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Genesis Part 2
Genesis Part 2
Genesis Part 2
Genesis Part 2
Genesis Part 2
Genesis Part 2
Genesis Part 2
Genesis Part 2
Genesis Part 2
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Genesis Part 2

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  • 1. A Study In Genesis 1Genesis – Part 2Genesis 20 – Abraham and SarahAfter already making this mistake, once again Abraham and Sarah pretend that she is his sister.Even after all God had shown them and done for them, it seems hard to believe that they did nothave faith enough not to repeat the mistake they had previously made.Genesis 20:1-2From there Abraham journeyed toward the territory of the Negeb and lived between pKadesh andShur; and he qsojourned in rGerar. 2 And Abraham said of Sarah his wife, s“She is my sister.” AndAbimelech king of Gerar sent and took Sarah. 1Abraham moved into “enemy territory.” After living at Hebron (“fellowship”) for perhaps twentyyears, he then decided to go to the land of the Philistines. Gerar is just within Philistine country, butit was still a dangerous place to be. Perhaps it was the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah thatcaused Abraham to want to move or possibly it was a business trip because the city controlled alucrative caravan route; but whatever his motive was, the decision was not a wise one. 2 The citywas an ungodly city and Abraham and Sarah agreed once again that Sarah would be presented ashis sister. It’s hard to understand how they would have forgotten the rebuke this course of actionhad procured for them in Egypt. They must have known by now that God would take care of them.In that day, a king had the right to take into his harem any single woman who pleased him.Abimelech thought Sarah was a single woman, so he took her; and were it not for the interventionof God, the king would have had normal relations with her. What the king did threatened God’sgreat plan of salvation, so the Lord had to act to protect Sarah and Isaac. 3p ch. 16:7, 14q ch. 26:3r ch. 26:6s See ch. 12:13–20; 26:7–111 The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Ge 20:1–2). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.2 Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). Be obedient (86). Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books.3 Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). Be obedient (89). Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books.
  • 2. A Study In Genesis 2Sarah would be 90, so it seems surprising that she would still be physically attractive to a heathenking. She had been physically rejuvenated in order to conceive, possibly this manifested itself inrenewed beauty as well. Or possibly Abimelech viewed union with her as a political move.Genesis 20:3-83tBut God came to Abimelech uin a dream by night and said to him, “Behold, you are a dead manbecause of the woman whom you have taken, for she is a man’s wife.” 4 Now Abimelech had notapproached her. So he said, v“Lord, will you kill an innocent people? 5 Did he not himself say to me,‘She is my sister’? And she herself said, ‘He is my brother.’ In the integrity of my heart and theinnocence of my hands I have done this.” 6 Then God said to him in the dream, “Yes, I know that youhave done this in the integrity of your heart, and it was I who kept you from sinning wagainst me.Therefore I did not let you touch her. 7 Now then, return the man’s wife, xfor he is a prophet, so thathe will pray for you, and you shall live. But if you do not return her, know that you shall surely die,you yand all who are yours.” So Abimelech rose early in the morning and called all his servants and told them all these 8things. And the men were very much afraid.4In spite of what Abraham and Sarah did, God still intervened on their behalf. God struck Abimelechwith some kind of lethal infirmity and closed up the wombs of the women in his harem (v. 18)God appears to Abimelech in a dream. God makes sure that Abimelech never touches Sarah sothere can be no claim that Abimelech is the father of her unborn child.Abimelech claimed that he did what he did in ignorance and that it was not his fault. Godacknowledged his relative innocence and instructed him to immediately restore Sarah to Abrahamand to ask Abraham to pray for his healing.Abimelech seems to have been a royal title, like that of Pharaoh.8 But in this instance, he was fardifferent from the king of Egypt. In fact, he appears to have been not merely true and upright incharacter, but to have feared the Lord. Accordingly, when Abraham was once more guilty of thesame deceit as formerly in Egypt, passing off his wife for his sister from fear for his own life, Godt Ps. 105:14u Job 33:15, 16; Matt. 1:20; 2:12v ch. 18:23; [1 Chr. 21:17]w ch. 39:9; Ps. 51:4x 1 Sam. 7:5; Job 42:8y [Num. 16:32, 33]4 The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Ge 20:3–8). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.8 Comp. Gen. xxvi. 1, 8.
  • 3. A Study In Genesis 3directly communicated to Abimelech in a dream. Upon this, Abimelech hastened to amend thewrong he had, unwittingly, so nearly committed.Genesis 20:9-18 Then Abimelech called Abraham and said to him, “What have you done to us? And how have I 9sinned against you, that you have brought on me and my kingdom a great sin? You have done to methings that ought not to be done.” 10 And Abimelech said to Abraham, “What did you see, that youdid this thing?” 11 Abraham said, “I did it because I thought, zThere is no fear of God at all in thisplace, and athey will kill me because of my wife. 12 Besides, bshe is indeed my sister, the daughter ofmy father though not the daughter of my mother, and she became my wife. 13 And when cGodcaused me to wander from my father’s house, I said to her, ‘This is the kindness you must do me: atevery place to which we come, dsay of me, He is my brother.’ ” Then Abimelech etook sheep and oxen, and male servants and female servants, and gave them 14to Abraham, and returned Sarah his wife to him. 15 And Abimelech said, “Behold, fmy land is beforeyou; dwell where it pleases you.” 16 To Sarah he said, “Behold, I have given gyour brother a thousandpieces of silver. It is ha sign of your innocence in the eyes of all1 who are with you, and beforeeveryone you are vindicated.” 17 Then iAbraham prayed to God, and God healed Abimelech, and alsohealed his wife and female slaves so that they bore children. 18 For the LORDjhad closed all thewombs of the house of Abimelech because of Sarah, Abraham’s wife. 5Abimelech did as God instructed him, but rebuked Abraham for deceiving him and bringing thistrouble on him and his people.z Prov. 16:6a ch. 12:12; 26:7b [ch. 11:29]c ch. 12:1d ch. 12:13e ch. 12:16f ch. 13:9; 34:10g [ver. 5]h [ch. 24:65]1 Hebrew It is a covering of eyes for alli [James 5:16]j [ch. 12:17]5 The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Ge 20:9–18). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
  • 4. A Study In Genesis 4Abraham’s response betrays both his lack of faith in God and his misjudgement of the people ofGerar. Then he further justifies himself by telling Abimelech that she is indeed his half-sister.Abimilech’s generosity on top of his innocence, contrasts sharply with Abraham’s self-serviingdeception regarding the truth about Sarah. The kings actions are a very public afirmation that hehas not acted inappropriately toward Sarah, and thus he is not the father of any children she mayhave.Then Abraham prays to God and Abimelech is healed and the women of this household are againable to bear children.The alliance with Abraham which Abimelech had sought by marriage, was shortly afterwardsconcluded by a formal covenant between the two, accompanied by a sacrifice of the sacred numberof seven ewe lambs.9 To show that this was intended as a public alliance, Abimelech cameaccompanied by his chief captain, or phichol.109 Gen. xxi. 22.10 Comp. Gen. xxvi. 26.
  • 5. A Study In Genesis 5Genesis 21 – The Birth of IsaacIn fulfillment of God‘s promise, Sarah bears Abraham a son, who is named Isaac. In due course,Isaac is confirmed as Abraham‘s heir. God instructs Abraham to send Hagar and Ishmael away.While Isaac takes priority over Ishmael, God does not abandon Hagar and her son.Genesis 21:1-8The LORDkvisited Sarah as he had said, and the LORD did to Sarah las he had promised. 2 AndSarah mconceived and bore Abraham a son in his old age nat the time of which God had spokento him. 3 Abraham called the name of his son who was born to him, whom Sarah bore him,o Isaac.14 And Abraham pcircumcised his son Isaac when he was eight days old, qas God hadcommanded him. 5rAbraham was a hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him. 6 AndSarah said, s―God has made laughter for me; everyone who hears will laugh over me.‖ 7 And shesaid, ―Who would have said to Abraham that Sarah would nurse children? tYet I have borne hima son in his old age.‖ 8 And the child grew and was weaned. And Abraham made a great feast on the day that Isaacwas weaned. 6k 1 Sam. 2:21l ch. 17:19; 18:10, 14m Heb. 11:11; [Gal. 4:22]n ch. 17:21o ch. 17:191 Isaac means he laughsp Acts 7:8q ch. 17:10, 12r ch. 17:1, 17; Rom. 4:19s [Isa. 54:1; Gal. 4:27]t ch. 18:11, 126 The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Ge 21:1–8). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
  • 6. A Study In Genesis 6Verse 1 emphasizes that God keeps His promises, ―as He had said‖, ―as He had spoken‖. Hispromises are fulfilled on His schedule, not ours.The bodies of Abraham and Sarah had been miraculously restored, although Abraham was 100and Sarah was 90. Sarah not only bore a child, but also nursed him. After Sarah died, Abrahamhad 6 other sons with his wife Keturah.As God had instructed, Isaac was circumcised at 8 days old, making sure he was under thecovenant of God.Genesis 21:9-21 9 But Sarah usaw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, whom she had borne to Abraham,v laughing.210 So she said to Abraham, w―Cast out this slave woman with her son, for the son ofthis slave woman shall not be heir with my son Isaac.‖ 11 And the thing was very displeasing toAbraham on account of his son. 12 But God said to Abraham, ―Be not displeased because of theboy and because of your slave woman. Whatever Sarah says to you, do as she tells you, forx through Isaac shall your offspring be named. 13 And I will make ya nation of the son of the slavewoman also, because he is your offspring.‖ 14 So Abraham rose early in the morning and tookbread and a skin of water and gave it to Hagar, putting it on her shoulder, along with the child,and sent her away. And she departed and wandered in the wilderness of zBeersheba. 15 When the water in the skin was gone, she put the child under one of the bushes. 16 Thenshe went and sat down opposite him a good way off, about the distance of a bowshot, for shesaid, ―Let me not look on the death of the child.‖ And as she sat opposite him, she lifted up hervoice and wept. 17 And God heard the voice of the boy, and the angel of God called to Hagarfrom heaven and said to her, ―What troubles you, Hagar? Fear not, for God has heard the voiceof the boy where he is. 18 Up! Lift up the boy, and hold him fast with your hand, for I will makehim into a great nation.‖ 19 Then aGod opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water. And sheu ch. 16:1, 15v [Gal. 4:29]2 Possibly laughing in mockeryw Cited Gal. 4:30x Cited Rom. 9:7; Heb. 11:18y ver. 18; ch. 16:10; 17:20z ver. 31a Num. 22:31; 2 Kgs. 6:17, 18, 20; [Luke 24:16, 31]
  • 7. A Study In Genesis 7went and filled the skin with water and gave the boy a drink. 20 And God was with the boy, andhe grew up. He lived in the wilderness band became an expert with the bow. 21 He lived in thewilderness of Paran, and his mother took a wife for him from the land of Egypt. 7Ishmael was about 16 years old when the weaning ceremony for Isaac took place. Up until now,Ishmael had been the only son. It is no wonder there was some jealousy on his part towardsIsaac.Sarah could not abide the mocking. She had resented Ishmael and Hagar from the beginning,even though it was her idea. She could see that the rivalry would only get worse as they grewolder. Sarah could never bring herself to love and care for Ishmael as she would have her ownson. This was a character flaw on Sarah‘s part.She began to pressure Abraham to send them away, calling Hagar ―this slave woman‖ andIshmael ―the son of this slave woman‖. These were harsh words for her personal maid of over20 years and for a loved son of her husband. She did not want to share any of Abraham‘sinheritance.God spoke to Abraham. Though Sarah‘s attitude was wrong, she was also acting in consistencywith God‘s own promises and plans. So God instructed Abraham to send Hagar and Ishmaelaway.Abraham obeyed, and gave Hagar and Ishmael bread and water and sent them on their way. Itseems really strange that Abraham would send his son away with hardly anything consideringAbraham‘s wealth and his affection for Ishmael. It‘s possible that he simply believed that Godwould take care of them because of God‘s promise regarding Ishmael. The supplies that he gaveHagar and Ishmael may have been sufficient to get them to the next settlement had they notgotten lost.Hagar and Ishmael ran out of water and finally Ishmael fell down, unable to continue. Hagarmoved him underneath a bush, and, not wanting to see him die, she went a ―bowshot‖ away, satdown, and began to weep and pray. Apparently Ishmael was praying also because it says thatGod hear the voice of the boy. God had allowed them to come to the point where they could nolonger endure in their own strength and would have to depend on Him. They, like Abraham, hadto learn to trust God.b ch. 16:127 The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Ge 21:9–21). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
  • 8. A Study In Genesis 8God‘s intervention saves Hagar and Ishmael and confirms to her that her son will become a greatnation. Although it was Ishmael‘s misbehavior that led to the expulsion from Abraham‘shousehold, God reaffirms His promise, ―I will make him into a great nation.‖Apparently, they decided to remain there in the ―wilderness of Paran‖, a desert region in theSinai peninsula. Hagar, in fact, became so identified with Mount Sinai that Paul could say ―thisHagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia‖ (Gal. 4:25)Ishmael provided for himself and his mother by becoming an archer. Eventually he married awife, obtained by his mother for him from her people back in the land of Egypt. According toGenesis 25:13-15, he finally had twelve sons, and thus the great nation God promised him wasbegun.The Old Covenant vs. the New Covenant.Galatians 4:21–31 explains that these events with Ishmael and Isaac are an allegory thatsymbolizes God‘s Old Covenant with Israel and His New Covenant with the church. We maybriefly summarize the main ideas as follows: Hagar symbolizes the Old Covenant of law,identified with the earthly Jerusalem in Paul‘s day. Sarah symbolizes the New Covenant ofgrace, identified with the heavenly Jerusalem. Ishmael was born of the flesh and was the son of aslave. Isaac was ―born of the Spirit‖ and was the son of a freewoman. The two sons, then, picturethe Jews under the slavery of law and the true Christians under the liberty of grace. Paul‘sargument is that God commanded Abraham to cast out Hagar (the Old Covenant) because Hisblessing was to be upon Isaac. All of this fits into Paul‘s argument in Gal. 3–4 that Christianstoday are not under the law.8Genesis 21:22-34 22 At that time cAbimelech and Phicol the commander of his army said to Abraham, d―God iswith you in all that you do. 23 Now therefore swear to me here by God that you will not dealfalsely with me or with my descendants or with my posterity, but as I have dealt kindly with you,so you will deal with me and with the land where you have sojourned.‖ 24 And Abraham said, ―Iwill swear.‖8 Wiersbe, W. W. (1993). Wiersbes expository outlines on the Old Testament (Ge 21). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.c ch. 20:2; [ch. 26:1, 26]d [ch. 26:28]
  • 9. A Study In Genesis 9 25 When Abraham reproved Abimelech about a well of water that Abimelech‘s servants hadseized, 26 Abimelech said, ―I do not know who has done this thing; you did not tell me, and Ihave not heard of it until today.‖ 27 So Abraham took sheep and oxen and gave them toAbimelech, and the two men gmade a covenant. 28 Abraham set seven ewe lambs of the flockapart. 29 And Abimelech said to Abraham, ―What is the meaning of these seven ewe lambs thatyou have set apart?‖ 30 He said, ―These seven ewe lambs you will take from my hand, that this3may be a witness for me that I dug this well.‖ 31 Therefore that place was called Beersheba,because there both of them swore an oath. 32 So they made a covenant at Beersheba. ThenAbimelech and Phicol the commander of his army rose up and returned to the land of thePhilistines. 33 Abraham planted a tamarisk tree in Beersheba and icalled there on the name of theLORD, jthe Everlasting God. 34 And Abraham sojourned many days in the land of the Philistines.9g ch. 26:313 Or youi ch. 4:26; 12:8j Isa. 40:28; [Ps. 90:2]9 The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Ge 21:22–34). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
  • 10. A Study In Genesis 10The end of Chapter 21 records an incident between Abimelech and Abraham. Abimelech knewthat God was blessing Abraham and wanted to enter into a non-aggression pact with him.Abimelech was an official title rather than a personal name, so we cannot be sure that theAbimelech of this episode is the same man who previously rebuked Abraham, as at least fouryears had passed since the incident of Abraham‘s and Sarah‘s deceit. The fact that he wantedassurance of Abraham‘s fidelity indicates that the Abraham‘s previous deception had led to alack of trust on the part of his neighbors. They wanted assurance that Abraham would ―play fair‖with them because he was such a powerful man.He brought his army chief of staff with him and went to see Abraham. He reminded Abrahamthat he had dwelt kindly with him and had allowed him to dwell in his land. In return, he wantedAbraham‘s assurance that he would not try to harm him or his people.Abraham was happy to make the treaty. He also used the opportunity to settle a dispute over awell he had dug at Beersheba. Water is still a very precious commodity in the Holy Land.Today, various methods of irrigation are used; but in Abraham‘s day, it was necessary to digwells and guard them carefully. If you did not guard your well, your enemies might seize it or fillit up (26:18). Some of Abimelech‘s servants had seized Abraham‘s well, so the treaty betweenthe two men had not done much good.Abraham did the right thing and confronted his neighbor with the facts, but Abimelech declaredthat he knew nothing about it. Was he telling the truth? Only God knows, but Abraham madesure the problem would never appear again.10 A well near Beersheba.10 Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). Be obedient (91–92). Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books.
  • 11. A Study In Genesis 11Abimelech agreed to give the well back and in return, Abraham gave sheep and oxen toAbimelech. The Hebrew word ―to swear‖ means ―to bind by seven things,‖ and the words―swear‖ (saba) and ―seven‖ (seba) are very similar. This time the two men went beyond merelygiving their oath: They made a covenant that involved slaying animals (21:27; 15:9–10). AsAbraham and Abimelech walked between the carcasses of the sacrifices, they were saying, ineffect, ―May God do to us and more if we fail to keep our covenant with each other.‖ This was aserious matter.But Abraham went a step further and selected 7 ewe lambs to be a ―special witness‖. that he haddug the well and the water belonged to him. He gave the lambs to Abimelech who would thenguard them carefully. They were like ―receipts‖ guaranteeing that Abraham owned the well.Both men agreed fully to the treaty and the place was named Beersheba, which can mean both―well of the oath‖ and ―well of the seven‖. The number 7 representing completeness, sealing thecovenant, and symbolizing Abraham‘s permanent right to the well.This entire transaction involved three elements: sacrifices (21:27), witnesses (21:28–30), andpromises (21:31–32). You find these same elements in God‘s covenant with us through JesusChrist, as outlined in Hebrews 10:1–18. First, there is the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross(10:1–14); then, the witness of the Spirit within the believer (10:15); and finally, the promise ofGod‘s Word (10:16–18). Abraham‘s covenant with Abimelech only guaranteed possession of awell that provides water to sustain life. God‘s covenant with His people guarantees that we havethe living water that gives everlasting life to all who will believe and trust in God.After Abimelech returned to his own country, Abraham planted a grove of tamarisk trees nearthe well and called on the name of the Lord. This grove (or tamarisk tree) was also a part of thecovenant, a witness to the promises Abraham and Abimelech had made. The tamarisk is a shrub-like tree that has very hard wood and evergreen leaves. He would eventually come back toBeersheba to dwell; but for now he went back to the place where he had been living in the landof the Philistines where he lived until Isaac was grown.
  • 12. A Study In Genesis 12Genesis 22 – Sacrifice of IsaacThese events took place when Isaac was a young man, not a child. Sarah was 92 or 93 when Isaacwas born, in Genesis 23:1, it says that Sarah died at the age of 127. Assuming the events in Chapter22 are chronological between Chapters 21 and 23, Isaac would at least be in his teens, if not older.According to Josephus, Isaac was twenty-five when God tested Abraham with respect to his son. 11He was 37 when his mother died.The Hebrew word “naar” is flexible in meaning. Most frequently it is translated as either “servant”or “young man”. In fact, the same word is used here in Genesis 22:5 in connection with the “youngmen” that went with Abraham and Isaac. Since exactly the same word is used in the same verse forthe two servants and for Isaac, it is clear that the meaning in Isaac’s case should also be “youngman”.Genesis 22:1-2After these things kGod tested Abraham and said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here am I.” 2 Hesaid, “Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to lthe land of Moriah, and offerhim there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.”12The greatest test in the life of Abraham came after he received the promised seed following a longwait. The test was very real: he was to give Isaac back to God. As a test it was designed to provefaith. And for it to be a real test, it had to defy logic; it had to be something Abraham wanted toresist.13 God did not really intend for Isaac to die and it’s possible that Abraham obeyed, havingfaith that God would save Isaac.The exact location of the land of Moriah is not known. Most likely this Moriah was not the Mt.Moriah which was one of the mountains of Jerusalem. A three-day journey from the region ofBeersheba would put Abraham somewhere in the region of Hebron (22:1–2).1411 Smith, J. E. (1993). The Pentateuch (2nd ed.) (Ge 22:1–10). Joplin, Mo.: College Press Pub. Co.k 1 Cor. 10:13; Heb. 11:17; James 1:12, 13; 1 Pet. 1:6, 7l 2 Chr. 3:112 The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Ge 22:1–2). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.13 Walvoord, J. F., Zuck, R. B., & Dallas Theological Seminary. (1983-). The Bible knowledge commentary : An exposition of the scriptures (Ge22:1–2). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.14 Smith, J. E. (1993). The Pentateuch (2nd ed.) (Ge 22:1–10). Joplin, Mo.: College Press Pub. Co.
  • 13. A Study In Genesis 13Genesis 22:3-83 So Abraham rose early in the morning, saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men withhim, and his son Isaac. And he cut the wood for the burnt offering and arose and went to the placeof which God had told him. 4 On the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes and saw the place fromafar. 5 Then Abraham said to his young men, “Stay here with the donkey; I and the boy 1 will go overthere and worship and come again to you.” 6 And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering andmlaid it on Isaac his son. And he took in his hand the fire and the knife. So they went both of themtogether. 7 And Isaac said to his father Abraham, “My father!” And he said, “Here am I, my son.” Hesaid, “Behold, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” 8 Abraham said,n“God will provide for himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son.” So they went both of themtogether. 15Abraham responded without hesitation to the unexplained and unexpected command of his God. Hedid not tell Sarah or Isaac what his intentions were. Early in the morning he hastily split somewood. Scarcity of wood in Canaan made this preparation necessary. He then set out with twoservants and his son for Moriah. The length of the journey would guarantee that Abraham was notmaking any spur of the moment decision (22:3).Because of his age, Abraham rode the donkey, while the young men walked, carrying the wood. Onthe third day the mountain was in sight. The servants were left behind as Abraham announced forthe first time the purpose of his trip. He and Isaac would go to Moriah to worship and then theywould return to them.This promise of Abraham to return to them speaks volumes Abraham was expressing hisconfidence that both he and Isaac would return together (22:4–5). He had learned to trust God andthat God’s promises were true. Isaac was to become a great nation and he would not do this if hewas dead. The writer of Hebrews asserts that Abraham believed that God could raise Isaac from thedead (Heb 11:19).The wood was laid on Isaac’s back. This is an indication that Isaac was no longer a small child.Abraham carried the container of hot coals and the knife. When Isaac inquired about the sacrificiallamb, Abraham responded: “God will provide for himself the lamb.” The Hebrew literally reads,“God sees before him the lamb for the sacrifice.”Genesis 22:9-191 Or young man; also verse 12m [John 19:17]n [John 1:29, 36; 1 Pet. 1:19; Rev. 5:12]15 The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Ge 22:3–8). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
  • 14. A Study In Genesis 14 When they came to the place of which God had told him, Abraham built the altar there and laid 9the wood in order and bound Isaac his son and olaid him on the altar, on top of the wood. 10 ThenAbraham reached out his hand and took the knife to slaughter his son. 11 But the angel of the LORDcalled to him from heaven and said, “Abraham, Abraham!” And he said, “Here am I.” 12 He said, p“Donot lay your hand on the boy or do anything to him, for qnow I know that you fear God, seeing youhave not withheld your son, your only son, from me.” 13 And Abraham lifted up his eyes and looked,and behold, behind him was a ram, caught in a thicket by his horns. And Abraham went and tookthe ram and offered it up as a burnt offering instead of his son. 14 So Abraham called the name ofthat place, r“The LORD will provide”;2 as it is said to this day, “On the mount of the LORD it shall beprovided.”3 And the angel of the LORD called to Abraham a second time from heaven 16 and said, s“By 15myself I have sworn, declares the LORD, because you have done this and have not withheld your son,your only son, 17 I will surely bless you, and I will surely multiply your offspring tas the stars ofheaven and uas the sand that is on the seashore. And your offspring shall possess vthe gate of his4enemies, 18 and win your offspring shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, xbecause you haveobeyed my voice.” 19 So Abraham returned to his young men, and they arose and went together toyBeersheba. And Abraham lived at yBeersheba. 16o Heb. 11:17; James 2:21p [Mic. 6:7, 8]q [ch. 26:5]r ver. 82 Or will see3 Or he will be seens Ps. 105:9; Luke 1:73; Heb. 6:13t Jer. 33:22; See ch. 15:5u See ch. 13:16v ch. 24:60; Ps. 127:54 Or theirw ch. 12:3; 18:18; 26:4; Gal. 3:8; Cited Acts 3:25x ver. 3; ch. 26:5y ch. 21:31y ch. 21:3116 The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Ge 22:9–19). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
  • 15. A Study In Genesis 15At the designated spot Abraham built an altar. He arranged the wood. He bound Isaac and laid himon the wood. He raised his knife to slay his son.17This event also speaks well of Isaac himself. There is no indication that he resisted Abraham orbegged him not to do this. Isaac well could have escaped and refused to let himself be bound. Bynot resisting, Isaac entered into the spirit of Abraham, he took upon himself his father’s faith andproved himself to be a worthy heir to the promises given to Abraham.As Abraham picked up the knife, the angel of the Lord spoke from heaven to announce that the testwas over. “Now I know that you fear God, seeing you have not withheld your only son from me.”God did not desire the death of Isaac, but the heart of his father. “Now I know” is anthropomorphiclanguage which is intended to underscore Abraham’s triumph in his test (22:11–12).Abraham then noticed a ram caught in a nearby thicket which he hastened to offer as a joyous burntoffering before the Lord. As he did so he gave a commemorative name to the spot: yahweh yir’eh(“Yahweh will provide”). Abraham realized that in the ram God was providing a substitute for hisson. 18Genesis 22:20-2420 Now after these things it was told to Abraham, “Behold, zMilcah also has borne children to yourbrother Nahor: 21aUz his firstborn, bBuz his brother, Kemuel the father of Aram, 22 Chesed, Hazo,Pildash, Jidlaph, and Bethuel.” 23 (cBethuel fathered Rebekah.) These eight Milcah bore to Nahor,Abraham’s brother. 24 Moreover, his concubine, whose name was Reumah, bore Tebah, Gaham,Tahash, and Maacah. 19Here is inserted a blurb on Abraham’s half brother Nahor, who is believed to still be inMesopotamia in Nahor. The mention of these relatives is important in that Abraham needed to finda wife for Isaac. He could not marry one of the local girls.17 Smith, J. E. (1993). The Pentateuch (2nd ed.) (Ge 22:1–10). Joplin, Mo.: College Press Pub. Co.18 Smith, J. E. (1993). The Pentateuch (2nd ed.) (Ge 22:11–19). Joplin, Mo.: College Press Pub. Co.z ch. 11:29a Job 1:1b Jer. 25:23c ch. 24:1519 The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Ge 22:20–24). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
  • 16. A Study In Genesis 16Genesis 23 - Sarah’s Death and BurialAs the story of Abraham’s life draws to a conclusion, this chapter records how Abraham buys a cavein Hebron to be a burial place for Sarah. By acquiring this piece of land, Abraham not onlyestablishes further rights to it for his family but puts down a marker that his descendents are to beassociated with the land of Canaan, as God had already promised.Genesis 23:1-2Sarah lived 127 years; these were the years of the life of Sarah. 2 And Sarah died at dKiriath-arba(that is, eHebron) in the land of Canaan, and Abraham went in to mourn for Sarah and to weep forher. 20After the episode on Mount Moriah, very little is reported concerning the life of Abraham, andnothing more about Sarah until her death.By the time of Sarah’s death, the family had apparently moved from Beersheba back to Hebron.Sarah was 127 when she died.It is significant that she is the only woman in scripture whose age at the time of her death is given.Peters reference to her in I Peter 3:5-6 indicates that, as Abraham was considered father of thosewho believe, so Sarah was considered mother of all believing women.Evidently Abraham was not present at the time of her decease, because it says that he “went in tomourn for Sarah, and to weep for her”.d ch. 35:27; Josh. 14:15; Judg. 1:10e ver. 1920 The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Ge 23:1–2). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
  • 17. A Study In Genesis 17Genesis 23:3-93 And Abraham rose up from before his dead and said to the Hittites,14f“I am a sojourner andforeigner among you; ggive me property among you for a burying place, that I may bury my deadout of my sight.” 5 The Hittites answered Abraham, 6 “Hear us, my lord; you are a prince of God2among us. Bury your dead in the choicest of our tombs. None of us will withhold from you his tombto hinder you from burying your dead.” 7 Abraham rose and bowed to the Hittites, the people of theland. 8 And he said to them, “If you are willing that I should bury my dead out of my sight, hear meand entreat for me Ephron the son of Zohar, 9 that he may give me the cave of Machpelah, which heowns; it is at the end of his field. For the full price let him give it to me in your presence as propertyfor a burying place.” 21Sarah was the first in the patriarchal family line to die in the land of Canaan. Rather than taking herback to her homeland for burial, Abraham desired that she remain in Canaan, as a testimony to boththe people of the land and their own descendents, that Canaan was to be their home from then on.Abraham set about the task of purchasing land for his sepulcher. Up to now Abraham owned noland of his own, rather he leased land from the existing inhabitants. He wanted a field containing asuitable cave, with trees around it, and within sight of their home in Mamre. This land belonged toEphron, a Hittite.“Hittite” was used in the ancient Near East to refer to at least three different groups of people.Those mentioned in Genesis are probably to be distinguished from the Hittites associated withAnatolia and Syria.Abraham addressed the leaders of the Hittites who were assembled at the gate of Hebron. The citygated was commonly the location where public decisions were formally made and transactionsbetween individuals were ratified.Abraham was held in high regard by the people around him: “You are a mighty prince among us”(cf. 20:6-11).221 Hebrew sons of Heth; also verses 5, 7, 10, 16, 18, 20f ch. 17:8; 1 Chr. 29:15; Ps. 105:12; Heb. 11:9, 13g Acts 7:52 Or a mighty prince21 The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Ge 23:3–9). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.cf. confer, compare22 Walvoord, J. F., Zuck, R. B., & Dallas Theological Seminary. (1983-). The Bible knowledge commentary : An exposition of the scriptures (Ge23:5–20). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
  • 18. A Study In Genesis 1823:14–16 BurialEphron answered Abraham, “Listen to me, my lord; the land is worth four hundred shekels ofsilver, but what is that between me and you? Bury your dead.” Abraham agreed to Ephron’sterms and weighed out for him the price he had named in the hearing of the Hittites: fourhundred shekels of silver, according to the weight current among the merchants.The first burial recorded in the Bible is that of Sarah in the 23rd chapter of Genesis. In that account,there is also recorded the first commercial transaction, in which Abraham paid Ephron “fourhundred shekels of silver” for a burial place for Sarah. By that, Abraham became the owner of asmall parcel of the land of Canaan, which was all of Canaan that he ever possessed. When he died,“his sons Isaac and Ishmael buried him in the cave of Machpelah” (Genesis 25:9) beside Sarah, hisfirst wife. Burial in a tombSarah was probably buried immediately after she died because of the warm climate of that area,and because of the wild animals and many birds that were about. A body left in the heat for morethan twenty-four hours would begin to decay, and if left unprotected would be devoured by theanimals. To allow a body to decay or be desecrated above the ground was considered dishonorableand an insult to the dead person. In addition to Sarah and Abraham, eventually, Isaac, Rebekah,Leah, and Jacob (Israel) were buried in the cave of Machpelah. (see Genesis 49:31 and 50:13). In thetime of Jesus, Lazarus was buried in a cave: “Jesus therefore again groaning in himself cometh to thegrave. It was a cave, and a stone lay upon it” (John 11:38, KJV).2323 Freeman, J. M., & Chadwick, H. J. (1998). Manners & customs of the Bible (Rev. ed.].) (32–33). North Brunswick, NJ: Bridge-LogosPublishers.
