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Bible Commentaries

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge
Genesis 30



1Rachel, in grief for her barrenness, gives Bilhah her maid unto Jacob.
5Bilhah bears Dan and Naphtali.
9Leah gives Zilpah her maid, who bears Gad and Asher.
14Reuben finds mandrakes, with which Leah buys her husband's company of Rachel.
17Leah bears Issachar, Zebulun, and Dinah.
22Rachel bears Joseph.
25Jacob desires to depart.
27Laban detains him on a new agreement.
37Jacob's policy, whereby he becomes rich.

Verse 1
And when Rachel saw that she bare Jacob no children, Rachel envied her sister; and said unto Jacob, Give me children, or else I die.
when Rachel
Rachel envied
Envy and jealousy are most tormenting passions to the breast which harbours them, vexatious to all around, and introductory to much impatience and ungodliness. "Who is able to stand before envy?"
37:11; 1 Samuel 1:4-8; Psalms 106:16; Proverbs 14:30; Ecclesiastes 4:4; 1 Corinthians 3:3; Galatians 5:21; Titus 3:3; James 3:14; 4:5
or else I die
35:16-19; 37:11; Numbers 11:15,29; 1 Kings 19:4; Job 3:1-3,11,20-22; 5:2; Job 13:19; Jeremiah 20:14-18; John 4:3,8; 2 Corinthians 7:10

Verse 2
And 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?
31:36; Exodus 32:19; Matthew 5:22; Mark 3:5; Ephesians 4:26
Am I
16:2; 25:21; 50:19; 1 Samuel 1:5; 2:5,6; 2 Kings 5:7
Deuteronomy 7:13,14; Psalms 113:9; 127:3; Luke 1:42

Verse 3
And 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.
9; 16:2,3
she shall
50:23; Job 3:12
have children by her
Heb. be built up by her.
16:2; *marg:; Ruth 4:11

Verse 4
And she gave him Bilhah her handmaid to wife: and Jacob went in unto her.
to wife
16:3; 21:10; 22:24; 25:1,6; 33:2; 35:22; 2 Samuel 12:11

Verse 6
And Rachel said, God hath judged me, and hath also heard my voice, and hath given me a son: therefore called she his name Dan.
A. M. 2256. B.C. 1748. God
29:32-35; Psalms 35:24; 43:1; Lamentations 3:59
that is, Judging.
35:25; 46:23; 49:16,17; Deuteronomy 33:22; Jeremiah 13:2,24; 15:14-20

Verse 7
And Bilhah Rachel's maid conceived again, and bare Jacob a second son.
A. M. 2257. B.C. 1747

Verse 8
And Rachel said, With great wrestlings have I wrestled with my sister, and I have prevailed: and she called his name Naphtali.
great wrestlings
Heb. wrestlings of God.
23:6; 32:24; Exodus 9:28; 1 Samuel 14:15; *marg:
and she
35:25; 46:24; 49:21; Deuteronomy 33:23
that is, My wrestling.
32:24,25; Matthew 4:13

Verse 9
When Leah saw that she had left bearing, she took Zilpah her maid, and gave her Jacob to wife.
A. M. 2256. B.C. 1748. left
17; 29:35
gave her
4; 16:3

Verse 11
And Leah said, A troop cometh: and she called his name Gad.
35:26; 46:16; 49:19; Deuteronomy 33:20,21
that is, A troop, or company.
Isaiah 65:11

Verse 13
And Leah said, Happy am I, for the daughters will call me blessed: and she called his name Asher.
A. M. 2257. B.C. 1747. Happy am I. Heb. In my happiness. will call
Proverbs 31:28; Song of Solomon 6:9; Luke 1:48
and she
35:26; 46:17; 49:20; Deuteronomy 33:24,25
that is, Happy.

Verse 14
And 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.
A. M. 2256. B.C. 1748. mandrakes. The mandrake may be the Hebrew {dudaim:} it is so rendered by all the ancient versions, and is a species of melon, of an agreeable odour. Hasselquist, speaking of Nazareth in Galilee, says, "What I found most remarkable at this village was the great number of mandrakes which grew in a vale below it. I had not the pleasure of seeing this plant in blossom, the fruit now (May 5th, O. S.) hanging ripe on the stem, which lay withered on the ground. From the season in which this mandrake blossoms and ripens fruit, one might form a conjecture that it was Rachel's {dudaim.} These were brought her in the wheat harvest, which in Galilee is in the month of May, about this time, and the mandrake was now in fruit." The Abbee Mariti describes it as growing "low like a lettuce, to which its leaves have a great resemblance, except that they have a dark green colour. The flowers are purple, and the root is for the most part forked. The fruit, when ripe in the beginning of May, is of the size and colour of a small apple, exceedingly ruddy, and of a most agreeable odour. Our guide thought us fools for suspecting it to be unwholesome."
Song of Solomon 7:13
Give me

Verse 15
And 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.
Numbers 16:9,10,13; Isaiah 7:13; Ezekiel 16:47; 1 Corinthians 4:3

Verse 17
And God hearkened unto Leah, and she conceived, and bare Jacob the fifth son.
A. M. 2257. B.C. 1747
6,22; Exodus 3:7; 1 Samuel 1:20,26,27; Luke 1:13

Verse 18
And Leah said, God hath given me my hire, because I have given my maiden to my husband: and she called his name Issachar.
and she
35:23; 46:13; 49:14,15; Deuteronomy 33:18; 1 Chronicles 12:32
that is, An hire.

