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When Rachel saw that she bore Jacob no children, she envied her sister; and she said to Jacob, “Give me children, or I shall die!” 2Jacob became very angry with Rachel and said, “Am I in the place of God, who has withheld from you the fruit of the womb?” 3Then she said, “Here is my maid Bilhah; go in to her, that she may bear upon my knees and that I too may have children through her.” 4So she gave him her maid Bilhah as a wife; and Jacob went in to her. 5And Bilhah conceived and bore Jacob a son. 6Then Rachel said, “God has judged me, and has also heard my voice and given me a son”; therefore she named him Dan. 7Rachel’s maid Bilhah conceived again and bore Jacob a second son. 8Then Rachel said, “With mighty wrestlings I have wrestled with my sister, and have prevailed”; so she named him Naphtali.

9 When Leah saw that she had ceased bearing children, she took her maid Zilpah and gave her to Jacob as a wife. 10Then Leah’s maid Zilpah bore Jacob a son. 11And Leah said, “Good fortune!” so she named him Gad. 12Leah’s maid Zilpah bore Jacob a second son. 13And Leah said, “Happy am I! For the women will call me happy”; so she named him Asher.

14 In the days of wheat harvest Reuben went and found mandrakes in the field, and brought them to his mother Leah. Then Rachel said to Leah, “Please give me some of your son’s mandrakes.” 15But she said to her, “Is it a small matter that you have taken away my husband? Would you take away my son’s mandrakes also?” Rachel said, “Then he may lie with you tonight for your son’s mandrakes.” 16When Jacob came from the field in the evening, Leah went out to meet him, and said, “You must come in to me; for I have hired you with my son’s mandrakes.” So he lay with her that night. 17And God heeded Leah, and she conceived and bore Jacob a fifth son. 18Leah said, “God has given me my hire because I gave my maid to my husband”; so she named him Issachar. 19And Leah conceived again, and she bore Jacob a sixth son. 20Then Leah said, “God has endowed me with a good dowry; now my husband will honor me, because I have borne him six sons”; so she named him Zebulun. 21Afterwards she bore a daughter, and named her Dinah.

22 Then God remembered Rachel, and God heeded her and opened her womb. 23She conceived and bore a son, and said, “God has taken away my reproach”; 24and she named him Joseph, saying, “May the L ord add to me another son!”

Jacob Prospers at Laban’s Expense

25 When Rachel had borne Joseph, Jacob said to Laban, “Send me away, that I may go to my own home and country. 26Give me my wives and my children for whom I have served you, and let me go; for you know very well the service I have given you.” 27But Laban said to him, “If you will allow me to say so, I have learned by divination that the L ord has blessed me because of you; 28name your wages, and I will give it.” 29Jacob said to him, “You yourself know how I have served you, and how your cattle have fared with me. 30For you had little before I came, and it has increased abundantly; and the L ord has blessed you wherever I turned. But now when shall I provide for my own household also?” 31He said, “What shall I give you?” Jacob said, “You shall not give me anything; if you will do this for me, I will again feed your flock and keep it: 32let me pass through all your flock today, removing from it every speckled and spotted sheep and every black lamb, and the spotted and speckled among the goats; and such shall be my wages. 33So my honesty will answer for me later, when you come to look into my wages with you. Every one that is not speckled and spotted among the goats and black among the lambs, if found with me, shall be counted stolen.” 34Laban said, “Good! Let it be as you have said.” 35But that day Laban removed the male goats that were striped and spotted, and all the female goats that were speckled and spotted, every one that had white on it, and every lamb that was black, and put them in charge of his sons; 36and he set a distance of three days’ journey between himself and Jacob, while Jacob was pasturing the rest of Laban’s flock.

37 Then Jacob took fresh rods of poplar and almond and plane, and peeled white streaks in them, exposing the white of the rods. 38He set the rods that he had peeled in front of the flocks in the troughs, that is, the watering places, where the flocks came to drink. And since they bred when they came to drink, 39the flocks bred in front of the rods, and so the flocks produced young that were striped, speckled, and spotted. 40Jacob separated the lambs, and set the faces of the flocks toward the striped and the completely black animals in the flock of Laban; and he put his own droves apart, and did not put them with Laban’s flock. 41Whenever the stronger of the flock were breeding, Jacob laid the rods in the troughs before the eyes of the flock, that they might breed among the rods, 42but for the feebler of the flock he did not lay them there; so the feebler were Laban’s, and the stronger Jacob’s. 43Thus the man grew exceedingly rich, and had large flocks, and male and female slaves, and camels and donkeys.

1. And when Rachel saw. Here Moses begins to relate that Jacob was distracted with domestic strifes. But although the Lord was punishing him, because he had been guilty of no light sin in marrying two wives, and especially sisters; yet the chastisement was paternal; and God himself, seeing that he is wont mercifully to pardon his own people, restrained in some degree his hand. Whence also it happened, that Jacob did not immediately repent, but added new offenses to the former. But first we must speak of Rachel. Whereas she rejoiced to see her sister subjected to contempt and grief, the Lord represses this sinful joy, by giving his blessing to Leah, in order to make the condition of both of them equal. She hears the grateful acknowledgment of her sister, and learns from the names given to the four sons, that God had pitied, and had sustained by his favor, her who had been unjustly despised by man. Nevertheless envy inflames her, and will not suffer anything of the dignity becoming a wife to appear in her. We see what ambition can do. For Rachel, in seeking preeminence, does not spare even her own sister; and scarcely refrains from venting her anger against God, for having honored that sister with the gift of fruitfulness. Her emulation did not proceed from any injuries that she had received, but because she could not bear to have a partner and an equal, though she herself was really the younger. What would she have done had she been provoked, seeing that she envies her sister who was contented with her lot? Now Moses, by exhibiting this evil in Rachel, would teach us that it is inherent in all; in order that each of us, tearing it up by the roots, may vigilantly purify himself from it. That we may be cured of envy, it behaves us to put away pride and selflove; as Paul prescribes this single remedy against contentions

“Let nothing be done through vainglory.” (Philippians 2:3.)

2. And Jacob’s anger was kindled. The tenderness of Jacob’s affection rendered him unwilling to offend his wife; yet her unworthy conduct compelled him to do so, when he saw her petulantly exalt herself, not only against her sister, who piously, homily, and thankfully was enjoying the gifts of God; but even against God himself, of whom it is said that the fruit of the womb is his reward. (Psalm 127:3.) On this account, therefore, Jacob is angry, because his wife ascribes nothing to the providence of God, and, by imagining that children are the offspring of chance, would deprive God of the care and government of mankind. It is probable that Jacob had been already sorrowful on account of his wife’s barrenness. He now, therefore, fears lest her folly should still farther provoke God’s anger to inflict more severe strokes. This was a holy indignation, by which Jacob maintained the honor due to God, while he corrected his wife, and taught her that it was not without sufficient cause that she had been hitherto barren. For when he affirms that the Lord had shut her womb, he obliquely intimates that she ought the more deeply to humble herself.

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