Biblical People

Biblical People: Gad (1)

As we’ve already covered, after Naphtali is born Rachel proclaims that his birth gives her victory over her sister, Leah.

Leah, however, doesn’t accept this without a fight. She stoops to her sister’s tactics and has Jacob sleep with her handmaid, Zilpah. As a result of this ill-advised union, Gad enters the world. He is Jacob’s seventh son and Zilpah’s first child. 

If things weren’t confusing enough already, Gad’s arrival makes it even more so.

He has six brothers, all half-brothers. Four are from his mother’s mistress, Leah. And two are from his mother’s counterpart, Bilhah, who is Rachel’s servant. This makes one dad, three moms, and seven boys. In case you don’t already know, it’s going to get even more convoluted.

As with Dan and Naphtali, the birth mother doesn’t get to name her son.

Being the surrogate child bearer, Zilpah has no say in the matter. Instead, her mistress, Leah, names him, proclaiming her good fortune for his birth. To Leah, Gad represents a competition, with his arrival allowing her to outdo her sister in their misguided rivalry.

The Bible tells us nothing more about Gad. It’s easy to dismiss him as a product of two sisters trying to upstage each other. Yet God recognizes his value. Gad takes his place among Jacob’s other sons and his offspring become a tribe of Israel.

How do we react when people dismiss us? Do we think God values us regardless of what other people say or do? 

[Read Gad’s story in Genesis 30:11 and 49:19.]

Learn about more biblical characters in Old Testament Sinners and Saints, available in e-book, paperback, and hardcover. Get your copy today.

A lifelong student of the Bible, Peter DeHaan, PhD, wrote the 1,000-page website to encourage people to explore the Bible. His main blog and many books urge Christians to push past the status quo and reconsider how they practice their faith in every area of their lives.

By Peter DeHaan

Peter writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and make a faith that matters. Learn more at