In verse 31, we see the beginning of Jacob’s and Rachel’s marriage summed up in one word, “barren”. Like the women that came before her, Rachel would have to learn through the struggle of barrenness. We’ll look more at this topic in the next section but I wanted to point this out before we move on. The introductory sentence to the explanation of where the twelve tribes of Israel begins with God opening Leah’s womb and keeping Rachel’s closed. We believe in the sovereignty of God in all things. But it takes on an inescapable weight and meaning when it comes to having children. In a culture where having children and many children was highly prized to barren was a crushing blow. Some of you know all too well that infertility is still a struggle that God uses to teach his people his lessons. This verse, though it is surrounded by the free actions of the people in the story, brings us back to the reality that God’s plan is what is unfolding before our eyes. None of this has happened by chance or luck but exactly as God has ordained. This is a lesson that this family of Jacob will have to learn.