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Genesis 30:1 [study!]

American Standard Version (ASV 1901) [2]
— And when Rachel saw that she bare Jacob no children, Rachel envied her sister; and she said unto Jacob, Give me children, or else I die.
King James Version (KJV 1769)
— 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.
New American Standard Bible (NASB ©1995)
— Now when Rachel saw that she bore Jacob no children, she became jealous of her sister; and she said to Jacob, “Give me children, or else I die.”
Webster's Revision of the KJB (WEB 1833)
— And when Rachel saw that she bore Jacob no children, Rachel envied her sister; and said to Jacob, Give me children, or else I die.
Darby's Translation (DBY 1890)
— And when Rachel saw that she bore Jacob no children, Rachel envied her sister, and said to Jacob, Give me children, or else I die.
Rotherham's Emphasized Bible (EBR 1902)
— And Rachel saw she had borne no children unto Jacob, so Rachel became envious of her sister,—and said unto Jacob, Come! give me children, or else, I die.
Young's Literal Translation (YLT 1898)
— And Rachel seeth that she hath not borne to Jacob, and Rachel is envious of her sister, and saith unto Jacob, 'Give me sons, and if there is none—I die.'
Douay-Rheims Challoner Revision (DR 1750)
— And Rachel seeing herself without children, envied her sister, and said to her husband: Give me children, otherwise I shall die.
Original King James Bible (AV 1611) [2]
— And when Rachel saw that shee bare Iacob no children, Rachel enuied her sister, and said vnto Iacob, Giue mee children, or els I die.
Brenton Greek Septuagint (LXX, Restored Names)
— And Rachel having perceived that she bore Jacob no children, was jealous of her sister; and said to Jacob, Give me children; and if not, I shall die.
Full Hebrew Names / Holy Name KJV (2008) [2] [3]
— And when Rachel saw that she bare Yaaqov no children, Rachel envied her sister; and said unto Yaaqov, Give me children, or else I die.

Strong's Numbers & Hebrew NamesHebrew Old TestamentColor-Code/Key Word Studies
And when Rl רָחֵל 7354
{7354} Prime
רָחֵל
Rachel
{raw-khale'}
The same as H7353; Rachel, a wife of Jacob.
saw 7200
{7200} Prime
רָאָה
ra'ah
{raw-aw'}
A primitive root; to see, literally or figuratively (in numerous applications, direct and implied, transitively, intransitively and causatively).
z8799
<8799> Grammar
Stem - Qal (See H8851)
Mood - Imperfect (See H8811)
Count - 19885
that x3588
(3588) Complement
כִּי
kiy
{kee}
A primitive particle (the full form of the prepositional prefix) indicating causal relations of all kinds, antecedent or consequent; (by implication) very widely used as a relative conjugation or adverb; often largely modified by other particles annexed.
she bare y3205
[3205] Standard
יָלַד
yalad
{yaw-lad'}
A primitive root; to bear young; causatively to beget; medically to act as midwife; specifically to show lineage.
z8804
<8804> Grammar
Stem - Qal (See H8851)
Mood - Perfect (See H8816)
Count - 12562
Ya`kv יַעֲקֹב y3290
[3290] Standard
יַעֲקֹב
Ya`aqob
{yah-ak-obe'}
From H6117; heel catcher (that is, supplanter); Jaakob, the Israelitish patriarch.
no children, x3205
(3205) Complement
יָלַד
yalad
{yaw-lad'}
A primitive root; to bear young; causatively to beget; medically to act as midwife; specifically to show lineage.
x3808
(3808) Complement
לֹא
lo'
{lo}
lo; a primitive particle; not (the simple or abstract negation); by implication no; often used with other particles.
x3290
(3290) Complement
יַעֲקֹב
Ya`aqob
{yah-ak-obe'}
From H6117; heel catcher (that is, supplanter); Jaakob, the Israelitish patriarch.
Rl רָחֵל 7354
{7354} Prime
רָחֵל
Rachel
{raw-khale'}
The same as H7353; Rachel, a wife of Jacob.
envied 7065
{7065} Prime
קָנָא
qana'
{kaw-naw'}
A primitive root; to be (causatively make) zealous, that is, (in a bad sense) jealous or envious.
z8762
<8762> Grammar
Stem - Piel (See H8840)
Mood - Imperfect (See H8811)
Count - 2447
her sister; 269
{0269} Prime
אָחוֹת
'achowth
{aw-khoth'}
Irregular feminine of H0251; a sister (used very widely (like H0250), literally and figuratively).
and said 559
{0559} Prime
אָמַר
'amar
{aw-mar'}
A primitive root; to say (used with great latitude).
z8799
<8799> Grammar
Stem - Qal (See H8851)
Mood - Imperfect (See H8811)
Count - 19885
unto x413
(0413) Complement
אֵל
'el
{ale}
(Used only in the shortened constructive form (the second form)); a primitive particle, properly denoting motion towards, but occasionally used of a quiescent position, that is, near, with or among; often in general, to.
Ya`kv יַעֲקֹב, 3290
{3290} Prime
יַעֲקֹב
Ya`aqob
{yah-ak-obe'}
From H6117; heel catcher (that is, supplanter); Jaakob, the Israelitish patriarch.
Give 3051
{3051} Prime
יָהַב
yahab
{yaw-hab'}
A primitive root; to give (whether literally or figuratively); generally to put; imperatively (reflexively) come.
z8798
<8798> Grammar
Stem - Qal (See H8851)
Mood - Imperative (See H8810)
Count - 2847
me children, 1121
{1121} Prime
בֵּן
ben
{bane}
From H1129; a son (as a builder of the family name), in the widest sense (of literal and figurative relationship, including grandson, subject, nation, quality or condition, etc., (like H0001, H0251, etc.).
or x518
(0518) Complement
אִם
'im
{eem}
A primitive particle; used very widely as demonstrative, lo!; interrogitive, whether?; or conditional, if, although; also Oh that!, when; hence as a negative, not.
else 369
{0369} Prime
אַיִן
'ayin
{ah'-yin}
As if from a primitive root meaning to be nothing or not exist; a non-entity; generally used as a negative particle.
I x595
(0595) Complement
אָנֹכִי
'anokiy
{aw-no-kee'}
A primitive pronoun; I.
die. 4191
{4191} Prime
מָמוֹת
muwth
{mooth}
A primitive root; to die (literally or figuratively); causatively to kill.
z8801
<8801> Grammar
Stem - Qal (See H8851)
Mood - Participle (See H8813)
Count - 309
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Commentary

