Good Family Living

Genesis 29: 15-30
Laban said to Jacob, "Because you are my kinsman, are you to work for me without payment? Tell me what wages you want." Now Laban had two daughters, the elder named Leah, and the younger Rachel. There was no sparkle in Leah's eyes, but Rachel was shapely and beautiful, and Jacob had fallen in love with Rachel. So his answer was, "I will work for you seven years to win your younger daughter Rachel." Laban replied, "It is better for me to give her to you than to a stranger, stay with me." To win Rachel, therefore, Jacob worked seven years, and they seemed to him like a few days because he loved her so much. Then Jacob said to Laban, "Give me my wife, for my time is finished, and I should like to go to her." Laban gathered all the people of the place together, and gave a banquet. But when night came he took his daughter Leah and brought her to Jacob, and he slept with her.

(Laban gave his slave girl Zilpah to be his daughter Leah's slave.) When morning came, there was Leah. So Jacob said to Laban, "What is this you have done to me? Did I not work for you to win Rachel? Why then have you tricked me?" Laban answered, "It is not the custom in our country to give the younger before the elder. Finish this marriage week and I will give you the other one too in return for your working with me another seven years." Jacob did this, and when the week was over, Laban gave him his daughter Rachel as his wife. (Laban gave his daughter Rachel his slave girl Bilhah to be her slave.) So Jacob slept with Rachel also, and he loved Rachel more than Leah. He worked with Laban another seven years.

II Samuel 11: 2-4
It happened toward evening when David had risen from his couch and was strolling on the palace roof, that he saw from the roof a woman bathing; the woman was very beautiful. David made inquiries about this woman and was told, "Why, that is Bathsheba, Eliam's daughter, the wife of Uriah the Hittite." Then David sent messengers and had her brought. She came to him, and he slept with her; now she had just purified herself from her courses. She then went home again.

II Samuel 12: 16-19
Yahweh struck the child that Uriah's wife had borne to David and it fell gravely ill. David pleaded with Yahweh for the child; he kept a strict fast and went home and spent the night on the bare ground, covered with sacking. The officials of his household came and stood around him to get him to rise from the ground, but he refused, nor would he take food with them. On the seventh day the child died. David's officers were afraid to tell him the child was dead. "Even when the child was alive," they thought, "we reasoned with him and he would not listen to us. How can we tell him the child is dead? He will do something desperate." David, however, noticed that his officers were whispering among themselves, and realized that the child was dead. "Is the child dead?" he asked the officers. They answered, "He is dead."

Genesis 30: 1-11
Rachel, seeing that she herself gave Jacob no children, became jealous of her sister. And she said to Jacob, "Give me children, or I shall die!" This made Jacob angry with Rachel, and he retorted, "Am I in God's place? It is he who has refused you motherhood." So she said, "Here is my slave girl, Bilhah. Sleep with her so that she may give birth on my knees; through her, then, I too shall have children!" So she gave him her slave girl Bilhah as a wife. Jacob slept with her, and Bilhah conceived and gave birth to a son by Jacob. Then Rachel said, "God has done me justice; yes, he has heard my prayer and given me a son." Accordingly she named him Dan. Again Rachel's slave girl Bilhah conceived and gave birth to a second son by Jacob. Then Rachel said, "I have fought God's fight with my sister, and I have won"; so she named him Naphtali. Now Leah, seeing that she had no more children, took her slave girl Zilpah and gave her to Jacob as a wife. So Leah's slave girl Zilpah gave birth to a son by Jacob. Then Leah exclaimed, "What good fortune!" So she named him Gad.

Genesis 27: 1-35
Isaac had grown old, and his eyes were so weak that he could no longer see. He summoned his elder son Esau, "My son!" he said to him, and the latter answered, "I am here." Then he said, "See, I am old and do not know when I may die. Now take your weapons, your quiver and bow; go out into the country and hunt me some game. Make me the kind of savory I like and bring it to me, so that I may eat, and give you my blessing before I die." Rebekah happened to be listening while Isaac was talking to his son Esau. So when Esau went into the country to hunt game for his father, Rebekah said to her son Jacob, "I have just heard your father saying to your brother Esau, 'Bring me some game and make a savory for me. Then I shall eat, and bless you in the presence of Yahweh before I die.' Now my son, listen to me and do as I tell you. Go to the flock, and bring me back two good kids, so that I can make the kind of savory your father likes. Then you can take it to your father for him to eat so that he may bless you before he dies." Jacob said to his mother Rebekah, "Look, my brother Esau is hairy, while I am smooth-skinned. If my father happens to touch me, he will see I am cheating him, and I shall bring down a curse on myself instead of a blessing." But his mother answered him, "On me be the curse, my son! Just listen to me; go and fetch me the kids." So he went to fetch them, and he brought them to his mother, and she made the kind of savory his father liked. Rebekah took her elder son Esau's best clothes, which she had in the house, and dressed her younger son Jacob in them, covering his arms and the smooth part of his neck with the skins of the kids. Then she handed the savory and the bread she had made to her son Jacob. He presented himself before his father and said, "Father." "I am here"; was the reply "who are you, my son?" Jacob said to his father, "I am Esau your first-born; I have done as you told me. Please get up and take your place and eat the game I have brought and then give me your blessing." Isaac said to his son, "How quickly you found it, my son!" "It was Yahweh your God," he answered, "who put it in my path." Isaac said to Jacob, "Come here, then, and let me touch you, my son, to know if you are my son Esau or not." Jacob came close to his father Isaac, who touched him and said, "The voice is Jacob's voice but the arms are the arms of Esau!" He did not recognize him, for his arms were hairy like his brother Esau's, and so he blessed him. He said, "Are you really my son Esau?" And he replied, "I am." Isaac said, "Bring it here that I may eat the game my son has brought, and so may give you my blessing." He brought it to him and he ate; he offered him wine, and he drank. His father Isaac said to him, "Come closer, and kiss me, my son." He went closer and kissed his father, who smelled the smell of his clothes. He blessed him saying:

"Yes, the smell of my son
is like the smell of a fertile field blessed by Yahweh.
May God give you
dew from heaven,
and the richness of the earth,
abundance of grain and wine!
May nations serve you and peoples bow down before you!
Be master of your brothers;
may the sons of your mother bow down before you!
Cursed be he who curses you;
blessed be he who blesses you!"

As soon as Isaac had finished blessing Jacob, and just when Jacob was leaving the presence of his father Isaac, his brother Esau returned from hunting. He too made a savory and brought it to his father. He said to him, "Father, get up and eat the game your son has brought and then give me your blessing!" His father Isaac asked him, "Who are you?" "I am your first-born son, Esau," he replied. At this Isaac was seized with a great trembling and said, "Who was it, then, that went hunting and brought me game? Unsuspecting I ate before you came; I blessed him, and blessed he will remain!" When Esau heard his father's words, he cried out loudly and bitterly to his father, "Father, bless me too!" But he replied, "Your brother came by fraud and took your blessing."

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