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Genesis 27-29 Listen
Hey! This tastes a lot like goat meat! (Genesis 27:1-26)
1 And it came to pass, that when Isaac was old, and his eyes were dim, so that he could not see, he called Esau his eldest son, and said unto him, My son: and he said unto him, Behold, here am I.
2 And he said, Behold now, I am old, I know not the day of my death:
3 Now therefore take, I pray thee, thy weapons, thy quiver and thy bow, and go out to the field, and take me some venison;
4 And make me savoury meat, such as I love, and bring it to me, that I may eat; that my soul may bless thee before I die.
5 And Rebekah heard when Isaac spake to Esau his son. And Esau went to the field to hunt for venison, and to bring it.
6 And Rebekah spake unto Jacob her son, saying, Behold, I heard thy father speak unto Esau thy brother, saying,
7 Bring me venison, and make me savoury meat, that I may eat, and bless thee before the LORD before my death.
8 Now therefore, my son, obey my voice according to that which I command thee.
9 Go now to the flock, and fetch me from thence two good kids of the goats; and I will make them savoury meat for thy father, such as he loveth:
10 And thou shalt bring it to thy father, that he may eat, and that he may bless thee before his death.
11 And Jacob said to Rebekah his mother, Behold, Esau my brother is a hairy man, and I am a smooth man:
12 My father peradventure will feel me, and I shall seem to him as a deceiver; and I shall bring a curse upon me, and not a blessing.
13 And his mother said unto him, Upon me be thy curse, my son: only obey my voice, and go fetch me them.
14 And he went, and fetched, and brought them to his mother: and his mother made savoury meat, such as his father loved.
15 And Rebekah took goodly raiment of her eldest son Esau, which were with her in the house, and put them upon Jacob her younger son:
16 And she put the skins of the kids of the goats upon his hands, and upon the smooth of his neck:
17 And she gave the savoury meat and the bread, which she had prepared, into the hand of her son Jacob.
18 And he came unto his father, and said, My father: and he said, Here am I; who art thou, my son?
19 And Jacob said unto his father, I am Esau thy firstborn; I have done according as thou badest me: arise, I pray thee, sit and eat of my venison, that thy soul may bless me.
20 And Isaac said unto his son, How is it that thou hast found it so quickly, my son? And he said, Because the LORD thy God brought it to me.
21 And Isaac said unto Jacob, Come near, I pray thee, that I may feel thee, my son, whether thou be my very son Esau or not.
22 And Jacob went near unto Isaac his father; and he felt him, and said, The voice is Jacob’s voice, but the hands are the hands of Esau.
23 And he discerned him not, because his hands were hairy, as his brother Esau’s hands: so he blessed him.
24 And he said, Art thou my very son Esau? And he said, I am.
25 And he said, Bring it near to me, and I will eat of my son’s venison, that my soul may bless thee. And he brought it near to him, and he did eat: and he brought him wine, and he drank.
26 And his father Isaac said unto him, Come near now, and kiss me, my son.
Before we go any further, here is a very important fact of reality: Esau had already sold his birthright (first-son status) to Jacob for a mere bowl of soup. It rightly belonged to Jacob.
Let's take a look at Genesis 25:31-34 (see notes) to fully understand the gravity of that occurrence:
Genesis 25:31 And Jacob said, Sell me this day thy birthright.
Genesis 25:32 And Esau said, Behold, I am at the point to die: and what profit shall this birthright do to me?
Genesis 25:33 And Jacob said, Swear to me this day; and he sware unto him: and he sold his birthright unto Jacob.
Genesis 25:34 Then Jacob gave Esau bread and pottage of lentiles; and he did eat and drink, and rose up, and went his way: thus Esau despised his birthright.
Calculating Isaac's age in Genesis 27
When Joseph was introduced to Pharaoh he was 30 years old (Genesis 41:46), and when Jacob went into Egypt, Joseph would have been 39, following the 7 years of abundance and 2 of famine (Genesis 45:6). Jacob told Pharaoh he was 130 years old (Genesis 47:9). Therefore, Joseph was born before Jacob was 91; his birth took place in year 14 of Jacobs stay in Haran (Genesis 30:25), Jacobs flight to Laban occurred in the 77th year of his own life, which would have been the 137th of Isaacs.
