Genesis For The Mildly Curious

Dedicated to the scholarly study of the bible as text and the discussion thereof

Moderator: Moderators

Post Reply
User avatar
WebersHome
Guru
Posts: 1066
Joined: Sun Jan 10, 2016 9:10 am
Location: Oregon
Been thanked: 7 times

Genesis For The Mildly Curious

Post #1

Post by WebersHome »

.
Hello;

Back around 2000 or 2001; I got the daring idea to begin composing a daily, bite-size commentary on the book of Genesis. It was a clumsy effort at first but I stuck with it and as time went by, it got pretty good. On some forums where I've survived opposition long enough to complete the whole fifty chapters, Genesis has attracted several thousand views.

As of today's date, I'm 76 years old; and an on-going student of the Bible since 1968 via sermons, seminars, lectures, Sunday school classes, radio Bible programs, and various authors of a number of Bible-related books. Fifty-two years of Bible under my belt hasn't made me an authority; but they've at least made me competent enough to tackle Genesis.

Barring emergencies, accidents, vacations, unforeseen circumstances, and/or insurmountable distractions, database errors, pandemic shut-downs, computer crashes, black outs, brown outs, deaths in the family, Wall Street Armageddon, thread hijackers, excessive quarrelling and debating, the dog ate my homework, visiting relatives, ISIS, car repairs, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, student walk-outs, Carrington events, gasoline prices, medical issues, and/or hard luck and the forces of nature; I'm making an effort to post something every day including Sundays and holidays.

Some really good stuff is in Genesis: the origin of the cosmos, Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel, the Flood, tower of Babel, and the origin of the Jews.

Big-name celebrities like Noah, Abraham, Sarah, Isaac and Ishmael, Rebecca, Jacob and Esau, and Joseph are here.

Not here are Moses vs. Pharaoh and the parting of the Red Sea. That story is in Exodus; Samson and Delilah are in Judges, David and Goliath are in 1Samuel; and Ruth and Esther are in books of the Bible named after them.

The author of Genesis is currently unknown; but commonly attributed to Moses. Seeing as he penned Exodus (Mark 12:26) it's conceivable that Moses also penned Genesis; but in reality, nobody really knows for sure.

Scholars have estimated the date of its writing at around 1450-1410 BC; a mere 3,400± years ago, which is pretty recent in the grand scheme of Earth's geological history.

Genesis may in fact be the result of several contributors beginning as far back as Adam himself; who would certainly know more about the creation than anybody, and who entertained no doubts whatsoever about the existence of an intelligent designer since he knew the creator Himself like a next door neighbor.

As time went by, others like Seth and Noah would add their own experiences to the record, and then Abraham his, Isaac his, Jacob his, and finally Judah or one of his descendants completing the record with Joseph's burial.

Genesis is quoted more than sixty times in the New Testament; and Christ authenticated its Divine inspiration by referring to it in his own teachings. (e.g. Matt 19:4-6, Matt 24:37-39, Mk 10:4-9, Luke 11:49-51, Luke 17:26 29 & 32, John 7:21-23, John 8:44 and John 8:56)

Buen Camino

(Pleasant Journey)
_

User avatar
WebersHome
Guru
Posts: 1066
Joined: Sun Jan 10, 2016 9:10 am
Location: Oregon
Been thanked: 7 times

Re: Genesis For The Mildly Curious

Post #211

Post by WebersHome »

.
Gen 27:30-33a . . No sooner had Jacob left the presence of his father Isaac-- after Isaac had finished blessing Jacob --than his brother Esau came back from his hunt. He too prepared a dish and brought it to his father. And he said to his father: Let my father sit up and eat of his son's game, so that you may give me your innermost blessing. His father Isaac said to him: Who are you? And he said: I am your son, Esau, your first-born! Isaac was seized with very violent trembling.

According to Jewish folklore, Isaac's first impulse, upon realizing he blessed the wrong son, was to retract the benediction from Jacob and give it to the son for whom it was intended; and would have except at that moment he saw Hell open beneath his feet, thus signifying that God was very displeased with his intentions; and if he persisted any longer to bless the wrong boy, he would suffer dire consequences. I would not be one bit surprised if that were true.

