Sharon Wilharm Bible Storyteller

Rachel Wants Children

Rachel was the beautiful one, loved and adored by her husband Jacob. But when she saw that Leah was bearing Jacob sons, and she was barren, Rachel grew envious. She ordered Jacob to give her children, or she would die.

Jacob wasn’t the problem. For the first time, we see him angry with Rachel. He told her it was God, not him, who kept her from bearing children.

Rather than taking her problems to God, she chose to do the same thing Sarah had done. She gave her handmaid to Jacob to serve as a surrogate wife to bear children for her. Jacob agreed, and Bilhah, her maid, bore Jacob a son.

Rachel named the son Dan, saying, “God has judged my case; and He has also heard my voice and given me a son.”

Bilhah conceived again. This son Rachel named Naphtali, saying “With great wrestlings I have wrestled with my sister, and indeed I have prevailed.”

Just as Leah looked to her sons as a way to win her husband’s affection, Rachel saw Bilhah’s sons as a way to show her superiority over Leah.

In their day a woman was judged worthy by bearing children, specifically sons. To be barren was to be looked down on as it was thought to be God’s judgement for unresolved sin.

Though Rachel gives God credit for Bilhah’s first son, we see no evidence of her taking her problem to God. She wasn’t worried about getting right with God. She only wanted to overshadow her sister.

When things aren’t going our way, it’s easy to blame others and take matters into our own hands. Instead, we must search our hearts to make sure that our motives are right and our hearts are pure. Only then can we find what we’re truly seeking.

Rachel Wants Children in the Bible: Genesis 30:1-24

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