  • 19. A Study In Genesis 19Genesis 23:11-19 Now Ephron was sitting among the Hittites, and Ephron the Hittite answered Abraham in the 10hearing of the Hittites, of all who hwent in at the gate of his city, 11 “No, my lord, hear me: I give youthe field, and I give you the cave that is in it. In the sight of the sons of my people I give it to you.Bury your dead.” 12 Then Abraham bowed down before the people of the land. 13 And he said toEphron in the hearing of the people of the land, “But if you will, hear me: I give the price of the field.Accept it from me, that I may bury my dead there.” 14 Ephron answered Abraham, 15 “My lord, listento me: a piece of land worth four hundred ishekels3 of silver, what is that between you and me?Bury your dead.” 16 Abraham listened to Ephron, and Abraham jweighed out for Ephron the silverthat he had named in the hearing of the Hittites, four hundred shekels of silver, according to theweights current among the merchants. So kthe field of Ephron in Machpelah, which was to the east of Mamre, the field with the cave 17that was in it and all the trees that were in the field, throughout its whole area, was made over 18 toAbraham as a possession in the presence of the Hittites, before all who went in at the gate of hiscity. 19 After this, Abraham buried Sarah his wife in the cave of the field of Machpelah east of Mamre(that is, Hebron) in the land of Canaan. 24Ephron and Abraham transacted their business openly before all, in the gate of the city. Ephronfirst offered to give the field to Abraham, for free. This was probably not his true intention, butrather part of the bargaining process. The second time he offers, he “casually” injects what hewould consider a fair price. Abraham insist on paying for the property; it is important thatAbraham buy the property because an actual sale ensures that Abraham has full legal title to theburial plot. When Ephron sets the price at 400 shekels of silver, Abraham does not even haggle.The transaction is completed and Abraham takes possession.This is not the same location that Jacob was buried in. Jacob purchased one in Shechem. Somecritics try to claim the Bible is contradicting itself, but it’s not. See Acts 7:16. After Sarah died,Abraham lived another 38 years. During that period he met and married Keturah and had 6 moresons. It seems reasonable that he would purchase a second burial site for his second family.h ch. 34:20, 24; Ruth 4:1i Ex. 30:13; Ezek. 45:123 A shekel was about 2/5 ounce or 11 gramsj 1 Chr. 21:25; Jer. 32:9; Zech. 11:12k ch. 25:9; 49:29–32; 50:1324 The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Ge 23:10–19). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
  • 20. A Study In Genesis 20 The mosque of the patriarchs at Hebron built over the traditional site of the Cave of Machpelah.Genesis 23:2020The field and the cave that is in it lwere made over to Abraham as property for a burying place bythe Hittites. 25Abraham’s purchase of the field and cave meant that his descendants would own this land inperpetuity. Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Rebekah, and Leah would later be laid to rest in this cave.The point of this event was to ensure that the cave and field would be Abraham’s possession. Infaith he bought the land, taking nothing from these people (cf. 14:21-24). It was important thenwhere people buried their dead; burial was to be done in their native land. There was no goingback. Though Abraham was an alien and a stranger among the people (23:4), his hope was in theland.l [Ruth 4:7–10; Jer. 32:10–14]25 The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Ge 23:19–20). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.cf. confer, compare
  • 21. A Study In Genesis 21When Abraham bought this cave, he was renouncing Paddan Aram, that is, northwest Mesopotamia(cf. 25:20). This had just been brought to the reader’s attention (22:20-24) indirectly by mentioningthe relatives of Abraham who remained in Mesopotamia (cf. 11:27-31).Canaan was now Abraham’s new native land. But interestingly the only part of the Promised LandAbraham himself ever received he bought, and that was a burial cave. This first property of thepatriarchs—a cave—bound them to the Promised Land. This was a real “occupation” of the land.There would never be a return to Mesopotamia. Later patriarchs would also die and be buried withtheir ancestors in Canaan.26cf. confer, comparecf. confer, compare26 Walvoord, J. F., Zuck, R. B., & Dallas Theological Seminary. (1983-). The Bible knowledge commentary : An exposition of the scriptures (Ge23:5–20). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
  • 22. A Study In Genesis 22Genesis 24 – Isaac and RebekahGenesis 24 is the longest chapter in Genesis. It tells the story of Isaac and Rebekah. The bride forIsaac had to be chosen with care, since she would be the mother of the multitude of nations whichGod had promised would come through Abraham’s seed.The author highlights how God controls events so that, after a long journey from Canaan to North-ern Mesopotamia, Abraham’s servant is guided to Rebekah. The journey from Hebron where Sarahis buried to Nahor, where Rebekah lived was approximately 520 miles along ancient routes. Thejourney would have taken about 21 days. Rebekah, in an act of faith, had to leave her home tojourney to Canaan to marry Isaac, whom she had never met.Genesis 24:1-9Now Abraham was old, well advanced in years. And the LORD had blessed Abraham in all things. 2And Abraham said to his servant, the oldest of his household, who had charge of all that he had, “Putyour hand under my thigh, 3 that I may make you swear by the LORD, the God of heaven and God ofthe earth, that pyou will not take a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites, amongwhom I dwell, 4 but will go to my country and to my kindred, and take a wife for my son Isaac.” 5The servant said to him, “Perhaps the woman may not be willing to follow me to this land. Must Ithen take your son back to the land from which you came?” 6 Abraham said to him, “See to it thatyou do not take my son back there. 7 The LORD, the God of heaven, who took me from my father’shouse and from the land of my kindred, and who spoke to me and swore to me, ‘To your offspring Iwill give this land,’ the will send his angel before you, and you shall take a wife for my son fromthere. 8 But if the woman is not willing to follow you, then uyou will be free from this oath of mine;only you must not take my son back there.” 9 So the servant put his hand under the thigh ofAbraham his master and swore to him concerning this matter. 27Isaac was 40 years old. Isaac realized as did Abraham, that no suitable wife could be found amongthe Canaanite peoples where they lived. It was very important that both Isaac and his wife becompletely united in their faith in their covenant God, in order to properly instruct their children inthis faith.p ch. 26:34, 35; 27:46; Deut. 7:3; [2 Cor. 6:14]t Ex. 23:20, 23; 33:2; [Heb. 1:14]u See Josh. 2:17–2027 The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Ge 24:1–9). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
  • 23. A Study In Genesis 23Abraham is deeply concerned that Isaac should not marry a Caananite; he fears this will draw himaway from worshipping the Lord. Abraham remembers about his brother Nahor and his family,and had learned that Nahor had a granddaughter. Although Abraham had decided that Isaac’s wifecome from his kindred in Mesopotamia, he emphasizes that Isaac should not return there. Isaac’sfuture is to be in Canaan, for God had promised this land to Abraham’s descendents. Isaac never leftCanaan his entire life. Later, Abraham’s grandson, Jacob, will get wives from the same region.Abraham is too old to travel so he sends a trusted servant as an intermediary to arrange a marriagefor Isaac. It was customary, especially among wealthy families, for such arrangements to be madethrough a representative of the family.The servant binds himself to obey Abraham’s request by “placing his hand under the thigh ofAbraham”. This indicates submission to that person’s strength and authority.Abraham’s servant was concerned that the women would not be willing to come back with him. Itwas a long trip to go to marry someone you have never met. But Abraham was confident that Godwould guide the servant. To ease his servant’s mind; however, he agreed to release him from hisoath if he was not able to find a wife.Abraham’s servant stopped outside the walls of the city to water his camels. A stranger in thoseregions, who wishes to obtain information, stations himself at one of the wells in the neighborhoodof a town, and he is sure to learn all the news of the place from the women who frequent themevery morning and evening. Eliezer followed this course, and letting his camels rest, he waited tillthe evening time of water drawing.28 Here he prayed for a sign from God that the women who wasto be Isaac’s wife would also offer to water his camels.Watering ten camels is a hard and wearisome task. Any girl who offered to do this would be strong,healthy, industrious, and definitely not idle.Genesis 24:15-28 Before he had finished speaking, behold, Rebekah, who was born to Bethuel the son of Milcah, 15the wife of Nahor, Abraham’s brother, came out with her water jar on her shoulder. 16 The youngwoman was very attractive in appearance, a maiden3 whom no man had known. She went down tothe spring and filled her jar and came up. 17 Then the servant ran to meet her and said, “Please giveme a little water to drink from your jar.” 18 She said, “Drink, my lord.” And she quickly let down herjar upon her hand and gave him a drink. 19 When she had finished giving him a drink, she said, “Iwill draw water for your camels also, until they have finished drinking.” 20 So she quickly emptiedher jar into the trough and ran again to the well to draw water, and she drew for all his camels. 21The man gazed at her in silence to learn whether the LORD had prospered his journey or not.28 Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., Fausset, A. R., Brown, D., & Brown, D. (1997). A commentary, critical and explanatory, on the Old and NewTestaments (Ge 24:10). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.3 Or a woman of marriageable age
  • 24. A Study In Genesis 24 When the camels had finished drinking, the man took a gold ring weighing a half shekel, 4 and 22two bracelets for her arms weighing ten gold shekels, 23 and said, “Please tell me whose daughteryou are. Is there room in your father’s house for us to spend the night?” 24 She said to him, “I am thedaughter of Bethuel the son of Milcah, whom she bore to Nahor.” 25 She added, “We have plenty ofboth straw and fodder, and room to spend the night.” 26 The man bowed his head and worshipedthe LORD27 and said, “Blessed be the LORD, the God of my master Abraham, who has not forsaken hissteadfast love and his faithfulness toward my master. As for me, the LORD has led me in the way tothe house of my master’s kinsmen.” 28 Then the young woman ran and told her mother’s householdabout these things. 29Even before Eliezer finished speaking, Rebekah came to draw water. The servant approached herimmediately and asked for water. Rebekah did not hesitate and offered to water the camels as well.The servant’s prayer was answered.In appreciation of her generous service, the man took three golden rings (1 for the nose, two for thehands), all very valuable, and gave them to Rebekah. He asked her who she was and when he foundout she was Rebekah, he immediately praised the Lord for answered prayer. He asked if theremight be room at her family’s house to room him. She not only offered to let him stay, but hiscamels also. The Lord must have been guiding her in that she was not afraid of this stranger eventhough she did not know who he was or what his purpose was.When Rebekah heard the man pray, she knew who Abraham was. She ran back to her home to thewomen’s quarters (her mother’s house) and told them what had occurred. She was probablyclosest to her mother rather than her father Bethuel. He was very old at this time so her motherand her brother Laban probably handled many of the responsibilities and decisions of thehousehold.Genesis 24:28-3329 Rebekah had a brother whose name was Laban. Laban ran out toward the man, to the spring. 30As soon as he saw the ring and the bracelets on his sister’s arms, and heard the words of Rebekahhis sister, “Thus the man spoke to me,” he went to the man. And behold, he was standing by thecamels at the spring. 31 He said, “Come in, O blessed of the LORD. Why do you stand outside? For Ihave prepared the house and a place for the camels.” 32 So the man came to the house andunharnessed the camels, and gave straw and fodder to the camels, and there was water to wash hisfeet and the feet of the men who were with him. 33 Then food was set before him to eat. But he said,“I will not eat until I have said what I have to say.” He said, “Speak on.” 304 A shekel was about 2/5 ounce or 11 grams29 The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Ge 24:15–28). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.30 The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Ge 24:29–33). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
  • 25. A Study In Genesis 25Laban went to great the servant of Abraham and invited him back to the house. He provided forEliezer’s camels and provided water to wash his feet and those of the men who had traveled withhim. Eliezer insisted on telling them why he was there before even eating.Genesis 24:34-49 So he said, “I am Abraham’s servant. 35 The LORD has greatly blessed my master, and he has 34become great. He has given him flocks and herds, silver and gold, male servants and femaleservants, camels and donkeys. 36 And Sarah my master’s wife bore a son to my master when shewas old, and to him he has given all that he has. 37 My master made me swear, saying, ‘You shall nottake a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites, in whose land I dwell, 38 but you shallgo to my father’s house and to my clan and take a wife for my son.’ 39 I said to my master, ‘Perhapsthe woman will not follow me.’ 40 But he said to me, ‘The LORD, before whom I have walked, willsend his angel with you and prosper your way. You shall take a wife for my son from my clan andfrom my father’s house. 41 Then you will be free from my oath, when you come to my clan. And ifthey will not give her to you, you will be free from my oath.’ “I came today to the spring and said, O LORD, the God of my master Abraham, if now you are 42prospering the way that I go, 43 behold, I am standing by the spring of water. Let the virgin whocomes out to draw water, to whom I shall say, “Please give me a little water from your jar to drink,”44 and who will say to me, “Drink, and I will draw for your camels also,” let her be the woman whomthe LORD has appointed for my master’s son.’ “Before I had finished speaking in my heart, behold, Rebekah came out with her water jar on 45her shoulder, and she went down to the spring and drew water. I said to her, ‘Please let me drink.’ 46She quickly let down her jar from her shoulder and said, ‘Drink, and I will give your camels drinkalso.’ So I drank, and she gave the camels drink also. 47 Then I asked her, ‘Whose daughter are you?’She said, ‘The daughter of Bethuel, Nahor’s son, whom Milcah bore to him.’ So I put the ring on hernose and the bracelets on her arms. 48 Then I bowed my head and worshiped the LORD and blessedthe LORD, the God of my master Abraham, who had led me by the right way to take the daughter ofmy master’s kinsman for his son. 49 Now then, if you are going to show steadfast love andfaithfulness to my master, tell me; and if not, tell me, that I may turn to the right hand or to the left.”31Abraham’s servant repeats the details of how he came to be in Mesopotamia and the reason for histrip. Since it was a marriage proposal, it was proper to give a clear statement of his master’sfinancial status. He also noted that Isaac had been made sole heir of all of Abraham’s possessions.In addition, he made mention of Isaac’s miraculous birth.31 The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Ge 24:34–49). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
  • 26. A Study In Genesis 26Genesis 24:50-61 Then Laban and Bethuel answered and said, “The thing has come from the LORD; we cannot 50speak to you bad or good. 51 Behold, Rebekah is before you; take her and go, and let her be the wifeof your master’s son, cas the LORD has spoken.” When Abraham’s servant heard their words, he bowed himself to the earth before the LORD. 5253 And the servant brought out jewelry of silver and of gold, and garments, and gave them toRebekah. He also gave to her brother and to her mother costly ornaments. 54 And he and the menwho were with him ate and drank, and they spent the night there. When they arose in the morning,he said, “Send me away to my master.” 55 Her brother and her mother said, “Let the young womanremain with us a while, at least ten days; after that she may go.” 56 But he said to them, “Do notdelay me, since the LORD has prospered my way. Send me away that I may go to my master.” 57 Theysaid, “Let us call the young woman and ask her.” 58 And they called Rebekah and said to her, “Willyou go with this man?” She said, “I will go.” 59 So they sent away Rebekah their sister and her nurse,and Abraham’s servant and his men. 60 And they blessed Rebekah and said to her, “Our sister, may you become thousands of ten thousands, and may your offspring possess the gate of those who hate him!”6 Then Rebekah and her young women arose and rode on the camels and followed the man. 61Thus the servant took Rebekah and went his way. 32After such a testimony, there could be no doubt that God had led the servant to Rebekah. Both herfather and her brother immediately acknowledged that regardless of their personal feelings, Godhad spoken and they must accept His decision.It seems that they were also reluctant to let her go so far away as they would likely not see heragain, so they wanted to spend some additional time with her (ten days) before she left. But theservant was anxious to return. Rebekah agreed to go immediately.Rebekah took her nurse with her as well as her maids. The family bestowed a blessing on Rebekahand said their goodbyes.Genesis 24:62-6762Now Isaac had returned from Beer-lahai-roi and was dwelling in the Negeb. 63 And Isaac went outto meditate in the field toward evening. And he lifted up his eyes and saw, and behold, there werecamels coming. 64 And Rebekah lifted up her eyes, and when she saw Isaac, she dismounted fromthe camel 65 and said to the servant, “Who is that man, walking in the field to meet us?” The servantc See ver. 13–15, 42–466 Or hate them32 The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Ge 24:50–61). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
  • 27. A Study In Genesis 27said, “It is my master.” So she took her veil and covered herself. 66 And the servant told Isaac all thethings that he had done. 67 Then Isaac brought her into the tent of Sarah his mother and tookRebekah, and she became his wife, and he loved her. So Isaac was comforted after his mother’sdeath. 33In these four sections four participants were acting in ḥ eseḏ : Abraham in preparing for the future,Eliezer in carrying it out, God in performing it, Rebekah in responding to it.In God’s providence and His ḥ eseḏ (“loyal love”) He worked through the circumstances of thosewho lived by faith. 34In contemplation of his forthcoming marriage, Isaac had visited the sacred site of Beer-lahai-roiwhere the angel of the Lord had once appeared. He appears to have separated himself from thecamp of Abraham for he was living in the Negev at this time. Isaac went out to the field one evening“to meditate” (lasuach), a word used only here in the Old Testament. He lifted up his eyes and sawthe caravan approaching.Rebekah noticed a man coming across the field to meet the camels. When she learned that this wasIsaac, she got down from her camel, and covered her face with a veil. She was demonstratingmodesty and respect for her future husband.Isaac honored his bride by assigning her to the tent of his beloved mother. After arrangementscould be made, Isaac married Rebekah. Even though there had been no lengthy courtship Isaacloved Rebekah. She supplied that womanly charm and companionship which brought Isaac comfortin the loneliness he experienced after the death of his mother Sarah.3524:64–65 Covering the Face With a Veil33 The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Ge 24:62–67). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.34 Walvoord, J. F., Zuck, R. B., & Dallas Theological Seminary. (1983-). The Bible knowledge commentary : An exposition of the scriptures (Ge24:60–67). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.35 Smith, J. E. (1993). The Pentateuch (2nd ed.) (Ge 24:62–67). Joplin, Mo.: College Press Pub. Co.
  • 28. A Study In Genesis 28Although Rebekah undoubtedly covered her face as a sign of modesty and respect, in later yearsHebrew woman normally did not wear veils. When Abraham’s servant first met Rebekah at the wellshe was not wearing a veil, for he could see that “The girl was very beautiful” (Genesis 24:16). Thisis similar to what is said about Sarai in Genesis 12:14: “When Abram came to Egypt, the Egyptianssaw that she was a very beautiful woman.” Obviously Sarai was not wearing a veil. And in 1 Samuel1:12, this is written: “As she [Hannah] kept on praying to the LORD, Eli observed her mouth.” Elicould not have seen Hannah’s mouth, of course, if she had been wearing a veil. At some point in Hebrew history, it became the prostitutes, or harlots, who wore veils. In Genesis 38:14–15, it tells how Judah thought his daughter-in-law Tamar was a harlot because she wore a veil: “And she [Tamar] put her widow’s garments off from her, and covered her with a veil, and wrapped herself, and sat in an open place, which is by the way to Timnath; for she saw that Shelah was grown, and she was not given, unto him to wife. When Judah saw her, he thought her to be an harlot; because she had covered her face.” Some say that the Hebrew word, tzaiph, translated veil in Genesis 24:65 and in Genesis 38:14, did not mean simply a face covering, but a large wrap, or loose flowing robe, that was worn outdoors. The upper part could be used to cover the head and face, similar to the wraps worn now by women in fundamentalist Muslim countries like Iran.3636 Freeman, J. M., & Chadwick, H. J. (1998). Manners & customs of the Bible (Rev. ed.].) (41–42). North Brunswick, NJ: Bridge-LogosPublishers.
  • 29. A Study In Genesis 29Genesis 25 – Abrahams Death, Jacob and EsauGenesis 25:1-6Abraham took another wife, whose name was Keturah. 2lShe bore him Zimran, Jokshan, Medan,Midian, Ishbak, and Shuah. 3 Jokshan fathered Sheba and Dedan. The sons of Dedan were Asshurim,Letushim, and Leummim. 4 The sons of Midian were Ephah, Epher, Hanoch, Abida, and Eldaah. Allthese were the children of Keturah. 5mAbraham gave all he had to Isaac. 6 But to the sons of hisconcubines Abraham gave gifts, and while he was still living he nsent them away from his son Isaac,eastward oto the east country. 37Abraham was 140 years old when Isaac married Rebekah. He took another wife, Keturah, who borehim six sons and grandchildren. That would mean there was a maximum span of 37 years for thebirths of Ketarah’s six sons. (Abraham was 138 when Sarah died, and he died at 175.) Tribes inSheba and Dedan, in Arabia (Gen 25:3), as well as the Midianites (v 4), came from Abraham. Thiswas in fulfillment of God’s promises to Abraham that he would become great (12:2) since so “manynations” look to him as their ancestor (17:4).38Before he died, Abraham endowed his other sons, Ishmael and the sons of Keturah, gifts as part oftheir inheritance, but the bulk went to Isaac. Note, that although earlier Keturah is referred to ashis wife, here she is referred to as his concubine along with Hagar. In this context, it is used todistinguish Hagar and Keturah form Sarah, Abraham’s primary wife. Hagar and Keturah aresecondary wives.Nothing is known of Keturah other than she bore him sons. And not much is known of the sonseither. Midian is the only one mentioned frequently in the Bible. His descendents seem to havebeen allied with the Ishmaelites (37:25-36), the Moabites (Num. 25:1, 6-15) and the Amalekites(Judges 6:3).Abraham’s Other Descendentsl 1 Chr. 1:32, 33m ch. 24:36n ch. 21:14o [Judg. 6:3]37 The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Ge 25:1–6). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.38 Walvoord, J. F., Zuck, R. B., & Dallas Theological Seminary. (1983-). The Bible knowledge commentary : An exposition of the scriptures (Ge25:1–4). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
  • 30. A Study In Genesis 30Abraham was 137 when Sarah died (23:1), yet following her death he married Keturah. Since Mosesdoes not always arrange the material in Genesis in chronological order, some have suggested thatthe marriage to Keturah took place long before Sarah was dead. They think that it would beimpossible for one who at age one hundred was thought to be too old to have a son, to father sixsons after age 137. Perhaps, however, the rejuvenation which enabled Abraham to father Isaac wasnot transitory.The list of Keturah’s sons and peoples descended from them is given in 25:2–4 for two reasons.First, several of these peoples are mentioned frequently in later Biblical history. Then too, this listdemonstrates the fulfillment of the promise that Abraham would become the father of manynations.Isaac was Abraham’s heir. He inherited all his father’s wealth. Before he died, however, Abrahambestowed generous gifts upon the sons of his concubines. The plural certainly includes Keturah andHagar, and possibly other unnamed concubines. These sons of Abraham occupied the desert to theeast of Canaan.Genesis 25:7-11
  • 31. A Study In Genesis 317 These are the days of the years of Abraham’s life, 175 years. 8 Abraham breathed his last and diedin a good old age, an old man and full of years, and was gathered to his people. 9 Isaac and Ishmaelhis sons buried him in the cave of Machpelah, in the field of Ephron the son of Zohar the Hittite, eastof Mamre, 10 the field that Abraham purchased from the Hittites. There Abraham was buried, withSarah his wife. 11 After the death of Abraham, God blessed Isaac his son. And Isaac settled at Beer-lahai-roi.Abraham died at 175 years. He was buried with Sarah. Isaac and Ishmael are reunited forAbraham’s death. It doesn’t indicate whether or not these two were in contact with one another ona regular basis, but at least here, they are reunited. Note also that Ishmael was mentioned by namealong with Isaac while the other sons were not. This seems to indicate that he had more standingthan the others, and indeed, God had promised to bless him also.“and was gathered to his people” – it is believed that this is not simply referring to his death andburial, but to life after death; he was gathered together with those who before him had died in faith.The location of such departed spirits was, 1900 years later, actually called Abraham’s bossom –Luke 16:22. Abraham’s Journeys throughout his life.
  • 32. A Study In Genesis 32After the death of Abraham, God blessed Isaac. He was still residing near Beer-lahai-roi at this time.Isaac was seventy-five when his father died, and 123 when his brother Ishmael died. Therefore,forty-eight years of Isaac’s life are passed over in silence in Genesis 25.39Genesis 25:12-1812These are the generations of Ishmael, Abraham’s son, whom Hagar the Egyptian, Sarah’s servant,bore to Abraham. 13 These are the names of the sons of Ishmael, named in the order of their birth:Nebaioth, the firstborn of Ishmael; and Kedar, Adbeel, Mibsam, 14 Mishma, Dumah, Massa, 15 Hadad,Tema, Jetur, Naphish, and Kedemah. 16 These are the sons of Ishmael and these are their names, bytheir villages and by their encampments, twelve princes according to their tribes. 17 (These are theyears of the life of Ishmael: 137 years. He breathed his last and died, and was gathered to hispeople.) 18 They settled from Havilah to Shur, which is opposite Egypt in the direction of Assyria. Hesettled1 over against all his kinsmen. 40Because Ishmael also was a son of Abraham, God told what became of him and his line (the account[ṯ ôleḏ ôṯ ] of … Ishmael) before returning to the chosen line, the succession of Isaac. Ishmael had 12sons, as God had predicted (17:20), and died at the age of 137. His sons lived in the Arabianpeninsula from Havilah (in north-central Arabia) to Shur (between Beersheba and Egypt).41Like his father, Ishmael was “gathered to his people.” The narrator mentions three points in whichthe prophecies regarding Ishmael found fulfillment: (1) Twelve tribal rulers came from Ishmael (cf.17:20). (2) His descendants lived in the desert area from Havilah (location unknown) to Shur nearthe border of Egypt (cf. 16:12). (3) The Ishmaelites lived in hostility toward all their brethren (cf.16:12).42It is thought that Ishmael himself had kept this genealogy and had passed it on to Isaac when theyreunited for their father’s funeral. Isaac then inserted it into his own records. Ishmael was 90years old when Abraham died, his own 12 sons were grown, and they had become prolific andpowerful enough to have settled towns and strongholds of their own, and to be called princes, asGod had promised.Genesis 25:19-2339 Smith, J. E. (1993). The Pentateuch (2nd ed.) (Ge 25:7–18). Joplin, Mo.: College Press Pub. Co.1 Hebrew fell40 The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Ge 25:12–18). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.41 Walvoord, J. F., Zuck, R. B., & Dallas Theological Seminary. (1983-). The Bible knowledge commentary : An exposition of the scriptures (Ge25:12–18). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.42 Smith, J. E. (1993). The Pentateuch (2nd ed.) (Ge 25:7–18). Joplin, Mo.: College Press Pub. Co.
