Arrangement 12: Rachel


A ramifying maternal substemma comprising 20 roundels in five generations. Dimensions: 3 wide by 9 tall. Liber Genealogus counterparts: section 18 and section 22.

Children of Rachel

These plots come from the Iota three-arch treatment in the Foigny Bible (left), the Plutei manuscript (centre), the Roda manuscript (right) and the San Juan bible (below). Connecting lines which were probably not in the original and seem to be logically false are here greyed out.

Children of Rachel


This section is based on the Vetus Latina version of Genesis 46:20-22. Whereas the Vulgate Latin explicitly counts only fourteen descendants of Rachel, the standard Septuagint (and its associated Vetus Latina text) is peculiar in two respects: it enlarges the list by giving the names of nineteen descendants, and it specifies that the total number should be eighteen (with some variant texts "correcting" this to nineteen).

The LXX/VL expansions, when compared with the Masoretic text, are emphasized with italics in the following translation.[*]Based on the New English Translation (NETS).

The sons of Iacob's wife Rachel: (1;I) Ioseph and (2;B) Beniamin. And to Joseph in the land of Egypt were born sons (3;I') Manasse and (4;I'') Efrem, whom Asenneth, daughter of Petefre, priest of Heliopolis, bore to him. And to Manasse were born sons whom the Syrian concubine bore to him; (5;Ma) Machir, and Machir became the father of (6;G) Galaad. And the sons of Manasse's brother Efrem: (7;S) Sutalam and (8;C) Taan. And the sons of Southalaam: (9;E) Edem. The sons of Benjamin were (10;B') Bala and (11;B'') Chobor and (12;B''') Asoel. And to Bala were born sons: (13;A) Adar, (14;N) Noeman, (15;Ia) Iachim, (16;R) Ros, (17;M) Mamfim, (18;O) Ophimin and Gera became the father of (19;Ar) Arad. These are the sons of Rachel, whom she bore to Jacob: all, eighteen persons.

An ordinal and abbreviation is attached after each name.

Note how the Septuagint extends Joseph's family by two extra generations compared to the Masoretic and Vulgate texts.

The fact that the section is drawn so variously in the manuscripts is an indicator of how difficult it must have been for scribe-artists to cope without a Vetus Latina text to hand and also adapt this data to their own conceptions of good design.

There is one peculiarity in this sub-stemma which deviates from our scriptural texts. The oldest Great Stemma texts describe Galaad (G) as the son of Manasse (Galaath filius Manasse), and therefore as Machir's brother. (In the Foigny plot, it is notable that G is connected to the wrong family.) That this is not some kind of later copying error is confirmed by the Liber Genealogus G text. The LXX/VL text above shows that scripture describes Galaad as the son of Machir (and thus grandson of Manasse). It would seem likely that this deviation must be attributed to the author of the Great Stemma, and that it was written thus in the fifth century or earlier. Either a confusion between the similarly spelled names Machir and Manasse, or the oddity that the LXX text speaks of Manasse and his Syrian concubine having sons in the plural, might explain the alteration. The edition leaves Machir and Galaad as brothers.

An altogether different situation arises with Arad (Ar), who is always scripted in our manuscripts of the Great Stemma as Arat filius Noeman, although he appears in the Liber Genealogus G in a different affiliation, as Nepos autem eius ex Adar dictus est Arad, i.e. the son of Adar (Adar is more commonly now known as Gera). The LGG attachment conforms with the Septuagint and Vetus Latina.

Why the drawings should contain such a puzzling variant is on the face of it inexplicable. One suspects that this arose by a copying error rather than through deliberate editorial alteration. Since Plutei and Roda show Arad as simultaneously connected to his (biblically validated) father Adar (A), to his uncle Noeman (N) (as mandated by the GS text) and to his cousin Asoel (Asbel) (B''') (perhaps by reason of an over-extended straight chain), one surmises that this has been a repeated source of confusion to scribes and that it is therefore a very ancient error. The Plutei scribe marked the connection of Arad to Noeman in red ink, perhaps by way of emphasizing this as a problem requiring further investigation. For the sake of simplicity, the reconstruction shows Arad connected to Adar/Gera only, taking the LGG as sufficient authority.

In the Plutei and Roda plots, Eden (E) might seem to be misconnected, as if a third sibling to his father and uncle. However the text, Eden filius Sutala, makes plain this roundel is the child (the Plutei text is defective). This is one of the Great Stemma's idiosyncrasies: affiliation without proximity, highlighted in the reconstruction with the "AWP" loop. Similarly A and siblings are the sons of a figure in row 3. But a bypass line is never added to show this. The text in the roundels appears to have been sufficient for the fifth-century author and readers to indicate that the connection was one that jumped the roundels between.

The rest of the group is formed mainly out of vertical assemblies of siblings. It is clear that the group fills nine rows and would have reached to the bottom of the page, since Rachel had to be placed in row number two to leave sufficient headroom for the top filum. The roundel order A-N-Ia-R-M-O is consistent in form in the old recensions, with an elbow preceding R-M-O, and we can safely assume that not only did this form the bottom section of the design, but also that the arrangement was probably three columns wide.

The stemma is very skewed in two examples above, with Benjamin slipping well down the page to create room for material to the right of this sub-stemma. This is likely to be an accident of transmission. Rachel's two sons should probably be put back on a level with one another, making a symmetrical ramification as we see in the three-column reconstruction, where the first, third and fifth generations are shaded for greater clarity.

"Susi" and "Gaddi," are attached to the line of Manasseh in the Liber Genealogus G, indicating they were present in the Ω hyparchetype. They may be a learned cross-reference, showing that the author had consulted the list of Moses' 12 scouts at Numbers 13:11 where those two additional names appear. Perhaps they were later deleted as being too much. They are shown here greyed out.

Next: Jacob's Offspring by Bilhah

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