Genesis 45-48

Posted May 19, 2009 by Tim
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So Joseph has finished testing his brothers… Judah has stood up for them.  Joseph sees that his brothers have changed and are not evil as they once were.  Now is the time for a great family reunion…

Genesis 45

  • Joseph tells all the Egyptians attendants to leave the room.  He then reveals himself as Joseph to his brothers.  His weeping could be heard throughout the entire palace.
  • Joseph tells his brothers to bring Jacob with them to Goshen so that Joseph can share his prosperity with them.
  • The brothers went to Jacob along with several wagons, fine clothes, and other provisions.  They told Jacob the news.  At first Jacob did not believe, but once he heard Joseph’s messages and saw the wagons loaded with food, he chose to go see Joseph.
  • My study Bible also notes the similarity of how Jacob at first doubted Joseph being alive, just as Thomas doubted Jesus being risen from the dead.  They both needed some kind of proof.

Genesis 46

  • Jacob and his descendants start their way to Egypt.  In Beersheba, God tells Jacob that his descendants will become a great nation in Egypt, but they will come back to Canaan (prophecy of the Israelites going out of Egypt and eventually conquering Canaan).  Jacob would die with Joseph at his side.
  • A family tree of Jacob’s descendants is given.  He has sixty-six going to Egypt, not counting his sons’ wives.  Adding Joseph, his two sons, and (I assume) Jacob himself, there were seventy members in Jacob’s family in Egypt.
  • Joseph sees his father.  They both embrace.  Jacob says he could die now knowing that Joseph is alive.

Genesis 47

  • Joseph tells Pharaoh that his family are livestock breeders and shepherds (which are despised by Egyptians), but Pharaoh himself probably came from the nomadic Hyksos line, making him sympathetic to shepherds.  So Jacob’s family got to live in Goshen, away from the prejudice of the Egyptians.  Pharaoh also put them in charge of his own livestock.
  • Jacob is presented before Pharaoh.  Jacob reveals that he is 130 at this time.  Jacob blesses Pharaoh.
  • Joseph gives food to his fathers and brothers in appropriate amounts.
  • The famine continually gets worse.  The people of Egypt and Canaan ran out of money.  So they exchanged their livestock for grain.  Then they exchanged their land, and basically made themselves servants of Pharaoh.  Joseph gives them seeds and tells them that 4/5 of their crops can be kept for themselves, while 1/5 should go to Pharaoh.
  • Jacob lived to 147 then died.  He made Joseph swear to bury him at the tomb of Machpelah with Abraham, Sarah, and Isaac.

Genesis 48

  • Before Jacob had died, Joseph heard that his father was nearing death.  So he took his two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim to Jacob.
  • Although Jacob is almost blind, he intentionally blessed Ephraim, the younger brother, more than he did his older brother, Manasseh.

Genesis 41-44

Posted May 18, 2009 by Tim
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The cup-bearer regains his position, while the baker dies.  But will Joseph ever make it out of prison?

Genesis 41

  • Pharaoh had two dreams.  In one, seven healthy, fat cows came to a river and began to graze.   Then seven thin, ugly cows came and stood beside the fat cows.  They then ate the healthy cows.  In the second dream, seven full and plump grains grew on a stalk.  But seven withered ones also grew on that stalk and swallowed the full ones.
  • None of the magicians or wise men of Egypt could interpret the dream.  At this point, the cup-bearer mentioned Joseph, who was quickly brought up from the prison (after a quick shave and change of clothes).
  • Joseph said he could not interpret the dream, but God could through him.  Both dreams meant the same thing: there will be seven years of plenty followed by seven years of famine.
  • Joseph also outlined an action plan: to store up one-fifth of all the food during the time of plenty in preparation for the famine.  Pharaoh saw Joseph as the wisest man in the land and made him second in command, second only to himself.
  • Pharaoh gave Joseph nice clothes and jewelry.  He gave him an Egyptian name (Zaphenath-paneah, meaning ‘God speaks and lives’) and an Egyption wife, Asenath.  Joseph was thirty years old when he took charge under Pharaoh of Egypt.
  • During the seven years of plenty, Joseph had two sons through Asenath: Manasseh (meaning ‘causing to forget’) and Ephraim (meaning ‘fruitful’).
  • After the seven years of plenty, crop failures occurred throughout the world.  Egyptians and foreigners alike went to Joseph and the storehouses in Egypt to buy grain.

