21 And Israel journeyed, and spread his tent beyond the tower of Edar. 22 And it came to pass, when Israel dwelt in that land, that Reuben went and lay with Bilhah his father’s concubine: and Israel heard it. Now the sons of Jacob were twelve:
Bilhah was the maid of Reuben’s stepmother, Rachel, and the concubine of his father Jacob. While we do not hear of any repercussions for Reuben at this point, they will subtly occur later on. Reuben was the first-born, yet the blessings of birthright would be removed from him because of his unworthiness. The second and third sons were Simeon and Levi, who had also crossed God with their slaying of the men of Shalem. Thus, the first son had forfeited his blessings through lust, the second and third sons through violence, and in two chapters we will learn that God had elected to give his choicest blessings to Joseph instead.
Something else of note is that Jacob is referred to by the name Israel here, but only for these two verses. In the very next sentence, we go back to him being called by his old name, Jacob. And at other points, his name will go back and forth again. This further makes me believe that this record is actually two or more records spliced together. Different authors provided different accounts of Jacob’s life, and then they were combined in this record. This would certainly explain some of the other quirks in the record that I noted recently.