While Leah longed for her husband Jacob to love her, Rachel just longed for more. Throughout the account of her life, it seems that Rachel was never satisfied with what she had.

Numerous times in the Genesis account of Jacob and his wives, it states that Jacob loved Rachel.

It never says Rachel loved Jacob, though.

Rachel grew up as the beauty of the family. Jacob married her only a week after her older sister Leah and then worked seven MORE years for her.

So, Rachel had beauty. She had Jacob’s love, but it wasn’t enough for her. Leah was having baby after baby, but Rachel’s arms were empty.

While I am sympathetic to Rachel’s desire for children, her longing to be a mother wasn’t the only reason she wanted a baby. In Genesis 30:1 t says,”Now when Rachel saw that she bore Jacob no children, she became jealous of her sister.”


In other words, Rachel wanted children, but her reason wasn’t just to have a baby of her own. Her purpose was to one up her sister – you know, her sister whose husband didn’t love her. The sister whose husband Rachel had married barely a week after Leah had gotten married.

She goes to Jacob and says, “Give me children, lest I die.” Dramatic much?

Jacob gets understandably angry. What she is asking is beyond his capability – I’m sure he was doing his part, but he rightly says that only GOD can give children. It’s the only time it states that Jacob was angry at Rachel.

In her desire to have children – and remember that children gave a woman status and Rachel was feeling her lack of status due to her barrenness rather keenly – she gave her maid Bilhah to Jacob.

We get a deeper glimpse of Rachel’s character in the names she gives the two sons that Bilhah bears. The first one she names Dan which means vindication, and the second son she names Naphatali which means wrestling. She says, “With mighty wrestlings I have wrestled with my sister and I have indeed prevailed.”

There was a whole lot more going on than just longing for a baby. No, Leah had something that she didn’t have, and Rachel couldn’t rest until she had a few children of her own, too.

Then comes that bizarre mandrake story again. She trades sexual intimacy with her husband to Leah for mandrakes in the hopes of becoming pregnant. It’s fairly obvious that she holds her husbands love lightly. I can assure you, that if Rachel had truly loved Jacob, she would not have made that deal.

It’s not until Leah has two more children that Rachel finally has her first son, Joseph.

Even then, she is not content. Joseph means, “Jehovah has added.” In the verse, she says, “May the Lord give me another son.” She has one son, but that still isn’t enough. She wants more. She wants to compete with Leah who by this time has had 6 sons and a daughter.

As I’ve said before, how many children a woman had, especially the number of sons, gave a woman status. Not only did Rachel have no children, but she was also the second wife. It seems Rachel felt that lack of status keenly. It made her very insecure, so despite Jacob’s love, that insecurity drove Rachel’s actions.

As Beth Moore said in a recent conference I attended, “You can’t love away someone’s insecurity because insecurity pokes a hole in a person’s heart.”

Despite the love Jacob poured into Rachel’s heart, that hole of insecurity ensured that it ran out and her heart was never satisfied.

Rachel looked at having more children as the Holy Grail of finally feeling secure, as the way of achieving the same status as her sister Leah; however, her words at the beginning of Genesis 30 proved to be prophetic. She died giving birth to her second son, whom she called Ben-oni which means son of sorrow, but Jacob renamed him Benjamin which means son of my right hand (a little better handle than son of my sorrow).

While God did great things through Joseph, Rachel never saw it.

Rachel had many blessings in her life, but she was never happy with what she had. She spent of her life wanting what she didn’t have. It affected her relationship with her husband, with her sister and ended up literally being the death of her because eventually, Rachel did die. In childbirth. Her drive to even the score between herself and her sister Leah by having more children killed her.

It wasn’t enough for her that she held her husband’s heart; it appears she didn’t want Leah to have any advantages over her.

While it’s easy for me to point my finger and shake my head in disapproval, how many times do I want what I don’t have? How many times do I allow discontent to creep into my life? Discontent can become such a habit, it can color my whole world if I’m not careful. I’ll not even be aware of how negative I’ve become until suddenly, I’ll really hear what’s coming out of my mouth and wince.

And let’s be honest, sometimes, circumstances in our lives are hard and we have to be very intentionally grateful. We have to make it a point to praise the Lord and to be thankful.

Think how different Rachel’s life could have been, if she had been thankful for Joseph, if she had been thankful for her husband’s love, if she had been thankful she had a sister right next to her to walk through life with. Instead, she spent her life longing for what she didn’t have.

Are you thankful or are you allowing discontent to rob you of your daily joy?

Blessings, Rosanne

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