Genesis 42

  • Back in Canaan, the famine was strong also.  So Jacob told his sons to go buy grain in Egypt (except for Benjamin).
  • When they got in front of Joseph, he immediately recognized them (but the brothers did not recognize Joseph).  Joseph remembered his dream as a child as his other brothers bowed down to him.
  • He spoke to them through an interpreter.  He accused them of being spies.  After he put them in prison for three days, he kept Simeon in prison and told the other ten to bring back their other brother the next time they came.  Joseph was doing this to test if they had changed… if they were still evil or not.
  • The brothers spoke in their native language, saying that God was punishing them for what they did to Joseph.  Of course, Joseph was able to understand them.
  • Joseph told his servants to fill the men’s sacks with grain and their money.  He also gave them stuff to aid them in their journey back home.
  • When the brothers got back to Jacob, they told him what happened.  They also noticed all of them still had their money and were filled with terror.  Jacob said he would not allow Benjamin to go with them — he did not want anything happening to his last son from Rachel.

Genesis 43

  • Jacob eventually allowed Benjamin to go with the brothers to Egypt; the family was running low on grain again.  Judah promised Benjamin’s safety.
  • They also each took twice the pay (in order to pay for more grain and to return the money they found in their sacks) and gifts for Joseph.
  • Joseph prepared to eat a feast with his brothers and had Simeon released.  But the brothers were scared to death as they entered the palace, expecting to be reprimanded for the pay they found in their sacks.
  • The household manager told them the money in their sacks must have been a gift from God.
  • Joseph found out that his father was still alive.
  • He seated them at a table by their age… without asking them (which amazed the brothers).  Joseph sat a table by himself, the Egyptians by theirselves, and the Hebrew brothers by themselves (due to the Egyptian caste system).
  • Joseph gave Benjamin five times the amount of food he gave anyone else.

Genesis 44

  • Joseph instructed that, once again, the grain payment money be put in the sacks as well as the grain.  He also had his silver drinking cup put into Benjamin’s sack.
  • Joseph told his household manager to catch up to his brothers and stop them, asking for Joseph’s silver cup.
  • The brothers told the household manager to kill whoever had the cup.  He replied that he would make that brother a slave instead.
  • When the cup was found in Benjamin’s sack, all the brothers returned to Joseph and said they would all be his slaves.  Joseph refused, saying only Benjamin would be his slave.
  • Judah had changed.  He stepped up to Pharaoh and told him that if Benjamin did not return home, Jacob might possibly even die of sorrow.  Judah pleaded with Joseph to let him be the slave and let Benjamin go home with his brothers.

Genesis 37-40

Posted May 17, 2009 by Tim
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So Rachel and Isaac have died and Esau has moved away from Jacob into the country of Seir.  It is now time to move to our next main character a generation down: Joseph.

Genesis 37

  • Jacob settles in the land of Canaan, where Isaac lived.
  • At the age of seventeen, Joseph often tended to the flocks with his half brothers (Bilhah’s and Zilpah’s sons).  He told Jacob the bad things that they did.
  • Jacob loved Joseph more than the others.  He gave him a beautiful robe (the coat of many colors).  Joseph’s brothers hated him, since his father favored him.
  • Joseph had two dreams.  In one, his bundle of grains stood up while all his brothers’ bundles of grain bowed down to his.  In the other, the sun, moon, and eleven stars bowed down to him (his father, his mother, and his eleven brothers).  While his brothers hated him all the more, his father wondered what the dream may mean.
  • Jacob told Joseph to go check on the flocks at Shechem, since they had been gone for a while.  Joseph met a man on the way that told him they were now in Dothan.
  • His brothers noticed Joseph at a distance.  They plotted to kill him, but Reuben convinced them to throw him in a well instead (planning to save him later).
  • They threw him in the well.  Ishmaelite traders came by later, and they sold Joseph as a slave to the Ishmaelites for twenty pieces of silver.  The traders headed off to Egypt with Joseph.
  • Reuben came back later and noticed Joseph was no longer in the pit.  Rather than worrying about Joseph, he wondered what would happen to himself.
  • He and his brothers killed a goat and dipped Joseph’s robe in it.  They took it to their father, who assumed Joseph had been killed by a wild animal (hmmm… they deceived their father… where have I seen this before?).
  • Jacob could not be comforted.  He said he would mourn to the day he died.
  • Back in Egypt, Joseph was sold to Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoah and captain of the palace guard.

