2 Samuel, chapters 1-3

Then David sent messengers to Ishbosheth, Saul’s son, saying: “Give me my wife Michal […] So Ishbosheth sent to take her from her husband, Paltiel the son of Laish. But her husband kept walking with her, weeping as he followed her as far as Bahurim. Then Abʹner said to him: “Go, return!” At that he returned.
~2 Samuel 3:14-16

Never mind that David already had sons from six different women at the time of this event (2 Sam 3:2-5).
After several years of being on the run, David wanted his first wife back- the original one- the princess for whom he risked his life in battle for (1 Sam. 18:27).

It is touching that Michal’s new husband, Paltiel, followed her and wept at her departure.
I find it noteworthy that God’s word should include this emotive detail amidst so many stories of conquest and bloodshed.

The princess Michal was moved from one man to another as if she were an asset, and it did not matter if she originally had been very much in love with David or if Paltiel was now in love with her (1 Sam. 18:20).

What we learn here is that marriage is marriage and David had the legal right over Michal because he married her first.
It was his decision not to divorce her despite the distance between them.

Although modern marriages also undergo certain psychological trauma, we live in a mostly monogamous society in which fidelity is expected both ways and infidelity is conducive to the dissolution of the marriage (Matt. 19:9).

While it is easy for us as readers to follow David’s train of thought, we should also observe that God took note of Paltiel’s reaction.
Jehovah is not a cold-hearted God nor is he indifferent to the feelings of those who are not even serving him.

Exodus, chapters 19-22

Exodus 21:21~
“However, if he survives for one or two days, he is not to be avenged, because he is someone bought with his owner’s money.”

From a modern perspective, it makes no sense that the law God handed down to the Israelites through the hand of Moses would regulate slavery rather than abolish it.
After all, hadn’t God just finished a series of spectacular miracles, some at a great cost to human life, with the purpose of freeing them from slavery?
Although that was part of the reason, the main reason God had freed them was to fulfill the promises he had made to Abraham, their ancestor, (Exo. 2:23-25).
The readings from the last two weeks have highlighted the lack of faith the Israelites demonstrated as a whole during the exodus process.
Therefor it is not surprising that a practice common to their times, unfair as it was, would be engrained into their culture; similar to the practice of having more than one wife, which most people in modern Western civilization find objectionable.
God’s purpose never was for slavery to exist, for 1,500 years later Peter arrived at the correct conclusion when he stated: “Now I truly understand that God is not partial, but in every nation the man who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him,” (Acts 10:34,35).
It would take a very long time to adjust the erroneous thinking of the people of ancient Israel, and most Jews never accepted the new law as prescribed by Christ (Matt. 22:37-40).
In the mean time, God did set forth a set of rules to regulate forced labor.
The Hebrew word e′vedh can mean slave or servant, depending on the context,(Insight on the Scriptures, volume 2).
Hebrews sold into slavery were freed in the seventh year of their servitude, or in the year of the Jubilee, which occurred every 50 years, depending on which came first, and their master had to give them a parting gift for them to start a new life (Exo. 21:2; Deut. 15:13-15).
Female Hebrew slaves were to either become concubines to their masters or legal wives to their sons with all the inheritance rights therein, otherwise they were to be set free. They could not be sold to foreigners (Exo. 21:7-11).
Adult human trafficking of others was illegal and punishable by death (Exo. 21:16).
With that in mind, I will return to the text I cited at the beginning.
Did the law give less value to the life of a slave than to the life of a free person?
If a master injured his/her slave with a non-lethal instrument and the person took more than two days to die, that would indicate the master did not have murder as an intention.
Furthermore, the master would be at an economic loss if the slave did die.
That is why the law protected the master from being avenged if the slave died under these circumstances.
However, if the slave was maimed, he was to be set free (Exo. 21:26,27).
If the slave did die within two days, the master was to be put to death without fail, (Lev. 24:17).
It is not my intention to justify slavery under Mosaic Law. I believe the law came from Jehovah and it was applicable to that culture and time. If they heeded God’s law, their community would benefit and behave more justly than other nations were behaving at that particular point in time.
After all, Jehovah’s wisdom is unquestionable, having “made out of one man every nation of men to dwell on the entire surface of the earth, and he decreed the appointed times and the set limits of where men would dwell, so that they would seek God,” (Acts 17:26).

