Dave Burnette's Commentary

Genesis Chapter 30

Written By: God through Inspiration
Penned By: Moses
Date Penned: (1450-1410 BC)
Overview: The Record of God's Chosen People (c 23-50)
Theme: The Story of Jacob (c 29-36)
Message: Jacob Starts a Family (v 1-41)

Genesis 30 Commentary

(30:1-3) Jacob Struggles to Have Children - Each of the three great patriarchs (Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob) had wives who had difficulty conceiving children. It is interesting to note how each man reacted to his wife's predicament. Abraham had relations with Sarah's servant in order to have his own child, thus introducing bitterness and jealousy into his family. Isaac, by contrast, prayed to God when his wife was barren. God eventually answered his prayers, and Rebekah had twin sons. Jacob, however, followed his grandfather's example and had children by his wives' servants, leading to sad and sometimes bitter consequences.

(30:4-13) Jacob's Family Compromise - Rachel and Leah were locked in a cruel contest. In their race to have more children and status in the clan, they both gave their servants to Jacob as concubines. Jacob would have been wise to refuse, even though this was an accepted custom of the day. The fact that a custom is socially acceptable does not mean it is wise or right. You will be spared much heartbreak if you look at the potential consequences, for you or others, of your actions. Are you doing anything now that might cause future problems?

(30:22-24) God Answers Rachel's Prayer - Eventually God answered Rachel's prayers and gave her a child of her own. In the meantime, however, she had given her servant to Jacob as a concubine. Trusting God when nothing seems to happen is difficult. But it is harder still to live with the consequences of taking matters into our own hands. Resist the temptation to think God has forgotten you. Have patience and courage to wait for God to act.

(30:37-43) God Provides the Need - It is unclear what this method was or how it worked. Some say that there was a belief among herdsmen that vivid impressions at mating time influenced the offspring. Most likely, the selective breeding and God's promise of provision were the main reasons that Jacob's flocks increased.

Dave Burnette's Life Application

Sin Makes a Mess

Each day we walk through the Bible chapter by chapter, making application of our text to help us grow in the Lord. There are many applications we can make from each day's text. Today we Continue in the book of Genesis with Chapter 30, and in today's text, we see how Jacob handles his responsibility and the decisions he makes as a father. His decisions led to many wrong choices, which led to 4 different wives, which produced many children who became bitter rivals. What catches my eye is that the wives of Jacob, Isaac, and Abraham had problems conceiving children. Each of these three patriarchs approached the situation differently. Abraham had relations with Sarah's servant girl, who introduced bitterness and jealousy to his family. Isaac prayed to God, and eventually, God answered his prayers, but their poor parenting skills produced a mess. Following his grandfather's example, Jacob sinned too and had children with his wife's servant girls, leading to sad consequences we will read about in future chapters. It all comes down to our sin making a mess of God's design. All the heartache we see written comes from their sin. That is simply what the definition of sin is in our lives today. We sin when we take our God-given needs and desires and try to meet them apart from God's plan for our lives. How about you? Do you see your sin in the light of your trying to meet your God-given needs and desires apart from God's plan? Let us learn from the fallout of these three Patriarchs in the book of Genesis and allow God to meet our needs, so we won't sin, which will alleviate all the conflict.


Genesis 30

Genesis 30

 1And when Rachel saw that she bare Jacob no children, Rachel envied her sister; and said unto Jacob, Give me children, or else I die.

 2And 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?

 3And 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.

 4And she gave him Bilhah her handmaid to wife: and Jacob went in unto her.

 5And Bilhah conceived, and bare Jacob a son.

 6And Rachel said, God hath judged me, and hath also heard my voice, and hath given me a son: therefore called she his name Dan.

 7And Bilhah Rachel's maid conceived again, and bare Jacob a second son.

 8And Rachel said, With great wrestlings have I wrestled with my sister, and I have prevailed: and she called his name Naphtali.

 9When Leah saw that she had left bearing, she took Zilpah her maid, and gave her Jacob to wife.