Genesis 38

  • At about the time Joseph was sold to Potiphar in Egypt, Judah married a Canaanite woman and had three sons: Er, Onan, and Shelah.
  • Er grew up and Judah arranged Er’s marriage with Tamar.  Er was wicked, so God took his life.
  • The law required Onan to marry Tamar (since he was the brother of Er and Tamar had no son, leaving her no heir).  Onan was not willing to have a child with Tamar… he used methods to prevent her from getting pregnant.  So God killed him too.
  • Shelah was still young, so Judah told Tamar to not marry until Shelah was old enough to marry her.  Until then, she would live with her parents.  But Judah had no intentions of Shelah marrying Tamar.
  • After a while, Judah’s wife died.  After the mourning, Judah went to Timnah to oversee the his sheep’s shearing.
  • Tamar heard word of this.  Knowing that Shelah had already grown up, she removed her widow garments and made herself look like a prostitute.  She sat at the road to the entrance to a village leading to Timnah.
  • Judah agreed to give Tamar an identification seal, a cord, and his walking stick in order to sleep with her (not knowing she was his daughter-in-law).
  • When Judah heard that Tamar was pregnant by prostitution, he said to bring her out and burn her.  Once she revealed that she had his identification seal and walking stick, Judah realized he was more in the wrong thn she was.  She was spared, but he never slept with her again.
  • Tamar had twin sons.  One baby started to be birthed first, but he draw back and the other baby was born first.  The firstborn was Perez (“breaking out”), while the almost-firstborn was named Zerah (“scarlet” or “brightness”).

Genesis 39

  • In Egypt, God blessed Joseph so that everything in Potiphar’s household flourished.  Potiphar put Joseph in charge of everything in his house and even let him make all the business decisions.  All Potiphar had to do was decide what to eat.
  • Potiphar’s wife tried to seduce Joseph to sleep with her.  He kept refusing, saying it would be a great sin against God.  Eventually, they were alone.  She again tried to seduce him, grabbing him by the shirt.  He fled, leaving his shirt with her.
  • Potiphar’s wife said that Joseph had tried to rape her, fleeing when she started screaming.  And she had his shirt for proof.
  • Potiphar threw Joseph into the prison where the king’s prisoners were held.  God continued to bless Joseph, so that the chief jailer put him in charge of everything.  Just like Potiphar, the chief jailer had no more worries, as Joseph took care of everything.

Genesis 40

  • Pharaoah’s chief cup-bearer and chief baker got in trouble with Pharaoah, so they were thrown in prison as well.
  • They each had a dream.  Joseph said that God could interpret dreams, so he could help them out.
  • The cup-bearer had seen a vine with three branches that budded and blossomed.  There were also grapes on it, which he made a juice from for Pharaoah.  Joseph interpreted it to mean that in three days Pharaoah would set him free, and he would keep his position.
  • Joseph also told the cup-bearer to put in a good word for him so that he could be set free from a prison that he did not deserve.
  • The baker had a dream of having three baskets of pastries on his head.  The top basket had bakery goods for Pharaoah, but the birds ate them up.  It meant that in three days, Pharaoah would cut off his head and impale his body on a pole, where birds would peck away at his flesh.
  • The interpretations proved correct: the cup-bearer was fine and the baker was killed.  However, the cup-bearer forgot all about Joseph.

Genesis 33-36

Posted May 17, 2009 by Tim
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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).

