Rachel (Wives of the Patriarchs #3)


Jacob, with the help of his mother, has stolen the blessing that should have gone to his brother, Esau.  Jacob, cursed by Esau, flees their home and travels to the home of Laban, his uncle. On arrival he meets and instantly falls in love with Laban’s second daughter, Rachel. Anyone familiar with the biblical story knows that Jacob is about to reap the scorn and confusion wrought by betrayal, a potent lesson indeed.  Leah connives with Laban to marry Jacob first, to Rachel’s immense sorrow. Jacob must serve seven years of labor for Leah and then seven more years to win marriage to Rachel. Severe costs follow for all involved. Readers at first will wonder if the animosity between Leah and Rachel will ever end; then one realizes the strife will only increase with every child Leah and Rachel have. At a certain point, the troubles become annoying to the reader, and this is the precise point where one realizes this was not just a story but the actual, day-to-day conflict eroding all chance of resolution and almost doomed to end in disaster.  One also realizes these attitudes will perpetuate in time and pass on to the sons of the sisters. Jill Eileen Smith does a superb job at making this tale seem like unbearable but fascinating historical reality.

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