  • 33. A Study In Genesis 33 These are the generations of Isaac, Abraham’s son: eAbraham fathered Isaac, 20 and Isaac was 19forty years old when he took Rebekah, the daughter of Bethuel the Aramean of Paddan-aram, thesister of Laban the Aramean, to be his wife. 21 And Isaac prayed to the LORD for his wife, because shewas barren. And ithe LORD granted his prayer, and Rebekah his wife conceived. 22 The childrenstruggled together within her, and she said, “If it is thus, why is this happening to me?” 2 So she wentjto inquire of the LORD. 23 And the LORD said to her, k“Two nations are in your womb, and two peoples from within you3 shall be divided; lthe one shall be stronger than the other, mthe older shall serve the younger.” 43The next major section of Genesis actually begins in the middle of Chapter 25. The statement -“these are the generations of Isaac” - terminates the records dealing with the life of Abraham andthe early years of Isaac’s life. This record has been kept by Isaac. This next section however, wasprobably recorded by Jacob. It begins with a general statement of Isaacs background, continuesthrough to his life following marriage, and then narrates the experiences of Jacob up until Josephwas sold into Egypt.Isaac was 40 years old when he married Rebekah and it was another 20 years before he hadchildren. Like Sarah, Rebekah was barren. In contrast with Abraham, Isaac prayed to the Lord andshe conceived. Also note, that later, Jacob’s wife was also temporarily barren.Even in the womb, the children of Isaac were at odds with one another. Rebekah was disturbed bythis and prayed to the Lord. The Lord told her that the twins in her womb were of two utterlydifferent and antagonistic temperaments. He also told her that the elder would serve the younger.The struggle which began in her womb would continue throughout their lives and throughout thehistories of their respective nations. The Israelites (Jacob’s descendants) and the Edomites (Esau’sdescendants) fought continuously. God’s election of Jacob the younger over Esau the older wasagainst the natural order.44e Matt. 1:2i 2 Sam. 21:14; 24:25; 1 Chr. 5:20; 2 Chr. 33:13; Ezra 8:232 Or why do I live?j [1 Sam. 9:9]k ch. 17:16; 24:603 Or from birthl [2 Sam. 8:14]; See Obad. 18–21m ch. 27:29, 40; Cited Rom. 9:1243 The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Ge 25:19–23). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.44 Walvoord, J. F., Zuck, R. B., & Dallas Theological Seminary. (1983-). The Bible knowledge commentary : An exposition of the scriptures (Ge25:21–23). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
  • 34. A Study In Genesis 34Men normally have felt that the first born son should receive the greater honor and inheritance butGod does not necessarily work in such ways. In the Messianic line, it is significant to note thatneither Seth, Isaac, Jacob, Judah, or David were first born sons.Genesis 25:24-2624When her days to give birth were completed, behold, there were twins in her womb. 25 The firstcame out red, all his body like a hairy cloak, so they called his name Esau. 26 Afterward his brothercame out with ohis hand holding Esau’s heel, so his name was called Jacob.4 Isaac was sixty years oldwhen she bore them.When the twins are born, the first is called Esau, which means ‘Hairy’, and the second is namedJacob, which means ‘Cheat’. Jacob’s name also has the connotation of “deceiver” or supplanter”.This is because Jacob is born clinging to Esau’s heel, as though trying to overtake him to be bornfirst. Hosea 12:3 says “He took his brother by the heel in the womb, and by his strength he hadpower with God.”.Isaac was 60 years old when the twins were born, so Abraham was also still alive. Hew ould havebeen 160 years at this time.Genesis 25:27-34 When the boys grew up, Esau was a skillful hunter, a man of the field, while Jacob was a quiet 27man, rdwelling in tents. 28 Isaac loved Esau because he ate of his game, but Rebekah loved Jacob. Once when Jacob was cooking stew, Esau came in from the field, and he was exhausted. 30 29And Esau said to Jacob, “Let me eat some of that red stew, for I am exhausted!” (Therefore his namewas called Edom.5) 31 Jacob said, “Sell me your birthright now.” 32 Esau said, “I am about to die; ofwhat use is a birthright to me?” 33 Jacob said, “Swear to me now.” So he swore to him and tsold hisbirthright to Jacob. 34 Then Jacob gave Esau bread and lentil stew, and he ate and drank and roseand went his way. Thus Esau despised his birthright.Esau becomes a man of the great outdoors. He is a man of the world, full of vigor and adventure. Hebrings home wild game from his hunting trips. This pleases Isaac, who loves his food. But Esau hadno spiritual appreciation and despised his spiritual privileges as the firstborn (see Deut. 21:17 and1 Chron. 5:1–2); he would rather feed his body than enjoy the promises of God. There is noo Hos. 12:34 Jacob means He takes by the heel, or He cheatsr Heb. 11:95 Edom sounds like the Hebrew for redt Heb. 12:16
  • 35. A Study In Genesis 35mentionof Esau having a tent or an altar, and 26:34–35 indicates that he loved worldly women.Hebrews 12:16 describes Esau as “profane” which means “of the world, common” (La., profanus—“outside the temple”). 45In contrast, Jacob was a quiet man who stayed at home “dwelling in tents”. He took care of theflocks and herds and apparently also did some of the cooking. Hebrews 11:9 says, “he sojourned inthe land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles”. He did this because he was aman of faith, to whom God’s plans and promises meant far more than physical pleasure.The translators took the word “tôm” and made it into “quiet man”, but it actually means “perfect,complete, or mature”. It is exactly the same word God used to describe Job when He called him “aperfect and upright man” (Job 1:5).Jacob was probably told by his mother Rebekah that he was to be the inheritor of God’s promises.He took this seriously and sought after God. Rebekah, who had been attracted to Isaac in the firstplace because of her desire to follow God’s will, had a strong desire to fulfill this part of His will aswell. She and Jacob were of kindred minds, spiritually, and so “Rebekah loved Jacob”.Isaac became partial to Esau. In fact, he seemed to actually encourage Esau in his irresponsibleactivities – “he did eat of his venison”. It does not say why this was, maybe he was jealous ofRebekah’s love for Jacob or because he was proud of Esau’s athletic prowess. Isaac knew that Godwanted Jacob to inherit the birthright, yet he was planning on giving it to Esau. Isaac had been aspiritual man, so it is not quite clear why he was planning on disobeying God. Both Jacob andRebekah could sense that Isaac wanted to give the birthright to Esau.The custom at the time was that the eldest son received a double portion in the division of theinheritance (Deut. 21:17). He was also to rule over the household, to provide for the householdboth materially and spiritually. In fact, in this family, the spiritual responsibilities were paramount(Gen. 18:19). In particular, there was the responsibility of building and officiating at the alter (Gen.22:9, 26:25; 35:1) as well as the transmission of God’s Word and His promises.The right of primogeniture may have been a custom at this time but it was not yet a Biblical law.The father had the right of transferring it from eldest son to another (I Chron. 5:1-2).Jacob knew what the prophecy said but up until now Isaac had not formally given the birthright toJacob. So Jacob and Rebekah took matters into their own hands.While Jacob was preparing a meal, Esau came in from one of his excursions and was very hungry.Jacob made a proposition – he would feed Esau if Esau would trade it for his birthright. Thebirthright meant little to Esau and his hunger was of a more immediate concern to him. This isexactly the reason God did not choose him to be the one who carried on the bloodline.Jacob is often viewed as being deceitful and taking that which was not his. But he was not beingdeceitful, Esau knew exactly what was going on, but just didn’t care at the moment. Scripture does45 Wiersbe, W. W. (1993). Wiersbes expository outlines on the Old Testament (Ge 25). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
  • 36. A Study In Genesis 36not offer one word of condemnation or criticism of Jacob. But it does condemn Esau – “Thus, Esaudespised his birthright”, Gen. 25:34; “Lest there be any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, whofor one morsel of meat sold his birthright. For ye know how that afterward, when he would haveinherited the blessing, he was rejected” – Heb. 12:16-17.Jacob’s only sin was lack of faith. He took matters into his own hands. Abraham and Isaac wereboth guilty of the same thing. There are always repercussions when we do this. Jacob’s actionscaused further estrangement from Esau and Isaac.
  • 37. A Study In Genesis 37BirthrightThe “birthright” was a special privilege accorded a firstborn. It has to do with the law ofprimogeniture, which is the right of the eldest child, especially the eldest son, to inherit the entireestate of one or both parents. But it was more than that, it included a number of other privilegesand responsibilities. The firstborn son also inherited the leadership and priesthood of the family ortribe, and he received a double portion of the inheritance (Deuteronomy 21:17). For example, ifthere were only two sons, the firstborn would receive two-thirds of the inheritance, if there werethree sons, he would receive three-fourths of the inheritance. It was as if the firstborn were twopersons instead of one. Any portion of the firstborn’s inheritance could, however, be transferred toanother by God or by his father, or he could transfer it himself as Esau did for a portion of red stew.Reuben was the firstborn of the twelve sons of Jacob, and so should have inherited the priesthoodof the tribes, but God transferred that honor to his brother Levi: “And I have taken the Levites for allthe firstborn of the children of Israel. And I have given the Levites as a gift to Aaron and to his sonsfrom among the children of Israel, to do the service of the children of Israel in the tabernacle of thecongregation, and to make an atonement for the children of Israel: that there be no plague amongthe children of Israel, when the children of Israel come nigh unto the sanctuary” (Numbers 8:18–19).Although four other sons were born to King David before Solomon, David chose Solomon overAdonijah who was his fourth and apparently only living son born previous to Solomon. When hisfather was stricken and dying, Adonijah expected he would soon be king and so declared himself assuch: “Then Adonijah the son of Haggith exalted himself, saying, I will be king: and he prepared himchariots and horsemen, and fifty men to run before him” (1 Kings 1:5). But David, in keeping withGod’s Word about Solomon and his promise to Bathsheba, made Solomon king instead of Adonijah:“Even as I sware unto thee [Bathsheba] by the LORD God of Israel, saying, Assuredly Solomon thyson shall reign after me, and he shall sit upon my throne in my stead; even so will I certainly do thisday” (1 Kings 1:30). “And Jonathan answered and said to Adonijah, Verily our lord king David hathmade Solomon king” (1 Kings 1:43). The tablets of ancient Nuzi (modern Yorgham Tepe) innorthern Iraq have provided scholars with information concerning legal customs of the 15thcentury B.C., customs with parallels in the patriarchal narratives. Among them was the revelationthat the birthright could be sold or changed from one son to another by the father.4646 Freeman, J. M., & Chadwick, H. J. (1998). Manners & customs of the Bible (Rev. ed.].) (42–44). North Brunswick, NJ: Bridge-LogosPublishers.
  • 38. A Study In Genesis 38Genesis 26 – God’s Covenant Confirmed to Isaac, Abimelech, and WellsGenesis 26:1-11Now there was a famine in the land, besides the former famine that was in the days of Abraham.And Isaac went to Gerar to Abimelech king of the Philistines. 2 And the LORD appeared to him andsaid, “Do not go down to Egypt; dwell in the land of which I shall tell you. 3ySojourn in this land, andI will be with you and will bless you, for ato you and to your offspring I will give all these lands, and Iwill establish bthe oath that I swore to Abraham your father. 4cI will multiply your offspring as thestars of heaven and will give to your offspring all these lands. And din your offspring all the nationsof the earth shall be blessed, 5 because Abraham obeyed my voice and kept my charge, mycommandments, my statutes, and my laws.”6 So Isaac settled in Gerar. 7 When the men of the place asked him about his wife, he said, “She is mysister,” for ghe feared to say, “My wife,” thinking, “lest the men of the place should kill me because ofRebekah,” because she was attractive in appearance. 8 When he had been there a long time,Abimelech king of the Philistines looked out of a window and saw Isaac laughing with 1 Rebekah hiswife. 9 So Abimelech called Isaac and said, “Behold, she is your wife. How then could you say, ‘She ismy sister’?” Isaac said to him, “Because I thought, ‘Lest I die because of her.’ ” 10 Abimelech said,“What is this you have done to us? One of the people might easily have lain with your wife, and iyouwould have brought guilt upon us.” 11 So Abimelech warned all the people, saying, “Whoevertouches this man or his wife shall surely be put to death.” 47Because of the strong similarities between this incident and 12:10–20 and 20:1–18, some moderninterpreters have expressed the opinion that it is a copy of those episodes and never actuallyhappened. They also note that the king is, as in chapter 20, named “Abimelech.” There are, however,y ch. 20:1; Heb. 11:9a See ch. 13:15b [Mic. 7:20]; See ch. 22:16–18c Cited Ex. 32:13; See ch. 15:5d See ch. 12:3g [Prov. 29:25]1 Hebrew may suggest an intimate relationshipi ch. 20:947 The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Ge 26:6–11). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
  • 39. A Study In Genesis 39key differences between the passages, and it is not uncommon for kings to have the same name(e.g., Darius I and II of the Medo-Persian Empire). In addition, it is possible that “Abimelech” (acompound of the words for “father” and “king”) is a Philistine royal title, like Pharaoh in Egypt,which means “great house.” Perhaps Isaac, while growing up, had heard the stories of what hisfather, Abraham, had done in those earlier incidents and decided to mimic his behavior. Given thatRebekah was not Isaac’s sister in any sense, this would be a classic example of the repetition of “thesins of the fathers” by a later generation.48Isaac repeated the same mistake that Abraham did. He tried to pass Rebekah off as his sister.There is no mention of Jacob and Esau so they may have remained behind to watch over everythingwhile Isaac was gone.No on discovered otherwise for a long time. However, based on scripture, Isaac’s tent must havebeen fairly close to the palace because eventually King Abimelech looked out his window and sawIsaac “laughing” with Rebekah his wife. In this context, the Hebrew word “to laugh” implieslaughing as they caress affectionately.Abimelech confronted Isaac, who then admitted what he had done and why. Abimelech rebukedIsaac, much as Abraham had been rebuked, and declared that anyone who touched Isaac or his wifewould be put to death.Genesis 26:12-16And Isaac sowed in that land and reaped in the same year a hundredfold. The LORDjblessed him, 13and the man became rich, and gained more and more until he became very wealthy. 14 He hadpossessions of flocks and herds and many servants, so that the Philistines kenvied him. 15 (Now thePhilistines had stopped and filled with earth all the wells that his father’s servants had dug in thedays of Abraham his father.) 16 And Abimelech said to Isaac, “Go away from us, for you are muchmightier than we.” 49God was with Isaac and he prospered greatly and became very wealthy. The Philistines, envious ofhis wealth, went behind Isaac and filled in the wells that Abraham had dug and Isaac was using.This was possibly to try to force Isaac out of the area. Abimelech finally asked Isaac to leave, sincehe had become more powerful than his own nation.Genesis 26:17-2248 Cabal, T., Brand, C. O., Clendenen, E. R., Copan, P., Moreland, J., & Powell, D. (2007). The Apologetics Study Bible: Real Questions, StraightAnswers, Stronger Faith (43). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.j ver. 3; ch. 24:1, 35k [Eccles. 4:4]49 The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Ge 26:12–16). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
  • 40. A Study In Genesis 40So Isaac departed from there and encamped in the Valley of Gerar and settled there. 18 And Isaacdug again the wells of water that had been dug in the days of Abraham his father, which thePhilistines had stopped after the death of Abraham. And he gave them the names that his father hadgiven them. 19 But when Isaac’s servants dug in the valley and found there a well of spring water, 20the herdsmen of Gerar quarreled with Isaac’s herdsmen, saying, “The water is ours.” So he calledthe name of the well Esek,2 because they contended with him. 21 Then they dug another well, andthey quarreled over that also, so he called its name Sitnah.322 And he moved from there and duganother well, and they did not quarrel over it. So he called its name Rehoboth,4 saying, “For now theLORD has made room for us, and we shall be fruitful in the land.” 50Isaac moved to the Valley of Gerar, where the wells that Abraham had dug were already filled up.Isaac embarked on a program of reopening these wells. He used the same names Abraham had givethe wells, thereby establishing his right to them.In addition, his servants dug another well, evidently in the lower valley, and this turned out to be anartesian well, a well of “living water”. The Philistine herdsmen claimed the water was theirs.Rather than argue, Isaac dug another well. But the men of Gerar did the same thing again. Again,Isaac walked away from the well and went further away and dug a 3rd well. This time the men ofGerar left him alone.Wells provide a dominant motif: they are tangible evidence of divine blessing (cf Abraham’s disputewith the Philistines over a well, 21:25, 30). No matter where Isaac dug, and no matter how often thePhilistines stopped up the wells or claimed that they belonged to them, God’s blessing on Isaaccould not be hindered.Genesis 26:23-2523From there he went up to Beersheba. 24 And the LORD appeared to him the same night and said, “Iam the God of Abraham your father. Fear not, for qI am with you and will bless you and multiplyyour offspring for my servant Abraham’s sake.” 25 So he built an altar there and called upon thename of the LORD and pitched his tent there. And there Isaac’s servants dug a well. 51Isaac returned to Beersheba (“the Well of the Covenant”). Abraham had built an alter there andIsaac himself had lived here after the sacrifice on Mount Moriah. God appeared to him here andassured him once again that he did not need to fear the Philistines, for God was with him and would2 Esek means contention3 Sitnah means enmity4 Rehoboth means broad places, or room50 The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Ge 26:17–22). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.q ch. 28:15; 31:3; [ch. 21:22, 23]51 The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Ge 26:23–25). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
  • 41. A Study In Genesis 41keep His promises to Abraham. Isaac also built an alter of his own and worshipped God. He pitchedhis tent here and had a well dug.Genesis 26:26-3326When Abimelech went to him from Gerar with Ahuzzath his adviser and Phicol the commander ofhis army, 27 Isaac said to them, “Why have you come to me, seeing that you hate me and thave sentme away from you?” 28 They said, “We see plainly that the LORD has been with you. So we said, letthere be a sworn pact between us, between you and us, and let us make a covenant with you, 29 thatyou will do us no harm, just as we have not touched you and have done to you nothing but good andhave sent you away in peace. You are now the blessed of the LORD.” 30 So he made them a feast, andthey ate and drank. 31 In the morning they rose early and vexchanged oaths. And Isaac sent them ontheir way, and they departed from him in peace. 32 That same day Isaac’s servants came and toldhim about the well that they had dug and said to him, “We have found water.” 33 He called itShibah;5 therefore the name of the city is Beersheba to this day. 52Once the conflict over the wells was settled, Abimelech requested that he and Isaac make a treaty.Just as an earlier Abimelech acknowledged that God was with Abraham (21:22), so this Abimelechacknowledged that God was with Isaac. Isaac named the well there Shibah (“oath” or “seven”) forthey made a treaty by an oath (26:28-31, 33)similar to the earlier treaty Abraham made when henamed the city Beersheba (21:23-24, 31). That treaty was necessarily renewed with Isaac. God’sblessing was on the seed of Abraham; Isaac was the rightful heir.NOTE: Abimelech and Phicol are probably titles rather than the same individuals who made atreaty with Abraham. This is much like the title of Pharoah in Egypt.That night they feasted and the following morning swore their oaths. That same day Issac’sservants came to tell him that they had struck water in the well they were digging. He called itShibah (“oath”), the name of the city is Beersheba to this day.Genesis 26:34-3534When Esau was forty years old, he took xJudith the daughter of Beeri the Hittite to be his wife, andBasemath the daughter of Elon the Hittite, 35 and ythey made life bitter6 for Isaac and Rebekah. 53t ver. 16v ch. 21:315 Shibah sounds like the Hebrew for oath52 The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Ge 26:26–33). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.x [ch. 28:9; 36:2, 3]y ch. 27:466 Hebrew they were bitterness of spirit53 The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Ge 26:34–35). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
  • 42. A Study In Genesis 42These last two verses deal with Esau’s wives. It seems they have more to do with Chapter 27 whichdeals with the conflict between Isaac’s sons.The absence of any mention of the two sons during the time of Isaac staying in Gerar suggests thatthey had stayed back home in either Memre or Lahai-roi, but now they were reunited for awhile,possibly for Esau’s marriage.The emphasis of noting that Esau’s wives were Hittite shows that he had not chosen wisely. Also,he was taking two wives, not one. Knowing how cautious God had been in choosing a wife for Isaac,Esau was snubbing his nose at God. He was 40 years old, he knew this was wrong but wascompletely unconcerned.Though Esau married at age 40, as did Isaac his father (25:20), his parents were hardly pleasedwith his choices. His wives were Hittites who worshiped many gods, none of which was the onetrue God of Abraham and Isaac. Isaac is partly responsible for these religiously mixed marriages,since he had not made it clear to Esau what his standards were (28:1, 6–9). There are two possibleexplanations for why Judith, the first named wife of Esau (26:34) is not mentioned in the “familyrecords” of Esau in chapter 36. Either she did not live long enough to have children, or the marriageended quickly in divorce.54Esau’s marriages to two Hittite women (Judith and Basemath) were a grief to his parents. This notedemonstrates how unfit Esau was for God’s blessing, and how foolish was Isaac’s later attempt tobless Esau (27:1-40). Esau later married a third wife, Mahalath (28:9).5554 Cabal, T., Brand, C. O., Clendenen, E. R., Copan, P., Moreland, J., & Powell, D. (2007). The Apologetics Study Bible: Real Questions, StraightAnswers, Stronger Faith (45). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.55 Walvoord, J. F., Zuck, R. B., & Dallas Theological Seminary. (1983-). The Bible knowledge commentary : An exposition of the scriptures (Ge26:34–35). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
  • 43. A Study In Genesis 43Genesis 27 - Isaac Blesses JacobGenesis records two important occasions when patriarchs, nearing death, pronounce specialblessings on their firstborn sons – 27:1-46 and 49:1-27. In this chapter, Isaac‘s intention to blessEsau is subverted by Rebekah, who helps Jacob receive the blessing of the firstborn. AlthoughRebekah‘s actions involve deception, the text does not condemn her actions. God, in Hissovereignty, uses all kinds of actions – good, bad, and mixed – to bring His people to the place inwhich they find themselves.God had already decided to establish the Messianic line and promises through Jacob rather thanEsau, even before the boys were born. This decision was clearly conveyed to Rebekah andIsaac. But Isaac still favored Esau, resolving to give him the birthright benefits and blessings.This was in direct conflict with God‘s wishes.Many Bible scholars condemn Jacob as being conniving, deceitful, selfish, and a liar. But theBible called Jacob a plain (literally ―perfect‖ or ―complete‖) man in Genesis 25:27 and Esaudespised his birthright – Gen. 25:34.The attitude expressed by Bible expositors relative to Jacob is completely out of line. They arepronouncing moral judgment on Jacob. But nowhere in scripture is Jacob chastised for hisactions. There is never a single instance in the Bible of criticism of Jacob except on the lips ofEsau and Laban, both of whom are unworthy witnesses. Every time God spoke to Jacob, it wasin a message of blessing and promise, never one of rebuke or chastisement.Genesis 27:1-4When Isaac was old and zhis eyes were dim so that he could not see, he called Esau his older sonand said to him, ―My son‖; and he answered, ―Here I am.‖ 2 He said, ―Behold, I am old; I do notknow the day of my death. 3 Now then, take your weapons, your quiver and your bow, and goout to the field and hunt game for me, 4 and prepare for me delicious food, such as I love, andbring it to me so that I may eat, that my soul bmay bless you before I die.‖ 56Isaac is introduced as both old and blind. Near to death, he decides it‘s time to bless his firstbornson, Esau. The paternal blessing that Isaac wants to give Esau is important because it willz ch. 48:10; 1 Sam. 3:2b ch. 10:25; 48:9, 15; 49:28; Deut. 33:156 The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Ge 27:1–4). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
  • 44. A Study In Genesis 44establish the identity of the heir to the divine promises given to Abraham and Isaac. In light ofthis the firstborn line will eventually lead to a regal descendant through whom all the nations ofthe earth will be blessed.In spite of God‘s instructions concerning Jacob before he was born, in spite of the plainlyobvious superiority of Jacob‘s character and spiritual discernment and convictions over those ofEsau, in spite of Jacob‘s further legalization of his claim to the patriarchal blessing through thepurchase of the birthright from Esau, confirmed by Esau‘s solemn oath, in spite of Esau‘sobvious indifference to his spiritual heritage and to the will of God – in spite of all of this, Isaacnevertheless was determined to give the blessing to Esau.It was customary to mark solemn occasions by some kind of meal or feast so Isaac asked Esau tohunt and slay a deer in order to prepare him a ―savory meal, such as I love‖.It is significant that Isaac is not doing this with Rebekah‘s knowledge. She only happened tooverhear (no doubt the circumstances that lead her to be in a position to overhear were put inplace by God). This fact of secretiveness on Isaac‘s part indicates that he was ashamed of whathe was doing, knowing that Rebekah would not approve.Genesis 27:5-105 Now Rebekah was listening when Isaac spoke to his son Esau. So when Esau went to the fieldto hunt for game and bring it, 6 Rebekah said to her son Jacob, ―I heard your father speak to yourbrother Esau, 7 ‗Bring me game and prepare for me delicious food, that I may eat it and bless youbefore the LORD before I die.‘ 8 Now therefore, my son, obey my voice as I command you. 9 Goto the flock and bring me two good young goats, so that I may prepare from them delicious foodfor your father, such as he loves. 10 And you shall bring it to your father to eat, so that he maybless you before he dies.‖ 57Rebekah acted immediately. She devised a plan to make Isaac think that Jacob was Esau.Again, although she is being deceitful, the Bible never rebukes her for this.57 The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Ge 27:5–10). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
  • 45. A Study In Genesis 45Genesis 27:11-1711 But Jacob said to Rebekah his mother, ―Behold, my brother Esau is a hairy man, and I am asmooth man. 12 Perhaps my father will feel me, and I shall seem to be mocking him and bring gacurse upon myself and not a blessing.‖ 13 His mother said to him, h―Let your curse be on me, myson; only obey my voice, and go, bring them to me.‖14 So he went and took them and brought them to his mother, and his mother prepared deliciousfood, such as his father loved. 15 Then Rebekah took the ibest garments of Esau her older son,which were with her in the house, and put them on Jacob her younger son. 16 And the skins ofthe young goats she put on his hands and on the smooth part of his neck. 17 And she put thedelicious food and the bread, which she had prepared, into the hand of her son Jacob. 58Rebekah seemed certain she could duplicate the taste of meat from wild game with goat‘s meat(v. 9). But Jacob was not so sure he could deceive his father. After all, Jacob said, if Isaactouched him, Isaac would know the difference between Esau‘s hairy skin and Jacob‘s smoothskin. Jacob had no guilt—only fear—regarding the plan. If Isaac realized he was being tricked,he would curse Jacob instead. But the blessing was in danger and all must be risked.59 Rebekahasked him to trust her; if Isaac realized the deception, she would confess to him that it was heridea.So Jacob did as his mother asked. He killed two kids of the goats and brought them to her toprepare. She took the skins and fashioned them as a covering for his hands and neck. Then shehad Jacob put on Esau‘s clothing so that he would also smell like Esau.Rebekah may have foreseen that at some point she would need to intervene in such a way andhad already come up with this plan beforehand. She already had a piece of Esau‘s clothing inher house and she acted quickly and without hesitation. Esau lived elsewhere with his wives soit would seem that she purposely had set these garments aside.Jacob‘s fear that his father would think him a ―deceiver‖ really meant ―mocker‖. Jacob did notwant his father to think that he was mocking his blindness.So Jacob was disguised in all ways to appear like Esau except for his voice.g [Deut. 27:18]h [1 Sam. 25:24; 2 Sam. 14:9; Matt. 27:25]i ver. 2758 The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Ge 27:11–17). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.v. verse59 Walvoord, J. F., Zuck, R. B., & Dallas Theological Seminary. (1983-). The Bible knowledge commentary : An exposition of the scriptures (Ge27:5–17). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
  • 46. A Study In Genesis 46Genesis 27:18-2518 So he went in to his father and said, ―My father.‖ And he said, ―Here I am. Who are you, myson?‖ 19 Jacob said to his father, ―I am Esau your firstborn. I have done as you told me; now situp and eat of my game, that your soul may bless me.‖ 20 But Isaac said to his son, ―How is it thatyou have found it so quickly, my son?‖ He answered, ―Because the LORD your God granted mesuccess.‖ 21 Then Isaac said to Jacob, ―Please come near, that I may feel you, my son, to knowwhether you are really my son Esau or not.‖ 22 So Jacob went near to Isaac his father, who felthim and said, ―The voice is Jacob‘s voice, but the hands are the hands of Esau.‖ 23 And he didnot recognize him, because his hands were hairy like his brother Esau‘s hands. lSo he blessedhim. 24 He said, ―Are you really my son Esau?‖ He answered, ―I am.‖ 25 Then he said, ―Bring itnear to me, that I may eat of my son‘s game and bless you.‖ So he brought it near to him, and heate; and he brought him wine, and he drank. 60Isaac was suspicious from the beginning. He asked Jacob to come close so he could touch him.But even after feeling the hairy hands and neck, he wasn‘t totally convinced so he point blankasked Jacob, ―Are you my son Esau?‖, Jacob replied ―I am‖.Isaac finally seemed convinced and ate the food and prepared to give his blessing.Again, many condemn Jacob for his outright lie and for stating that God had helped him find thegame so quickly. But God did not rebuke Jacob and cause Isaac to withhold the blessing. Godconfirmed the blessing (Gen. 28:13-15). The rebuke was solely for Esau, and the repentance wasIsaac‘s, not Jacobs.It seems that whatever was wrong with Jacob‘s deception, the sin of Esau and Isaac was greater.Rebekah and Jacob knew that lying and deception were not pleasing to God, but that it wasnecessary to keep a much worse sin – that of blasphemy, presuming to convey the most holy ofGod‘s promises to a man who neither wanted it nor would honor it, and to do so directly in theface of Gods commandment against it. This would surely have incurred God‘s wrath andjudgment on both Esau and Isaac.In Exodus 1:15-20, the Hebrew midwives also lied to the king of Egypt and disobeyed himbecause to do otherwise would have resulted in the death of a large number of male infants.―Therefore God dealt well with the midwives‖.l Heb. 11:2060 The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Ge 27:18–25). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
  • 47. A Study In Genesis 47Another example is Rahab (Joshua 2:3-6; 6:25) who hid the two Israel spies and lied to the kingof Jericho. There are others throughout the Bible, who in order to accomplish the will of God,had to break one or another of His commandments.Such instances are rare exceptions to the rule, and can only be justified by very special andunusual circumstances. The one overriding criterion seems to be that such an exception can atbest be warranted only when a still greater principle, associated with the greater revealedpurposed of God, will be sacrificed by legalistic adherence to the letter of the law.Furthermore, the examples given in Scripture never indicate that such actions were done in orderto gain some temporal advantage for those who sinned. Both Rahab and the Hebrew midwivesrisked their lives by their deceptions. To tell the truth would have resulted in the death of God‘speople.Similarly, Jacob and Rebekah, in order to do what they thought was necessary to accomplishGod‘s will, and to spare Isaac and Esau God‘s judgment for opposing His will, were willing torisk the wrath and hatred of their own loved ones.So in a sense Rebekah and Jacob won, though they gained nothing that God would not havegiven them anyway; and they lost much.Yet God would work through their conniving. Their activities only succeeded in doing whatGod‘s oracle had predicted. God‘s program will triumph, in spite of human activities.61Genesis 27:26-2926 Then his father Isaac said to him, ―Come near and kiss me, my son.‖ 27 So he came near andkissed him. And Isaac smelled the smell of his garments land blessed him and said,―See, nthe smell of my son is as the smell of a field that the LORD has blessed! 28May God giveyou of othe dew of heaven and of the fatness of the earth and pplenty of grain and wine. 29Letpeoples serve you, and nations bow down to you. rBe lord over your brothers, and may your61 Walvoord, J. F., Zuck, R. B., & Dallas Theological Seminary. (1983-). The Bible knowledge commentary : An exposition of the scriptures (Ge27:30–40). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.l [See ver. 23 above]n [Hos. 14:6]o Deut. 33:13; Zech. 8:12; [ch. 49:25; 2 Sam. 1:21]p Deut. 7:13; 33:28; Joel 2:19r [2 Sam. 8:14]
  • 48. A Study In Genesis 48mother‘s sons bow down to you. Cursed be everyone who curses you, and blessed be everyonewho blesses you!‖ 62Isaac confirmed his belief that it was Esau by asking Esau to kiss him. This allowed him tosmell Esau and confirm that he ―smelled of the field‖.Isaac begins the blessing with the material aspects of life which so occupied Esau and which hadapparently increasingly concerned Isaac also. He did realize that these were also gifts from God,and so invoked God‘s material blessings on his son. There is nothing in his words to suggest,however, that this also involved an actual bequeathal of his own property. The latter was atransaction more associated with the birthright which Jacob had secured by direct purchase aswell as by God‘s instructions.Finally, Isaac got to God‘s own promise to Abraham – ―Cursed by everyone that curseth thee,and blessed be he that blesseth three (Gen 12:3)‖. The he added, thinking he was blessing Esau,―Be lord over thy brethren, and let thy mother‘s sons bow down to three‖. This was in directopposition to God‘s statement : ―The elder shall serve the younger (Gen. 25:23)‖.So Isaac pronounced the blessing under the inspiration of God, even though he himself wastrying to thwart the will of God.Genesis 27:30-3330 As soon as Isaac had finished blessing Jacob, when Jacob had scarcely gone out from thepresence of Isaac his father, Esau his brother came in from his hunting. 31 He also prepareddelicious food and brought it to his father. And he said to his father, ―Let my father arise and eatof his son‘s game, that you may bless me.‖ 32 His father Isaac said to him, ―Who are you?‖ Heanswered, ―I am your son, your firstborn, Esau.‖ 33 Then Isaac trembled very violently and said,―Who was it then that hunted game and brought it to me, and I ate it all before you came, and Ihave blessed him? Yes, and he shall be blessed.‖ 63No sooner had Jacob left, then Esau arrived with the meal he had prepared for Isaac.Isaac soon realized what had happened – Jacob and Rebekah had deceived him in order toprevent him from doing what he knew he had no right to do. God had spoken through him inspite of himself.Isaac trembled very violently. The original language says – ―Isaac trembled most excessivelywith a great trembling.‖ Isaac was overwhelmed with emotions. This trembling was probablybrought on by a combination of things: anger with Jacob for his deception, concern for Esau,62 The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Ge 27:26–29). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.63 The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Ge 27:30–33). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
  • 49. A Study In Genesis 49grief over Rebekah‘s complicity, resistance of having his own plan thwarted. But probably theworst was that he realized that he had incurred great peril to himself by ignoring the will of God.He had betrayed the trust of his father Abraham and had brought strife into his own him bytrying to ignore God‘s will.Genesis 27:34-404 As soon as Esau heard the words of his father, the cried out with an exceedingly great and bittercry and said to his father, ―Bless me, even me also, O my father!‖ 35 But he said, ―Your brothercame deceitfully, and he has taken away your blessing.‖ 36 Esau said, ―Is he not rightly namedJacob?1 For he has cheated me these two times. He took away my birthright, and behold, now hehas taken away my blessing.‖ Then he said, ―Have you not reserved a blessing for me?‖ 37 Isaacanswered and said to Esau, ―Behold, wI have made him lord over you, and all his brothers I havegiven to him for servants, and with grain and wine I have sustained him. What then can I do foryou, my son?‖ 38 Esau said to his father, ―Have you but one blessing, my father? Bless me, evenme also, O my father.‖ And tEsau lifted up his voice and wept.39 Then Isaac his father answered and said to him: ―Behold, away from2 the fatness of the earthshall your dwelling be, and away from3 the dew of heaven on high. 40By your sword you shalllive, and you zshall serve your brother; but when you grow restless ayou shall break his yokefrom your neck.‖ 64t Heb. 12:171 Jacob means He takes by the heel, or He cheatsw ver. 29; [2 Sam. 8:14]t [See ver. 34 above]2 Or Behold, of3 Or and ofz ch. 25:23; [2 Sam. 8:14]; See Obad. 18–21a [2 Kgs. 8:20–22]64 The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Ge 27:34–40). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
  • 50. A Study In Genesis 50Esau cried out in anguish and asked Isaac to bless him anyways. But Isaac could not changewhat had happened. He told Esau what Jacob had done and blamed the whole thing on him.Esau was very angry and commented on Jacob‘s very name – ―heel-gripper, which later came tomean ―supplanter‖. He could not believe that Jacob would not only take his birthright, but alsotake his blessing.Finally, when Esau realized that Isaac would not retract the blessing given to Jacob, he beggedIsaac to bless him in some way anyways. So Isaac gave Esau a blessing – he would live awayfrom the fatness of the earth. He would live by the sword and serve his brother. However, whenhe had had enough, he would break free.This blessing was fulfilled by the very nature of the rugged terrain that became known as theland of Edom. The Edomites would generally live in violence and in subjugation to Israel. TheEdomites remained essentially independent, however, until David‘s time. They were subjugatedpermanently after that, in spite of frequent rebellions and temporary partial freedom. Finally,Edom disappeared completely as a nation. Esau‘s long life of immorality and indifference tospiritual things finally caught up with him, and it was too late for regrets.Genesis 27:41-4641 Now Esau bhated Jacob because of the blessing with which his father had blessed him, andEsau said to himself, c―The days of mourning for my father are approaching; dthen I will kill mybrother Jacob.‖ 42 But the words of Esau her older son were told to Rebekah. So she sent andcalled Jacob her younger son and said to him, ―Behold, your brother Esau comforts himselfabout you by planning to kill you. 43 Now therefore, my son, obey my voice. Arise, flee to Labanmy brother in Haran 44 and stay with him a while, until your brother‘s fury turns away— 45 untilyour brother‘s anger turns away from you, and he forgets what you have done to him. Then I willsend and bring you from there. Why should I be bereft of you both in one day?‖46 Then Rebekah said to Isaac, e―I loathe my life because of the Hittite women.4fIf Jacob marriesone of the Hittite women like these, one of the women of the land, what good will my life be tome?‖ 65b [ch. 37:4]c ch. 50:3, 4, 10d [Amos 1:11; Obad. 10]e ch. 26:34, 35; 28:84 Hebrew daughters of Hethf ch. 24:365 The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Ge 27:41–46). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
  • 51. A Study In Genesis 51Esau was so angry, he decided he would kill Jacob as soon as Isaac had died (he was assumingthis would be soon). Rebekah found out about this and quickly told Jacob to go visit her brotherLaban ―for a few days‖. Rebekah figured that Esau would calm down in a couple days and thethreat to Jacob would pass.However, the ―few days‖ turned out to be over 20 years. As far as we know, Rebekah never sawJacob again, or at least it is not mentioned in the Bible.As later events proved, Esau did forget his anger and prospered in a material sense, which is allhe really cared about. Isaac repented and gave Jacob his sincere blessing, instructing him tomarry a woman of his own people, not a Canaanite, as Esau had done.We don‘t really hear anything more about Rebekah until she dies. But in the last verse ofChapter 27, she requests that Isaac send Jacob away for a wife.Note: Several time ―brothers‖ was used as in plural, so it would seem that Rebekah had othersons although they are never mentioned specifically by name.Also, Rebekah‘s request for Isaac to send Jacob away for a wife must have been her excuse forsending Jacob to see her brother Laban.
