|On "Still More Family Values"|
This article has little to refute as such, other than what we have previously addressed, but is worthy of some comments.
Anyway, Isaac sent Jacob to Paddanaram, where he had the various sexual adventures discussed in "Jacob an Old Geezer?" .... From this tale, of course, we can only conclude that polygamy was a family value in those days, because Jacob didn't just marry the two sisters, Leah and Rachel, but also accepted their handmaids as concubines with whom he sired four sons. The fact that Yahweh selected Jacob's sons born of these polygamous relationships to be the tribal heads of his specially "chosen people" must mean that Yahweh didn't consider polygamy to be morally improper.
As elsewhere, we remind the reader that there does exist a hierarchy of morals -- within which, it was better to ensure personal and family survival by means of polygamy, than it was, in this time of scarce resources and enemies around every corner, wild beasts, and disease, to risk letting people die. A modern living in an air-conditioned house has little grasp on such matters and is not qualified to comment, nor compare it to "free love" of our modern era.
At any rate, this deal that Leah struck with Rachel warrants our attention. Mandrakes of the Mediterranean region produced a narcotic effect when they were eaten, and even as late as the Middle Ages, they were used to dull sensitivities in patients undergoing surgical procedures. Mandrakes belong to the family of plants known as Solanaceae (sometimes called Nightshade), and although some of them are popular food plants, many of them, such as jimsonweed, tobacco, morning glory, and mandrake, are sources of powerful and even dangerous drugs.
The mandrake was also superstitiously considered both an aphrodisiac and a charm for pregnancy, so considering the competition for Jacob's sexual attention that dominates the story of his sojourn in Paddanaram, the Genesis writer may have intended readers to understand that Leah and Rachel were using mandrakes as aphrodisiacs or pregnancy charms. Nevertheless, their use for either purpose would have required that they be consumed, and so the sisters still would have experienced the narcotic properties of the mandrakes. In effect, then, Leah and Rachel transacted a drug deal, and those who clamor in today's society for a return to biblical family values would soundly condemn parents who use and traffic in drugs. In Bible classes, however, they honor Leah and Rachel as the mothers of God's chosen people, apparently never recognizing the inconsistency.
Objecting on this point is as unreasonable as objecting to the use of NyQuil for a cold. One always "experiences the inebriating effects" of various medications -- yet who accuses the sick of dealing in alcoholic beverages?