Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Vindicate

Dan was the fifth son born to Jacob, the first son born to Bilhah Rachel's servant, the first child who called Rachel his mother.

When Bilhah delivered Dan, Rachel said, "God has vindicated me, he has listened to my plea and given me a son."

Jacob said of his son, "Dan will provide justice for his people as one of the tribes of Israel.  Dan will be a serpent by the roadside, a viper along the path that bites the horse's heels that its rider stumbles backward."

Moses said, "Dan is a lion's cub, spring out of Bashan."

The tribe of Dan was part of the rear guard, along with the tribes of Asher and Naphtali.  They marched 10th in the desert and camped on north side of the tabernacle.  

If one judges the mothers of the twelve sons of Jacob by what they said at the birth of each child, one could sit high on a horse, looking down with unbalanced scales and wonder why in the world these words, out of all the words surely these mothers spoke over these children, why were these the ones God found it necessary we know?

I mean, really, God, talk about opening the door to harsh judgment against a woman who is no longer alive and can defend herself.  

But I wonder if that's exactly what God desired.  I don't know, I'm not God, I'm just thinking out loud here, but if we didn't have these harsh thoughts preserved for thousands of years, might we not get a little discouraged if we only had their wonderful comforting, mothering words to look back upon?

I mean, when you read that Rachel felt vindicated by God....that gives some hope for those women who have struggled with infertility, with sister conflict, with father/daughter issues.  Doesn't it?

So what was Rachel saying when she said that God had vindicated her?

By the way, Dan means "he has vindicated."  The Hebrew word is din which means in its short definition - judge.

God has judged me.

Ugh.  Rachel, we don't like the word judge here in 2016!  No Ma'am, that's a curse word in our part of the world.  No one judges anyone here, and we certainly don't like to discuss God's judgment!  

Don't like that word?  Well, here are some other words the Hebrew word is replaced with:

defend, dispute, execute judgment, govern, plead, strive

In the English, vindicate means:  to show that someone should not be blamed for a crime, mistake, etc. to show that someone is not guilty; to free from allegation or blame

I wonder if, as Rachel saw Leah conceive and give birth to four sons, if Leah poked some blame at Rachel.  I wonder if she taunted her.  Hated taunting Most loved.

You may have his heart, Dear Sister, but I am producing his offspring.

Maybe Jacob blamed Rachel.  He loved her, but her father tricked him on their wedding day, making him sleep unknowingly with Leah (I'd like to know how that happened) and then making Jacob work for him another 7 years before making Rachel his wife.

Maybe Jacob blamed Rachel.  What happened to you on our wedding night?  Why weren't you in the tent?  Maybe the words between them were harsh and left Rachel crying, night after night after night of trying and hoping and praying that this night a child would be conceived.

Imagine the pain as she watched Jacob go into her ugly sister's tent, then the agony of seeing her sister's belly grow.  She probably wouldn't be able to see the loneliness in her sister's eyes though,  the eyes that longed to see the spark in Jacob's eyes that she saw when Rachel walked by.

How sad I feel for both of those women.

How said I feel for Jacob.

The fact that Jacob had several women in his bed could be a strong argument for polygamy.  But better yet is the reminder:  Jacob's model for marriage is not what God's plan was for marriage.  God's plan was for one man and one woman because he knew the heartache anymore would cause.  I'm sure the culture around them saw nothing wrong about having multiple wives and concubines.  But just because the culture said it was ok did not mean the pain it caused wasn't real.

We can't blame the culture though.

Whatever went on, whatever prayers and pleadings were laid on God on by Rachel, when Bilhah gave birth to a little boy on Rachel's behalf, Rachel, for the first time maybe, realized God was listening to her prayers. 

Yes, she manipulated and took things into her own hands, but was God's goal that Rachel have a son or was God's aim perhaps that Rachel was learning to trust God when the culture around her wasn't?  (This will be on my list to ask her in heaven).

How ironic that Dan means vindicate or judge and Jacob prophesied that Dan would provide justice for his people.  How or if he did, we don't know.  

A descendant of Dan, Oholiab was appointed by God to assist Bezalel in the craftsmanship of the Tabernacle (Exodus 31). Samson, the strong man who defeated the Philistines, though blind and captive, was a descendant of Dan.  (Judges 13-16).

V is for vindicate.  The child who vindicates, Jacob's son, Dan.


Peace,

Ronda







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