Sunday, July 26, 2009

Genesis 29 and 30

In Genesis 29, Supplanter gets conned by his uncle. It runs in the family, and Supplanter really should have seen it coming. After all, Supplanter was a masterful deceiver and con artist himself, a skill set he uses in chapter 30 against his uncle.

To Bind's brother had two daughters, Weary and Ewe. Weary had "weak eyes", but Ewe was beautiful. Supplanter offered to work for his uncle 7 years in exchange for the hand of Ewe. On the wedding night, the uncle substitutes Weary, and Supplanter awakes to find that he is married to Weary intead of Ewe. In exchange for the promise of another 7 years of service, the uncle permits Supplanter to marry Ewe about a week after the marriage to Weary.

Although Weary is "unloved", she is not completely ignored for she bears Supplanter four sons: Behold a Son, God Has Heard, Attached, and Praised. These names were messages from Weary to Supplanter, hints that God favored Weary by letting her bear sons while Ewe was barren.

In the face of this, Ewe resorts to giving her maid to Supplanter as a surrogate mother who begets sons He Judged and Wrestler. Not to be outdone, Weary gives her maid to Supplanter as an additional wife. Weary's maid begets sons Luck and Happy.

At some point Ewe grants Weary the right to lie with Supplanter in exchange for some mandrakes. This leads to another son Hireling. Weary's not through, though, and gives Supplanter yet another son Exaltation.

At long last God "remembers" Ewe and opens her womb so that she bears a son He Will Add.

After 11 sons and at least one daughter have been born, Supplanter expresses a desire to his uncle to return home. The uncle is reluctant because Supplanter has made him rich in livestock with his superior management skills. At last, they come to an agreement whereby Supplanter would be entitled to certain variants of the livestock. Meanwhile, since Supplanter is in still in charge of the livestock, he has some control over their breeding patterns. It is perhaps unsurprising that he arranges things so that the variants to which he is entitled become even more numerous and that Supplanter's flocks would be stronger than his uncle's. Supplanter's rudimentary knowledge of population genetics coupled with his unscrupulousness serve him well.

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