  • 52. A Study In Genesis 52Genesis 28 - Jacob Sent to LabanGenesis 28:1-5Then Isaac called Jacob gand blessed him and directed him, f―You must not take a wife from theCanaanite women. 2hArise, go to Paddan-aram to the house of iBethuel your mother‘s father, andtake as your wife from there one of the daughters of Laban your mother‘s brother. 3jGodAlmighty1 bless you and make you fruitful and multiply you, that you may become a company ofpeoples. 4 May he give kthe blessing of Abraham to you and to your offspring with you, that youmay take possession of lthe land of your sojournings that God gave to Abraham!‖ 5 Thus Isaacsent Jacob away. And he went to Paddan-aram, to Laban, the son of Bethuel the Aramean, thebrother of Rebekah, Jacob‘s and Esau‘s mother. 66Although Jacob needed to go, it would be best if he left in his father‘s good will than simplyrunning away. So Rebekah asked Isaac to find a wife for Jacob from among their own people.Isaac should have tried to find the right kind of woman to be Jacob‘s wife long before this.Abraham had carefully made provision to locate and bring Rebekah to Isaac, so Isaac shouldhave done for Jacob and Esau. Isaac‘s negligence in this matter led to Esau choosing twoCanaanite women, further alienating him from God. Because of this, life around them hasbecome miserable for Rebekah.Now that it was clear to everyone that Jacob was God‘s chosen, there was no excuse to delayfinding the proper wife for him. So Isaac instructed Jacob to go back to Rebekah‘s family ing ver. 6f [See ch. 27:46 above]h Hos. 12:12i ch. 22:23j See ch. 17:11 Hebrew El Shaddaik See ch. 12:2, 3l ch. 17:8; 36:7; 37:166 The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Ge 28:1–5). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
  • 53. A Study In Genesis 53Padan-aram and take a wife from among his own cousins, the daughter‘s of his mother‘sbrothers.Then to formalize Jacob‘s standing, Isaac formally and willingly blessed Jacob properly byinvoking the blessing of Abraham. Jacob was thus acknowledged ―the heir of the promise‖.Then Jacob was sent on his way.
  • 54. A Study In Genesis 54Genesis 28:6-96 Now Esau saw that Isaac had blessed Jacob and sent him away to Paddan-aram to take a wifefrom there, and that as he blessed him he directed him, ―You must not take a wife from theCanaanite women,‖ 7 and that Jacob had obeyed his father and his mother and gone to Paddan-aram. 8 So when Esau saw mthat the Canaanite women did not please Isaac his father, 9 Esauwent to Ishmael and took as his wife, besides the wives he had, nMahalath the daughter ofIshmael, Abraham‘s son, the sister of oNebaioth. 67The fact that Jacob was sent away to find a wife from Rebekah‘s family finally brought home toEsau that his mother and father were not happy with his choice of wives.In a belated attempt to partially correct this situation, Esau went to Ishmael‘s family and choseone of his daughters, Mehalath. But even this choice was wrong. Ishmael and his descendentshad been cast out by God, so far as the national promises go. However, their faith may havebeen more in alignment with Abraham and Isaac‘s.As to why God had Jacob go away for 20 years rather than bring a wife home, we can onlyguess. Perhaps it was mean to strengthen his character and teach him to be dependent on Godalone. He had grown up in a restrictive environment, dominated in many respects by his motherand also affected by his brother‘s worliness and his father‘s weakness.Genesis 28:10-1110 Jacob left pBeersheba and went toward qHaran. 11 And he came to a certain place and stayedthere that night, because the sun had set. Taking one of the stones of the place, he put it under hishead and lay down in that place to sleep.68m ch. 24:3; 26:35n [ch. 36:3]o ch. 25:13; 36:367 The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Ge 28:6–9). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.p ch. 21:31; 26:33q [Acts 7:2]68 The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Ge 28:10–11). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
  • 55. A Study In Genesis 55The journey to Haran was approximately 500 miles. Jacob stopped near Luz which becameknown as Bethel. Here he decided to rest.Genesis 28:12-1512 And he rdreamed, and behold, there was a ladder2 set up on the earth, and the top of it reachedto heaven. And behold, sthe angels of God were ascending and descending on it! 13 And behold,t the LORD stood above it3 and said, u―I am the LORD, the God of Abraham your father and theGod of Isaac. vThe land on which you lie I will give to you and to your offspring. 14 Youroffspring shall be like wthe dust of the earth, and you shall spread abroad to the west and to theeast and to the north and to the south, and in you and xyour offspring shall all the families of theearth be blessed. 15 Behold, yI am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and zwill bringyou back to this land. For I will anot leave you until I have done what I have promised you.‖ 69Although Jacob had grown up knowing and believing in God‘s promises, this was the first timeGod had appeared to him personally.Jacob dreamed about a mighty ladder which reached from the earth to the sky, all the way toGod‘s presence. Angels went up and down this ladder.r [Num. 12:6; Job 33:15, 16]2 Or a flight of stepss [John 1:51]t [ch. 35:1; 48:3]3 Or beside himu ch. 26:24v ch. 35:12; See ch. 13:14–16w See ch. 13:16x See ch. 12:3y ch. 26:24; 31:3z ch. 35:6a 1 Kgs. 8:5769 The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Ge 28:11–15). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
  • 56. A Study In Genesis 56The word ―ladder‖ in Hebrew here is ―sullam‖ (occurs only once, in the account of Jacob‘svision). It is thought to denote a stairway similar to those found on ancient ziggurats. The ladderprovides a bridge between heaven and earth, revealing that God is still committed to making theearth His dwelling place.Jesus identified Himself as a ladder linking earth and heaven (John 1:51). Multitudes of angelscome down to earth to carry out God‘s commandments, then returning to report. Though theyare normally invisible to human eyes, scripture teaches us that there does exist ―an innumerablecompany of angels‖ (Hebrew 12:22), that they are mighty beings (―angels that excel in strength,that do his commandments, hearkening unto the voice of His Word‖ – Psalm 103:20) and thattheir main function is to serve as ―ministering spirits, sent to minister for them who shall be heirsof salvation‖ – Hebrew 1:14. They take special interest in God‘s people and in the working outof their salvation and growth in grace (Luke 15:10, I Cor. 4:9, Ephesians 3:10, I Peter 1:12,Psalm 34:7, Psalm 91:11).In the accomplishment of their ministries on behalf of the ―heirs of salvation‖, there is frequentoccasion for liaison between earth and heaven. Angels have the ability to ―fly swiftly – Daniel8:21‖ between earth and heaven. Angels move back and forth, up and down, between God andman, as they carry out their assignments from God on behalf of men.As Jacob saw these things in his dream, God spoke to him words of blessing, repeating all thepromises He had made to Abraham and Isaac. God also promised Jacob that He would be withhim wherever he would go, protecting him, and then one day bring him back to the land he wasblessing.Genesis 28:16-2216 Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, ―Surely the LORD is bin this place, and I did notknow it.‖ 17 And he was afraid and said, ―How awesome is this place! This is none other than thehouse of God, and this is the gate of heaven.‖18 So early in the morning Jacob took the stone that he had put under his head and set it up cfor apillar dand poured oil on the top of it. 19 He called the name of that place Bethel, but the name ofthe city was Luz at the first. 20 Then Jacob made a vow, saying, ―If God will be with me and willkeep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat and clothing to wear, 21gso that Icome again to my father‘s house in peace, hthen the LORD shall be my God, 22 and this stone,b Ex. 3:5; Josh. 5:15c ch. 31:13, 45; 35:14; [1 Sam. 7:12; 2 Sam. 18:18]d [Lev. 8:10, 11; Num. 7:1]g [Judg. 11:31; 2 Sam. 15:7–9]h Deut. 26:17
  • 57. A Study In Genesis 57which I have set up for a pillar, shall be God‘s house. And jof all that you give me I will give afull tenth to you.‖ 70Jacob called the place Bethel because he considered God to be resident in the place. Bethelmeans ―house of God‖. The phrase ―gates of Heaven‖ possibly implies that this is the entranceto the divine city. The idea of God being present on earth is clearly dominant in Jacob‘sthinking.Although Jacob commemorates this special event by setting up a pillar and consecrating it withoil, it is noteworthy that he does not build an alter. This is further evidence that he has not yetfully accepted the Lord as his God. While the practice of setting up a pillar was common inCanaanite worship, Deuteronomy 16:22 prohibits it. Years later, after his faith-transformingencounter with God at Penuel (Genesis 32:22-33), Jacob returns to Bethel in order to constructan alter.At the time that Jacob made his promise to give God a tenth of everything, there was no writtenlaw about tithing. He was also penniless at this time except for his inheritance. This probablyrefers to any future blessings and wealth he would receive from God based on God‘s promise tohim.j ch. 14:20; Lev. 27:30–3370 The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Ge 28:16–22). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
  • 58. A Study In Genesis 58Genesis 29 - Jacob Marries Leah and RachelThe next three chapters cover Jacob‘s twenty years away from Canaan. He was about 75 yearsold when he left, so he was about 95 when he returned.Some scholars consider this part of Jacob‘s life as punishment for his lies and deceit. But theywere actually, for the most part, happy and prosperous years. Laban treated him bad in some ofhis dealings with him, but he did give him a job, gave him his daughters in marriage, and made itpossible for Jacob to prosper.Genesis 29:1-6Then Jacob went on his journey and came to kthe land of the people of the east. 2 As he looked,he saw a well in the field, and behold, three flocks of sheep lying beside it, for out of that wellthe flocks were watered. The stone on the well‘s mouth was large, 3 and when all the flocks weregathered there, the shepherds would roll the stone from the mouth of the well and water thesheep, and put the stone back in its place over the mouth of the well.4 Jacob said to them, ―My brothers, where do you come from?‖ They said, l―We are fromHaran.‖ 5 He said to them, ―Do you know Laban the son of Nahor?‖ They said, ―We know him.‖6 He said to them, ―Is it well with him?‖ They said, ―It is well; and see, Rachel his daughter iscoming with the sheep!‖ 71Verses 2-3 provide background information on the process by which herds were normallywatered at this well. There seems to have been a local regulation regarding the well stipulatingthat it‘s stone covering only be removed at a certain time each evening, at which time all theflocks of the vicinity were to be watered in turn, in order of arrival. Hence, some would get inline early. The stone was to protect the well from impurities such as flowing sand or animalsfalling into the well. Some of the stones are so heavy that it takes several people to move them.Jacob discovers the shepherds are from Haran and inquires after Laban. While speaking withthem, Rachel comes with her father‘s sheep – she is a shepherdess. When he saw the fairk Num. 23:7; Judg. 6:3l ch. 27:4371 The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Ge 29:1–6). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
  • 59. A Study In Genesis 59Rachel, his own cousin, coming with her flock, he rolled away the stone himself, watered hisuncle‘s sheep, and in the warmth of his feelings at finding himself not only at the goal of hisjourney, but apparently God-directed to her whose very appearance could win his affections, heembraced his cousin. 72Genesis 29:7-127 He said, ―Behold, it is still high day; it is not time for the livestock to be gathered together.Water the sheep and go, pasture them.‖ 8 But they said, ―We cannot until all the flocks aregathered together and the stone is rolled from the mouth of the well; then we water the sheep.‖9 While he was still speaking with them, Rachel came with her father‘s sheep, for she was ashepherdess. 10 Now as soon as Jacob saw Rachel the daughter of Laban his mother‘s brother,and the sheep of Laban his mother‘s brother, Jacob came near and rolled the stone from thewell‘s mouth and watered the flock of Laban his mother‘s brother. 11 Then Jacob kissed Racheland wept aloud. 12 And Jacob told Rachel that he was her father‘s kinsman, and that he wasRebekah‘s son, and she ran and told her father. 73It is impressive that Jacob was able to roll the stone away from the well‘s mouth by himself.This would suggest that he was above average in strength and stature. It appears that he wastrying to impress Rachel as well as curry favor with her so she would give a good report of himto her father.Jacob kissed Rachel – this was an act of family affection – not romantic as that would have beenextremely improper and offensive. Jacob tells Rachel who he is and she runs to tell her fatherLaban. Laban hurried back to meet Jacob and embraced him, then invites him back to his home.Genesis 29:13-2013 As soon as Laban heard the news about Jacob, his sister‘s son, he ran to meet him andembraced him and kissed him and brought him to his house. Jacob told Laban all these things, 14and Laban said to him, p―Surely you are my bone and my flesh!‖ And he stayed with him amonth.15 Then Laban said to Jacob, ―Because you are my kinsman, should you therefore serve me fornothing? Tell me, what shall your wages be?‖ 16 Now Laban had two daughters. The name of theolder was Leah, and the name of the younger was Rachel. 17 Leah‘s eyes were weak,1 but Rachel72 Edersheim, A. (1997). Bible History: Old Testament (Ge 28:10–31:55). Oak Harbor: Logos Bible Software.73 The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Ge 29:7–12). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.p ch. 2:23; 37:27; Judg. 9:2; 2 Sam. 5:1; 19:12, 13; 1 Chr. 11:11 Or soft
  • 60. A Study In Genesis 60was beautiful in form and appearance. 18 Jacob loved Rachel. And he said, q―I will serve youseven years for your younger daughter Rachel.‖ 19 Laban said, ―It is better that I give her to youthan that I should give her to any other man; stay with me.‖ 20 So Jacob qserved seven years forRachel, and they seemed to him but a few days because of the love he had for her. 74Jacob stayed with Laban for a month, helping him out and working. Laban decided he shouldcompensate Jacob for his work. Laban could probably tell that Jacob desired Rachel and alsothat Jacob was a hard worker and would be coming into a large inheritance. It would be to hisadvantage to have Jacob as a son-in-law. He wanted to bind Jacob to him in some way, and letJacob name the terms, anticipating that Jacob would make Rachel part of the bargain.29:13 Men KissingThis custom of embraces and kisses among men, though strange to us and often having adifferent connotation today, is common in many European and Eastern countries. Jacob kissedhis father: ―So he went to him and kissed him. When Isaac caught the smell of his clothes, heblessed him and said, ―Ah, the smell of my son is like the smell of a field that the LORD hasblessed‖ (Genesis 27:27).Esau embraced and kissed Jacob: ―But Esau ran to meet Jacob and embraced him; he threw hisarms around his neck and kissed him. And they wept‖ (Genesis 33:4). Joseph kissed all hisbrothers: ―And he kissed all his brothers and wept over them. Afterward his brothers talked withhim‖ (Genesis 45:15).Moses kissed Jethro: ―So Moses went out to meet his father-in-law and bowed down and kissedhim. They greeted each other and then went into the tent‖ (Exodus 18:7).David and Jonathan kissed: ―After the boy had gone, David got up from the south side of thestone and bowed down before Jonathan three times, with his face to the ground. Then they kissedeach other and wept together—but David wept the most‖ (1 Samuel 20:41). And the elders atMiletus embraced Paul and kissed him: ―They all wept as they embraced him and kissed him‖(Acts 20:37).Any television news or other broadcasts of certain European and Eastern countries will oftenshow that this custom in still much in vogue in those countries.75q ch. 30:26; 31:41; [Hos. 12:12]q [See ver. 18 above]74 The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Ge 29:13–20). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.75 Freeman, J. M., & Chadwick, H. J. (1998). Manners & customs of the Bible (Rev. ed.].) (54–55). North Brunswick, NJ: Bridge-LogosPublishers.
  • 61. A Study In Genesis 61Laban immediately agreed to Jacob‘s offer – 7 years of free labor by a man who was anexceptional worker for the price of his daughter – was a good bargain.Verse 17 gives a brief description of both of Laban‘s daughters. Leah is described as ―weak-eyed‖.29:17 Weak Eyes Leah had weak eyes, but Rachel was lovely in form, and beautiful.―Leah was tender eyed; but Rachel was beautiful and well favored‖ (KJV). The tender eyes ofLeah, as so translated in the KJV, were actually eyes that were visually weak or lacked luster—dull and unimpressive eyes. This was considered to be a great defect among those who admiredsparkling eyes that were lively and flashing. It has also been interpreted to mean that she hadlight blue eyes, which was considered a blemish in that culture. That Leah‘s eyes werecompared to Rachel‘s beauty obviously meant there was no beauty in them and that Leah herselfwas probably plain in face and form compared to her sister.Two other patriarchs‘ wives are mentioned as being beautiful—Sarai (Sarah): ―As he [Abram]was about to enter Egypt, he said to his wife Sarai, ―I know what a beautiful woman you are‖Genesis 12:11), and Rebekah: ―The girl [Rebekah] was very beautiful, a virgin; no man had everlain with her. She went down to the spring, filled her jar and came up again‖ (Genesis 24:16).76These passages reveal Jacob as a young man passionately in love rather than a scheming,ambitious man. The seven years ―seemed unto him but a few days, for the love he had for her‖(29:20). He worked for Laban a month without discussing wages, and his uncle later was the firstone to bring up the subject. Jacob‘s suggestion that he work seven years for Rachel was hardly ahard-nosed business deal, but more the mark of a romantic idealist. He had the potential ofgreatness, for not many men are capable of such unselfish devotion.77Genesis 29:21-2421 Then Jacob said to Laban, ―Give me my wife that I may go in to her, for my time iscompleted.‖ 22 So Laban gathered together all the people of the place and rmade a feast. 23 But in76 Freeman, J. M., & Chadwick, H. J. (1998). Manners & customs of the Bible (Rev. ed.].) (55). North Brunswick, NJ: Bridge-Logos Publishers.77 Paschall, F. H., & Hobbs, H. H. (1972). The teachers Bible commentary: A concise, thorough interpretation of the entire Bible designedespecially for Sunday School teachers (38). Nashville: Broadman and Holman Publishers.r Judg. 14:10; [John 2:1, 2]
  • 62. A Study In Genesis 62the evening he took his daughter Leah and brought her to Jacob, and he went in to her. 24 (Labangave2shis female servant Zilpah to his daughter Leah to be her servant.) 78Jacob gladly served the seven years. He was very much in love with Rachel. When the sevenyears was up, Jacob went to Laban.However, Laban deceived Jacob and substituted Leah for Rachel on the wedding night. Hispurpose for doing this was probably for several reasons – to finally get Leah married (it wascustomary that the eldest daughter marry first), and also to keep Jacob working for him foranother seven years.Jacob‘s joyful prospect of marrying Rachel turned, by Laban‘s deception, into a nightmare. InLaban, Jacob met his match and also his means of discipline. Jacob had deceived his own brotherand father, and now was deceived by his mother‘s brother. Twenty years (31:38) of drudgery,affliction, and deception lay ahead. Through Laban he received his own medicine of duplicity.But Jacob‘s tenacity shows that he counted these as minor setbacks. God took him, developed hischaracter, turned the fruits of his deception into blessing, and built the promised seed, the nationof Israel.79It seems really strange that during the marriage ceremony, Jacob could not tell the difference.Even though she would have been veiled, you would think there would be some tell-tale signs.But it‘s possible that both sisters were similar in all other aspects except their faces. Whateverthe case, Leah was the one who was sent in to Jacob after the ceremony.Genesis 29:25-3025 And in the morning, behold, it was Leah! And Jacob said to Laban, ―What is this you havedone to me? Did I not serve with you for Rachel? Why then have you deceived me?‖ 26 Labansaid, ―It is not so done in our country, to give the younger before the firstborn. 27tComplete theweek of this one, and we will give you the other also in return for serving me another sevenyears.‖ 28 Jacob did so, and completed her week. Then Laban gave him his daughter Rachel to behis wife. 29 (Laban gave uhis female servant Bilhah to his daughter Rachel to be her servant.)2 Or had given; also verse 29s See ch. 30:9–1278 The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Ge 29:21–24). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.79 Walvoord, J. F., Zuck, R. B., & Dallas Theological Seminary. (1983-). The Bible knowledge commentary : An exposition of the scriptures (Ge29:15–30). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.t [Judg. 14:12]u See ch. 30:3–7
  • 63. A Study In Genesis 6330 So Jacob went in to Rachel also, and he loved Rachel more than Leah, and served Laban vforanother seven years. 80In the morning Jacob realized what had happened and was very angry. He confronted Laban,who used the excuse that the older daughter must marry first. He eased Jacob‘s temper byoffering Rachel to him once the week of the wedding feast was over on the condition that Jacobwould agree to work for him another seven years. Because of his love for Rachel, Jacob agreed.The Bible demonstrates over and over the principle that what a man sows he reaps (Gal. 6:7).Some have called this irony or poetic justice, but it is more than that. It is divine retribution inwhich there is often a measure-for-measure turn of affairs. God orders the affairs of people to setthings right. With Jacob this deception was perfectly fitted; it was divine punishment to bring hisown craftiness before his eyes. He had deceptively presented himself to his father under the guiseof Esau the firstborn; now Leah the firstborn was deceptively introduced to him under the guiseof Rachel the younger! After his initial reaction Jacob recognized the deception for what it wasand accepted it. He finished out the bridal week (Gen. 29:27; cf. week in v. 28) at the end ofwhich he was given Rachel (two wives in seven days). (Each daughter was given a servant girl asa wedding gift, a custom common in that society. Leah was given Zilpah, v. 24, and Rachelreceived Bilhah, v. 29; cf. 30:4-13.) Then Jacob worked … another seven years, which he owedLaban in return forRachel (29:30; cf. 31:38, 41).81For Laban, this was a win-win situation. He not only married both daughters off but he also gotanother seven years from Jacob, whose hard work made Laban a rich man. Also, this wouldkeep Jacob around so that Laban could see his grandchildren. It‘s possible that he hoped Jacobwould stay on even after the seven years if he laid enough roots down.It is mentioned in verse 29 that Laban gave his female servant Bilhah to Rachel. This isprobably mentioned because Rachel will later give Bilhah to Jacob in her stead because she wasbarren. A father will give his daughter a female slave, over whom the daughter, independent ofv ver. 20; ch. 31:4180 The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Ge 29:24–30). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.cf. confer, comparev. versev. versev. versecf. confer, comparecf. confer, compare81 Walvoord, J. F., Zuck, R. B., & Dallas Theological Seminary. (1983-). The Bible knowledge commentary : An exposition of the scriptures (Ge29:15–30). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
  • 64. A Study In Genesis 64her husband, has complete control. Often these female servants have been around or grown upwith the daughter and they are close companions. Also, in verse 24, Leah‘s servant Zilpah ismentioned. Both of these servant women will play a role later.In later years the Jewish law forbids the marrying of sisters while both are alive. It can onlyresult in jealousy, rejection, and hurt.Whereas Abraham and Isaac had only one son each to whom the promises were given, all thesons of Jacob were to share in the promises. Only one would be the progenitor of the Messiah,but all would be the ―children of Israel‖ and would constitute the promised nation, the chosenpeople.Genesis 29:31-3531 When the LORD saw that Leah was whated, xhe opened her womb, but Rachel was barren. 32And Leah conceived and bore a son, and she called his name Reuben,3 for she said, ―Because theLORDyhas looked upon my affliction; for now my husband will love me.‖ 33 She conceived againand bore a son, and said, ―Because the LORD has heard that I am hated, he has given me this sonalso.‖ And she called his name Simeon.434 Again she conceived and bore a son, and said, ―Nowthis time my husband will be zattached to me, because I have borne him three sons.‖ Thereforehis name was called Levi.535 And she conceived again and bore a son, and said, ―This time I willpraise the LORD.‖ Therefore she called his name aJudah.6 Then she ceased bearing. 82A detailed account is given in the last part of Chapter 29 and the first half of Chapter 30 detailingthe birth of Jacob‘s twelve sons and one daughter.w Deut. 21:15x [ch. 30:22]3 Reuben means See, a sony ch. 31:42; Ex. 3:7; 4:31; Deut. 26:74 Simeon sounds like the Hebrew for heardz [Num. 18:2, 4]5 Levi sounds like the Hebrew for attacheda Matt. 1:2; [ch. 49:8]6 Judah sounds like the Hebrew for praise82 The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Ge 29:31–35). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
  • 65. A Study In Genesis 65Leah was ―hated‖ by Jacob and Rachel for obvious reasons. But God decided to favor herbecause of this and opened her womb while shutting Rachel‘s. God had a purpose for Leah.Leah gave birth to six sons and one daughter. Half the tribes of Israel, including the royal tribeJudah and the priestly tribe Levi, honor Leah as their mother. In his family relationships Jacobstill sowed some bitter seeds. He was cool to Leah, his unwanted wife; God, as well as Leah, wasaware of it. Rachel, like Sarah and Rebekah before her, was barren (v 31; cf 16:1; 25:21).Leah‘s first four sons were born in rapid succession; and this must be contrasted with the longwaits of the earlier fathers. Leah conceived and bore:1. Rueben – means “see, a son”2. Simeon – a word play on the Hebrew word “heard”3. Levi – sounds like the Hebrew word “attached”4. Judah – sounds like the Hebrew word “praise”Leah named her firstborn Reuben(re’ûḇ ēn), indicating that the LORD had seen her misery (rā’âhbe‘ōnyî). Another wordplay joins it: Now at last my husband will become attached to(ye’ěhāḇ anî) me. This naming showed her hope but also her consolation and faith. Jacob neversaw her affliction, but God did (cf ―Beer Lahai Roi,‖ lit ―the well of the living One who seesme,‖ 16:14; 24:62; 25:11).Simeon was so named because the LORD heard (šāma‘) that Leah was not loved. ―God heard‖was her testimony in faith to His provision (cf ―Ishmael,‖ which means ―God hears,‖ 16:15).Levi was named for her hope that her husband would become attached (yillāweh) to her, but itwas not to be.Judah was her consolation; she would be satisfied to praise (’ôḏ eh) the LORD, for Judah means―let Him be praised.‖ Leah exhibited genuine faith in spite of her situation.8383 Walvoord, J. F., Zuck, R. B., & Dallas Theological Seminary. (1983-). The Bible knowledge commentary : An exposition of the scriptures (Ge29:31–35). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
  • 66. A Study In Genesis 66It seems, based on her comments each time a son was born, that Leah was still despised in spiteof the fact that she bore Jacob sons. Obviously, not so despised that Jacob did not lay with her,but she certainly was not loved the way Rachel was loved. When Leah bore Judah, she praisedthe Lord so it‘s possible by this time that her situation had changed some or at least she felt thatway.Genesis 30 – The Sons of JacobGenesis 30:1-8When Rachel saw that she bore Jacob no children, she envied her sister. She said to Jacob, ―Giveme children, or I shall die!‖ 2 Jacob‘s anger was kindled against Rachel, and he said, ―Am I inthe place of God, who has withheld from you the fruit of the womb?‖ 3 Then she said, ―Here ismy servant Bilhah; go in to her, so that she may give birth on my behalf,1 that even I may havechildren2 through her.‖ 4 So she gave him her servant Bilhah as a wife, and Jacob went in to her.5 And Bilhah conceived and bore Jacob a son. 6 Then Rachel said, ―God has fjudged me, and hasalso heard my voice and given me a son.‖ Therefore she called his name Dan.37 Rachel‘s servant1 Hebrew on my knees2 Hebrew be built up, which sounds like the Hebrew for childrenf [ch. 49:16]3 Dan sounds like the Hebrew for judged
  • 67. A Study In Genesis 67Bilhah conceived again and bore Jacob a second son. 8 Then Rachel said, ―With mightywrestlings4 I have wrestled with my sister and have prevailed.‖ So she called his nameg Naphtali.584Rachel was very upset and jealous by the fact that Leah bore children for Jacob and she couldnot. She cried out to him ―Give me children or I shall die!.‖ This made Jacob angry. It‘spossible that this was an ongoing argument between them. Plus Jacob must have been frustratedand upset that Rachel, whom he loved, was barren. Jacob accused Rachel of having somethingwrong in her life because God did not deem her worthy of having children.In desperation, Rachel asked Jacob to go into Bilhah, her servant, as a ―proxy‖ for her. When aservant girl was offered in this way, it was with the understanding that the child would be raisedby the wife as one of her own, and not the servant.So Bilhah bore Jacob a son and Rachel named him Dan, meaning ―justice‖. Then Bilhah boreanother son whom Rachel name Naphtali, which means ―wrestling‖.Genesis 30:9-139 When Leah saw that she had ceased bearing children, she took her servant Zilpah and hgave herto Jacob as a wife. 10 Then Leah‘s servant Zilpah bore Jacob a son. 11 And Leah said, ―Goodfortune has come!‖ so she called his name iGad.612 Leah‘s servant Zilpah bore Jacob a secondson. 13 And Leah said, ―Happy am I! For women jhave called me happy.‖ So she called his nameAsher.785Leah herself was no longer having children, so she resorted to the same play as Rachel and gaveher servant Zilpah to Jacob so that she could have more children. Zilpah produced two childrenfor Leah – Gad (fortune) and Asher (happy).4 Hebrew With wrestlings of Godg [Matt. 4:13]5 Naphtali sounds like the Hebrew for wrestling84 The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Ge 30:1–8). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.h ver. 4; ch. 29:24i [ch. 49:19]6 Gad sounds like the Hebrew for good fortunej [Luke 1:48]7 Asher sounds like the Hebrew for happy85 The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Ge 30:9–13). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