Genesis 30:1

_ _ Genesis 30:1-24. Domestic Jealousies.

_ _ Rachel envied her sister — The maternal relation confers a high degree of honor in the East, and the want of that status is felt as a stigma and deplored as a grievous calamity.

_ _ Give me children, or else I die — either be reckoned as good as dead, or pine away from vexation. The intense anxiety of Hebrew women for children arose from the hope of giving birth to the promised seed. Rachel’s conduct was sinful and contrasts unfavorably with that of Rebekah (compare Genesis 25:22) and of Hannah (1 Samuel 1:11).

Matthew Henry's Commentary

Genesis 30:1-13

_ _ We have here the bad consequences of that strange marriage which Jacob made with the two sisters. Here is,

_ _ I. An unhappy disagreement between him and Rachel (Genesis 30:1, Genesis 30:2), occasioned, not so much by her own barrenness as by her sister's fruitfulness. Rebekah, the only wife of Isaac, was long childless, and yet we find no uneasiness between her and Isaac; but here, because Leah bears children, Rachel cannot live peaceably with Jacob.

_ _ 1. Rachel frets. She envied her sister, Genesis 30:1. Envy is grieving at the good of another, than which no sin is more offensive to God, nor more injurious to our neighbour and ourselves. She considered not that it was God that made the difference, and that though, in this single instance her sister was preferred before her, yet in other things she had the advantage. Let us carefully watch against all the risings and workings of this passion in our minds. Let not our eye be evil towards any of our fellow-servants because our master's is good. But this was not all; she said to Jacob, Give me children, or else I die. Note, We are very apt to err in our desires of temporal mercies, as Rachel here. (1.) One child would not content her; but, because Leah has more than one, she must have more too: Give me children. (2.) Her heart is inordinately set upon it, and, if she have not what she would have, she will throw away her life, and all the comforts of it. “Give them to me, or else I die,” that is, “I shall fret myself to death; the want of this satisfaction will shorten my days.” Some think she threatens Jacob to lay violent hands upon herself, if she could not obtain this mercy. (3.) She did not apply to God by prayer, but to Jacob only, forgetting that children are a heritage of the Lord, Psalms 127:3. We wrong both God and ourselves when our eye is more to men, the instruments of our crosses and comforts, than to God the author. Observe a difference between Rachel's asking for this mercy and Hannah's, 1 Samuel 1:10, etc. Rachel envied; Hannah wept. Rachel must have children, and she died of the second; Hannah prayed for one child, and she had four more. Rachel is importunate and peremptory; Hannah is submissive and devout. If thou wilt give me a child, I will give him to the Lord. Let Hannah be imitated, and not Rachel; and let our desires be always under the direction and control of reason and religion.

