Rachel, The Beloved
Mother of Joseph, the Prime Minister of Israel
After Jacob bargained with his brother Esau for the birthright, obtaining it for a mess of pottage, and then gained his father’s blessing by the deception, he fled, according to his mother’s directions, to Haran, her girlhood home. Esau had already married two wives outside the tribe, and so ha forfeited his inheritance.
Jacob, at his parents’ directions, seeks a wife from among their kindred in the far east. He comes to the home of his uncle Laban, meets his cousin Rachel, and loves her. According to the Chaldean custom, he serves for her, as he has no property. The contract is made, and shrewd Laban gets seven years of Jacob’s time, but to the lover the time seems short.
There was a Chaldean custom of which Jacob was ignorant. Daughters must be married in the order of their ages. At the end of seven years the older sister Leah was given him instead of Rachel, and he was obliged to seven years more for the woman he loved.
There was a strife for maternity between these wives, and each gave Jacob a slave wife to multiply offspring to her own account. From these four wives came the heads of the twelve tribes of Israel.
Sharp business practices indulged in by Jacob and his father-in-law, and jealousy of Jacob’s success, induced the latter, after secret conference with his wives, to flee to Palestine, which, as he had become a member of his wives’ clan, was contrary to law without their father’s consent. When Laban returned, gathering his armed retainers, he pursued Jacob, but was restrained from capturing him by a divine admonition, but he added to the marriage contract of Jacob a proviso that no wives of another tribe should be taken by Jacob.
Subsequently, as an outcome of frequent family quarrels, Rachel’s eldest son Joseph was sold as a slave in Egypt, and there became the second ruler or prime minister, at the time of the famine saved his father and family by bringing them to Egypt.
Reference: Woman: Her Position, Influence and Achievement Throughout the Civilized World. Designed and Arranged by William C. King. Published in 1900 by The King-Richardson Co. Copyright 1903 The King-Richardson Co.