargained or conditioned wages have I hired thee.
17And God 21hearkened unto Leah, and she conceived, and bare Jacob the fifth son.
21 Of His grace, notwithstanding her human weakness and imperfection.
18And Leah said, God 22hath given me my hire, because I have given my maiden to my husband: and she called his name 23Issachar.
22 That is, I count myself well rewarded for my son’s mandrakes, since my God, after that I got children by my handmaid, hath yet given me this son out of my own body beyond my own expectation. For the word because, some read for that.
23 Hebr. Ischsacher, that is, there is wages, or hire.
19And Leah conceived again, and bare Jacob the sixth son.
20And Leah said, God hath 24enduedc me with a good dowry; now will my husband dwell with me, because I have born him six sons: and she called his name 25Zebulun.
24 The Hebrew verb with the noun following, dowry, is nowhere else to be found in Holy Scripture. Most opinions agree that thereby is signified an extraordinary and most excellent gift.
25 Hebr. Zebulun, that is, habitation, or co-habitation.
21And afterwards she bare a daughter, and called her name 26Dinah.
26 That is, a law-case, or judgment.
22¶And 27God remembered Rachel, and God hearkened to her, and 28opened her womb.
27 See Gen. 8 on verse 1.
28 See Gen. 20 on verse 18.
23And she conceived, and bare a son; and said, God hath 29taken away my 30reproach:
29 Hebr. gathered together, drawn in, withdrawn.
30 Which at that time lay upon barrenness, 1 Sam. 1:6; Isa. 4:1; Luke 1:25, and that mostly for two reasons: 1. Because that those, who were barren, did seem to be excluded from the promise made unto Abraham touching the multiplication of his seed. 2. Because they were without hope, which they otherwise could have, that the Messiah (Who was to proceed out of the seed of Abraham) would be one of their posterity.
24And she called his name 31Joseph; and said, The LORD shall add to me another son.
31 This name seems to reflect upon two Hebrew words; one, used in the previous verse, signifying to take away; and the other here expressed, signifying to add.
25¶And it came to pass, when Rachel had born Joseph, that 32Jacob said unto Laban, Send me away, that I may go unto mine own place, and to my country.
32 Namely, when the other seven years of his service were now passed, and he owed nothing to his father-in-law.
26Give me my wives and my children, 33for whom I have served thee, and let me go: for thou knowest my service 34which I have done thee.
33 Understand this properly of the wives.
34 Namely, the time of fourteen years, with much labor and faithfulness.
27And Laban said unto him, I pray thee, if I have found favour in thine eyes, 35tarry: for I have learned by experience that the LORD hath blessed me for thy sake.
35 See concerning such phrases Gen. 18 on verse 3. It is an abrupt speech, usual on such occasions, and may be supplied and made up with: then I pray tarry with me, and tell me but the wages thou desirest at my hand.
28And he said, Appoint 36me thy wages, and 37I will give it.
36 Hebr. over, or upon me. He would say, Lay upon me what wages thou pleasest. The Hebrew word here used signifies, to pierce, to stab through, to fix, to set down, and consequently to name expressly.
37 Or, and I shall give it.
29And he said unto him, Thou knowest 38how I have served thee, and how thy cattle was with me.
38 Or, what service I have done thee: and what thy getting, or acquiring hath been by me; that is, how well didst thou thrive and prosper by my service.
30For it was little which thou hadst 39before I came, and it is now 40increased unto a multitude; and the LORD hath blessed thee 41since my coming: and now when shall I 42provide for mine own house also?
39 That is, before my arrival. Also Gen. 32:3.
40 See of the characteristic of this word Gen. 28 on verse 14.
41 That is, by my careful and painful going about thy affairs; or, ever since I put my foot within thy doors.
42 Or, do something for my own family.
31And he said, What shall I give thee? And Jacob said, Thou shalt not give me 43any thing: if thou wilt do this thing for me, 44I will again feed and keep thy flock:
43 Namely, no wages set or determined by thyself, but such only as God’s Providence shall allot and dispose to me.
44 Hebr. I shall return, I shall feed, etc.
32I will pass through all thy flock to day, removing from thence all the 45speckled and 46spotted 47cattle, and all the 48brown cattle among the sheep, and the spotted and speckled among the goats: 49and of such shall be my hire.
45 That is, those marked with small spots.
46 That is, marked with broad or large spots or stains.
47 Understand here only the smaller sort, such as sheep, lambs, and goats.
48 Or, burned colored. The Hebrew word comes from burning, heat, warmth.
49 That is, such shall be my wages which out of the single colored animals, namely the all-white ones which I shall tend, shall have come forth speckled or spotted or brown (ones).
3350So shall my righteousness answer for me 51in time to come, 52when 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.
50 That is, when thou shalt come to view today or tomorrow what fell to my wages, then it shall plainly and evidently appear what my clear and upright due is or the contrary.
51 That is, in the future. As such is tomorrow often taken in Scripture, as Exod. 13:14; Deut. 6:20; Joshua 4:6; Mat. 6:34.
52 Other, when she shall come (namely, righteousness) for my hire.
34And Laban said, Behold, I would it might be according to thy word.
35And 53he removed that day the he goats that were 54ringstraked and spotted, and all the she goats that were speckled and spotted, and every one that had some white in it, and all the brown among the sheep, and gave them into the hand of his sons.
53 Namely, Laban.
54 Namely, about the legs, in the similitude of a band, according to the characteristic of the word.
36And he set 55three days’ journey betwixt himself and Jacob: and Jacob fed the rest of Laban's flocks.
55 That is, he put a distance between them of three days’ journey. Understand between the flocks of Laban’s sons and the rest which Jacob kept; lest in any wise the white ones might come to be intermixed with the spotted of brown.
37 ¶ 56And Jacob took him 57rods of 58green poplar, and of the hazel and chesnutd tree; and pillede white strakesf in them, and made the white appear which was in the rods.
56 This Jacob did by the instinct and direction of God. See Gen. 31:9. Thus God took care of Jacob, so that Laban would not let him return home empty. See Gen. 31:42.
57 Or, sticks or wands.
58 Or, fresh.
d chestnut, or plane tree.
e peeled, stripped off bark
38And he set the rods which he had pilledg before the flocks in the gutters in the watering troughs when the flocks came to drink, that 59they should conceive when they came to drink.
g peeled, stripped off bark
59 That is, being heated they conceived.
39And the flocks conceived before the rods, and brought forth cattle 60ringstraked, speckled, and spotted.
60 Namely, on the legs, as verse 35.
40And Jacob did separate 61the lambs, and set the faces of the flocks toward the ringstraked,h and all the brown in the flock of Laban; and 62he put his own flocks by themselves, and put them not unto Laban's cattle.
61 Namely, which were multi-colored or brown. These he caused to go before, and others to follow, that they might have them in their sight when they went a rutting.
h streaked, striped
62 Namely, lest by looking on them, they would bring forth their like, that is, single colored (ones).
41And it came to pass, whensoever the 63stronger cattle did conceive, that Jacob laid the rods before the eyes of the cattle in the gutters, that they might conceive among the rods.
63 That is, those that are cast in the spring time of the year, being, according as the Hebrew word implies, firm, strong, compact of body.
42But when the cattle were 64feeble, he put them not in: so the feebler were Laban's, and the stronger Jacob's.
64 That is, in the fall of the year, when they proved weak and feeble of body.
43And the man 65increased 66exceedingly, and had much cattle, and maidservants, and menservants, and camels, and asses.
65 See Gen. 28 on verse 14.
66 Hebr. much much.