It is important to note that Esau did willingly sell his first-son status to Jacob. Let's play the what-if game for a moment. What if Jacob had gone to Isaac in advance and told him plainly that Esau had bartered away his birthright to Jacob and had sealed the deal with a sworn oath? I am certain that the outcome would have been the same. Oaths were sacred in that society. That oath would have been honored. However, Jacob and his Mom deem it necessary to enter into a deceitful pact to ensure the success of the birthright transfer. Isaac is 137 years old at this time (see box for details on the calculation of Isaac's age), and blind...really, really blind. It was traditional to gather the sons around when the death-bed blessings were to be given out, but Isaac calls only Esau on this occasion; perhaps he was trying to sneak one by. He wants to bless Esau before his death (he actually lived another 43 years), but first he wants this birthright ceremony to be preceded with a good ol' home-cooked meal by his eldest son. Rebekah has other ideas. When Jacob is hesitant (verse 12), citing the resulting curse that may come upon him if discovered, look what Rebekah says to persuade him to go through with it in verse 13, "Upon me be thy curse..." if things go wrong and Isaac discovers the deception.
But wait! There's one other component to this scenario - the word of the Lord to Rebekah while she was still carrying the twins in Genesis 25:23 (see notes) when she was told, "...the elder shall serve the younger." Rebekah must have felt that her actions were validated by the Lord himself. While Esau is out shopping for the ingredients to the meal, Rebekah assists Jacob in pulling off the heist; they trick blind Isaac into blessing Jacob with the rights of the firstborn rather than Esau. Keep in mind; they were twins; Esau was just a few seconds older than Jacob. Moreover, they had struggled even in Rebekah's womb (Genesis 25:22), so Jacob probably always felt that he had been unjustly edged out at the finish line. Isn't it interesting that Isaac couldn't tell the difference between goat meat and venison? The Hebrew word used for "venison" there means "hunted game."
One lie didn't do it. Let's analyze Jacob's multi-lie transaction:
The first few times I read this story, I always wondered why, when Isaac realized the deception, he did not simply retract the ill-gotten blessing based upon the dishonest measures by which it was obtained. Moreover, Isaac performed a rather involved identity confirmation which concludes in Genesis 27:24, "And he said, Art thou my very son Esau? And he said, I am." Would not any court of law throw this blessing out and perhaps even lock Jacob up for being an impostor and a scam artist? Not really! The fact is this: The birthright belonged to Jacob with or without the deceit. Esau had sold it to him and sealed the deal with an oath. Like it or not, the blessing of the firstborn belonged to Jacob even before Isaac sent Esau out to bring home his pre-blessing meal. I'm confident that's the real reason the blessing stood. In actuality, it was Esau who was about to receive a blessing to which he had no right. The honorable thing would have been to say to Isaac, "Oh, by the way Dad, I transferred my birthright to Jacob and sealed it with an oath." So, Jacob and Rebekah were not the only deceivers on the premises that day.
Let's recap the deceit:
Let's face it. The whole deal was shady. However, it turned out just as God had told Rebekah it would in Genesis 25:23 (see notes). Nobody fooled God. Incidentally, you may be amused to know that Jacob and Esau are 77 years old when this incident takes place. Read the information in the yellow box above for the information needed to make that determination.
What's the big deal about this blessing anyway? (Genesis 27:27-40)
27 And he came near, and kissed him: and he smelled the smell of his raiment, and blessed him, and said, See, the smell of my son is as the smell of a field which the LORD hath blessed:
28 Therefore God give thee of the dew of heaven, and the fatness of the earth, and plenty of corn and wine:
29 Let people serve thee, and nations bow down to thee: be lord over thy brethren, and let thy mother’s sons bow down to thee: cursed be every one that curseth thee, and blessed be he that blesseth thee.
30 And it came to pass, as soon as Isaac had made an end of blessing Jacob, and Jacob was yet scarce gone out from the presence of Isaac his father, that Esau his brother came in from his hunting.
31 And he also had made savoury meat, and brought it unto his father, and said unto his father, Let my father arise, and eat of his son’s venison, that thy soul may bless me.
32 And Isaac his father said unto him, Who art thou? And he said, I am thy son, thy firstborn Esau.
33 And Isaac trembled very exceedingly, and said, Who? where is he that hath taken venison, and brought it me, and I have eaten of all before thou camest, and have blessed him? yea, and he shall be blessed.
34 And when Esau heard the words of his father, he cried with a great and exceeding bitter cry, and said unto his father, Bless me, even me also, O my father.
