Bilhah, the servant of Rachel

Genesis 29:29-30:8. 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.

Background Reading:

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.
Genesis 30:1-8

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