Starting today and running until the end of this week is the Hearts Through History Valentine Blog Hop. To celebrate this season of love, dozens of participating bloggers are sharing their favorite mushy anecdotes from history. What better way to get your fill of sentimental warm fuzzies? My story of “true love” is posted below, followed by the links to read others.
On top of that, there are GIVEAWAYS attached to each story on the blog hop! With romance the theme-of-the-week, I saw no alternative but to offer a signed copy of Miss Darcy Falls in Love and a DVD of the 2005 Pride and Prejudice as my prizes. Cool! The entry form is after the historical story I have chosen to spotlight. Have fun reading across the blog-o-sphere, and good luck in the contests!
There are hundreds of beautiful love stories told throughout history. Many are the stuff of legends with dubious facts behind them: Lancelot and Guinevere, Paris and Helen. Some are tragic: Pyramus and Thisbe, Mark Antony and Cleopatra. Others prove the enduring nature of true love: Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, Marie and Pierre Curie. All of them are fascinating and reveal the wondrous, unstoppable power of love.
I can’t point to one real historical account of love that is my absolute favorite above all others since so many touch me in varied ways. Yet as I looked through a few lists of great historical lovers, the first one that stood out was the Biblical tale of Jacob and Rachel.
As told in Genesis, beginning in Chapter 29, Jacob – son of Isaac and Rebecca, and grandson of Hebrew patriarch Abraham – was sent to far away Haran near Ur, not only to escape the wrath of his twin brother Esau (A whole other story not the least romantic!) but also to find a wife amongst his mother’s clan.
On the very day of his arrival, and while still introducing himself to the local shepherds, Jacob saw Rachel, a shepherdess, approaching. Clearly from the text as recorded by Moses, Rachel was exceedingly beautiful and Jacob was instantly smitten. Proving that men even so close to the beginning of human history instinctively knew that women can be impressed by brawn and selfless acts of kindness, Jacob singlehandedly rolled away the massive stone blocking the flow of fresh water from the well needed to hydrate the sheep.
I would bet money Jacob removed his shirt and flexed while he was at it! That is mere speculation, but what we do know from Scripture is that he was so overwhelmed by his emotions that he “kissed Rachel and wept aloud” (Genesis 29:11). Wow! A tough guy who is sensitive too!
Rachel was impressed, and lucky for Jacob she turned out to be the daughter of his mother’s brother, Laban. Before a month passed, Jacob asked for Rachel’s hand in marriage.
Now, at this point an argument can logically be made that Jacob may have been more in lust than true love. Whatever the case, when Laban’s stipulation was that Jacob work with him for seven years to earn the right to marry Rachel, Jacob did not hesitate.
Genesis 29: 20 says, “Jacob served seven years for Rachel, and they seemed to him but a few days because of the love he had for her.”
Wow again! Superficial physical attraction may have been the initial impetus, but it was the power of deep, soul-binding love that maintained their passion for each other.
If you know the story at all, then you know it gets even more interesting. At the end of those seven years Jacob married Rachel. Or so he thought. The custom of the day was for the bride to be heavily veiled and silent during the ceremony. It was not until the light of the following day that Jacob woke to realize that the marriage consummated in the darkness of night was not to Rachel, but to her eldest sister Leah!
Whole sermons are preached on the topic of Laban’s treachery and Leah’s deception. The point of this post, however, is the devoted, consuming love shared between Jacob and Rachel. I am sure Jacob had choices before him, however when given the option of working another seven years for Laban, Jacob again did not hesitate. Fortunately Laban agreed to allow Jacob to marry Rachel right away rather than at the end of those seven years. I suspect he would have waited if necessary, such was the purity of his love.
Jacob, Rachel, and Leah would encounter many trials and triumphs during their intertwined lives. Not all was blissful in this mixed household of two wives – one loved and the other not – two concubines, daughters, and twelve sons. Love sustained Jacob and Rachel through the difficulties, including years of her barrenness. God’s Hand on their relationship is seen, mostly clearly in the special purposes fulfilled through the two sons they did create: Joseph and Benjamin. The eternal nature of their love is displayed in the pillar Jacob erected to mark Rachel’s grave, that an unusual ritual for nomadic tribes of those days.
And now that I have shared my favorite love story, I want to hear from YOU! Enter my giveaway using the Rafflecopter form below, then be sure to visit the other websites on the Valentine Blog Hop. Deadline is Saturday, February 16. Also, my weekly giveaway of an advanced reader copy of The Passions of Dr. Darcy is ongoing. Don’t miss out on that!