Tricked into having a threesome

Genesis 29

Jacob arrives in Haran, where his uncle Laban lives. While conversing with some local shepherds near a well, his cousin Rachel shows up and he falls in love with her. He goes back and talks with Laban, and they decide that for 7 years worth of work, Jacob can marry Rachel. On the night that Jacob and Rachel are to consummate their marriage, Laban sneaks into the bedroom Leah, Rachel’s less attractive older sister. Jacob consummated with Leah, and is very surprised in the morning to see who has has woken up next to. When he confronts Laban, Laban says for another seven years work, Jacob can have Rachel. Finally, God sees that Jacob loves Rachel, but not Leah. Because Rachel is barren, God attempts to alleviate Leah’s plight of being unloved by Jacob by having her give birth to four sons.

I want to first acknowledge something that took me two readings of this chapter before I recognized. At first I thought it was good that we were finally going to see a marriage because of love, but that gets all screwed up due to Laban, and what he says is the custom (more on this in a moment). Then I realized that this chapter very much displays the rule of men over women. I will be honest in stating that I am not familiar with feminist literature, but I do believe in equal rights, and if this work is supposed to be a guide to morality for modern peoples, then this needs to be addressed, as it so clearly demonstrates in a casual fashion a violation of something I consider to be a basic right, that is equality for all people. While we see Jacob loves Rachel, we never hear once of how Rachel or Leah feel. Further, they seem to just be pushed into these marriages; they seemingly have no right of choice in what happens to them. If the lesson that women are to be valued less than men had not already been driven into the reader yet, this chapter really hits the nail on the head, when both Rachel and Leah are received by Jacob virtually as payment for work done. The lesson here is that women are like goods that you can purchase. As a guide for modern morality, this chapter utterly fails on women’s rights issues. The argument might be presented that these were an ancient people and they simply did not know better, but this is an issue that goes back to Eve, where she was made to serve her Adam after the tree of knowledge incident. If God truly wanted to inspire morality in the sense that I could detect as modern and just, he would have informed his people of the equality of men and women (and all of those in between).

In this chapter we also get to add to the list of Biblically supported non-“traditional” marriage styles with Jacobs marriage to his cousins Rachel and Leah, who are also sisters. The interesting thing about this marriage is that Jacob was tricked into marrying Leah. God doesn’t seem to have a problem with this, but he does have a problem with Jacob not loving Leah. In a glorious display of ignorance of human emotion God gives Leah four sons by Jacob. I am at a loss to see how this will make the situation better in any way. Having children is in no way a guarantee that Jacob will suddenly start to love Leah. If anything, it is just going to create tension between the two sister-wives. Why didn’t God just intercede before Jacob mistakenly married Leah? That would have saved a whole lot of trouble. Again in this chapter we have seen tacit approval by God of deception. In this case a deceptive wedding, which from what I understand from modern Christians, is a pact between two individuals and God. This chapter actually caused me to state out loud, “What the fuck?”

Lessons I Learned

  • A woman has no say in who she marries
  • God thinks babies make men love women
  • Women can be used in lieu of payment for work done (1 women for 7 years of work)
  • Having sex means you are married
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