Bilhah, the handmaid or servant of Rachel, had two sons, Dan and Naphtali, whose father was Jacob.
It was the custom of those times, if the wife was barren, that another woman, a servant, would give birth to children for her.
Bilhah was not from the family of Laban, but was a servant in the extended household.
Her Hebrew name means: tender.
Bilhah was given as a maidservant in Genesis 29:29
29 Laban also gave his woman servant Bilhah to his daughter Rachel to be her maidservant.
Rachel’s Children by Bilhah
30:1 Rachel noticed that she was not bearing children for Jacob, so because she envied her sister Leah, she told Jacob, “If you don’t give me sons, I’m going to die!”
2 That made Jacob angry with Rachel, so he asked her, “Can I take God’s place, who has not allowed you to conceive?”
3 Rachel responded, “Here’s my handmaid Bilhah. Go have sex with her. She can bear children on my knees so I can have children through her.”
4 So Rachel gave Jacob her woman servant Bilhah to be his wife, and Jacob had sex with her. 5 Bilhah conceived and bore a son for Jacob. 6 Then Rachel said, “God has vindicated me! He has heard my voice and has given me a son.” Therefore, she named him Dan.
7 Rachel’s servant conceived again and bore a second son for Jacob, 8 so Rachel said, “I’ve been through a mighty struggle with my sister and won.” She named him Naphtali.
Other modules in this unit:
- Jacob steals Isaac’s blessing, Genesis 27:1-29
- Jacob dreams about a ladder and angels at Bethel, Genesis 28:10-22
- Laban meets Jacob, Genesis 29:1-14
- Jacob marries Rachel the daughter of Laban, Genesis 29:15-30
- Leah the older sister of Rachel, Genesis 29:23-35
- Bilhah, the servant of Rachel, Genesis 29:29-30:8
- Zilpah, servant of Leah, Genesis 30:9-13
- Jacob had twelve sons, Genesis 29:31-30:24 and 35:23-26
- Reuben finds some mandrakes for Leah, Genesis 30:14-18
- Jacob flees with his family from Laban, Genesis 31:1-55
- Esau’s descendants, Genesis 36:1-43
- Joseph’s Dreams, Genesis 37:1-11
- Joseph is put down a well, Genesis 37:12-36
- Tamar and Judah, Genesis 38:1-30
- Joseph runs from Potiphar’s Wife, Genesis 39:1-20
- The Cup that held the wine for the King of Egypt, Genesis 40:1-23 and Genesis 41:1-13
- The head chef to the King of Egypt, Genesis 40:1-4, 40:16-22 and 41:1-13
- Joseph’s brothers’ first trip to Egypt for food, Genesis 42:1-38
- The Second Journey to Egypt, Genesis 43:1-34
- A silver cup belonging to Joseph was put in a Sack, Genesis 44:1-34
- Jacob moves to Egypt in a cart, Genesis 46:1-47:12
- Two Sons of Joseph, Genesis 47:28-48:1-22
- Manasseh, Joseph’s older son, Genesis 48:1-22 and 49:22-26
- Ephraim, Joseph’s younger son, Genesis 48:1-22 and 49:22-28
- 12 sons of Jacob whom he blesses before he dies, Genesis 49:1-28
- Death of Jacob at one hundred and forty-seven years old, Genesis 49:29-33
- Death of Joseph at one hundred and ten years old, Genesis 50:22-26
- Questions and Answers 1-28
- 300-year gap between Joseph and Moses, Genesis 50:22-Exodus 1:22
- Life of Moses » »
- Timeline for the book of Genesis parts one and two »
- Resources – Genesis Part Two