Jacob’s Family (BIBLE LESSON)


30 minutes

This Bible Lesson teaches about Jacob and his family and focuses on the meaning of the names given to each of his children.  It is a good introduction to the story of Joseph.



  • Genesis 29-30, 35



  • Optional – You can use the slides that I’ve created for this lesson. They are all funny pictures of me (or one of my children) posing as each of the different characters.  The file is located at www.teachingthem.com on the Lesson and Material Downloads page.  It is named, “Jacob’s Family – Pictures.”



  • Practice the script.



Use the following script (or modify to suit your needs):

  • “I would like to tell you about Jacob and his family.”
  • “It’s a story from the book of Genesis.”
  • “Jacob got into trouble with his twin brother, Esau (another good story for another day!).”
  • “Esau was so mad he wanted to kill Jacob, and Jacob’s mom thought it would be a good idea to send him to live with her brother and his family.”  (Show slide with the map of Canaan.)
  • “Jacob traveled far from his home to a place called Haran, where his uncle Laban lived.” (Advance slide to show the arrow that leads from Canaan to Haran.)
  • “When he arrived, he met his cousin, Rachel, and fell madly in love with her.”
  • “He agreed to work for Laban for seven years to earn the right to marry his daughter, but at the end of that time, Laban tricked Jacob and made him marry his older daughter, Leah, instead.”
  • “Leah wasn’t as pretty as Rachel, so Laban was afraid she wouldn’t be able to find a husband if he didn’t trick Jacob into marrying her.”
  • “Jacob was really mad, but Laban agreed to let him marry Rachel, too, if he would work for him for seven more years.”
  • “Jacob agreed and married Rachel the following week.”
  • “He kept his promise to work for Laban another seven years and then continued working for him for another six, because Laban kept tricking him and changing his wages.”
  • “But even though Laban was dishonest with Jacob, God blessed Jacob with a large family during the time that he worked for his uncle.”
  • “Jacob had twelve sons and a daughter during that time.”
  • “But it wasn’t exactly a happy family.”
  • “The Bible teaches that we should only marry one person.”
  • “Jacob married two, and they were sisters.”
  • “And these sisters were competitive!”
  • “Jacob didn’t really love Leah.”
  • “He had been tricked into marrying her, but Rachel was his true love.”
  • “Because Leah was unloved, God blessed her with children.”
  • “Her first child was a son, which was a big blessing during those times.”
  • “Sons were preferred because they could do hard work and earn money to support their families.”
  • “Leah named this first son Reuben, which means, ‘Look! It’s a boy!’”  (Show slide.)
  • “Names were pretty important to the Hebrew people.”
  • “When people knew the meaning of your name, they knew something about you or about what was going on when you were born.”
  • “Leah was so excited that she had a boy, she celebrated with his name.”
  • “When she named him, she told those who were with her that God had been compassionate to her during her painful loneliness and that she hoped now her husband would love her.”
  • “But even though Leah brought a great blessing to the family, Jacob still didn’t love her.”
  • “So God blessed her again, and she had another son.” (Show slide.)
  • “This one she named Simeon, which means, ‘God heard.’”
  • “Leah knew that God had heard her prayers for another son, and she believed that Jacob would love her now.”
  • “But he didn’t.”
  • “So, God blessed her with a third son, and she named him Levi, which means, ‘Connect.’” (Show slide.)
  • “The desire of Leah’s heart was to connect with her husband, but he still didn’t love her.”
  • “So God gave her another son, and she named him Judah, which means, ‘Praise God!’” (Show slide.)
  • “Four boys made her one of the most blessed women in all the land, so she rightfully gave God praise for his blessings on her life.”
  • “Remember I told you that these sisters were competitive?”
  • “Rachel wasn’t able to have children of her own, and she was getting madder and madder every time Leah gave birth to a boy.”
  • “She said to Jacob, ‘I’ll die if you don’t give me children!’”
  • “And so she came up with a plan.”
  • “Since she couldn’t have children of her own, she gave her servant, Bilhah, to Jacob.”
  • “The custom in that land was that if your servant had children with your husband, those children were counted as your own children.”
  • “God blessed Bilhah, and she had a boy.” (Show slide.)
  • “Rachel named him Dan, which means, ‘Vindication!’”
  • “Vindication means, ‘to be justified or cleared of guilt.’”
  • “Back then, if you couldn’t have children, people thought it was because God didn’t love you.”
