16:2 So Sarai said to Abram, “Since 1 the Lord has prevented me from having children, have sexual relations with 2 my servant. Perhaps I can have a family by her.” 3 Abram did what 4 Sarai told him.
30:1 When Rachel saw that she could not give Jacob children, she 5 became jealous of her sister. She said to Jacob, “Give me children 6 or I’ll die!” 30:2 Jacob became furious 7 with Rachel and exclaimed, “Am I in the place of God, who has kept you from having children?” 8 30:3 She replied, “Here is my servant Bilhah! Have sexual relations with 9 her so that she can bear 10 children 11 for me 12 and I can have a family through her.” 13
30:4 So Rachel 14 gave him her servant Bilhah as a wife, and Jacob had marital relations with 15 her. 30:5 Bilhah became pregnant 16 and gave Jacob a son. 17 30:6 Then Rachel said, “God has vindicated me. He has responded to my prayer 18 and given me a son.” That is why 19 she named him Dan. 20
30:7 Bilhah, Rachel’s servant, became pregnant again and gave Jacob another son. 21 30:8 Then Rachel said, “I have fought a desperate struggle with my sister, but I have won.” 22 So she named him Naphtali. 23
30:9 When Leah saw that she had stopped having children, she gave 24 her servant Zilpah to Jacob as a wife. 30:10 Soon Leah’s servant Zilpah gave Jacob a son. 25 30:11 Leah said, “How fortunate!” 26 So she named him Gad. 27
30:14 At the time 32 of the wheat harvest Reuben went out and found some mandrake plants 33 in a field and brought them to his mother Leah. Rachel said to Leah, “Give me some of your son’s mandrakes.” 30:15 But Leah replied, 34 “Wasn’t it enough that you’ve taken away my husband? Would you take away my son’s mandrakes too?” “All right,” 35 Rachel said, “he may sleep 36 with you tonight in exchange for your son’s mandrakes.” 30:16 When Jacob came in from the fields that evening, Leah went out to meet him and said, “You must sleep 37 with me because I have paid for your services 38 with my son’s mandrakes.” So he had marital relations 39 with her that night. 30:17 God paid attention 40 to Leah; she became pregnant 41 and gave Jacob a son for the fifth time. 42 30:18 Then Leah said, “God has granted me a reward 43 because I gave my servant to my husband as a wife.” 44 So she named him Issachar. 45
30:19 Leah became pregnant again and gave Jacob a son for the sixth time. 46 30:20 Then Leah said, “God has given me a good gift. Now my husband will honor me because I have given him six sons.” So she named him Zebulun. 47
30:21 After that she gave birth to a daughter and named her Dinah.
30:22 Then God took note of 48 Rachel. He paid attention to her and enabled her to become pregnant. 49 30:23 She became pregnant 50 and gave birth to a son. Then she said, “God has taken away my shame.” 51
1 tn Heb “look.” The particle הִנֵּה (hinneh) introduces the foundational clause for the imperative to follow.
sn The Hebrew expression translated have sexual relations with does not convey the intimacy of other expressions, such as “so and so knew his wife.” Sarai simply sees this as the social custom of having a child through a surrogate. For further discussion see C. F. Fensham, “The Son of a Handmaid in Northwest Semitic,” VT 19 (1969): 312-21.
3 tn Heb “perhaps I will be built from her.” Sarai hopes to have a family established through this surrogate mother.
4 tn Heb “listened to the voice of,” which is an idiom meaning “obeyed.”
sn Abram did what Sarai told him. This expression was first used in Gen 3:17 of Adam’s obeying his wife. In both cases the text highlights weak faith and how it jeopardized the plan of God.
5 tn Heb “Rachel.” The proper name has been replaced by the pronoun (“she”) in the translation for stylistic reasons.
6 tn Heb “sons.”
7 tn Heb “and the anger of Jacob was hot.”
8 tn Heb “who has withheld from you the fruit of the womb.”
9 tn Heb “go in to.” The expression “go in to” in this context refers to sexual intercourse.
10 tn After the imperative, the prefixed verbal form with the conjunction indicates the immediate purpose of the proposed activity.
11 tn The word “children” is not in the Hebrew text but has been supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons.
12 tn Heb “upon my knees.” This is an idiomatic way of saying that Bilhah will be simply a surrogate mother. Rachel will adopt the child as her own.
13 tn Heb “and I will be built up, even I, from her.” The prefixed verbal form with the conjunction is subordinated to the preceding prefixed verbal form and gives the ultimate purpose for the proposed action. The idiom of “built up” here refers to having a family (see Gen 16:2, as well as Ruth 4:11 and BDB 125 s.v. בָנָה).