It began to dawn on Isaac what had happened. The truth suddenly came home to him like a frigid blast of icy wind. In spite of all his intentions, God overruled Isaac, and he blessed the younger instead of the elder; like he was supposed to do in the first place.

Furthermore, he realized he had been deceived by his true love Rebecca, and by his faithful son Jacob, whom he really hadn't appreciated very much up until now. I think he realized, that they, level-headed and sensible people that they were, deceived him in order to prevent the head of the house from doing what he very well knew he had no right to do. And God was in on the whole scheme, and had blessed Jacob through Isaac in spite of himself to the contrary. Jacob would indeed be blessed, just as he should have been all along.


Gen 27:33b . .Who was it then-- he demanded --that hunted game and brought it to me? Moreover, I ate of it before you came, and I blessed him; now he must remain blessed!

This was clearly the will of God and there was nothing Isaac could do to change it. He had tried to, but God stopped him. As the impact of these thoughts came over him, Isaac became very shaken. Emotions of all sorts must have overwhelmed him-- anger with Jacob, concern for Esau's future, heartbreak over Rebecca's treachery, resentment at having his own plans thwarted, and shame for having played the fool in such an important spiritual matter. All those feelings surely contributed to his trembling.

Isaac quickly realized God had spoken to him in judgment, and that he had incurred great peril to himself in so ignoring the will of God. He had betrayed the trust of his father Abraham and had practically destroyed his own home; all because of a carnal appetite and parental adulation of a favorite son's physical exploits. No wonder the poor man was shaking so badly.


Gen 27:34a . .When Esau heard his father's words, he burst into wild and bitter sobbing,

The word for "sobbing" is wayits'aq which is from tsa' aq (tsaw-ak') and means: to shriek.

I have a feeling the shriek that wrenched up out of Esau's lungs is the very same hysterical emotion that millions of damned will feel at The Great White Throne judgment of Rev 20:11-15 when the grim reality of their fate finally sinks in that they have lost Heaven forever. It's beyond words.

At the first, Esau entered his dad's room with cheerful anticipation. Then quite bluntly, Isaac blurts out that someone beat him to it. Watching his dad shivering, and seeing the look of fear wash over the patriarch's face, the awful truth became only too apparent and Esau gave vent to his disappointment with a dreadful scream.


Gen 27:34b . . and said to his father: Bless me too, Father!

In Esau's mind, his dad really hadn't intended to bless Jacob; and was actually hoodwinked into it; so surely God couldn't possibly honor the fraudulent blessing. Isaac could just simply retract his words and bless the older son like he wanted to. But no. It was far more serious than either Esau or his dad imagined; which by now, via God's Spirit, Isaac was fully aware.

Gen 27:34c . . But he answered: Your brother came with guile and took away your blessing.

That was really only a half truth; no doubt told with the intent to prevent alienating his eldest son. The fact of the matter is: Isaac couldn't change anything now even if he wanted to; and he knew it too because by now he was fully reminded of God's original mandate regarding the two boys even before they were born. Hardly knowing how to explain his wanton error to Esau, he simply blamed Jacob for it. But it was Isaac's fault all along. He should never have led Esau to believe he would get the blessing. So many dads cannot admit they made a mistake in the way they raised their kids. Isaac was certainly no better.

Gen 27:36a . . [Esau] said: Was he, then, named Jacob that he might supplant me these two times? First he took away my birthright and now he has taken away my blessing!

Esau bitterly recalled that Jacob had taken away his birthright-- of course conveniently forgetting that he saw no value in it and traded his privilege for a measly bowl of porridge.

Gen 27:36b-38 . . And he added: Have you not reserved a blessing for me? Isaac answered, saying to Esau: But I have made him master over you: I have given him all his brothers for servants, and sustained him with grain and wine. What, then, can I still do for you, my son? And Esau said to his father: Have you but one blessing, Father? Bless me too, Father! And Esau wept aloud.

