Friday, April 26, 2013

Genesis 29: Traditional Family Values

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Jacob Married Leah and Rachel (v. 1-30)

Jacob completed his journey to the east and found his uncle Laban. Laban had 2 daughters, Rachel who was beautiful and Leah who was not. Jacob of course wanted to marry Rachel and made a deal with her father that he would work for him for 7 years and then marry Rachel. After the 7 years Jacob asked Laban for Rachel. Laban threw a party and at tricked Jacob into sleeping with Leah instead, claiming that it is unacceptable to marry off the younger daughter before the older one. Jacob then agreed to take both women as his wives, but had to work another 7 years for Laban.

What do you think it feels like to be Leah in this story? Your father had to trick someone into marrying you, and in the process got a worker for another 7 years. This story really does a good job of showing how much women were commodities in this culture. And for all of the traditional marriage people, multiple wives was clearly not a big deal here.

Guzik says the following about Jacob being tricked to sleep with Leah
We can Imagine how Jacob felt - and how Leah felt, and of course how poor Rachel felt. All this was because of Laban’s sin. Or, perhaps one should say it was because of Jacob’s sin - now the deceiver is deceived.
So he is saying that this is the end result of Jacob tricking his father into giving him his brother's blessing. It's actually kind of interesting, in a weird way he has gotten a taste of his own medicine. Unfortunately, as seems to be common in the bible, there is an innocent victim here. I'm glad that Guzik mentioned how terrible this whole ordeal is for the women involved as well. Additional comments on this matter from Guzik
When Jacob deceived his father and cheated his brother, God did not change His plan to choose Jacob to receive the birthright. Instead, God took Jacob to the school of hard knocks to discipline him. This shows that our disobedience may not derail God’s plan for our life, but it will greatly affect how we end up experiencing it. You may spend 20 years working for someone like Laban while God teaches you a few things. 
Though we can see this is God’s correction upon Jacob, it in no way justifies Laban’s deception. The fact God does work all things together for good never excuses the evil acts God works for good.
Guzik seems to have forgotten Leah's part at this point. This is the issue I've always had with the idea that "through God, everything works together for good", from what perspective are we looking? So God took advantage of some evil that was going to happen and spun it to make some good. Jacob went through the school of hard knocks and learned his lesson. What about Leah? She is basically just a prop in this story. This story isn't good for her.

Jacob's Children (v. 31-35)
Comic Archive

God saw that Jacob loved Rachel and hated Leah, so he made Rachel barren and Leah had a bunch of kids.

What the fuck kind of a dick move is this? What the hell does this accomplish?

Every time Leah had a child she said that it would surely make Jacob love her, but it never worked.

So having children won't fix your marriage? I guess that is one lesson that can be learned here.

From Guzik:
God’s compassion on Leah is touching. She is truly the innocent party in all of this mess. God can minister to a wife and meet her needs even when the husband acts in an ungodly manner.
what the hell! Are we reading the same story? God gave her children, which she tries to use to gain her husband's affection and fails. He also makes it so her sister doesn't have children, which probably would make it so she's hated in the house.

For the verses of vote post


Genesis 29:25 Laban tricked Jacob into sleeping with the wrong daughter to marry her off

"And in the morning, behold, it was Leah! And Jacob said to Laban, 'What is this you have done to me? Did I not serve with you for Rachel? Why then have you deceived me?'"


Genesis 29:27 Jacob marries both Leah and Rachel

"Complete the week of this one[Leah], and we will give you the other also[Rachel] in return for serving me another seven years."

--Why God Why?--

Genesis 29:31 God makes the hated wife have children and the loved wife barren

"When the LORD saw that Leah was hated, he opened her womb, but Rachel was barren."


  1. "God saw that Jacob loved Rachel and hated Leah, so he made Rachel barren and Leah had a bunch of kids."

    This is one of the reasons the Bible gives me a headache. Jacob obviously didn't "hate" Leah all that much...or else Rachel was lousy in bed and Leah wasn't.

    1. That's a good point, it would seem that he didn't completely hate her. I did a translation comparison of verse 31, there seems to be a pretty even split between "hated" and "unloved". Unloved seems to fit a bit better to me.

    2. "Unloved"...but loved her as a lover. Hum....Where's the aspirin?

    3. Maybe he treated Leah as a sex object, but not a true wife? It could easily be that he liked having sex with Leah (thus all the offspring) but disliked her as a person.

    4. Ahab, that is what makes the most sense I think. Is there ever going to be an actual good character in this book, or are all of them going to be terrible? These are the people the religion is based off of, it's pretty ridiculous


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