Jacob is popping out kids left and right! He’s having so many kids with so many women, it’s hard to keep up with whom belonged to whom and which one did what. This chapter really emphasized to me the preciousness of step-families. Yes, Jacob was having children with four women. Yes, it was chaotic. Yes, there was conflict, but in it, there was love. Jacob loved all his children, and even though it probably was super weird, he loved his wives, also. I don’t know how he showed it to them from day to day (or in the bedroom), but the second half of this chapter proves he wants to take care of all of them the best way he knows how. Laban insists that Jacob stay and continue getting a paycheck for his labor, and even though Jacob is ready to leave, he puts his thinking cap on and uses his critical thinking skills. Instead of arguing and causing a huge family feud, Jacob says, “Ok, I’ll stay. You don’t even have to pay me, just let me start a flock of my own so I can start providing for my family on my own.” Consider it like this: Jacob was employed by Laban, but Jacob wanted to start his own business, similar to that of the one his boss had run and taught him to run for about two decades or so. In my hometown that would be like someone working at the Dairy Mart for 15 years and then taking the skills learned and opening their own burger and shake shack right beside it. You can see why Laban might be intimidated, but we already know Laban is kinda shady, so why would we expect him to respond with any kind of integrity? Though, through Laban’s sneaky acts – from keeping Jacob for 14 years and tricking him to marry his daughter Leah to cheating him out of livestock – Jacob just keeps outsmarting him (with God’s help, of course). Foiled again, Laban! Mwhahahahaha!
I kind of got off on a tangent there, but let’s get back to the step-kids and half brothers and sisters, who also are nephews and nieces and cousins. Did you lose complete track of the family tree during this chapter? Me too. I like how it multiplies though. It’s kind of the part in the Bible when you want to say, “Ok, here we gooooo! God is branching out that family tree!” Abram had children with two wives. Jacob gets four. Meanwhile, Abram’s brothers’ families are branching out as well. We start seeing that “pay it forward” effect right here! The entire human race is multiplying right before our eyes, and these scatterbrained, bad decision-making, sinful, dare I say fools, are the direct descendants and family members of JESUS. That makes me feel so much better about myself and my crazy family members. Jesus had a CRAZY family, too! It also makes me appreciate even more my step-family – and the fact that we don’t have to be perfectly put-together people to be in the family of Jesus.
Writing prompt: family trees
Write about the craziest branch of your family tree.