It must have been a strange sight to see such a virile, strong, athletic he-man screaming like a woman and bawling like a little girl. Agonizingly, he begged his dad for a blessing of some kind for himself, probably hoping that somehow God, through his father's intercession, could be persuaded to change His mind. The portion of the blessing, which no doubt appealed to Esau the most-- that of political superiority and material security-- had been irrevocably given to Jacob; and all the blubbering in the world couldn't change the situation now.
_

User avatar
WebersHome
Guru
Posts: 1066
Joined: Sun Jan 10, 2016 9:10 am
Location: Oregon
Been thanked: 7 times

Re: Genesis For The Mildly Curious

Post #212

Post by WebersHome »

.
Gen 27:39-40 . . And his father Isaac answered, saying to him: See, your abode shall be [away from] the fat of the earth and [from] the dew of heaven above. Yet by your sword you shall live, and you shall serve your brother; but when you grow restive, you shall break his yoke from your neck.

The words in the brackets don't actually appear in the Hebrew text. But according to a foot note in the 1985 JPS Tanakh; the meaning of the Hebrew is just what you see. Jacob's side of the family was granted the best water, fertile soils, and abundant yields. In contrast, Esau's side of the family would live in regions plagued with geological shortages of water, arable land, and natural pastures.

Isaac's prediction was fulfilled by the very nature of the rugged region that came to be known as the land of Edom. The Edomites, in general, lived in violence and subjection to Israel; remaining essentially independent until David's time, but then were subjugated permanently after that in spite of frequent rebellions and temporary partial freedom. Finally, Edom disappeared as a nation by that name: the little prophecy of Obadiah explains why.

Esau's life of indifference to spiritual matters-- in spite of being born to one of the most privileged heritages possible --had finally caught up with him and it was too late even for regrets.


Gen 27:41 . . Now Esau harbored a grudge against Jacob because of the blessing which his father had given him, and Esau said to himself: Let but the mourning period of my father come, and I will kill my brother Jacob.

Well, he had a long wait ahead of him. Isaac lived another 45 years.

But isn't it odd how the human spirit desires to kill-- not just desire for harm and misfortune; but to the gravest extreme?

A few years ago, out here on a highway in Oregon, traffic was slowed. So a man tried to get ahead of it by driving on the shoulder to pass everyone up. As he went by a pick-up truck with some men in it, one of them threw a paper cup at him. He dropped back and fired a gun into the pick-up, killing one of the passengers.

That is so typical of the feelings that overwhelm human beings when they're angry. They want blood, and no other form of revenge will satisfy. Is it possible that there is anybody out there who has never wished that somebody would die?

Esau's personality changed dramatically. He went from an indifferent, carefree outdoor sportsman to a bitter, vindictive neurotic. The thought of his sissy brother ruling over him-- the superior son who was always admired and idolized for his strength and prowess --was just too much for Esau to bear.
_

User avatar
WebersHome
Guru
Posts: 1066
Joined: Sun Jan 10, 2016 9:10 am
Location: Oregon
Been thanked: 7 times

Re: Genesis For The Mildly Curious

Post #213

Post by WebersHome »

.
Gen 27:42a . . When the words of her older son Esau were reported to Rebecca,

You know, if criminals would just keep their mouths shut they might get away with a whole lot more crimes. But no, they just have to tell somebody about it. Esau must have vented his bitterness to some of the servants who, in turn, leaked it to Rebecca.

Gen 27:42b-43a . . she sent for her younger son Jacob and said to him: Your brother Esau is consoling himself by planning to kill you. Now, my son, listen to me.

Again showing herself to be a woman of quick decision, Rebecca called Jacob and told him exactly what to do. Not wishing for a war between her sons, she thought it best to send Jacob away for a while.

Gen 27:43b-45 . . Flee at once to Haran, to my brother Laban. Stay with him a while, until your brother's fury subsides-- until your brother's anger against you subsides --and he forgets what you have done to him. Then I will fetch you from there. Let me not lose you both in one day!

The word for "fury" is from chemah (khay-maw') and/or chema' (khay-maw') which means: heat. The word for "anger" is from 'aph (af) which means: the nose or nostril; hence, the face, and occasionally a person; also (from the rapid breathing in passion) ire.

