Women in Biblical Tradition
Azusa Pacific University
Dr. Kathryn Smith
February 12, 2003
"Women as Matriarchs"

I.   Rachel
A.   Rachel and the promise
1.   Why is surrogate birth (through the handmade) all right with Rachel and not with Sarah?
a.   God may not have made the promise to Rachel like He did to Sarah (Gen 17:19)
b.   Jacob cannot go back to Laban for more wives - there has to come sometime when he needs to have a heir
2.   What do you think about Rachel & Leah's competition?
a.   Son brings so much honor to the woman
b.   It shows value, as being part of the covenant
c.   Producing a son is a form of perpetuating the family line and ultimately her protection after Jacob dies
3.   Why doesn't God condemn the taking of multiple wives?
a.   More women could reproduce quicker and in greater number (it is about survival)?
b.   God's commands potentially could be silent because of his interaction within the cultural needs
4.   Why doesn't God condemn the way Rachel & Leah treat their maids?
a.   Rachel and Leah are oppressors while supposedly be oppressed by patriarchy at the same time
b.   Andy's opinion: slavery was not what we understand slavery - slavery in this time period was protecting the weak because they would not be given any other opportunity - biblical slavery should be viewed as "low-pay" jobs of the current era
c.   Still, they are used as sex objects and that raises its own interesting questions
B.   Rachel as agent
1.   Is she an active agent
2.   Compared to Jacob?
3.   Which character - Rachel or Jacob - is the focus of the narrative?
C.   The Power to Name
1.   Rachel & Leah - not Jacob, name their children
2.   Is the power to name significant?
D.   Rachel and the Terphim
1.   Motive to steal the household gods
2.   Deceiving the deceiver motif