So… NaNo’s moving along, quickly enough. I’m not too pleased with my output this year, but it’s words and practice, so oh well. Back to the Bible.
26: The sins of the father, eh? Issac wanders off with Rebekah and says she’s his sister. Brilliant move. Has he learned nothing? Again, a king calls him out on it, when he sees Issac being a little too familiar with his ‘sister’. Awkward… The king later tells Issac “Go away from us; you have become too powerful for us” simply because he makes a lot of money on grain. This seems a little odd for a king to say, but Isaac obeys and wanders off. Later, the king somehow figures out that Isaac is god’s golden boy, and makes a treaty with him. Everything is wonderful… until Esau shows up and ‘made life bitter for Isaac and Rebekah’. Cue ominous music.
27: Isaac is old and blind. He tells his son Esau to go make him dinner, so he can give him his blessing. However, Rebekah plays favorites, so she switches Jacob and Esau so Jacob will win his father’s blessing instead. It seems to me that playing tricks on your dying father is kind of low, but Jacob doesn’t mind. You can imagine Esau is very annoyed. I have no idea why Isaac can’t bless both his kids – nowadays, both siblings are generally taken care of by the parents, and you don’t just spoil one and chuck scraps to the other one. Finally, Isaac gives Esau a sort of blessing – he already told Jacob he would lord over Esau, but he promises Esau that he will live by the sword and break loose from his brother.
There seems to be a tradition of fratricide in the Bible. Esau intends to kill Jacob, but Rebekah tells Jacob to flee. She convinces Isaac to let the boy go marry one of her relatives. Can you say incest?
Now we get to the famous Jacob’s ladder story. He sleeps using a stone as a pillow – which has to be pretty darn uncomfortable – and dreams of angels ascending and descending from heaven. God appears and gives Jacob the land he’s lying on – I hope no one else wanted it
29: Jacob continues walking, and meets Rachel, his cousin. For some reason, he kisses her and then “weeps aloud”. This seems a bit forward, but everyone else seems all right about it. Jacob works for the family for seven years, and for his wages asks for Rachel’s hand in marriage. However, at the wedding, Jacob realizes that he’s married Leah instead, Rachel’s older sister. The horror! He becomes angry, but Laban (the girls’ father) tells him he can have Rachel too if he works for another seven years. Jacob does so, and wins both sisters, as well as their maids, who are bonuses.
Jacob very rudely plays favorites, and loves Rachel more. This isn’t fair to poor Leah, so he makes her fertile while Rachel is barren. Rachel becomes upset, and tells Jacob to sleep with her maid so she can have vicarious children. Leah soon asks the same. I wonder if this is justification for husbands having affairs with maids. It seems odd that the wife would ask their husband to cheat on them.
Later, Leah’s son Reuben finds some mandrakes in the field. I don’t know why she’d want them – the plants are poisonous, and can send people into a coma, but apparently they were thought to be a remedy for barren women. Rachel wants the plants, and the women barter, using sleeping with Jacob as currency. Weird… and it’s even stranger that Jacob goes along with it.
Leah: Hey – you have to sleep with me tonight because your wife ditched you for roots.
Jacob: Ok. No biggie.
I suppose he’s slept with pretty much every female around, so a little variety isn’t a big deal.
Eventually Rachel has a son – Joseph.
31: Through methods that I found confusing, Jacob managed to manipulate Laban’s herds of goats and sheep so he would profit. Laban’s family is annoyed, and Jacob leaves. Laban chases him, ignoring god’s warning not to speak to the man. After a heated argument, they make peace.
32: Jacob sends Esau a very servile message, and Esau comes to visit bringing four hundred men. Jacob freaks out, thinking his brother is homicidal. He sends his brother lots of presents of livestock, and puts his wives somewhere safe. That night, a random man wrestles with him and then blesses him. Apparently he was wrestling with god. I have no idea why.
33: Esau arrives and meets him happily. He seems to have forgiven him for stealing his birthright. *sniff* I just love a happy ending.
34: Dinah, Jacob’s one daughter, is raped by a prince who falls in love with her. Jacob and his kinsmen are very angry, but the prince Shechem, insists he’s in love with the girl and wishes to marry her. Jacob’s sons do not wish to reward the man who defiled their sister, and tell Shechem he must be circumcised before he marries. He does so, but Jacob’s sons come into the city and slaughter every male there. That’s not fair at all. No one else did anything wrong.
35: Jacob is renamed Israel by god – a sort of origin story for the entire nation. Rachel has another son, but she dies in childbirth.
36: This section is just a long, long list of children and death. See you next week.