Genesis 30:3
Then she said, "Here is my maidservant Bilhah. Sleep with her, that she may bear children for me, so that through her I too can build a family."
Domestic IrritationsD. G. Watt, M. A.Genesis 30:1-13
EnvyGenesis 30:1-13
Rachel's ImpatienceT. H. Leale.Genesis 30:1-13

Rachel envied her sister. Jacob's love for Rachel a type of Christ's love for his Church. We cannot doubt that his love was returned. There was thus the chief element of conjugal happiness. But her sister, less favored in this, had a blessing which was denied her, and "Rachel envied her sister." It was not that she feared to lose her husband's love. Of that she had abundant proof: It was a selfish sorrow. Her husband's children were growing up, but they were not hers. Rachel's envy has its counterpart among Christians. Love for Christ may take the form of selfish zeal; unwillingness to acknowledge or rejoice in work for God in which we take no part. In the spiritual history of the world a blessing often seems to rest upon means irregular or unlikely. Where efforts that promised well have failed, God makes his own power felt; and many think this cannot be right (cf. John 9:16), and would rather have the work not done than done thus (cf. Numbers 11:28; Mark 9:38). Contrast the spirit of St. Paul (Philippians 1:18). Examples of this: unwillingness to rejoice in good done by some other communion, or some other party than our own; inclination to look at points of difference rather than at those held in common; the work of others doubted, criticized, or ignored; eagerness to warn against this or that. Self lies at the root of this. Perhaps the harvest of another seems to diminish ours. Perhaps our own thoughts are to us the measure of God's plans (cf. Mark 14:4). Men see the outside of others' work, and judge as if they knew both the motives and the full results. Yet with this there may be much real zeal and love for the Lord. The failure lies in the want of complete acceptance of his will. To rejoice in work for Christ, by whomsoever done, is not inconsistent with decided views as to the objects to be aimed at, and the means to be used (1 Thessalonians 5:21).

1. We are called to enlarge the household of God; to be the means of making enemies into children (cf. Psalm 87:4, 5) through producing faith (cf. John 1:12). Each responsible for the faithful use of the powers given to us, and bidden to examine ourselves as to sincerity. But the visible results are as God pleases. Here a test of singleness of mind. Can we rejoice in success of a work in which we have no share, or when another's success appears greater than ours? (Galatians 5:26).

2. As an exercise of unselfishness, be careful not to provoke envy by parading distinctive peculiarities (Romans 12:18) or exalting our own work.

3. Be not discouraged that work of others seems more blessed (John 4:36, 37). Faithfulness is within the power of all. It is that which God regards (Matthew 25:21). The result we cannot judge of here. The fruit delayed may prove a greater blessing. - M.

Appoint me thy wages, and I will give it.


1. The prudence which calculates.

2. The prudence which takes advantage of superior knowledge.

(T. H. Leale.)

A Divine benediction is always invisibly breathed on painful and lawful diligence. Thus the servant employed in making and blowing of the fire, though sent away thence as soon as it burneth clear, ofttimes getteth by his pains a more kindly and continuing heat than the master himself who sitteth down by the same; and thus persons industriously occupying themselves thrive better on a little of their own honest getting than lazy heirs on the large revenues left unto them.


What though you have found no treasure, nor has any friend left you a rich legacy! Diligence is the mother of good luck, and God gives all things to industry. Then plough deep while sluggards sleep, and you shall have corn to sell or to keep. Work while it is called to-day, for you know not how much you may be hindered to-morrow. One to-day is worth two to-morrows, as poor Richard says; and further, never leave that till to-morrow which you can do to-day.


God has given us precepts of such a holiness and such a purity, such a meekness and such humility, as hath no pattern but Christ, no precedent but the purities of God; and, therefore, it is intended we should live with a life whose actions are not chequered with white and black, half sin and half virtue. God's sheep are not like Jacob's flock, "streaked and spotted," it is an entire holiness that God requires, and will not endure to have a holy course interrupted by the dishonour of a base and ignoble action. I do not mean that a man's life can be as pure as the sun, or the rays of celestial Jerusalem; but like the moon, in which there are spots, but they are no deformity; a lessening only and an abatement of light, no cloud to hinder and draw a veil before its face, but sometimes it is not so severe and bright as at other times. Every man hath his indiscretions and infirmities, but no good man ever commits one act of adultery; no godly man will at any time be drunk; or if he be he ceases to be a godly man, and is run into the confines of death, and is sick at heart, and may die of the sickness — die eternally.

(Jeremy Taylor.).

Asher, Bilhah, Dan, Dinah, Gad, Issachar, Jacob, Joseph, Laban, Leah, Naphtali, Rachel, Reuben, Zebulun, Zilpah
Bear, Behold, Bilhah, Build, Builded, Built, Child, Family, Handmaid, Knees, Maid, Maidservant, Obtain, Order, Servant, Sleep
1. Rachel, in grief for her barrenness, gives Bilhah her maid unto Jacob.
5. Bilhah bears Dan and Naphtali.
9. Leah gives Zilpah her maid, who bears Gad and Asher.
14. Reuben finds mandrakes,
15. with which Leah buys her husband's company of Rachel.
17. Leah bears Issachar, Zebulun, and Dinah.
22. Rachel bears Joseph.
25. Jacob desires to depart.
27. Laban detains him on a new agreement.
37. Jacob's policy, whereby he becomes rich.

Dictionary of Bible Themes
Genesis 30:3-5

     5533   sleep, physical
     5732   polygamy

Genesis 30:3-6

     5672   concubines

Genesis 30:3-13

     5095   Jacob, life
     7266   tribes of Israel

Meditations for Household Piety.
1. If thou be called to the government of a family, thou must not hold it sufficient to serve God and live uprightly in thy own person, unless thou cause all under thy charge to do the same with thee. For the performance of this duty God was so well pleased with Abraham, that he would not hide from him his counsel: "For," saith God, "I know him that he will command his sons and his household after him that they keep the way of the Lord, to do righteousness and judgment, that the Lord may bring upon
Lewis Bayly—The Practice of Piety

The Old Testament opens very impressively. In measured and dignified language it introduces the story of Israel's origin and settlement upon the land of Canaan (Gen.--Josh.) by the story of creation, i.-ii. 4a, and thus suggests, at the very beginning, the far-reaching purpose and the world-wide significance of the people and religion of Israel. The narrative has not travelled far till it becomes apparent that its dominant interests are to be religious and moral; for, after a pictorial sketch of
John Edgar McFadyen—Introduction to the Old Testament

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