My Story (Chapter 2)

Caught in sleepless nights, Jacob frequents the comfort of the terebinth tree near the altar. There, Jacob confides in Zilpah that he has had dreams calling him back to his homeland, Canaan. While the women are in the red tent, they speak of Jacob’s dreams and his plans to move them south to his homeland. Rachel, who has travelled to many lands to birth children and aid the sick and dying, is eager to see the mountains and be near a bustling marketplace. Leah, on the other hand, is content living in the valley of her birth. Bilhah is reluctant to leave behind Adah’s bones and the memory of the only mother she ever knew. But Zilpah staunchly resists the move, claiming that the family will upset the gods to their own detriment if the family leaves them behind. Rachel assures her sister that they will be able to take the gods with them and concocts a clever plan to leave with Laban’s teraphim, the stone idols of the gods that he keeps in his tent.

Leah and Rachel to go Jacob in the field to tell him of their consent to leave the camp of Laban, and afterward the men begin negotiations. Laban refuses to let Jacob leave a rich man, but Jacob ultimately gains the upper hand by preying on Laban’s ignorance of the flocks and his fear of the gods. Laban submits to Jacob’s request for the brindled flocks (which are not as pretty but have a hardier constitution), a few bondsmen and their wives, and the belongings of his wives and children. Secretly, the women weave herbs and other treasures into the hems of their clothing to prepare for the trip.

As the family makes plans to leave, Bilhah fears that their departure will bring Ruti’s death either from Laban’s extreme abuse or from Ruti’s inner sorrow. But even before they depart, Dinah finds Ruti in a shallow well, her wrist slit and carrion birds hovering overhead. A few days after the men bury Ruti, Jacob’s family is nearly ready to leave, but Laban has departed for the city and has left his elder son, Kemuel, in charge. Rachel takes this to her advantage and uses herbs to drug her brother while she slips into Laban’s tent to pack the teraphim. When all is packed, Jacob does not want to leave in Laban’s absence and risk being called a thief. However, Rachel persuades Jacob to leave before twilight. On the way from the camp, the family members each make an offering upon the altar at the bamah. The mothers do not look back.