Biblical People

Biblical People: Zilpah

As we covered in the previous chapter, Bilhah and Zilpah are wedding gifts to Laban’s daughters Rachel and Leah. 

When childless Rachel, frustrated over Leah’s fruitfulness, gives her servant Bilhah to Jacob to produce children, Leah responds by doing the same thing, offering her servant, Zilpah, to sleep with Jacob. Just like Bilhah, Zilpah gets pregnant twice. She gives birth to Gad and Asher.

As a result, these two servants—Bilhah and Zilpah—produce four sons for Jacob. Even though they’re not from his two wives, these four sons are included in the twelve boys who eventually become the twelve tribes of Israel.

Zilpah and Bilhah have nothing to say in what happens to them, but their offspring comprise four of Israel’s twelve tribes, or one third of the nation.

What should we do when we find ourselves in a situation we have no control over? When others treat us badly, do we maintain our trust in God anyway?

[Read Zilpah’s story in Genesis 30:9–13.]

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