14 tn Heb “and she”; the referent (Rachel) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
15 tn Heb “went in to.” The expression “went in to” in this context refers to sexual intercourse.
17 tn Heb “and she bore for Jacob a son.”
18 tn Heb “and also he has heard my voice.” The expression means that God responded positively to Rachel’s cry and granted her request.
19 tn Or “therefore.”
20 sn The name Dan means “he vindicated” or “he judged.” The name plays on the verb used in the statement which appears earlier in the verse. The verb translated “vindicated” is from דִּין (din, “to judge, to vindicate”), the same verbal root from which the name is derived. Rachel sensed that God was righting the wrong.
21 tn Heb “and she became pregnant again and Bilhah, the servant of Rachel, bore a second son for Jacob.”
22 tn Heb “[with] a mighty struggle I have struggled with my sister, also I have prevailed.” The phrase “mighty struggle” reads literally “struggles of God.” The plural participle “struggles” reflects the ongoing nature of the struggle, while the divine name is used here idiomatically to emphasize the intensity of the struggle. See J. Skinner, Genesis (ICC), 387.
23 sn The name Naphtali (נַפְתָּלִי, naftali) must mean something like “my struggle” in view of the statement Rachel made in the preceding clause. The name plays on this earlier statement, “[with] a mighty struggle I have struggled with my sister.”
24 tn Heb “she took her servant Zilpah and gave her.” The verbs “took” and “gave” are treated as a hendiadys in the translation: “she gave.”
25 tn Heb “and Zilpah, the servant of Leah, bore for Jacob a son.”
26 tc The statement in the Kethib (consonantal text) appears to mean literally “with good fortune,” if one takes the initial בְּ (bet) as a preposition indicating accompaniment. The Qere (marginal reading) means “good fortune has arrived.”
27 sn The name Gad (גָּד, gad) means “good fortune.” The name reflects Leah’s feeling that good fortune has come her way, as expressed in her statement recorded earlier in the verse.
28 tn Heb “and Zilpah, the servant of Leah, bore a second son for Jacob.”
29 tn The Hebrew statement apparently means “with my happiness.”
30 tn Heb “daughters.”
31 sn The name Asher (אָשֶׁר, ’asher) apparently means “happy one.” The name plays on the words used in the statement which appears earlier in the verse. Both the Hebrew noun and verb translated “happy” and “call me happy,” respectively, are derived from the same root as the name Asher.
32 tn Heb “during the days.”
33 sn Mandrake plants were popularly believed to be an aphrodisiac in the culture of the time.
34 tn Heb “and she said to her”; the referent of the pronoun “she” (Leah) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
35 tn Heb “therefore.”
36 tn Heb “lie down.” The expression “lie down with” in this context (here and in the following verse) refers to sexual intercourse. The imperfect verbal form has a permissive nuance here.
37 tn Heb “must come in to me.” The imperfect verbal form has an obligatory nuance here. She has acquired him for the night and feels he is obligated to have sexual relations with her.
39 tn This is the same Hebrew verb (שָׁכַב, shakhav) translated “sleep with” in v. 15. In direct discourse the more euphemistic “sleep with” was used, but here in the narrative “marital relations” reflects more clearly the emphasis on sexual intercourse.
40 tn Heb “listened to.”
42 tn Heb “and she bore for Jacob a fifth son,” i.e., this was the fifth son that Leah had given Jacob.
43 tn Heb “God has given my reward.”
sn Leah seems to regard the act of giving her servant Zilpah to her husband as a sacrifice, for which (she believes) God is now rewarding her with the birth of a son.
45 sn The name Issachar (יְשָּׁשכָר, yishakhar) appears to mean “man of reward” or possibly “there is reward.” The name plays on the word used in the statement made earlier in the verse. The Hebrew noun translated “reward” is derived from the same root as the name Issachar. The irony is that Rachel thought the mandrakes would work for her, and she was willing to trade one night for them. But in that one night Leah became pregnant.
46 tn Heb “and she bore a sixth son for Jacob,” i.e., this was the sixth son that Leah had given Jacob.
47 sn The name Zebulun (זְבֻלוּן, zevulun) apparently means “honor.” The name plays on the verb used in the statement made earlier in the verse. The Hebrew verb translated “will honor” and the name Zebulun derive from the same root.
48 tn Heb “remembered.”
49 tn Heb “and God listened to her and opened up her womb.” Since “God” is the subject of the previous clause, the noun has been replaced by the pronoun “he” in the translation for stylistic reasons
50 tn Or “conceived.”
51 tn Heb “my reproach.” A “reproach” is a cutting taunt or painful ridicule, but here it probably refers by metonymy to Rachel’s barren condition, which was considered shameful in this culture and was the reason why she was the object of taunting and ridicule.