35 And he said, Thy brother came with subtilty, and hath taken away thy blessing.
36 And he said, Is not he rightly named Jacob? for he hath supplanted me these two times: he took away my birthright; and, behold, now he hath taken away my blessing. And he said, Hast thou not reserved a blessing for me?
37 And Isaac answered and said unto Esau, Behold, I have made him thy lord, and all his brethren have I given to him for servants; and with corn and wine have I sustained him: and what shall I do now unto thee, my son?
38 And Esau said unto his father, Hast thou but one blessing, my father? bless me, even me also, O my father. And Esau lifted up his voice, and wept.
39 And Isaac his father answered and said unto him, Behold, thy dwelling shall be the fatness of the earth, and of the dew of heaven from above;
40 And by thy sword shalt thou live, and shalt serve thy brother; and it shall come to pass when thou shalt have the dominion, that thou shalt break his yoke from off thy neck.
The essence of Isaac's blessing over Jacob is found in Genesis 27:29, "Let people serve thee, and nations bow down to thee: be lord over thy brethren, and let thy mothers sons bow down to thee: cursed be every one that curseth thee, and blessed be he that blesseth thee." Wow! That clearly declares it for Jacob to "be lord over thy brethren" and that "thy mother's sons bow down to thee." When Esau strolls in with his bless-me-now meal, Isaac has already awarded the contract to Jacob. Esau asks in verse 36, "Hast thou not reserved a blessing for me?" In verse 37 Isaac points out that the terms of his blessing of Jacob do not leave much wiggle room to award anything of major significance to Esau. Nonetheless, he does issue a blessing to Esau in verses 39-40, "And Isaac his father answered and said unto him, Behold, thy dwelling shall be the fatness of the earth, and of the dew of heaven from above; And by thy sword shalt thou live, and shalt serve thy brother; and it shall come to pass when thou shalt have the dominion, that thou shalt break his yoke from off thy neck." Whoa! There are some alarming stipulations in verse 40. Jacob should watch his back! That almost sounds like an invitation for Esau to do Jacob bodily harm.
Incidentally, Esau cites a difference without a substantive distinction in verse 36 when he says, "Is not he rightly named Jacob? for he hath supplanted me these two times: he took away my birthright; and, behold, now he hath taken away my blessing. And he said, Hast thou not reserved a blessing for me?" The Hebrew word for "birthright" indicates the "right of the firstborn" while the word for "blessing" is more general and can be given to anyone. This blessing pronounced upon Esau was the blessing of the birthright. Esau's complaint of verse 36 had no validity; Jacob did not take away Esau's birthright; it was freely given, and the resulting blessing reflected that. We do see, however, that the covenant blessings originally issued to Abraham (see article entitled, "The Abrahamic Covenant") are passed through Jacob, not Esau, in Genesis 28:4 (see below).
Here's a really interesting aspect of this conflict that may not have occurred to you. We know from scripture that Isaac was 137 years old when this "blessing" controversy took place (see box above on the calculation of Isaac's age). So...if Isaac was 137, and he had his twin boys when he was 60, how old does that make Jacob and Esau at this time? That's right...77 years old. See...I told you that was interesting. Now, Esau had married at 40 (Genesis 26:34, see notes), but Jacob had never married. Hey Jacob! At 77, it's just about time to start thinking about a wife!
Rebekah to Jacob: You need a vacation! (Genesis 27:41-46)
41 And Esau hated Jacob because of the blessing wherewith his father blessed him: and Esau said in his heart, The days of mourning for my father are at hand; then will I slay my brother Jacob.
42 And these words of Esau her elder son were told to Rebekah: and she sent and called Jacob her younger son, and said unto him, Behold, thy brother Esau, as touching thee, doth comfort himself, purposing to kill thee.
43 Now therefore, my son, obey my voice; and arise, flee thou to Laban my brother to Haran;
44 And tarry with him a few days, until thy brother’s fury turn away;
45 Until thy brother’s anger turn away from thee, and he forget that which thou hast done to him: then I will send, and fetch thee from thence: why should I be deprived also of you both in one day?
46 And Rebekah said to Isaac, I am weary of my life because of the daughters of Heth: if Jacob take a wife of the daughters of Heth, such as these which are of the daughters of the land, what good shall my life do me?
