Hi there! I got up early today for a run, have a week’s supply of Redbull on hand, and will be spending the rest of my day holed up in the library preparing for finals. But first, I think I’ll get my daily Bible adventure out of the way.
Chapter 27- Isaac is old, blind, and thinks he may die soon, so he tells his eldest son Esau to go kill some game and make some stew and then Isaac will bless him. Rebekah and Jacob scheme to have Jacob impersonate Esau and receive the blessing instead. The scheme works. Then Esau comes home and tries to get his blessing, but Isaac has already given it away, so Esau gets a crappy blessing instead. Esau is bitter and plans to kills Jacob, so Rebekah tells Jacob to go stay with her brother Laban.
My first question was, “If Esau really sold his birthright, why did Jacob have to lie to get Isaac’s blessing?” So I google’d it, and it seems that a birthright has to do with inheriting extra money, whereas the blessing is the patriarch picking which child will become head of the family. The difference makes sense, I suppose.
Then there’s the bit about Jacob and Rebekah using the skin of goat kids to cover Jacob’s hands and neck so he will feel like Esau to the blind Isaac. Have you seen a goat recently? They’re hairy!! I really hope for Esau’s sake that he wasn’t that hairy. If he was, I think I just found where the Bigfoot myths originated.
The other big question I had was, “Why such a crappy blessing for Esau?” but I suppose my previous Google search answered that as well. If you’ve already given away the head-of-the-family blessing, what’s left? Apparently, the only thing left is, “By your sword you shall live, and you shall serve your brother; and it shall come to pass, when you become restless, that you shall break his yoke from your neck.” No wonder Esau was bitter and planned to kill Jacob- it was Isaac’s idea!
Again, we see the Bible affirming the idea that sometimes cheaters and liars do prosper. Jacob goes on to be the star of the next several chapters of Genesis, and it seems that God had no qualms blessing the son who rose to prominence through deception.
Chapter 28- Isaac blesses Jacob again, agrees that he should go to Laban’s to find a wife amongst his mother’s family. Esau takes another Canaanite wife to spite his father. Jacob has the “Jacob’s ladder” dream, wherein God promises lots of blessings to Jacob. Jacob awakes and vows to follow God if those blessings really come to pass, and he agrees to give God back a tenth of what God gives him.
Yup, God is totally cool with the lying, deceiving Jacob. Good things come to those to cheat. Yay, moral lessons!
I guess this is where tithing got its start, although it’s interesting that Jacob agrees to do it as a tit-for-tat thing. Bless me first, then I’ll follow you.
Chapter 29- Jacob meets Rachel (daughter of Laban) at a well; it’s love at first sight. Laban agrees to let Jacob marry Rachel in exchange for 7 years of service on the farm. Laban gives him Rachel’s older sister Leah instead, then agrees to also give him Rachel in exchange for another 7 years’ labor. Jacob doesn’t love Leah, so God makes Leah super fertile and Rachel barren. Leah has 4 sons.
Something that stood out to me right away was that Rachel is described as a shepherdess. She had a job! Not exactly outside the home, since it was her father’s flock…but I’m happy to see a woman being recognized as having a role besides child bearing.
The female empowerment doesn’t last long though, as we see that Rachel (and indeed Leah as well) had no choice in the marriage arrangements. It was all decided between Jacob and Laban. *sigh*
Verse 21 “Then Jacob said to Laban, ‘Give me my wife, for my days are fulfilled, that I may go in to her.” Romance novels make consummation sound so much more exciting.
Then we get to the charming business of Laban giving Leah instead of Rachel- Jacob doesn’t notice until the next morning! This, my friends, is why you should have sex with the lights on.
And again, cheaters prosper. Laban deceived Jacob, and got 14 years of manual labor and both his daughters married off. It’s really no wonder that Jacob didn’t love Leah, and I’m a little surprised he didn’t at least punch Laban in the face.
Verse 31: “When the Lord saw that Leah was unloved, He opened her womb; but Rachel was barren.” Couldn’t God have just prevented the marriage in the first place if he really wanted to help out Leah? After each son is born, Leah thinks that her husband will love her now, but it doesn’t seem to work. Bringing children into an unhappy marriage is not the way to make things better.
I hope the ladies reading this take a moment to reflect on just how unkind Christianity has historically been to us.