Week 8: Jacob’s Wives and (Goat) Breeding

Reading

Genesis 28-31 (Jacob’s wives; Jacob’s labor for Laban; Jacob’s experimental goat breeding plan)

Questions

Who are our parents?

Does goat breeding work like that?

So, after cheating Esau of the birthright (still unclear why they can’t share it), Jacob flees from the land where he was raised, and goes to stay with his mother Rebekah’s brother, Laban. It’s a marriage plot! Specifically, Jacob’s marriage to not one but two of Laban’s daughters, and his sexual relationship with two of their handmaidens, Bilhah and Zilpah.

Miscellaneous notes from Lucifer:

  • The nomadism of the patriarchs is very important, both in the language of journeys/journeying (“pulling up [tent] stakes”) and in the sheer geographic distances they cover.
    • This is reflected, too, in the way that they interact with cartographies of memory — blessing certain places, naming places (whether etiologically or not), situating themselves in the landscape in terms of journeys taken by ancestors
    • The “journey” is still a metaphor of growth; do we need to move physically to move spiritually?
  • We’re seeing a lot of movement between the specific and the abstract
  • Is Bethel the first temple?
  • What’s the deal with oil? It’s used for making things holy, anointing things
    • as Azazel points out, oil is used to anoint the Messiah (the “anointed one”) and may also have ties to substance use in ancient religion
    • also, Lucifer recalls, oil usually smelled really good! so could have provided a good cover for temples full of rotting/dead carcasses (?)
  • We discuss the psychology and practicalities of polygamy, especially in a metaphysics where the female body contributes nothing genetically…
  • We also discuss the realism of the livestock breeding sequence.
    • Does Jacob have folk knowledge of goat/sheep breeding? (Or, as this article suggests, some inside way of telling which goats have recessive speckled genes? Maybe Yahweh’s voice in his ear?)
    • Does Yahweh do it all by himself?
    • Either way, Yahweh comes out looking pretty powerful.

Resources

The Journey of the Patriarchs [[cool map, weird site]]

Who is Terah, the Father of Abraham? [[article]]

The Red Tent [[trailer for the incredibly dramatic Lifetime miniseries starring Minnie Driver]]

Takeaways:

Jacob needed to unionize! Yahweh’s message so far: “Breed, grow, go.”

Gems from the Chat

Azazel where were you reading about the etymological Moon stuff?

Michael

Etymological Moon Stuff, the name of my new band

Gabriel

Isaac is whipped 🙊

Lucifer

Long-term-stack: ritual washing is such a big thing in early judaism!! And we always think John the Baptist just came up w it out of nowhere… we’ll get there lol

Azazel

I KNEW YOU WERE IN THE SAME HOUSE I KNEW IT

Gabriel

we love an inebriated Bible read

Michael

men, too, can get sexually exhausted

Anael

Image source: BartolomĂ© Esteban Murillo, “Laban Searches for His Household Gods” (1665). Cleveland Museum of Art. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

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