20 November 2013

Zilpah: Obedient

Genesis 30:9-13

Is this how far a maid must go?
Take off my clothes
and tremble
beneath the eyes of a man
I never chose
    - obedient.

I used to dream of love,
wonder what it's like.
I used to dream of a man
    - tall, kind, handsome
who would whisk me away.
I used to dream of more
than hasty stolen kisses
from shepherd boys.
I used to dream

but now
I'm in a nightmare,
embroiled in someone else's war,
a tool, a weapon in my lady's hand
    - no longer myself.

Is this how far a maid must go?
Give myself
at my lady's bidding
to a man too old, too ugly, not mine -
take off my clothes
and do what she says
    - obedient.

Is this how far a maid must go?

_____________________________________________________________

[May 2012]

Zilpah was Leah's maid, given to Jacob to have children in her stead once Leah stopped having children but continued competing with her sister Rachel over having children. We often forget about Bilhah and Zilpah. What was going through Zilpah's mind at this moment? How would you feel in her place?

By the way, a really interesting book based on the whole "handmaid" idea (letting someone else have your children for you - an emergency measure used by Leah, Rachel and Sarah) is The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood.

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