Genesis 29-32

Posted May 15, 2009 by Tim
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So Abraham has died, Isaac and Rebekah have had Esau and Jacob, Isaac deceived Abimelech, Jacob got Esau’s birthright and blessing, and Jacob has moved to Haran where Laban is.  What’s next for our fleeing hero?

Genesis 29

  • Jacob comes to a well with a stone over it.  It is custom to wait for all the shepherds and their flocks to arrive before rolling back the stone to water the flocks.
  • Jacob asks some of the shepherds at this well if they know Laban.  They say they do and that Laban is doing well.
  • Jacob sees Rachel coming to water her flocks.  He rolls away the stone and introduces himself as her cousin (after kissing her).  Laban comes out and warmly greets Jacob.
  • After a month, Jacob and Laban agreed that after Jacob worked for seven years, he could marry Rachel.
  • After the seven years, Laban gave Leah (the oldest daughter) to Jacob instead of Rachel (it is custom for the oldest daughter to marry first).  Jacob slept with her and noticed in the morning that she was not Rachel (I’m guessing because of the veil).  The deceiver is deceived!
  • Although Jacob got Rachel soon after, he still had to work another seven years for her.
  • Jacob loved Rachel more than Leah.  So God made Rachel childless and gave Leah four sons (for now): Reuben (meaning “Look, a son!” and also sounding like “He has seen my misery”), Simeon (meaning “one who hears”), Levi (meaning “being attached” or “feeling affection for”), and Judah (probably meaning “praise”).

Genesis 30

  • Rachel was jealous of Leah having all the children.  She gave Jacob her servant Bilhah so he could have children through her servant.  (Good grief, is it just me or does this family repeat the same things OVER and OVER?  Abraham and Isaac both deceived two different King Abimelechs, Abraham and Isaac both slept with their wives maids for a child, Laban and Jacob both deceived family members…)
  • Bilhah bore Dan (meaning “to vindicate” or “to judge”) and Naphtali (meaning “my struggle”).
  • Leah, realizing she was no longer bearing children, gave Jacob her servant, Zilpah, in order to bear more children through her.  Zilpah bore Jacob Gad (meaning “good fortune”) and Asher (meaning “happy”).
  • One day Reuben brought Leah some mandrakes.  Rachel exchanged letting Leah sleep with Jacob for the mandrake roots.
  • Leah bore Issachar (meaning “reward”) as a result of that night, and Zebulun (meaning “honor”) later on.  She also had a daughter named Dinah.
  • Rachel finally has a child and names him Joseph (meaning “may he add”).
  • Jacob tells Laban he wants to go home (after twenty years of work… seven for Leah, seven for Rachel, and six for wages — the livestock).  Laban knows that Jacob’s hard work has made him much richer and does not want Jacob to go.
  • Jacob says he will take all the spotted sheep and goats as his wages to take care of his family.  Laban removes them and gives them to his sons, who took them three days’ distance away.
  • Jacob uses some fancy method for mating that made all the strong livestock spotted (belonging to him) and all the livestock without spots weak (belonging to Laban).

Genesis 31

  • Jacob realizes that Laban and his sons are not liking him very much anymore.  They see that all the good livestock belong to Jacob… even after Laban changed the agreement for which ones were Jacob’s quite a few times.  God is taking care of Jacob.
  • Jacob tells Rachel and Leah that it is time to go.  They are fine with this, as Laban has not been treating them very well either.
  • They all leave privately, along with Jacob’s livestock.  Rachel steals Laban’s household gods, hides them, and takes them with her (not telling anyone about it).
  • Laban did not know they had left for three days.  However, he took off after them when he figured it out and caught up with them in Gilead after seven days.
  • Laban said he would have parted with them with a party.  But he also wanted his household gods.  Jacob swore to kill the person who had them.
  • Rachel took them and put them under her camel’s saddle.  Then she sat on her camel.  Laban searched everywhere and could not find the gods.  Rachel told Laban that she was on her period, so she could not get up (my own side-note: wow, she used that excuse?  LOL).
  • Jacob became very angry and told Laban a lot of the bad things he had done to him.
  • So Laban and Jacob made a treaty to not hurt each other.  They shared a meal and setup a monument.  The name of that place is called Mizpah (meaning “watchtower”).
  • The next morning Laban kissed his daughters and grandchildren, blessed them, then went back home.

