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“Thank you all for joining us for this staff meeting,” Laban called out to the room full of employees at the resort.
They didn’t really have a choice, Jacob thought. Not if they wanted to keep their jobs. Jacob stood beside his father-in-law at the head of the room, with Leah sitting at the table in front of him, holding their two-week old baby. Rachel was at her side and Bilhah and Zilpah on either side of the twins.
They had selected only the housekeepers, management, restaurant workers, and essential staff from the main building rather than the entire resort. The privileged information the staff would receive that day was sacred and not meant to be shared with the general public.
Even with only these select individuals, they filled most of the small conference room in which they’d been gathered.
“First things first. You’re all getting a raise,” Laban said with a smile. There was a general buzz in the room as people looked around at one another with eyes alight and excited chatter. Laban held up his hands to quiet the group. “There are some stipulations, however. We are asking you to sign revised employment contracts, and you are free to walk away should you choose not to continue employment with more stringent confidentiality and nondisclosure agreements.”
Faces around the room grew a little more serious but not necessarily in a bad way. Jacob met the gaze of the night manager, Duman, who had been of some assistance the night Leah’s water broke. They nodded respectfully to one another, and Jacob was glad he’d taken the time to talk with him prior to leaving for the hospital.
“None of you have done anything wrong, and we haven’t received any complaints from guests who rightfully deserve privacy,” Laban said.
Jacob was reminded of the conversation he’d had with Zilpah while lying in bed together on their wedding night. He’d mentioned knowing if anyone was doing anything immoral or illegal. He felt confident about all of these people and considered them his friends.
“But circumstances in my immediate family have changed, and that needs to be addressed. I’d like to turn the time over to my son-in-law, Jacob, for some explanations.”
“Thank you, sir,” Jacob stepped forward as Laban sat at the table near his daughters. “I think most of you were in attendance at my wedding last year when Leah and I said our vows. A couple of you are new, but I believe we’ve met.”
He glanced around and met the gazes of a few new people. Jacob placed his hand on Leah’s shoulder and gave the proper attention to their new baby.
“I’m honored to introduce our son, Reuben, although I think most of you also attended Leah’s baby shower.” Lots of people smiled fondly at Leah and the baby. “We promise to get her back to work eventually, and we appreciate your patience with her twin and their assistants. But I also want to announce that we intend to have many more children, and that’s what I wanted to talk to you about.”
Some of the housekeeping employees gave each other side-glances and knowing grins, and Jacob waited for them to face forward again, a mask of contrived patience with slight raised brows. Someone cleared a throat, and suddenly everyone was paying attention again.
“The housekeeping staff is most likely privileged to certain information simply by nature of their jobs, but I didn’t want there to be rumors about infidelity on my part or that of my wives.”
That caused additional murmurings that died down even more quickly than the snickering amongst the housekeepers.
“Since the time I was a young child, I’ve been answering God’s callings as directed by His Holy Spirit.” He let that sink in, then continued. “Sometimes God calls select men and women to take upon themselves tasks that may seem unconventional. Before moving from Be’er Sheva, God showed me a path upon which I was promised twelve sons and one daughter, and that path led me here.”
“Shooot,” one older woman called out. “My sixth baby about did me in! Thirteen? I pity your wife.”
Leah whimpered playfully, knowing that if all continued according to plan, she’d be giving birth to six children also.
“Wives,” Jacob corrected the older lady. “My thirteen children will be divided between my four wives.”
That number must have been news to everyone because there was a general uproar, although still in a respectful manner. Jacob held up his hands to calm everyone back down.
“As I was saying a moment ago, God occasionally calls a few men and women to help him build his kingdom, and the five of us were foreordained to take upon ourselves this rare and sacrosanct calling.
“I want to impress upon you the sacred nature of this situation and ask that you not speak of this in a derogatory way, especially regarding the sanctity of these choice daughters of God.
“We would also appreciate the same discretion you would give to any guest who would stay at our resort. There are many people in this world who would not understand our reasons for taking this upon ourselves and might even be critical of us. Do any of you have any questions?”
The same older lady who mentioned having six children piped back in. “Are you willing to tell us who the four women are?”
“I’m sorry, yes, I thought you all knew.” He cleared his throat and put one hand on each of the twins’ shoulders. “You all know about Leah, and I’m also married to her twin sister, Rachel.” Then Jacob moved to stand behind Bilhah and introduced her, and then Zilpah.
“Are you planning to take any more wives?” one younger lady on the housekeeping staff asked, almost with a hopeful gleam in her eye.
“Absolutely not, sorry.” Jacob glanced away, and some people in the room chuckled. “I have done what God has asked of me and would never want any more women in my life who all have PMS at the same time.” He winked at Zilpah.
That brought comfortable laughter to the room, and the mood was lightened.
“Anything else?” Jacob looked around, but no one else spoke up. “As my father-in-law mentioned, we have revised employment contracts for all of you, and raises lined up, and we appreciate your support. The kitchen staff has graciously prepared us a light lunch, and you’re all free to join us.”
With that, the meeting was adjourned, and everyone began talking amongst themselves. Many people came over to coo at the baby or talk to the girls, or shake Jacob’s hand. He hoped that afternoon would help them maintain a small semblance of peace at the resort.
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