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The Info List - Zilpah


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In the Book of Genesis, Zilpah (זִלְפָּה "meaning uncertain," Standard Hebrew
Standard Hebrew
Zilpa, Tiberian Hebrew
Tiberian Hebrew
Zilpāh) was Leah's handmaid, whom Leah
Leah
gave to Jacob
Jacob
"to wife" to bear him children (Genesis 30:9).[1] Zilpah gave birth to two sons, whom Leah
Leah
claimed as her own and named Gad and Asher
Asher
(Genesis 30:10-13). Zilpah is given to Leah
Leah
as a handmaid by Leah's father, Laban, upon Leah's marriage to Jacob
Jacob
(see Genesis 29:24, 46:18). According to the early rabbinical commentary Pirke De-Rabbi Eliezer, Zilpah and Bilhah, the handmaids of Leah
Leah
and Rachel, respectively, were actually younger daughters of Laban.[2] Zilpah also figures in the competition between Jacob's wives to bear him sons. Leah
Leah
stops conceiving after the birth of her fourth son, at which point [3] Rachel, who had not yet borne children, offers her handmaid, Bilhah, "to wife" to Jacob
Jacob
so that she can have children through her. When Bilhah conceives two sons, Leah
Leah
takes up the same idea and presents Zilpah "to wife" to Jacob. Leah
Leah
names the two sons of Zilpah and is directly involved in their upbringing. According to Rashi, an 11th-century commentator, Zilpah was younger than Bilhah, and Laban's decision to give her to Leah
Leah
was part of the deception he used to trick Jacob
Jacob
into marrying Leah, who was older than Rachel. The morning after the wedding, Laban explained to Jacob, "This is not done in our place, to give the younger before the older" (Genesis 29:26). But at night, to mask the deception, Laban gave the veiled bride the younger of the handmaids, so Jacob
Jacob
would think that he was really marrying Rachel, the younger of the sisters.[4] In Jewish tradition, Zilpah is believed to be buried in the Tomb of the Matriarchs in Tiberias. Family tree[edit]

Terah

Sarah[5]

Abraham

Hagar

Haran

Nahor

Ishmael

Milcah

Lot

Iscah

Ishmaelites

7 sons[6]

Bethuel

1st daughter

2nd daughter

Isaac

Rebecca

Laban

Moabites

Ammonites

Esau

Jacob

Rachel

Bilhah

Edomites

Zilpah

Leah

1. Reuben 2. Simeon 3. Levi 4. Judah 9. Issachar 10. Zebulun Dinah (daughter)

7. Gad 8. Asher

5. Dan 6. Naphtali

11. Joseph 12. Benjamin

In popular culture[edit] In the novel The Red Tent by Anita Diamant, Zilpah and Bilhah are represented as half-sisters of Leah
Leah
and Rachel
Rachel
by different mothers. References[edit]

^ For the etymology, see: Herbert Lockyer (22 November 2016). All the Women of the Bible. Zondervan. p. 242. ISBN 978-0-310-53108-1.  ^ Rabbi Eliezer. "Chapter 36". Pirke De Rabbi Eliezer. Translated by Friedlander, Gerald (1916 translation ed.). London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Turner & Co. Ltd. p. 271-272.  ^ Genesis 30:3 ^ For Rashi's commentary on this, with English translation, see Rashi's notes on 30:10: [1] ^ Genesis 20:12: Sarah
Sarah
was the half–sister of Abraham. ^ Genesis 22:21-22: Uz, Buz, Kemuel, Chesed, Hazo, Pildash, and Jidlaph

v t e

Children of Jacob
Jacob
by wife in order of birth

Leah

Reuben (1) Simeon (2) Levi
Levi
(3) Judah (4) Issachar (9) Zebulun (10) Dinah
Dinah
(11)

Rachel

Joseph (12) Benjamin
Benjamin
(13)

Bilhah (Rachel's servant)

Dan (5) Naphtali (6)

Zilpah (Leah's servant)

.