On Gen 30:9

וַתֵּ֣רֶא לֵאָ֔ה כִּ֥י עָמְדָ֖ה מִלֶּ֑דֶת וַתִּקַּח֙ אֶת־זִלְפָּ֣ה שִׁפְחָתָ֔הּ וַתִּתֵּ֥ן אֹתָ֛הּ לְיַעֲקֹ֖ב לְאִשָּֽׁה׃

When Leah saw that she had stopped bearing, she took her maid Zilpah and gave her to Jacob as concubine (Sefria translation. I translate wife.).

Sharing your husband with another wife is an act of stress, as we know from Abraham-Sara-Hagar, and from the Rachel, giving Biha to Yakkov only after she is stressed.

His twelve children were born during 7 years, and from simple look at the verses, none of his wives were pregnant simultaneously, so one of his wives was pregnant all the time.

Why Leah is so stressed that she gives her maid to Yaakov as a wife? She has 4 children in a row, other then her only Bilha has kids - only two, and she is not giving birth for only 1.5-2~ years?

What is the rush?

  • 1
    Where does it say she was "stressed?" She found herself unable to bear Jacob children, and so provided Jacob one who could bear him children. – SolaGratia Dec 14 '19 at 23:10
  • @SolaGratia Gen 30:1-3 – Alaychem goes to Codidact Dec 15 '19 at 13:00
  • Where is Leah mentioned in Genesis 30:1-3? – SolaGratia Dec 15 '19 at 18:33
  • You may want to make it plainer that you are asking about Rachel. As for women in those ancient times, it was viewed as a "reproach" to not have children, and even a curse (1 Sam. 1:6). 1 Sam. 1:11: "And making a vow she said, O Lord of hosts, if you will look upon the humiliation of your maidservant, and remember me, and ... give your maidservant ...offspring." Lk. 11:25 "This thing the Lord has done for me, in the days when he looked upon me to take away my disgrace among men." 1:48 "For he hath looked upon the humiliation of his handmaid." – SolaGratia Dec 15 '19 at 18:44
  • @Alex You are right, that is a dup. Unfortunately, I can't accept the given answer, it's so far away from simple understanding. – Alaychem goes to Codidact Dec 16 '19 at 7:56

The Torah doesn't say anything about Leah being "stressed" so that isn't a question anyone can answer.

However, to answer the question of why Leah gave Zilpha to Yaakov the Ramban says two reasons

(1)She knew as a Nevahua that Yaakov would have twelve Shevatim so she wanted to have a part in as many as possible

(2)Yaakov wanted to have many children. She was concerned that since his other wives weren't having children he may have married a total stranger to have more children with her. Therefore she wanted him to marry Zilpha as opposed to a total stranger.


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