A Daily Genesis

Genesis 30:1-6

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[B][COLOR=#ff0000]†.[/COLOR] Gen 30:1a . .When Rachel saw that she had borne Jacob no children, she became envious of her sister;[/B]

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.
[/COLOR][B][COLOR=#ff0000]†. [/COLOR]Gen 30:1b . . and Rachel said to Jacob: Give me children, or I shall die.[/B]

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.

[B][COLOR=#ff0000]†.[/COLOR] Gen 30:2a . . Jacob was incensed at Rachel[/B]

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.

[B][COLOR=#ff0000]†.[/COLOR] Gen 30:2b . . and said: Can I take the place of God, who has denied you fruit of the womb?[/B]

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.

[B][COLOR=#ff0000]†. [/COLOR]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.[/B]

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.
[/COLOR][B][COLOR=#ff0000]†. [/COLOR]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.[/B]

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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