Study Guide

The Red Tent Part One, Chapter Three

By Anita Diamant

Part One, Chapter Three

  • Rachel starts to become very quiet after all of these babies are born.
  • Bilhah, who can sense Rachel's sadness, asks her a huge question. Like, huge question.
  • Bilhah asks Rachel if she can be the vessel for Rachel's first child.
  • After a long, awkward few days of silence, Rachel hugs Bilhah and agrees.
  • Bilhah sleeps with Jacob and later gives birth to a boy, Dan.
  • But Rachel holds Dan first, making Bilhah pretty darn jealous.
  • Unfortunately, the happiness Rachel feels while helping Bilhah give birth to Dan vanishes when she realizes he really isn't her child.
  • Then it is Zilpah's turn to have a child: she really doesn't want to, but Leah convinces her that she needs to finally have a child.
  • These women sure do like their babies.
  • Zilpah wants a daughter desperately, but she ends up giving birth to a son—and he nearly kills her.
  • But the pain of childbirth doesn't stop after Zilpah's first son, Gad. She's having twins.
  • Luckily, Zilpah has the second child easily. She names him Asher.
  • Leah then has twin boys: Naphtali and Issachar.
  • Don't worry—we wouldn't be able to name all of these children off the top of our heads, either.
  • Unfortunately for Bilhah, she isn't able to have any more children, and those she has die before weaning.
  • Jacob's sons all love their father.
  • Jacob ends up telling his sons about his own father, Isaac.
  • When Isaac was born, his father, Abram, held a knife to his neck and prepared to sacrifice him.
  • Luckily, a fiery spirit stopped Abram's hand and brought a pure white ram to be sacrificed instead.
  • Meanwhile, Ruti, Laban's newest wife, is treated horribly. Laban beats her, and the daughters all ignore her.
  • When Ruti is pregnant again, she asks Rachel to "cast out the baby." In other words, she wants her baby to be aborted.
  • The women all work in secrecy, and they are able to give Ruti herbs so that she won't give birth.
  • Leah also doesn't want to have any more children; she's growing very weak from frequent childbirth.
  • But, lo and behold, Leah gets pregnant again.
  • This time, Leah asked Rachel to do the same to her as she did for Ruti. But Rachel advises against it, because Leah is carrying a girl.
  • Hmm, how do these people know these things?
  • So Leah goes through with the pregnancy, and she gives birth to Dinah—otherwise known as our narrator.
  • Then, finally, there's some good news for Rachel: she gets pregnant again, but this time she actually has the child.
  • It's a long, painful pregnancy. Rachel is pretty much on her deathbed, but somehow she survives the birth.
  • Rachel named the child Joseph after her favorite kangaroo.
  • Wait, never mind; these people aren't in Australia.
  • Joseph is probably just the name Rachel wanted all along.