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Saturday, October 21 2017
The Mothers Of The Patriarchs: Bilhah
Studies In This Series:
"And the sons of Bilhah, Rachel's handmaid; Dan, and Naphtali"s
Bilhah, in Hebrew pronounced beel-haw, was a servant of Laban (see Jacob In Syria) who was given to Laban's daughter Rachel (see The Mothers Of The Patriarchs: Rachel) as a wedding present ("Laban gave to Rachel his daughter Bilhah his handmaid to be her maid"), just as he had given his daughter Leah (see The Mothers Of The Patriarchs: Leah) his servant Zilpah to be her servant ("Laban gave unto his daughter Leah Zilpah his maid for an handmaid"). The result was that all four of Jacob's wives formed a household unit within a few days.
"29:22 And Laban gathered together all the men of the place, and made a feast. 29:23 And it came to pass in the evening, that he took Leah his daughter, and brought her to him; and he went in unto her. 29:24 And Laban gave unto his daughter Leah Zilpah his maid for an handmaid.
Bilhah remained Rachel's servant until childless Rachel appointed Bilhah as a surrogate wife - with an extreme goal: "she shall bear upon my knees, that I may also have children by her." The results were the births of the Israelite patriarchs Dan and Naphtali by Bilhah.
"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.
Rachel eventually had her own children - Joseph in Syria, and Benjamin, the only Israelite patriarch born in what became the land of Israel. The birth of Benjamin was tragic however - Rachel died giving Benjamin life.
After the death of her mistress Rachel, Bilhah seemed to be liberated from her secondary status within the family group. Her liberty however crossed moral and legal bounds - "And it came to pass, when Israel dwelt in that land, that Reuben went and lay with Bilhah his father's concubine." Reuben, the firstborn son of Leah, at that time would have been about age 25, while Bilhah would have been about age 45.
"35:16 And they journeyed from Bethel; and there was but a little way to come to Ephrath: and Rachel travailed, and she had hard labour. 35:17 And it came to pass, when she was in hard labour, that the midwife said unto her, Fear not; thou shalt have this son also. 35:18 And it came to pass, as her soul was in departing, (for she died) that she called his name Benoni: but his father called him Benjamin.
Jacob's large family didn't merely have the typical sibling rivalry, or conflicts between oldest to youngest. There was also tension as a result of the four different mothers. Notice that in the account of Joseph, the son of Rachel, snitching on his brothers, it was "the sons of Bilhah" (Dan and Naphtali) and "the sons of Zilpah" (Gad and Asher) that he reported to his / their father.
"37:1 And Jacob dwelt in the land wherein his father was a stranger, in the land of Canaan.
By the time that the Israelites entered Egypt to begin their 400 year stay, Bilhah was a grandmother - her two sons had five sons of their own.
"46:23 And the sons of Dan; Hushim. 46:24 And the sons of Naphtali; Jahzeel, and Guni, and Jezer, and Shillem. 46:25 These are the sons of Bilhah, which Laban gave unto Rachel his daughter, and she bare these unto Jacob: all the souls were seven." (Genesis 46:23-25 KJV)
Before he died in Egypt, Jacob / Israel delivered the blessing, or a curse, to each of his sons. For Reuben, it was a curse for his affair with Bilhah: "because thou wentest up to thy father's bed; then defiledst thou it."
"49:1 And Jacob called unto his sons, and said, Gather yourselves together, that I may tell you that which shall befall you in the last days. 49:2 Gather yourselves together, and hear, ye sons of Jacob; and hearken unto Israel your father.
This Day In History, October 21
1096: During the "People's Crusade," the Turkish Seljuk forces of Kilij Arslan annihilated the Church of Rome's "People's Army." (see The Prophet Daniel: Kings Of The North and South and Constantine's Crusades In History And Prophecy).
