In the Book of Genesis, Zilpah (זִלְפָּה "meaning uncertain,"Standard Hebrew Zilpa, Tiberian Hebrew Zilpāh) was Leah's handmaid, presumed slave, whom Leah gave to Jacob "to wife" to bear him children (Genesis 30:9). Zilpah gave birth to two sons, whom Leah claimed as her own and named Gad and Asher (Genesis 30:10-13).
Zilpah is given to Leah as a handmaid by Leah's father, Laban, upon Leah's marriage to Jacob (see Genesis 29:24, 46:18). According to the early rabbinical commentary Pirke De-Rabbi Eliezer, Zilpah and Bilhah, the handmaids of Leah and Rachel, respectively, were actually younger daughters of Laban.
Zilpah also figures in the competition between Jacob's wives to bear him sons. Leah stops conceiving after the birth of her fourth son, at which pointRachel, who had not yet borne children, offers her handmaid, Bilhah, "to wife" to Jacob so that she can have children through her. When Bilhah conceives two sons, Leah takes up the same idea and presents Zilpah "to wife" to Jacob. 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 was part of the deception he used to trick 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 would think that he was really marrying Rachel, the younger of the sisters.
In Jewish tradition, Zilpah is believed to be buried in the Tomb of the Matriarchs in Tiberias.
|Ishmaelites||7 sons||Bethuel||1st daughter||2nd daughter|
|1. Reuben |
|7. Gad |
|5. Dan |
|11. Joseph |
In the novel The Red Tent by Anita Diamant, Zilpah and Bilhah are represented as half-sisters of Leah and Rachel by different mothers.
Jacob, later given the name Israel, is regarded as a Patriarch of the Israelites and so is an important figure in Abrahamic religions, such as Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Jacob first appears in the Book of Genesis, the son of Isaac and Rebecca, the grandson of Abraham, Sarah and Bethuel, the nephew of Ishmael. He was the second-born of Isaac's children, the elder being his fraternal twin brother Esau. However, by deceiving Isaac when he was old and blind, Jacob was able to usurp the blessing that belonged to Esau as the firstborn son, and become the leader of their family. Following a severe drought in his homeland Canaan, Jacob and his descendants, with the help of his son Joseph, who had since become a confidante of Pharaoh, moved to Egypt, where he died, aged 147 years, and was buried in the Cave of Machpelah.
Asher, in the Book of Genesis, is the second son of Jacob and Zilpah, and the founder of the Tribe of Asher.
Bilhah is a woman mentioned in the Book of Genesis. Genesis 29:29 describes her as Laban's handmaid, who was given to Rachel to be her handmaid on Rachel's marriage to Jacob. When Rachel failed to have children, Rachel gave Bilhah to Jacob as a concubine to bear him children. Bilhah gave birth to two sons, whom Rachel claimed as her own and named Dan and Naphtali. Genesis 35:22 expressly calls Bilhah Jacob's concubine, a pilegesh.
Leah is described in the Hebrew Bible as the daughter of Laban. She and her younger sister Rachel became the two concurrent wives of Hebrew patriarch Jacob. She had six sons, whose descendants became some of the Twelve Tribes of Israel. She also had a daughter, Dinah.
According to the Book of Genesis, Naphtali was the sixth son of Jacob and second son with Bilhah. He was the founder of the Israelite Tribe of Naphtali.
In the Book of Genesis, Dinah was the daughter of Jacob, one of the patriarchs of the Israelites, and Leah, his first wife. The episode of her violation by Shechem, son of a Canaanite or Hivite prince, and the subsequent vengeance of her brothers Simeon and Levi, commonly referred to as the rape of Dinah, is told in Genesis 34.
Laban is a figure in the Book of Genesis of the Hebrew Bible. He was the brother of Rebekah, who married Isaac and bore Jacob. Laban welcomed his nephew as a young man, and set him the stipulation of seven years' labour before he permitted him to marry his daughter Rachel. Laban tricked Jacob into marrying his elder daughter Leah instead. Jacob then took both women as wives.
The patriarchs of the Bible, when narrowly defined, are Abraham, his son Isaac, and Isaac's son Jacob, also named Israel, the ancestor of the Israelites. These three figures are referred to collectively as the patriarchs, and the period in which they lived is known as the patriarchal age.
A handmaiden, handmaid or maidservant is a personal maid or female servant. Depending on culture or historical period, a handmaiden may be of slave status or may be simply an employee. However, the term handmaiden explicitly implies lowly status.
