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Obstetric practices in the Bible
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    Editor—Professor Dunn has collected some interesting examples of sexual and obstetric practices in the bible.1 May I suggest, however, that two of his interpretations are inaccurate.

    First, he quotes Genesis XXX, 3, where Rachel suggests to her husband Jacob: “Go unto my maid Bilhah and she shall bear upon my knees...” Professor Dunn concludes that the upright sitting posture was normally adopted during labour and delivery.

    It seems to me that the significance of the phrase “bear upon my knees” is different. Genesis L, 23 reports: “The children also of Machir the son of Manasseh were born upon Joseph’s knees.” The meaning is clear: the children of Machir …

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