Genesis 32

  • Going to his homeland, Jacob sent messengers to Esau with news of his coming (in peace, hopefully).  The messengers returned saying Esau was headed their way with an army of four hundred men!
  • Jacob divided everything he had into two groups (so the other could escape if one was killed).
  • Faced with this difficult situation, Jacob prayed.
  • Jacob sent a huge number of animals to Esau through his servants as appeasement.
  • Jacob sent his wives, concubines, sons, and possessions across the Jabbok river and stayed alone in his camp.
  • A man came and wrestled with Jacob.  When the man saw he could not win, he knocked Jacob’s hip out of socket and asked to be let go.  Jacob refused unless he blessed him.  The man changed Jacob’s name to Israel (meaning “one who struggles with God”).
  • Jacob named the place Peniel (meaning “face of God”).  To this day, Israelites don’t eat meat near the hip (in memory of this event).

Genesis 25-28

Posted May 14, 2009 by Tim
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Abraham and Sarah finally got their son Isaac.  Hagar and Ishmael have gotten the boot.  Sarah has died and Isaac has gotten a beautiful wife in Rebekah.  It’s about time to make our main character the next generation…

Genesis 25

  • Abraham married Keturah and had several sons through her.  While he did give them gifts, he made them go to the east, away from Isaac.  Isaac would still get the inheritance.
  • Abraham dies at 175 years of age and is buried in the cave of Machpelah with Sarah.  Isaac settles near Beer-lahairoi in Negev.
  • A list of Ishmael’s sons and descendants is given.  They all lived close together east of Egypt (from Havilah to Shur).  Ishmael died at the age of 137.
  • Isaac married Rebekah when he was forty.  Rebekah, like Sarah, had trouble having a child.  Isaac pleaded with God, and when he was sixty, Rebekah had twins.
  • The twins struggled in Rebekah’s womb.  God said this is because they would be rival nations.  The older son’s descendants will serve the younger son’s descendants.
  • The first child was very red and covered with a lot of hair.  He was named Esau (which probably means ‘hair’).  The second child was birthed while grasping Esau’s heel.  He was named Jacob (meaning “he grasps the heel” or to figuratively mean “he deceives”).
  • Esau became a hunter (Isaac’s favorite) and Jacob stayed at home a lot (Rebekah’s favorite).  One day, Esau came home from a hunt very exhausted and hungry.  Jacob made Esau trade his birthright to him in exchange for some bread and lentil stew.  Esau seemed indifferent to what he had just done.

Genesis 26

  • A severe famine struck and Isaac moved to Gerar (King Abimelech of the Philistines lived here – a different one than who Abraham deceived, according to my study Bible).
  • God told Isaac to not go into Egypt but to stay in Gerar.  He reaffirmed to Isaac the promises he made to Abraham: his descendants would be countless, they would be given the land he was in, and all nations would be blessed through his descendants.
  • Isaac deceives Abimelech exactly as Abraham deceived Pharoah and a different Abimelech — he says Rebekah is his sister for fear of being killed.  After Abimelech saw Isaac fondling her, he said anyone who harms Isaac or Rebekah would be killed.  Fortunately, no one had slept with Rebekah.
  • The Lord blessed Isaac, and his harvest was enormous.  The made the Philistines jealous (of Isaac’s riches), and they began to fill up Isaac’s wells with dirt.  Abimelech asked Isaac to leave the country, and Isaac left to the Gerar Valley.
  • Isaac’s servants dug three wells… the first two being claimed by local shepherds.  The last one was his own… no one argued over it.
  • Isaac moved to Beersheba, and God reaffirms some of his promises to Isaac.  Isaac built an altar there and worshiped God.
  • Abimelech, his adviser Ahuzzath, and his army commander Phicol came to Isaac asking for a peace treaty.  Isaac and the Philistines had a feast.  The day after, Isaac’s servants had dug a well, and they named the town Beersheba – “well of the oath.”
  • Esau married Judith, a Hittite, and Basemath, another Hittite.  These two made Isaac’s and Rebekah’s lives miserable.

