Genesis 30 — Rachel vs. Leah and the names of the 12 sons of Israel

Rachel envied her sister, Leah, and Leah hated Rachel because Ya’akov (Jacob) loved her. The names of the his 12 sons reflect this tug of war between the sisters and contain prophecies to be fulfilled hundreds of years later.

Food for thought from the recorded discussion

Thinking Ya’akov’s love could be purchased somehow, Leah named her first born son Reuben, meaning “See, a Son.” She thought, Now my husband will love me

Then a second son was born to Leah, Shimon (Simeon), whose name means “God hath heard that I was hated.” Then she conceived a third son, and called him Levi, “because I have given my husband a third son, he will live with me now.” 

A fourth son was conceived and she called him Yehudah (Judah), in Hebrew it means “hand goes out the door for Leah.” The Hebrew name for Yehudah (Judah) is very interesting in pictorial form in the ancient Hebrew.

Then she stopped baring and it became the wits of the two women to come up with more children. Of course, Rachel remained barren so doing what the grandfather’s wife Sarai did, she gave Ya’akov her handmaid Bilhah meaning a timid lady and Bilhah conceived and bore “Dan” God ruled in her favor.” 

She conceived again and Rachel called this son Naphtali, which means “wrestled,” because Rachel felt she was wrestling with her sister Leah for Ya’akov’s affection. The battle went on with Leah then giving Ya’akov her maid, Zilpah, a son was born “A troop” cometh, and Leah got another son from Zilpah, Asher, which means “happy.”

All the son’s names did not have anything to do with the children only the feelings of the women.It was a very selfish endeavor they had getting children from Ya’akov. 

“Ya’akov was really not a happy man with his wives and all his riches,” Richard Agee said.

The story of the mandrakes comes in Gen. 30:14–16 when Leah’s son Reuben found the mandrakes. The plant gives off an “aroma,” and may be referred to also in Song of Songs 7:7 “get up early and see the vine tender grapes” a yellow fruit. Spikenard is another fragrant spice that can “draw a man” for Rachel, a man, for her in particular, Ya’akov.  

Gen. 30:14 — “In the days of the wheat harvest, Reuben found mandrakes in the field. Rachel said to Leah, “Give me of thy son’s mandrakes.” She bargained with Leah to obtain the mandrakes by giving Ya’akov to  her “for the night.”  She said to Ya’akov “Surely I have hired thee with my son’s mandrakes.” 

(This man was such a pawn in his wives’ hands. —Ann Hertel) 

Leah gave Ya’akov another son, Issachar, whose name means “given me wages.” She then gave Ya’akov his sixth son and called him Zebulun, which means “my husband will now live with me.” Then she bore him a daughter, Diana.

Afterward, the LORD “remembered” Rachel, which in Hebrew means that He “marked” her. This marked a new season for Rachel and she conceived a son for Ya’akov. And Rachel said, “The Lord shall add to me another son,” so she named him Yosef (Joseph). 

The pictographic letters spelling Yosef in ancient Hebrew show a hand connected to a hedge of unmovable thorns followed by a mouth. The hedge keeps the sheep and puts a hedge around the mouth. Yosef in Hebrew means “add to me another son.” The word yosef is spelled differently in Psa. 81:5  “The” house of Joseph.

On the three days journey betwween Laban’s workers and Ya’akov’s  not much to answer as to why such a big distance. Richard Agee also felt that all the discussion about striped and colored rods which Ya’akov placed about the goats and flocks may have been an idea how to be blessed in man’s intelligence, but God did favor him anyway over his cunning ideas.

Notes: Ann Hertel. Speaker: Richard Agee.


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