Through the Bible Day by Day
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.
SONS BORN TO JACOB
The details of this paragraph are given with great minuteness, because they concern the twelve sons of Jacob, the forefathers of Israel. After all, history is made in the nursery, and we are very much what our mothers have made us in the formative years. An old Spanish proverb says, “An ounce of mother is worth a pound of clergy.” Leah’s influence on her boys, as judged by their subsequent life, was anything but healthy; yet with Jacob being the man he was, there was poor chance for them to realize the highest ideals. Rachel’s anguish of heart led her to earnest prayer. Compare Gen_30:1; Gen_30:22. Wait on God, oh, anguished ones: ye shall surely have reason to praise him. Was it not worth waiting for, to bear a Joseph, whose branches were to run over the wall in blessing? There are more compensations in life than we think for. If Rachel had her husband’s love, Leah had a large family of boys. In the saddest lives there are glints of sunshine.
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.
JACOB’S FLOCKS INCREASE
There is little in this story to the credit of Jacob, and nothing to choose between him and Laban. They are well matched one against another; and if anything, Jacob excelled in cunning. The heir of the promises deals with the child of this world on the principles of which men of honor would refuse to make use. We feel inclined to pity Laban, who had never seen the angel-ladder, or shared the great promises which had surrounded the path of his relative. He trusted this man of the chosen tribe, but was to be woefully deceived. But are there not many professing Christians who are playing Jacob’s part today? While holding high positions in the religious world, they stoop to practices to which men of the world would be no parties. We hear but little more of Laban, but Jacob is destined to pass through the fire of trouble, by which the dross will be consumed and his soul made white and purified.