Archive for July 4th, 2011

Genesis 30

Genesis 30 has the women playing ping pong with Jacob.  Rachel is still barren and sees that Jacob has sons with Leah and is envious. She goes to Jacob with these words: “Give me children, or I shall die”!  That doesn’t really play well – demanding that Jacob give her a son.  He obviously had slept with her and it just wasn’t working.  In fact – he asks how he is supposed to fix the fact  that God had withheld a child from her.  Then the positioning begins.

Rachel decides to take a different approach and gives her servant Bilhah to Jacob to get a son that way.  And it works – Dan and Naphtali are both born that way.  Leah sees she has been out maneuvered and gives her servant Zilpah to Jacob and viola – Gad and Asher are born to her.  So now Jacob has eight sons – four with Leah, two with Bilhah and two with Zilpah.  But the story continues….

The oldest son Reuben was out harvesting wheat and found some mandrakes in the field and brought them to his mother Leah. The mandrake plant was known as “the love plant” and often was considered something that could help with fertility.  Rachel asks that some be shared with her.  Then Leah lets Rachel know just how irritated she is that Rachel gets all of Jacob’s attention.  And she trades some mandrake roots for the opportunity to sleep with Jacob again.  Rachel trades that opportunity and God blesses Leah with another son Issachar – and then another Zebulun – and then a daughter Dinah.

Finally Rachel’s womb is opened and she bears a son – Joseph.  Now there are 11 sons.  Jacob is ready to take his very large family back home.  So he goes to Laban and asks to be able to leave.  Laban says “the Lord has blessed me because of you”.  He wasn’t too keen on that idea.  But Jacob wants to leave and suggests that he be given the opportunity to “pass through all your flock today, removing from it every speckled and spotted sheep and every black lamb, and the spotted and speckled among the goats, and they shall be my wages”. 

Laban decides to remove all those that would qualify as being Jacob’s and move them three days away “in the charge of his sons”.  He really doesn’t want Jacob leaving.  But Jacob uses his own trickery and uses sticks with streaks in the water to drive breeding that would make the sheep fit his flock.  “Thus the man increased greatly and had large flocks, female servants and male servants, and camels and donkeys”.  Laban tried to manipulate things to keep Jacob – but it isn’t working out that way!

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