  • 68. A Study In Genesis 68These verses show the intense rivalry between the sisters. There must have been much tension inthe entire household which would have affected everyone. The rivalry that appears here explainsmuch of the tribal rivalry that followed. But Genesis is clear: God chose the despised mother,Leah, and exalted her to be the first mother. The kingly tribe of Judah and the priestly tribe ofLevi trace back to her, in spite of Jacob‘s love for Rachel and her son Joseph.86Genesis 30:14-1814 In the days of wheat harvest Reuben went and found kmandrakes in the field and brought themto his mother Leah. Then Rachel said to Leah, ―Please give me some of your son‘s mandrakes.‖15 But she said to her, ―Is it a small matter that you have taken away my husband? Would youtake away my son‘s mandrakes also?‖ Rachel said, ―Then he may lie with you tonight inexchange for your son‘s mandrakes.‖ 16 When Jacob came from the field in the evening, Leahwent out to meet him and said, ―You must come in to me, for I have hired you with my son‘smandrakes.‖ So he lay with her that night. 17 And God listened to Leah, and she conceived andbore Jacob a fifth son. 18 Leah said, ―God has given me my wages because I gave my servant tomy husband.‖ So she called his name Issachar.887Rueben found some mandrake while out playing in the fields and brought it to his mother. Thisshows that even at a young age, Rueben was aware of the conflict between Leah and Rachel forhis father‘s attention. He knew his mother would be pleased.The mandrake is a small orange-colored berrylike fruit, much esteemed in ancient times as anaphrodisiac and inducer of fertility.Rachel saw what Rueben had brought his mother and wanted some, thinking it might help herwith her bareness. Leah, of course, knew why she wanted them and did not want to give them toRachel.So Rachel offered Leah what she knew Leah desired – a night spent with Jacob in her bedinstead of Rachel. This may indicate that Jacob had stopped coming in to Leah since she was nolonger bearing children, as he preferred to be with Rachel.86 Walvoord, J. F., Zuck, R. B., & Dallas Theological Seminary. (1983-). The Bible knowledgecommentary : An exposition of the scriptures (Ge 30:22–24). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.k Song 7:138 Issachar sounds like the Hebrew for wages, or hire87 The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Ge 30:14–18). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
  • 69. A Study In Genesis 69Leah was willing to make the bargain in order to spend a night with Jacob, no doubt hoping toconceive again. She met Jacob on his way home and told him of her agreement with Rachel.What Jacob thought of all this is not clear, but he did go with Leah that night.Genesis 30:19-2419 And Leah conceived again, and she bore Jacob a sixth son. 20 Then Leah said, ―God hasendowed me with a good endowment; now my husband will honor me, because I have borne himsix sons.‖ So she called his name lZebulun.921 Afterward she bore a daughter and called her nameDinah.22 Then God mremembered Rachel, and God listened to her and nopened her womb. 23 Sheconceived and bore a son and said, ―God has taken away omy reproach.‖ 24 And she called hisname Joseph,10 saying, p―May the LORD add to me another son!‖ 88Apparently Leah had also been praying for more children. It seems the only time Jacob paidmuch attention to her was when she bore him sons. God answered her prayer and she conceivedagain. She bore Issachar (―reward‖). It would appear that Jacob decided to sleep with her againafter this because she conceived once again and bore him another son, Zebulun (―dwelling‖).Then after the 10th son was born, Leah bore a daughter, Dinah.Dinah apparently was the only girl up to this point and is mentioned here because of later events.Being the only girl, she was much loved by her father and brothers.The book ―The Red Tent‖ tells the story of Dinah‘s life from her eyes. This is only a work offiction, but it is very interesting and gives a more detailed description of life from the women‘sview living in the camp of Jacob.Finally God grants Rachel her request for a child of her own. This son of course, was Joseph.l [Matt. 4:13]9 Zebulun sounds like the Hebrew for honorm See ch. 8:1n ch. 29:31; [Ps. 127:3]o Luke 1:25; [1 Sam. 1:6; Isa. 4:1]10 Joseph means May he add, and sounds like the Hebrew for taken awayp ch. 35:1788 The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Ge 30:19–24). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
  • 70. A Study In Genesis 70As Jacob had always loved Rachel over all others, so he loved his sons from Rachel more thanhis sons from Leah. This ongoing battle and family strife will eventually lead to more jealousyand deceit.Jacob had been with Laban a total of 20 years. The first 7 years he was not married. So all ofhis children were born sometime during a 13 year period. We are not given the exact timing ofwhen Dinah was born, it could have been after Joseph was born. Also, it seems likely thatBilhah was pregnant at the same time as Leah. No mention of Benjamin is made so it‘s possiblethat he was conceived and born later.Genesis 30:25-3625 As soon as Rachel had borne Joseph, Jacob said to Laban, ―Send me away, that I may go tomy own home and country. 26 Give me my wives and my children for whom I have served you,that I may go, for you know the service that I have given you.‖ 27 But Laban said to him, ―If Ihave found favor in your sight, I have learned by divination that11 the Lord has blessed mebecause of you. 28 Name your wages, and I will give it.‖ 29 Jacob said to him, ―You yourselfknow how I have served you, and how your livestock has fared with me. 30 For you had littlebefore I came, and it has increased abundantly, and the Lord has blessed you wherever I turned.But now when shall I uprovide for my own household also?‖ 31 He said, ―What shall I give you?‖Jacob said, ―You shall not give me anything. If you will do this for me, I will again pasture yourflock and keep it: 32 let me pass through all your flock today, removing from it every speckledand spotted sheep and every black lamb, and the spotted and speckled among the goats, and vtheyshall be my wages. 33 So my honesty will answer for me later, when you come to look into mywages with you. Every one that is not speckled and spotted among the goats and black among thelambs, if found with me, shall be counted stolen.‖ 34 Laban said, ―Good! Let it be as you havesaid.‖ 35 But that day Laban removed the male goats that were striped and spotted, and all thefemale goats that were speckled and spotted, every one that had white on it, and every lamb thatwas black, and put them in the charge of his sons. 36 And he set a distance of three days‘ journeybetween himself and Jacob, and Jacob pastured the rest of Laban‘s flock. 89Jacob now had a large family but no assets of his own. He was still working for Laban. Hedecides it‘s time to change that situation.11 Or have become rich andu [1 Tim. 5:8]v ch. 31:889 The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Ge 30:25–36). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
  • 71. A Study In Genesis 71After fourteen years of service, Jacob is ready to leave. But Laban does not want him to leavebecause he has grown wealthy with Jacob‘s stewardship over his flocks. Laban states that he haslearned by divination that he was being blessed because Jacob was blessed by God. Divinationis not condoned by God, and in fact, is later forbidden. It doesn‘t really say what form ofdivination, but it was accurate.Laban persuades Jacob to stay on in return for keeping any speckled or spotted sheep and goats,along with every black sheep that are born in the flock. Laban agrees but immediatelywithdraws the goats that might produce this type of offspring and gives them to his sons. Theyare told to keep these animals separate and at least three days journey from his own thusguaranteeing Jacob would have a difficult time getting spotted animals.Genesis 30:37-4337 Then wJacob took fresh sticks of poplar and almond and plane trees, and peeled white streaksin them, exposing the white of the sticks. 38 He set the sticks that he had peeled in front of theflocks in the troughs, that is, the xwatering places, where the flocks came to drink. And since theybred when they came to drink, 39 the flocks bred in front of the sticks and so the flocks broughtforth striped, speckled, and spotted. 40 And Jacob separated the lambs and set the faces of theflocks toward the striped and all the black in the flock of Laban. He put his own droves apart anddid not put them with Laban‘s flock. 41 Whenever the stronger of the flock were breeding, Jacobwould lay the sticks in the troughs before the eyes of the flock, that they might breed among thesticks, 42 but for the feebler of the flock he would not lay them there. So the feebler would beLaban‘s, and the stronger Jacob‘s. 43 Thus the man yincreased greatly and zhad large flocks,female servants and male servants, and camels and donkeys. 90To recover the loss of speckled and spotted sheep and goats, Jacob attempts to manipulate thebreeding process of the flocks by placing fresh sticks of poplar, almond, and plane trees in thetroughs where the flocks were watered. These sticks which have peeled white streaks in themcorrespond to the genetic makeup of the flocks, producing animals that are striped, speckled andspotted.As the newborns are born, Jacob separates his flock from Laban‘s. He also adopts a selectivebreeding policy to ensure that the striped, speckles, and spotted sheep and goats come from thestrongest animals in Laban‘s flock.w See ch. 31:8–12x [Ex. 2:16]y ver. 30z ch. 24:35; 26:13, 1490 The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Ge 30:37–43). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
  • 72. A Study In Genesis 72Jacob grew wealthy with a large flock, female servants, male servants, camels, and donkeys.
  • 73. A Study In Genesis 73Genesis 31 – Jacob Flees From LabanGenesis 31:1-3Now Jacob heard that the sons of Laban were saying, ―Jacob has taken all that was our father‘s,and from what was our father‘s he has gained all this wealth.‖ 2 And Jacob saw athat Laban didnot regard him with favor as before. 3 Then the LORD said to Jacob, b―Return to the land of yourfathers and to your kindred, and I will be with you.‖ 91Jacob left for Canaan for two interrelated reasons. First, animosity by Laban‘s sons was growingagainst Jacob, and Laban‘s mood was dangerous (vv 1-2). The insinuations against Jacob‘sloyalty by Laban‘s sons and the sullen, churlish conduct of Laban himself, made Jacob‘ssituation very trying and uncertain. Second, God told Jacob to return to his own land (v 3). Herewas a divine call to leave for the land of promise.92Genesis 31:4-164 So Jacob sent and called Rachel and Leah into the field where his flock was 5 and said to them,c ―I see that your father does not regard me with favor as he did before. But the God of my fatherd has been with me. 6eYou know that I have served your father with all my strength, 7 yet yourfather has cheated me and changed my wages ften times. But God did not permit him to harmme. 8 If he said, g‗The spotted shall be your wages,‘ then all the flock bore spotted; and if he said,a ch. 4:5b ver. 13; ch. 28:15; 32:991 The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Ge 31:1–3). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.92 Walvoord, J. F., Zuck, R. B., & Dallas Theological Seminary. (1983-). The Bible knowledge commentary : An exposition of the scriptures (Ge31:1–16). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.c ver. 2d ver. 3e ver. 38–40; ch. 30:29f ver. 41; [Num. 14:22; Neh. 4:12; Job 19:3; Zech. 8:23]g ch. 30:32
  • 74. A Study In Genesis 74‗The striped shall be your wages,‘ then all the flock bore striped. 9 Thus God has htaken away thelivestock of your father and given them to me. 10 In the breeding season of the flock I lifted upmy eyes and saw in a dream that the goats that mated with the flock were striped, spotted, andmottled. 11 Then the angel of God said to me in the dream, ‗Jacob,‘ and I said, ‗Here I am!‘ 12And he said, ‗Lift up your eyes and see, all the goats that mate with the flock are striped, spotted,and mottled, for iI have seen all that Laban is doing to you. 13 I am the God of Bethel, jwhere youanointed a pillar and made a vow to me. Now karise, go out from this land and return to the landof your kindred.‘ ‖ 14 Then Rachel and Leah answered and said to him, ―Is there lany portion orinheritance left to us in our father‘s house? 15 Are we not regarded by him as foreigners? For mhehas sold us, and he has indeed devoured our money. 16 All the wealth that God has taken awayfrom our father belongs to us and to our children. Now then, whatever God has said to you, do.‖93Jacob calls Rachel and Leah together to explain his position and his decision to leave. Heexplained how their father had cheated him and changed his wages repeatedly in an effort tokeep Jacob from prospering. He also explains to them the dream he had regarding the sheep andgoats. But each time God intervened and Jacob would prosper anyways. He wanted to take withhim a willing family, so he attested to God‘s leading and provision. He now must keep the vowhe made at Bethel (28:20-22).The response of both women was in faith as well (31:14-16). Laban had exploited his daughters‘wealth and had lost their good will. They resented the way their father had sold them to Jacob.He had treated them as strangers and foreigners rather than his own daughters. Instead oftreating Jacob‘s payment for them like a dowry, to provide a financial base for his daughters‘well-being and security, as he should have, Laban kept all for himself. Consequently, they feltjustified in interpreting God‘s dealings with Laban, in causing his flocks to gradually belong tothem and their children, as their right. So they were willing to leave their father. It seems in thismatter, at least, that Leah and Rachel were in agreement with one another.94h ver. 1i [Ex. 3:7]j See ch. 28:18–22k ver. 3; ch. 32:9l [2 Sam. 20:1; 1 Kgs. 12:16]m ch. 30:26; See ch. 29:15–20, 2793 The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Ge 31:4–16). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.94 Walvoord, J. F., Zuck, R. B., & Dallas Theological Seminary. (1983-). The Bible knowledge commentary : An exposition of the scriptures (Ge31:1–16). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
  • 75. A Study In Genesis 75Genesis 31:17-2417 So Jacob arose and set his sons and his wives on camels. 18 He drove away all his livestock, allhis property that he had gained, the livestock in his possession that he had acquired in nPaddan-aram, to go to the land of Canaan to his father Isaac. 19 Laban had gone to shear his sheep, andRachel stole her father‘s ohousehold gods. 20 And Jacob tricked1 Laban the Aramean, by nottelling him that he intended to flee. 21 He fled with all that he had and arose and crossed thep Euphrates, and qset his face toward the hill country of Gilead.22 When it was told Laban on the third day that Jacob had fled, 23 he took his kinsmen with himand pursued him for seven days and followed close after him into the hill country of Gilead. 24But God came to Laban the Aramean rin a dream by night and said to him, ―Be careful not to sayanything to Jacob, seither good or bad.‖ 95Fearful that Laban would prevent him from leaving, Jacob escapes while his father-in-law isaway shearing his sheep.So Jacob fled with his family, but Rachel stole Laban‘s household gods (lit., ―teraphim,‖figurines of deities). This shows the pagan influence in Laban‘s family. A wordplay showsRachel to be a true ―Jacob,‖ for there were parallel thefts: he stole away and she stole the gods.Perhaps she told herself she deserved them since Laban had turned the tables on her in the nameof custom and had deprived her of her right to marry first. Or she was afraid that Laban woulduse them for divination in order to locate them while they were fleeing. Whatever the reason,her hardheaded self-interest almost brought disaster. To have the teraphim may have meant then ch. 25:20; 28:2, 6, 7o ver. 30, 34; [Judg. 17:5; 1 Sam. 15:23; 19:13; Ezek. 21:21; Hos. 3:4; Zech. 10:2]1 Hebrew stole the heart of; also verses 26, 27p Ex. 23:31; Ps. 72:8q 2 Kgs. 12:17; Luke 9:51r See ch. 20:3s ch. 24:50; Num. 24:13; 2 Sam. 13:2295 The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Ge 31:17–24). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.lit. literal, literally
  • 76. A Study In Genesis 76right to inheritance (it did mean this according to the Nuzi tablets of the 15th century B.C.); itcertainly meant Laban was without what he thought was his protection.31:19 ImagesThese ―images‖ (Hebrew: teraphim) appear to have been figurines, rude representations of the human form, or evenstatuettes of deceased ancestors. Most often, however, they were of female deities. They were usually made of woodbut sometimes of silver: ―So he returned the silver to his mother, and she took two hundred shekels of silver andgave them to a silversmith, who made them into the image and the idol. And they were put in Micah‘s house‖(Judges 17:4). Whatever they were, in this particular case they could not have been very large or Rachel would nothave been able to hide them so easily.TeraphimThose who kept idols believed they were responsible for human happiness when worshiped, and human miserywhen ignored. As such they were worshiped as gods and often consulted for advice: ―For the king of Babylon willstop at the fork in the road, at the junction of the two roads, to seek an omen: He will cast lots with arrows, he willconsult his idols, he will examine the liver‖ (Ezekiel 21:21). (See also Zechariah 10:2.)The significance of the images to Rachel and her family isn‘t clear. Several suggestions have been given as to whyRachel took them. Some Jewish writers believe that the teraphim were supposed, on consultation, to be able to giveany information desired, and that Rachel was afraid that Laban would learn from them what route Jacob and hisfamily had taken. If she believed that, Rachel may have wanted them for purposes of divination. It‘s also possible
  • 77. A Study In Genesis 77that the images were made of silver and so were valuable if sold. And then there is the possibility that they weregods of fertility and Rachel took them for that reason.Whatever the reasons, Jacob, who was more knowledgeable in the ways of God than his wives or Laban, laterremoved them from his household: ―So Jacob said to his household and to all who were with him, ‗Get rid of theforeign gods you have with you, and purify yourselves and change your clothes. Then come, let us go up to Bethel,where I will build an altar to God, who answered me in the day of my distress and who has been with me wherever Ihave gone.‘ So they gave Jacob all the foreign gods they had and the rings in their ears, and Jacob buried them underthe oak at Shechem‖ (Genesis 35:2–4).This is why Laban pursued Jacob. It was one thing for Jacob to take his flocks and family; buthis gods too? Perhaps Jacob would try to steal back to Haran someday and claim all of Laban‘sestate. (Failing to find the gods, Laban later, vv. 43-53, made a treaty to keep this troublesomeman out of his territory.)It took three days for the news of Jacob‘s departure to reach Laban. He was very angry andpursued Jacob with his men and pushed as hard as they could to catch Jacob. It took them sevendays to find Jacob. Having caught up, they decide to camp overnight to rest for the next day‘sconfrontation.ButLaban was warned by God in a dream not to speak good or bad to Jacob. Without thisdecisive act of God Jacob might not have brought anything home with him.96Genesis 31:25-3225 And Laban overtook Jacob. Now Jacob had pitched his tent in the hill country, and Laban withhis kinsmen pitched tents in the hill country of Gilead. 26 And Laban said to Jacob, ―What haveyou done, that you have ttricked me and driven away my daughters like captives of the sword? 27Why did you flee secretly tand trick me, and did not tell me, so that I might have sent you awaywith mirth and songs, with tambourine and lyre? 28 And why did you not permit me uto kiss mysons and my daughters farewell? Now you have done foolishly. 29 It is vin my power to do youharm. But the wGod of your2 father spoke to me last night, saying, ‗Be careful not to say anythingvv. verses96 Walvoord, J. F., Zuck, R. B., & Dallas Theological Seminary. (1983-). The Bible knowledge commentary : An exposition of the scriptures (Ge31:17–35). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.t ver. 20t [See ver. 26 above]u ver. 55; Ruth 1:9, 14; 1 Kgs. 19:20; Acts 20:37v Deut. 28:32; Neh. 5:5 (Heb.); Prov. 3:27; Mic. 2:1w ver. 42, 53; ch. 28:132 The Hebrew for your is plural here
  • 78. A Study In Genesis 78to Jacob, xeither good or bad.‘ 30 And now you have gone away because you longed greatly foryour father‘s house, but why did you ysteal my gods?‖ 31 Jacob answered and said to Laban,―Because I was afraid, for I thought that you would take your daughters from me by force.32z Anyone with whom you find your gods shall not live. In the presence of our kinsmen point outwhat I have that is yours, and take it.‖ Now Jacob did not know that Rachel had stolen them. 97Laban blurted out to Jacob a hypocritical speech of feigned concern over Jacob‘s snatching awayof his daughters and grandchildren. He used legal jargon to describe their civil suit. In the first―strife‖ (rîḇ ; cf v 36) or accusation Laban claimed that Jacob had robbed him (vv 26-27, 30)—but he presented himself as a hurt father (v 28) and a baffled avenger (v 29).Laban must have realized this line of accusation was not working so he changed tactics. He toldJacob that he realized he wanted to return to his father‘s home and that this was a good enoughreason to leave, but he should not have stolen his teraphim.31:27 Tabret and HarpThe Hebrew word toph, here and in other places translated ―tabret,‖ and in a number of verses translated ―timbrel,‖represents a very ancient musical instrument of percussion. There are three varieties depicted on Egyptianmonuments: one circular, another square or oblong, and a third consisting of two squares separated by a bar.Parchment was stretched over one of these frames, and small bells or pieces of tinkling brass were inserted in therim. The toph was generally played by women, used on festive occasions of great joy such as victory processions (1Samuel 18:6), the procession of the ark to Jerusalem (2 Samuel 6:5), and times of drinking and merrymaking (Isaiah5:12), with the music often accompanied by dancing. Our modern tambourines are derived from the ancient toph.x ver. 24y ver. 19; Judg. 18:24z [ch. 44:9]97 The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Ge 31:25–32). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
  • 79. A Study In Genesis 79 Babylonian harpThe Hebrew word kinnor, which frequently appears in the Old Testament and is translated ―harp‖ has given rise toconsiderable discussion. It was invented by Jubal, and was undoubtedly the earliest musical instrument made byanyone. Some believe the word kinnor denotes the whole class of stringed instruments. It was the national musicalinstrument of the Hebrews and was used as an accompaniment to joyful songs and songs of praise to God (see 1Samuel 16:23; 2 Chronicles 20:28; Psalms 33:2, 137:2). What the instrument looked like is uncertain, whichprobably means that it had a number of different shapes, depending on the type of wood available and the sound theinstrument maker wanted. Different writers have represented it shaped like the lyre, a triangular shape, or shapedlike the modern guitar or harp. There is equal variety of opinion as to the number of strings: 7, 10, 24, and 47 havebeen expressed. It has also been asserted by some that it was played by means of a plectrum, like that sometimesused to play a guitar, while others say the ancient harp was played by hand.These conflicting statements are easily harmonized if we suppose that the shape varied at different times, or theword kinnor was the generic term for all lyre-type instruments. There is also the probability that the number ofstrings varied at different periods or with the size of the instrument, that the instruments were of different sizes, andthat they were sometimes played with a plectrum and sometimes by hand. Supposing allows us to harmonize allkinds of things.98Jacob tells Laban he fled secretly because he thought Laban would try to take his wives fromhim. He also tells Laban that if anyone in his household had stolen Laban‘s gods, they would notlive. Jacob put the death penalty on Rachel unknowingly (v 32).9998 Freeman, J. M., & Chadwick, H. J. (1998). Manners & customs of the Bible (Rev. ed.].) (62–63). North Brunswick, NJ: Bridge-LogosPublishers.99 Walvoord, J. F., Zuck, R. B., & Dallas Theological Seminary. (1983-). The Bible knowledge commentary : An exposition of the scriptures (Ge31:22–35). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
  • 80. A Study In Genesis 80Genesis 31:33-3533 So Laban went into Jacob‘s tent and into Leah‘s tent and into the tent of the two femaleservants, but he did not find them. And he went out of Leah‘s tent and entered Rachel‘s. 34 NowRachel had taken the household gods and put them in the camel‘s saddle and sat on them. Labanfelt all about the tent, but did not find them. 35 And she said to her father, ―Let not my lord beangry that I cannot arise before you, for the way of women is upon me.‖ So he searched but didnot find the household gods. 100Laban proceeded to search the camp including Jacob and his wives tents, as well as theirservants. But Rachel had hidden the idols in her camel‘s saddle.To prevent Labanfrom having access to the camel‘s saddle bags, Rachel tells her father that the―way of women‖ was upon her and sat on the saddle in her tent. Apparently Laban neverdreamed that a woman would dare take a chance to contaminate the idols. But what a blow thiswas to the teraphim—they became ―nothing gods,‖ for a woman who claimed to be unclean saton them (vv 34-35; cf Lev. 15:20).10131:44–54 Covenant StonesJacob and Laban made a covenant and set up stones not only as a witness, or reminder, of thecovenant but also as a borderline—one that neither one of them was to cross for the purpose ofharming the other. The use of stones as a witness, or a reminder to those who made the covenant,is mentioned several times in the Scriptures, also the use of stones as memorials (see Genesis28:17–19 Memorial Stones).In the making of a covenant, such as that between Jacob and Laban, several other things wereoften done, especially if it was a blood covenant.After agreeing to make the covenant, the two involved would detail the conditions of thecovenant and tell what would happen to the other person if they broke the covenant. If it was acovenant in which they were binding themselves together as partners, they would also list whatthe other would receive from the covenant. These were called the ―blessings and cursings.‖ Youcan see an example of these in Deuteronomy 28 when God made covenant with His peopleconcerning His laws.a [Lev. 19:32]100 The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Ge 31:33–35). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.101 Walvoord, J. F., Zuck, R. B., & Dallas Theological Seminary. (1983-). The Bible knowledge commentary : An exposition of the scriptures (Ge31:22–35). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
  • 81. A Study In Genesis 81Each party would then cut himself somewhere on his hand where the cut would be visible, oftenon the fat part of the thumb. He would then rub fresh ashes into the cut so that it would form adark scar that could easily be seen. This was the mark of the covenant, and showed that eachperson had a covenant partner somewhere. The modern wedding ring is derived from thiscustom.To demonstrate that what each partner had was now available to the other partner wheneverneeded, they would then exchange some article of clothing. After that they would exchangeweapons of some type to demonstrate that each would come to the other‘s aid whenever theywere being attacked by an enemy and needed help. An enemy of one was now the enemy of theother. Thus Christ said to Saul, ―Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?‖ when Saul was actuallypersecuting Christians (Acts 9:4).At the end of all they did, they would then have a meal together to demonstrate their friendship(see Peace Meal), and take into themselves what the other had provided, for it was customary foreach to provide something for the covenant meal. The covenant meal was the final binding anddemonstration of the newly made covenant. It was a covenant meal that the Lord and Hisdisciples ate together in the upper room. It started as an Old Testament Passover meal, and waschanged by the Lord into a New Testament covenant meal: And he took bread, gave thanks andbroke it, and gave it to them, saying, ―This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance ofme.‖ In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, ―This cup is the new covenant inmy blood, which is poured out for you. (Luke 22:19–20)102Genesis 31:36-4236 Then Jacob became angry and berated Laban. Jacob said to Laban, ―What is my offense? Whatis my sin, that you have hotly pursued me? 37 For you have felt through all my goods; what haveyou found of all your household goods? Set it here before my kinsmen and byour kinsmen, thatthey may decide between us two. 38 These twenty years I have been with you. Your ewes andyour female goats have not miscarried, and I have not eaten the rams of your flocks. 39 What wastorn by wild beasts I did not bring to you. I bore the loss of it myself. cFrom my hand yourequired it, whether stolen by day or stolen by night. 40 There I was: by day the heat consumedme, and the cold by night, and my sleep fled from my eyes. 41 These twenty years I have been in102 Freeman, J. M., & Chadwick, H. J. (1998). Manners & customs of the Bible (Rev. ed.].) (63–65). North Brunswick, NJ: Bridge-LogosPublishers.b ver. 54c [Ex. 22:12]
  • 82. A Study In Genesis 82your house. dI served you fourteen years for your two daughters, and six years for your flock, ande you have changed my wages ten times. 42fIf the God of my father, the God of Abraham and theg Fear of Isaac, had not been on my side, surely now you would have sent me away empty-handed. hGod saw my affliction and the labor of my hands and irebuked you last night.‖ 103Ignorant of Rachel‘s theft of the idols, Jacob responds sharply to Laban‘s unproven accusation oftheft by recounting the scrupulous manner in which he card for Laban‘s herds. During 20 yearsof arduous labor, Jacob never once took advantage of Laban, even when Laban had mistreatedhim. Jacob tells Laban that it if it wasn‘t for the God of his father being on his side, Labanwould have sent him away empty handed.Genesis 31:43-5043 Then Laban answered and said to Jacob, ―The daughters are my daughters, the children are mychildren, the flocks are my flocks, and all that you see is mine. But what can I do this day forthese my daughters or for their children whom they have borne? 44 Come now, jlet us make acovenant, you and I. kAnd let it be a witness between you and me.‖ 45 So Jacob ltook a stone andset it up as a pillar. 46 And Jacob said to his kinsmen, ―Gather stones.‖ And they took stones andmade a heap, and they ate there by the heap. 47 Laban called it Jegar-sahadutha,3 but Jacob calledit Galeed.448 Laban said, m―This heap is a witness between you and me today.‖ Therefore henamed it Galeed, 49nand Mizpah,5 for he said, ―The LORD watch between you and me, when wed ch. 29:27, 28e ver. 7f Ps. 124:1, 2g ver. 53h See ch. 29:32i ver. 29103 The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Ge 31:36–42). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.j ch. 26:28k Josh. 24:27l ch. 28:183 Aramaic the heap of witness4 Hebrew the heap of witnessm ver. 44n Judg. 11:29, 345 Mizpah means watchpost
