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  • William T. Howe Ph.D.

January 10, 2024

Read to Read


Daily Reading: Genesis 30-31


Genesis 30:1

And when Rachel saw that she bare Jacob no children, Rachel envied her sister: and said unto Jacob, Give me children, or else I die.


Of envy, the Bible has much to say. None of it good. Here is a selection:


Job 5:2

For wrath killeth the foolish man, and envy slayeth the silly one.


Proverbs 14:30

A sound heart is the life of the flesh: but envy the rottenness of the bones.


Romans 1:29

Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,


1 Corinthians 3:3

For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?


James 3:16

For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.


An envious person only praises those they deem to be less than themselves, and always criticizes those that surpass them. Just as the Philistines were envious of Abraham’s riches, Esau was envious of Jacob’s blessings, and Rachel was envious of Leah’s children, envy always results in unpleasantness. Horrendous decisions are fueled by envy that without it would never have been made.


It was envy that moved Rachel to give her maid to her husband thereby resulting in the birth of Dan. Who was described by his father as being …a serpent by the way, an adder in the path, that biteth the horse heels, so that his rider shall fall backward. Genesis 49:17 God did not give Rachel children when she wanted them, in return, and through envy, she took things into her own hands which in turn motivated Leah to do likewise. What a twisted family environment that must have been.


An English clergyman named Caleb Colton (1780-1832) wrote: “Envy, if surrounded on all sides by the brightness of another’s prosperity, like the scorpion confined within a circle of fire, will sting itself to death.”  This is how insidious envy is. Rachel was surrounded by Leah’s four boys. Their laughter, play, and rambunctiousness were a continual affront to her. She could not stand it, she was accustomed to always getting her way, remember her father’s idols she stole? She was the beautiful one, she was the well favored one, not Leah. Why should Leah have the upper hand?


Why? Because up to that point God blessed Leah with children not Rachel. Her time would come (30:25 and 35:18) but until then, this envious woman simply could not wait. She would die at the birth of Benjamin; it makes a mind wonder…if she had just waited on God what would have happened? What blessings would she have received? We will never know, for her envy robbed her. As it will all who harbor envy in their heart and soul.


William T. Howe Ph.D

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