Thursday, February 22, 2018

Genesis 29:21-30:24 #eebc2018

As we take a look at this reading, I'd take a bit of an issue with the CSB's rendering of Genesis 29:21. While the Hebrew is a euphemism for consummating the marriage and the CSB is making it clear by presenting it as "sleep with her," I think the euphemism should be left there. And, yes, I know "sleep with her" is still less blatant than "go have sex," I'm in favor of leaving euphemisms as close to literal as possible. I think it serves us to let the text speak as close to the original as possible. So, I like NASB here, or ESV. That's a personal preference, though.

This passage gives us Laban's deception of Jacob. For that matter, he seems to deceive Leah and Rachel as well. All told, he comes off a little bit sketchy here. Leah is given to Jacob first as a wife, then Rachel second. The deal is that Jacob worked seven years expecting Rachel, but Laban gave him Leah instead. I don't know how you get through the whole wedding night without realizing you've got the wrong woman, but that's apparently what we have here. Then, after completing the bridal week with her, he commits to seven more years in exchange for getting the bride he wanted in the first place.

That's a terrible use of daughters, for the record, though it's in line with the normal of the time.

From there, we have the narratives of the births of the sons of Jacob. We have the first eleven in this passage, with Joseph being born last. Benjamin will come later in the story. We see that Jacob ends up involved with four women: Leah, Zilpah, Rachel, and Bilhah. He's not hurting for female company.

Unfortunately, Jacob's not well-equipped to deal with the large family. We'll see the consequences develop later, though God still works through them.

What do we learn from this, other than a cautionary tale about marriage?

First, we see that the cunning will always find someone who is willing to try and outdo them. If you think you can outsmart everyone, you are probably wrong.

Second, consider the things we work for. Jacob worked for the woman he loved for fourteen years. That's a serious personal investment.

Third, notice that Jacob shows he is starting to understand how things truly work. Rachel demands children from him...and he points out that God is in control of such things. There is something to be said for the starting points. We all start somewhere in our faith. Jacob is truly starting out here, and he'll grow.

Where are you in your understanding of who God is? Can you let God work in you through His Word to grow it more?

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