  • 83. A Study In Genesis 83are out of one another‘s sight. 50 If you oppress my daughters, or if you take wives besides mydaughters, although no one is with us, see, oGod is witness between you and me.‖ 104When Jacob was done speaking, Laban could not deny Jacob‘s claims and charges. However, hecontinued to claim ownership of everything that Jacob had taken.To save face, Laban suggested they make a covenant (i.e., a treaty) for a boundary between them(vv 44, 52). Laban instigated it on the pretext of his desire to protect the future of his daughtersand grandchildren. Jacob set up a tall stone and then piled a heap of stones around it. Laban called them by theAramaic name Jegar Sahadutha, but Jacob called them the Hebrew Galeed. Laban explained thatthe name means a heap of witness but he added the Hebrew name Mizpah (―watchtower‖),entrusting God to watch over them. The stipulations were that Jacob would not harm Laban‘sdaughters (v 50) and that Jacob and Laban would stay apart (v 52).In expressing the stipulations of the agreement, Laban used many words to cover up hisuntrustworthiness. He was trying to convey that Jacob was a slippery character who had to bebound by a whole series of stipulations. Implying that Jacob was not to be trusted, he demandedcertain restrictions on his activities. Jacob must never mistreat Laban‘s daughters (Jacob hadnever mistreated his wives.); he must not take any other wives other than Leah and Rachel(Jacob had only wanted Rachel in the first place); after Jacob had established himself in his newhome, he must not come back to Haran to get revenge against Laban. In return, Laban would notcome any further into Canaan to hurt Jacob.Genesis 31:51-5551 Then Laban said to Jacob, ―See this heap and the pillar, which I have set between you and me.52p This heap is a witness, and the pillar is a witness, that I will not pass over this heap to you, andyou will not pass over this heap and this pillar to me, to do harm. 53 The God of Abraham and theGod of Nahor, the God of their father, judge between us.‖ So Jacob swore by the qFear of hiso Judg. 11:10; 1 Sam. 12:5; Jer. 42:5; Mic. 1:2; [Job 16:19]104 The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Ge 31:43–50). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.i.e. id est, that isp ver. 43, 44q ver. 42
  • 84. A Study In Genesis 84father Isaac, 54 and Jacob offered a sacrifice in the hill country and called rhis kinsmen to eatbread. They ate bread and spent the night in the hill country.556 Early in the morning Laban arose and kissed shis grandchildren and his daughters and blessedthem. Then Laban departed and returned home. 105Laban then called the ―heap of stones‖ Mizpah – meaning watch tower, denoting it as a sort ofsentry guarding the boundary between Laban‘s sphere of activities and Jacob‘s sphere ofactivities. Laban even invoked the name of Jacob‘s God saying, ―May Jehovah watch betweenme and you, when we cannot see each other‖. He implied that Jacob was the one who neededwatching, and this was Jehovah‘s responsibility. Laban‘s own ―gods‖ would not need to doanything since Laban was a man of his word. Laban even took the credit for building the pillarand the heap, though it had been done at jacob‘s initiative and by his labor.Laban concluded his wordy proposal by invoking the names of ―the God of Abraham and theGod of Nahor, the God of their father‖. The word used here is ―Elahim‖ which is a plural nounand can be used to mean ―gods‖. This was most probably Laban‘s intent. The ―God of Nahor‖was probably Laban‘s idol. The term ―God of their father‖ probably referred to both ―Gods‖ andwas an attempt to identify Laban‘s ―god‖ with the true God of Abraham.Both the boundary settlement and the wives‘ rights show that Laban and Jacob wanted toconfirm the status quo. But the treaty also marked a break with the East for the family of Israel.This border treaty marked out the frontier in the hill country of Gilead.In their last confrontation God appeared to Jacob (v 3) and to Laban (v 24) in dreams for thepurpose of separating them. The entire event was complicated by earthly, selfish interests, suchas Rachel‘s theft of the idols and Laban‘s self-seeking animosity. Interestingly at the end GodHimself was invoked to watch between them (v 49).This account later had great significance for Israel: God would deliver and protect Israel as Hebrought them back to the land from Egypt. Here Israel would see God‘s victory over idols andidolaters, God‘s use of dreams for deliverance and protection, and the boundary by which Godwould keep His people apart from her enemies. All this became important for later Israelite-Aramean relations (Laban was an Aramean, or Syrian, 25:20).106r ver. 376 Ch 32:1 in Hebrews ver. 28, 43105 The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Ge 31:51–55). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.106 Walvoord, J. F., Zuck, R. B., & Dallas Theological Seminary. (1983-). The Bible knowledge commentary : An exposition of the scriptures (Ge31:43–55). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
  • 85. A Study In Genesis 85
  • 86. A Study In Genesis 86Genesis 32 – Jacob ReturnsIn Genesis 32 – 36 cover Jacob’s return to Canaan and his life there. It starts with Jacob preparingto meet his estranged brother, Esau. Jacob is naturally hesitant about how he will be received aftertwenty years. Jacob’s preparations are intended to promote a peaceful reconciliation.Genesis 32:1-2Jacob went on his way, and the angels of God met him. 2 And when Jacob saw them he said, “This isGod’s tcamp!” So he called the name of that place uMahanaim.1107The reference to the angels of God is reminiscent of Jacob’s dream at Bethel (28:12), the only otherplace in the Old Testament where this expression is used. Similarly, Jacob’s observation, “This isGod’s camp”, parallels his previous comment about Bethel being “the house of God”. Since campswere mobile, Jacob’s remark suggests that God has sent His angels to accompany Jacob safely backto the land of Canaan. Mahanaim means “two camps”, possibly alluding to God’s camp and Jacob’scamp. The motive of two camps reappears in verses 7 and 10.Genesis 32:3-83 And Jacob sent2 messengers before him to Esau his brother in the land of vSeir, the country ofEdom, 4 instructing them, “Thus you shall say to my lord Esau: Thus says your servant Jacob, ‘I havesojourned with Laban and stayed until now. 5 I have oxen, donkeys, flocks, male servants, andfemale servants. I have sent to tell my lord, in order that wI may find favor in your sight.’ ”6 And the messengers returned to Jacob, saying, “We came to your brother Esau, and xhe is comingto meet you, and there are four hundred men with him.” 7 Then Jacob was ygreatly afraid andt [Josh. 5:14; Luke 2:13]u Josh. 21:38; 2 Sam. 2:8; 17:24, 27; 1 Kgs. 2:81 Mahanaim means two camps107 The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Ge 32:1–2). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.2 Or had sentv ch. 36:8, 9; Deut. 2:5; Josh. 24:4w ch. 33:8, 15x ch. 33:1
  • 87. A Study In Genesis 87distressed. He divided the people who were with him, and the flocks and herds and camels, into twocamps, 8 thinking, “If Esau comes to the one camp and attacks it, then the camp that is left willescape.” 108Not knowing what to expect, Jacob decides to send a delegation ahead of him to test the waters andsee how Esau receives the news of his return.Esau was living in the region south of the Dead Sea, in the land of Sur, which had also becomeknown as the field of Edom after Esau’s nickname. Sur was a highland country on the east andsouth of the Dead Sea, inhabited by the Horites, who were dispossessed by Esau or his posterity. Atwhat point or why he had left his parents to immigrate there is not mentioned in the Bible. It’spossible that the situation with his wives had made it too uncomfortable for him to remain withIsaac and Rebekah, or he might have just become restless as was his nature.Jacob gave very precise instructions on how to address Esau, acknowledging Esau as Jacob’s “lord”in whose sight he desired to find favor. Jacob wanted to emphasize he wasn’t interested in politicalsovereignty and that he did not lay claim to any of Esau’s possessions – he had enough of his own.Esau must have heard already of Jacob traveling to Canaan. Not knowing what to expect either, hegathered 400 of his men and rode out, preparing to meet Jacob. Jacob’s servants met Esau after hewas already on his way. They immediately returned and informed Jacob that Esau was on his waywith an army of 400.As a precaution, Jacob directed his company into two divisions, hoping that Esau, coming upon thefirst would not realize there was a second group giving them a chance to escape.Genesis 32:9-129 And Jacob said, z“O God of my father Abraham and God of my father Isaac, O LORD who asaid to me,‘Return to your country and to your kindred, that I may do you good,’ 10bI am not worthy of the leastof all the deeds of steadfast love and all the faithfulness that you have shown to your servant, forwith only my staff I crossed this Jordan, and now I have become two camps. 11 Please deliver mefrom the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau, for cI fear him, that he may come and attacky ch. 35:3108 The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Ge 32:3–8). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.z ch. 28:13; 31:42, 53a ch. 31:3, 13b [2 Sam. 7:18]c [Prov. 18:19]
  • 88. A Study In Genesis 88me, the mothers with the children. 12 But dyou said, ‘I will surely do you good, and make youroffspring as the sand of the sea, which cannot be numbered for multitude.’ ” 109Out of fear Jacob prayed to be delivered. Jacob addressed God as the God of my father Abrahamand of my father Isaac, and reminded God of His command for him to return to his country and ofHis promise to bless him. God wants people to remind Him of His word when they pray. This is amotivation to faith. Jacob then confessed his unworthiness of God’s kindness and faithfulness andmaterial blessings. He had the correct attitude in prayer—total dependency on God. Jacobpetitioned God to be delivered from Esau because the younger twin was scared. Then he repeatedthe promise God had made to him about his descendants becoming as numberless as the sand ofthe sea (cf 22:17). 110Jacob acknowledges God as both “Elohim, the God of power” and “Jehovah, the Lord who is faithfulin His covenant promises, the merciful, redeeming one”.Genesis 32:13-2113So he stayed there that night, and from what he had with him he took ea present for his brotherEsau, 14 two hundred female goats and twenty male goats, two hundred ewes and twenty rams, 15thirty milking camels and their calves, forty cows and ten bulls, twenty female donkeys and tenmale donkeys. 16 These he handed over to his servants, every drove by itself, and said to hisservants, “Pass on ahead of me and put a space between drove and drove.” 17 He instructed the first,“When Esau my brother meets you and asks you, ‘To whom do you belong? Where are you going?And whose are these ahead of you?’ 18 then you shall say, ‘They belong to your servant Jacob. Theyare a present sent to my lord Esau. And moreover, he is behind us.’ ” 19 He likewise instructed thesecond and the third and all who followed the droves, “You shall say the same thing to Esau whenyou find him, 20 and you shall say, ‘Moreover, your servant Jacob is behind us.’ ” For he thought, “Imay appease him3 with the present that goes ahead of me, and afterward I shall see his face.Perhaps he will accept me.”421 So the present passed on ahead of him, and he himself stayed thatnight in the camp. 111After praying, Jacob decides it would be proper to send a substantial gift to Esau in order to clearlyshow he was not coming with the intention of plundering his brother’s possessions.d ch. 28:13–15109 The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Ge 32:9–12). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.110 Walvoord, J. F., Zuck, R. B., & Dallas Theological Seminary. (1983-). The Bible knowledge commentary : An exposition of the scriptures (Ge32:9–12). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.e ch. 43:11; [Prov. 17:8; 18:16; 19:6; 21:14]3 Hebrew appease his face4 Hebrew he will lift my face111 The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Ge 32:13–21). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
  • 89. A Study In Genesis 89Jacob’s gift was very large, amounting to a total of 580 animals. He divides them into five separatedroves; first the goats, then sheep, then camels, then cattle, then asses. His servants were to keep agood distance between each herd, so that in effect, Esau would receive five separate gifts atdifferent times. There was great prudence in this arrangement; for the present would thus have amore imposing appearance; Esau’s passion would have time to cool as he passed each successivecompany; and if the first was refused, the others would hasten back to convey a timely warning.Each servant was to tell Esau that these animals were a gift from Jacob, who was following behindthem. Each shepherd was to follow his herd, rather than lead it, in order to impress Esau first of allwith the herd, then the message that the herd was a gift for him. The messengers were strictlycommanded to say the same words [Ge 32:18, 20], that Esau might be more impressed and that theuniformity of the address might appear more clearly to have come from Jacob himself.112Giving such a generous gift, especially coming in successive waves, would hopefully convince Esauthat Jacob came in peace, and would appeal to Esau’s materialistic side.Genesis 32:22-3222 The same night he arose and took his two wives, his two female servants, and his eleven children,and crossed the ford of the fJabbok. 23 He took them and sent them across the stream, andeverything else that he had. 24 And Jacob was left alone. And ga man wrestled with him until thebreaking of the day. 25 When the man saw that he did not prevail against Jacob, he touched his hipsocket, and Jacob’s hip was put out of joint as he wrestled with him. 26 Then he said, “Let me go, forthe day has broken.” But Jacob said, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” 27 And he said to him,“What is your name?” And he said, “Jacob.” 28 Then he said, “Your name shall no longer be calledJacob, but Israel, for you have striven with God and with men, and have prevailed.” 29 Then Jacobasked him, “Please tell me your name.” But he said, l“Why is it that you ask my name?” And there heblessed him. 30 So Jacob called the name of the place Peniel, saying, “For I have seen God face to face,and yet my life has been delivered.” 31 The sun rose upon him as he passed nPenuel, limping becauseof his hip. 32 Therefore to this day the people of Israel do not eat the sinew of the thigh that is on thehip socket, because he touched the socket of Jacob’s hip on the sinew of the thigh. 113After dispatching his gift to Esau, Jacob remains behind with his family and the rest of his group bythe river Jabbok, which flows westward into the Jordon Valley about twenty four miles north of theDead Sea. (Jabbok means “wrestler”, a name evidently given it later in commemoration of Jacob’s112 Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., Fausset, A. R., Brown, D., & Brown, D. (1997). A commentary, critical and explanatory, on the Old and NewTestaments (Ge 32:17). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.f Deut. 2:37; 3:16; Josh. 12:2g Hos. 12:3, 4l Judg. 13:18n Judg. 8:8, 17; 1 Kgs. 12:25113 The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Ge 32:22–32). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
  • 90. A Study In Genesis 90experience.) During the night, Jacob decided to move his encampment to the south side of the river– this is the side Esau was approaching from. Jacob stayed back alone and did not go with them.This mysterious person is called an angel (Ho 12:4) and God (Ge 32:28, 30; Ho 12:5); and theopinion that is most supported is that he was “the angel of the covenant,” who, in a visible form,appeared to animate the mind and sympathize with the distress of Jacob. It has been a subject ofmuch discussion whether the incident described was an actual conflict or a visionary scene. Manythink that as the narrative makes no mention in express terms either of sleep, or dream, or vision, itwas a real transaction; while others, considering the bodily exhaustion of Jacob, his great mentalanxiety, the kind of aid he supplicated, as well as the analogy of former manifestations with whichhe was favored—such as the ladder—have concluded that it was a vision 114Most believe that the writer of the passage meant it quite literally, maybe even written by Jacobhimself. Angels often assume the form of men, as was the case with Abraham. By the time thecontest comes to an end, Jacob is convinced that his opponent is God himself.They wrestled all night and as day began to break, Jacob was still holding on. This is why somedon’t believe this was a physical incident; how could he have fought all night. But you have toremember that Jacob was a big man and apparently strong as he was able to move the stone coveroff of the well by himself, the day that he first encountered Rachel. According to Hosea’scommentary (Hosea 12:3,4), this “wrestling” on Jacob’s part involved weeping and supplication.Jacob would not let go until he was blessed, so God finally gave him the blessing he sought.This passage does not show that God was weaker than Jacob, but it does show that God desires mento persist in prayer and that He delights in yielding to those who pray such prayers.To remind Jacob of the experience, the angel imposed a physical injury on him, dislocating his hip.The Angel also changed Jacob’s name. He was no longer the “supplanter”, but was now Israel – the“prevailer”. Israel means “one who fights victoriously with God” or “strives with God”.The renaming of Jacob brings to a climax a lifetime of struggling with others. Through all of this,Jacob has finally come to realize the importance of being blessed by God. The events of thepreceding years has changed Jacob. The God of his father has now become his God. This is the firsttime the name “Israel” is mentioned in the Bible.Jacob names the place where these events occurred “Peniel”, meaning “the Face of God”. Jacobmarveled that he had actually been allowed to see and touch God, and that he had survived. Thiswould not have been possible if God had not veiled Himself in human form.The encounter with the angel of the Lord had four positive results for Jacob: (1) The angel gaveJacob (“the deceiver”) a new name, Israel, “he who struggles with God.” The name pointed to a new,spiritual character in Jacob. (2) He received a new blessing. When Jacob inquired about the name ofhis adversary, the angel refused an answer. His identity was obvious. He then blessed Jacob and114 Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., Fausset, A. R., Brown, D., & Brown, D. (1997). A commentary, critical and explanatory, on the Old and NewTestaments (Ge 32:24–25). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.
  • 91. A Study In Genesis 91brought the encounter to a close. (3) Jacob had a new testimony. He named the spot of this heavenlyencounter Peniel, “face of God.” He knew that he had come face to face with God on that long, lonelynight. (4) He lived to see a new day. Jacob had seen God, but his life had been spared. That sunrisewas very special to him. It signaled the beginning of his walk with the Lord.115Jacob was now fully prepared to meet Esau and enter the promised land in order to establish thefoundation for the nation of Israel.115 Smith, J. E. (1993). The Pentateuch (2nd ed.) (Ge 32:24–32). Joplin, Mo.: College Press Pub. Co.
  • 92. A Study In Genesis 92Genesis 33 – Jacob Returns to CanaanGenesis 33:1-7And Jacob lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, oEsau was coming, and four hundred men withhim. So he divided the children among Leah and Rachel and the two female servants. 2 And he putthe servants with their children in front, then Leah with her children, and Rachel and Joseph last ofall. 3 He himself went on before them, pbowing himself to the ground seven times, until he camenear to his brother.4qButEsau ran to meet him and embraced him rand fell on his neck and kissed him, and they wept. 5And when Esau lifted up his eyes and saw the women and children, he said, “Who are these withyou?” Jacob said, s“The children whom God has graciously given your servant.” 6 Then the servantsdrew near, they and their children, and bowed down. 7 Leah likewise and her children drew nearand bowed down. And last Joseph and Rachel drew near, and they bowed down. 116Soon after returning to the others, Jacob saw Esau and his army approaching. Jacob arranges hiswives and children in order of importance, with pride of place being given to Rachel and Joseph, theonly one of Jacob’s sons to be named.Jacob bowed low before Esau seven times as he came near him. This was not intended as anacknowledgement of servility on Jacob’s part, but as a token of respect and recognition of Esau asruler of the region.The Tell el Amarna tablets recorded that one approaching a king always bowed seven times whilethey were doing so. The manner of doing this is by looking towards a superior and bowing with theupper part of the body brought parallel to the ground, then advancing a few steps and bowingagain, and repeating his obeisance till, at the seventh time, the suppliant stands in the immediatepresence of his superior. The members of his family did the same. This was a token of profoundo ch. 32:6p ch. 18:2; 42:6; 43:26q ch. 32:28r ch. 45:14s ch. 48:9; Ps. 127:3; Isa. 8:18116 The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Ge 33:1–7). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
  • 93. A Study In Genesis 93respect, and, though very marked, it would appear natural; for Esau being the elder brother, was,according to the custom of the East, entitled to respectful treatment from his younger brother. Hisattendants would be struck by it, and according to Eastern habits, would magnify it in the hearing oftheir master.117Esau ran forward and hugged and kissed Jacob in a free display of joyful reunion and reconciliation.The unreserved manner in which Esau greets Jacob reveals that he no longer holds animositytoward his brother. Both Jacob and Esau wept with joy.Whatever Esau’s original intention, when he actually met Jacob, the encounter was a friendly one,with all past offenses forgotten. Had Esau had a change of mind during the night while Jacob waswrestling with the angel? Or had Jacob’s abundant gifts swayed him? However it occurred, it isobvious that God had been working with him as well as with Jacob, whether he was aware of it ornot. Such forgiveness as that offered by Esau is hardly a possible virtue without the providence ofGod.118Then, when Esau noticed the women and children, Jacob introduces his family to his brother.Genesis 33:8-118 Esau said, “What do you mean by tall this company1 that I met?” Jacob answered, u“To find favor inthe sight of my lord.” 9 But Esau said, “I have enough, my brother; keep what you have for yourself.”10 Jacob said, “No, please, if I have found favor in your sight, then accept my present from my hand.vFor I have seen your face, which is like seeing the face of God, and you have accepted me. 11 Pleaseaccept my blessing that is brought to you, because God has dealt graciously with me, and because Ihave enough.” Thus he xurged him, and he took it.“All this company that I met” refers to the droves of animals that Jacob had sent ahead to Esau. Eventhough Esau had been told by the shepherds that the droves of animals were a gift from Jacob, heasks of the size of the gift. Esau felt it proper to confirm with Jacob what his intentions were.In the East the acceptance by a superior is a proof of friendship, and by an enemy, of reconciliation.It was on both accounts Jacob was so anxious that his brother should receive the cattle; and in117 Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., Fausset, A. R., Brown, D., & Brown, D. (1997). A commentary, critical and explanatory, on the Old and NewTestaments (Ge 33:3). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.118 Paschall, F. H., & Hobbs, H. H. (1972). The teachers Bible commentary: A concise, thorough interpretation of the entire Bible designedespecially for Sunday School teachers (40). Nashville: Broadman and Holman Publishers.t ch. 32:161 Hebrew campu ver. 15; ch. 32:5v ch. 18:1; 19:1x [2 Sam. 13:25, 27; 2 Kgs. 5:23]
  • 94. A Study In Genesis 94Esau’s acceptance he had the strongest proofs of a good feeling being established that Easternnotions admit of.119Jacob confirms that they were a gift from him to Esau. But Esau tells Jacob that he has enough andsuch an extravagant gift is not necessary. But Jacob insists. In accordance with custom, the mostcertain way for one who desires reconciliation to be assured of it, is to have his proffered giftaccepted by the one whose favor he seeks.In the “authorized version” both Esau and Jacob are reported as saying “I have enough”. However,the Hebrew words are different. Actually Esau said “I have much” whereas Jacob said “I haveeverything”.Jacob’s explanation, that seeing Esau’s face was like seeing the face of God, showed he knew thisdeliverance from harm by Esau was of God. At Peniel Jacob had seen the face of God and wasdelivered (32:30). Having lived through that, he then survived Esau. Thus Esau’s favorable reactionwas God’s gracious dealing.120Esau, realizing the sincerity of Jacob’s motives, and also desiring there be no question that he alsodesired full reconciliation, agrees to accept Jacob’s gift.Genesis 33:12-1712Then Esau said, “Let us journey on our way, and I will go ahead of 2 you.” 13 But Jacob said to him,“My lord knows that the children are frail, and that the nursing flocks and herds are a care to me. Ifthey are driven hard for one day, all the flocks will die. 14 Let my lord pass on ahead of his servant,and I will lead on slowly, at the pace of the livestock that are ahead of me and at the pace of thechildren, until I come to my lord in Seir.” So Esau said, “Let me leave with you some of the people who are with me.” But he said, “What 15need is there? zLet me find favor in the sight of my lord.” 16 So Esau returned that day on his way toaSeir. 17 But Jacob journeyed to bSuccoth, and built himself a house and made booths for hislivestock. Therefore the name of the place is called Succoth.3121119 Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., Fausset, A. R., Brown, D., & Brown, D. (1997). A commentary, critical and explanatory, on the Old and NewTestaments (Ge 33:11). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.120 Walvoord, J. F., Zuck, R. B., & Dallas Theological Seminary. (1983-). The Bible knowledge commentary : An exposition of the scriptures (Ge33:8–11). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.2 Or along withz ver. 8; ch. 34:11; 47:25; Ruth 2:13a ch. 32:3b Josh. 13:27; Judg. 8:5; Ps. 60:63 Succoth means booths121 The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Ge 33:12–17). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
  • 95. A Study In Genesis 95Esau suggests they travel together, but Jacob declines using his family and herds as an excuse. Theywould not be able to travel at the pace that Esau’s men would. Some commentators state that Jacobdid this because he still did not trust Esau, but there’s no indication of that in the scripture one wayor the other.Jacob assures Esau he would follow behind and would eventually see him back again in his ownland of Seir. Esau offered to leave some of his men behind to travel with Jacob for protection, butJacob declined.So Esau headed back to Seir. Jacob continued on at a much slower pace and stopped at Succoth andShechem for longer stops. Jacob built a house and booths for the cattle at Succoth.Genesis 33:18-2018And Jacob came safely4 to the city of cShechem, which is in the land of Canaan, on his way fromPaddan-aram, and he camped before the city. 19 And from the sons of dHamor, Shechem’s father, ehebought for a hundred pieces of money5 the piece of land on which he had pitched his tent. 20 Therehe erected an altar and called it El-Elohe-Israel.6122Jacob finally crosses the river Jordan, and came to a valley near the city of Shechem and there Jacobpitches his tent. This was the place where God first appeared to Abraham as he entered the land(Gen. 12:6,7)The King James Version says that “Jacob came to Shalem, a city of Shechen”, but most translatorsbelieve that Shalem (meaning “peace”) should not be considered a proper name here, rather theverse means “Jacob came in peace to the city of Shechem”. Interpreted as such, this verse is afulfillment of God’s promise in Genesis 28:15 and 31:3. This interpretation is strengthened by theformal nature of the verse, mentioning Jacob’s coming back into Canaan from Paddan-aram.This is the first spot in Canaan proper where Jacob set up an encampment. He purchased the landas a token to God’s promise. This plain was fertile and good for pasturing flocks. He also dug a wellhere, which is not mentioned in Genesis but is referred to in the New Testament – John 4:6.4 Or peacefullyc Josh. 24:1; Judg. 9:1; Ps. 60:6; Acts 7:16d Acts 7:16e Josh. 24:32; John 4:55 Hebrew a hundred qesitah; a unit of money of unknown value6 El-Elohe-Israel means God, the God of Israel122 The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Ge 33:18–20). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
  • 96. A Study In Genesis 96Shechem was a prominent city throughout Biblical history, located on Mt. Gerezim in what laterbecame the territory of the tribe of Ephraim. It was very close to the future city of Samaria whichbecame the capital of the northern kingdom of Israel.When Jacob arrived here, the city was controlled by the Hivites, a Canaanite tribe whose chieftanwas Hamor. Hamor had a son name Shechem, possibly named after the city the city in which theylived, or, more likely, that the city was later named Shechem because of the incident that took placehere involving Dinah and her brothers.Jacob arrives peacefully at Shechem and is apparently welcomed by them. He purchased this landfor a hundred pieces of silver. Joseph would later be buried here.Jacob commemorated his purchase by building an altar, dedicating it to El-elohe-Israel. Jacob hadfinally decided that the LORD would be his God. Up to this point, Jacob always referred to the LORD as“the God of my father Isaac.” He never once called him “the LORD my God.” But now, in the naming ofthis altar, he did so. He called it “El-Elohe-Israel,” which means “God, the God of Israel.” His namewas now Israel. And his God was now the LORD. Jacob finally began to worship the LORD.123123 Strassner, K. (2009). Opening up Genesis (133). Leominster: Day One Publications.