1097: During the First Crusade, Church of Rome "Crusaders" led by Godfrey of Bouillon, Bohemund of Taranto, and Raymond IV of Toulouse, began the Siege of Antioch. The "Crusades" were a series of wars fought between the great false "church" of Christianity and the Muslims over which of them would control Jerusalem (see Constantine's Crusades In History And Prophecy and A History Of Jerusalem: Constantine and Muhammad)
1520: On the first-ever voyage around the world, Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan entered a passage off the southern tip of South America. Today it is known as the Strait of Magellan.
1520: The coronation of Charles V (Hapsburg) at Aachen.
1529: King Henry VIII of England was named "Defender of the Faith" by the Pope after defending "the seven sacraments" against the teachings of "protestant" reformer Luther. Henry later rebelled against the papacy (when the pope refused to grant Henry's repeated divorces) and created the Church of England with adulterous Henry (who thereafter declared himself not to be an adulterer) as the head of his church.
1790: The French Tricolor was chosen as the flag of France.
1805: The Battle of Trafalgar during the Napoleonic Wars (see also Russia Or Europe - Who Has Been The Invader?). A British fleet under the command of Admiral Horatio Nelson defeated a combined French and Spanish fleet off the coast of Spain (see also Send In The Marines), thereby leaving Britain the greatest naval force in the world for the next 200 years (until the Second World War when the U.S. Navy was expanded and replaced Britain as the world's Imperial power - ironic, in that the U.S. became what it was founded against). Admiral Nelson, age 47, was killed in the battle.
1824: Portland cement was first patented, by Joseph Aspdin of Wakefield in Yorkshire, England.
1854: The British nurse Florence Nightingale and a staff of 38 nurses were sent to the Crimean War.
1880: John A. Macdonald (Canada's first Prime Minister) and the Canadian Pacific Railway Company signed a contract for the construction of a cross-Canada railway. "The Last Spike" was put in 5 years later, on November 5 1885.
1921: U.S. President Warren Harding delivered the first speech by a sitting President against lynching in the deep south.
1923: The first planetarium was opened, at the Deutsche Museum in Munich, Germany.
1940: At the start of the Second World War (1939-1945; see also The Assassination That Triggered Two World Wars), British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, in referring to a German invasion of Britain across the English Channel, challenged Adolf Hitler (see Presidential Quotes On War, Terrorism, Religion) in a radio speech, "We are awaiting the long-promised German invasion - and so are the fishes" (listen also to our Sermon The European World Wars).
1944: During the Second World War, the first documented "kamikaze" attack occurred when a Japanese plane carrying a 200 kilograms / 440 pounds bomb attacks the HMAS Australia off Leyte Island (see also Why Was Korea Divided Into North And South?).
1950: The Battle of Yongju during the Korean War. British and Australians of the 27th British Commonwealth Brigade fought the North Korean 239th Regiment.
1959: U.S. President Eisenhower signed an executive order to enable the captured Nazi scientist Wernher von Braun (the developer of the rockets that Hitler used to bomb Britain) and other "rehabilitated" Nazi war criminals to work at NASA to develop the U.S. space program. Many who knew the truth about Wernher von Braun referred to him as the "NASA Nazi."
1960: HMS Dreadnought, Britain first nuclear submarine, was launched.
1966: A coal mine slag heap slid and buried a school in the Welsh village of Aberfan. 116 children and 28 adults were killed.
1967: During the Vietnam War (a civil war of the Vietnamese people that began after France and the U.S. divided the ancient country of Vietnam into two artificial nations), over 100,000 war protesters gathered in Washington, D.C. (see also Why Was Korea Divided Into North And South?)
1967: A few months after the end of the Six Day War, Egyptian missiles (see also The Rockets' Red Glare) sank the Israeli destroyer Eilat off Sinai. Israel responded by shelling the major oil installations in the Egyptian port town of Suez.
1983: The seventeenth General Conference on Weights and Measures defined the metre as the distance light travels in a vacuum in 1/299,792,458 of a second.
1988: In New York, a U.S. Court indicted former Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos and his wife, Imelda, on charges of fraud and racketeering that they committed in the Philippines.