One time while visiting a local book warehouse, I found a rather small book in the religious section. Out of the Garden: Women Writers of the Bible was different from many of the others, and I immediately snatched it up as a good book to trade for. (For two of my own books, they will give me one of theirs.) It's a collection of essays from Jewish and Christian women who were asked to choose a theme, person or story from the Old Testament in a quest to see how contemporary women read the Bible.
I started reading it a couple days ago, and have already found some
thought-provoking stuff. I enjoyed the alternate view of Lot's wife
turning to salt. Such a clever ending to that essay by Rebecca
During a chapter on Rachel and Leah, I decided to jot down a few
observations (some pointed out in the book; some my own). These aren't
necessarily new "aha!" moments for me, but I don't believe I've
mentioned them here before.
--- Have you ever noticed how many barren women are mentioned in the Bible?
The author mentioned this one: Rachel demanding from Jacob children
lest she die (Genesis 30:1). And then she died having her second son
Also, why would she demand children from Jacob when it was clearly her inability to conceive? (It seems women in the past were often blamed for infertility when it was not their faults, but clearly Jacob was fertile.) So why demand children of Jacob this way? Any ideas? (The author has one, but I'll see what you say first.)
--- Also, ever notice this verse from Deuteronomy 21, and how often it wasn't necessarily followed before it became Law? By God's decree even?
a man has two wives, and he loves one but not the other, and both bear
him sons but the firstborn is the son of the wife he does not love, 16 when
he wills his property to his sons, he must not give the rights of the
firstborn to the son of the wife he loves in preference to his actual
firstborn, the son of the wife he does not love.
--- Read this from Genesis 30:
wheat harvest, Reuben went out into the fields and found some mandrake
plants, which he brought to his mother Leah. Rachel said to Leah,
“Please give me some of your son’s mandrakes.”
15 But she said to her, “Wasn’t it enough that you took away my husband? Will you take my son’s mandrakes too?”
“Very well,” Rachel said, “he can sleep with you tonight in return for your son’s mandrakes.”
when Jacob came in from the fields that evening, Leah went out to meet
him. “You must sleep with me,” she said. “I have hired you with my son’s
mandrakes.” So he slept with her that night.
joys of polygyny? Jacob seems reduced to a token between his two wives
who decide it's fair to exchange a night in his company for plants.
I'll see if I have more as I continue the book.