What the heck is going on here? You’d think Jacob would have learned from the mess his father and grandfather had gotten into with multiple wives and servants and so on, but no. Here we are again, multiple wives and wives giving servants to have children.
What the what? I mean really? And all this time God is not saying anything about ‘traditional marriage’ and all that.
But whatever. Here we are. Jacob’s children, 12 of them, are the patriarchs of the 12 Tribes of Israel (Jacob’s name will be changed to Israel soon, but we’ll get to that later.) And this story is about how those children came to be.
And also in today’s reading is the story of how Jacob manages to manipulate the herds he tends to rip off his father in law and then tried to run away.
It’s like God is trying to tell us something about these people we learn about in Sunday school. And I don’t know about you, but I don’t remember hearing about how terrible these people were (by our 21st century standards) and the kinds of things they did to each other.
(To be fair, Jacob didn’t really so much rip off his father in law as he was being ripped off. But by conservative standards, Jacob was the bad guy by not obeying his boss. From a more employee friendly view, Laban was the bad buy, but you can debate that if you wish.)
I keep saying “the stage is set”, but it seem like we just keep taking baby steps. We’re still in the part of history that was probably handed down orally, which explains the parallels in the stories of our patriarchs with their wives and servants and dealings with kings (“you’re my sister, k?”)
We have a few more chapters of Genesis before we get to Moses (who supposedly wrote these stories down). If Moses was real and if he recorded his own history, then that should be more trustworthy, right?
I’ll let you decide that. But for now, we’re still here with Jacob.