Study Guide

The Red Tent Part One, Chapter Two

By Anita Diamant

Part One, Chapter Two

  • The seven months are pretty difficult. All of the daughters act negatively in their own unique ways.
  • Rachel sneaks out sometimes to find Jacob alone in the hills—but they never touch, despite the rumors.
  • At the same time, Jacob always seems to find a way to ask Leah questions. Though he is to marry Rachel, it's obvious to Leah that he loves her, too.
  • Jacob isn't doing so hot during this time, either. He keeps having dirty dreams about all of the sisters.
  • Zilpah decides to mess with Rachel, telling her about how painful having sex is and about how Jacob's, ahem, member is said to be "a freak of nature."
  • So Rachel gets cold feet on the day of the wedding and asks Leah to take her place as the bride.
  • Uh, what?
  • Leah agrees because she secretly loves Jacob.
  • At the wedding, Laban is drunk and doesn't notice a thing, while Jacob probably notices but doesn't say anything.
  • After the wedding, Jacob leads Leah to the tent, where they are supposed to spend the next seven days. He isn't at all surprised to see Leah behind the veil.
  • The next seven days are filled with passionate sex. Obviously, Rachel had been duped about the whole sex is awful thing.
  • Leah and Jacob concoct a plan to have him emerge from the tent after the seventh day and demand that he acquire Rachel and Zilpah as the dowry for Leah and Bilhah as the dowry for Rachel.
  • Laban is dumbfounded, but he can't say no.
  • Jacob then has his seven days with Rachel, as she grows very jealous and angry, but the narrator hints that Rachel and Jacob's sex isn't as good as Leah and Jacob's.
  • At the next new moon, Leah figures out she's pregnant. And Rachel is sooooo mad.
  • At the next next new moon, though, Rachel realizes that she's pregnant. So it's all good.
  • But then Rachel bleeds one morning, and she gets really upset. Like, sad panda upset.
  • Eventually, Leah gives birth to her first son, Reuben.
  • Jacob's ecstatic, but then he realizes that Reuben needs to be circumcised. That really pains Jacob, because he's never circumcised a baby before—and now he has to circumcise his first son.
  • Jacob sucks it up and goes through with the circumcision.
  • Reuben and Leah both heal quickly, and everything's all good.
  • Unfortunately, Adah, Leah's mother, dies shortly after Reuben's birth.
  • Two months later, Bilhah enters the red tent, meaning she's no longer a child. So all of the children have bled.
  • Meanwhile, Jacob becomes the patriarch of the family.
  • As time goes on, Leah becomes a baby-making machine. She gives birth to three more sons: Simon, Levi, and Judah.
  • Laban even impregnates his own new wife, Ruti, who gives birth to two sons, Kemuel and Beor.
  • But Rachel has miscarriages again and again, until she finally becomes an apprentice to Inna, a midwife.
  • Rachel's apprenticeship seems to help her a lot, as she gains great knowledge on how to approach childbirth. She even becomes a midwife herself after delivering a woman's child.
  • And Leah's not finished: she give birth to another boy, named Zebulun.
  • Sooooo many babies. Sooooo many.