 10And Zilpah Leah's maid bare Jacob a son.

 11And Leah said, A troop cometh: and she called his name Gad.

 12And Zilpah Leah's maid bare Jacob a second son.

 13And Leah said, Happy am I, for the daughters will call me blessed: and she called his name Asher.

 14And Reuben went in the days of wheat harvest, and found mandrakes in the field, and brought them unto his mother Leah. Then Rachel said to Leah, Give me, I pray thee, of thy son's mandrakes.

 15And she said unto her, Is it a small matter that thou hast taken my husband? and wouldest thou take away my son's mandrakes also? And Rachel said, Therefore he shall lie with thee to night for thy son's mandrakes.

 16And Jacob came out of the field in the evening, and Leah went out to meet him, and said, Thou must come in unto me; for surely I have hired thee with my son's mandrakes. And he lay with her that night.

 17And God hearkened unto Leah, and she conceived, and bare Jacob the fifth son.

 18And Leah said, God hath given me my hire, because I have given my maiden to my husband: and she called his name Issachar.

 19And Leah conceived again, and bare Jacob the sixth son.

 20And Leah said, God hath endued me with a good dowry; now will my husband dwell with me, because I have born him six sons: and she called his name Zebulun.

 21And afterwards she bare a daughter, and called her name Dinah.

 22And God remembered Rachel, and God hearkened to her, and opened her womb.

 23And she conceived, and bare a son; and said, God hath taken away my reproach:

 24And she called his name Joseph; and said, The LORD shall add to me another son.

 25And it came to pass, when Rachel had born Joseph, that Jacob said unto Laban, Send me away, that I may go unto mine own place, and to my country.

 26Give me my wives and my children, for whom I have served thee, and let me go: for thou knowest my service which I have done thee.

 27And Laban said unto him, I pray thee, if I have found favour in thine eyes, tarry: for I have learned by experience that the LORD hath blessed me for thy sake.

 28And he said, Appoint me thy wages, and I will give it.

 29And he said unto him, Thou knowest how I have served thee, and how thy cattle was with me.

 30For it was little which thou hadst before I came, and it is now increased unto a multitude; and the LORD hath blessed thee since my coming: and now when shall I provide for mine own house also?

 31And he said, What shall I give thee? And Jacob said, Thou shalt not give me any thing: if thou wilt do this thing for me, I will again feed and keep thy flock.

 32I will pass through all thy flock to day, removing from thence all the speckled and spotted cattle, and all the brown cattle among the sheep, and the spotted and speckled among the goats: and of such shall be my hire.

 33So shall my righteousness answer for me in time to come, when it shall come for my hire before thy face: every one that is not speckled and spotted among the goats, and brown among the sheep, that shall be counted stolen with me.

 34And Laban said, Behold, I would it might be according to thy word.

 35And he removed that day the he goats that were ringstraked and spotted, and all the she goats that were speckled and spotted, and every one that had some white in it, and all the brown among the sheep, and gave them into the hand of his sons.

 36And he set three days' journey betwixt himself and Jacob: and Jacob fed the rest of Laban's flocks.

 37And Jacob took him rods of green poplar, and of the hazel and chesnut tree; and pilled white strakes in them, and made the white appear which was in the rods.

 38And he set the rods which he had pilled before the flocks in the gutters in the watering troughs when the flocks came to drink, that they should conceive when they came to drink.

 39And the flocks conceived before the rods, and brought forth cattle ringstraked, speckled, and spotted.

 40And Jacob did separate the lambs, and set the faces of the flocks toward the ringstraked, and all the brown in the flock of Laban; and he put his own flocks by themselves, and put them not unto Laban's cattle.

 41And it came to pass, whensoever the stronger cattle did conceive, that Jacob laid the rods before the eyes of the cattle in the gutters, that they might conceive among the rods.

 42But when the cattle were feeble, he put them not in: so the feebler were Laban's, and the stronger Jacob's.

 43And the man increased exceedingly, and had much cattle, and maidservants, and menservants, and camels, and asses.