Day 30 of Reading the Bible in 365 Days (Part 1) – Sorry, this is longer than I had planned.
Gen 29 – Jacob arrived in Paddan Aram. Rachel was daughter of Laban, Jacob’s mother’s (Rebekah) brother (or Jacob’s uncle, so Rachel was his 1st cousin). He kissed Rachel and he wept. He told Rachel who he was and Rachel ran and told her father. When Laban heard of Jacob, he hurried to meet him and brought him to his home.
Jacob stayed in Laban’s house for a month and then Laban offered Jacob wages for his work. Jacob offered to work for him 7 years, then be allowed to marry Rachel. Laban had 2 daughters, Leah, the older and Rachel, the younger. Jacob was in love with Rachel. Laban agreed to his terms and Jacob stayed with him and worked for him 7 years. Finally, Jacob asked for his wife, so Laban gathered all the people and gave a great feast. But when evening came, Laban took his daughter Leah and gave her to Jacob and Jacob lay with her. Morning came and Jacob was disturbed to see Leah. He confronted Laban about the deception. Laban explained it’s their custom that the oldest daughter marry first, then the younger, so he told Jacob to finish up the 1st bridal week with Leah, then he can marry Rachel and have 2 wives, and he can have Rachel in return for another 7 years of work. Yuck! And Laban could not have told Jacob up front instead of deceiving him? And what, it was too dark for Jacob to see that it was not Rachel? So anyway, Jacob agrees to Laban’s terms, marries Rachel also and works for his uncle another 7 years.
Leah was not loved by Jacob. Jacob only loved Rachel. Of course, this did not stop him from having sex with Leah. Leah knew she was unloved and God saw this, so he opened her womb and caused Rachel to not be able to have children. Leah gave Jacob 4 sons: Reuben, Simeon, Levi and Judah. Then she stopped having children.
Gen 30 – When Rachel saw that she was not bearing Jacob any children, she became jealous of her sister, so she gave Bilhah, her maidservant to him as a wife to have children and claimed that would be her (Rachel’s) way of building a family with him. So, of course, Jacob slept with her and Bilhah had a son. Rachel named him Dan. Then a second son, named Naphtali.
Leah stopped having children, so she took her maidservant Zilpah and gave her to Jacob as a wife. Zilpah bore Jacob a son and Leah named him Gad. Then another son, named Asher. Reuben went out into the fields and found mandrake plants, which he brought to his mother Leah. Rachel asked Leah for some of her son’s mandrakes, but Leah said, “Wasn’t it enough that you took away my husband? Will you take my son’s mandrakes too?” So Rachel bartered her husband for the night in exchange for Reuben’s mandrakes. First class women, don’t you think? When Jacob came in from the fields that evening, Leah told him he had to sleep with her. She said. “I have hired you with my son’s mandrakes.” So, of course, he slept with her that night. God listened to Leah, and she became pregnant and bore Jacob a fifth son. She named him Issachar. Leah bore Jacob a sixth son, named Zebulun. Some time later she gave birth to a daughter and named her Dinah. Then God remembered Rachel; he listened to her and opened her womb. She became pregnant and gave birth to a son and named him Joseph, and said, “May the LORD add to me another son.”
Ok, so Jacob wanted to take his wives and children and go back to his homeland but Laban begged him to stay and offered whatever wages Jacob wanted. Jacob said he’d continue to watch out for Laban’s flock of sheep if he would pay Jacob with all the spotted and speckled sheep and then Laban would have only the pure colors, I guess. So they agreed on this and Jacob, in secret, took fresh-cut branches from poplar, almond and plane trees and made white stripes on them by peeling the bark and exposing the white inner wood of the branches. Then he placed the peeled branches in all the watering troughs, so that they would be directly in front of the flocks when they came to drink. When the flocks were in heat and came to drink, they mated in front of the branches. And they bore young that were streaked or speckled or spotted. Jacob set apart the young of the flock by themselves, but made the rest face the streaked and dark-colored animals that belonged to Laban. Thus he made separate flocks for himself and did not put them with Laban’s animals. Whenever the stronger females were in heat, Jacob would place the branches in the troughs in front of the animals so they would mate near the branches, but if the animals were weak, he would not place them there. So the weak animals went to Laban and the strong ones to Jacob. In this way the man grew exceedingly prosperous and came to own large flocks, and maidservants and menservants, and camels and donkeys.
To us, this says Jacob was exceedingly deceitful and selfish and was only thinking of himself and his future.
So far, reading these stories from this History Book, I think it would make a great soap opera or Lifetime series, as there is far too much drama and deception among all these people. I realize in these days, that marriage and children were all in the same family, which is gross, and also, that men had too many wives, as one should be enough, and children by all these many wives. But so much deception and dishonesty between all these people. What do you think? How are we now, today, compared to back then, do you think? Much is changed, I know. This is Old Testament stuff and much changed when Jesus came into the picture. I’ll be glad when I get to the New Testament.