I wonder what Isaac had in mind in verse 40 when he said, "thou shalt break his yoke from off thy neck." Whatever he meant, Esau intended to make it sooner than later. We see in verse 41, "And Esau hated Jacob because of the blessing wherewith his father blessed him: and Esau said in his heart, The days of mourning for my father are at hand; then will I slay my brother Jacob." Esau thought his father was about to die, so he decided to wait until after that to dispose of Jacob. Who knew Isaac would live another 43 years! It was a good move on Jacob's part to heed his Mom's advice and take a little vacation back to his mother's home town while Esau cools off some. The pretense of the visit was to keep Jacob from doing what Esau had done - marrying a local woman, a Canaanite. She obviously did not have a good relationship with her Hittite daughters-in-law, as seen in verse 46 when she says, "I am weary of my life because of the daughters of Heth." Incidentally, prior to Israel's return to Canaan after the exodus from Egypt, Israel is commanded to drive the local inhabitants from Canaan - the Hittites included. Rebekah did not want Jacob marrying a local Canaanite woman as Esau had done. See the notes on Genesis 24 to gain more insight into the family thinking here regarding marriage to the Canaanites. As a matter of fact, Rebekah says to Isaac, in essence (verse 46), "I'd rather be dead than to see Jacob marry a Canaanite." And she knew what she was talking about too; Esau had been married to two Hittite women for the last 37 years (Genesis 26:34, see notes).
Isaac reconfirms his blessing to Jacob before sending him away (Genesis 28:1-5)
1 And Isaac called Jacob, and blessed him, and charged him, and said unto him, Thou shalt not take a wife of the daughters of Canaan.
2 Arise, go to Padanaram, to the house of Bethuel thy mother’s father; and take thee a wife from thence of the daughters of Laban thy mother’s brother.
3 And God Almighty bless thee, and make thee fruitful, and multiply thee, that thou mayest be a multitude of people;
4 And give thee the blessing of Abraham, to thee, and to thy seed with thee; that thou mayest inherit the land wherein thou art a stranger, which God gave unto Abraham.
5 And Isaac sent away Jacob: and he went to Padanaram unto Laban, son of Bethuel the Syrian, the brother of Rebekah, Jacob’s and Esau’s mother.
Isaac categorically states to Jacob, "You may not marry a Canaanite!" Jacob is instructed to go marry a relative. Isaac then reconfirms that the promises given to Abraham will now pass through to Jacob in Genesis 28:4, "And give thee the blessing of Abraham, to thee, and to thy seed with thee; that thou mayest inherit the land wherein thou art a stranger, which God gave unto Abraham." Here we see the first outcome of having received the "blessing" instead of Esau (see above); the "blessing of Abraham" is passed on through the lineage of Jacob.
Incidentally, Padanaram is the name of the district in Mesopotamia lying around the area of Haran.
Esau attempts to get back on track (Genesis 28:6-9)
6 When Esau saw that Isaac had blessed Jacob, and sent him away to Padanaram, to take him a wife from thence; and that as he blessed him he gave him a charge, saying, Thou shalt not take a wife of the daughters of Canaan;
7 And that Jacob obeyed his father and his mother, and was gone to Padanaram;
8 And Esau seeing that the daughters of Canaan pleased not Isaac his father;
9 Then went Esau unto Ishmael, and took unto the wives which he had Mahalath the daughter of Ishmael Abraham’s son, the sister of Nebajoth, to be his wife.
Now, realizing that Isaac did not appreciate the fact that Esau married local women, Esau takes more wives from among kin folk, Ishmael's descendants. You will recall from Genesis 21:21 (see notes) that Ishmael's first wife was an Egyptian woman.
God confirms his promises through Jacob (Genesis 28:10-22)
10 And Jacob went out from Beersheba, and went toward Haran.
11 And he lighted upon a certain place, and tarried there all night, because the sun was set; and he took of the stones of that place, and put them for his pillows, and lay down in that place to sleep.
12 And he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven: and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it.
13 And, behold, the LORD stood above it, and said, I am the LORD God of Abraham thy father, and the God of Isaac: the land whereon thou liest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed;
14 And thy seed shall be as the dust of the earth, and thou shalt spread abroad to the west, and to the east, and to the north, and to the south: and in thee and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed.
15 And, behold, I am with thee, and will keep thee in all places whither thou goest, and will bring thee again into this land; for I will not leave thee, until I have done that which I have spoken to thee of.
