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is the classic tale of thwarted love. Esau and Jacob were the twin
sons of Isaac and Rebecca. Esau was born first and Jacob came out
holding Esau's heel. Esau was larger and stronger than Jacob. He was
the hunter, while Jacob was more thoughtful and sensitive. Jacob was
favored by is mother who felt he should be the one to lead the Jewish
people even thought by birth that honor would fall to Esau as the
older son. When Isaac was dying, Rebecca directed Jacob to trick his
father. He went to the dying Isaac and pretended to be Esau. He
received the blessing of the First Born becoming the one to inherit
his father's role as leader of the people. Esau found out and become
very angry. Jacob ran away and hid at Laban's (Rebecca's cousin)
Jacob arrived, the first person he met was Rachel, Laban's youngest
immediately fell in love with her. He was taken in by Lavan and
allowed to live there and work there. He asked Lavan for Rachel's hand
and was told that if he worked there for seven years he could marry
her. He did this, and the wedding day came. After the ceremony, the
new couple went into their tent to consummate their marriage. Lavan
had covered his daughter in heavy veils for the ceremony, and
unknowingly, Jacob had married Leah, the older and less attractive
daughter. Tradition, of course, was to marry the elder daughter off
first, and Lavan neatly accomplished this with his trick. My theory is
that Jacob must have acquiesced to being tricked on some level,
perhaps to assuage his own guilt at having tricked Isaac and betraying
Esau. He had to subconsciously agree to the arrangement or it wouldn't
have worked. I also think that Rachel would have had to participate in
someway. It is not believable that he would not have recognized the
difference after having lived around them both for seven years. Rachel
was under the bed and spoke for Leah so that when Jacob spoke, Rachel
would answer. She did this out of filial duty and love for her sister
who might never have married otherwise.
The second painting is
the image of her anguish at she thought of the man who should be her
husband, and her sister, consummating their marriage as she hid alone
under the bed.
next day after Jacob discovered who was really in the tent with him,
he confronted Lavan. Lavan said, "you can have Rachel too, and
you marry her next week. But you have to work seven more years for
her." Jacob did although now he ended up with two sisters married
to the same man. This caused incredible strife throughout their lives
and extended to subsequent generations.
When they married, Leah
conceived immediately and went on have five sons and one daughter.
When Jacob married Rachel, she suffered great difficulty conceiving,
but ultimately had
two children, Joseph and Benjamin. These twelve children, including
four from servants, beget the twelve tribes of Israel.
Sadly, Rachel died in
childbirth with Benjamin. In her memory, Jacob loved Joseph and
Benjamin above the rest. He prized them above the others and gave them
everything. This resulted in the other brothers becoming very jealous,
to the point that they allowed Joseph to be sold into slavery in the
famous story of the coat of many colors.
symbolizes motherhood. She wanted children desperately, and ultimately
gave her life to have her children. Even though she sacrificed herself
for her sister, her husband, and then for her children, her ultimate
reward is she became the mother of a nation.
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