Richie Mullins liked to say that he loved to read the Bible, and that many people didn't like the way he read it, but he couldn't help it. He said he loved to read the Bible and look for all the weird people in there, and as he read he was always amazed that God would choose such odd, crazy, broken, unpleasant people to be His!
Lets get one thing straight: the story of Jacob, Leah, and Rachel is one of the weirdest. Reading it in novel form reminded me of that. And that's what makes this story so cool: it's true.
Man goes to his cousin's household to find a wife (?) and he falls in love with the youngest of two sisters.
The father-in-law manages a massive sleight of hand and switches daughters for the honeymoon. Jacob realizes that he's wedded to Leah, throws a fit, and demands his first choice. Dad agrees, and both girls and Jacob and two maids all live the historical version of Downton Abbey.
You know, people have long dismissed Christianity as an invention designed to subdue people into behaving. That's preposterous, because the point of Christianity is that model citizens don't win. Weird people caught up in Grace is what Christianity is about.
By weird I mean dysfunctional. People with battles to fight. People who make bad choices. People who do downright evil things.
In the Kingdom of God an ex-con who's repented is closer to Heaven than the suburban businessman who only commits respectable sins.
That's the insanity and joy of the love of God. It is there for Rachel who shared a husband with her sister, and for Jacob who lived a strange life, and for me and for you!
This story must have been really neat to write, to explore the lives of the patriarchs and their wives.
It must have been fascinating to imagine how a woman like Rachel would respond to her culture, her husband, her children, and her God.
It is something to think about: that those women in the Bible, who exist as names in the historical record, they were real. They felt disappointment and and pain and hope and joy and longings. They walked on the sands of this earth and they looked at the stars.
That's what makes Biblical fiction so good. To remember the flesh-and-blood life of the characters as you read.
Thank you Revell for my review copy of Rachel.
Jill Eileen Smith is the author of the Wives of the Patriarchs series featuring Sarai, Rebekah, and upcoming Rachel, (Releases 2-1-14) as well as, the bestselling author of Michal, Abigail, and Bathsheba, all part of The Wives of King David series published by Revell (Baker Publishing Group.)
Her writing has taken her from the Bible to Israel and she loves learning how women lived in Old Testament times. When she isn't writing she can be found hanging out with family and friends, reading, bike-riding, testing new restaurants with her husband, or snuggling one of two adorable kitties. She lives with her family in southeast Michigan.