Genesis 30: The Wrestlemania of Child Birthing

Genesis 30: The Wrestlemania of Child Birthing

Journey through the Book of Genesis with me.  The plan is simple. Read ONE chapter a day. Blog or journal 5* things you learned that you previously didn't know and ask 5* questions about the chapter that you'll ponder all week. Let's go!

** You'll probably learn way more than 5 things and have more than 5 questions about each chapter. That's totally fine. The more the merrier! 

GENESIS 30:1-43  


QUESTION 1: Is there any significance to Rachel offering her servant, Bilhah as simply a vessel to bear a child for Jacob (v.3), and Leah offering her servant, Zilpah to Jacob “as a wife”? (v.9)?

QUESTION 2: Since he was the firstborn, did Reuben grow up despising Rachel and Bilhah’s sons?

QUESTION 3: Leah’s questioning of Rachel in verse 15 is ironic considering that she was the one who “took away” Jacob from Rachel on what was supposed to be Rachel’s wedding night. Did Leah really believe that Rachel “stole” Jacob from her?

QUESTION 4: Why did Leah have to “hire” Jacob with mandrakes for a night? Did Leah live as an unwanted concubine in his house? Perhaps this is what verse 29:31 is referencing when it says, “Leah was hated”?

QUESTION 5: Verse 31 would suggest that Jacob didn’t move away from Laban as he had originally intended to. Why did he remain with Laban to keep “tending the flock”?

QUESTION 6: Did God give Jacob the wisdom to manipulate the breeding process of the flock or was this knowledge that Jacob always had on hand as a shepherd? Either way, the prosperous results in v.43 is directly tied to God’s promise of success in Genesis 28:13-15 and 26:12


INSIGHT 1: The responses of the three matriarchs to infertility is a study in personalities:

  • In Genesis 16, Sarai (frustrated that she’s unable to bear children for Abram) proposes that Abram lay with her Egyptian servant, Hagar because “God has prevented (her) from bearing children.” So, in Sarai’s mind, God is to blame for her demise.
  • In Genesis 30, Rachel gets in a fight with Jacob and blames him for her inability to conceive, then proposes that (on her behalf), he lay with her servant, Bilhal. So, in Rachel’s mind, Jacob is to blame.
  • In Genesis 25, however, though Rebekah was just as barren as the other two women, we simply read “Isaac prayed to the Lord on behalf of his wife, because she was childless” (v.21). Prayer is always the answer to infertility!

INSIGHT 2: When verse 22 says, “Then God remembered Rachel”, it doesn’t mean God literally forgot her and suddenly had recollection of her prayers. God “Remembering” Rachel is the Bible’s way of expressing that God’s foreordained will is NOW being brought to fruition. 

INSIGHT 3: It Is interesting to note that it is at the end of Jacob’s 14-year sentence of serving Laban (7 years of service for each sister) that Rachel finally conceives. Joseph was born at the right moment when Jacob was ready to move on. This serves as an encouraging reminder that God ordains our circumstances so that it works out for our greatest good when it is most convenient for us.

INSIGHT 4: Jacob’s statement at the end of verse 30, “…But now, when may I do something for my own household?” is the cry and prayer of every man who has every faithfully served in the number-two chair and desires to step out into a new venture to lead their own enterprise.

INSIGHT 5: Because God always remains true to His promise, even when Jacob is scammed (by Laban in verse 35-36), God still gives Jacob the shrewd wisdom on how to engineer the breeding process for sheep so that it works out for His financial gain.

INSIGHT 6: In spite of the sisters unhealthy and unwise child birthing competition, God still accomplishes His greater purpose by bringing about the 12 tribes of Israel from all four women.


Husband. Dad. Pastor. Nigerian American. Storyteller. Aspiring Prayer Warrior. Steak Lover. Follower of Jesus Christ reminding you that God the Father still loves you.