Not only was it clear to Jacob that he’d overstayed his welcome at his father-in-laws’, YAHWEH himself had spoken to him, not just to leave but also where he must leave to in unmistakably clear words. So he called his wives Rachel and Leah, “… and said to them, I see your father’s face, that it is not toward me as before; but the Elohim of my father has been with me. And you know that with all my power I have served your father, and your father had deceived me and changed my wages ten times; but Yahweh suffered him not to hurt me.” (Genesis 31:5-7). Recall the matter of the speckled and ringstreaked herd that we encountered recently, and how before that I had mentioned that Jacob found a match in Laban, when it comes to cunning, with the exception that in this case, he was dealing with a Laban that also had the tools of coercion at his disposal, hence the gratitude Jacob showed towards YAHWEH for protecting him at and from the latter’s hands.
Jacob managed to convince his wives of their father’s wickedness to him, enough to have them agree to flee with him into an uncertain future with all he had acquired in the years he spent with his uncle and father-in-law. Unknown to him, Rachel stole his fathers teraphim (small images or cult objects used as domestic deities or oracles by ancient Semitic peoples) while Laban had gone out to shear his sheep, “… and Jacob deceived Laban the Syrian, in that he told him not that he fled. So he fled with all that he had; and he rose up, and passed over the River, and set his face toward the mountain of Gilead.” (v. 20-21)
Remember that at this time Jacob lived some distance away from his father-in-law. Which is why it took some three days for Jacob’s absence to be noticed and reported to Laban, to which he responded by taking “… his brethren with him, and pursued after him seven days’ journey, and he overtook him in the mountain of Gilead” (v. 23). By night however YAHWEH appeared to Laban in a dream, and asked him not to get into any altercation with Jacob when he encounters him, such that when both met Laban simply berated Jacob for leaving without ceremony, telling him that had YAHWEH not spoken with him the night before he’d probably would’ve done him harm, especially seeing as he assumes Jacob had also stolen his teraphim.
Let me digress a little bit here, and talk about this Teraphim issue. It’s not stated why Rachel stole her father’s deity, but it isn’t out of the ordinary to think that she intends to continue worshipping/bowing before it while in Jacobs new place, seeing as she could easily had let go of it when her father began searching for it, following Jacob’s claim that he had no knowledge as to the whereabouts of his father-in-laws’ God. Though if you also consider that Jacob said, “with whomever you find your elohim, he shall not live” (v.32), it would amount to an act of self preservation on the part of Rachel to have kept quiet, refusing to stand from the camel’s saddle within which she hid the teraphim, claiming she was menstruating.Somehow she managed to keep the idol, and may have continued to worship it, just as it was with the wives of Solomon, for which he was eventually led astray.
In YAHWEH’s bid to make of the children of Israel, “… a kingdom of priests, and a holy nation” (Exodus 19:5), he warned the people against marrying from foreign nations, envisaging that such could result in the men and women of Israel so involved to be drawn away from the path he wanted them to tow. What I have learnt from this, and had earlier alluded to, was that though Jacob loved Rachel so much, Leah on the other hand found favour in the sight of YAHWEH, not just because of the fact that she was spited by her husband, but also HE must’ve foreseen some behaviour in Rachel, such as was displayed later on in her stealing her father’s teraphim, knowing full well that her husband had no need for such, that not only was Leah blessed with many sons and a daughter, it was with Leah’s son Judah, rather than with either of Rachels’ (the apple of Jacob’s eyes) that he established his plan of redemption, not only for the Jews, but with everyone else.
Interestingly, I fell upon this tweet below yesterday:
“@yoruba_proverbs Ìfẹ́ fọ́jú; obìnrin táa bá fẹ́ràn kì í ní àlébù /Love is blind; a woman one really loves seldom has faults.[With love, other concerns pale]”, and it gave an insight into the situation with Jacob, and how Rachel could never do wrong before him, but that didn’t stop YAHWEH from fulfilling his desires with Leah, and it isn’t unusual to find this replayed in our lives today, hence the popularity of the phrase, “Man proposes,…” you know the end of it. Now, this isn’t to say, that in this day and age, you shouldn’t absolutely go marry that one person your heart desires, against the wishes of those who love you and wish the best for you. I’m just saying that we should always look at the bigger picture in such matters, and not be so blinded by “love” to miss out on the big picture. Let me stop here for now, as we move to celebrate the Jewish New Year or Yom Teruah/Rosh Hashanah (being the traditional anniversary of the creation of Adam and Eve), next week Thursday, 21st September, 2017. This is wishing worldwide Jewry a Shanah Tovah Umetukah in advance.
– Genesis Chapter 31 Verses 5 – 32, THE SACRED SCRIPTURES (Bethel Edition), An Assemblies of Yahweh ®, Publication, © 1981 (Fourth Printing, 1993).
BIBLE STORIES (41): THE TERAPHIM https://madukovich.wordpress.com/2017/09/16/bible-stories-41-the-teraphim/
Published by m'khail madukovich