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Leah: A Dysfunctional Family: The story of Joseph - the first part told through the eyes of his step mother Leah
Posted by Douglas, Apr 24, 2008. 2128 views. ID = 1187

Leah: A Dysfunctional Family

Posted by Douglas, Apr 24, 2008. 2128 views. ID = 1187
This post was written in 41 minutes.
This post has been awarded 24 stars by 6 readers.
This post is Part 2 of a writing series titled Joseph's Story.

Jacob is my husband, and I love him. I love him because he was always such a bad-boy, and there's something about that kind of man that has always appealed to me. But I hate him too, because it was clear from the beginning that his love for me was like a candle dimmed by the glorious sunlight of his love for my sister Rachel.

It was only because of my father's treachery that I got to marry Jacob, and Jacob wasn't too happy about the trick. Why should he be? Who in their right mind would want to marry a homely girl with such weak eyes she can't see beyond her nose without squinting?

It would have been nice if he could have at least pretended he was happy to be married to me. On the other hand, at least I always knew where I stood with him. The man whined like a baby until my father consented to let him marry my sister too.

Though I was older than my sister, I grew up in Rachel's shadow, and now I will never get to leave that shadow; even though she is now dead, I can tell that Jacob loves the memory of her more than he loves me.

When he first walked through the door of my father's home years ago, Jacob was full of stories of his father and his grandfather, and even an innocent girl like me could see that his was a terribly dysfunctional family. There was Abraham, who told everyone his wife was his sister, and had a child by his wife's slave girl (at his wife's request!), only to throw mother and child out into the desert to die when Isaac, the favorite son, was born. Jacob's parents weren't much better than his grandparents; from the birth of their twin children they had each chosen a favorite child, and pitted the two brothers against each other in a strange power struggle that deformed both of their lives.

I guess, with all that family history, I assumed Jacob would have learned a lesson or two about how not to maintain a healthy family. I was wrong. I first realized I was wrong when barren Rachel - who had heard the story of Abraham and Sarah and Hagar as many times I had - decided to follow in Sarah's footsteps and give a slave girl to her husband, and then pretended the sons born to the slave girl were hers.

Yes, I confess, I did the same thing, but Rachel was the one who started it.

By the time I, my slave girl, and Rachel's slave girl were done with Jacob, he had ten sons, and not a one of them was Rachel's own. Then, at last, there came son number eleven: Rachel's firstborn child, Joseph.

Rachel was insufferable in her gloating. Jacob acted like this newborn baby was the only child he'd ever had. Judah, Reuben, and all the others stood by in open bewilderment as Jacob began treating them exactly as he had always treated me: with a dismissive, almost contemptuous indifference.

Things came to a head yesterday when Jacob gave out gifts to all his sons. He had robes made for all of them; how fine they all looked in their new garments! Simeon stood straight and tall and powerful in his deep blue robe, Reuben was like a god or a king in his purple garment, and the others wore shades of red and green and yellow - a vibrant mix of colors.

Then came the favored son - the child who was firstborn, even though he had ten older brothers. We quickly understood what Jacob had done; each of the older brothers' robes had been hemmed long, and a strip of cloth had been cut from each, in order to have a multi-colored cloak sewn together for beloved Joseph. Who could miss the insult to the rest of us as Joseph stood before the family - proud and smug - wearing all the colors of the rainbow?

I may be mostly blind, but even I can see this family is headed for disaster.

Copyright 2008 Douglas. All rights reserved. has been granted non-exclusive rights to display this work. For permission to reprint this item, please contact the author.

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This post has been awarded 24 stars by 6 readers.
This post is Part 2 of a writing series titled Joseph's Story. The next part of this series can be found here: Jacob: The Dreaming Son.
This is a revised version of a post. Click here to view the original version

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