Rachel: Decption

This 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) house.

When Jacob arrived, the first person he met was Rachel, Laban's youngest daughter, and 

he 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.

The 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.

 Rachel 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.

Rachel:  Torment

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