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By Mieke Bal

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Extra info for Anti-Covenant: Counter Reading Women's Lives in the Hebrew Bible (Bible and Literature Series)

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Rebekah as fair to look upon (Gen. 7) and Rachel as beautiful (Gen. 17). Beauty and barrenness are juxtaposed to foreignness and fertility. MARMESH Anti-Covenant 51 This juxtaposition also deviates from the idea that the mccm kinship rule is the main determinant of a 'right wife'. Not only must a woman's kinship status be the right balance between incest and exogamy; she must also be beautiful; so beautiful that she would cause trouble for her husband. A woman's beauty thus becomes a negative quality; a deficit akin to barrenness.

35 which is the concluding of the Jacob cycle (1975: 23-24). However, he skillfully discovers parallels between both chapters which explains their initial 'anomalous' chronological and thematic positioning: As regards Gen. 26, we may first note the leitmotif of deception: Isaac deceives Abimelech with regard to Rebekah and later Isaac charges the Philistines with deception... In Gen. 34, like 26 and elsewhere in the cycle, there is also an event involving deception. Both texts involve relations with the uncircumcised autochtonous population of Canaan.

The patriarchal narratives have faithfully recorded the unique institution of wife-sistership. However, in the course of transmission, until finally incorporated into the scriptural story, the very uniqueness of the socio-legal institution of wife-sistership was bound to be misunderstood in the context of an entirely different civilization and the patriarchal events connected with it were completely reinterpreted and reused for a different purpose. They have been worked into a narrative that gives a critical judgment on Canaanite moral standards (1980: 103).

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