Genesis 29:31-30:24

Talks for Growing Christians

Friction in Jacob’s Family

Genesis 29:31-30:24

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Lesson Number 68

Background Notes

Doctrinal Point(s)

  1. God’s eternal plans include compassion for individuals.
  2. God’s eternal plans include discipline for individuals.

Practical Application

  1. You can be sure that no one gets all the gifts and talents.
  2. Don’t assume that what our culture approves is what God approves.


  1. After Jacob left home and arrived in Haran (Padan Aram), his life was divided into three periods. What distinguished these periods?
  2. How was God’s compassion shown for Leah?
  3. Polygamy was practiced by some of the patriarchs, including Jacob. Does this mean that polygamy has God’s stamp of approval?
  4. Why were the mandrakes so important in this story?
  5. For what reasons did God discipline Leah, Rachel and Jacob?


  1. During the first set of seven years, Jacob worked for Laban as a single man; during the second set of seven years, he was married to both Leah and Rachel, and started raising his family of twelve sons and several daughters; during the last set of six years, Jacob became very prosperous.
  2. When the Lord saw that Leah was unloved, He opened her womb.
  3. No, polygamy then and now is not condoned by God. When man goes against God’s standards, there is bad fall-out.
  4. In the ancient near east, the mandrake was thought of as an aphrodisiac and was considered a plant of fertility. Since Rachel was barren, she hoped that the mandrakes would work for her.
  5. Leah went along with Laban in tricking Jacob. Rachel failed to respect the custom of the older sister marrying first. Jacob had sown deceit and friction. In each case, God disciplined each of the individuals.


  1. Discipline is considered God’s megaphone. But God has compassion along with discipline. Have you been thankful for God’s discipline in your life? See Galatians 6:7.
  2. Leah had been brainwashed by the culture of her day, which approved of polygamy and the giving of maids to bear “her” children. Are there ways in which you or Christians around you have been brainwashed by contemporary culture?


  1. There is a law of compensation that God has built into situations. For example, Rachel was beautiful but barren and Leah was less attractive, but bore children. When you see others with gifts and talents that you do not have, realize that you have been given something special by God.

Key Verses

  • “When the Lord saw that Leah was unloved, He opened her womb; but Rachel was barren.” Genesis 29:31
  • “The Lord has surely looked on my affliction..” Genesis 29:32
  • “Now I will praise the Lord.” Genesis 29:35
  • “Jacob said, ‘Am I in the place of God?” Genesis 30:2
  • “God remembered Rachel, and God listened to her, and opened her womb. ‘God has taken away my reproach.” Genesis 30:22-23
  • “Rachel envied her sister. ‘Give me children, or else I die.” Genesis 30:1

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