In the Hebrew Bible, the Twelve Tribes of Israel or Tribes of Israel descended from the 12 sons of the patriarch Jacob and his two wives, Leah and Rachel, and two concubines, Zilpah and Bilhah.
Chayei Sarah, Chaye Sarah, Hayye Sarah, or Hayyei Sara, is the fifth weekly Torah portion in the annual Jewish cycle of Torah reading. It constitutes Genesis 23:1–25:18. The parashah tells the stories of Abraham's negotiations to purchase a burial place for his wife Sarah and his servant's mission to find a wife for Abraham's son Isaac.
Tol'dot, Toldos, or Tol'doth is the sixth weekly Torah portion in the annual Jewish cycle of Torah reading. The parashah tells of the conflict between Jacob and Esau, Isaac's passing off his wife Rebekah as his sister, and Isaac's blessing of his sons.
Vayetze, Vayeitzei, or Vayetzei is the seventh weekly Torah portion in the annual Jewish cycle of Torah reading. It constitutes Genesis 28:10–32:3. The parashah tells of Jacob's travels to, life in, and return from Haran. The parashah recounts Jacob's dream of a ladder to heaven, Jacob's meeting of Rachel at the well, Jacob's time working for Laban and living with Rachel and Leah, the birth of Jacob's children, and the departure of Jacob's family from Laban.
Vayishlach or Vayishlah is the eighth weekly Torah portion in the annual Jewish cycle of Torah reading. In the parashah, Jacob reconciles with Esau after wrestling with a "man". The prince Shechem rapes Dinah, whose brothers sack the city of Shechem in revenge. In the family's subsequent flight, Rachel gives birth to Benjamin and dies in childbirth.
Vayeshev, Vayeishev, or Vayesheb is the ninth weekly Torah portion in the annual Jewish cycle of Torah reading. The parashah constitutes Genesis 37:1–40:23. The parashah tells the stories of how Jacob's other sons sold Joseph into captivity in Egypt, how Judah wronged his daughter-in-law Tamar who then tricked him into fulfilling his oath, and how Joseph served Potiphar and was imprisoned when falsely accused of assaulting Potiphar's wife.
The Red Tent is a novel by Anita Diamant, published in 1997 by Wyatt Books for St. Martin's Press. It is a first-person narrative that tells the story of Dinah, daughter of Jacob and Leah, sister of Joseph. She is a minor character in the Bible, but the author has broadened her story. The book's title refers to the tent in which women of Jacob's tribe must, according to the ancient law, take refuge while menstruating or giving birth, and in which they find mutual support and encouragement from their mothers, sisters and aunts.
Rachel was a Biblical figure, the favorite of Jacob's two wives, and the mother of Joseph and Benjamin, two of the twelve progenitors of the tribes of Israel. Rachel's father was Laban. Her older sister was Leah, Jacob's first wife. Her mother was Adinah. Her aunt Rebekah was Jacob's mother.
Matrilineality in Judaism or matrilineal descent in Judaism is the tracing of Jewish descent through the maternal line. Jewish communities have practiced matrilineal descent from at least early Tannaitic times to Modern times. The origins and date-of-origin of matrilineal descent in Judaism are uncertain. Orthodox Jews, who believe that matrilineality and matriarchy within Judaism are related to the metaphysical concept of the Jewish soul, maintain that matrilineal descent is an oral law from at least the time of the covenant at Sinai. Conservative Jewish Theologian Rabbi Louis Jacobs suggests that the marriage practices of the Jewish community were re-stated as a law of matrilineal descent in the early Tannaitic Period.
Rebecca appears in the Hebrew Bible as the wife of Isaac and the mother of Jacob and Esau. According to biblical tradition, Rebecca's father was Bethuel the Aramean from Paddan Aram, also called Aram-Naharaim. Rebecca's brother was Laban the Aramean, and she was the grand daughter of Milcah and Nahor, the brother of Abraham. Rebecca and Isaac were one of the four couples that some believe are buried in the Cave of the Patriarchs, the other three being Adam and Eve, Abraham and Sarah, and Jacob and Leah.
The Red Tent is an American television miniseries produced by Paula Weinstein and directed by Roger Young. The first two-hour episode premiered on Lifetime on December 7, 2014; the second and final episode aired the next day. The series is based on the best-selling novel of the same name by Anita Diamant.