(chuckle) Ol' Esau was indeed a passionate man. But his was not the lingering passion of a scented candle, or of a Yule log, which burn slowly for a long time. His rage burned more like a tumbleweed; a flashing, momentary flame that would soon pass. Esau might hold a grudge, but he wouldn't go on red faced and breathing heavy about it for very long.

Moody, introspective people, often stay upset for long periods of time; which really exasperates the Esau types who usually get over things quickly. The Esau types are happy to let personal conflicts blow over and then move on. But the moody types are always wanting to dredge up unresolved hurts and argue about them again and again for the Nth time until someone finally listens.

Some lawsuits, like the one between President Clinton and Paula Jones, often cannot be settled out of court because personalities like hers want an admission of guilt and an apology. Money is out of the question, and an insult to boot, because people like Paula Jones are never satisfied with anything less than a public hanging.

Knowing Esau's nature, Rebecca figured his rage would pass away quickly and he would soon return to his typical carefree ways. Unfortunately, it was past twenty years before Jacob came back home, and there is no record that he ever saw his mom again.

Rebecca's stratagem was indeed costly, but it could have gone much worse if Jacob had stayed home. Surely any attempt by Esau to kill Jacob would have resulted in Esau's death; the Lord protecting Jacob for future use. But I think Rebecca feared Esau might succeed and then become permanently alienated from the family like Cain was after killing his brother Abel. So she would, in effect, lose both boys in one day just as grandma Eve did.

Rebecca-- the bright, discreet lass that she was --no doubt had counted all the costs of her scheme; and believed the issue was vital enough to require her to do what she did. As a matter of fact, later events proved that she was correct. Esau did soon get over his rage, and he prospered quite adequately in a material sense. Jacob never did really lord it over him, which was probably all Esau really cared about anyway.

Both boys survived this calamitous event: hubby Isaac too. And Jacob went on to spawn the people of Israel, thus making a line to Messiah; by whom the Serpent's head would be crushed, and the entire world blessed beyond measure.

They say all's well that ends well. Maybe. Rebecca's family was fractured, and she lost the companionship of a really good son. Hers was a sacrifice of the heart. I would really like to see Rebecca compensated for that some day.
_

User avatar
WebersHome
Guru
Posts: 1066
Joined: Sun Jan 10, 2016 9:10 am
Location: Oregon
Been thanked: 7 times

Re: Genesis For The Mildly Curious

Post #214

Post by WebersHome »

.
Gen 27:46 . . And Rebecca said to Isaac: I am weary of living because of the daughters of Heth. If Jacob take a wife of the daughters of Heth, such as these which are of the daughters of the land, I might as well die.

Abraham purchased a cemetery plot from Heth's clan back in chapter 23.

I think Rebecca was becoming very lonely for the company of daughters-in-law of a kindred spirit. Christians considering marriage should really give some serious thought to how their parents feel about a prospective spouse. It's just not fair to force your choice down their throat with the haughty protest: It's my life!

No man is an island, entire of itself;
Every man is a piece of the continent:
A part of the main.
(John Donne, 1624)

Everything that people do, everything they say, every decision they make; has a ripple effect.

You know, Isaac really wasn't a bad man. But something happened to him that made him lose interest in his patriarchal duties. I really do think the man was having problems with depression; which may have been associated somehow with his eyesight.

What if you could never again see Orion and the Milky Way, nor a sunset, nor the colors of the rainbow, nor watch the flight of migrating geese or a buzzing humming bird, nor see the bees busily collecting their pollen, nor the wind shaking the trees, nor the fluorescent colors of Autumn foliage, nor the splendor of the Grand Canyon, nor a spider's web illuminated from behind by morning sunlight, nor the ocean's waves, nor fireworks on the 4th of July? And what about all the things you haven't seen yet? Defective eyesight would prevent you from ever seeing the things that you missed.

There is a well known syndrome that occurs in men called male menopause; and also known by it's other name: andropause. Although male menopause is related to the aging process-- with resultant hormonal reductions --men's problems aren't caused by the very same kinds of changes that occur in women. Women's menopausal difficulties are chiefly chemical. But with men, it's mostly psychological.

