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Saturday, October 21 2017

The Mothers Of The Patriarchs: Bilhah

Studies In This Series:
The Mothers Of The Patriarchs: Leah
The Mothers Of The Patriarchs: Rachel
The Mothers Of The Patriarchs: Bilhah
The Mothers Of The Patriarchs: Zilpah
The Mothers Of The Patriarchs: Asenath

"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.

29:25 And it came to pass, that in the morning, behold, it was Leah: and he said to Laban, What is this thou hast done unto me? did not I serve with thee for Rachel? wherefore then hast thou beguiled me?

29:26 And Laban said, It must not be so done in our country, to give the younger before the firstborn. 29:27 Fulfil her week, and we will give thee this also for the service which thou shalt serve with me yet seven other years.

29:28 And Jacob did so, and fulfilled her week: and he gave him Rachel his daughter to wife also. 29:29 And Laban gave to Rachel his daughter Bilhah his handmaid to be her maid. 29:30 And he went in also unto Rachel, and he loved also Rachel more than Leah, and served with him yet seven other years." (Genesis 29:22-30 KJV)

Women

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.

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)

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.

Woman

"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.

35:19 And Rachel died, and was buried in the way to Ephrath, which is Bethlehem. 35:20 And Jacob set a pillar upon her grave: that is the pillar of Rachel's grave unto this day.

35:21 And Israel journeyed, and spread his tent beyond the tower of Edar. 35:22 And it came to pass, when Israel dwelt in that land, that Reuben went and lay with Bilhah his father's concubine: and Israel heard it.

Now the sons of Jacob were twelve:

35:23 The sons of Leah; Reuben, Jacob's firstborn, and Simeon, and Levi, and Judah, and Issachar, and Zebulun:

35:24 The sons of Rachel; Joseph, and Benjamin:

35:25 And the sons of Bilhah, Rachel's handmaid; Dan, and Naphtali:

35:26 And the sons of Zilpah, Leah's handmaid; Gad, and Asher: these are the sons of Jacob, which were born to him in Padanaram." (Genesis 35:16-26 KJV)

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.

37:2 These are the generations of Jacob.

Joseph, being seventeen years old, was feeding the flock with his brethren; and the lad was with the sons of Bilhah, and with the sons of Zilpah, his father's wives: and Joseph brought unto his father their evil report.

37:3 Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his children, because he was the son of his old age: and he made him a coat of many colours. 37:4 And when his brethren saw that their father loved him more than all his brethren, they hated him, and could not speak peaceably unto him.

37:5 And Joseph dreamed a dream, and he told it his brethren: and they hated him yet the more. 37:6 And he said unto them, Hear, I pray you, this dream which I have dreamed: 37:7 For, behold, we were binding sheaves in the field, and, lo, my sheaf arose, and also stood upright; and, behold, your sheaves stood round about, and made obeisance to my sheaf.

37:8 And his brethren said to him, Shalt thou indeed reign over us? or shalt thou indeed have dominion over us? And they hated him yet the more for his dreams, and for his words." (Genesis 37:1-8 KJV)

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.

49:3 Reuben, thou art my firstborn, my might, and the beginning of my strength, the excellency of dignity, and the excellency of power: 49:4 Unstable as water, thou shalt not excel; because thou wentest up to thy father's bed; then defiledst thou it: he went up to my couch." (Genesis 49:1-4 KJV)

Fact Finder: How many Israelites entered Egypt? How many Israelites left Egypt?
See The First Census Of Israel and The First Sinai Census


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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)

1209: The German King Otto IV was crowned emperor of the Holy Roman Empire by Pope Innocent III (see The Holy Roman Empire Of The German Nation and Emperors and Popes).

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.

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.

Horatio Nelson

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.

John A. Macdonald

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."

NAZI

Wernher von Braun

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?)

Vietnam

Vietnam

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.





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