Jacob Fathers Twelve Children (Part 1)
Before we consider the rapid expansion of Jacob's family, it is a good time to make an important observation. Seven years earlier, Jacob had deceived his father into giving him the blessing, but that sin did not bring him immediate reward. In fact, it brought a lot of hardship and pain into his life. First, Jacob had been a man of means (due to Isaac's wealth), but he is demoted to hard physical labor for 20 years when he flees home. Second, there is no evidence he ever saw his mother again (the mother who loved him so dearly) due to the decades of separation. Her deceptive scheme came at a high price--her favored son. Third, Jacob the deceiver was first tricked by Laban regarding Leah (as we noted in our prior lesson) and later by his own sons regarding Joseph's death (cf. Gen. 37:31ff). It is certainly true that one will reap what he sows (cf. Gal. 6:7,8)! How would Jacob's life have been different had he not lied to his father and so angered his brother? It is impossible for us to say, though we can know for certain that he would have been blessed richly by God (in harmony with the Abrahamic promises) without the deception (and pain that accompanied it)! May we today always trust God, taking Him at His word. He will do what He says, and we should never entertain the notion of doing something wrong that good may result (cf. Rom. 3:8).

As Jacob began his second set of seven years serving Laban, Moses gives a record of the birth of twelve of Jacob's children. Leah is the first to bear children for Jacob:

"When the LORD saw that Leah was unloved, He opened her womb; but Rachel was barren. So Leah conceived and bore a son, and she called his name Reuben; for she said, 'The LORD has surely looked on my affliction. Now therefore, my husband will love me.' Then she conceived again and bore a son, and said, 'Because the LORD has heard that I am unloved, He has therefore given me this son also.' And she called his name Simeon. She conceived again and bore a son, and said, 'Now this time my husband will become attached to me, because I have borne him three sons.' Therefore his name was called Levi. And she conceived again and bore a son, and said, 'Now I will praise the LORD.' Therefore she called his name Judah. Then she stopped bearing" (Gen. 29:31-35).

We will read the rest of the narrative in our next lesson and comment accordingly.