Gleanings in Genesis is a book by Arthur W. Pink that was first copyrighted in 1922. There is so much material in Genesis and Brother Pink has harvested a lot of it. One of the many insights found in his book is the picture of the future of the Children of Israel as recorded in the births of those children.
Jacob, whose name was later changed by the Lord to Israel, had twelve children, the Children of Israel. Interestingly, almost the only place in the Bible where the comments of the mothers are noted and preserved is regarding the sons of Jacob. This is found in Genesis 29:31-30:24 and 35:17-18.
The comments of Leah as she gave birth to Reuben, Simeon, Levi and Judah foreshadow the affliction of the Children of Israel in Egypt. Her statements were; “The Lord has looked on my affliction.”; “The Lord has heard that I was hated.”; “This time will my husband be joined to me.”; “Now I will praise the Lord.” The Lord told Moses that He had seen the affliction of His people and heard their cry from Egypt. Jeremiah 31:32 refers to Passover when they left Egypt and the Lord says He was a husband to them. Finally, when the Children of Israel escaped Egypt they sang a song of praise to the Lord. (Exodus 15:11)
The next two sons were born to Bilhah, Rachel’s handmaiden. Upon the births of Dan and Naphtali Rachel said, “God has judged me.”; “I have wrestled with my sister and prevailed.” These sayings seem to picture the Children of Israel in the wilderness when they wrestled and prevailed against the nation of Amalek.(Exodus 17:11)
Zilpah, the handmaid of Leah, delivered the next two sons, Gad and Asher. At their births Leah said, “What good fortune.”; “How happy I am.” This seems to foreshadow the entry of the Children of Israel into the Promised Land. Leah then had two more sons, Issachar and Zebulon. At their births she said, “God has rewarded me.”; “God has given me a precious gift.” These comments also speak of dwelling in the Promised Land. (Zebulon means “dwelling”.)
Finally, Rachel bore a son herself. His name was Joseph, and Rachel’s statement was, “The Lord shall add to me another son.” After a period of time Rachel also gave birth to Benjamin. Rachel, who died shortly after giving birth, named her second son Ben-Oni, son of my sorrow. Jacob changed his name to Benjamin, son of my right hand. Arthur Pink feels that these two sons point to the kingship of David and his son Solomon. This time was the “golden age” of Israel’s history. Brother Pink says the double statement at Benjamin’s birth is indicative of the “split personality” of Solomon. Solomon was so bright and yet so dark. His reign was also the last over the undivided kingdom.
We also recognize that the two names of Rachel’s last son reflect the two natures of Jesus, the Messiah. Son of my sorrow shows the suffering Messiah. Son of my right hand shows the reigning Prince of Peace sitting at the Right Hand of God. (Mark 16:19)
I have not done justice, in my brief condensation, to the work of Brother Pink. He spends several pages explaining the flow of the history of Israel as shown by the twelve sons of Israel. His work is still available from the Moody Press. May we all work together for the Praise and Glory of our Lord.