Reviewing Everything Wrong With Genesis 30
In this post I react to Hemant Mehta’s Everything wrong with Genesis 30. This is part of his Everything Wrong With Genesis series.
Have you ever heard an atheist say something about the Bible that rocked you and caused you to doubt your faith?
Well today, I want to show you what to do the next time you hear someone speak confidently against the Bible. And I’ll use a popular YouTube atheist as today’s example.
Everything Wrong With Genesis 30: Challenging Misinterpretations
Hemant Mehta confidently says Genesis chapter 30 promotes things like sexual assault against women, the kidnapping of children, and a big example of the Bible contradicting genuine science.
Last time this man, whose name is Hemant Mehta made up a sexual assault claim based on Genesis Chapter 29.
It didn’t turn out well for him then, but let’s see if he can do any better today.
Analysing Atheist Claims
Let’s see what he has to say when he talks about Jacob being encouraged by one of his wives to marry her handmaiden, Bilhah.
Is Bilhah cool with this?
I mean we’re never told,
but I’m guessing she’s not allowed to say no.
But he couldn’t leave it there could he.
Because 20 seconds later,
when Jacob is intimate with Bilhah
Hemant said this…
That was another Bible passage describing rape.
I just wanna point that out.
So he starts by asking the question,
Is Bilhah cool with this scenario?
And he guesses that she’s not allowed to say no.
First, he is arguing from the silence of the text. Like he did in the previous video.
I could easily say, I guess she could say no.
Neither of us is proving anything if we rely on silence in the text alone. But I mentioned in a previous video,
we have an example in Genesis chapter 16 already.
There a woman named Hagar was not happy with mistreatment and she ran away.
This is a clear sign of not being happy.
We also see God side with her in that scenario by speaking negatively of the situation.
But the question you should be asking is…
Why would she not be allowed to say no?
Misconceptions on Biblical Passages
If Jacob was going around assaulting women, Genesis 30:4 would be irrelevant.
Jacob took Bilhah as a wife.
Why go through this sort of formal procedure, if he was sexually assaulting women?
Examining Biblical Context
This leads us nicely into the second bold claim he makes about stealing children.
Because it’s clear to me Hemant does not know context. Both Biblical context, or even historical context.
Let’s see what he has to say…
“And Rachel doesn’t get to say God’s given me a son, that kid is not her son. There’s no formal adoption going on. Really this is just a kidnapping”
Surrogacy vs. Misrepresentation
What this account is explaining in this passage is something very common then, and even still common today.
This is where a woman who is not able to get pregnant asks another woman to carry a child for them.
Now unless Hemant is against surrogacy, his point was filled with rhetoric yes, and not much else.
The Complexity of Biblical Relationships
Before we get to Hemant saying Genesis 30 goes completely against science, let’s discuss how Hemant was so shocked that Jacob was still intimate with Bilhah.
Wait Jacob is still sleeping with the servant, is this not news to anyone?
Now I want to say three things.
1. This is a prime example in the Bible why going against God’s original order of one woman and one man is problematic.
Men with multiple wives in the Bible repeatedly run into problems because of it.
2. The culture in that time was the more children you have, the more blessed you are.
From a Biblical perspective is true (Children are a blessing from the Lord).
So it’s not a surprise Rachel wanted more than one surrogate child from her handmaiden Bilhah.
But this also goes into the carnal nature of competition and fighting amongst the wives.
As you can see when you read verses 7 to 8, Rachel calls the child Naphtali.
This name means my wrestlings, because she fought with her (her sister)
and she believes she defeated her.
This for Rachel was not about following God but beating her sister.
3. Even if Jacob treated Rachel as his favourite wife obviously he was still obligated now to provide his marital obligation for all of the women he married.
And this is why Jacob still had relations with Leah and the handmaidens.
Math and Hemant’s Misunderstandings
Now obviously the climax of this critique for Hemant was his apparent scientific error in Genesis chapter 30but he even brought math into this.
Yes, it sounds funny, yes it makes the Bible seem foolish, and yes it’s totally false.
I’ll show you why after I show you what he said.
Leave a comment below if you see why this makes no sense.
And why does Rachel think she’s won, she had okay, she’s kidnapped two kids. Leah has four, I mean I know the Bible isn’t a science book, but apparently, it’s not a math book either.
This isn’t the first time Hemant has made this sort of analytical mistake.
But these are the ones which make me scratch my head the most.
Extending Charity In Debate
I understand as a Christian he doesn’t believe the Bible like you and me.
He may call what we believe is a miracle foolish. But when he makes mistakes which are not based on faith in the supernatural, that’s a problem.
Because this means, he’s not analysing text.
It makes me feel like this is just entertainment for him, and he’s not concerned with truth, or being charitable in any way.
