Journey Through The Scriptures

The Life of Jacob

Lesson 3: Eleven Sons Are Born to Jacob and His Wives

(Scripture to Read: Genesis 29:31–30:24)

The story of Jacob’s family gives us another wonderful picture of the way God works in the middle of human emotions, desires, and even flaws, to accomplish His sovereign plan—in this case, the early formation of His chosen nation, Israel. We can feel sympathy for Leah, who struggled with her unhappy status as Jacob’s unloved wife and with her sister Rachel’s jealousy.

But God took away the stigma of Leah’s secondclass status and rewarded her with six sons by Jacob, a sign of God’s blessing in the days of the patriarchs. The family’s tensions were heightened when both Leah and Rachel each gave their maidservant to Jacob in marriage. However, even these relationships became fruitful as Leah, Rachel, and their maidservants produced the sons who would become the heads of Israel’s tribes. (For further study read Genesis 30:25-43, Jacob’s dealings with Laban).

Study Questions

  1. What clue do we find in Genesis 29:31 that Leah’s sons (and the others, for that matter) were children born for a special purpose?
  2. Abraham had married his barren wife Sarah’s servant to produce a child (Genesis 16:1-2), while Isaac prayed for his barren wife Rebekah (Genesis 25:21). Whose example did Jacob follow (Genesis 30:1-5)?
  3. How did Leah hope that the birth of her sons would affect Jacob’s attitude and feelings toward her (Genesis 29:34; 30:20)?
  4. Bickering and bargaining were common in Jacob’s large household. How did God use even the “deal” between Leah and Rachel (30:14-16) to accomplish His purposes?

Something to Think About

Jealousy is one of the most powerful human emotions. Protect your heart from becoming bitter or envious toward others, regardless of the circumstances.

We know that true love cannot be bought or forced, only freely given. Let us make sure that the people who are part of our lives know they don’t have to try and earn our love.