April 18, 2015

Commentary on the Book of Genesis

By: Tom Lowe

 

PART: III HISTORY OF ISAAC AND JACOB (Gen. 25:19-36:43)

 

Topic #C: JACOB'S RESIDENCE IN PADANARAM. (Gen. 29:1-30:43)                

 

 


     Lesson III.C.6: A Son Born to Rachel. (Gen. 30:22-24)

 

 

 

Genesis 30:22-24 (KJV)

 

22 And God remembered Rachel, and God hearkened to her, and opened her womb.

23 And she conceived, and bare a son; and said, God hath taken away my reproach:

24 And she called his name Joseph; and said, The Lord shall add to me another son.

 

 

 

Introduction

 

Poor, childless Rachel was not forgotten by the Lord for He remembered her and opened her womb. She gave birth to a son, and in so doing took away her disgrace and humiliation. The grateful mother became a prophetess for she called her baby Joseph, which means, “The Lord shall add to me another son”—which was not merely the language of desire but the prediction of a prophetess. Of all the children of Jacob, Joseph became the godliest and greatest. Renowned as the savior of Israel he stands out as the most perfect type in the Bible of Him who was born of woman to become the Savior of the world.

 

 

 

Commentary

 

22 And God remembered Rachel, and God hearkened to her, and opened her womb.

 

The longing for parenthood which the Old Testament continually brings to light was a natural human instinct, and it was something more. It represented the deep desire for the continuance of one’s own life and character. In the records of the earliest patriarchs there is little or no evidence of belief in personal immortality. The one way in which a man could survive would be through his descendants. Children therefore were the greatest gift that could be asked of God. “Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed . . .” (Psalm 127: 3-5, KJV), and Proverbs went on to say: “Children’s children are a crown to the aged, and parents are the pride of their children.” (Proverbs 17:6, NIV).

 

As for Rachel, her greatest encouragement to have children was the promises God made to Abraham; whose posterity were promised the richest blessings, and from whom the Messiah was to descend.

 

“God remembered”is a term usually associated with answered prayer.

 

 

23 And she conceived, and bare a son; and said, God hath taken away my reproach.

 

At last, Rachel triumphed both naturally and spiritually. She acknowledged God not once, but twice, once by His name Elohim and once as Jehovah. She attained the spiritual plateau from which Leah had descended after the birth of Judah, and after carnal squabbling in the matter of the maids and the mandrakes. The mandrakes proved worthless; it was God who blessed her in answer to her prayers. This shows that births are given by God, not manipulated by people. When she finally bore a child she understood it to be a special act of divine mercy. The term “taken away”implies that God had removed her reproach of being childless and had added to her blessings.

 

Rachel now climbed even higher, for in the birth of Joseph her faith reached out for more, “The Lord shall add to me another son” (30:24), she said. And so He did.

 

 

24 And she called his name Joseph; said, The Lord shall add to me another son.

 

“Joseph,” would be the most powerful of all Jacob’s children, and the father of both Ephraim and Manasseh. The very name Joseph anticipated the birth of Benjamin (35:16[1]). By faith she looked forward to another child as a gift from God. For her, pagan superstition had lost its appeal.

 

There have been two meanings given for the name “Joseph,” that I am aware of; “he will add” and “may he add,” indicating both Rachel’s thanks and her faith that God would give her another son; an “addition”.

 

Rebekah’s prayer, “God hath taken away my reproach . . . The Lord shall add to me another son” (30:23-24) was answered by the birth of Benjamin (35:16-20). It was “Joseph” whom God would use to save the entire family during the time of terrible famine.

 


[1] (Genesis 35:16, NIV) “Then they moved on from Bethel. While they were still some distance from Ephrath, Rachel began to give birth and had great difficulty.”

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