“They asked God to bless them….”
In the OT, Jacob suggests that Rachel’s inability to conceive reflects God’s displeasure with her. When Rachel demands that Jacob give her kids or “I shall die!”, Jacob responds “Am I in the place of God, who has withheld the fruit of your womb?” Here, two ideas are connected:
- That every woman should have the capacity for bearing children. For something to be withheld, something first must already exist in order to be taken away.
- God ultimately decides who has children, and how many. Though Rachel first blames Jacob for her barrenness, he points to God as the one who decides who conceives.
In both cases, the idea of childbearing is connected with religion and God. For it is God who is withholding from Rachel what He has naturally given all women.
This idea is still prevalent today. I found it interesting to peruse the introductory page of Michelle and John Duggar’s website, the parents of the 19 children, and the stars of the popular reality TV show “19 Kids and Counting”. In reading their viewpoints, the idea of how children are a blessing decided in quantity by God, is prevalent.