  • 97. A Study In Genesis 97
  • 98. A Study In Genesis 98
  • 99. A Study In Genesis 99Genesis 34 – The Defiling of DinahThis story is apparently recorded in order to show that although Jacob intended to settle down andacquire property like any other prosperous sojourner, this was not to be. There could be nocompromise with the Canaanites. Israel must remain a sojourner until the whole land becametheirs. To settle down too soon would be to lose all sense of destiny and to become just like theCanaanites.The events in this chapter do not favor the hostile acts of Simeon and Levi. Their treacherousbehavior is pictured in contrast with the attempt of Shechem to act in good faith. The authorrecognizes that the brothers had reason enough for their resentment over the treatment of Dinah(vv. 14, 31). Yet he clearly feels that Shechem, who could not be excused for violating Dinah, wastrying with unusual integrity to make honest atonement for an act of passion. He mentions thatShechem “was more honorable than all the house of his father” (v. 19). In describing the cruelbehavior of Simeon and Levi, he seems to be implying that Shechem may be even more honorablethan all of Jacob’s family as well. However, he seems also to be saying, “God’s will be done.” It wasnot to be that the Canaanites and Israel should live at peace.Special point.—The later history of Simeon and Levi needs to be understood in light of this chapter.Jacob’s curse fell on them even in the midst of his blessing upon his other sons (Gen. 49:5–7). Theythat lived by the sword eventually died by it. Neither Simeon nor Levi continued to exist as aseparate tribe in the councils of Israel. Simeon was absorbed into Judah, and Levi was assigned thepriestly role. In the case of Simeon the militant spirit ultimately led to division and loss of identity.Levi took the better way. His warlike character was exercised in the defense of the law of God, andthe Torah became his sword.Genesis 34:1-4Now fDinah the daughter of Leah, whom she had borne to Jacob, went out to see the women of theland. 2 And when Shechem the son of gHamor the Hivite, the prince of the land, saw her, he seizedher and lay with her and humiliated her. 3 And his soul was drawn to Dinah the daughter of Jacob.He loved the young woman and spoke tenderly to her. 4 So Shechem hspoke to his father Hamor,saying, “Get me this girl for my wife.” 124f ch. 30:21g Acts 7:16h [Judg. 14:2]124The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Ge 34:1–4). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
  • 100. A Study In Genesis 100The events here center around Dinah, Jacob’s and Leah’s daughter. She is the only daughter evermentioned in the Bible. Dinah must have been at least in her teens, and her older brothers in their20’s. Since Rueben was about 12 when they came back to Canaan, they must have resided there forabout ten years.The book “The Red Tent” tells the story of Jacob and these events from Dinah’s perspective. Howmuch of the book is supposition and how much is based on historical facts is not mentioned, but it isan interesting book to read. It tells the women’s story and what it was like to be a woman duringthis time period.Dinah “went out to see the women of the land”. It would seem that over the course of the years,Dinah had made some friends in Shechem and the surrounding area. This action loosened a stonethat caused a landslide. Jacob had made a commercial connection with Shechem (33:19), butDinah’s step toward social interaction had serious complications.The Bible doesn’t really tells us why she went to meet with them, maybe to visit or maybe on anerrand for her mother. According to JOSEPHUS, she had been attending a festival; but it is highlyprobable that she had been often and freely mixing in the society of the place and that she, beingan inexperiencedyoung woman, had been flattered by the attentions of the ruler‘s son. Theremust have been time and opportunities of acquaintance to produce the strong attachment thatShechem had for her.125.The Bible says he lay with her and violated (‘ānâh, ―to afflict, oppress‖), that is, raped her. Aftera woman was debased in this way, she had no expectancy of ever having a valid marriage. 126Towhat extent Dinah encouraged Shechem is not known, but by sleeping with her he certainly tookadvantage of her because of her young age. But apparently he was in love with her and also wantedto marry her. Verse 26 says that he took her to his own house and kept her there.Shechem then asked his father to make arrangements with Jacob so he could marry Dinah.Genesis 34:5-175 Now Jacob heard that he had defiled his daughter Dinah. But his sons were with his livestock inthe field, so Jacob held his peace until they came. 6 And Hamor the father of Shechem went out toJacob to speak with him. 7 The sons of Jacob had come in from the field as soon as they heard of it,and the men were indignant and ivery angry, because he jhad done an outrageous thing in Israel bylying with Jacob’s daughter, for such a thing must not be done.125Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., Fausset, A. R., Brown, D., & Brown, D. (1997). A commentary, critical and explanatory, on the Old and NewTestaments (Ge 34:1). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.126Walvoord, J. F., Zuck, R. B., & Dallas Theological Seminary. (1983-). The Bible knowledge commentary : An exposition of the scriptures(Ge 34:1–4). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.i ch. 49:7j Josh. 7:15; Judg. 20:6
  • 101. A Study In Genesis 1018 But Hamor spoke with them, saying, “The soul of my son Shechem longs for your1 daughter. Pleasegive her to him to be his wife. 9 Make marriages with us. Give your daughters to us, and take ourdaughters for yourselves. 10 You shall dwell with us, and lthe land shall be open to you. Dwell andmtrade in it, and nget property in it.” 11 Shechem also said to her father and to her brothers, o“Let mefind favor in your eyes, and whatever you say to me I will give. 12 Ask me for as great a pbride price2and gift as you will, and I will give whatever you say to me. Only give me the young woman to be mywife.”13 The sons of Jacob answered Shechem and his father Hamor deceitfully, because he had defiledtheir sister Dinah. 14 They said to them, “We cannot do this thing, to give our sister to one who isuncircumcised, for qthat would be a disgrace to us. 15 Only on this condition will we agree withyou—that you will become as we are by every male among you being circumcised. 16 Then we willgive our daughters to you, and we will take your daughters to ourselves, and we will dwell with youand become one people. 17 But if you will not listen to us and be circumcised, then we will take ourdaughter, and we will be gone.” 127Jacob’s response to Dinah’s situation was most unusual. When he heard that she had been defiled(ṭ immē’, “to pollute”) he kept quiet about it till his sons got home. This seems unusual as he musthave been deeply distressed. But he could do little. In the case of a family by different wives, it isnot the father, but the full brothers, on whom the protection of the daughters devolves—they arethe guardians of a sister‘s welfare and the avengers of her wrongs. It was for this reason thatSimeon and Levi, the two brothers of Dinah by Leah [Ge 34:25], appear the chief actors in thisepisode; and though the two fathers would have probably brought about an amicable1 The Hebrew for your is plural herel ch. 13:9; 20:15m ver. 21; ch. 42:34n ch. 47:27o See ch. 33:15p Ex. 22:16, 17; 1 Sam. 18:25; [Deut. 22:29]2 Or engagement presentq Josh. 5:9127The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Ge 34:5–17). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
  • 102. A Study In Genesis 102arrangement of the affair, the hasty arrival of these enraged brothers introduced a new elementinto the negotiations.128While Jacob was waiting, Hamor appeared at his home with a proposal to make Dinah his son’swife. There is no mention of any apology or sympathy indicating that to Hamor and Shechem whathappened was not a big deal.When Jacob’s sons found out, however, they were incensed, for a disgraceful thing (lit., “folly,”neḇ ālâh) had been done in Israel. (This is the first mention of the nation by this name.) Such asexual evil was infamous, incriminating a whole community, something that should not be done.While the sons were filled with grief and fury, Jacob was passive and could not pull things together.Perhaps if Dinah were his daughter by Rachel rather than by Leah, he would have acteddifferently.129Hamor himself, did not seemed phased by their anger, but continued on with the marriageproposal. He also suggested that the rest of Jacob’s household should intermarry with the people ofShechem. Hamor’s reason for this offer was opportunistic, by intermarrying with Jacob, Shechemwould assimilate Israel’s wealth.Shechem had apparently come with his father and after being silent up to this point, offered to payJacob and his sons whatever they would require in the way of a dowry and gifts. Shechem also didnot show any regret for his actions.While Hamor and Shechem were talking, the “sons of Jacob” devised a plan of vengeance whichinvolved both blasphemy and murder. They felt justified in their plan because of what theyconsidered to be an intolerable sin against their sister.“the sons of Jacob” – it does not say whether all the brothers were involved or just a few. It is statedlater that Simeon and Levi took the revenge, but it seems likely that some of the others were alsoinvolved.Jacob’s sons planned to take revenge on the entire city, not just Hamor and Shechem. They pretendto go along with Hamor and Shechem, but use the excuse of their religion as a reason why theycannot intermarry. They told Hamor that their religion required that every male in their ownnation be circumcised, so in order to intermarry, the Shechemites would also have to becircumcised. If the Shechemites did not agree to this, they would have to take Dinah back and keepthemselves completely segregated.Genesis 34:18-24128Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., Fausset, A. R., Brown, D., & Brown, D. (1997). A commentary, critical and explanatory, on the Old and NewTestaments (Ge 34:5). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.lit. literal, literally129Walvoord, J. F., Zuck, R. B., & Dallas Theological Seminary. (1983-). The Bible knowledge commentary : An exposition of the scriptures(Ge 34:5–7). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
  • 103. A Study In Genesis 10318 Their words pleased Hamor and Hamor’s son Shechem. 19 And the young man did not delay to dothe thing, because he delighted in Jacob’s daughter. Now rhe was the most honored of all his father’shouse. 20 So Hamor and his son Shechem scame to the gate of their city and spoke to the men of theircity, saying, 21 “These men are at peace with us; let them dwell in the land and ttrade in it, forbehold, the land is large enough for them. Let us take their daughters as wives, and let us give themour daughters. 22 Only on this condition will the men agree to dwell with us to become one people—when every male among us is circumcised as they are circumcised. 23 Will not their livestock, theirproperty and all their beasts be ours? Only let us agree with them, and they will dwell with us.” 24And all who went out of the gate of his city listened to Hamor and his son Shechem, and every malewas circumcised, all who uwent out of the gate of his city. 130Shechem readily agrees because of his love for Dinah. He and his father return to the city inorder to convince the others that dwelled there that this would be beneficial to everyone, givingthem access to Jacob‘s wealth and lands. Circumcision had been practiced in earlier times byother nations, so this request did not seem as strange as it sounds.Shechem‘s example further encouraged them. He was held in considerable esteem. Verse 19says ―he was more honored than any in this father‘s house‖. Finally all the men of Shechemagreed to be circumcised.Where Jacob was while these negotiations were taking place, the Bible does not say. It seemsvery likely that he may have gone along with this plan of circumcision so that Dinah would bemarried and not completely disgraced. By Shechem agreeing to the circumcision, Jacob mayhave felt this would be an acceptable solution for Dinah. It is doubtful that he cared whether theothers were circumcised, as he would not let his son‘s intermarry per God‘s instructions. And hewould not have agreed with his son‘s treachery if he had been aware of it.It seems odd that neither Rueben nor Judah seem to have taken part in the affair, especially sinceRueben was Dinah‘s oldest brother. Rueben and Judah appear to have been less disposedtowards bloodshed than the other brothers and they may have decided not to participate. Someof the other sons were too young to participate even if they had wanted. It is doubtful thatJoseph was even aware of the plan.In any case, it was Simeon and Levi who took the lead. While they were justified in their angerover what had happened, they were wrong in taking the law into their own hands, especially inr [1 Chr. 4:9]s See Ruth 4:1t ver. 10; ch. 42:34u [ch. 23:10]130The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Ge 34:18–24). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
  • 104. A Study In Genesis 104such a brutal manner. God was completely left out of the equation. The brothers should haveleft the matter to their father‘s disposition of it. Jacob, in turn, should have relied on God forproper wisdom in dealing with it. But Jacob, in his grief, had turned away from facing theproblem and Simeon and Levi felt they should not leave the crime unpunished.Genesis 34:25-2925 On the third day, when they were sore, two of the sons of Jacob, vSimeon and Levi, wDinah’sbrothers, took their swords and came against the city while it felt secure and killed all the males. 26They killed Hamor and his son Shechem with the sword and took Dinah out of Shechem’s house andwent away. 27 The sons of Jacob came upon the slain and plundered the city, because they haddefiled their sister. 28 They took their flocks and their herds, their donkeys, and whatever was in thecity and in the field. 29 All their wealth, all their little ones and their wives, all that was in the houses,they captured and plundered. 131On the third day after the circumcisions, Levi and Simeon entered Shechem and killed all the maleswhile they were incapacitated, including Shechem. They took Dinah and returned her home.After all the men were killed, Jacob’s sons took all their cattle and possessions, including the womenand children.Genesis 34:30-3130Then Jacob said to Simeon and Levi, x“You have brought trouble on me yby making me stink to theinhabitants of the land, zthe Canaanites and the Perizzites. aMy numbers are few, and if they gatherthemselves against me and attack me, I shall be destroyed, both I and my household.” 31 But theysaid, “Should he treat our sister like a prostitute?” 132Jacob did nothing in the way of punishing Simeon and Levi other than deliver a mild rebuke. He hadleft the matter in his son’s hands, and while he was appalled by their actions, his real concern wasnot the sins of his sons, but the possibility that the Canaanites would unite against him. 133v See ch. 49:5–7w ch. 29:33, 34; 30:21131The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Ge 34:25–29). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.x Josh. 7:25y Ex. 5:21; 1 Sam. 13:4; 27:12; 2 Sam. 10:6; 16:21; 1 Chr. 19:6 (Heb.)z ch. 13:7; 15:20, 21a 1 Chr. 16:19; Ps. 105:12132The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Ge 34:30–31). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.133 Smith, J. E. (1993). The Pentateuch (2nd ed.) (Ge 33:17). Joplin, Mo.: College Press Pub. Co.
  • 105. A Study In Genesis 105However, Jacob was silenced when the brothers replied, Should Shechem have treated our sisterlike a prostitute?134 Jacob had done nothing and it was his inaction which had prompted them totake action on their own. They had all been dishonored and humiliated and Jacob had gone off byhimself instead of praying to God and dealing with the situation.134Walvoord, J. F., Zuck, R. B., & Dallas Theological Seminary. (1983-). The Bible knowledge commentary : An exposition of the scriptures(Ge 34:25–31). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
  • 106. A Study In Genesis 106Genesis 35 – Jacob Returns to BethelJacob moved in stages from Shechem to Bethel, eventually coming to Hebron, where his father Isaacis still alive. During the journey a number of incidents occur that either bring to a close previousepisodes or anticipate later developments. Ending with the death of Isaac, this chapter marks thepassing of one generation while preparing for the next. Transformed by the experiences at Betheland Peniel, Jacob is now in a position to assume the mantle of his father as the one through whomthe promise to Abraham will continue.Genesis 35:1-4God said to Jacob, “Arise, go up to bBethel and dwell there. Make an altar there to the God whoappeared to you cwhen you fled from your brother Esau.” 2 So Jacob said to his dhousehold and to allwho were with him, “Put away ethe foreign gods that are among you and fpurify yourselves andchange your garments. 3 Then let us arise and go up to Bethel, so that I may make there an altar tothe God gwho answers me in the day of my distress and hhas been with me wherever I have gone.” 4So they gave to Jacob all the foreign gods that they had, and the rings that were in their ears. Jacobhid them under ithe terebinth tree that was near Shechem. 135Jacob must have at this point gone to God with the situation and to finally ask for guidance. Godtold Jacob to return to Bethel.Jacob had become lax with his people. There still remained remnants of other gods and theShechemite culture had been allowed to infiltrate his camp. He realized it was time to clean house.He required his family and servants to abandon all remnants of idolatry, discard their images,earings, and other amulets; put away their foreign gods and even the garments they had beenb ch. 28:19c ch. 27:43d ch. 18:19; Josh. 24:15e [ch. 31:19; Josh. 24:23; 1 Sam. 7:3]f Ex. 19:10g ch. 32:7, 24h ch. 28:20; 31:3i Josh. 24:26; Judg. 9:6135The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Ge 35:1–4). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
  • 107. A Study In Genesis 107wearing; then wash themselves clean and put on fresh clothing symbolic of the pure worship ofJehovah. Jacob placed all these items under the oak at Shechem.Genesis 35:5-85 And as they journeyed, a terror from God fell upon the cities that were around them, so that theydid not pursue the sons of Jacob. 6 And Jacob came to jLuz (that is, Bethel), which is in the land ofCanaan, he and all the people who were with him, 7 and there he built an altar and called the placeEl-bethel,1 because kthere God had revealed himself to him when he fled from his brother. 8 AndlDeborah, Rebekah’s nurse, died, and she was buried under an oak below Bethel. So he called itsname Allon-bacuth.2136God intervened and prevented the surrounding Canaanites from pursuing Jacob. It does not sayspecifically how this was done, but Jacob and his household arrived safely in Luz (later known asBethel).Jacob built an alter to God and called the place El-Bethel. At this time, Rebekah’s nurse, Deborah,died. She was buried there under an oak and they called the place of her burial ‘the Oak ofWeeping”. Deborah had been much loved by the family. Jacob had known Deborah all of his life.She had come with Rebekah from Mesopotamia when Rebekah had left to marry Isaac.Genesis 35:9-159 God appeared3 to Jacob again, when he came from Paddan-aram, and blessed him. 10 And God saidto him, “Your name is Jacob; mno longer shall your name be called Jacob, but nIsrael shall be yourname.” So he called his name Israel. 11 And God said to him, o“I am God Almighty:4 be pfruitful andj ch. 28:191El-bethel means God of Bethelk ver. 1l ch. 24:592Allon-bacuth means oak of weeping136The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Ge 35:5–8). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.3 Or had appearedm [ch. 17:5, 15]n ch. 32:28o See ch. 17:14 Hebrew El Shaddaip ch. 28:3; 48:4
  • 108. A Study In Genesis 108multiply. qA nation and a company of nations shall come from you, and kings shall come from yourown body.512rThe land that I gave to Abraham and Isaac I will give to you, and I will give the land toyour offspring after you.” 13 Then God swent up from him in the place where he had spoken withhim. 14 And Jacob tset up a pillar in the place where he had spoken with him, a pillar of stone. Hepoured out a drink offering on it and poured oil on it. 15 So Jacob called the name of the place whereGod had spoken with him uBethel. 137These verses bring the account of Jacob’s developing relationship with God to an important climax.Jacob’s name is changed to Israel.God again appeared to Jacob and blesses him. This not only confirms the blessing of Gen. 37:29 butmore importantly, places Jacob on a par with Abraham and Isaac of whom similar affirmations weremade.In verses 11-12, God’s second statement emphasizes that Jacob is now heir to the divine promisesfirst given to Abraham and then to Isaac. “I am God Almighty”, this is how God revealed Himself toAbraham and is the divine name used by Isaac when he blesses Jacob in Gen 28:3. Much of God’sspeech closely resembles what He says to Abraham in Gen 17:5-6 and what Isaac requests for Jacobin Gen. 28:3-4.“A nation and a company of nations shall come from you”. While Isaac refers to a “company ofpeoples”, God’s comment reveals that he has more than the nation of Israel in view.Jacob again erects a pillar of stone and pours a drink offering and oil on it. Later drink offeringswere offered frequently as auxiliary gifts of devotion and consecration.Genesis 35:16-2016 Then they journeyed from Bethel. When they were still some distance6 from Ephrath, Rachelwent into labor, and she had hard labor. 17 And when her labor was at its hardest, the midwifesaid to her, ―Do not fear, for vyou have another son.‖ 18 And as her soul was departing (for sheq ch. 17:5, 6, 16; 26:45 Hebrew from your loinsr ch. 12:7; 13:15; 17:8; 26:3; 28:13s ch. 17:22t ch. 28:18; 31:45u ch. 28:19137The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Ge 35:9–15). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.6 Or about two hours’ distancev ch. 30:24
  • 109. A Study In Genesis 109was dying), she called his name Ben-oni;7wbut his father called him Benjamin.819 So xRacheldied, and she was buried on the way to yEphrath (that is, Bethlehem), 20 and Jacob set up a pillarover her tomb. It is zthe pillar of Rachel‘s tomb, which is there to this day. 138Jacob travels south from Bethel, probably on his way to Mamre (Hebron). While on his way, Racheldies giving birth. The name Rachel gives her son is Ben-oni, which is ambiguous and could eithermean “son of my sorrow” or “son of my strength”. Jacob deliberately changes his name to Benjaminwhich means “son of my right hand”.“about two hours distance” – locates Rachel’s grave somewhere north of Jerusalem which fits withJeremiah 31:15. Jacob erected a marker over Rachel’s grave which, according to what seems like aneditorial side note here, could still be seen in Moses’ day.7Ben-oni could mean son of my sorrow, or son of my strengthw [Luke 1:59, 60]8Benjamin means son of the right handx ch. 48:7y Ruth 1:2; 4:11; Mic. 5:2; Matt. 2:6, 16–18z 1 Sam. 10:2; [2 Sam. 18:18]138The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Ge 35:16–20). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
  • 110. A Study In Genesis 110Rachel’s tomb
  • 111. A Study In Genesis 111“her soul was departing” – this is one place in the Old Testament where the word “soul” (nepesh),denotes what gives life to the body.Genesis 35:21-2621 Israel journeyed on and pitched his tent beyond the tower of Eder.22 While Israel lived in that land, Reuben went and alay with Bilhah his father’s concubine. AndIsrael heard of it. Now the sons of Jacob were twelve. 23 The sons of Leah: bReuben (Jacob’sfirstborn), Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, and Zebulun. 24 The sons of Rachel: Joseph and Benjamin.25 The sons of Bilhah, Rachel’s servant: Dan and Naphtali. 26 The sons of Zilpah, Leah’s servant: Gadand Asher. These were the sons of Jacob who were born to him in Paddan-aram. 139The ṯ ôleḏ ôṯ (“account”) of Isaac draws to a close in verses 21-29 with several short reports. Thefirst describes Reuben’s breach of Jacob’s family by incest with Bilhah, Jacob’s concubine andRachel’s servant by whom he had two sons, Dan and Naphtali (30:3-8). Reuben’s transgression tookplace near Migdal Eder between Bethlehem and Hebron.Details concerning what led up to this event are not given. Rueben was about 20 at this time andthere were no marriage prospects as of yet. It is possible that Reuben, Jacob’s eldest, was trying toreplace his father as patriarch prematurely by this pagan procedure. But in so doing, he lost hisinheritance (his birthright; cf. 49:3-4; 1 Chron. 5:1-2). This act was noted by Jacob who in Genesis35:21-22 was twice called Israel. (Cf. 32:28; 35:10. And note his silence when he heard of the rapeof his daughter Dinah, 34:5.)35:23-26. A second report lists the 12 sons who became heads of the 12 original tribesThis wasanother assurance that the promises of God are good.Genesis 35:27-2927 And Jacob came to his father Isaac at cMamre, or dKiriath-arba (that is, Hebron), whereAbraham and Isaac had sojourned. 28 Now the days of Isaac were 180 years. 29 And Isaaca ch. 49:4; 1 Chr. 5:1; [2 Sam. 16:22; 20:3; 1 Cor. 5:1]b For ver. 23–26, see ch. 46:8–27; Ex. 1:2–4139The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Ge 35:20–26). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.cf. confer, comparec ch. 13:18; 23:19d ch. 23:2; Josh. 14:15; 15:13
  • 112. A Study In Genesis 112breathed his last, and he died eand was gathered to his people, old and full of days. And fhis sonsEsau and Jacob buried him. 140This report of Isaacs death, like that of Abraham, marks the end of an era and brings to a naturalconclusion the main narrative section that began with 25:19. According to Genesis 49:3-31, Isaacwas buried in the cave at Machpelah, where Rebekah, Abraham, and Sarah were buried. Isaac was180 years old when he died.Mention of the fact that he “was gathered unto his people” is evidence that although nothing muchis said about it in this part of the Bible, the patriarchs did believe in life after death. Isaac’s spiritwould have been transported to Sheol, where the spirits of Abraham, Shem, Noah and others whohad died in faith, were resting and awaiting the coming redemption and resurrection.It is noteworthy that Esau and Jacob were still in fellowship with each other. The two oncealienated brothers came together to participate in the burial ceremony of Isaac.e ch. 15:15; 25:8f ch. 25:9; 49:31140The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Ge 35:27–29). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
  • 113. A Study In Genesis 113Genesis 36 – Esau’s DescendantsChapter 36 closes the section of the book which seems originally to have been written by Jacob(Henry M. Morris, The Genesis Record). If that is correct, then Genesis 25:19b – 37:2a was writtenby Jacob, with later editorial insertions by Moses, who brought all the patriarchal records togetherin the present book of Genesis.To complete his own record, Jacob has included Esau’s records as well. He may have obtained themat the time of Isaac’s death as both sons were together at that time. It seems that Moses againaugmented these original records with additional data that had come into his possession. ByMoses’ time, the descendants of Esau (by then known as the Edomites) were a nation ofconsiderable concern to the Israelites.Genesis 36:1-8These are the generations of Esau (that is, gEdom). 2 Esau htook his wives from the Canaanites: Adahthe daughter of Elon the Hittite, iOholibamah the daughter of Anah the daughter1 of Zibeon theHivite, 3 and jBasemath, Ishmael’s daughter, the sister of Nebaioth. 4 And Adah bore to Esau,kEliphaz; Basemath bore Reuel; 5 and Oholibamah bore Jeush, Jalam, and Korah. These are the sonsof Esau who were born to him in the land of Canaan.6 Then Esau took his wives, his sons, his daughters, and all the members of his household, hislivestock, all his beasts, and all his property that he had acquired in the land of Canaan. He went intoa land away from his brother Jacob. 7lFor their possessions were too great for them to dwelltogether. mThe land of their sojournings could not support them because of their livestock. 8 So Esausettled in nthe hill country of Seir. (oEsau is Edom.) 141g ch. 25:30h ch. 26:34i ver. 14, 18, 251 Hebrew; Samaritan, Septuagint, Syriac son; also verse 14j [ch. 28:9]k ver. 10; 1 Chr. 1:35l ch. 13:6m ch. 17:8; 23:4; 28:4; 37:1; Heb. 11:9n See ch. 32:3
  • 114. A Study In Genesis 114There seems to be a contradiction in these lists between the names of Esau’s wives given here(36:2) and as given in Genesis 26:34 and 28:9.26:34 28:29 36:2 36:3Judith Mahalath, daughter of Ahdibamah Bashemath, daughter Ishmael of IsraelBashemath, daughter Adah, daughter of Elonof ElonThere is actually no contradiction. Often, a person had two names they were known by. Thewoman often had a new name given after marriage or childbirth. Also, the name of their father isgiven (Elon) in one instance, while the name of their ancestor is given in another (Ishmael).Esau had five sons and an unknown number of daughters as well as many servants and cattle.Between him and Jacob, grazing land was scarce. They did not own these lands and pastured theirflocks and herds wherever there was room for them.Esau eventually migrated into the area occupied by the descendants of Seir. The children of Esauhad subjugated the Horites by force (Deut. 2:12, 22) and to some extent assimilated them throughmarriage, so that the Edomites were a mixture of Semitic (Isaac, Esau) and Canaanite (Seir)inheritance.Genesis 36:9-199 These are the generations of Esau the father of pthe Edomites in the hill country of Seir. 10 Theseare the names of Esau’s sons: qEliphaz the son of Adah the wife of Esau, Reuel the son of Basemaththe wife of Esau. 11 The sons of Eliphaz were Teman, Omar, Zepho, Gatam, and Kenaz. 12 (Timna wasa concubine of Eliphaz, Esau’s son; she bore rAmalek to Eliphaz.) These are the sons of Adah, Esau’swife. 13 These are the sons of Reuel: Nahath, Zerah, Shammah, and Mizzah. These are the sons ofBasemath, Esau’s wife. 14 These are the sons of sOholibamah the daughter of Anah the daughter ofZibeon, Esau’s wife: she bore to Esau Jeush, Jalam, and Korah.o ver. 1, 19141The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Ge 36:1–8). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.p ver. 43q ver. 4r Num. 24:20; 1 Sam. 15:2, 3s ver. 2
  • 115. A Study In Genesis 11515 These are tthe chiefs of the sons of Esau. uThe sons of Eliphaz the firstborn of Esau: the chiefsTeman, Omar, Zepho, Kenaz, 16 Korah, Gatam, and Amalek; these are the chiefs of Eliphaz in the landof Edom; these are the sons of Adah. 17 These are the sons of vReuel, Esau’s son: the chiefs Nahath,Zerah, Shammah, and Mizzah; these are the chiefs of Reuel in the land of Edom; these are the sonsof Basemath, Esau’s wife. 18 These are the sons of wOholibamah, Esau’s wife: the chiefs Jeush, Jalam,and Korah; these are the chiefs born of Oholibamah the daughter of Anah, Esau’s wife. 19 These arethe sons of Esau (xthat is, Edom), and these are their chiefs. 142These verses list the sons and grandsons of Esau. They were dukes and chieftans. It is interestingthat Eliphaz (who was a son-in-law) is mentioned, as well as the name of his concubine Timna andnot his wives. This may be because her son, Amalek, became the ancestor of the Amalekites,enemies of the Israelites.Genesis 36:20-3020yThese are the sons of zSeir the Horite, the inhabitants of the land: Lotan, Shobal, Zibeon, Anah, 21Dishon, Ezer, and Dishan; these are the chiefs of the Horites, the sons of Seir in the land of Edom. 22The sons of Lotan were Hori and Hemam; and Lotan’s sister was Timna. 23 These are the sons ofShobal: Alvan, Manahath, Ebal, Shepho, and Onam. 24 These are the sons of Zibeon: Aiah and Anah;he is the Anah who found the hot springs in the wilderness, as he pastured the donkeys of Zibeonhis father. 25 These are the children of Anah: Dishon and aOholibamah the daughter of Anah. 26These are the sons of Dishon: Hemdan, Eshban, Ithran, and Cheran. 27 These are the sons of Ezer:Bilhan, Zaavan, and Akan. 28 These are the sons of Dishan: Uz and Aran. 29 These are the chiefs of theHorites: the bchiefs Lotan, Shobal, Zibeon, Anah, 30 Dishon, Ezer, and Dishan; these are the chiefs ofthe Horites, chief by chief in the land of Seir. 143t Ex. 15:15u ver. 11, 12v ver. 13w ver. 14x ver. 1, 8142The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Ge 36:9–19). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.y For ver. 20–28, see 1 Chr. 1:38–42z ch. 14:6; Deut. 2:12, 22a ver. 2b ver. 20143The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Ge 36:20–30). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
  • 116. A Study In Genesis 116This section lists the prominent descendants of Seir. They are possibly included because of the factthat these people became closely associated with the descendants of Esau by intermarriage that thetwo groups were finally one people.Genesis 36:31-3931cThese are the kings who reigned in the land of Edom, before any king reigned over the Israelites.32Bela the son of Beor reigned in Edom, the name of his city being Dinhabah. 33 Bela died, and Jobabthe son of Zerah of Bozrah reigned in his place. 34 Jobab died, and Husham of the land of theTemanites reigned in his place. 35 Husham died, and Hadad the son of Bedad, who defeated Midianin the country of Moab, reigned in his place, the name of his city being Avith. 36 Hadad died, andSamlah of Masrekah reigned in his place. 37 Samlah died, and Shaul of dRehoboth on the Euphrates2reigned in his place. 38 Shaul died, and Baal-hanan the son of Achbor reigned in his place. 39 Baal-hanan the son of Achbor died, and Hadar reigned in his place, the name of his city being Pau; hiswife’s name was Mehetabel, the daughter of Matred, daughter of Mezahab. 144These are the kings who reigned in the land of Edom.Genesis 36:40-4340 These are the names of the chiefs of Esau, according to their clans and their dwelling places, bytheir names: the chiefs Timna, Alvah, Jetheth, 41 Oholibamah, Elah, ePinon, 42 Kenaz, Teman, Mibzar,43 Magdiel, and Iram; these are the chiefs of Edom (that is, Esau, the father of fEdom), according totheir dwelling places in the land of their possession. 145This section lists a number of Edomite chiefs, according to their class and dwelling places.c For ver. 31–43, see 1 Chr. 1:43–54d [ch. 26:22]2 Hebrew the River144The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Ge 36:31–39). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.e [Num. 33:42]f ver. 9145The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Ge 36:40–43). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
  • 117. A Study In Genesis 117Genesis 37 – Joseph’s DreamsThe next three chapters are the story of Joseph and his time in Egypt. These events took palce someyears prior to Isaac’s death. Jacob and his family were dwelling near Isaac in Hebron, and takesplace about two years after Jacob’s return. Since Joseph was 17 years old at this time.God had told Abraham, “Know for certain that your descendants will be strangers in a country nottheir own, and they will be enslaved and mistreated 400 years. But I will punish the nation theyserve as slaves, and afterward they will come out with great possessions” (Gen. 15:13–14). Thestory of Joseph relates how Israel came to Egypt, where the little family multiplied to the millionsneeded to establish a nation.146The story of Joseph has fascinated laymen and scholars for centuries. As a man Joseph is one of theBible’s most commendable characters. And his experiences remind us in many ways of Jesus. As ahistorical record, the portrait given in Genesis of life in Egypt has been demonstrated to beamazingly accurate—amazing at least to those who used to argue that Joseph’s story was written amillennium or so after the supposed events. Leon Wood (Survey of Israel’s History, Zondervan)summarizes some of the details in the Genesis account that ring so true. Corroboration of details in this overall story with contemporary Egyptian practices and customs illustrates the accuracy of the biblical record. The titles, “chief of the butlers,” and “chief of the bakers,” occur both in Genesis (40:2) and extant Egyptian texts. Famines were known in Egypt and the idea of persons being assigned to dispense food during these famines is borne out in tomb inscriptions. One inscription even speaks of a seven-year famine at the time of the Third Dynasty (2700 b.c.). Indication is made on the Rosetta Stone that the Pharaoh had a custom of releasing prisoners on his birthday, as he did the butler (40:20). Joseph shaved before seeing Pharaoh (41:14), and shaving was a distinctive practice of Egypt. Pharaoh gave Joseph a signet ring, linen clothing, and a gold chain (41:42), all three of which are mentioned in Egyptian texts for similar use. Some scholars have objected to the idea of Joseph, a Semite, being elevated to such a high position in Egypt; but a letter dating from the Amarna period has been found written to a person in similar position having the Semitic name Dudu (David). It fits too that the Twelfth Dynasty, ruling at this time, had now moved the capital back from Thebes to the northern site of Memphis. Joseph wasthus more accessible to his brothers coming down from Canaan, as the continuing story indicates, and also to them living later in Goshen after Jacob’s arrival.147146 Richards, L., & Richards, L. O. (1987). The teachers commentary (67). Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books.147 Richards, L., & Richards, L. O. (1987). The teachers commentary (67). Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books.
