Sunday, January 09, 2011

New Year: Gen 29-31 for Jan 9

Employment. Employment became tough for Jacob (31:41-42), but what a lesson Jacob learned from it (31:42).

These chapters have also some of the greatest humor in the Bible, in the interactions of Jacob and his wives and concubines, enshrined in the names of Jacob's sons. Some of it is lost on us because we don't hear the humor in the words, what we call "puns", and some of it we have to think about. For example, so far, have we had a hint of some humor in the naming of a person, provided by God Himself? Isaac! But, every culture can identify with the dilemma of what to name children, and probably every culture has expressed the aspect of whimsiness in the naming of their own, with of course all the joy too.

The payback theme is under the surface here, too. Abraham -- schemed. Laban -- schemed. Jacob -- schemed, and was the inferior schemer at first, until God took up his cause regarding the sheep.

Was Jacob the "model employee," as he avers in 31:38? Hardly. One of the heights of high mockery of self-righteousness is Jacob's speech to Laban in 31:36-42, when the reader knows all along what Rachel had done in 31:34-35. Had Laban searched one more camel, what could Jacob have done about his vow (31:32)? The rashness of vowing one's righteousness when the evidence of otherwise is sitting there close by will come up again. For Jacob. But let's not get ahead of the story so far.

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