In Genesis 31:33, when Laban went to look for his stolen teraphim, the author notes:

And Laban went into Jacob’s tent, into Leah’s tent, and into the two maids’ tents, but he did not find them. Then he went out of Leah’s tent and entered Rachel’s tent.

Why was Jacob's family segregated per wife? Also, why did Jacob have a tent for himself? Shouldn't he be together with at least one of his wives?

  • Consider the Chinese character 安 (ān, as in "Tiān ān mén, 天安门", Gate of Heavenly Peace ), meaning "peace", "calm", "still", "quiet". It is composed of two parts: a roof (symbolizing a house), and a woman. The important thing to note is that there is only one woman under the roof. A house without a woman is not peaceful. A house with more than one woman is not peaceful. (Note, this is not my sexism showing, it is how the character's origins were described to me.) – Ray Butterworth Aug 29 '19 at 13:48
  • Because they wouldn't fit into small ones? Sorry, couldn't resist. Great question and I have no clue what the answer is. – Lionsden Aug 30 '19 at 18:01

Found an answer on Ancient Hebrew Research Center in an article written by Fred H. Wight:

The Oriental tent is usually oblong in shape, and is divided into two, and sometimes three apartments by goat's hair curtains. The entrance leads into the apartment for the men, which also serves as the reception apartment. Beyond this is the apartment for the women and children. And sometimes there is a third apartment for servants or for cattle.

The women in the inner apartment are screened from the view of those in the reception room, but they can hear what goes on in that room. Thus Sarah in her apartment overheard what the angel guest said in the reception apartment of Abraham's tent (Gen. 18:10-15). In some cases there is a separate tent for the women. It took several tents to care for the large family of Jacob. Reference is made to Jacob's tent, to Leah's tent, to Rachel's tent, and to the tent of the two maidservants; (Gen. 31:33).

Here's the link to the full article.

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