One of the primary symptoms of andropause is depression. Not just bouts of depression that come and go, but the chronic kind. Every day, every night: feelings of inadequacy and worthlessness plague men afflicted with chronic depression. They feel useless, they feel they'll never be any good again, they feel expendable; and they feel unnecessary. But worse, they feel unlovable; viz: not only do they feel like no one cares whether they live or die, but they feel it is impossible for anyone to care about them at all.

It isn't unusual for men to rapidly deteriorate and die during the first eighteen months of their retirement years. Why? Because their jobs, and their careers, made their lives meaningful and worthwhile. It gave them a reason to live. It gave them strong feelings of value, it made them creative and gave them feelings of self worth and self esteem, and feelings of belonging in a man's world. At career's end, they feel expended and expendable; actually losing interest in living and it's almost as if they will themselves to pass away because there's nothing left to live for, and people begin treating them like children instead of mature adults.

When we're young and spry, we look forward to the future with optimism and anticipation. But when we're older, there is nothing in life to look forward to anymore but falling apart and leaving it. All the good stuff is over. And it doesn't help having our bodies deteriorate along the way.

I really think that Isaac's handicap robbed him of all reasonable optimism; and he saw no reason to go on living; especially at his age. Because of that, he had no spirit for patriarchal duties. When the boys brought him food that day, both of them asked their dad to sit up and eat. Sit up!? What the heck was he doing lying down? Well, I think he was lying around all day feeling sorry for himself, that's what. Life had become uninteresting to Isaac, and he was no longer one tough cookie; but rather, one whipped puppy.

But not so Rebecca. No, No; not that quick-legged aquarian. She was a fighter, she was a Rocky Balboa. Becky had a head on her shoulders. Ever the strong decisive woman, she put a bug in Isaac's ear to send Jacob away to find a spouse. Yes, she was being cunning again; but in the right of it too: as usual. It was a whole lot better for Jacob to depart with his dad's good will than running away from home without saying good-bye.

Now that the blessing had actually been dispensed, and it was very clear to Isaac that Jacob was God's choice to perpetuate Abraham's covenant, there was no excuse to delay any longer in the matter of finding his son a suitable wife because men don't live forever, Their children have to take up the flame and carry it forward. Jacob was a virile man at this point in his life; but that's getting ready to change. This fact, combined with the immediate danger of another Cain-and-Abel episode, was more than enough reason for Isaac to send Jacob away.

Rebecca's personal desire for Jacob to have a wife from her own people, one with whom she could have fellowship rather than the continual friction she experienced with Esau's Hittite wives, compelled her to convince Isaac that her own life wouldn't be worth living anymore if Jacob married the same kinds of impious women as his brother's.

Was Rebecca a good wife? Even though she tricked her husband? And even though she was strong and decisive? I really believe she was because even in the US Navy, sometimes a captain needs his first officer to take over and run the ship till he's better.

"The Lord God said; It is not good for man to be alone; I will make a fitting helper for him." (Gen 2:18)

Isaac benefited from his dad Abraham's wisdom; and he had the providence of God to thank in the selection of his wife. Rebecca really saved the day, and got Isaac back up on his patriarchal feet. If it wasn't for her, nothing would have turned out right. She was indeed the perfect mate for that particular man. Unlike Eve who brought her man down; Becky propped her man up. Some women, infected with misandry, are pleased when their man goes down.
_

User avatar
WebersHome
Guru
Posts: 1066
Joined: Sun Jan 10, 2016 9:10 am
Location: Oregon
Been thanked: 7 times

Re: Genesis For The Mildly Curious

Post #215

Post by WebersHome »


Gen 28:1a . . So Isaac sent for Jacob and blessed him. He instructed him:

This is the first time, at least on record, that Isaac has shown any real interest in Jacob's
spiritual condition. You just have to wonder if Jacob received any religious instruction at
all from his dad. I would not be surprised if Rebecca has been Jacob's only tutor up to
this point.

Isaac went through a very traumatic experience. I think he was shaken, and it appears
to have succeeded in bringing him back to his senses. Now he renders upon Jacob the
full extent of Abraham's blessing; which he really should have done a long time
ago.


