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Author Topic: Genesis; The Road To The Top
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Gen 29:21-25

†. Gen 29:21 . .Then Jacob said to Laban; Give me my wife, for my time is fulfilled, that I may cohabit with her.

The word "cohabit" is not actually in the Hebrew. It should read "go near". What Jacob said, in the common colloquialism of our day, is what men sometimes say when they want to sleep with a particular girl. They sometimes say: Wow! I'd sure like to get next to that! (chuckle) Very expressive.

†. Gen 29:22-23 . . And Laban gathered all the people of the place and made a feast. When evening came, he took his daughter Leah and brought her to him; and he cohabited with her.

Jacob has got to rank as just about the dumbest groom in history. He knew both of those girls like the back of his hand. For seven years he lived right next door and saw them both every day. Leah and Rachel didn't even resemble each other. The one was shapely and beautiful. The other was not. Even if he couldn't see well enough in the dark to tell the difference, he certainly should have been able to feel the difference; and to recognize the difference in their voices.

Was that man so totally plastered with booze from the reception that he couldn't even tell who, or what, he slept with that night? Haw-Haw-Haw-Haw-Haw :-)

But the real mystery was Leah. Wouldn't you think that she would have spoke up and said something before things got out of hand? That sly girl. (chuckle) Personally I think she had a big crush on Jacob. Later on Leah will try very hard to get Jacob to transfer his affections to her and forget about Rachel.

This so reminds me of Sadie Hawkins' day in the Little Abner comics of the old days. In the town of Dog Patch, men didn't grow on trees; there just wasn't enough to go around; and on top of that, some of the hillbilly girls weren't much to look at either. Subsequently, some of the local gals had a tough time getting husbands.

So, in memorial of an old spinster lady named Sadie Hawkins, a special day was set aside each year wherein the bachelorettes had a chance to get hitched. All they had to do was run down one of the unattached men; and whoever they caught, absolutely had to marry them; no exchanges and no returns.

But hey! Where was Rachel!?! Was she tied up out in the barn or something? Well; I hate to say it, but I really don't think she ever did want to marry Mr. Jacob. He was at least 82 years old by this time. Abraham and Sarah were only ten years apart but it's really impossible to know Rachel's age. She hadn't been through menopause yet, that much can be known; but that's about all. I really think she was in on the whole scam all along and I think Rachel was seriously hoping Jacob would settle for Leah and forget all about her. But alas; such was not to happen. Jacob was very determined. He accepted his fate with Leah, but went after Rachel anyway.

NOTE: The covenant that Yhvh's people eventually agreed upon with God as per Lev 18:18 protects sisters like Rachel and Leah so that men are not permitted to cohabit with both girls at the same time.

†. Gen 29:24 . . Laban had given his maidservant Zilpah to his daughter Leah as her maid.

Zilpah didn't say anything either. In fact she very likely assisted Leah to bathe and prepare for her wedding night. Poor Jacob. He was so defeated. It was like the whole world, and even the stars above in their courses, were in a grand conspiracy to dupe the old boy that night.

†. Gen 29:25 . .When morning came, there was Leah! So he said to Laban: What is this you have done to me? I was in your service for Rachel! Why did you deceive me?

There is really no one to blame for this situation but Jacob himself. They say to never look a gift horse in the mouth. But I think your wedding night has to be the exception. For crying out loud, you'd think the man would have enough sense to make sure the woman in his bed was the one who was supposed to be there. Yes, Laban was a rascal. But then so was Leah, and so was Zilpah; and Rachel too. And maybe this gave Jacob cause to remember how he tricked his own dad back home into giving him Esau's blessing. (chuckle) There's an old saying: What goes around, comes around.


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Gen 29:26-30

†. Gen 29:26 . . Laban said; It is not the practice in our place to marry off the younger before the older.

Jacob lived in "our place" for seven years. I tend to think he knew full well their customs.

Perhaps Jacob expected the locals would make an exception for him because he was a rich boy from down south. But no; local custom was local custom, and even Mr. Silver Spoon In Your Mouth was going to have to accept it.