Verse 20
And 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.
A. M. cir. 2258. B.C. cir. 1746. now will
15; 29:34
and she
35:23; 46:14; 49:13; Judges 4:10; 5:14; Psalms 68:27
that is, Dwelling.
Matthew 4:13

Verse 21
And afterwards she bare a daughter, and called her name Dinah.
A. M. cir. 2259. B.C. 1745. and called
34:1-3,26; 46:15
that is, Judgment.

Verse 22
And God remembered Rachel, and God hearkened to her, and opened her womb.
8:1; 21:1; 29:31; 1 Samuel 1:19,20; Psalms 105:42
2; 21:1,2; 25:21; 29:31; Psalms 113:9; 127:3

Verse 23
And she conceived, and bare a son; and said, God hath taken away my reproach:
29:31; 1 Samuel 1:5,6; Isaiah 4:1; Luke 1:21,25,27

Verse 24
And she called his name Joseph; and said, The LORD shall add to me another son.
And she
35:24; 37:2,4; 39:1-23; 42:6; 48:1-22; 49:22-26; Deuteronomy 33:13-17; Ezekiel 37:16; Acts 7:9-15; Hebrews 11:21,22; Revelation 7:8
that is, Adding.

Verse 25
And 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.
Send me away
18:33; 31:55
and to
24:6,7; 26:3; 27:44,45; 28:13,15; 31:13; Acts 7:4,5; Hebrews 11:9,15,16

Verse 26
Give 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.
my wives
29:19,20,30; 31:26,31,41; Hosea 12:12
for thou
29,30; 31:6,38-40

Verse 27
And 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.
18:3; 33:15; 34:11; 39:3-5,21; 47:25; Exodus 3:21; Numbers 11:11,15; Ruth 2:13; 1 Samuel 16:22; 1 Kings 11:19; Nehemiah 1:11; 2:5; Daniel 1:9; Acts 7:10
the Lord
30; 12:3; 26:24; 39:2-5,21-23; Psalms 1:3; Isaiah 6:13; 61:9; 65:8

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

Verse 29
And he said unto him, Thou knowest how I have served thee, and how thy cattle was with me.
5; 31:6,38-40; Matthew 24:45; Ephesians 6:5-8; Colossians 3:22-25; Titus 2:9,10; 1 Peter 2:15,18

Verse 30
For 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?
Heb. broken forth.
and the
since my coming
Heb. at my foot.
Deuteronomy 11:10
2 Corinthians 12:14; 1 Timothy 5:8

Verse 31
And 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:
2 Samuel 21:4-6; Psalms 118:8; Hebrews 13:5

Verse 32
I 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.
of such
35; 31:8,10

Verse 33
So 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.
31:37; 1 Samuel 26:23; 2 Samuel 22:21; Psalms 37:6
Isaiah 59:12
in time to come
Heb. to-morrow.
Exodus 13:14
that shall be
Supply the ellipsis by inserting "if found," after "stolen," and the sense will be clear.

Verse 34
And Laban said, Behold, I would it might be according to thy word.
Numbers 22:29; 1 Corinthians 7:7; 14:5; Galatians 5:12

Verse 35
And 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.
he removed
From this it appears, that, as Jacob had agreed to take all the parti-coloured for his wages, and was now only beginning to act upon this agreement, and consequently had as yet no right to any of the cattle, therefore Laban separated from the flock all such cattle as Jacob might afterwards claim in consequence of his bargain, leaving only the black and white with Jacob.
the hand

Verse 37
And 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.
green poplar
Livneh is the white poplar, so called from the whiteness of its leaves, bark, and wood, from lavan to be white.
Jerome, Hiller, Celsius, Dr. Shaw, Bochart, and other learned men, say, that luz is not the "hazel" but the almond-tree, as the word denotes both in Arabic and Syriac.
chestnut tree
The Heb. word armon, signifies "the plane-tree," so called from the bark naturally peeling off, and leaving the trunk naked, as its root aram, signifies.
Ezekiel 31:8

Verse 39
And the flocks conceived before the rods, and brought forth cattle ringstraked, speckled, and spotted.
brought forth
31:9-12,38,40,42; Exodus 12:35,36

Verse 41
And 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.
whensoever the stronger cattle did conceive
As the means which Jacob used would not in general produce similar effects, nay, probably the experiment was never in any other instance tried with effect, it is more in harmony with Divine truth to suppose that he was directed by some Divine intimation; and rendered successful, if not by a direct miracle, yet at least by the Lord's giving a new and uncommon bias to the tendency of natural causes.

Verse 43
And the man increased exceedingly, and had much cattle, and maidservants, and menservants, and camels, and asses.
30; 13:2; 24:35; 26:13,14; 28:15; 31:7,8,42; 32:10; 33:11; 36:7; Ecclesiastes 2:7; Ezekiel 39:10; The Lord will, in one way or other, honour those who simply trust his providence.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Genesis 30:4". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge".

Lectionary Calendar
Sunday, December 8th, 2019
the Second Week of Advent
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