Gen 28:1b-4 . .You shall not take a wife from among the Canaanite women. Arise, go
to Paddan-aram, to the house of Bethuel, your mother's father, and take a wife there
from among the daughters of Laban, your mother's brother. May El Shaddai bless you,
make you fertile and numerous, so that you become an assembly of peoples. May He
grant the blessing of Abraham to you and your offspring, that you may possess the land
where you are sojourning, which God assigned to Abraham.


It would have been much wiser of course, if circumstances had permitted, to keep
Jacob at home and dispatch a trusted servant up to Haran to fetch a wife back down to
Canaan like Abraham did for Isaac. But at this point, I guess that option was out of the
question. Isaac's patriarchal laxity is having quite a domino effect upon Jacob's future.
He's going to be tricked into taking two wives, sisters at that, and squander twenty years
of his life indentured to a very crafty, dishonest man.


Gen 28:5 . .Then Isaac sent Jacob off, and he went to Paddan-aram, to Laban the
son of Bethuel the Aramean, the brother of Rebecca, mother of Jacob and Esau.


I just have to wonder if Isaac would have thought of Laban at all if not for Rebecca
putting a bug in his ear.

Not only was Laban an Aramean, but so were Abraham, Lot, Sarah, and Rebecca. The
boys (Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob and Esau) were born in Canaan. So of what country were
they? Canaan wasn't a united sovereignty like the USA. It was a frontier territory. Along
the coast were Philistine colonies; the remainder populated by many communities
scattered all over the place much like Native American peoples were in America's early
days.

I don't know about Ishmael and Esau, but Isaac and Jacob looked ahead to a future
country that they would call home. That country didn't exist just yet in Jacob's day, but it
would eventually, and he would be a somebody there-- Abraham's covenant
guarantees it. Those men haven't missed out on anything. According to the New
Testament's Jesus, they will all return some day and live in that land as citizens in land
promised to Abraham.

"I say to you that many will come from the east and the west, and will take their places
at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven." (Matt 8:11)

The writer of Hebrews said, that although those three men were pilgrims in Canaan,
they will one day live inside it as citizens in a town of their own.

"By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his
inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. By
faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he
lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. For
he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God."
(Heb 11:8-10)

I don't know exactly how much detail those men knew in their day; but that "city with
foundations" is going to be some piece of work. (cf. Rev 21:2-27)


Gen 28:6-7 . .When Esau saw that Isaac had blessed Jacob and sent him off to
Paddan-aram to take a wife from there, charging him, as he blessed him "You shall not
take a wife from among the Canaanite women" and that Jacob had listened to his father
and mother and gone to Paddan-aram,


That had to shake Esau up even more. Up to this point, for many, many years, he had
been daddy's little boy. Now, practically overnight, Jacob takes center stage. It must
have been very disturbing and I have no doubt it made Esau feel extremely insecure;
probably for the first time in his life.

Jacob listened to his parents. The difference between Jacob and Esau really shows in
that respect. Esau did pretty much whatever he pleased. But Jacob wasn't like that.
Even at 75 years old he took his parents advice. American kids today are famous for
ignoring their parents guidance; and they usually end up regretting it too.

His dad was smart all along, but the boy was too immature at the time to see it. He
thought smartness came packaged with youth. In his mind; older people were
expendable, obsolete, and out of touch with reality. But education doesn't necessarily
make one wise: just conceited.

Although Esau was Isaac's favorite, I really don't think he ever disciplined, scolded, nor
lectured his eldest son for anything. I think he let Esau run wild so as to avoid stressing
their relationship. Even though Esau's wives were a misery to Isaac and Rebecca,
apparently no one ever spoke up and said anything about it till now; and as a result;
Esau fell for one of the oldest ruses in the book:

A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong;
Gives it a superficial appearance of being right.

( Thomas Paine )
_

User avatar
WebersHome
Guru
Posts: 1066
Joined: Sun Jan 10, 2016 9:10 am
Location: Oregon
Been thanked: 7 times

Re: Genesis For The Mildly Curious

Post #216

Post by WebersHome »

.
Gen 28:8 . . Esau realized that the Canaanite women displeased his father Isaac.