NOTE: I suspect the wedding guests all knew that Jacob was being tricked on his wedding night, but I also suspect that they never forgot his lack of fair play back at the well when he first blew into town. You know, when you're unfair with people, you have to expect that they will be unsympathetic when unfairness comes your way.

†. Gen 29:27 . .Wait until the bridal week of this one is over and we will give you that one too, provided you serve me another seven years.

Serving Laban the first seven years for Rachel was Jacob's idea; except that instead of getting Rachel; he got Leah. Now Laban's proviso is that Jacob serve yet another seven years for Rachel; which will total fourteen for a girl he was supposed to get in seven. I think most any normal red-blooded man would have refused.

But Jacob was an Ethan Frome kind of guy. I don't think he wanted to hurt Leah, and maybe even felt partially responsible for her predicament.

That's a crummy reason to marry a girl, but I don't think Jacob could have lived with himself if he threw Leah back now. After all, Jacob was her first love, and it's not like she was used goods or anything.

It's true that Jacob was not above fraud; but basically, he was a fairly honorable man.

†. Gen 29:28-29 . . Jacob did so; he waited out the bridal week of the one, and then he gave him his daughter Rachel as wife. Laban had given his maidservant Bilhah to his daughter Rachel as her maid.

Maidservants weren't just female commodities. They were actually a part of the household, and often treated with a pretty fair degree of respect.

†. Gen 29:30 . . And Jacob cohabited with Rachel also; indeed, he loved Rachel more than Leah. And he served him another seven years.

I'm sure Jacob never mistreated Leah. But he wasn't crazy about her in a romantic way. It's like the relationship between Robert Philip and his fiancé Nancy Tremaine in the Disney movie Enchanted. Nancy is neither a bad girl nor a bad choice-- the chemistry just isn't there.

Unfortunately, human nature being what it is, Jacob's situation probably led to some favoritism. And in this case, I think Jacob began spending most of his time with Rachel and leaving Leah out in the cold; so to speak; viz: she was in the unenviable limbo of a burden to her husband. However, since Jacob chose to keep Leah, he was morally obligated to treat her as if he was infatuated with her, even if he really wasn't.

When you get right down to it; Leah didn't do any more to Jacob than what he did to his dad; so all in all: what right had Jacob to complain? I've a pretty strong feeling that after Leah's week was fulfilled, no more was said about this incident.


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Gen 29:31-35

†. Gen 29:31 . .The Lord saw that Leah was unloved and he opened her womb; but Rachel was barren.

God didn't make Rachel barren. She was already that way. And Leah was too. In fact, every one of the matriarchs were barren women. It must have been in their genes. But The Lord elected to repair Leah and leave Rachel out of whack for a while longer.

I really don't think what The Lord did was punishment against Jacob and Rachel. I think it was a countermeasure to force Jacob to pay a little more attention to Leah. It's very important for spouses to bond. Allowing Jacob to focus too much of his attention on Rachel would soon make Leah the odd man out; and a very lonely woman.

But why would God do that-- take an interest in Leah's problems? Because, as Hagar discovered, Abraham's god is a sensitive god who sees people (Gen 16:13-14). And it seems very obvious to me that He was sympathetic to Leah's circumstances.

And that tells me something. It's true that Leah was in on the scheme to trick Jacob. But God didn't get upset with her for that. In fact, it looks to me like He was actually very pleased that she married Jacob. After all, it was through Leah that the man predicted in Dan 7:13-14 would come, not Rachel. I believe that is very significant.

I would even go so far as to say that Leah was the one God Himself would have picked for Jacob if he had only sought a wife in the very same manner that Abraham had sought one for Isaac. But no. Jacob took matters into his own hands, came to Haran in person, and fell in love with the wrong girl. Well; he ended up marrying Leah anyway in spite of his feelings for Rachel; just like his dad ended up blessing Jacob in spite of his feelings for Esau.

Most guys have visions of the girl they would like to marry. She's young, gorgeous, shapely, and compliant. But the reality is: most will never find a girl like that. So they settle for what they can get and become resigned to missing out on life. Big mistake. Leah was no less a woman just because she wasn't Miss Haran circa 1770 bc. And when the chips are down in life, your very best friend had better be your wife. Beauty means nothing when a man is out of work, or coming down with cancer. That's when guys need a faithful friend, not a love pet.

