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Genesis 30:1-8

Context

30:1 When Rachel saw that she could not give Jacob children, she 1  became jealous of her sister. She said to Jacob, “Give me children 2  or I’ll die!” 30:2 Jacob became furious 3  with Rachel and exclaimed, “Am I in the place of God, who has kept you from having children?” 4  30:3 She replied, “Here is my servant Bilhah! Have sexual relations with 5  her so that she can bear 6  children 7  for me 8  and I can have a family through her.” 9 

30:4 So Rachel 10  gave him her servant Bilhah as a wife, and Jacob had marital relations with 11  her. 30:5 Bilhah became pregnant 12  and gave Jacob a son. 13  30:6 Then Rachel said, “God has vindicated me. He has responded to my prayer 14  and given me a son.” That is why 15  she named him Dan. 16 

30:7 Bilhah, Rachel’s servant, became pregnant again and gave Jacob another son. 17  30:8 Then Rachel said, “I have fought a desperate struggle with my sister, but I have won.” 18  So she named him Naphtali. 19 

1 tn Heb “Rachel.” The proper name has been replaced by the pronoun (“she”) in the translation for stylistic reasons.

2 tn Heb “sons.”

3 tn Heb “and the anger of Jacob was hot.”

4 tn Heb “who has withheld from you the fruit of the womb.”

5 tn Heb “go in to.” The expression “go in to” in this context refers to sexual intercourse.

6 tn After the imperative, the prefixed verbal form with the conjunction indicates the immediate purpose of the proposed activity.

7 tn The word “children” is not in the Hebrew text but has been supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons.

8 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.

9 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).

10 tn Heb “and she”; the referent (Rachel) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

11 tn Heb “went in to.” The expression “went in to” in this context refers to sexual intercourse.

12 tn Or “Bilhah conceived” (also in v. 7).

13 tn Heb “and she bore for Jacob a son.”

14 tn Heb “and also he has heard my voice.” The expression means that God responded positively to Rachel’s cry and granted her request.

15 tn Or “therefore.”

16 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.

17 tn Heb “and she became pregnant again and Bilhah, the servant of Rachel, bore a second son for Jacob.”

18 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.

19 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.”



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