January 13, 2015

 

Genesis 33-36 - Jacob looked up and saw Esau with his 400 men.  He divided the children between Leah and Rachel and the two maidservants.  He put the maidservants out in front, Leah and her children next, and Rachel and Joseph last.  He led the way, bowed 7 times honoring his brother.  But Esau ran up and embraced him, held him tight and kissed him.  And they both wept....After meeting Jacob’s family, Esau then asked, “And what was the meaning of all those herds that I met?”  Jacob replied, “I was hoping that they would pave the way for my master to welcome me...please, if you can find it in your heart to welcome me, accepts these gifts....

 So Esau made his way back to Seir.  And Jacob left for Succoth...and that’s how it happened that Jacob arrived in one piece in Shechem in the land of Canaan.  He camped near the city.  He bought the land where he pitched his tent from the sons of Hamor, the father of Shechem.  He paid a hundred silver coins for it.  Then he built an altar there.

 One day, Dinah, the daughter of Leah, went to visit some of the women in that country.  Shechem, who was chieftain there, saw her and raped her.  Then he felt a strong attraction to Dinah, fell in love with her and wooed her.  Shechem went to his father Hamor, “Get me this girl for my wife.”  

Jacob heard that Shechem had raped his daughter but his sons were out in the fields so he didn’t say anything until they got home.  Hamor went to Jacob to work out marriage arrangements.  Meanwhile, Jacob’s sons heard what happened.  They were outraged, explosive with anger...Hamor spoke with Jacob and his sons offering that the two families intermarry.  Shechem also spoke for himself addressing Dinah’s father and brothers...

Jacob’s sons answered Shechem and his father with cunning stating that the only condition on which we can talk business is if all your men become circumcised like us.  Then we will freely exchange daughters in marriage and make ourselves at home among you and become on big, happy family....So Hamor and his son went to the public square and spoke to the town council...Everyone who was anyone agreed and every male was circumcised. 

Three days after the circumcision, while all the men were still very sore, two of Jacob’s sons, Simeon and Levi, each with a sword in their hand, walked into the city as if they owned the place and murdered every man there.  They also killed Hamor and his son Shechem.  When the rest of Jacob’s sons came on the scene they looted  the entire city in retaliation for Dinah’s rape....

Jacob said to Simeon and Levi, “ you’ve made my name stink to high heaven among the people here...If the surrounding communities decided to gang up on us and attack, as few as we are we would not stand a chance, they’d wipe me and my people right off the map.”  They said, “Nobody is going to treat our sister like a whore and get by with it.”

 God spoke to Jacob:  “Go back to Bethel.  Stay there and build an altar to the God who revealed himself to you when you were running for your life from Esau...Jacob and his family arrived at Bethel and built an altar to God because that is where God revealed himself to him when he was running from his brother...and that is when Rebekah’s nurse, Deborah, died...

God revealed himself once again and blessed him, ” Your name is Jacob, but that’s your name no longer.  From now on your name is Israel (God wrestler).  God continued with his blessing and then He was gone, ascended from the place where he had spoken...

Then Israel and his family left Bethel.  They were still quite a ways away from Ephrath when Rachel went into labor.  When her labor pains were at their worst, the midwife said to her, “Don’t be afraid--you have another boy.”  With her last breath, for she was now dying, she named him Ben-oni (Son of my Pain) but his father named him Ben-jamin (Son of Good Fortune).  Rachel died and was buried on the road to Ephrath, that is Bethlehem.  Israel kept on his way and set up camp at Migdal Eder.  While Israel was living in the region, Reuben went and slept with his father’s concubine, Bilhah...and Israel heard of what he did.

 There were 12 sons of Jacob: Leah’s included: Reuben, Jacob’s 1st born, Simeon, Levi, Judah Issachar, Zebulun; Rachel’s included: Joseph, Benjamin:  Bilhah, Rachel’s maid: Dan, Naphtali:   Zilpah, Leah’s maid:  Gad, Asher

 Finally Jacob made it back home to his father Isaac at Mamre (Hebron) where Abraham and Isaac had lived.  Isaac was now 180 years old when he breathed his last breath and was buried by his sons Esau and Jacob.

The family tree of Esau (also known as Edom) is then reported as his wives were women of Canaan: Adah, Oholibamah, and Basemath (daughter of Ishmael).   Adah had Eliphaz, who had 6 sons:   Oholibarmah had 3 sons:   Basemath had Reuel, who had 4 sons

Esau gathered up his family and possessions then moved a considerable distance from his brother Jacob.  He ended up settling in the hill country of Seir. 

The remainder of the chapters focus on the chieftains and kings that governed Edom.

John 8:31-8:58 - Then Jesus turned to the Jews who had claimed to believe in him, “If you stick with this, living out what I tell you, you are my disciples for sure.  Then you will experience for yourselves the truth, and the truth will set you free.” ... So if the Son sets you free, you are free through and through.  I know you are Abraham’s descendants.  But I also know that you are trying to kill me because my message hasn’t yet penetrated your thick skulls.  I’m talking about things I have seen while keeping company with the Father, and you just go on doing what you have heard from your father.” 

They were indignant...”We’re not bastards.  We have a legitimate father, the one and only God.”

“If God were your father, “ said Jesus, “you would love me, for I came from God and arrived here...he sent me.  Why can’t you understand one word I say?  Here is why:  You can’t handle it...I have arrived on the scene, tell you the plain truth, and you refuse to have a thing to do with me... anyone on God’s side listens to God’s words.  This is why you’re not listening---because you’re not on God’s side." 

 The Jews then said, “That clinches it.  We were right all along when we called you a Samaritan and said you were crazy---demon-possessed!” 

Jesus said, “I’m not crazy.  I simply honor my Father...I say this with absolute confidence.  If you practice what I’m telling you, you’ll never have to look death in the face.” 

At this point, the Jews said, “Now we know you’re crazy, Abraham died”... Jesus said, “ But my Father, the same One you say is your Father, put me here at this time and place of splendor.  You haven’t recognized him in this... Abraham--your ‘father’ --with jubilant faith looked down the corridors of history and saw my day coming.  He saw it and cheered.” 

The Jews said, “You’re not even 50 years old--and Abraham saw you?” 

“Believe me, “ said Jesus, “I am who I am long before Abraham was anything.” 

That did it--pushed them over the edge.  They picked up rocks to throw at him.  But Jesus slipped away, getting out of the Temple.