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Jacob's Family

Although Jacob did not love his wife Leah (he favored her sister Rachel, who he also married, after he unknowingly married Leah - see Jacob's First Love), it was with Leah that half of Jacob's twelve sons were born. Judah, from whom the Jews ("Jew" is an abbreviation of Judah) was the fourth-born child of Jacob and Leah i.e. Jesus Christ is descended from Leah (pronounced in Hebrew, lay-ah).

"29:31 And when the LORD saw that Leah was hated, he opened her womb: but Rachel was barren. 29:32 And Leah conceived, and bare a son, and she called his name Reuben: for she said, Surely the LORD hath looked upon my affliction; now therefore my husband will love me.

29:33 And she conceived again, and bare a son; and said, Because the LORD hath heard that I was hated, he hath therefore given me this son also: and she called his name Simeon.

29:34 And she conceived again, and bare a son; and said, Now this time will my husband be joined unto me, because I have born him three sons: therefore was his name called Levi [see Levites].

29:35 And she conceived again, and bare a son: and she said, Now will I praise the LORD: therefore she called his name Judah [see The Southern Kingdom and Was Paul A Jew or a Benjamite?]; and left bearing." (Genesis 29:31-35 KJV)

Jacob's Family

When Rachel was not having the children that she wanted, she appointed her servant Bilhah to be a surrogate mother.

Women

"30:1 And when Rachel saw that she bare Jacob no children, Rachel envied her sister; and said unto Jacob, Give me children, or else I die.

30:2 And Jacob's anger was kindled against Rachel: and he said, Am I in God's stead, who hath withheld from thee the fruit of the womb?

30:3 And she said, Behold my maid Bilhah, go in unto her; and she shall bear upon my knees, that I may also have children by her.

30:4 And she gave him Bilhah her handmaid to wife: and Jacob went in unto her. 30:5 And Bilhah conceived, and bare Jacob a son. 30:6 And Rachel said, God hath judged me, and hath also heard my voice, and hath given me a son: therefore called she his name Dan.

30:7 And Bilhah Rachel's maid conceived again, and bare Jacob a second son. 30:8 And Rachel said, With great wrestlings have I wrestled with my sister, and I have prevailed: and she called his name Naphtali." (Genesis 30:1-8 KJV)

As Rachel had done, Leah then appointed her servant Zilpah as a surrogate mother.

"30:9 When Leah saw that she had left bearing, she took Zilpah her maid, and gave her Jacob to wife. 30:10 And Zilpah Leah's maid bare Jacob a son. 30:11 And Leah said, A troop cometh: and she called his name Gad.

30:12 And Zilpah Leah's maid bare Jacob a second son. 30:13 And Leah said, Happy am I, for the daughters will call me blessed: and she called his name Asher." (Genesis 30:9-12 KJV)

The dislike and jealousy between Leah and Rachel was made obvious with such statements as "30:15 And she said unto her, Is it a small matter that thou hast taken my husband?" It nevertheless did not prevent Leah from having more children with Jacob - including a daughter, Dinah. In all, half of the tribes of Israel are descended from Leah, the other half from Jacob's other wife, Rachel, and two concubines, Bilhah and Zilpah.

"30:14 And Reuben went in the days of wheat harvest, and found mandrakes 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.

30:15 And she said unto her, Is it a small matter that thou hast taken my husband? and wouldest thou take away my son's mandrakes also?

And Rachel said, Therefore he shall lie with thee to night for thy son's mandrakes.

30:16 And 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 hired thee with my son's mandrakes. And he lay with her that night.

30:17 And God hearkened unto Leah, and she conceived, and bare Jacob the fifth son. 30:18 And Leah said, God hath given me my hire, because I have given my maiden to my husband: and she called his name Issachar.

30:19 And Leah conceived again, and bare Jacob the sixth son. 30:20 And Leah said, God hath endued me with a good dowry; now will my husband dwell with me, because I have born him six sons: and she called his name Zebulun.

30:21 And afterwards she bare a daughter, and called her name Dinah." (Genesis 30:14-21 KJV)

When the other three women stopped having children, Rachel had her first.

"30:22 And God remembered Rachel, and God hearkened to her, and opened her womb. 30:23 And she conceived, and bare a son; and said, God hath taken away my reproach: 30:24 And she called his name Joseph [see The Israelite Patriarchs - Joseph]; and said, The LORD shall add to me another son." (Genesis 30:22-24 KJV)

Fact Finder: All of the sons of Jacob, as listed in the verses above, were born outside of the land of Israel. Which son would later become the only one born in the land of Israel?
See Benjamin


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