Unbeknownst to Jacob, he was destined to father the twelve tribes of Israel. Up to now, It had been one patriarch fathering just one descendant. But that all changed with Jacob. The nation of Israel quite literally started with him.

(chuckle) That guy lived solo for better than eighty years of his life and then all of a sudden, WHAM, in just one week's time, four women moved in with him. Then, in just seven years time, he had a posse of juveniles running around the house. Awww-Haw-Haw-Haw-Hawww :-)

†. Gen 29:32 . . Leah conceived and bore a son, and named him Reuben; for she declared: The Lord has seen my affliction. Now my husband will love me.

Reuben's name is from Re'uwben (reh-oo-bane') which means: See; a son!

Children do have a way of bonding a (normal) man to their mother. It doesn't always work, but often does.

†. Gen 29:33 . . She conceived again and bore a son, and declared; This is because The Lord heard that I was unloved and has given me this one also. So she named him Simeon.

Simeon's name is Shim'own (shim-one') which means: hearing. Leah was obviously a woman of prayer and had no reservations about sharing her personal problems with the god of her choice.

†. Gen 29:34 . . Again she conceived and bore a son and declared; This time my husband will become attached to me, for I have borne him three sons. Therefore he was named Levi.

Levi's name is Leviy (lay-vee') which means: attached; viz: bonded.

Jacob was indeed a family man now. In spite of his romantic passions for Rachel, he would never again feel the same way about Leah. She could never be just another woman in the house now that she was the mother of his children. Jacob couldn't help but feel bonded to her. God's idea worked. You say: how do I know it worked? Because the next boy was named in gratitude to God for saving the marriage.

†. Gen 29:35 . . She conceived again and bore a son, and declared; This time I will praise The Lord. Therefore she named him Judah. Then she stopped bearing.
Well done! And Judah was a real honor too. His became the tribe of Israel's kings; and from them descended David, and Christ.

The Hebrew word for "Judah" is Yehuwdah (yeh-hoo-daw') from whence the word Yehuwdiy (yeh-hoo-dee') is derived; which means a Jehudite i.e. Judaite; viz: a Jew.

The scheme God implemented to bond Jacob to Leah would probably not work with men like Esau. Not all guys are cut out to be family men. But Jacob was definitely cut out for it because he was a man who liked being home at night (Gen 25:27).


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Gen 30:1-6

†. Gen 30:1a . .When Rachel saw that she had borne Jacob no children, she became envious of her sister;

Sibling rivalry is bad enough. But when siblings compete for the affections of the same love object, it's all the worse. I don't know what it is about kin, but it's much easier to compete with someone outside the family than those within. Rivalry within family is not just a competition; it is more like the passions of a blood feud. The feelings run deep, and hot, and painful. People who never had a brother or sister cannot understand this. You just have to live it to know what it's like.

†. Gen 30:1b . . and Rachel said to Jacob: Give me children, or I shall die.

Somehow Rachel felt the fault was Jacob's as if he were doing something to deliberately prevent conception. According to Jewish folklore, it was a common practice in that day for a man with two wives to give the prettier one some sort of birth control herb to prevent her from getting pregnant and losing her figure. Thus the prettier of the two was reserved for pleasure; and the other for bearing children. Genetically, that was a pretty dumb idea since the practice results in the perpetuation of inferior stock. I seriously doubt you'll ever see breeders of dogs, cats, livestock and/or race horses conducting their business like that.

Jacob wasn't doing anything to Rachel. She was just simply unable to have children. If only she had followed her sister Leah's example in prayer instead of getting in one of those moods, then she wouldn't have been so ready to rag on Jacob for something over which he had no control.

†. Gen 30:2a . . Jacob was incensed at Rachel

Jacob's anger was no doubt an unpleasant mixture of hurt and indignation. He really did love Rachel. She wasn't just a girl toy. For her to insinuate that he was keeping her around just for pleasure must have bitten deeply into his soul. Romantic love can easily turn into hate-- very suddenly and very quickly; like turning a page in a book.