Genesis 27

  • Isaac is getting older and is almost blind.  He tells Esau to go hunt and make his favorite dish for him to eat.  Then Isaac will bless Esau.
  • Rebekah overhears the conversation.  She tells Jaco to get two goats, and she would prepare the dish.  Rebekah’s trying to do God’s will her way…
  • Jacob also wears some of Esau’s clothes and gloves made from the goats.  Jacob gives the meal to his dad and says he is Esau.  Jacob says the Lord put the wild game directly in his path (hence why the meal has been prepared so quickly).
  • Although Isaac heard Jacob’s voice, he felt his hands (hairy) and smelled his clothes (like the open fields).  So Isaac blessed Jacob, thinking he was Esau.
  • Right after Isaac finished blessing Jacob, Esau came in with his meat dish.
  • Isaac revealed that he had just blessed Jacob.  Esau became enrage, wanting to kill his brother.  Someone told Rebekah about this, and she told Jacob.  The plan would be for Jacob to go live with his uncle Laban until Esau calmed down.
  • Rebekah told Isaac that she most definitely did not want Jacob to marry one of the local Hittite women.
  • Because of Rebekah’s sin and Jacob going along with it, deceiving his father, my study Bible notes several consequences of Jacob’s actions: Jacob never saw his mother again, Esau wanted to kill him, uncle Laban deceived Jacob, Esau would become the founder of an enemy nation, and Jacob was exiled from his family for several years.  Note that Jacob would have gotten the blessing anyway based on Gen. 25:23 without this sin.

Genesis 28

  • Isaac told Jacob to go to Bethuel (Laban and Rebekah’s father) in Paddan-aram and marry one of Laban’s daughters.
  • Esau heard how Isaac did not like the Canaanite women, so he married one of Ishmael’s daughters, Mahalath.
  • On the way to Haran, Jacob slept and dreamed of a stairway that went from earth to heaven.  Angels were going up and down it.  At the top was God.  He reaffirmed the promises to Jacob.  He also told him that the land he was in would belong to his descendants, and He would also protect Jacob wherever he went.
  • When Jacob woke up, he made memorial from the stone pillar he had used.  He also poured olive oil over it.  He named the area Bethel — “house of God.”
  • Jacob affirmed that he would make God the Lord of his life.  He made the memorial a place for worshipping God and also said he would give God a tenth of everything that God gives him.

Genesis 21-24

Posted May 13, 2009 by Tim
Categories: Bible in a Year

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Sodom and Gomorrah have been destroyed.  Lot has been saved.  Abraham has, once again, told only a half-truth about Sarah being his sister rather than his wife.  But God remains faithful to his promises, and the time is drawing nigh for Sarah to have her first child…

Genesis 21

  • Sarah indeed became pregnant and birthed her first son, Isaac (which means “he laughs”).  After eight days, Abraham circumcised Isaac.  Abraham was one hundred when Isaac was born.
  • As Isaac got a little older, Sarah one day saw Ishmael making fun of Isac.  She demanded that Hagar and Ishmael be sent away without any family inheritance.  Abraham did not like this; Ishmael was still his son.  God told Abraham to do as Sarah said, and Ishmael will still be the ancestor of a nation.
  • Hagar and Ishmael went away with some provisions from Abraham.  But once the water ran out, Hagar did not know what to do.  She left Ishmael in a bush and walked about one hundred yards away, not wanting to see her son die.
  • God heard Ishmael’s crying and opened Hagar’s eyes so that she saw a well.  Ishmael grew up in Paran and married a young Egyptian woman.  He became an expert archer.  He would become the ancestor of the Ishmaelites (who were hostile to Israel and God).
  • King Abimelech and Phicol (the commander of Abimelech’s army) came to Abraham to ask him to never deceive him, his children, or grandchildren (since they had been loyal to Abraham, letting him live in their country).  Abraham agreed.
  • Abraham told Abimelech that some of his servants had been taking a well of Abraham’s servants.  Abraham gave sheep and oxen to Abimelech, and they made a treaty.  The place where this well is called Beersheba — the “well of the oath.”  Abraham live in this Philistine country for a long time.

