Genesis 30:18
And Leah said, God hath given me my hire, because I have given my maiden to my husband: and she called his name Issachar.
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(18) Issachar.—Heb., there is hire. As is so often the case in Hebrew names, there is a double play in the word: for, first, it alluded to the strange fact that Jacob had been hired of Rachel by the mandrakes; but, secondly, Leah gives it a higher meaning, “for God,” she says, “hath given me my hire.” In her eyes the birth of her fifth son was a Divine reward for the self-sacrifice involved in giving her maid to Jacob, and which had been followed by years of neglect of herself. As, too, it is said that “God hearkened unto Leah,” we may feel sure that she had prayed for God’s blessing upon her re-union with her husband; for Calvin’s objection that prayer would scarcely accompany such odious courses has little weight. Leah and Rachel were uneducated and untrained country women, whose sole anxiety was to have offspring. Leah was the most religious and best disciplined of the two; and the shame ideally was that she should have been forced thus to buy her husband’s attentions.

30:14-24 The desire, good in itself, but often too great and irregular, of being the mother of the promised Seed, with the honour of having many children, and the reproach of being barren, were causes of this unbecoming contest between the sisters. The truth appears to be, that they were influenced by the promises of God to Abraham; whose posterity were promised the richest blessings, and from whom the Messiah was to descend."Reuben" was at this time four or five years of age, as it is probable that Leah began to bear again before Zilpah had her second son. "Mandrakes" - the fruit of the "mandragora vernaIis," which is to this day supposed to promote fruitfulness of the womb. Rachel therefore desires to partake of them, and obtains them by a compact with Leah. Leah betakes herself to prayer, and bears a fifth son. She calls him "Issakar," with a double allusion. She had hired her husband with the mandrakes, and had received this son as her hire for giving her maid to her husband; which she regards as an act of generosity or self-denial. "Zebulun." Here Leah confesses, "God hath endowed me with a good dowry." She speaks now like Rachel of the God of nature. The cherished thought that her husband will dwell with her who is the mother of six sons takes form in the name. "Dinah" is the only daughter of Jacob mentioned Genesis 46:7, and that on account of her subsequent connection with the history of Jacob Genesis 34. Issakar appears to have been born in the sixth year after Jacob's marriage, Zebulun in the seventh, and Dinah in the eighth.3-9. Bilhah … Zilpah—Following the example of Sarah with regard to Hagar, an example which is not seldom imitated still, she adopted the children of her maid. Leah took the same course. A bitter and intense rivalry existed between them, all the more from their close relationship as sisters; and although they occupied separate apartments, with their families, as is the uniform custom where a plurality of wives obtains, and the husband and father spends a day with each in regular succession, that did not allay their mutual jealousies. The evil lies in the system, which being a violation of God's original ordinance, cannot yield happiness. Thus she mistakes the answer of her prayers for a recompence of her error.

And Leah said, God hath given me my hire,.... Of the mandrakes with which she had hired of Rachel a night's lodging with Jacob, and for which she had a sufficient recompense, by the son that God had given her: and she added another reason, and a very preposterous one, and shows she put a wrong construction on the blessing she received:

because I have given my maiden to my husband; which, she judged, was so well pleasing to God, that he had rewarded her with another son:

and she called his name Issachar, which signifies "hire" or "reward"; or, there is a reward, or a man of reward.

And Leah said, God hath given me my hire, because I have given my {f} maiden to my husband: and she called his name Issachar.

(f) Instead of acknowledging her fault she boasts as if God had rewarded her for it.

18. hire] Heb. sâchâr = “wages,” “reward.”

Issachar] The name receives a twofold explanation, in its derivation from sâchâr: (1) as the passive of the verb, in the sense of “he shall be hired or rewarded”; (2) as the combination of îsh, “man,” and sâchâr, “hire,” i.e. “a man of hire.” In Genesis 30:16 Leah “hires” Jacob with the mandrakes given to Rachel; in Genesis 30:18 she calls Issachar the “hire” or wage, which she receives for giving Zilpah to Jacob.

Verse 18. - And Leah said, God - Elohim; a proof of the lower religious consciousness into which Leah had fallen (Hengstenberg), though perhaps on the above hypothesis an evidence of her piety and faith (Keil, Lange) - hath given me my hire, because I have given my maiden to my husband: - i.e. as a reward for my self-denial (Keil, Murphy); an exclamation in which appears Leah's love for Jacob (Lange), if not also a tacit acknowledgment that she had her fears lest she may have sinned in asking him to wed Zilpah (Rosenmüller) - and she called his name Issachar - "There is Reward," or "There is Hire;" containing a double allusion to her hire of Jacob and her reward for Zilpah Genesis 30:18The Other Children of Leah. - How thoroughly henceforth the two wives were carried away by constant jealousy of the love and attachment of their husband, is evident from the affair of the love-apples, which Leah's son Reuben, who was then four years old, found in the field and brought to his mother. דּוּדאים, μῆλα μανδραγορῶν (lxx), the yellow apples of the alraun (Mandragora vernalis), a mandrake very common in Palestine. They are about the size of a nutmeg, with a strong and agreeable odour, and were used by the ancients, as they still are by the Arabs, as a means of promoting child-bearing. To Rachel's request that she would give her some, Leah replied (Genesis 30:15): "Is it too little, that thou hast taken (drawn away from me) my husband, to take also" (לקחת infin.), i.e., that thou wouldst also take, "my son's mandrakes?" At length she parted with them, on condition that Rachel would let Jacob sleep with her the next night. After relating how Leah conceived again, and Rachel continued barren in spite of the mandrakes, the writer justly observes (Genesis 30:17), "Elohim hearkened unto Leah," to show that it was not from such natural means as love-apples, but from God the author of life, that she had received such fruitfulness. Leah saw in the birth of her fifth son a divine reward for having given her maid to her husband - a recompense, that is, for her self-denial; and she named him on that account Issaschar, ישּׂשׂכר, a strange form, to be understood either according to the Chethib שׂכר ישׁ "there is reward," or according to the Keri שׁכר ישּׂא "he bears (brings) reward." At length she bore her sixth son, and named him Zebulun, i.e., "dwelling;" for she hoped that now, after God had endowed her with a good portion, her husband, to whom she had born six sons, would dwell with her, i.e., become more warmly attached to her. The name is from זבל to dwell, with acc. constr. "to inhabit," formed with a play upon the alliteration in the word זבד to present - two ἅπαξ λεγόμενα. In connection with these two births, Leah mentions Elohim alone, the supernatural giver, and not Jehovah, the covenant God, whose grace had been forced out of her heart by jealousy. She afterwards bore a daughter, Dinah, who is mentioned simply because of the account in Genesis 34; for, according to Genesis 37:35 and Genesis 46:7, Jacob had several daughters, though they were nowhere mentioned by name.
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