God allowed Leah to bear children and caused Rachel to be barren because Jacob’s love for Rachel was greater than for Leah. She became the mother of Reuben, Simeon, Levi and Judah.
With two women sharing the same husband, as could be expected, a bitter rivalry arose between Leah and Rachel. As Sarai had done many years earlier with Hagar, Rachel gave her maid, Bilhah to Jacob to bear a child for her. In time, two sons were born to Bilhah—Dan and Naphtali.
After the birth of her fourth son, Leah was unable to bear again. As the conflict between the two sisters continued, Leah gave her maid, Zilpah to Jacob and she bore Gad and Asher. Later, Leah did bear more children. There were two more sons, Issachar and Zebulun. A daughter, Dinah was also born to Leah.
God remembered Rachel and allowed her to bear a son to Jacob. His name was Joseph. Jacob’s family then consisted of two wives, their two maids, eleven sons and one daughter.
As we continue our study, we shall see how this family shaped the events that eventually led to the virgin birth, death, burial and resurrection of the Son of God.