Genesis 29:31-30:24

 |  April 9, 2018

Gen. 29:31-30:24

  1. Locate the passage

This passage continues the story of Jacob’s growing family. For the first time, God is involved in the story, not by Jacob’s initiative, but because nothing and no one escapes His attention.

  1. Genre

The passage is narrative. It records the frequent expressions of Leah and Rachel as Leah vies for their husband’s affection and Rachel competes against her to produce sons.

  1. Determine the structure of the passage

29:31-35 – Leah conceives four sons

30:1-8 – Rachel obtains two sons through Bilhah

30:9-13 – Leah obtains two sons through Zilpah

30:14-24 – Leah conceives two sons and a daughter

  1. Exegete the passage

This passage contains the story of the wife-swapping misadventures of Jacob

The interesting part of this story is the passiveness of Jacob. Continuing a theme of him being controlled by the women in his life, Jacob never objects to the competition and manipulations for his affection. Instead, he is a willing participant, witnessed by the children that result from all the arrangements.

Note that the Lord plans long-term. God used the deception, preferences and negotiations to produce the 12 sons who would become the fathers of the 12 tribes of His people. These tribes will chart the history of the nation of Israel until this day.

29:31-35 – God saw the Leah was unloved

30:1 – Rachel, in her desperation for children, blasphemously demands children of her husband.

30:2 – Jacob’s response to Rachel’s demand is anger. But, Jacob is aware that the Lord    had “withheld” children from her.

30:3-8 – Rachel conceives of the plan to obtain children through a surrogate — her maid,    Bilhah.

30:9-13 – Leah saw what Rachel did and decides to try a similar strategy and convinces Jacob to have children through her maid, Zilpah.

30:14-24 – Leah’s oldest son Reuben, who must have been in his mid-teenage years becomes the occasion for the next round between Rachel and Leah

  1. Let the structure of the text drive the sermon

Exp. The passage reveals: God’s justice, God’s grace, God’s goodness, God’s patience, and God’s compassion

Exp. God’s forgiveness of my sin does not negate the consequences of it for my life or my family.

Exp. This text reveals an unloved wife with children and a barren beloved wife

Exp. Leah believed that she could make her husband love her by bearing him sons.

Exp. More significant in the text is the sovereign hand of the Lord. Rachel was not barren for physical reasons, she was prevented from conceiving by the Lord

Exp. This is another episode of barren women among the Patriarchs (See note on 11:30 above).

All my children:

Leah Zilpah Rachel Bilhad
1. Reuben 7. Gad 11. Joseph 5. Dan
2. Simeon 8. Asher 12. Benjamin 6. Naphtali
3. Levi
4. Judah
9. Issachar
10. Zebulun



Category: Sermon Structure
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