Study Guide

The Red Tent Part Two, Chapter Three

By Anita Diamant

Part Two, Chapter Three

  • Very early into their trip, the band of travelers finds Inna, the midwife who taught Rachel to be a midwife, sitting by the side of the road. She's packed for travel.
  • Looks like someone wants out.
  • Inna joins everyone and speaks loudly so that Jacob can hear her; she basically brown-noses him the whole time.
  • Jacob is a very generous man, after all, and he allows Inna to travel with the group.
  • Inna speaks about the final straw that made her want to leave. A very young woman died while giving birth to a deformed baby. The baby also died. To make things worse, the woman's husband blamed Inna for the deaths and called her a witch. Inna spat in his face.
  • The man tried to strangle Inna, but some neighbors who could hear her screams rescued her. When she heard about Jacob's family leaving, she thought of it as a blessing from the gods.
  • On the second day, the group approaches a river, which absolutely fascinates Dinah. She loves the smell of the river and stops by it day and night.
  • It's time to cross the river, but Dinah isn't too pumped about it. She's afraid the river will swallow her whole.
  • When Dinah crosses, though, she loves the feeling of being submerged in the water.
  • But then Dinah loses her footing and splashes backward. Judah drags her across the river, and she feels like she is floating.
  • Apparently, Dinah thinks she is being buoyed up by some kind of river spirit. Inna declares that Dinah is a child of the water, so only living by a river will make her happy.
  • By the way, this scene is pretty important. Rivers and water mean a lot to our main character and narrator.
  • Anyway, the journey continues, and one night Dinah is put in charge of feeding the whole family. It's a pretty tough task, but she totally nails it.
  • It feels pretty awesome to finally get some sleep after the huge meal; unfortunately, Dinah has a dream about Laban coming back.
  • Except it isn't a dream. Laban finds the family and accuses Jacob of stealing his house-held gods (teraphims).
  • So Laban searches the whole camp for the teraphims, but he doesn't find them.
  • But there's one last place to check: the red tent.
  • And those teraphims are totally in the red tent with Rachel, as we know.
  • So Laban actually goes into the red tent, which is super weird, because men don't really go into the red tent—that's where women go to bleed.
  • And the women are Laban's daughters, which makes it even weirder.
  • Laban goes in, anyway, and Rachel confronts him and tells him the truth.
  • But Rachel also tells Laban that the gods have been spoiled by the women's blood—and that they will no longer give him good fortune.
  • Uhhh, burn.
  • Laban is rattled. Like, really rattled. So he goes and is never seen again by the family. Huzzah.
  • After the whole Laban episode, the family sets out again.
  • Jacob starts to complain about Esau, his brother.
  • Jacob keeps having nightmares about Esau; though Esau has been said to be forgiving and righteous nowadays, Jacob can't help but think Esau will be wrathful toward him.
  • Eventually, the group comes upon another river, which everyone crosses but Jacob. He decides to cross the next day, since it is too dark out to do it now.
  • Except Jacob doesn't cross, because he's beaten up so badly at night that he almost dies.
  • Jacob's sons cross the river and found him naked and with a broken leg. It takes him almost two months to recover, and he becomes cold and demanding.
  • Almost being beaten to death can do that to you, we guess.
  • Jacob also becomes super fearful of his brother at this point, believing it was Esau who had him beaten.
  • The chapter ends with a scene in which Dinah and Joseph are wandering around near the woods and are suddenly attacked by a wild boar.
  • As they run away, Joseph cuts his foot on a rock, and his shriek of pain somehow stops the boar in its tracks and it causes it to fall.
  • Yeah, some strange stuff right there.
  • Dinah and Joseph never speak about the incident to anyone, but Joseph starts to have strange dreams ever since this point.