Thursday, August 21, 2008

Is Wife Hiring Her Husband For Sex Biblical?

During wheat harvest, Reuben went out into the fields and found some mandrake plants, which he brought to his mother Leah. Rachel said to Leah, "Please give me some of your son's mandrakes."

But she said to her, "Wasn't it enough that you took away my husband? Will you take my son's mandrakes too?"

"Very well," Rachel said, "he can sleep with you tonight in return for your son's mandrakes."

So when Jacob came in from the fields that evening, Leah went out to meet him. "You must sleep with me," she said. "I have hired you with my son's mandrakes." So he slept with her that night. (Genesis 30.14-16)

Gordon Wenham commented that this story is an “eye-opener” because it shows “how Jacob is favoring Rachel over Leah, that she is prepared for just one night to give away her mandrakes” on one hand, and “it also shows how desperate Rachel is for children” on the other hand, since mandrakes were superstitiously being regarded as some womb-opening medicine in that time. (Gordon J. Wenham, Genesis 16-50, Word Biblical Commentary series, vol. 2, 1994)

Don't know whether is it biblical to hire your husband for sex, but it doesn't seem to be a problem only if you have more than one wife. Hence the issue is not really on hiring him for pleasure but can he has more than one wife? If yes, then only we ask, "Does that mean it is OK to hire him for sex?"

While reading the passage above, I wonder: If Jacob was nearer to Adam and Eve than Moses chronologically, wouldn't he be more alert to the fact that God has ordained marriage to be a life long covenant between one man and one woman? He would had stop at Leah although he was tricked into marrying her since he knew better.

hmmm... Monogamy is not that strict after all?

Besides, if Cain is the first architect and civil engineer because he built the world's first city (Genesis 4.17) as some have alleged, could Rachel be the first who started the sex trade? If so, then Jacob is the world's first prostitute. If so, then the world first prostitute is a man!

That'll make Lot the world first rape victim (Genesis 19.30-34). And that means the world first rape victim is also a man!

It could be that the trade first started by hiring your own spouses for sex in the ancient times. Then later on, the trade evolved into our current prostitution. Interesting.

But the most interesting is that:

1) How could hiring of husband for sex be in practice if it was a patriarchal society back then?
2) Or the wives actually have the say in sexual issues even if it was a patriarchal society?
3) Or is it because it was so patriarchal, the wives have no whatsoever conjugal rights and hence resort to paying their husband for sex?

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