Romantic love is very different than the love of a loyal friend. Romantic love seeks its own best interests and is very fragile and easily wounded. Fraternal love is much better. It's like a strong anchor. The more a storm buffets the ship, the deeper the anchor digs into its moorage.

†. Gen 30:2b . . and said: Can I take the place of God, who has denied you fruit of the womb?

I'm sure that just as soon as Jacob lashed out at Rachel he regretted it. His retort implied that she was a sinner who didn't deserve children. What an ugly thing to say. But he was upset and felt betrayed by his best girl. So his reaction is understandable. But isn't there a better way? Yes.

Instead of attacking her husband in an attempt to put blame, Rachel would have been much better off just finding a nice quiet spot and telling God how she was feeling about her sterility-- how it was hurting her and making her feel inferior to her sister: and threatening her marriage. Would God respond to that? Yes. Because that is exactly what Rachel did do eventually. It's just too bad she didn't think of it sooner.

If Rachel felt that God cared about her at all, then she would have recognized that barrenness was serving some sort of Divine purpose; even if she couldn't think of one at the time. But Rachel's circumstances were causing her feelings to override her thinking; and making her emotional and reactive instead of objective and rational.

†. Gen 30:3-5 . . She said: Here is my maid Bilhah. Consort with her, that she may bear on my knees and that through her I too may have children. So she gave him her maid Bilhah as concubine, and Jacob cohabited with her. Bilhah conceived and bore Jacob a son.

That was indeed a strange custom, and a cruel one at that. Why is it nobody ever thought to ask the maids how they felt about it? I just don't think it's ethical to subjugate women to the status of mere breeder stock.

Those who give their babies away in adoption, often don't want to see them when they're born-- not even a glimpse; they don't even want to know their gender. They want their baby delivered and whisked out of the room immediately with no more feeling than doing their business in the lou. Women who get abortions typically do not want to see a sonogram of their babies nor listen to its heartbeat because that's just too bonding and sensitive. Pharaoh's daughter (Ex 2:6) fell apart when she gazed upon baby Moses weeping. What normal woman can resist something like that?

The maid's baby would be legally Rachel's, but she would never be the biological mother. Nothing can ever change a thing like that.

†. Gen 30:6 . . And Rachel said: God has vindicated me; indeed, He has heeded my plea and given me a son. Therefore she named him Dan.

Dan's name means judge, and/or the past tense: judged. (or possibly: a judgment)

In Rachel's mind, Bilhah's success proved that God wasn't withholding children from her for being a sinner, as Jacob had insinuated. But Dan wasn't really Rachel's child. He was only hers by adoption.

But who was going to nurse Dan? There was no such thing as formula in those days. Somebody had to be his wet nurse. Well . . what about Dan's biological mom? Didn't she just go through a pregnancy? So Dan remained with his biological mother at least until he was weaned; and probably longer too. It wasn't like they all lived miles apart. All four women were practically living under the same roof.

So although Dan was reckoned legally Rachel's child, he wasn't taken away from home. Trouble is; Bilhah became a single mom with no husband. But she wasn't really alone. At least she had Dan; and her boy had Jacob; and everyone was together, in one way or another. (chuckle) That sounds like lyrics from the Beetles' song "I Am The Walrus"

I am he,
As you are he,
As you are me,
And we are all together.


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Gen 30:7-16

†. Gen 30:7-8 . . Rachel's maid Bilhah conceived again and bore Jacob a second son. And Rachel said; A fateful contest I waged with my sister; yes, and I have prevailed. So she named him Naphtali.

rayyyrrr! scratch! Man that woman was scrappy! No second place winner; Rachel would keep kicking at you even if her arms were pinned down on the mat. Move over Chyna! (Chyna used to be a WWF professional female wrestler)

"Naphtali" is from Naphtaliy (naf-taw-lee') which means: my wrestling. Not just any wrestling, but "my" wrestling. Apparently Rachel took things very personal. The bitter rivalry between her and Leah had become the total focus of Rachel's life.

†. Gen 30:9 . .When Leah saw that she had stopped bearing, she took her maid Zilpah and gave her to Jacob as concubine.