  • “Now Rachel felt that she was justified by God and that He had proven His love for her with the birth of Dan.”
  • “Because she had some catching up to do, Rachel gave Bilhah to Jacob again, and Bilhah got pregnant a second time.” (Show slide.)
  • “She gave birth to another boy, and Rachel named him Naphtali, which means, ‘Fight!’”
  • “Rachel said, ‘I’ve had to wrestle with my own sister and with God, and I’ve won!’”
  • “Now, Leah started to get worried.”
  • “She wasn’t having any children of her own, so she gave her maid, Zilpah, to Jacob, too.”
  • “Zilpah got pregnant and had a boy.” (Show slide.)
  • “Leah named the boy Gad, which means, ‘Lucky,’ because she felt so lucky to have five boys!”
  • “Leah gave Zilpah to Jacob again, and Zilpah had another boy.” (Show slide.)
  • “Leah named him Asher, which means, ‘Happy,’ because she was so happy to have six boys!”
  • “One day after this, Reuben (Leah’s oldest son) was digging and found some mandrakes, which have a root that looks a little like a person.”
  • “People used to believe that it had special powers to make women pregnant, so Rachel asked Leah if she could have it.”
  • “Leah didn’t want to share it.”
  • “She was unhappy because Jacob never spent time with her anymore.  He only spent time with Rachel.”
  • “Leah agreed to share the mandrake if Rachel would tell Jacob to spend time with her, so Rachel did it.”
  • “So, Leah got pregnant again and had a seventh son.” (Show slide.)
  • “She named him Issachar, which means, ‘Bartered,’ because she traded the mandrake with her sister so that she could spend time with Jacob.”
  • “Then, Leah had another son, and she named him Zebulun, which means, ‘Honor.’” (Show slide.)
  • “Leah hoped that Jacob would now honor her as his wife, since she had given him eight sons.”
  • “God blessed her one more time after that, and she had a daughter, whom she named Dinah.” (Show slide.)
  • “Dinah means, ‘Justified,’ which is a lot like the name Rachel gave to Bilhah’s first son, Dan.”
  • “Leah felt that eight sons and a daughter justified her as Jacob’s wife.”
  • “After that, God heard the prayers of Rachel and gave her a son of her own.”  (Show slide.)
  • “Rachel named him Joseph, which means, ‘Add.’”
  • “She said, ‘God has taken away my shame.  May he add to me another son.’”
  • “Because Joseph was the first son of Rachel, the wife Jacob loved, Joseph was his father’s favorite and could do no wrong.”
  • “Jacob finally got away from Laban after that and went to live back near his home in Canaan.”
  • “There Rachel gave him another son.” (Show slide.)
  • “But Rachel was much older now, and her body struggled through the labor.”
  • “In the end, it was too much for her.”
  • “As the boy was born, Rachel knew she was dying.”
  • “When they asked her what she wanted to name the boy, she said, ‘Ben-Oni,’ which means, ‘Son of my pain.’”
  • “Then, she died, and Jacob buried her with much grief.”
  • “A name is an important thing for a Hebrew.”
  • “It says a lot about you.”
  • “How do you think Ben-Oni would feel growing up with a name that means ‘Son of my pain?’”
  • “Everyone would know he caused his parents deep pain.”
  • “They would know (because people talk) that his mother died giving birth to him.”
  • “And every time his father, his siblings, a friend, a teacher or anyone else called his name, he would be reminded that his birth killed his mother.”
  • “Jacob couldn’t let that happen, so he changed Ben-Oni’s name to Ben-jamin, which means, ‘Son of Good Fortune.’” (Advance slide.)
  • “What an act of grace and kindness!”
  • “Instead of having a name linked with his mother’s pain and death, Benjamin had a name that reflected his father’s deep gratitude to God for giving him another child.”
  • “Maybe people have tried to give you a name like Ben-Oni’s, a name that constantly reminds you that you’re not good enough, that people don’t want you, that you’re not loved.”
  • “It may be a terrible nickname you are teased with, or it might be words like, “Worthless!’ ‘Unwanted,’ ‘Accident,’ ‘Mistake,’ ‘Screw-up,’ or ‘Failure.”
  • “I’m here to tell you that your Father in heaven would never use that name or that label to refer to you.”
  • “Your Father in heaven doesn’t think you are a mistake or an accident or a screw-up or a failure.”
  • “He thinks you are an incredible, wonderful blessing!”
  • “He loves you immensely, and there is nothing you can do that would ever make Him love you any less.”
  • “To your Father in heaven, you will always be the child of His good fortune!”


Filed under Future, Jacob, Joseph, Purpose

3 responses to “Jacob’s Family (BIBLE LESSON)

  1. Pingback: That’s some family tree! | Philipsburg Gospel Tabernacle

  2. Pingback: That’s some family tree! | Bonnie's Ink It Blog

  3. Pingback: That’s some family tree! | Philipsburg Christian Women

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s