from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.
- proper noun biblical Handmaid of
Leahand mother of Gadand Asher.
- proper noun A female
given nameof biblical origin.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
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Leah is Zilpah, that is to understand, Sensuality; and Bilhah maiden to Rachel, that is to understand, Imagination.
The Cell of Self-Knowledge : seven early English mystical treatises printed by Henry Pepwell in 1521
This teaches of the Rabbinic notion that Jacob thought differently of the children of Bilhah and Zilpah, on the one hand, and those of Leah and Rachel, on the other.
The midrash adds that Laban knew that Jacob married Leah unwillingly, and therefore gave him Zilpah, as well, so that he would not grieve Leah (Gen. Rabbati, Vayeze, p. 120).
Rachel and Bilhah were suitable for Jacob and were designated for him from the outset, while Leah and Zilpah were intended for Esau.
Though Gad (“fortune”) and Asher (“happy”) were borne to Jacob by Zilpah, they were considered to be children of Leah, who gave them names symbolic of her perspective on their births and their ability to gain favor for her with Jacob.
When Leah saw that she had ceased bearing children, she gave her handmaiden Zilpah to Jacob as a wife.
When she realized that she was with child and that Jacob already had ten sons (she had borne him six sons, Bilhah and Zilpah had each given birth to two sons), she said: Shall my sister Rachel not even be as one of the handmaidens?
Zilpah had been given to Leah by her father Laban when she was married to Jacob.
When she saw that she was pregnant, and that Jacob already had ten sons (six from Leah, two from Bilhah and two from Zilpah), she said: “Will my sister Rachel not be even as one of the handmaidens?”
The secondary status of Zilpah as a wife to Jacob did not result in secondary status for her sons within the patrilineage of Jacob.
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