Bilhah ( "unworried", Standard Hebrew Bilha, Tiberian Hebrew Bilhâ) is a woman mentioned in the Book of Genesis. Genesis 29:29 describes her as Laban's handmaid, who was given to Rachel to be her handmaid on Rachel's marriage to Jacob. When Rachel failed to have children, Rachel gave Bilhah to Jacob as a concubine to bear him children. Bilhah gave birth to two sons, whom Rachel claimed as her own and named Dan and Naphtali. Genesis 35:22 expressly calls Bilhah Jacob's concubine, a pilegesh.
The apocryphal Testament of Naftali says that Bilhah and Zilpah's father was named Rotheus. He was taken into captivity but redeemed by Laban, Rachel and Leah's father, who gave Rotheus a wife named Euna, who was their mother. On the other hand, the early rabbinical commentary Pirke De-Rabbi Eliezer and other Rabbinic sources (Midrash Rabbah, and elsewhere) state that Bilhah and Zilpah were also Laban's daughters, through his concubines, making them half-sisters to Rachel and Leah.
Reuben was Jacob's (Israel) eldest son with Leah. Genesis 35:22 says, "And it came to pass, while Israel dwelt in that land, that Reuben went and lay with Bilhah his father's concubine; and Israel heard of it." As a result of this adultery, he lost the respect of his father, who said: "Unstable as water, have not thou the excellency; because thou wentest up to thy father's bed; then defiledst thou it--he went up to my couch."
Some rabbinical commentators interpreted the story differently, saying that Reuben's disruption of Bilhah's and Jacob's beds was not through sex with Bilhah. As long as Rachel was alive, say these commentators, Jacob kept his bed in her tent and visited the other wives in theirs. When Rachel died, Jacob moved his bed into the tent of Bilhah, who had been mentored by Rachel, to retain a closeness to his favourite wife. However, Reuben, Leah's eldest, felt that this move slighted his mother, who was also a primary wife, and so he moved Jacob's bed into his mother's tent and removed or overturned Bilhah's. This invasion of Jacob's privacy was viewed so gravely that the Bible equates it with adultery, and lost Reuben his first-born right to a double inheritance.
|Ishmaelites||7 sons||Bethuel||1st daughter||2nd daughter|