And when Rachel saw that she bare Jacob no
In the space of three or four years after marriage, and when her sister Leah had had four sons: Rachel envied her sister;
the honour she had of bearing children, and the pleasure in nursing and bringing them up, when she lay under the reproach of barrenness: or, "she emulated her sisters" F26; was desirous of having children even as she, which she might do, and yet not be guilty of sin, and much less of envy, which is a very heinous sin: and said unto Jacob, give me children, or else I die;
Rachel could never be so weak as to imagine that it was in the power of Jacob to give her children at his pleasure, or of a barren woman to make her a fruitful mother of children; though Jacob at sight seems so to have understood her: but either, as the Targum of Jonathan paraphrases it, that he would pray the Lord to give her children, as Isaac prayed for Rebekah; so Aben Ezra and Jarchi: or that he would, think of some means or other whereby she might have children, at least that might be called hers; and one way she had in view, as appears from what follows: or otherwise she suggests she could not live comfortably; not that she should destroy herself, as some have imagined; but that she should be so uneasy in her mind, that her life would be a burden to her; that death would be preferred to it, and her fretting herself for want of children, in all probability, would issue in it.
F26 (anqt) "aemulata est", Tigurine version, Junius & Tremellius, Schmidt.