Thursday, January 15, 2009

I'm no Rachel.

OK ... so I'm reading my Bible today, listening for God's voice ... wanting a fresh Word from Him ... new knowledge into His Word ... more intimacy ... something like that.


Here's a brief summary of what I got.

Rachel couldn't have children and she wanted them very badly. She tells Jacob, "Give me children or I will die!" Jacob basically says something like, "Well, it's not my fault you can't have children. Take it up with God."

Rachel begs Jacob to allow her maidservant to sleep (only not "sleep") with Jacob so that she can bear a child for Jacob, and Rachel could then have a family. The maidservant had a child.

But, wait ... it gets better.

Then the maidservant had another child (meaning Jacob "slept" with her a few other times).

Now, Leah did the same thing after she could have no more children.

Then ... here's the kicker.

Rachel really wanted Leah's son's mandrakes (see plant below) he collected from the fields. And Leah said basically this, "No. You're not going to have my son's mandrakes and share my husband." 

Feast your eyes on the mandrake. What's it worth to you?
It was worth a lot to Rachel.
Rachel wants these mandrakes so bad that she tells Leah she can go ahead and sleep with Jacob in exchange for the dang mandrakes. Leah, of course, becomes pregnant again.

Finally, at the end of the story, Rachel becomes pregnant and bears Jacob a son ... Joseph.

I'm sorry, but I'm not going to give my husband other women to sleep with, so that they might have children. I'm just gonna keep tryin' and prayin'. Jacob wouldn't have time to be with any maidservants because I would be trying consistently ... at 4 a.m. and 12 noon ... during a full moon ... whatever it took. And prayin' my head off like Hannah did. But, my husband is not sleeping with my maid, much less my sister. And speaking of that ... what kind of wonderful plant is worth you allowing your sister to sleep with your husband. You're going to exchange sex for a crepe myrtle? I don't think so.

In thinking about all this, I can't help but think that there's something between the relationships women have nowadays with the relationships they had throughout history.

I'm not a theologian, just in case you wondered, but women at that time had to be very competitive ... always worried about how they looked and whether or not they would get chosen to be with the husband that night. Imagine the jealousy and envy. Imagine knowing that the man you love and call your husband is sleeping with one of the other girls. I hate that just thinking about it, much less living it.

Women have been living with this competition and low self-esteem obviously since the beginning of time, always questioning whether they measure up to the girls they sit next to. 

There's one major difference between the women of history and now: it's Jesus. When women truly find their identity in Him, they can be confident and secure in how they were created and who they were created to be. Thank you, Jesus.

27 Comments:

Mike, Brie and The Three said...

Thank you for this. I read the story of Eve yesterday. I think this history of women and self esteem goes straight back to her and the her disobedience.

Joan said...

Great post. I have often struggled with the Old Testament and the culture of their day. Some things are just beyond my understanding.

And yes, Thank you Jesus!

Blessings

BaronessBlack said...

Really interesting post! I've often taken the opposite tack; that women traditionally have had to band together more. When you have no rights, no possessions, no identity except that which the men in your life allow you; maybe the fellowship you feel towards other women that you live with, exceeds the love (duty?) you feel towards your husband?
I sometimes think that being able to bear children must partly have been so important to women in patriarchal societies, because in carrying a child you have something, someone, who is completely YOURS. Albeit only for a short time. In many cultures, even now, children 'belong' to their father.
I think that we are very blessed to be living in a time and culture where we women can follow our calling, whether that involves marriage or not, children or not, going out to work or staying home.
Thank you for the reminder!

Lois Lane II said...

So true! I think about the story of Esther a lot here, just because she was in such a competition to become queen -- and if she didn't become queen, she'd be part of the harem, and who really wants that??

thedomesticfringe said...

This was a great post! Thanks for your insight. I'm glad I don't have to compete for a night with FringeMan! NO MORE WIVES ALLOWED ON THE DOMESTIC FRINGE.
-FringeGirl

Sarah@Life in the Parsonage said...

I know! And we think the world we live in now is weird... :)

The Hat Chick said...

If this story happened today, we'd see it on Maury, Dr. Phil or Oprah with your tagline..."She traded Sex for Crepe Myrtles".

As a woman, if your worth is determined by your ability to bear children and you are barren, then you are worthless. What lengths would you go to if you were worthless?

Amen and amen again that Jesus has come to save us and show us that our worth is given to us by Him and through Him.

Julie @ blessedwithfive said...

I don't think I would have done very well living in those days. I don't think I could share my man - wait, i KNOW I can't share my man!

Rachel said...

Not only that, but look at the self-esteem issues all this caused for Leah. She KNEW Jacob preferred Rachel over her since he worked for her for 7 years and Leah had to sneak into him while he was drunk. I'm sure she enjoyed holding it over Rachel's head that SHE was able to give him babies and Rachel wasn't. What a destructive pattern.

But you hit the nail on the head when it comes to perspective. Jesus is the only one who completes us!

Patrice said...

Great post!

Bonnie said...

Amen sister! (Ok - maybe "sister" is a little bit of a loaded word after this post... but I mean it in the sense of being sisters in Christ.)

Greg C said...

First off we don't have a maid but if we did and my wife said she wanted me to "not sleep" with her I would have to wonder which way she planned on killing me. I can't imagine the opposite happening. It's not going to happen.

TCKK said...

I'm so glad I was born in this time and not that time!

Tante D's better half said...

I was just reading this story this week and the part that got me was when it says Leah "hired" him for the night with her son's mandrakes. He was her husband first. But she had to hire him to sleep with her. It was like a contractual thing. Weird!

RachelQ said...

Awesome post. I read this the other day too and it still amazes me. I was "no Rachel" either.....I just kept praying.

rebel said...

Great post. I enjoyed readin' your interpretation of this Old Testament story. I don't think I would have done very well livin' in those times havin' to share like that. I don't share my husband very well. Actually I don't share my husband at all! And to think there are people who live like that today, even here in America.

Rachel @ Unexpected Blessings said...

I may be a Rachel, but I am with you! Thanks for sharing your heart, not your husband!

Tamara said...

I JUST read this in the Bible yesterday. My thoughts exactly!

Aspiemom said...

On the other hand, some of us would give our husbands away for free! My word, did I just say that??? lol

No, there certainly is a difference between those Biblical days and these.

On another topic, there were some really wacked-out people on AI last night!!!

Wendi @ Every Day Miracles said...

Wow, mandrakes? It's just craziness...
You mean you really aren't a theologian?? Cause, wow, I was thinkin' you were~
:) As always, great and unique perspectives.

2nd Cup of Coffee said...

Jesus was the first male to look on a female as an individual instead of just as property. Another reason to love him.

Jeanette said...

I have always thought that passage was strange. How would agree to "share" their husband? I am so thankful that we no longer live under the Law and live by God's grace and Christ's blood.

Daiquiri said...

Thank you indeed!

Jenn Calling Home said...

I thought the mandrake plant was supposed to help a woman be more fertile; thus her crazy obsession for trying to get it. Could be wrong though...

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Chel's Leaving a Legacy said...

Why didn't she just pick her OWN dang mandrakes???

From A Creative Heart said...

Loved this post!!!