Since Jacob favored Rachel, when did he find time for Leah and Zilpah? Well; don't women have a certain time of the month? It was very unsanitary in those days to sleep with women during their period and, in fact, was later forbidden by the laws of the covenant that Yhvh's people agreed upon with God. (Lev 15:19-24, 18:19)

So every month, like clockwork, Jacob was forced to sleep with Leah whether he liked it or not. I guess he could have slept on the couch, but that would look stupid. So Leah got a shot at him at least one week a month. And she made the most of it, you can be sure of that! So now she farmed him out to Zilpah's bed for that week to see what would happen. If Rachel could have children by her maid, then by golly Leah was going to do it too. Boy, those sisters were really at war!

†. Gen 30:10-11 . . And when Leah's maid Zilpah bore Jacob a son, Leah said: What luck! So she named him Gad.

Gad is from gad (gawd) which means: a troop. (chuckle) Leah was having enough boys to field a recon squad.

†. Gen 30:12-13 . .When Leah's maid Zilpah bore Jacob a second son, Leah declared: What fortune! meaning, Women will deem me fortunate. So she named him Asher.

Well; what had the local women been deeming her up till then? Women can be so cruel to each other. Leah wasn't attractive, and she was getting up in years before she met Jacob. Women in Leah's neighborhood very likely made her the object of sneering gossip: "Oh, here comes that old maid. Hasn't she found a husband yet? Poooooor thing; tsk." And they would put on their best pity faces for Leah as she walked by.

The name "Asher" is from 'Asher (aw-share') which means: happy.

†. Gen 30:14 . . Once, at the time of the wheat harvest, Reuben came upon some mandrakes in the field and brought them to his mother Leah. Rachel said to Leah: Please give me some of your son's mandrakes.

Mandrake is the common name for any of a genus of herbs. The species to which the name is particularly applied has two varieties, vernal and autumnal, both native to the Mediterranean and Himalayan regions and especially to Greece. The whole plant has a fetid odor. As late as the Middle Ages, a dose of the oddly shaped root was sometimes given to patients as a narcotic before surgical operations. In the United States, mayapple is often called mandrake.

The mandrake has traditionally been an object of superstition, largely because of the resemblance of its forked root to the human figure. Used as an aphrodisiac, the mandrake was also variously regarded as a charm for pregnancy-- a sort of fertility drug --also for invulnerability, and for discovering treasure.

Leah certainly didn't need mandrakes to have children. She was doing just fine without a charm or a fertility drug. But she may have wanted them around the house for medicinal purposes and home remedies. Rueben was trained to recognize mandrakes and he brought them home because he knew his mom would want them: and of course Rachel would want them too because she was infertile.

†. Gen 30:15a . . But she said to her: Was it not enough for you to take away my husband, that you would also take my son's mandrakes?

Of the two sisters, Leah is the only one to label Jacob "my" husband. Personally, I don't think Rachel ever really thought too much of Jacob.

One of the very first social skills children learn from their parents is sharing. Jacob's family was so bitterly divided that his wives, two blood kin sisters, were not even disposed to display even the simplest of graces towards each other. In other words, Leah was saying: if you want some mandrakes, go out and find your own!

†. Gen 30:15b-16 . . Rachel replied: I promise, he shall sleep with you tonight, in return for your son's mandrakes. When Jacob came home from the field in the evening, Leah went out to meet him and said: You are to sleep with me, for I have hired you with my son's mandrakes. And he lay with her that night.

Haw! Jacob became a gigolo in his own home. His wives were not only fighting amongst themselves because of him, but they were bartering for him like a commodity too. Jacob was sure in a pickle. He was probably like most men; just wanting peace and quiet in his own home. If that's what the women arranged for him that night, well alright; if it made them happy and kept the noise down then what the hey.

You would think the home life of the patriarchs would be the most sterling role models you could ever want. But no. They were actually pretty disappointing. And why was that? Becuz they were people. They weren't a celestial breed of supernatural beings whose home planet was located out in space somewhere between the Kuiper Belt and the Oort Cloud.

No, the patriarchs didn't fall down from Jupiter as a superior race of extragalactic agents, not did they draft in on the tail of a comet and drop off in the land of Palestine. None of that. They were just as human as anybody else and they were all slaves to human proclivities and predilections right along with the rest of the Adams' family.


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