Genesis, chapters 29-31

Genesis 29:18~

Jacob had fallen in love with Rachel, so he said: “I am willing to serve you seven years for your younger daughter Rachel.”

This is a point a couple friends of mine made:

Young people shouldn’t be in a hurry to start dating or to find “the right person” because true love is patient and if two people really love each other, it doesn’t matter how long it takes them to wind up together, they are willing to wait.

Genesis 29:32~

So Le′ah became pregnant and gave birth to a son and named him Reu′ben, for she said: “It is because Jehovah has looked upon my affliction, for now my husband will begin to love me.”

And so the race for who could bare the most children begun, for somehow Jacob, who had originally set out to marry Rachel, wound up with 4 wives.

(If you are unfamiliar with the story, what happened is that Jacob was tricked into marrying Leah. He signed up to work another 7 years to get permission to marry Rachel. Rachel was barren and so she gave him her servant to have kids in lieu of her. Leah didn’t want to be left behind so she also gave Jacob her own servant. {Gen. 29:25-27; Gen. 30:3,4; Gen. 30:9}).

The point I want to highlight is that even today, women seem to be under this false illusion that if they have a man’s child or children, he will automatically love her, as if there were something someone could do to project love out of someone else.

In this case I am referring to romantic love.

But, as we saw from the first passage, love is something that flows naturally from one’s self. It cannot be forced or shut off or transferred into a third person.

A lot of women today, especially in my own Latin culture, get themselves pregnant hoping this way their boyfriends will want to marry them.

That is not how love or marriage works. These relationships tend to fall apart within the first ten years leaving deep emotional and financial scars.

On an opposite note, Genesis 30, verses 1 and 2, read:

When Rachel saw that she had borne no children to Jacob, she became jealous of her sister and began to say to Jacob: “Give me children or else I will die.”  At this Jacob’s anger flared up against Rachel, and he said: “Am I in the place of God, who has prevented you from having children?”

Even when you are deeply in love with someone, this doesn’t mean you will be in perfect synchronization or pure bliss, or that you will never need to confront their flaws.

On occasion it will be entirely normal to “flare up in anger” and argue, because we are all imperfect and different.

That doesn’t nullify or subtract from true love in any way. True love endures and becomes more refined.

The moral of all this:

One wife is more than enough. 😉

Genesis, chapters 21-24

Genesis 24:17-20

At once the servant ran to meet her and said: “Please give me a little sip of water from your jar.” In turn she said: “Drink, my lord.” With that she quickly lowered her jar upon her hand and gave him a drink. When she finished giving him a drink, she said: “I will also draw water for your camels until they are done drinking.” So she quickly emptied her jar into the drinking trough and ran again and again to the well to draw water, and she kept drawing water for all his camels.

This passage is about Rebekah and the time Abraham’s servant traveled approximately 500 miles (800 km) to meet someone like her.
Earlier, Abraham’s servant had prayed to Jehovah God that the woman who might offer him a drink of water and also water his camels should be the woman divinely indicated to marry Abraham’s son, Isaac (Gen. 24:12-14).
Rebekah was unaware of this prayer when she carried out this laborious yet hospitable task.
She was also unaware that the man was a servant of Abraham, a relative of hers. This would make him a worshiper of the same deity as her family’s.
What struck me as interesting though is that Rebekah herself had servants- at least two (Gen. 24:61).
Even so, she was not stuck-up or lazy. She carried her own weight and had a kind serving attitude toward others.
Certainly she deserved to partake in the divine covenants, as she was a fine example of what a potential wife should look like.

Genesis 24:57,58

So they said: “Let us call the young woman and inquire of her.” They called Re·bek′ah and said to her: “Will you go with this man?” She replied: “I am willing to go.”

I want to include this other point because I recently read a series of articles that talked about forced marriage of women, often times minors, and how their families go so far as killing them when the brides refuse to uphold the arrangements.

It is striking that around 4,000 years ago women like Rebekah who belonged to her culture enjoyed a right denied to some modern women today.