_ _ 2. Jacob chides, and most justly. He loved Rachel, and therefore reproved her for what she said amiss, Genesis 30:2. Note, Faithful reproofs and products and instances of true affection, Psalms 141:5; Proverbs 27:5, Proverbs 27:6. Job reproved his wife when she spoke the language of the foolish women, Job 2:10. See 1 Corinthians 7:16. He was angry, not at the person, but at the sin; he expressed himself so as to show this displeasure. Note, sometimes it is requisite that a reproof should be given warm, like a medical potion; not too hot, lest it scald the patient; yet not cold, lest it prove ineffectual. It was a very grave and pious reply which Jacob gave to Rachel's peevish demand: Am I in God's stead? The Chaldee paraphrases it well, Dost thou ask sons of me? Oughtest thou not to ask them from before the Lord? The Arabic reads it, “Am I above God? can I give thee that which God denies thee?” This was said like a plain man. Observe, (1.) He acknowledges the hand of God in the affliction which he was a sharer with her in: He hath withheld the fruit of the womb. Note, Whatever we want, it is God that withholds it, a sovereign Lord, most wise, holy, and just, that may do what he will with his own, and is debtor to no man, that never did, nor ever can do, any wrong to any of his creatures. The keys of the clouds, of the heart, of the grave, and of the womb, are four keys which God had in his hand, and which (the rabbin say) he entrusts neither with angels nor seraphim. See Revelation 3:7. Job 11:10; Job 12:14. (2.) He acknowledges his own inability to alter what God had appointed: “Am I in God's stead? What! dost thou make a god of me?” Deos qui rogat ille facitHe to whom we offer supplications is to us a god. Note, [1.] There is no creature that is, or can be, to us, in God's stead. God may be to us instead of any creature, as the sun instead of the moon and stars; but the moon and all the stars will not be to us instead of the sun. No creature's wisdom, power, and love, will be to us instead of God's. [2.] It is therefore our sin and folly to place any creature in God's stead, and to place that confidence in any creature which is to be placed in God only.

_ _ II. An unhappy agreement between him and the two handmaids.

_ _ 1. At the persuasion of Rachel, he took Bilhah her handmaid to wife, that, according to the usage of those times, his children by her might be adopted and owned as her mistress's children, Genesis 30:3, etc. She would rather have children by reputation than none at all, children that she might fancy to be her own, and call her own, though they were not so. One would think her own sister's children were nearer akin to her than her maid's, and she might with more satisfaction have made them her own if she had so pleased; but (so natural is it for us all to be fond of power) children that she had a right to rule were more desirable to her than children that she had more reason to love; and, as an early instance of her dominion over the children born in her apartment, she takes a pleasure in giving them names that carry in them nothing but marks of emulation with her sister, as if she had overcome her, (1.) At law. She calls the first son of her handmaid Dan (judgement), saying, “God hath judged me” (Genesis 30:6), that is, “given sentence in my favour.” (2.) In battle. she calls the next Naphtali (wrestlings), saying, I have wrestled with my sister, and have prevailed (Genesis 30:8); as if all Jacob's sons must be born men of contention. See what roots of bitterness envy and strife are, and what mischief they make among relations.

_ _ 2. At the persuasion of Leah, he took Zilpah her handmaid to wife also, Genesis 30:9. Rachel had done that absurd and preposterous thing of giving her maid to her husband, in emulation with Leah; and now Leah (because she missed one year in bearing children) does the same, to be even with her, or rather to keep before her. See the power of jealousy and rivalship, and admire the wisdom of the divine appointment, which unites one man and one woman only; for God hath called us to peace and purity, 1 Corinthians 7:15. Two sons Zilpah bore to Jacob, whom Leah looked upon herself as entitled to, in token of which she called one Gad (Genesis 30:11), promising herself a little troop of children; and children are the militia of a family, they fill the quiver, Psalms 127:4, Psalms 127:5. The other she called Asher (happy), thinking herself happy in him, and promising herself that her neighbours would think so too: The daughters will call me blessed, Genesis 30:13. Note, It is an instance of the vanity of the world, and the foolishness bound up in our hearts, that most people value themselves and govern themselves more by reputation than either by reason or religion; they think themselves blessed if the daughters do but call them so. There was much amiss in the contest and competition between these two sisters, yet God brought good out of this evil; for, the time being now at hand when the seed of Abraham must begin to increase and multiply, thus Jacob's family was replenished with twelve sons, heads of the thousands of Israel, from whom the celebrated twelve tribes descended and were named.