Now that Esau no longer enjoyed the status of a pampered athlete, he's a little more attuned to the opinions of others around him; most especially to the dad who at one time gave the impression his eldest was so wonderful.

Gen 28:9a . . So Esau went to Ishmael and took to wife, in addition to the wives he had,

Some feel that Esau did that to create an alliance with Ishmael; since he too was a disfavored son. But Ishmael was already deceased by this time. He was at least fourteen years older than Isaac, who was by this time around 135. Ishmael died at 137; twelve years prior to this chapter. It is much more likely that Esau betrothed a woman from Ishmael's family in an attempt to redeem his marriages to the Hittite girls. Ishmael's girls, at least, were kin.

Gen 28:9b . . Mahalath the daughter of Ishmael son of Abraham, sister of Nebaioth.

Ishmael being long dead; his son Nebaioth made the arrangements for marriage.

You know, life sometimes dealt cruelly with girls in that day. Romance was out of the question. Even if there was a boy in the neighborhood that took their breath away, the girls weren't allowed to even date, let alone marry him. They had to marry a man their dads or their brothers selected-- oftentimes a total stranger and often someone quite a bit older than themselves. You'll often see it said in the Bible that so and so loved a particular girl; but hardly ever will you see where she loved him back.

I believe that Abraham was a conscientious parent and made certain Ishmael received religious training. By the time Ishmael was evicted at fifteen or so, he had a pretty good basic knowledge regarding Abraham's god. And his mom Hagar was familiar with Him too. So it would not surprise me if Mahalath was pretty sound in the correct beliefs. She was a much better choice than the Hittite girls, and she is never once said to be a heartbreak to either Isaac or Rebecca. I would like to think Mahalath was very good company for Rebecca; which would have been a real comfort to her now that Jacob was gone.

Unfortunately, Mahalath was too little too late. It was like closing the gate after the horses have run out of the corral. I'm sure Mahalath was okay; but Esau's new wife could never change God's decree concerning Jacob. Esau lost out: and he lost out big.


Gen 28:10 . . Jacob left Beer-sheba, and set out for Haran.

It's difficult for me to believe that Jacob made the 450 miles trip to Haran all by himself. He may have, I don't know. I'm not saying he didn't. After all, Hagar was apparently traveling alone when she ran away from Sarah back in chapter 16. But that was a very dangerous, foolish thing to do. A lone person in wild country is just asking for trouble. What if they were to fall and break a leg? Or were attacked by brigands and/or wild animals?

The route to Haran was used by caravans so Jacob may have traveled along with one for safety's sake; and if not, then maybe with travelers on foot like himself sort of like the pilgrims who trek the El Camino de Santiago de Compostela in Spain.


Gen 28:11a . . He came upon a certain place

According to Gen 28:19, the "certain place" was Bethel. The site started out as Luz; but later came to be known by the name Jacob gave it. Today it's commonly believed Bethel was somewhere around Beitin, about twelve miles north of Jerusalem and maybe two and a half miles northeast of Ramallah. At this point, Jacob was maybe sixty miles from Beer-sheba-- probably the second or third day of his journey.

Gen 28:11b . . and stopped there for the night, for the sun had set.

Travel at night without a car with good electric headlights was not a good idea in those days. Palestine was once the habitat of bears and lions; and the odds were against you of getting lost and losing your way in the dark.

Gen 28:11c . .Taking one of the stones of that place, he put it under his head and lay down in that place.

I doubt the stone was very large. Probably just enough to elevate his head a little so he wouldn't lie with his cheek right down on flat dirt. That is so uncomfortable. Try it. Put a towel or something down on the floor and lie down on the side of your head. It's much more comfortable to stack a few books first and then put the towel down. He probably did it like that and cushioned the stone with a bag or a coat.

Gen 28:12a . . He had a dream;

In the book of Genesis, dreams are a common means of communication between God and humans. Is that still going on? I really don't know. But if it ever happened to me, I would consider it a nightmare.
_

Post Reply