Thoughts on the Family
Jacob – Just when you think you “know it all” you actually study someone and there is more (see What Was His Name). First thing I found was he was a lot older than I thought when he got married (see Timeline). He, like his dad, certainly played favorites with his children. It is easy to understand him being mad at Rueben, Levi and Simeon but he seemed determined to elevate Rachel’s children in the inheritance area thus cutting out Leah’s children. I guess we can always wonder if some of the contention in the family wasn’t his fault. But getting a wife you did not want and then two concubines so you can appease two warring sisters really does not add up to a blissful home life. But through all of the trials in his life I think he found God in a deep way and profound way that amplifies the blessings in Genesis 49.
Leah – When you look at her over the years she really was a faithful wife who watched out for her husband and the family. She probably did not get the respect she deserved until after Rachel died. You get the idea that she had a crush on Jacob when he was working for Rachel because she definitely claims him as HER husband. I guess I now think that Jacob loved the wrong one because Leah is the one who seemed to have really wanted to be his wife.
Rachel – The “beloved” wife that was Jacob’s dream girl/trophy wife that he favored above all else. She was real-handful and pretty self-centered the classic example is her stealing the family “gods” and hiding them. Image Jacob’s blood pressure when he finds them and has them buried under a tree. But in her defense I might be a little miffed about my father and sister messing up my wedding and my life.
* I think both Rachel and Leah at the end of their time in Paddan Aram realized that daddy was just out for a buck and that they were better off with each other and Jacob. I wonder how these things affected their relationship as sisters it is definitely competitive after they are married.
The Concubines – Bilhah and Zilpah are the two slave girls who were used to increase the number of children in the family. I have no doubt that they remained just that slave girls. Jacob did not ask them about leaving Paddan Aram and they were put in front when Esau was about to show up. And was Bilhah just trying to up her status when she slept with Rueben?
The Boys – They have provided a lot to think about and some really good lessons.
Rueben is the picture of someone who messed but still part of the family. All of the sons took part in selling Joseph and the years of covering up the deed; can you image how Jacob felt about them when the wagons rolled up to take him to Egypt. I said it before but big or little, leader or not being part of the family is important. It seems like Jacob even with four women each wanting their children to be the standouts managed to raise a group of children who could work together. But the stress and contention in the camp must have been thick enough to cut with a knife or everyone knew their status in the family and that was enough.
The composition of the family provides some interesting comparisons for the Body of Christ.
All are true sons but some are:
- Sons of a loved wife
- Sons of an unloved wife
- Children of free, true wives
- Children of slaves
- Some were born in Egypt (Joseph’s boys)
The picture is Leah with Rachel from: http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://bibleencyclopedia.com/picturesjpeg/Leah_w_Rachel_67-63.jpg&imgrefurl=http://bibleencyclopedia.com/pictures/Genesis_29_Leah_with_Rachel.htm&h=614&w=400&sz=110&tbnid=Vci4cXEClxoKoM:&tbnh=99&tbnw=64&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dpictures%2Bof%2BLeah%2Band%2BRachel%26tbm%3Disch%26tbo%3Du&zoom=1&q=pictures+of+Leah+and+Rachel&usg=__KbmFiyhA-FIhWlDZFpBEJ8kzp40=&docid=d0RrbP5CPUreIM&hl=en&sa=X&ei=qUJyUNnONJKDqgGvwoG4Bw&sqi=2&ved=0CDIQ9QEwBQ&dur=673