In the last chapter we saw lots of trickery and polygamy, so in this chapter we have Rachel trying to have kids, which is one of the things in the Bible people are obsessed about.
- When Rachel saw that she was not bearing Jacob any children she became jealous of her sister. She told Jacob that if she didn’t have children she’d die. A little extreme, but each to their own.
2. Jacob became angry and said, “Am I God? No. I wish I was, but I’m not. Go complain to him.”
3. Then she said, “Fine, go have children with my servant, Bilhah, we’ll pretend they’re mine.”
4. So Jacob married her and had a child with her. Rachel named the child, who was a son, (like most people in the Bible!) Dan.
5. Rachel’s servant bore Jacob a second son, who was named Naphtali. She was happy because apparently she had ‘won’ the war of children with Leah, who had given Jacob no more children, despite already having three.
6. When Leah saw that she was not having any more children, she took her servant, Zilpah, and gave her to Jacob as a wife. So Jacob got four wives and two more sons, named Gad and Asher. Maybe God was finally fulfilling his promise about Jacob having lots of descendants.
7. During harvest, Ruben (one of Leah’s sons) found some mandrakes, and he brought them to his mother, Rachel saw this and asked for some of them.
8. “Wasn’t it enough that you took away my husband? Will you take my son’s mandrakes too?” Leah said,
9. “Fine, You can sleep with him tonight in return for some mandrakes” Rachel said.
10. So when Jacob came in from the fields that evening, Leah went out to meet him. “You must sleep with me,” she said. “I have hired you with my son’s mandrakes.”
11. So Leah bore Jacob two more sons, named Issachar and Zebulun. It seems that all people do in the Bible is breed like rabbits.
12. Some time later she bore him a daughter, which was a first. I’m pretty sure there’s a 50/50 chance of what sex the child is, not half a million male and one or two female!
13. God finally remembered about Rachel, so he enabled her to have children ans she bore Jacob yet another son, who was named Joseph.
14. After Rachel had Joseph Jacob went to Laban and asked him to ‘give’ him his wives and children so that they could leave and go back to his homeland, where Esau had probably forgotten about the whole stealing his birthright and blessing deal.
15. “But when you are here I am blessed – my flocks have multiplied greatly under your care. So stay here so that I can take advantage of you and your blessing. Name your wages” Laban said.
16. “I must leave, and you don’t need to give me anything” Jacob said. But then he immediately changed his mind and said, “Do this one thing: let me go through your flocks and take every speckled goat with me back to my homeland; they will be my wages. And my honesty will testify for me in the future, whenever you check on the wages you have paid me. Any goat in my possession that is not speckled or spotted will be considered stolen.”
17. Laban agreed to this and took every speckled or spotted goat from his flocks, and he put them under the care of his sons, whilst Jacob continued to care for Laban’s flocks.
18. Jacob meanwhile decided to try some trickery of his own. He had already been tricked by Esau and Laban, so he was getting some payback. He took fresh branches and cut spots on them, he then placed them in the drinking water of the goats.
19. When the goats drank the water and reproduced they had speckled and spotted offspring. This defies biology but who cares!
20. So Jacob did this and soon had a huge flock. Soon enough he would be leaving, but his departure does not go exactly to plan.
What have we learned today? That the Bible is a weird book! But it’s going to get even weirder as time goes on!
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