If you did not look at the post from last night you may want to. I have a choice of cheat sheets. These are good to write notes on as you read. Did anyone notice that the line of Jesus comes from Judah and not Reuben? It is not just because singing the “The Lion of Rueben” is awkward, some stuff is going to happen with Reuben, Levi, and Simeon that will push the blessing all the way to Judah.
Here are his 12 sons: Spoiler Alert: Jacob is going to have a name change: Israel. You may have heard of the 12 tribes of Israel. Well, we are reading the birth of the nations. So here is another fun fact: Levi does not become a tribe…so how do we still get 12? Oh I am unglued with excitement!
So let’s have this conversation- What is a concubine and why did God allow this? A concubine is:
“woman acquired by a man as a secondary wife. Her purpose was to provide a male heir in the case of a barren wife, to provide more children in general to enhance the family’s workforce and wealth, and to satisfy the man’s sexual desires. A concubine was endowed with rights and protections by Hebrew law but was not equal in status to a wife. Although God provided rights and protections for concubines in the Law of Moses, God did not introduce or approve of this marital model.” (It was in the code of Hammurabi)
Leah: Reuben (see, a son) Simeon (one who hears), Levi (attached), Judah(praise), Issachar (reward), Zebulun (honor)
Rachel: Joseph(God has added), Benjamin (son of my sorrow, it changes)
Zilpha: (Leah’s maidservant) Gad (good fortune), Asher (happy).
Bilhah: (Rachel’s maidservant) Dan (vindicated) Naphtali (struggle)
Leah did have a daughter: Dinah. 12 boys, 1 girl. “Bless her heart” (In my head I tried my southern voice…it didn’t work.)
The two names you need to circle are Levi and Judah. From these sons come two of the most crucial institutions of the old testament.
Let’s talk about the “weird” stuff and clarify it.
- Pay attention to Leah-she just wanted Jacob to love her 😢
- Mandrakes-these are a Mediterranean herb that grows flowers and small orange fruit. When pulled out of the ground, the root can often look like a human. These were thought to be an aphrodisiac, as well as, an aid for conception. (My mom is a Catholic Italian woman=superstitious, I am shocked she didn’t sneak these into my Sunday dinners since I didn’t start having kids till later than she preferred!)
- Jacob’s mating rods-this too was a “theory” like the mandrakes but for animals. It’s been studied that some of the chemical properties of poplar bark and almond bark when steeped in water,(it says Jacob put the stick IN the watering trough) have been shown to raise the reproductive rate of ewes. So again, it was like he was giving fertility medicine to the stronger animals. Chapter 31 will tell us Jacob had some advanced knowledge of which animals would be born due to him knowing which animals were breeding when he struck the deal. (Yet, Laban thought the deal favored his side).
Let’s clarify: neither the mandrakes nor the rods blessed Rachel or the flock. God did!
Ch 31: Jacob Flees:
Vs:19 Rachel stole the household gods, called Teraphims. These gods were idols, little statues, that the family leader possessed.
Having them around the house gave them a sense of security, spiritual significance, as well as, social/monetary meaning. They were thought to advise them in times of need but also they were a part of the family inheritance. Back in vs 14, Rachel, when told by her husband that they were leaving Laban, the first thing she said was: “What about the money I am to inherit” (paraphrase) So did she take the idols because she was:
- mad at Laban
- because she believed in their power
- for the inheritance.
?? Either way, for the men out there….woman are smart…we use our menstrual cycle as an excuse for many things! LOL.
Laban and Jacob make a Peace Treaty. Did you catch the difference in their God(s)?
53 May the God of Abraham and the God of Nahor, the God of their father, judge between us.”
So Jacob took an oath in the name of the Fear of his father Isaac.
Jacob took an oath to God
Laba took an oath to God, and Nahor’s God, and their father’s God. Ok, let me explain. Do you remember when Abraham got called out of Ur of the Chaldeans? He came from a pagan culture. His family worshipped many gods. Nahor was Abraham’s brother. He was raised polytheistic by Terah, his father.