And it came to pass, when Israel dwelt in that land
In that part of it near Bethlehem: that Reuben went and lay with Bilhah his father's concubine;
his concubine wife; she was the maid that Rachel gave him, and this added to his affliction, and made it double, to lose Rachel by death, and to have her favourite maid, his concubine, defiled by his own son, and whom it is highly probable he abstained from hereafter. This, though a very heinous sin of his son's, yet might be suffered as a chastisement to Jacob, for making use of concubines: and Israel heard [it];
though the crime was committed secretly, and was thought it would have been concealed, but by some means or other Jacob heard of it, and no doubt severely reproved his son for it; and though nothing is here related, as said by him on this occasion, it is certain it gave him great offence, grief and trouble, and he remembered it to his dying day, and took away the birthright from Reuben on account of it, ( Genesis 49:3 Genesis 49:4 ) ; an empty space here follows in the original text, and a pause in it, denoting perhaps the amazement Jacob was filled with when he heard it; and the great grief of his heart, which was such, that he was not able to speak a word; the Septuagint version fills up the space by adding, "and it appeared evil in his sight": now the sons of Jacob were twelve;
who were the heads of twelve tribes, Benjamin the last being born, and Jacob having afterwards no more children, they were all reckoned up under their respective mothers, excepting Dinah, a daughter, from whom there was no tribe, in the following verses.