Monday, February 22, 2016

Monday - Genesis 30 - Children, Kids and Calves

This chapter chronicles the growth and development of Jacob's family and fortune.
Leah had four boys while her younger sister remained barren and became increasingly jealous. However, I can't say that Rachel handled her predicament prudently.  She blamed her husband.  Then she (like Sarah before her) gave her personal servant to Jacob as a mistress.  Then she mysteriously bargained away a night with her own husband for what she perceived to be either an aphrodisiac or else some kind of natural fertility potion (the mandrakes). Her desire to be a mother was normal and expected; however, her stratagems for obtaining a child were neither prudent nor successful. She only needed to wait for the life-giver Himself to open her womb (Genesis 30:22).
Even aside from the bitter struggle of one-upmanship between Leah and Rachel (to give Jacob more children), the story of the family's growth would still be interesting by itself. Added to Leah and Jacob's eldest four, Rachel's maid Bilhah birthed Dan and Naphtali. Not to be outdone, Leah gave Jacob her maid who bore Gad and Asher. Leah again conceived (on a night which she had actually purchased with her husband from her little sister) and bore Issachar. Then she had Zebulon and a daughter named Dinah. So, Jacob had 10 sons and 1 daughter, but none by Rachel, that is, until God removed her "reproach" and gave her Joseph.

After Joseph's birth Jacob attempted to leave Haran, but it was not to be. Jacob had earned his wives in Haran by labor.  At this point he began to earn his wealth there.  Though he was indeed a busy and diligent laborer, his wealth was not a product of his efforts.  His success was a result of God’s kindness toward him (and that because of His promises and character). Even Laban knew that God's hand of blessing was on Jacob (Genesis 30:27). Admittedly, Jacob didn't seem to be AS convinced yet that it was all of God. He attempted what appears to us to be a rather unscientific method of promoting the reproduction of certain varieties of animals so as to pad his own wallet and to drain that of his father-in-law.  Of course, not all of his methods were totally senseless. He did have a partially logical habit of separating the strong animals from the weak and following a breeding pattern that he thought would strengthen and fatten his flocks and herds.  Of course, we know that his prosperity was a result of God's sovereign aid, not of whatever the beasts were looking at when they were mating.

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