Genesis 33-36

The great family reunion is about to take place!  Will it result in war or peace?

Genesis 33

  • Jacob divided his family into columns — first his concubines and their children, then Leah and her children, then Rachel and Joseph.
  • Esau ran towards Jacob and hugged and kissed him.  The family strife was over.
  • Jacob insisted that Esau keep the livestock, so he finally accepted.
  • Esau went back to Seir.  Jacob said he would follow at his own pace.  Jacob stops at a place called Succoth (meaning “shelters” — he built a house and shelters for his livestock).  Jacob and his family arrived at Shechem in Canaan and bought it from the family of Hamor for one hundred silver pieces.
  • Although Jacob did not go to Seir, the Bible does say that they lived close together… see Gen. 36:6-8.

Genesis 34

  • Dinah, Leah’s daughter, went to visit some women in Shechem.  But the local prince, also named Shechem, saw her and raped her.  His love for her was strong, so he asked his father, Hamor, to help him get her.
  • Hamor asked Jacob and his sons to please let Shechem marry Dinah, and they could live together and trade with one another.
  • Shechem said he would pay any price to have Dinah.
  • Dinah’s brothers deceived (hmmm… I’ve seen this trait in this family before…) Shechem and Hamor.  They said to circumcise all the men, and then they could unite as one people.  Shechem and Hamor agreed.
  • Three days after this, while all the men in Shechem were still sore, Simeon and Levi killed every man there.  They also rescued Dinah.  The other brothers plundered the town and took the women and children.
  • Jacob told Levi and Simeon that they had made him stink in this land (we learn later that Jacob curses them when he is close to death… see Gen. 49:5-7).

Genesis 35

  • God told Jacob to go to Bethel.
  • Jacob told everyone in his household to ditch their idols (influenced by the pagans they were living close to?  They could have also been good luck charms…).  They gave Jacob them as well as their earrings (which could have been worn as good luck charms).  Jacob buried them under a tree near Shechem.
  • The terror of God kept all the towns from attacking Jacob or his people.
  • Once they arived at Bethel, Rebekah’s nurse Deborah died.  She was buried beneath an oak tree in a valley below Bethel.  The tree is called the “Oak of Weeping.”
  • God appeared to Jacob and reaffirmed his promise of having a huge number of descendants, being given the land of Abraham and Isaac, and also that his name was Israel.
  • Jacob set up a stone pillar and poured wine and anointed it with olive oil.  The place is called Bethel — “house of God.”
  • Jacob then traveled to Bethlehem.  Rachel had a child while they were still some distance away and called him Ben-oni (Jacob renamed him Benjamin — “son of my right hand”).  Rachel died after this difficult childbirth.
  • Reuben sleeps with Bilhah, Jacob’s concubine, and someone tells Jacob about it.  We do not see his punishment until Jacob is near death in Gen. 49:4… his double portion of the family inheritance as the oldest son is given to someone else.
  • Jacob went to his dad Isaac.  Isaac died at 180 years of age, and Esau and Jacob buried him in Machpelah with Abraham and Sarah.

Genesis 36

  • Esau moved away from Jacob to the hill country of Seir since the land was not big enough to support both of their livestock.
  • Esau is also known as Edom.  A family tree is given of the Edomites (who later become enemies of King David).  They lived south and east of the Dead Sea.
  • A family tree is also given of the descendants of Seir the Horite.
  • Then a list of rulers of Edom is given (these ruled Edom before kings rules Israel).
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