Genesis 30 – The Family of Jacob
Rachel gets jealous of Leah bearing children for Jacob and tells him to give her children or she’d die. Jacob responds by asking if she thinks he is in the place of god to keep her from having them.
Rachel tells Jacob to sleep with her servant Bilhah so she can raise the children as her own. Jacob does, she gets bears a son, Dan, and Rachel thinks this means god listened to her and gave her this son.
One time wasn’t enough, v.7 Bilhah has another son, Naphtali. This second son apparently won the battle between the sisters for Rachel.
Leah wouldn’t be beaten like that so she gave her servant to Jacob to make children. Gad and Asher are born to Jacob through Zilpah.
So by v.13, Jacob has 8 children by three women; one of his two wives and both of their personal servants; great family values here.
One day Reuben brought in some plants Rachel asks to share them but Leah likens it to them sharing Jacob. This is a bit ridiculous as Jacob worked so long to have Rachel as his wife in the first place, Leah was a deception.
v.16 is kind of funny. Leah meets Jacob as he comes in for the day and tells him ‘You must sleep with me tonight, I have hired you with my son’s mandrakes.’
v.17 says god listened to Leah and she bore Jacob another child. She says god rewarded her with this child for giving her servant to Jacob.
A sixth child for Leah in v.20, She says god has given her this honor so Jacob will love her. Then Dinah is born to Leah.
v.22 says ‘then god remembered Rachel’ and allowed her to give birth to a son, Joseph.
Did the all-knowing god forget about Rachel?
Is it reasonable to believe that an all powerful all knowing god has personal influence with the reproductive lives of these women?
Jacob asks Laban to allow his family to leave to go back to his homeland. Laban basically tells him to name his price to stay.
Jacob tells Laban to think of how much he has helped his herds grow since he came and says when can I do it for my own family. Laban again asks ‘what shall I give you.’
Jacob asks to claim every ‘speckled or spotted sheep or dark colored lamb’ to be his wages. He says if any are found in his flock that are unspotted they could be considered stolen.
Laban agrees and in v.35 Jacob removes them and places them in the care of his many sons.
While Laban is away, Jacob does something that is both deceptive and completely scientifically unbelievable.
Jacob takes some branches from the trees, strips part of their bark making them striped and speckled, he then placed these branches in the water troughs of Laban’s animals to make the animals give birth to speckled animals that he could then claim as his own according to his agreement with Laban.
This isn’t just the musings of a madman because v.39 says the young were speckled and he set them apart for his herd. Just one add on to this plan; he only did it to the stronger animals and left the weak for Laban.
v.43, ‘In this he grew exceedingly prosperous.’ Once again the bible is not giving the quality stories that I was taught growing up.
Polygamy, incest, slavery, deceit, fraud; they’ve all been featured in the stories of the epic bible stories we all know but these parts are glossed over. How are we to take one part of the bible literally and other parts figuratively or how are we to be confident in the eternal divine doctrine of the bible if the stories can only be interpreted by thinking the same way as the people of that day would have. A divine being should not and would not allow or be ok with something with one group of people and then outlaw or disallow that same practice for a different group of people.
I don’t know if that was legible but I hope the idea of what I was trying to say got through. Basically the message shouldn’t or wouldn’t change throughout differing ages and races of people.