16 And Jacob awaked out of his sleep, and he said, Surely the LORD is in this place; and I knew it not.
17 And he was afraid, and said, How dreadful is this place! this is none other but the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.
18 And Jacob rose up early in the morning, and took the stone that he had put for his pillows, and set it up for a pillar, and poured oil upon the top of it.
19 And he called the name of that place Bethel: but the name of that city was called Luz at the first.
20 And Jacob vowed a vow, saying, If God will be with me, and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat, and raiment to put on,
21 So that I come again to my father’s house in peace; then shall the LORD be my God:
22 And this stone, which I have set for a pillar, shall be God’s house: and of all that thou shalt give me I will surely give the tenth unto thee.
Jacob leaves his parents (and brother) behind in Beersheba and has a vision on his way to Padanaram, the area up in Mesopotamia where Haran is located (500 miles or so). It's the Jacob's-ladder vision where God passes the blessings given to Abraham on to Jacob. Even though Abraham had already been there, we see in 28:13 that Bethel was named on this occasion by Jacob. The name "Bethel" comes from a compound Hebrew word meaning "house of God." Jacob's blessing comes in the form of a dream where he sees a ladder stretched to Heaven. During the dream comes the following blessing:
Genesis 28:13 And, behold, the LORD stood above it, and said, I am the LORD God of Abraham thy father, and the God of Isaac: the land whereon thou liest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed;
Genesis 28:14 And thy seed shall be as the dust of the earth, and thou shalt spread abroad to the west, and to the east, and to the north, and to the south: and in thee and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed.
Take notice of verses 20-21:
And Jacob vowed a vow, saying, If God will be with me, and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat, and raiment to put on, So that I come again to my fathers house in peace; then shall the LORD be my God:
Does it seem as though Jacob's commitment to the Lord had been a little lacking prior to this vision? Jacob then pledges a tenth unto God.
The well is a great place to meet prospective wives (Genesis 29:1-12)
1 Then Jacob went on his journey, and came into the land of the people of the east.
2 And he looked, and behold a well in the field, and, lo, there were three flocks of sheep lying by it; for out of that well they watered the flocks: and a great stone was upon the well’s mouth.
3 And thither were all the flocks gathered: and they rolled the stone from the well’s mouth, and watered the sheep, and put the stone again upon the well’s mouth in his place.
4 And Jacob said unto them, My brethren, whence be ye? And they said, Of Haran are we.
5 And he said unto them, Know ye Laban the son of Nahor? And they said, We know him.
6 And he said unto them, Is he well? And they said, He is well: and, behold, Rachel his daughter cometh with the sheep.
7 And he said, Lo, it is yet high day, neither is it time that the cattle should be gathered together: water ye the sheep, and go and feed them.
8 And they said, We cannot, until all the flocks be gathered together, and till they roll the stone from the well’s mouth; then we water the sheep.
9 And while he yet spake with them, Rachel came with her father’s sheep: for she kept them.
10 And it came to pass, when Jacob saw Rachel the daughter of Laban his mother’s brother, and the sheep of Laban his mother’s brother, that Jacob went near, and rolled the stone from the well’s mouth, and watered the flock of Laban his mother’s brother.
11 And Jacob kissed Rachel, and lifted up his voice, and wept.
12 And Jacob told Rachel that he was her father’s brother, and that he was Rebekah’s son: and she ran and told her father.
Didn't the servant of Abraham pick up Isaac's wife, Rebekah, at the well? Maybe Rebekah told Jacob before he left home where all the hot spots were up in Haran. Anyway, that's where Jacob meets Rachel - helps her water her flock; he kisses her; she runs home to ask Dad if she can keep him. Rachel's father was Laban, the brother of Jacob's mother, Rebekah. The Hebrew word translated "brother" in verse 12 in KJV also means "relative." Jacob and Rachel were actually first cousins.
Rachel's Dad is thrilled (Genesis 29:13-20)
13 And it came to pass, when Laban heard the tidings of Jacob his sister’s son, that he ran to meet him, and embraced him, and kissed him, and brought him to his house. And he told Laban all these things.
14 And Laban said to him, Surely thou art my bone and my flesh. And he abode with him the space of a month.
15 And Laban said unto Jacob, Because thou art my brother, shouldest thou therefore serve me for nought? tell me, what shall thy wages be?
