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.
The words are Laban's, and taken in their connection they intimate that even an utterly worldly man, such as he was, may be forced to acknowledge the moral providence of God, whereby He takes especial and peculiar care of His servants. Look at the moral and religious lessons which a thoughtful man may learn by experience.
I. We learn by experience much that is wholesome about ourselves. By the blunders we have made, the falls we have suffered, the injuries we have sustained, the sins we have committed, and the wrongs we have inflicted on others, God has enlightened us in the knowledge of ourselves, and made us feel that it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps.
II. Experience has taught us much regarding the world and its pleasures, possessions, and enjoyments. Even in the case of the Christian, there is much to wean him from the world as the years roll on. As he grows older the world becomes less and less to him, and Christ becomes more and more. He learns to delight in God, and his growth in holiness becomes the ambition of his life.
III. The experience of the lapse of years teaches us more and more of God as the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. We have increasing proofs of God's wisdom and God's faithfulness. Whoever has been false to us, He has remained true. This testimony of experience thus grows with our growth and strengthens with our strength. It is a fortress which is utterly impregnable.
W. M. Taylor, The Christian at Work, Sept. 16th, 1880.
References: Genesis 30:1-26.—R. S. Candlish, Book of Genesis, vol. ii., p. 36. Genesis 30:27.—Parker, vol. i., p. 362; Homiletic Quarterly, vol. iii., p. 278. Genesis 30:27-43.—R. S. Candlish, Book of Genesis, vol. ii., p. 46. Gen 30—Expositor, 2nd series, vol. vi., p. 267; R. S. Candlish, Book of Genesis, vol. ii., p. 16. Gen 31—R. S. Candlish, Book of Genesis, vol. ii., pp. 16, 53. Genesis 31:3, Genesis 31:5.—Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xxvii., No. 1630. Genesis 31:13.—J. Van Oosterzee, The Year of Salvation, vol. ii., p. 360; Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xxi., No. 1267; J. R. Macduff, Communion Memories, p. 175. Genesis 31:38.—Homiletic Quarterly, vol. iii., p. 530. Genesis 31:47.—Parker, vol. i., p. 362. Genesis 31:48, Genesis 31:49.—Homiletic Quarterly, vol. iii., p. 549. Genesis 31:48-50.—F. W. Robertson, Notes on Genesis, p. 113. Genesis 31:53.—Expositor, 2nd series, vol. iii., p. 352.
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?
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.
And she gave him Bilhah her handmaid to wife: and Jacob went in unto her.
And Bilhah conceived, and bare Jacob a son.
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.
And Bilhah Rachel's maid conceived again, and bare Jacob a second son.
And Rachel said, With great wrestlings have I wrestled with my sister, and I have prevailed: and she called his name Naphtali.
When Leah saw that she had left bearing, she took Zilpah her maid, and gave her Jacob to wife.
And Zilpah Leah's maid bare Jacob a son.
And Leah said, A troop cometh: and she called his name Gad.
And Zilpah Leah's maid bare Jacob a second son.
And Leah said, Happy am I, for the daughters will call me blessed: and she called his name Asher.
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.
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.
And Jacob came out of the field in the evening, and Leah went out to meet him, and said, Thou must come in unto me; for surely I have hired thee with my son's mandrakes. And he lay with her that night.
And God hearkened unto Leah, and she conceived, and bare Jacob the fifth son.
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 Leah conceived again, and bare Jacob the sixth son.
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.
And afterwards she bare a daughter, and called her name Dinah.
And God remembered Rachel, and God hearkened to her, and opened her womb.
And she conceived, and bare a son; and said, God hath taken away my reproach:
And she called his name Joseph; and said, The LORD shall add to me another son.
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.
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.
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.
And he said, Appoint me thy wages, and I will give it.
And he said unto him, Thou knowest how I have served thee, and how thy cattle was with me.
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?
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:
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.
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.
And Laban said, Behold, I would it might be according to thy word.
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.
And he set three days' journey betwixt himself and Jacob: and Jacob fed the rest of Laban's flocks.
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.
And he set the rods which he had pilled before the flocks in the gutters in the watering troughs when the flocks came to drink, that they should conceive when they came to drink.
And the flocks conceived before the rods, and brought forth cattle ringstraked, speckled, and spotted.
And Jacob did separate the lambs, and set the faces of the flocks toward the ringstraked, and all the brown in the flock of Laban; and he put his own flocks by themselves, and put them not unto Laban's cattle.
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.
But when the cattle were feeble, he put them not in: so the feebler were Laban's, and the stronger Jacob's.
And the man increased exceedingly, and had much cattle, and maidservants, and menservants, and camels, and asses.