Skip to comments.Rachel's Motivation Genesis 31 [Ecumenical]
Posted on 07/30/2012 2:29:39 PM PDT by Thermopylae
Genesis 31:19 "When Laban had gone to shear his sheep, Rachel stole her father's house-hold gods."
Why did Rachel steal her father's household gods? Were they valuable (made of gold), was it revenge, was she stealing her father's 'power,' or what? I would appreciate anyone's opinion on this question.
Possession of those objects of worship made her husband the new tribal leader.
She took the trap him from her father , hoping he would repent from his idolatrous ways
She took the teraphim from her father , hoping he would repent from his idolatrous ways
Seems to me you are right. I think at that early time people still clung to early Caananite idols/dieties, perhaps they could be compared to the Latin tribes ‘lares et penates’, the household spirits of luck, of forefathers, ancestors etc.
It seems by the above, that Rachel may have felt it belonged to her because her father had nothing of value left.
I know the answer, because the Caribbean is still like this: it was so that their power couldn’t be used against Jacob and his fleeing family.
Unlikely to be made of gold. Most were wood. The most probable reason was because of a supposed power the "god" held. The most likely reason was fertility. Her husband seemed able to provide for a comfortable living, so what else was there to hope for?
I’m looking forward to reading all the comments and answers!
“Possession of those objects of worship made her husband the new tribal leader.”
That makes sense. Thanks!
“She took the teraphim from her father , hoping he would repent from his idolatrous ways”
I hope you are correct but I am doubtful. Stealing from him might only make him angry and couldn’t he just go out and make some new ‘gods?’
“14Rachel and Leah said to him, Do we still have any portion or inheritance in our fathers house? 15Are we not reckoned by him as foreigners? For he has sold us, and has also entirely consumed our purchase price. 16Surely all the wealth which God has taken away from our father belongs to us and our children; now then, do whatever God has said to you.
It seems by the above, that Rachel may have felt it belonged to her because her father had nothing of value left.”
Perhaps, but from the way she is speaking, I am more inclined to think of a revenge motive. It sounds like she is saying something like, “Absolutely Jacob, lets leave this place. My dad only thinks of me as property anyway.” Perhaps she held a grudge against him for treating her like property and to add insult to injury, he squanders the prize he received for her.
“I know the answer, because the Caribbean is still like this: it was so that their power couldnt be used against Jacob and his fleeing family.”
Thanks for the reply! It is sad for me to think that she actually believed that these idols had power after being exposed to the God of Abraham.
“The most likely reason was fertility.”
Rachel was locked in a fertility battle with her sister Leah so this sounds like a reasonable explanation.
She does sound angry but it seems to me she is angry about more practical matters then how her father treated her. Yes, Rachel and Leah were probably considered property by her father because their names mean ewe-Rachel and cow-Leah.
As daughters, it was a custom for the husband to reimburse the father for the lost fruits of labor that his daughter would provide. The wealth that they created by their past labors and by their dowry would eventual come to them when their father passed. By the fathers poor stewardship he had nothing to leave them.
On a spiritual level, their earthly father has nothing of value to give them. What us earthly fathers do have is either worthless or idols. When God calls us to do his will we always find it difficult to leave everything behind. We want to take our idols with us because that is what we are comfortable with. We see this concept developed in Lot's wife.
The inheritance that man leaves behind is worthless as Laban's idols compared to the inheritance that God provides through his Son Jesus. We are heirs:
Romans 8:15 And by him we cry, Abba, Father. 16The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are Gods children. 17Now if we are children, then we are heirsheirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.
Well, who knows how much she, a woman, one of four wives, was told about God? It’s not like she was converted and baptized. People don’t change the customs they were raised with, that are part of the only culture that they see around them. Personally, after having lived in a culture like that, I think she did the right thing.
You are welcome.