John Wesley's Explanatory Notes

Genesis 30:1

Rachel envied her sister — Envy is grieving at the good of another, than which no sin is more injurious both to God, our neighbour, and ourselves. But this was not all, she said to Jacob, give me children or else I die — A child would not content her; but because Leah has more than one, she must have more too; Give me children: her heart is set upon it. Give them me, else I die, That is, I shall fret myself to death. The want of this satisfaction will shorten my days. Observe a difference between Rachel's asking for this mercy, and Hannah's, 1 Samuel 1:10, &c. Rachel envied, Hannah wept: Rachel must have children, and she died of the second; Hannah prayed for this child, and she had four more: Rachel is importunate and peremptory, Hannah is submissive and devout, If thou wilt give me a child, I will give him to the Lord. Let Hannah be imitated, and not Rachel; and let our desires be always under the conduct and check of reason and religion.

Geneva Bible Translation Notes

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Cross-Reference Topical ResearchStrong's Concordance
when Rachel:

Genesis 29:31 And when the LORD saw that Leah [was] hated, he opened her womb: but Rachel [was] barren.

Rachel envied:
Envy and jealousy are most tormenting passions to the breast which harbours them, vexatious to all around, and introductory to much impatience and ungodliness. "Who is able to stand before envy?"
Genesis 37:11 And his brethren envied him; but his father observed the saying.
1 Samuel 1:4-8 And when the time was that Elkanah offered, he gave to Peninnah his wife, and to all her sons and her daughters, portions: ... Then said Elkanah her husband to her, Hannah, why weepest thou? and why eatest thou not? and why is thy heart grieved? [am] not I better to thee than ten sons?
Psalms 106:16 They envied Moses also in the camp, [and] Aaron the saint of the LORD.
Proverbs 14:30 A sound heart [is] the life of the flesh: but envy the rottenness of the bones.
Ecclesiastes 4:4 Again, I considered all travail, and every right work, that for this a man is envied of his neighbour. This [is] also vanity and vexation of spirit.
1 Corinthians 3:3 For ye are yet carnal: for whereas [there is] among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?
Galatians 5:21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told [you] in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
Titus 3:3 For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, [and] hating one another.
James 3:14 But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth.
James 4:5 Do ye think that the scripture saith in vain, The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy?

or else I die:

Genesis 35:16-19 And they journeyed from Bethel; and there was but a little way to come to Ephrath: and Rachel travailed, and she had hard labour. ... And Rachel died, and was buried in the way to Ephrath, which [is] Bethlehem.
Genesis 37:11 And his brethren envied him; but his father observed the saying.
Numbers 11:15 And if thou deal thus with me, kill me, I pray thee, out of hand, if I have found favour in thy sight; and let me not see my wretchedness.
Numbers 11:29 And Moses said unto him, Enviest thou for my sake? would God that all the LORD'S people were prophets, [and] that the LORD would put his spirit upon them!
1 Kings 19:4 But he himself went a day's journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper tree: and he requested for himself that he might die; and said, It is enough; now, O LORD, take away my life; for I [am] not better than my fathers.
Job 3:1-3 After this opened Job his mouth, and cursed his day. ... Let the day perish wherein I was born, and the night [in which] it was said, There is a man child conceived.
Job 3:11 Why died I not from the womb? [why] did I [not] give up the ghost when I came out of the belly?
Job 3:20-22 Wherefore is light given to him that is in misery, and life unto the bitter [in] soul; ... Which rejoice exceedingly, [and] are glad, when they can find the grave?
Job 5:2 For wrath killeth the foolish man, and envy slayeth the silly one.
Job 13:19 Who [is] he [that] will plead with me? for now, if I hold my tongue, I shall give up the ghost.
Jeremiah 20:14-18 Cursed [be] the day wherein I was born: let not the day wherein my mother bare me be blessed. ... Wherefore came I forth out of the womb to see labour and sorrow, that my days should be consumed with shame?
John 4:3 He left Judaea, and departed again into Galilee.
John 4:8 (For his disciples were gone away unto the city to buy meat.)
2 Corinthians 7:10 For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.
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Gn 29:31; 35:16; 37:11. Nu 11:15, 29. 1S 1:4. 1K 19:4. Jb 3:1, 11, 20; 5:2; 13:19. Ps 106:16. Pv 14:30. Ec 4:4. Jr 20:14. Jn 4:3, 8. 1Co 3:3. 2Co 7:10. Ga 5:21. Tit 3:3. Jm 3:14; 4:5.

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