Genesis 30

The Sons of Jacob [ The child race by Jacob’s wives]

30 Now when Rachel saw that she bore Jacob no children, she became jealous of her sister; and she said to Jacob, “Give me children, or else I die.” Then Jacob’s anger burned against Rachel, and he said, “Am I in the place of God, who has withheld from you the fruit of the womb?” She said, “Here is my maid Bilhah, go in to her that she may bear on my knees, that through her I too may have children[the women have met so far in the chapters have covered are very tolerant, they have no problem with their husbands having some action with the slave girls. Two things here that I have a problem with, if Rachel is jealous since she has no child, will the maid getting pregnant not worsen the situation? Are the maid non-persons, maybe they don’t want to sleep with old Jake leave alone have children with him!].” So she gave him her maid Bilhah as a wife, and Jacob went in to her. Bilhah conceived and bore Jacob a son. Then Rachel said, “God has vindicated me, and has indeed heard my voice and has given me a son.” Therefore she named him Dan[in this days Dan meant he judged, so that would be the name of the lass.]. Rachel’s maid Bilhah conceived again and bore Jacob a second son. So Rachel said, “With mighty wrestlings I have wrestled with my sister, and I have indeed prevailed.” And she named him Naphtali.[Some observations here as we go along; wouldn’t one son just be enough? What is this about child race? And how old is one Jake at the moment since I have lost track of his age. Do the slaves have any say in this or are they now fully wives? Has Jake paid the bride price?]

When Leah saw that she had stopped bearing, she took her maid Zilpah and gave her to Jacob as a wife. 10 Leah’s maid Zilpah bore Jacob a son. 11 Then Leah said, “How fortunate!” So she named him Gad. 12 Leah’s maid Zilpah bore Jacob a second son. 13 Then Leah said, “Happy am I! For women will call me happy[ A variant of this prayer/ blessing will be said by Mary in Luke 1:42 when Mary visits her expectant aunt Liz].” So she named him Asher[ She already has four sons, how jealous can she be to make the maid have children just so she can have more children or are the scribes trying to fill in blanks?].

14 Now in the days of wheat harvest Reuben went and found mandrakes in the field, and brought them to his mother Leah. Then Rachel said to Leah, “Please give me some of your son’s mandrakes.” 15 But she said to her, “Is it a small matter for you to take my husband? And would you take my son’s mandrakes also?” So Rachel said, “Therefore he may lie with you tonight in return for your son’s mandrakes[ is old Jake on hire now, for the price of mandrakes which you’ll find if taken in excess may result in a coma?].” 16 When Jacob came in from the field in the evening, then Leah went out to meet him and said, “You must come in to me[that is a bold lady you got there! As I often say, sometime you gotta take the initiative], for I have surely hired you with my son’s mandrakes.” So he lay with her that night[Jake you are on hire and you have no problem with it? And tell me how old is Jake now?]. 17 God gave heed to Leah, and she conceived and bore Jacob a fifth son. 18 Then Leah said, “God has given me my wages because I gave my maid to my husband.” So she named him Issachar. 19 Leah conceived again and bore a sixth son to Jacob. 20 Then Leah said, “God has endowed me with a good gift; now my husband will dwell with me, because I have borne him six sons[ I don’t get it, where has Jake been residing all this time or did the slave girls take over?].” So she named him Zebulun. 21 Afterward she bore a daughter and named her Dinah[When sons are born, an elaborate reason is given for the name chosen, why not apply the same standard? Is the god inspiring the scribe a bigot?].

22 Then God remembered Rachel, and God gave heed to her and opened her womb[god interfering with human affairs and mutable? Did I hear someone say their god is immutable?]. 23 So she conceived and bore a son and said, “God has taken away my reproach.” 24 She named him Joseph, saying, “May the Lord give me another son.”[The name Joseph translates to may the lord give me another son! What a name for a young boy?]

Jacob Prospers

25 Now it came about when Rachel had borne Joseph, that Jacob said to Laban, “Send me away, that I may go to my own place and to my own country. 26 Give me my wives and my children for whom I have served you, and let me depart; for you yourself know my service which I have rendered you.”[so for several years that I have lost count of, old Jake, nephew and son-in-law to Laban has been an employee in the household and now feels he needs to be his own man? The scribes could have done better, what do you think?]