Genesis 22

  • God tells Abraham to go from Beersheba to Moriah and sacrifice Isaac there on one of the mountains.  Abraham does so the next morning without question (that the Bible lets us know of anyway).
  • It tooks three days just to get close to the mountain where they would sacrifice.  Abraham told his servants to wait there while he and Isaac prepared the wood for the burnt offering.  Even as Isaac is being tied up and put on the altar, the Bible does not say one thing about Isaac offering any resistance or saying anything.  Talk about honoring your father and mother!  And what faith Abraham must have had also…
  • An angel stopped Abraham just as he was about to sacrifice Isaac.  Abraham found a ram nearby and sacrificed it instead.  Notice the parallel of this story and God sacrificing His own Son for our sins… except God did not stop the sacrifice of His own Son.
  • As a result of this test of faith, God told Abraham once again that his descendants will be countless millions.  Also, he will be blessed richly and through his descendants, all everybody will be blessed (hmmm… foreshadowing of Jesus…).
  • Nahor, Abraham’s brother, had eight sons.  One of the sons, Bethuel, birthed a daughter named Rebekah.  We will hear about her shortly.

Genesis 23

  • Sarah died at the age of 127.  Abraham and Sarah were in Hebron when she died, and he had no place to bury her.  Abraham went to the Hittite elders and asked to buy a burial plot.
  • The Hittites said Abraham was an ‘honored prince’ (Gen. 23:6) — he could pick any tomb he wanted.
  • Abraham asked for the cave of Machpelah.  Ephron, who owned it, offered to give it to Abraham for free.  Abraham insisted he pay for it and ended up giving Ephron four hundred pieces of silver for it.  This same tomb ends up being Sarah’s, Abraham’s, Isaac’s, and Jacob’s burial place.

Genesis 24

  • As Abraham was getting older, he made his oldest servant promise to not let Isaac marry a local Canaanite woman.  Instead, Isaac should marry one of Abraham’s relatives in his homeland.  An angel would prepare the way for the servant.
  • If it did not work out, the servant would be free from the oath.  Isaac could not go and live there with Abraham’s relatives  since God had promised to give the land of Canaan to his descendants.
  • The servant got ten camels and gifts and went to Aram-naharaim (which has a village in it where Nahor lived).  As the servant came beside a well outside the village, he prayed to God that the right woman would offer him and his camels a drink upon him asking for a drink for only himself.  While he was still praying, Rebekah came out.
  • Rebekah was very beautiful and was a virgin.  After she drew water into her water jug, the servant asked her for a drink.  She gave him some from her water jug and offered water for his camels too.  She kept refilling and giving the camels water until they had their fill.
  • The servant gave Rebekah a gold ring for her nose and two bracelets.  He asked who her father (Bethel) was and if he could stay with them for the night.  She said that would be ok.  The servant worshiped God as a result.
  • Rebekah went home and told her family about this.  Laban, Rebekah’s brother, went to the servant and told him to come to their house.  They had a place for his camels and were about to feed him, but the servant had to tell his purpose for coming first.
  • The servant told them every tiny detail, from Abraham’s request, to his prayer, to how Rebekah had been an answer to that prayer, and even how he worshiped God after it.  Laban and Bethuel were convinced.  They allowed Rebekah to go to be the wife of Isaac.  The servant gave Rebekah and her family many nice things.
  • The next morning, Rebekah’s brother and mother wanted Rebekah to stay ten days before heading off.  The servant wanted to leave right then though.  They asked Rebekah, and she left that morning with a woman who had been her childhood nurse.
  • As Rebekah was leaving, her family bless her saying she would become the mother of millions, and her descendants would defeat their enemies.
  • As the servant and Rebekah enter Negev (where Isaac lives), Rebekah sees Isaac and puts her veil on.  Isaac and Rebekah go in his mother’s tent and become husband and wife.  Isaac loved Rebekah a lot; she comforted him from the death of his mother.