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Sex and Marriage in the Old Testament

Posted by: webmaster2 on Monday, October 16, 2006 - 08:40 _PRINTPrinter friendly page  _EMAILFRIENDSend this story to a friend
The History Of Marriages

By Jonatas Dornelles
Anthropologist

A sad epic in history of sexuality was written upon the patriarchs’ sexual affairs.  The Bible is known by crossing out events wrapped in sexual innuendos but this time around it took sex and only sex to run water under the bridge. Our ancestors led busy sexual lifestyles in spite of all the epic narratives that bring us heroes and their sexual entanglements under wraps.

Abraham’s marriage was a crossover between polygamy and monogamy. He had servants and maidens, and at the same time would lead a monogamist conjugal life along with Sara. She was sterile and felt jealous towards the women who surrounded him and from who bore children, mostly those whose sons were of the male sex. 

The prime victim of her jealousy was the concubine called Agar. She was the mother of an heir of Abraham. Her son apparently had gone through a great deal of sufferance from all this jealousy. Abraham was the patriarch and loved Agar dearly, having taken a lot of pride on her son, - Ishmael.

In spite of it, ended up succumbing against the repeatedly pounding from Sara and sent out Agar along with her son to the desert.    

The marriage of Jacob-grandson of Abraham- with Rachel brought again a string of conjugal upheavals, sterility, envy, sudden death of his partner and fall out with his father in law.

Jacob saw Rachel by a water spring and fell for her. Her father demanded that he would have to work his way up for it. So he did and by the turn of seven years, and so was the marriage arrangement set up then.

 The father couldn’t help his nature and didn’t want his elder and ugliest daughter to get left up the garden path. Under the protection of a wedding yashmak to Jacob was given the wrong sister. At night, in the nuptial chamber, he lifts the veil and gets gobsmacked- they got him Lea, a Rachel’s sister.   

Then fall outs began between the father in law and the son in law. Jacob goes overboard. Yet the father in law, sharply, got him to work for another “seven years” in a row. Only then he would earn the right to take up Rachel as a wife. Jacob must have been such a hard working lad, since the land plot did grown prosperous past by the other “seven years”.

Would describe so well the whether in the desert of that region such a remark coined by Jacob himself and deemed ultimate-“during the day I broke a sweat and at night shivered upon thy”.

There comes the day when something becomes unbearable. Having her father gone on a journey, Jacob takes the oxen that was meant for him, the women pack their gear and they hit the road altogether.

Like Sara, also Rachel is sterile to begin with. She digs in her heels overburden by envy over her sister Lea, who is fertile. In her despair she gets up to all sorts of tricks. Finally gives birth to a son of Jacob and pops her clogs. Jacob, who in the meantime had ten kids from his other women, regrets deeply the lost of his juvenile love and builds her a tomb.

More than any other son, Jacob loves his junior, who remained as his reminder of Rachel.

Pampering him waged the brothers’ evil eye, who in turn sold Joseph to random Bedouins. Therefore Joseph got to Egypt. There went to work at the house of a royal servant, whose wife tries to make a pass at him.  Turn out to be, in the Bible, the first example of adulterous woman. The reason is typical, the husband works too much and the wife, neglected, flirts with a handsome boy.

This brief narrative of the matrimonial in the old commandment brings about a string of aspects still discussed to the day, envy, sterility within marriage, “struggle” over love and cheat. The framework of unison imparted by the Bible played influence upon the western Christian. Still today we get confronted by the same problems poised by the Biblical characters.

 

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