27 But Laban said to him, “If now it pleases you, stay with me; I have divined that the Lord has blessed me on your account.” 28 He continued, “Name me your wages, and I will give it.” 29 But he said to him, “You yourself know how I have served you and how your cattle have fared with me. 30 For you had little before I came and it has increased to a multitude, and the Lord has blessed you wherever I turned. But now, when shall I provide for my own household also?” 31 So he said, “What shall I give you?” And Jacob said, “You shall not give me anything. If you will do this one thing for me, I will again pasture and keep your flock: 32 let me pass through your entire flock today, removing from there every speckled and spotted sheep and every black one among the lambs and the spotted and speckled among the goats; and such shall be my wages [Jake is asking for all animals that are striped, coloured and speckled which from the face of it doesn’t seem to be a lot!]. 33 So my honesty will answer for me later, when you come concerning my wages. Every one that is not speckled and spotted among the goats and black among the lambs, if found with me, will be considered stolen.” 34 Laban said, “Good, let it be according to your word.” 35 So he removed on that day the striped and spotted male goats and all the speckled and spotted female goats, every one with white in it, and all the black ones among the sheep, and gave them into the care of his sons. 36 And he put a distance of three days’ journey between himself and Jacob, and Jacob fed the rest of Laban’s flocks[Am lost here! Where is Laban headed? A little digression, Laban is Rebekah’s sister and should be far much older than Jake who joined the family at a ripe age of 77+ years. What am getting at here is that Laban should be too old now to not be able to tell the colour of sheep and goats, and he has no business grazing them anyway!].

37 Then Jacob took fresh rods of poplar and almond and plane trees, and peeled white stripes in them, exposing the white which was in the rods. 38 He set the rods which he had peeled in front of the flocks in the gutters, even in the watering troughs, where the flocks came to drink; and they mated when they came to drink. 39 So the flocks mated by the rods, and the flocks brought forth striped, speckled, and spotted.[In simpler language, the scribe want us to believe Jake would change the coloration of a kid through visual stimulation. I find this laughable and simply the work of an ignorant peasant. Please don’t try this at home with your neighbour’s cow, it will not happen!]

40 Jacob separated the lambs, and made the flocks face toward the striped and all the black in the flock of Laban; and he put his own herds apart, and did not put them with Laban’s flock. 41 Moreover, whenever the stronger of the flock were mating, Jacob would place the rods in the sight of the flock in the gutters, so that they might mate by the rods; 42 but when the flock was feeble, he did not put them in; so the feebler were Laban’s and the stronger Jacob’s. 43 So the man became exceedingly prosperous, and had large flocks and female and male servants and camels[are yet to be domesticated] and donkeys.

Genesis 29

Jacob Meets Rachel

A little introduction to this short chapter will suffice. It begins with Jacob going on journey to the east, this I presume must be the journey he began in the last verses of the last chapter. And as in a few previous chapter where a damsel is met at a well, Jacob meets Rachel at one such well and what unfolds fits well within the purview of romantic levels, at least that is how I see it. At this particular well encounter, Jacob is already advanced in age while Rachel is only 14 years old. As part of the history lesson, Rachel means ewe – a female sheep. Unless the Hebrews were being metaphorical, why sheep?

29 verse 1 to verse 3 is a recital of how Jacob gets to be at the well, the flock have been watered and the lid to the well replaced.

Jacob said to them, “My brothers, where are you from?” And they said, “We are from Haran.” He said to them, “Do you know Laban the son of Nahor?” And they said, “We know him.” And he said to them, “Is it well with him?” And they said, “It is well, and here is Rachel his daughter coming with the sheep

Jake meets Rachel by William Dyce

[This is quite convenient for Jacob, it’s Rachel who comes not any member of the family just as in the case of Isaac and Rebekah at another well].” He said, “Behold, it is still high day; it is not time for the livestock to be gathered. Water the sheep, and go, pasture them [what business has a stranger, Jacob,  ordering the young men on when to water or pasture their flock?].” But they said, “We cannot, until all the flocks are gathered, and they roll the stone from the mouth of the well; then we water the sheep.”

While he was still speaking with them, Rachel came with her father’s sheep, for she was a shepherdess. 10 When Jacob saw Rachel the daughter of Laban his mother’s brother, and the sheep of Laban his mother’s brother, Jacob went up and rolled the stone from the mouth of the well and watered the flock of Laban his mother’s brother. 11 Then Jacob kissed Rachel, and lifted his voice and wept [Seriously, she should be running home to report this stranger who has having not so good ideas! How many of you sisters just get kissed because an idle lass has helped you with some menial job? This is the time they should have amended their laws to include pedophilia, sexual harassment and child abuse in the penal code]. 12 Jacob told Rachel that he was a relative of hers father and that he was Rebekah’s son, and she ran and told her father [I hope she reports the kiss as well!].