16 And Laban had two daughters: the name of the elder was Leah, and the name of the younger was Rachel.
17 Leah was tender eyed; but Rachel was beautiful and well favoured.
18 And Jacob loved Rachel; and said, I will serve thee seven years for Rachel thy younger daughter.
19 And Laban said, It is better that I give her to thee, than that I should give her to another man: abide with me.
20 And Jacob served seven years for Rachel; and they seemed unto him but a few days, for the love he had to her.
By the way, there's also Rachel's older sister, Leah. Notice the distinction between the two girls in verse 17, "Leah was tender eyed; but Rachel was beautiful and well favoured." The Hebrew word for "tender eyed" means that she was soft and gentle. So, one soft and gentle sister and another who is...well...beautiful. Soft and gentle would be nice. Yeah, but who cares; Rachel is beautiful! They immediately make the deal on Rachel - 7 years of labor for Laban, and the girl's his.
Laban does the ol' bait and switch (Genesis 29:21-30)
21 And Jacob said unto Laban, Give me my wife, for my days are fulfilled, that I may go in unto her.
22 And Laban gathered together all the men of the place, and made a feast.
23 And it came to pass in the evening, that he took Leah his daughter, and brought her to him; and he went in unto her.
24 And Laban gave unto his daughter Leah Zilpah his maid for an handmaid.
25 And it came to pass, that in the morning, behold, it was Leah: and he said to Laban, What is this thou hast done unto me? did not I serve with thee for Rachel? wherefore then hast thou beguiled me?
26 And Laban said, It must not be so done in our country, to give the younger before the firstborn.
27 Fulfil her week, and we will give thee this also for the service which thou shalt serve with me yet seven other years.
28 And Jacob did so, and fulfilled her week: and he gave him Rachel his daughter to wife also.
29 And Laban gave to Rachel his daughter Bilhah his handmaid to be her maid.
30 And he went in also unto Rachel, and he loved also Rachel more than Leah, and served with him yet seven other years.
Who says you can't con a con? Jacob had done the identity falsification on his father, and Laban does it on Jacob. After seven years of labor, he wakes up the morning after his marriage to discover that he has married the wrong woman - Rachel's not-as-beautiful sister, Leah. Marriages were done differently then. The actual marriage consisted only of the consummation of the relationship. How could something like this happen? I think back to Lot. He drank too much and had sexual relations with his daughters in his semi-conscious state. Here in verse 22, Laban threw a wedding-night feast. I'm certain wine was a big part of the feast. The next morning he's married to Leah. The lesson: Don't drink and marry! Jacob gets Rachel, but subsequently works seven more years for her. So...in the space of a few days, Jacob goes from no wife to two wives. After the Law of Moses was given, it became a violation of the Law to marry the sister of your wife (Leviticus 18, see notes).
It should be noted here that the girls (Leah and Rachel) were given (from Laban) handmaids after their marriages - Zilpah to Leah and Bilhah to Rachel. These handmaids each end up bearing two sons to Jacob to round out the twelve tribes from Jacob.
Let's get the timing correct here. After Jacob spends his first night with the "tender-eyed" Leah, he is told by Laban that he needs to "fulfill her week" before he can then be awarded Rachel as well. The bridal week was full of fun and festivities...at least for everyone except Jacob. At the end of the week, Jacob is given Rachel as well. The chronology of the births of Jacob's children dictates that Leah and Rachel were married to Jacob within the space of a week.
Let the childbearing begin! (Genesis 29:31-35)
31 And when the LORD saw that Leah was hated, he opened her womb: but Rachel was barren.
32 And Leah conceived, and bare a son, and she called his name Reuben: for she said, Surely the LORD hath looked upon my affliction; now therefore my husband will love me.
33 And she conceived again, and bare a son; and said, Because the LORD hath heard that I was hated, he hath therefore given me this son also: and she called his name Simeon.
34 And she conceived again, and bare a son; and said, Now this time will my husband be joined unto me, because I have born him three sons: therefore was his name called Levi.
35 And she conceived again, and bare a son: and she said, Now will I praise the LORD: therefore she called his name Judah; and left bearing.
Let's face it; Jacob loved Rachel more than Leah. As a matter of fact, verse 31 says, "...the LORD saw that Leah was hated." Remedy: allow Leah to have all the kids - four of them while Rachel appears to be barren. Incidentally, when you have a promise from God that your seed will prosper, kids are very important. Click here to see a complete list of the sons born to Jacob from the summary of Genesis 30.