Children’s Study – Jacob, Part 8; Leah and Rachel Continue Their Struggle
Jacob – Part 8 – Leah and Rachel Continue Their Struggle
Last time, we saw that Leah bore children first, before Rachel had children through her servant Bilhah. This shows us that the Lord allows us to be productive or fruitful under false churches first, before we become fruitful under the Lord’s body. Most people in the world stay in those false churches. But a few are called out of those churches to join the true body of Christ, which is truly nourished by its head, Jesus Christ.
The first four sons of Leah are:
 Reuben whose name means “behold a son”
 Simeon whose name means “hearing”
 Levi whose name means “attached”
 Judah whose name means “celebrated” or “praise”
Since these are all Leah’s sons, who is the symbol of Babylon or the false churches of this world, we know that whatever their names mean, they have a negative meaning.
Reuben’s name which means “behold a son” refers to our worldly nature as the first man Adam.
1Co 15:47 (KJV) The first man is of the earth, earthy [worldly]: the second man is the Lord from heaven.
1Co 15:48 As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly.
Simeon’s name, which means “hearing”, refers to us when we have “selective hearing”, meaning we only want to listen to teachers who say what we want to hear.
2Ti 4:3 (ERV) The time will come when people will not listen to the true teaching. But people will find more and more teachers who please them. They will find teachers who say what they want to hear.
2Ti 4:4 People will stop listening to the truth. They will begin to follow the teaching in false stories.
Levi’s name, which means “attached”, refers to our attachment to worldly things instead of spiritual things.
Php 3:19 (ERV) The way they live is leading them to destruction. They have replaced God with their own desires. They do shameful things, and they are proud of what they do. They think only about earthly [worldly] things.
Judah’s name, which means “celebrated” or “praise”, refers to us when we worship and praise God with our lips, but we don’t really obey what He says. This is what our Lord thinks of us when we do that:
Mat 15:7 (ERV) You are hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he spoke for God about you:
Mat 15:8 ‘These people honor me with their words, but I am not really important to them.
Mat 15:9 Their worship of me is worthless. The things they teach are only human rules.'”
After Leah gave birth to four sons, the Lord temporarily stopped her from having children. At this point Rachel became jealous of Leah and demanded Jacob to give her children.
Gen 30:1 Rachel saw that she was not giving Jacob any children. She became jealous of her sister Leah. So Rachel said to Jacob, “Give me children, or I will die!”
Jacob knew who is controlling everything, so he was rightfully angry with Rachel and told her the truth.
Gen 30:2 (ERV) Jacob became angry with Rachel and said, “I am not God. He is the one who has caused you to not have children.“
But even though Jacob knew that God was the one causing Rachel to not children, he still agreed with Rachel to take matters into their own hands. He agreed to marry Bilhah so that Rachel can have children through her.
Gen 30:5 (ESV) And Bilhah conceived and bore Jacob a son.
Gen 30:6 Then Rachel said, “God has judged me, and has also heard my voice and given me a son.” Therefore she called his name Dan.
Being judged means being disciplined. Discipline is a good thing for Godly people, but the world views it as a bad thing.
1Co 11:32 (ESV) But when we are judged by the Lord, we are disciplined so that we may not be condemned along with the world.
As kids, it would be hard for you to see your parents’ discipline as a good thing. But when you are mature enough, you will see that their discipline is really for your own good.
Gen 30:7 (ESV) Rachel’s servant Bilhah conceived again and bore Jacob a second son.
Gen 30:8 Then Rachel said, “With mighty wrestlings [struggle] I have wrestled with my sister and have prevailed.” So she called his name Naphtali.
Rachel named her second son through Bilhah, Naphtali, which means wrestlings or struggle. This refers to the struggle between the flesh and the spirit within us all. It also refers to the struggle between the true church versus all the false churches of this world.
This is where we left off last time, and now we continue Jacob’s story along that of his wives.
Gen 30:9 (KJV) When Leah saw that she had left bearing, she took Zilpah her maid, and gave her Jacob to wife.
Gen 30:10 And Zilpah Leah’s maid bare Jacob a son.
Gen 30:11 And Leah said, A troop cometh: and she called his name Gad.
So this competition for Jacob’s affection continues as Leah now gives her maid for Jacob to marry because she has stopped giving birth. Leah named Jacob’s seventh son Gad, which means to invade or overcome. But since this is Leah’s son, we know it has a negative meaning. This is when we are overcome with the concerns of this life as our Lord has taught us in one of His parables.
Mat 13:7 (GNB) Some of the seed fell among thorn bushes, which grew up and choked the plants.
Mat 13:22 The seeds that fell among thorn bushes stand for those who hear the message; but the worries about this life and the love for riches choke the message, and they don’t bear fruit.
Zilpah bore Jacob his eighth son, which Leah named Asher, meaning “happy”.
Gen 30:12 (KJV) And Zilpah Leah’s maid bare Jacob a second son.
Gen 30:13 And Leah said, Happy am I, for the daughters will call me blessed: and she called his name Asher.
It is not a sin to be happy, but if we give more importance to our happiness than our holiness, then we are plunged into a whole lot of trouble. When people advise you to do whatever makes you happy, don’t listen to them! Listen to your parents, and do what is right in the sight of God. Then God will give you true joy and peace of mind that no one can take away.
Don’t be like the people of this world. who is described by the apostle Paul here in this verse:
2Ti 3:4 (ERV) People will turn against their friends. They will do foolish things without thinking and will be so proud of themselves. Instead of loving God, they will love pleasure.