13 So when Laban heard the news of Jacob his sister’s son nephew, he ran to meet him[ I don’t know about you, but my uncles don’t run to meet me, not once not ever. On the country, many times am expected to run to meet them], and embraced him and kissed him and brought him to his house. Then he related to Laban all these things. 14 Laban said to him, “Surely you are my bone and my flesh[ Hold your breath a little, did he doubt at any moment they are related?].” And he stayed with him a month.

15 Then Laban said to Jacob, “Because you are my relative, should you therefore serve me for nothing? Tell me, what shall your wages be?” 16 Now Laban had two daughters; the name of the older was Leah, and the name of the younger was Rachel [In the Jewish Encyclopedia, we learn the two were twins and ‘elder’ and ‘younger’ are used metaphorically to refer to the divine gifts bestowed on each of them]. 17 And Leah’s eyes were weak, but Rachel was beautiful of form and face. 18 Now Jacob loved Rachel, so he said, “I will serve you seven years for your younger daughter Rachel.” 19 Laban said, “It is better that I give her to you than to give her to another man; stay with me.” 20 So Jacob served seven years for Rachel and they seemed to him but a few days because of his love for her[ Let us leave the romance out of this story, someone tell me what lesson if any we are to lean from this? Anything, don’t worry I will wait! Did the gods approve of inbreeding or did the Moses ghost writers miss something?].

Laban’s Treachery

Verse 21 To verse 30 is the story of Laban’s deception where instead of handing over Rachel to be married, he served old Jake with Leah and with no apologies to boot. After one week, Jake marries Rachel and works for another 7 years making her bride price  14 years. I would have given up a long time ago, but that is me! To the two daughters he gives each a slave girl.Of note here is that the slave-girls have been named. And as I have always told you, in this times when a slave or a woman is named, something untoward is in the woods. And I may just well mention it here, just Abe before had a child with his slave [Hagar], Jake will outdo the old patriarch by having children with the two slave girls given to his wives, that is a story for another day, as for now lets look at we have here;

31 Now the Lord saw that Leah was unloved, and He opened her womb, but Rachel was barren[ Is this a case of god interfering in human affairs!]. 32 Leah conceived and bore a son and named him Reuben, for she said, “Because the Lord has seen my affliction; surely now my husband will love me [Even in our times, so many women still have babies for the same trivial reason, I can only call it a delusion!].” 33 Then she conceived again and bore a son and said, “Because the Lord has heard that I am unloved, He has therefore given me this son also.” So she named him Simeon. 34 She conceived again and bore a son and said, “Now this time my husband will become attached to me, because I have borne him three sons.” Therefore he was named Levi. 35 And she conceived again and bore a son and said, “This time I will praise the Lord.” Therefore she named him Judah. Then she stopped bearing[ I have to spoil the fun, Leah takes a hiatus for in the next chapter she will bear 2 more sons and a daughter, well I know you are also asking why just sons? As I see it, it is a boys only club for Jake].

On God

Something is wrong.  War, disease, death, destruction, hunger, filth, poverty, crime, torture, corruption and the ice capades.  If this is the best God can do, I am not impressed.  This is not what you expect to find on the resume of a supreme being.  It’s what you expect from an office temp with a bad attitude.

George Carlin

On prayer

What’s the point of fucking praying in the first place?  If God has a divine plan, what’s the point of praying?  If what you want is in the divine plan, you will get it anyways… and if it’s not, you won’t get it because it’s not in the divine plan.

George Carlin

Ways of Knowing

I thought you may need this.

Why Evolution Is True

UPDATE:  Eric has begun to respond to my comments in a preliminary post at Choice in Dying, and promises to provide a more thorough analysis later. He also called me “nephew”! I’m honored. But the example he uses is not a “fact” (the notion that WWII would have ended by Christmas of 1944 had Montgomery been allowed to be Supreme Commander in Europe rather than Eisenhower).  I’m not sure what this has to do with knowing anything true about the world, since it’s just a speculative scenario about what might have happened had things been different. There’s no way of knowing for sure.

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I have officially withdrawn the affectionate sobriquet of “Uncle” from Karl Giberson, since he’s been acting too religious lately, and bestowed it for the nonce on Eric MacDonald, who is also avuncular but never turns weird.

Eric has just finished a three-part series on…

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