Click here for today’s reading Also check the Jacob genealogy I sent out yesterday… make notes (or not… what ever works for you) so you can recall things … color away 🙂
Chapter 30—Things are heating up!!! At the end of Chapter 29 Leah (means “weary”) has already been blessed with FOUR sons: Reuben (means “behold a son”), Simeon (means “heard”), Levi (means “joined to”), and Judah (means “praised”) (ALL because the Lord saw she was not loved). Rachel (means “ewe”) is upset because Leah is having all the babies and she can’t get pregnant!! In that day and time, not being able to conceive a son was a BIG deal and women who couldn’t conceive often gave their maidservant to be able to have a family through her. Keep in mind this was a CUSTOM of the day … NOT God’s standard. Rachel becomes jealous and blames Jacob for not having children. Jacob “became angry,” and tells her: “Am I in the place of God?” (ummmmm…. was Rachel not praying about it at that time, or was this “simply” a test for Rachel???)
Enter in Rachel’s maidservant, Bilhah (means “troubled”) who bore two sons for Rachel (Dan (means “judge”), and Naphtali (means “wrestling”).)
Game shifts back to Leah … she notices she has not been able to have more children so she volunteers her maidservant Zilpah (means “a trickling”) Gad (means “troop”) and Asher (means “happy”).
Leah barters with Rachel to let Jacob lay with her again (Rachel wants mandrakes that Reuben has and Leah wants another child… those mandrakes must have been pretty special!!). I find it interesting that Jacob knows NOTHING of this bartering until Leah tells him later that day. God LISTENED TO LEAH for another son and she has Issachar (means “there is recompense”). She conceived a 6th son (from her womb) for Jacob who is Zebulun (means “exalted”) And then a daughter.. Dinah (means “judgement”).
“THEN GOD REMEMBERED RACHEL” in verse 22 and opened her womb. She had a son named Joseph (means “Jehovah has added”). She also asked the Lord to bless her with another son.
Jacob now has his own large family 2 wives, 2 concubines, 10 sons, 1 daughter, lots of animals, “and a partridge in a pear tree” :-). He has served Laban for a total of 20 years (7 years as his dowry to marry Rachel but gets Leah, another 7 years to have Rachel, and then 6 more years see Chapter 31:38). Jacob served Laban UNTIL GOD TOLD HIM (verse 3) it was time to leave. He was ready to move on as were Leah and Rachel.
Jacob asks Laban when he could do something for his own household. Laban wants Jacob to remain because “he has learned through DIVINATION” (verse 27) that the Lord blessed him because of Jacob. Did you catch that? Laban learned through DIVINATION… idols… that the Lord blessed him through Jacob. Remember that Laban is one of God’s chosen. Abraham wanted Isaac to marry within his family. Isaac wanted both of his sons to marry within his family. Laban is family!! Yet…. He is using idols and divination!! RUT ROW!!
Chapter 31 — Although Laban had deceived him more than once, In verses 11- 13 Jacob discusses a dream when the Lord came to him during breeding season of the animals:
The angel of God said to me in the dream, ‘Jacob.’ I answered, ‘Here I am.’ And he said, ‘Look up and see that all the male goats mating with the flock are streaked, speckled or spotted, for I have seen all that Laban has been doing to you. I am the God of Bethel, where you anointed a pillar and where you made a vow to me. NOW leave this land at once and go back to your native land.’”
Jacob was greatly blessed by God in his knowledge of increasing the flocks that would be his. Laban and his sons were jealous. Jacob noticed Laban’s attitude toward him was not what it had been. Jacob decided to deceive Laban and sneak away. Rachel in verse 19 “stole her father’s household gods.” (NOT GOOD… on several levels). Many people kept small wooden or metal idols (gods) in their homes. These idols were called teraphim and they were thought to protect the home and offer advice in times of need. They also had legal significance because when they were passed to heirs the person who received them could rightfully claim the family inheritance.
Did Rachel take them because:
- She was raised with them and did not want to let go of a tradition of her past?
- She was angry with Laban?
- Did she take them so she could receive inheritance in the future?
- Or did she take them to protect Jacob and family so the “idols” could not tell Laban where her family was going?
I’d love to hear what you think and what scriptures you can find to support your thoughts!! 🙂
Did you notice that on the THIRD day Laban was told that Jacob had fled? And did you also notice in verse 24 (CAPS are mine for emphasis) “that GOD came to Laban the Aramean in a dream at night and said to him, ‘Be careful not to say ANY thing to Jacob, either good or bad.’ ” ???? It seems as if Laban didn’t really listen to God, because he certainly spoke up. What does this say about Laban’s relationship with God??
Even without the “idols” Laban finds Jacob and family. Laban confronts Jacob. Jacob responds that he left without telling him because he was AFRAID Laban would take his daughters away from him by force. Laban accuses Jacob of robbing him of saying goodbye to his daughters, of not being able to kiss his grandchildren goodbye, and of stealing his idols. Jacob has NO idea what Rachel did. Rachel could have died at her father’s hands with her husband’s permission because of her own deceit!! HEAVENS!! Since Jacob had NO idea of Rachel’s actions he gives Laban permission to search his tents and if he finds the idols then that person will be killed!! Rachel is smart… she tells Laban (paraphrased) “she is having her period and can’t stand up in his presence” so no idols are found. (WHEW!!)
Jacob acknowledges that God has been his protection for the past 20 years in verse 42:
If the God of my father, the God of Abraham and the Fear of Isaac, had not been with me, you would surely have sent me away empty-handed. But God has seen my hardship and the toil of my hands, and last night he rebuked you.”
Laban STILL thinks EVERY thing is his!!! (verse 43) but wants to make a covenant with Jacob and Jacob agrees to do so. Laban calls the place Jegar Sahadutha (meaning “witness heap). Jacob calls the place Galeed (which has the same meaning), also known as Mizpah (meaning “watchtower“). Jacob took an oath, offered a sacrifice and invited his relatives to a meal. Laban kissed his grandchildren, his daughters, blessed them, and departed.
Notice Jacob’s words to Laban in verse 53: “May the God of Abraham and the God of Nahor, the God of their father, judge between us. So Jacob took an oath in the name of the Fear of his father Isaac.” These are very telling words ….. WHAT do they tell us you as? Great question!! They tell us that Jacob still does not know God as his LORD …. YET!!! He knows God is God. He knows to listen to HIM. BUT… God is not yet the LORD OF HIS LIFE. I KNOW.. pretty eye opening stuff right??
So we are ending today with Jacob having 11 sons and 1 daughter…. There will be one more son … so there will be 12 TRIBES of Israel!!!
Sharing HIS love,