He says the Bible fails at math here because Rachel with two children
says she has prevailed over her sister Leah with four children.
But the Bible isn’t saying 2 is greater than four here, Rachel is. All the Bible is doing is documenting what she said.
But somehow reporting something now means you agree with the report.
You don’t have to be a Christian to see this. Just think about the text reasonably, and show a little bit of charity, and this reminds me
of when I showed how Hemant Mehta doesn’t understand
how a family tree works a few episodes back in this series.
Sex, Superstition & Strategy
But let’s talk about Mandrakes now which was a plant viewed superstitiously as something that can help with pregnancy.
Leah has some, Rachel says she wants them in turn for Jacob sleeping with Leah that night.
And I truly believe this gives us some insights into God’s view of this.
But I’ll share that with you after you hear how Hemant responds to this deal between the two sisters.
She bought his…for the night with a plant and he doesn’t even ask questions?
Jacob obviously treated Rachel as the favourite and would likely spend more evenings with her.
They would obviously have to arrange some sort of rotation.
But again, this highlights the problems with this. And why God (in the Old and New Testament) wants one woman for one man.
This evening results in Leah becoming pregnant who it seems had stopped bearing children at this time.
But I believe one reason God blessed her with more children, was because Rachel was trusting in superstitious things, instead of Him for conception.
Science and Misunderstandings
But let’s now get to the science Hemant has a big problem with in this chapter.
To simplify things, Jacob wants to leave with his wives, and his children and wants payment for his work.
Laban his father in law has much livestock because Jacob has managed them well, and God blessed his work. so Jacob asked for some of the livestock.
But the same day, Laban takes away the cattle Jacob asked for. So Jacob is looking after most cattle Laban will keep.
Laban is trying to rip Jacob off again. But God will not let Laban do this.
Let’s see what Hemant says about this…
What will he do? I’ll tell you, he’s gonna get revenge using science, that doesn’t make any sense.
Jacob continues to look after Laban’s livestock. He gets branches from specific trees, cuts them so the inside is exposed and places them in front of the livestock when they are mating.
Hemant explains what he thinks happened…
Part of me wants to congratulate ancient Gregor Mendel here
for conducting his own genetic experiments, while the rest of me
is screaming that’s not how it works.
Why would a striped piece of wood near the animals have any effects on their offspring’s genes?
Failed Science In Genesis 30 Or A Successful Strategy?
Jacob was not engaging in some magic strategy to breed more animals for himself.
He mentions clearly in the next chapter why he did what he did.
Exploring Jacob’s Tactics
When he explains the situation to Leah and Rachel it’s clear.
Read Genesis 31:7-16 for context.
But in that text, Jacob explains how God gave him a dream during mating season.
This helped him get the better of Laban.
Two standout verses from chapter 31 are 8-9 where it says…
“If he said thus the speckled shall be thy wages then all the cattle bare speckled and if he said thus the ringstraked shall be thy hire then bear all the cattle ringstraked, thus God has taken away the cattle of your father and given [them] to me”
Jacob understood by God’s guidance, because of Laban’s trickery and deceit, whatever happened he would come out on top.
Once you know this, it makes understanding Genesis chapter 30 a little easier.
Jacob’s Cunning Plan
If Jacob is confident he is going to come out on top, all he needs to do is breed as many animals as he can.
And this is where I believe the three types of branches put in the water comes in.
I was reading some articleshttps://answersingenesis.org/genetics/animal-genetics/jacobs-odd-breeding-program-genesis-30/ about this which suggest (based on research studies) Jacob didn’t slash the wood because it made the animals give birth to children striped like the wood.
These three wood types make it easier to produce more babies. When these types of woods are placed in water and some of them are slashed, they have medicinal benefits.
This produces healthier animals, which in turn would produce more and healthier livestock.
Once you understand Jacob knew he was going to win, was not relying on magic, but was breeding as many strong animals as possible, it changes everything.
He knew he would end up with them, so it shows you how crafty Jacob is, for not allowing the weaker animals to mate in front of the wood.
He went out of his way to make sure Laban ended up with weak livestock for duping him in the case of Jacob’s wives.
The Lesson Beyond the Text
I wouldn’t wanna be on the wrong side of someone like Jacob. But to be honest, with God by my side someone like Jacob wouldn’t stand a chance and this is the whole point of this chapter.
It’s not failed science, even if you go with other reasonable interpretations of this passage.
But it’s trying to get you to realise that God always wins, so don’t put your trust in Mandrakes, your powers of trickery
and deceit, but in the One True God.
Because when you don’t,
you’ll continue to look foolish for things like…
Not understanding people from different places speak different languages, as you’ll see when I review Everything Wrong With Genesis 31
God bless Winners.