Women of Genesis Bible Study

The Women of Genesis: Lesson 24- Rachel and Leah

Previous Lessons: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8,ย 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23

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Read Genesis 30:25-31:55

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Questions to Consider

1. What are some things you remember about Jacob’s, Leah’s, and Rachel’s personalities and family dynamics that can give you some insight for today’s lesson?ย Briefly review lesson 23 (link above) or other previous lessons if necessary.

2. Carefully examine 30:25-34, and summarize the dialog and negotiation between Jacob and Laban in your own words. What does Jacob want to do? Why does he want to go? What does he initially ask for from Laban? Does Laban want him to go? Why or why not? What offers are made? What do they eventually settle on?

3. What does the name “Jacob” mean? (use your footnotes) In which incidents in today’s passage did Jacob live up to his name? In which incidents were the tables turned and Jacob became the deceived instead of the deceiver? (A little trivia for you: In Hebrew, Laban’s name means “white.” Is he wearing the good guy’s “white hat” in this passage?)

4. What’s this crazy stuff Jacob is doing with the sticks and breeding the sheep and goats (30:37-43)? Research time! Check out these links from the MacArthur Study Bible, CCEL Commentaries, andย Bible Hub commentaries. How does Jacob’s success (30:43) demonstrate that God provides for His people’s needs?

5. Imagine that you are Rachel or Leah listening to what Jacob has to say in 31:4-13. How was it a show of respect and dignity to his wives that Jacob sat them down and explained all of this before uprooting them from the only home they had ever known? Were they hearing more about how Laban did Jacob wrong or how God did Jacob right? What was Jacob teaching them about God? Make a list of the attributes of God (ex: kindness, provider, etc.) that are showcased in this passage. After making this list, write down some ways you have seen each of these attributes of God in your own life.

6. How did Rachel and Leah respond to the news that they were moving? (31:14-16) What motivated this response – their desire to be godly, submissive wives, or another reason?

7. Considering Jacob’s and Laban’s words and actions in 31:17-43, how do you think Rachel and Leah felt about their father? What do you think would have happened if Laban had found the idols Rachel stole? (31:29,32) The passage doesn’t specifically say, but what are some of the reasons Rachel might have stolen the gods?

8. Carefully examine 31:44-54 in the context of all that has transpired between Jacob and Laban in this passage. Have you ever seen a set of Mizpah necklaces? They are usually shared by best friends, close loved ones, or boyfriends and girlfriends on the occasion of an impending temporary absence as a fond blessing that anticipates a happy reunion in the future. Knowing what you now know about the Mizpah (31:49) is this the correct usage and context of this verse? What is the correct understanding of this verse?

9. How does Jacob’s redeeming and rescuing of Rachel and Leah from Laban point to Christ as Redeemer and Rescuer? In what ways does it point further ahead to Christ taking Christians Home at the second coming?


Homework

Review the meaning of Jacob’s name from question 3. Write down your observations about the meaning of Jacob’s name as it compares to his statement in 30:33, and to Proverbs 22:1. Think about your own reputation – is it godly? Honest? Ethical?ย Why is it important for Christians to have an honest reputation? Examine 2 Corinthians 5:20, and consider how your reputation impacts your representation of Christ to others. What are some other New Testament Scriptures that address the importance of a godly reputation?


Suggested Memory Verse

Then the Lord said to Jacob, โ€œReturn to the land of your fathers and to your kindred, and I will be with you.โ€ย 
Genesis 31:3

Women of Genesis Bible Study

The Women of Genesis: Lesson 22- Rachel and Leah

Previous Lessons: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8,ย 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21

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Read Genesis 29:1-30

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Questions to Consider

1. Briefly review lesson 18 (link above). Compare the account of Abraham’s servant finding a wife (Rebekah) for Isaac to Jacob finding Rachel in today’s passage. What are some similarities? Differences? Compare both of these accounts to the story of Jesus meeting the woman at the well. How do Abraham (via his servant) and Jacob point ahead to Christ through these incidents? How do Rebekah and Rachel point ahead to the woman seeking the Living Water?

2. God doesn’t put extraneous information in Scripture; everything was written for a purpose.ย Why do you think God explains so much detail about shepherding practices in the first part of chapter 29?

3.ย Jacob has traveled several hundred miles to arrive at this destination. Compare verses 4-5 with Genesis 27:43-44. How is this the first confirmation of the fulfillment of the journey his parents had sent him on?ย Compare verses 6 and 10 withย Genesis 28:2. Who had Isaac told Jacob to marry? How was this the second confirmation of the fulfillment of his journey? How were both of these meetings and the subsequent events part of God keeping his promises to Jacob? Do these confirmations of God’s leading and work in his life help shed some light on Jacob’s emotional reaction in 9-12?