Now we come to see Reuben, Jacob’s first son, being used in this continuing battle between Leah and Rachel.
Gen 30:14 (ESV) 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.”
Gen 30:15 (GNB) Leah answered, “Isn’t it enough that you have taken away my husband? Now you are even trying to take away my son’s mandrakes.” Rachel said, “If you will give me your son’s mandrakes, you can sleep with Jacob tonight.”
You must be asking why Rachel is so interested in these plants called mandrakes. In another part of the Bible, it is said that mandrakes have a sweet fragrance. This plant is a symbol of God’s word which includes both the Old and New Testament. Rachel, being a symbol of God’s chosen people, is really interested in God’s words.
Psa 1:1 (ERV) Great blessings belong to those who don’t listen to evil advice, who don’t live like sinners, and who don’t join those who make fun of God.
Psa 1:2 Instead, they love the LORD’S teachings and think about them day and night.
Leah, being the symbol of false churches, is more interested however in having more children than Rachel. False churches are indeed more interested in having more members than teaching the truth. The Lord answered Leah’s prayers to have more children to make her think she’s getting the true blessings.
Gen 30:17 (GNB) God answered Leah’s prayer, and she became pregnant and bore Jacob a fifth son.
Gen 30:18 Leah said, “God has given me my reward, because I gave my slave to my husband”; so she named her son Issachar.
Issachar means “he will bring a reward”. It is physical rewards that we are after when we are in the false churches of this world. That’s why you can see Christian ministers traveling in their own private jets and living in big mansions.
But this is the prayer of the true servant of God:
Pro 30:8 (ERV) Don’t let me tell lies. And don’t make me too rich or too poor–give me only enough food for each day.
Pro 30:9 If I have too much, I might deny that I need you, LORD. But if I am too poor, I might steal and bring shame to the name of my God.
God continues to give Leah more sons, which makes her think that she is really the one being favored by God.
Gen 30:19 (GNB) Leah became pregnant again and bore Jacob a sixth son.
Gen 30:20 She said, “God has given me a fine gift. Now my husband will accept me, because I have borne him six sons”; so she named him Zebulun.
Zebulun means habitation or home, which is a symbol of our flesh, our temporary “home” while we are not given a spiritual body yet.
1Co 15:50 (KJV) Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.
1Co 15:50 (ERV) I tell you this, brothers and sisters: Our bodies of flesh and blood cannot have a part in God’s kingdom. Something that will ruin cannot have a part in something that never ruins.
There is certainly a time in our life that we are proud of our bodies, this temporary “home”. We spend so much time and money to make it look good and to make it feel good, but neglect to spend time studying God’s words.
Leah also had a daughter that she named Dinah.
Gen 30:21 (GNB) Later she bore a daughter, whom she named Dinah.
Dinah means justice or judgment. We can only judge or correct others the right way if we see our own faults first.
Mat 7:1 (GNB) “Do not judge others, so that God will not judge you,
Mat 7:2 for God will judge you in the same way you judge others, and he will apply to you the same rules you apply to others.
Mat 7:3 Why, then, do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the log in your own eye?
Mat 7:4 How dare you say to your brother, ‘Please, let me take that speck out of your eye,’ when you have a log in your own eye?
Mat 7:5 You hypocrite! First take the log out of your own eye, and then you will be able to see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.
The Lord is really not telling us not to judge others. What he is telling us is we should judge ourselves first before we judge others.
Before we read the next verse, I want you to remember that God knows everything and God controls everything. So even though in the next verse we’ll read that God remembered Rachel, it doesn’t mean that God forgot about her. God has planned everything that will happen to Rachel and to everyone else before we are even born.
Gen 30:22 (GNB) Then God remembered Rachel; he answered her prayer and made it possible for her to have children.
Gen 30:23 She became pregnant and gave birth to a son. She said, “God has taken away my disgrace by giving me a son.”
Rachel, as the type of the elect, is now producing fruit only after being humbled (“God has taken away my disgrace”).
Gen 30:24 (GNB) May the LORD give me another son”; so she named him Joseph.
Joseph’s name means “let him add”. Rachel is also now acknowledging that it is really God that gives the increase in our faith and in the fruits that we produce with that faith.
1Co 3:6 (MKJV) I have planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase.
1Co 3:7 So then neither is he who plants anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase.
So in review, here are Jacob’s children so far in the order of their birth:
 Reuben (through Leah) whose name means “behold a son”
 Simeon (through Leah) whose name means “hearing”
 Levi (through Leah) whose name means “attached”
 Judah (through Leah) whose name means “celebrated” or “praise”
 Dan (through Bilhah) whose name means “judge”
 Naphtali (through Bilhah) whose name means “my wrestling” (struggle)
 Gad (through Zilpah) whose name means “to invade” or “to overcome”
 Asher (through Zilpah) whose name means “happy”
 Issachar (through Leah) whose name means “he will bring a reward”
 Zebulun (through Leah) whose name means “habitation” or “home”
 Dinah (through Leah) whose name means “justice” or “judgment”
 Joseph (through Rachel) whose name means “let him add”
As we’ll see, Lord willing, God will indeed hear Rachel’s prayer to give her another son in Benjamin. We will also see, Lord willing, how Joseph is used as a type of the elect who is hated by his brothers.
Other related posts
- Foundational Themes in Genesis - Study 112 (October 8, 2015)
- Children's Study - Jacob, Part 8; Leah and Rachel Continue Their Struggle (September 12, 2016)