4.ย Try to picture Jacob’s interaction with the shepherds in verses 4-8. What is Jacob’s immediate reaction (7) to seeing Rachel coming? Is it just me or is he trying to get those guys to vamoose so he can spend some time with Rachel? :0)ย Do they leave? (8)

5. What can we infer from verse 15 that Jacob had been doing for the month (14) he had been staying with Laban’s family?

6. Write character sketches of Rachel and of Leah based on the information in this passage. What were some temptations each of them may have faced? Knowing what you know about Rachel and Leah and their relationship, how might Leah have felt about Jacob asking for Rachel’s hand, offering to work seven years for her, and observing Jacob’s love for Rachel? (15-20)

7. Look closely at verse 21. Notice that the phrase is worded: “go in to her”, not “go into her.” The phrase “go in to her” means that the husband would enter the bed chamber where the wife was waiting for him (for consummation of the marriage). (Judges 15:1ย makes this clearer.) I recently spoke with a young lady who had read this phrase as “go into her” all her life and thought the Bible was referring crassly to intercourse. Just wanted to bring a little clarity for anyone else who might have been stumped by that phrase.

8. Read 21-30 imagining you’re Leah. How do you react to your father’s attitude that the only way he’ll ever marry you off is to trick some poor guy who doesn’t want you? How would your new husband Jacob’s anger have made you feel, as well as the fact that once he married Rachel, he loved her more than you? Now imagine you’re Rachel. How do you react to your father giving your sister to the man you love and have waited seven years for? How did this wedding start out as Rachel’s big day and ended up as Leah’s big day?

9. One of the questions that always comes up about verses 21-30 is, “How did Jacob not know it was Leah?”. Let’s look at some of the factors at play:

a) How was the wedding celebrated? (22) What type of beverage is typically consumed freely at such events?

b) What time of day was the marriage consummated? (23) What impact would this have had on visibility? Remember, “he went in to her”. Leah was already in the (probably dark) bedchamber waiting for Jacob.

c) Think about the way women of that time period dressed. How might Leah’s clothing have hidden her identity?

d) Think about the structuresย people lived in and the proximity to others, since family tended to stay close together, and since many of the wedding guests may have been spending the night. Being quiet and whispering during marital relations might have been a normal way to protect a couple’s privacy from eavesdroppers, and thus, could have kept Jacob from recognizing Leah’s voice.

e) The Holy Spirit has been known to prevent people from seeing things He doesn’t want them to see.

Can you see how some or all these factors may have worked together to keep Jacob from recognizing Leah?

10. Make a list of all of the cultural and hospitality customs this passage teaches us.


Homework

God leading Jacob to men from Haran and then to Rachel was part of God keeping his promises to Jacob. God’s promises to Christians are written down in the New Testament. Think about some ways God has fulfilled His promises in your life. Write down the verse(s) that contain that promise along with the way God fulfilled that promise in your life. Take some time in prayer to thank Him for keeping His promises.


Suggested Memory Verse

So Jacobย served seven years for Rachel, and they seemed to him but a few days because of the love he had for her.
Genesis 29:20

Women of Genesis Bible Study

The Women of Genesis: Lesson 18- Rebekah

Previous Lessons: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8,ย 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17

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Read Genesis 24

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Questions to Consider

1. Review lesson 17 (link above) and briefly set the scene for chapter 24. Who are the main characters? What events have recently transpired? Approximately how old is Isaac in chapter 24? (v.67)

2. Why didn’t Abraham want Isaac to marry a Canaanite woman? (3) Why did Abraham tell the servant notย (6,8) to take Isaac back to his native land? (7) Think in terms of the Abrahamic Covenant and Abraham’s concept of possessing the land. What might the future ramifications of possessing the Promised Land (Canaan) have been if Isaac had intermarried with a Canaanite and had descendants who were partially Canaanite? What might have happened if Isaac had gone back to Abraham’s native land and stayed there- would Abraham’s lineage still have had a physical presence (possession) in the Promised Land after he died?

3. What impact would all of the issues in #2 have had on Rebekah when she married into this family?

4. What can we learn about marriage and betrothal customs of the time from this chapter? What else can we learn about Mesopotamian culture, such as hospitality, gender roles, authority and submission, etc.?

5. How do Abraham, Isaac, the servant, Rebekah’s family, and Rebekah each demonstrate their trust in God in this chapter? How does God demonstrate His trustworthiness in each of their situations?

6. Examine Rebekah’s words and actions in this chapter and write a brief character sketch of her. What are some ways she sets a good (or bad?) example for you as a Christian woman today?

7. How does this chapter showcase God’s sovereignty over our personal lives as well as over history?


Homework

Examine the decision-making process, and list the steps the servant took, to determine whether or not Rebekah was the right choice. (12-14) Does this serve as an instruction to Christians today on how to make godly decisions? Are we to pray for a sign or for wisdom to make godly decisions? Are we to expect God to verbally tell us what to do, or depend on His fully sufficient written Word for guidance? Do you have an upcoming decision to make? My articleย Basic Training: 8 Steps to Finding Godโ€™s Will for Your Lifeย may be helpful.


Suggested Memory Verse

And they blessed Rebekah and said to her,
โ€œOur sister, may you become
thousands of ten thousands,
and may your offspring possess
the gate of those who hate him!โ€
Genesis 24:60