  • 118. A Study In Genesis 118The story of Joseph in Egypt also forms a unique literary unit in the Book of Genesis. The fact thatthere are repeated elements in the narratives does not prove that the material was handed down intwo differing traditions as many critical scholars suggest. Repetition is the hallmark of Hebrewstyle; it serves to heighten the message, giving it a multiple emphasis.One example of repetition is the analogy between the Jacob and Joseph stories. Both cycles ofnarratives begin with the father being deceived and the brothers being treacherous (chaps 27; 37).Both cycles include a 20-year period of separation, with the younger brother in a foreign land. (ForJacob see 31:38. As for Joseph, he was 13 years in Potiphar’s house and in prison—from age 17[37:2] to age 30 [41:46]—and after 7 years of abundance his brothers came to Egypt, 41:53-54;42:1-2.) Both conclude with a reunion and reconciliation of the brothers (33:1-15; 45:1-15). As Godhad worked out matters to a proper resolution with Jacob, He would do the same with his sonJoseph.The Joseph stories also were instructive for Israel. As Joseph spent years in bondage in Egypt beforebeing delivered, so the descendants of Jacob would be in bondage there and would then bedelivered from it. For Joseph the discipline would test his faith; for the nation the stay in Egyptwould be for their preservation and discipline.In the record of Joseph’s life are several cycles of events: three sets of dreams, four sets of parallelrelationships (Joseph and his family, Joseph and Potiphar’s household, Joseph and the prisoners,Joseph and Pharaoh’s household), two episodes in a pit-prison that involve false accusation and theuse of his clothing for proof, and repeated visits to Egypt by his brothers. These cycles form thestructure of the ṯ ôleḏ ôṯ (“account”) of Jacob (37:2).The narratives differ in tone from the preceding material in Genesis. The emphasis here seems to beclosely related to the wisdom literature of Proverbs and Ecclesiastes, including incidentalcomments and the major point that Joseph was a wise ruler (Gen. 41:39).The theme of suffering as a test of character is predominant, both for Joseph and his brothers.Though Joseph was righteous he was not kept from suffering. He was preserved by his faith throughit. In the end Joseph could acknowledge that God meant it all for good (50:20). The Bible’s wisdomliterature assures the faithful that God brings good out of evil and suffering. Though the wicked mayprosper for a time, the righteous hold fast to their integrity because there is a higher, moreenduring principle of life (cf. the Book of Job). The wise recognize that the Lord God is sovereignover nature and the nations, and that He righteously orders the affairs of His people. At times God’sways seem unfair and paradoxical, but if endured by faith they bring blessings to the righteous.148Egypt.cf. confer, compare148Walvoord, J. F., Zuck, R. B., & Dallas Theological Seminary. (1983-). The Bible knowledge commentary : An exposition of the scriptures(Ge 37:1). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
  • 119. A Study In Genesis 119During the Middle Kingdom Age when Joseph went to Egypt, it was a powerful and unified land; aland of peace, effective government, and general prosperity. Massive mud forts guarded frontiersand Egypt’s trade and gold mining interests. Documents of the day reveal trade with western Asia,and that Canaan was divided into tribal areas and city states, just as the Bible describes. Thisclassical age of the Egyptian language produced exciting short stories, and even a treatise on thePleasures of Fishing and Fowling. It was a confident, powerful people who welcomed the littleHebrew family to Egypt, their haven of safety.149Genesis 37:1-2aJacob lived in the land of his father’s sojournings, in the land of Canaan.2 These are the generations of Jacob.These verses transition from Esau to Jacob.In dramatic contrast with the expanding, powerful Esau, Jacob was dwelling in the land of thesojournings of his father … the land of Canaan. Unlike Esau, Jacob had no “chiefs” or kings(35:11) yet, no lands to govern, and no full tribes. He was a sojourner.150Genesis 37:2a-4Joseph, being seventeen years old, was pasturing the flock with his brothers. He was a boy with thesons of Bilhah and Zilpah, his father’s wives. And Joseph brought ha bad report of them to theirfather. 3 Now Israel loved Joseph more than any other of his sons, because he was ithe son of his oldage. And he made him ja robe of many colors.14 But when his brothers saw that their father lovedhim more than all his brothers, they hated him and could not speak peacefully to him. 151Although Joseph was a great man, he never attained the spiritual stature of Abraham, Isaac, andJacob. God never actually appeared to him as He had to them, nor were the covenant promisesgiven to him in any special way. In fact, it was Judah, not Joseph, whom God would fulfill the coming149 Richards, L., & Richards, L. O. (1987). The teachers commentary (67). Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books.150Walvoord, J. F., Zuck, R. B., & Dallas Theological Seminary. (1983-). The Bible knowledge commentary : An exposition of the scriptures(Ge 37:1). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.h [1 Sam. 2:23, 24]i ch. 44:20j ver. 23, 321 See Septuagint, Vulgate; or (with Syriac) a robe with long sleeves. The meaning of the Hebrew is uncertain; also verses 23, 32151The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Ge 37:2–4). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
  • 120. A Study In Genesis 120of the Savior in times to come. His personal character, while morally pure, was marred by spiritualpride to a degree which his brothers found impossible to tolerate.Joseph’s oldest brothers (Rueben, Simeon, Levi, and Judah) were mature men by this time andapparently had duties in the family which kept them generally away from Joseph. Leah’s other twosons were Issachar and Zebulum and may have been with the older brothers. Joseph stayed morewith the sons of Bilhah and Zilpah (Dan, Naphtali, Gad, and Asher) who were nearer his own ageand had duties similar to Joseph. Benjamin was too young and was probably at home with Jacob.Jacob was already unhappy with the behavior of his three eldest sons after the incident in Shechem.Now Joseph began to bring him disturbing reports of his other sons also. Although Joseph wasbeing a tell tale, Jacob needed to know what was going on. Joseph’s brothers hated him for this.Joseph was probably somewhat spoiled by Jacob – he was born in his old age and also was thefirstborn son of his favorite wife. However, Joseph’s moral standards were superior to his brothers,possibly because Jacob had spent more time with him. Jacob recognized Joseph’s leadershipcapabilities by placing him in charge of the work of shepherding the flock, even though he wasyounger than the four brothers he was working with.His authority was also indicated by the “coat of colors” which his father made for him. The word“colors” (Hebrew pas-sim) is uncertain in meaning and newer translations often render it “longsleeves”. Whatever the actual meaning, it is clear that the intent of the coat was as a symbol ofJoseph’s authority and favored position in the family.This only made his brothers more jealous. He was to Jacob as “a son of old age”, or a “wise son”with intelligence beyond his years.could not speak peaceably unto him—did not say “peace be to thee” [Ge 43:23, &c.], the usualexpression of good wishes among friends and acquaintances. It is deemed a sacred duty to give allthis form of salutation; and the withholding of it is an unmistakable sign of dislike or secrethostility. The habitual refusal of Joseph’s brethren, therefore, to meet him with “the salaam,”showed how ill-disposed they were towards him. It is very natural in parents to love the youngest,and feel partial to those who excel in talents or amiableness. But in a family constituted as Jacob’s—many children by different mothers—he showed great indiscretion.152Genesis 37:5-85 Now Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers they hated him even more. 6 He saidto them, “Hear this dream that I have dreamed: 7 Behold, we were binding sheaves in the field, andbehold, kmy sheaf arose and stood upright. And behold, your sheaves gathered around it and152 Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., Fausset, A. R., Brown, D., & Brown, D. (1997). A commentary, critical and explanatory, on the Old and NewTestaments (Ge 37:4). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.k ch. 42:6, 9
  • 121. A Study In Genesis 121lbowed down to my sheaf.” 8 His brothers said to him, “Are you indeed to reign over us? Or are youindeed to rule over us?” So they hated him even more for his dreams and for his words. 153Joseph had a dream about the sheaves of corn. It does not say these dreams were from God or not,but it was not very wise on Joseph’s part to share it with his brothers.Genesis 37:9-119 Then he dreamed another dream and told it to his brothers and said, “Behold, I have dreamedanother dream. Behold, the sun, the moon, and eleven stars were bowing down to me.” 10 But whenhe told it to his father and to his brothers, his father rebuked him and said to him, “What is thisdream that you have dreamed? Shall I and myour mother and your brothers indeed come nto bowourselves to the ground before you?” 11 And ohis brothers were jealous of him, pbut his father keptthe saying in mind. 154Joseph had another dream, where, not only did his brothers bow down before him, but also hisfather and mother. Since Rachel was already dead, it’s possible that the moon in his dream wasLeah.Once again, he told his brothers. Why he told them is not clear. He must have known it made themangry. It seems that Joseph was very full of himself. Even Jacob rebuked him this time thinking thatthe dream was a product of Joseph’s ego.Genesis 37:12-1412Now his brothers went to pasture their father’s flock near qShechem. 13 And Israel said to Joseph,“Are not your brothers pasturing the flock at Shechem? Come, I will send you to them.” And he saidl ch. 43:26; 44:14153The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Ge 37:5–8). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.m [ch. 35:18]n ver. 7, 9o Acts 7:9p [Luke 2:19, 51]154The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Ge 37:9–11). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.q See ch. 33:18
  • 122. A Study In Genesis 122to him, “Here I am.” 14 So he said to him, “Go now, see if it is well with your brothers and with theflock, and bring me word.” So he sent him from the Valley of Hebron, and he came to Shechem.155It seems strange that Jacob’s sons were pasturing their flocks more than 50 miles away fromHebron. Jacob still owned the land in Shechem so it’s possible they wanted distance betweenthemselves and their father. Additionally, the vale of Shechem was, from the earliest mention ofCanaan, blessed with an abundance of water and rich pastureland. When Jacob had not heard fromthem for some time, he apparently became concerned for either their safety or what they might beup to. It appears that all ten sons were there, with only Joseph and Benjamin at home. This in itselfis strange, since Joseph was in charge over four of his brothers.Joseph became so concerned, he decided to send Joseph to check up on them and bring him anaccurate report of how his brothers were doing.Genesis 37:15-2415 And a man found him wandering in the fields. And the man asked him, “What are you seeking?” 16“I am seeking my brothers,” he said. “Tell me, please, where they are pasturing the flock.” 17 And theman said, “They have gone away, for I heard them say, ‘Let us go to Dothan.’ ” So Joseph went afterhis brothers and found them at sDothan.18They saw him from afar, and before he came near to them they conspired against him to kill him.19They said to one another, “Here comes this dreamer. 20 Come now, let us kill him and throw himinto one of the pits.2 Then we will say that a fierce animal has devoured him, and we will see whatwill become of his dreams.” 21 But when Reuben heard it, he rescued him out of their hands, saying,“Let us not take his life.” 22 And Reuben said to them, “Shed no blood; throw him into this pit here inthe wilderness, but do not lay a hand on him”— that he might rescue him out of their hand torestore him to his father. 23 So when Joseph came to his brothers, they stripped him of his robe, therobe of many colors that he wore. 24 And they took him and ythrew him into a pit. The pit wasempty; there was no water in it. 156Hebrew, Dothaim, means “two wells,” and is situated a few hours’ distance from Shechem.Behold, this dreamer cometh—literally, “master of dreams”—a bitterly ironical sneer. Dreamswere considered as divine suggestions and to make false pretensions as to having received one was155The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Ge 37:12–14). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.s 2 Kgs. 6:132 Or cisterns; also verses 22, 24y [Jer. 38:6; Lam. 3:53]156The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Ge 37:15–24). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
  • 123. A Study In Genesis 123detested and considered blasphemy. It was in this light that Joseph was regarded by his brethrenas a pretender and blasphemer..157When Joseph’s brothers saw him coming alone, they quickly plotted against him. Rueben was theonly one who seemed not to want to murder Joseph. It does not really tell us why Rueben did notwant to partake in Joseph’s murder. He managed to persuade his brothers not to kill Joseph,planning on coming back later to rescue him.Joseph must have realized at some point that Rueben tried to help him, because years later, whenJoseph’s brothers came to Egypt to buy food, he held Simeon instead of Rueben.When Joseph arrived, they stripped him of his coat of distinction and threw him into a cistern (a drywell).If Joseph was a righteous person, why did God allow this bad thing to happen? It would seem thatthis bitter experience had a two-fold purpose. Joseph needed to learn humility and patience beforehis leadership and planning skills could be used by God; his brothers needed to learn theconsequences of sin and needed to be brought low in confession and humiliation before they couldbe brought to genuine repentance and spiritual maturity.Genesis 37:25-2825 Then they sat down to eat. And looking up they saw a zcaravan of Ishmaelites coming from Gilead,with their camels bearing bgum, balm, and myrrh, on their way to carry it down to Egypt. 26 ThenJudah said to his brothers, “What profit is it cif we kill our brother and conceal his blood? 27 Come,let us sell him to the Ishmaelites, and dlet not our hand be upon him, for he is our brother, our ownflesh.” And his brothers listened to him. 28 Then eMidianite traders passed by. And they drew Josephup and lifted him out of the pit, and fsold him to the Ishmaelites for twenty shekels3 of silver. Theytook Joseph to Egypt. 158157Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., Fausset, A. R., Brown, D., & Brown, D. (1997). A commentary, critical and explanatory, on the Old and NewTestaments (Ge 37:19). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.z Job 6:19; Isa. 21:13b ch. 43:11; Jer. 8:22; 46:11c ver. 20d [1 Sam. 18:17]e ver. 36; Judg. 8:22, 24f ch. 45:4; Ps. 105:17; Acts 7:93 A shekel was about 2/5 ounce or 11 grams158The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Ge 37:25–28). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
  • 124. A Study In Genesis 124The sat down to eat (Rueben was not among them). While they were eating, they saw a caravan onthe way to Egypt. Judah then prompted his brothers to sell Joseph to passing Ishmaelites on theirway from Gilead … to Egypt. Ishmaelites were descendants of Abraham by Hagar (16:15) and theMidianites (37:28) descended from Abraham by his concubine Keturah (25:2). The termIshmaelites became a general designation for desert tribes, so that Midianite traders were alsoknown as Ishmaelites. Joseph was treated harshly by his brothers; but being sold for 20 shekels (8ounces of silver) and taken to Egypt, he was preserved alive.159Genesis 37:29-3329 When Reuben returned to the pit and saw that Joseph was not in the pit, he gtore his clothes 30and returned to his brothers and said, “The boy his gone, and I, where shall I go?” 31 Then they tookiJoseph’s robe and slaughtered a goat and dipped the robe in the blood. 32 And they sent the robe ofmany colors and brought it to their father and said, “This we have found; please identify whether itis your son’s robe or not.” 33 And he identified it and said, “It is my son’s robe. jA fierce animal hasdevoured him. Joseph is without doubt torn to pieces.” 160Evidently, after this, the brothers left the area. Knowing they had left, Rueben returned to rescueJoseph. He found the cistern empty. In his distress, he tore his clothing as a way of expressing grief,and then confronted his brothers who told him what they had done.The brothers all agreed to kill a goat and dip Joseph’s coat in the blood to look like he had beenkilled by a wild animal.When they arrived home, the coat was presented to Jacob who identified it as Joseph’s. Jacobimmediately jumped to the conclusion that Joseph has been killed as the brother’s had described. Itis strange that he did not question his sons further. It probably did not enter his mind that theywould harm their own brother.Genesis 37:34-36159Walvoord, J. F., Zuck, R. B., & Dallas Theological Seminary. (1983-). The Bible knowledge commentary : An exposition of the scriptures(Ge 37:25–28). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.g ch. 44:13; Num. 14:6; 2 Sam. 1:11; 3:31; Job 1:20h ch. 42:13, 32, 36; 44:31; Jer. 31:15; Lam. 5:7i ver. 23j ver. 20; ch. 44:28160The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Ge 37:29–33). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
  • 125. A Study In Genesis 12534Then Jacob tore his garments and put sackcloth on his loins and mourned for his son many days.35 All his sons and all his daughters krose up to comfort him, but he refused to be comforted andsaid, “No, lI shall go down to Sheol to my son, mourning.” Thus his father wept for him. 36 Meanwhilemthe Midianites had sold him in Egypt to Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, nthe captain of the guard.161Joseph tore his clothes and donned sackcloth. This was the traditional way of grieving. Then hewent into an extended period of mourning. He had lost Rachel just a few years prior and nowJoseph, his favorite son, whom he had planned to bestow the birthright on, was also gone.He mourned for so long that all his sons and daughters tried to comfort him. But he would not becomforted. “I shall go down to Sheol”. Jacob’s grief is such that he says he would continue to grieveinto the afterlife. Sheol is the place where people go after death until Jesus died and rose.Meanwhile, Joseph is sold to Potiphar, the captain of the guard for Pharaoh. Potiphar had theresponsibility of imprisoning senior members of Pharaoh’s staff when they displeased Pharaoh.Potiphar is called an “officer”, but the Hebrew word is “saris”, meaning eunich, which could explainby Potiphar’s wife tried to seduce Joseph.k [2 Sam. 12:17]l ch. 42:38; 44:29, 31m ver. 28; [ver. 25; ch. 39:1]n ch. 40:3, 4; 41:10, 12161The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Ge 37:34–36). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
  • 126. A Study In Genesis 126Genesis 38 – Judah and TamarA span of about 22 years takes place between Genesis 37 and Genesis 47, when Jacob comes toEgypt. The only information provided on Jacob and his family during this period is the story ofJudah and Tamar.This shameful account of Judah’s relationship with Tamar, which interrupts the ongoing story ofJoseph, fulfills an important role in Genesis. It focuses on the continuation of Judah’s family line andconcludes with a birth account in which a firstborn twin is pushed aside by his younger brother.These features highlight the potential importance of Judah’s line through Perez. Later in Chapter49, kingship will be associated with Judah’s descendants, and Biblical history reveals that fromPerez comes the Davidic dynasty (See Ruth 4:18,22).Although this chapter shows Judah at his worst, it also accounts for a remarkable transformation inhis life, which comes through in the remaining episodes of the Joseph story. Further, Judahprovides a stark contrast to the chaste Joseph in Genesis 39. Though he suffered for his chastity,Joseph’s behavior is the right way to bring blessing to the Gentiles.Genesis 38:1-5It happened at that time that Judah went down from his brothers and oturned aside to a certainpAdullamite, whose name was Hirah. 2 There Judah saw the daughter of a certain Canaanite whosename was qShua. He took her and went in to her, 3 and she conceived and bore a son, and he calledhis name rEr. 4 She conceived again and bore a son, and she called his name rOnan. 5 Yet again shebore a son, and she called his name rShelah. Judah1 was in Chezib when she bore him. 162o ver. 16; ch. 19:3; 2 Kgs. 4:8p 1 Sam. 22:1; 2 Sam. 23:13; 1 Chr. 11:15; Mic. 1:15q [1 Chr. 2:3]r ch. 46:12; Num. 26:19, 20r [See ver. 3 above]r [See ver. 3 above]1 Hebrew He162The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Ge 38:1–5). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
  • 127. A Study In Genesis 127“At that time” – Judah decided to leave his brothers and move his tent somewhere else. This seemsto tie Judah’s move to the events surrounding Joseph’s sale into slavery, and could very well havebeen the motive for it. It’s very possible that he was so disturbed by his brothers actions and hisfathers resulting frief that he resolved to get away from the entire situation.Adullum was a small and long established Canaanite settlement about eight miles northwest of thefamily home. It was not that far from his family, but enough to give him some space.Judah became friendly with those in Adullum and eventually met a Canaanite women whose namewe are not given but was a “daughter of Shua”. Without consulting anyone, Judah decided to marryher. This turned out to be a poor choice. Although the Bible does not give us details, the fact herthree sons were rejected by God as heirs and two of them were notoriously wicked, seems to reflectthe fact that she nor they ever converted to Judah’s faith.The three sons were:1. Er – watcher, named by Judah2. Onan – strong, named by his mother3. Shela – meaning is unknown, named by his motherThe fact that the mother named the last two sons seems to indicate her apparent increasingdominance in the family. By the time of Shelah’s birth, they had moved to Chezib, evidently a smalltown near Adullum.Genesis 38:6-106 And Judah took a wife for Er his firstborn, and her name was Tamar. 7 But Er, Judah’s firstborn,swas wicked in the sight of the LORD, and the LORD put him to death. 8 Then Judah said to Onan, “Goin to tyour brother’s wife and uperform the duty of a brother-in-law to her, and raise up offspringfor your brother.” 9 But Onan knew that the offspring would not be his. So whenever he went in tohis brother’s wife he would waste the semen on the ground, so as not to give offspring to hisbrother. 10 And what he did was wicked in the sight of the LORD, and he put him to death also. 163We are not given any background on Tamar, but as she became the mother of the messianic linefrom Judah, she must have been acceptable by God.Judah’s first son Er died because he was wicked. We are not told how this occurred. By the customof the levirate (from Latin levir, “husband’s brother”) law of marriage, the second son, Onan, was tomarry Tamar, the widow of his brother, and raise up offspring for his brother. However, Onans 1 Chr. 2:3t Matt. 22:24; Mark 12:19; Luke 20:28u See Deut. 25:5–10163The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Ge 38:6–10). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
  • 128. A Study In Genesis 128repeatedly used that law for sexual gratification. He took advantage of the situation, but refused theresponsibility that went with it. So God took his life too.164Genesis 38:11-1211Then Judah said to Tamar his daughter-in-law, v“Remain a widow in your father’s house, tillShelah my son grows up”—for he feared that he would die, like his brothers. So Tamar went andremained win her father’s house.12In the course of time the wife of Judah, Shua’s daughter, died. When Judah xwas comforted, hewent up to yTimnah to his sheepshearers, he and his friend Hirah the Adullamite. 165Following the death of his two other sons, Judah protects his remaining son Shelah by sendingTamar back to her own family under the pretext that one day she would marry Shelah.After Tamar had left, Judah’s wife also died. The Bible does not say so, but judging by what hadalready taken place, her death may also have been in the nature of a judgment from God, reflectingher own responsibility in the training of Er and Onan and their resulting attitudes of bitter rebellionagainst God.After a suitable period of mourning, “Judah was comforted”. He returned to his business life, takingcare of his flocks and herds. At this time Judah went up to Timneh, a few miles from Adullam,where his sheep were being pastured for the sheep shearing. His friend Hirah came with him.Genesis 38:13-19164Walvoord, J. F., Zuck, R. B., & Dallas Theological Seminary. (1983-). The Bible knowledge commentary : An exposition of the scriptures(Ge 38:6–11). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.v [Ruth 1:12, 13]w Lev. 22:13x ch. 24:67; 37:35; 2 Sam. 13:39y Judg. 14:1165The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Ge 38:11–12). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
  • 129. A Study In Genesis 12913And when Tamar was told, “Your father-in-law is going up to Timnah to shear his sheep,” 14 shetook off her widow’s garments zand covered herself with a veil, wrapping herself up, and sat at theentrance to aEnaim, which is on the road to Timnah. For she saw that Shelah was grown up, bandshe had not been given to him in marriage. 15 When Judah saw her, he thought she was a prostitute,for she had covered her face. 16 He turned to her at the roadside and said, “Come, let me come in toyou,” for he did not know that she was his daughter-in-law. She said, “What will you give me, thatyou may come in to me?” 17 He answered, “I will send you a young goat from the flock.” And shesaid, “If you give me a pledge, until you send it—” 18 He said, “What pledge shall I give you?” Shereplied, c“Your signet and your cord and your staff that is in your hand.” So he gave them to her andwent in to her, and she conceived by him. 19 Then she arose and went away, and taking off dher veilshe put on the garments of her widowhood. 166Meanwhile, Tamar had not forgotten Judah’s promise, although he seemed to have washed hishands of her. It was not her fault that Er and Onan had died. Plus there was the humiliation ofbeing sent back to her father’s household. She decides to take matters into her own hands. Sheprobably does not want to marry Shelah either, but Judah would make a good husband.Tamar hears that Judah is in Timnah and she devices a plan. She takes off her widows garmentsand covers herself with a veil. She then goes to the entrance to Enaim in the hope of meeting Judah,and tricking him into thinking she was a temple prostitute.Tamar was a Canaanite, so promiscuity was a way of life. The profession of a temple prostitute wasconsidered respectable. In many ancient religious systems, all the women of the community wereexpected to devote themselves on occasion to this practice, as an actual votive offering to theirpagan gods and goddesses. That she was posing as an actual temple prostitute, rather than acommon harlot, is evident from the fact that the word used to describe her later by the Canaanitemen themselves was the word used for this purpose – Hebrew cedesha – meaning “one set apart”.Her motive for her actions was neither lust nor money but rather ensuring her place in thecovenant family, which was unfairly being denied her.Judah’s request for intercourse reinforces the fact that he is a man driven by personal gratification.Having knowingly deceived Tamar by sending her away, he now unknowingly takes advantage ofher for his own pleasure.z [ver. 19; ch. 24:65]a ver. 21b ver. 26c ver. 25d ver. 14166The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Ge 38:13–19). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
  • 130. A Study In Genesis 130Tamar’s request “what shall you give me?” plays on Judah’s refusal to give her Shelah. He offers hera kid from his flock in payment, but until he can return with his payment, he leaves her a “pledge” inthe form of his signet (his bracelets and his staff). He then went in to her and she conceived.Genesis 38:20-2320 When Judah sent the young goat by his friend the Adullamite to take back the pledge from thewoman’s hand, he did not find her. 21 And he asked the men of the place, “Where is the cultprostitute2 who was at eEnaim at the roadside?” And they said, “No cult prostitute has been here.” 22So he returned to Judah and said, “I have not found her. Also, the men of the place said, ‘No cultprostitute has been here.’ ” 23 And Judah replied, “Let her keep the things as her own, or we shall belaughed at. You see, I sent this young goat, and you did not find her.” 167After Judah left, he chose a kid from his flock and asked his friend Hirah to take it to her andretrieve his personal items.Hirah could not find Tamar and when he asked around, no one remembered seeing her. The menwho were in that area on a regular basis assured him that no temple prostitute frequented theplace.Hirah returned to Judah and told him he was unable to find the woman. Judah, not wanting toadvertise what he had done, decided to just let the matter drop.Genesis 38:24-2624 About three months later Judah was told, “Tamar your daughter-in-law has been immoral.3Moreover, she is pregnant by immorality.” And Judah said, “Bring her out, and glet her be burned.” 25As she was being brought out, she sent word to her father-in-law, “By the man to whom thesebelong, I am pregnant.” And she said, “Please identify whose these are, the signet and the cord andthe staff.” 26 Then Judah identified them and said, i“She is more righteous than I, since jI did not giveher to my son Shelah.” And he did not know her again. 1682 Hebrew sacred woman; a woman who served a pagan deity by prostitution; also verse 22e ver. 14167The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Ge 38:20–23). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.3 Or has committed prostitutiong Lev. 21:9; [Deut. 22:21; John 8:5]i 1 Sam. 24:17j ver. 14168The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Ge 38:24–26). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
  • 131. A Study In Genesis 131About three months later, Judah heard that Tamar was pregnant. He was indignant that hisdaughter-in-law would do such a thing. Even though she was back at her father’s house, she wasstill under Judah’s authority, nominally engaged to his son Shelah.The penalty for adultery was death, even in Canaan. In the Code of Hammurabi and other ancientcodes, adultery was punishable by death for a woman, the penalty for a man was less severe.Based on this, Judah ordered her to be burned. He may have even been grateful for this turn ofevents because it solved the problem of Shelah having to marry her. However, while she was beingquestioned as to who the other guilty party was, she produced Judah’s signet.Judah realized what had occurred and knew the reason why she had done such a thing. He wasshamed by his actions, and could not blame her for her actions. He declared her to be morerighteous than himself, and rather than slaying her and her unborn child, he acknowledged herchild as his own. However, he would not lie with her again.Genesis 38:27-3027When the time of her labor came, there were twins in her womb. 28 And when she was in labor,one put out a hand, and the midwife took and tied a scarlet thread on his hand, saying, “This onecame out first.” 29 But as he drew back his hand, behold, his brother came out. And she said, “What abreach you have made for yourself!” Therefore his name was called kPerez.530 Afterward his brothercame out with the scarlet thread on his hand, and his name was called kZerah. 169Tamar was to be the mother of twins. The events of the birth of these boys, was, in many respects,similar to the birth of Jacob and Esau, with a conflict between the two sons even at birth.The midwife attending the birth tied a red cord on the first hand that emerged assuming this wouldbe the firstborn. But he drew his hand back inside the womb and the other twin forged ahead andcame out first. He was named Pharez, meaning “breaking through”. The other son was calledZerah, meaning “rising”.Both brothers, as well as Judah’s son Shelah, eventually became ancestors of large families in thetribe of Judah. It was Pharez, however, who was the ancestor of David, and eventually Jesus.Tamar became one of the few women whose names are listed in the official genealogy of Jesus. Theothers were Rahab, Ruth, and Bathsheba. It is remarkable that all four of these women were non-Jews who had been won by other witnesses to the true faith of Jehovah.k ch. 46:12; Num. 26:20; 1 Chr. 2:4; Matt. 1:35Perez means a breachk [See ver. 29 above]169The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Ge 38:27–30). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
  • 132. A Study In Genesis 132
  • 133. A Study In Genesis 133Genesis 39 – Joseph and Potiphar’s WifeThere is much debate over which Pharaoh was on the throne during Joseph’s time in Egypt. Therehas never been a definitive list put together of who ruled Upper Egypt, Lower Egypt, and whichPharaoh’s ruled both.Based on the majority of scholars, they believe that this period of time was during the reign of theHyksos kings in Egypt. They were foreign invaders, probably at least partially from Semitic stock,who came from the East and conquered Egypt, according to standard chronology, sometime around1720 BC. They were also called the “Shepherd Kings”. It is believed that because of their Semiticorigin, Jacob’s family was well received when they moved to Egypt. The Hyksos were expelled fromEgypt prior to Moses’ time, so the Pharaoh of the new dynasty “knew not Joseph” and soon startedto persecute these Hebrew “relatives” of the Hyksos.Genesis 39:1-6aNow Joseph had been brought down to Egypt, and lPotiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, the captain of theguard, an Egyptian, mhad bought him from the nIshmaelites who had brought him down there. 2oTheLord was with Joseph, and he became a successful man, and he was in the house of his Egyptianmaster. 3 His master saw that the Lord was with him and that the Lord pcaused all that he did tosucceed in his hands. 4 So Joseph qfound favor in his sight and attended him, and he made himoverseer of his house rand put him in charge of all that he had. 5 From the time that he made himoverseer in his house and over all that he had the Lord blessed the Egyptian’s house for Joseph’ssake; the blessing of the Lord was on all that he had, in house and field. 6 So he left all that he hadin Joseph‘s charge, and because of him he had no concern about anything but the food he ate. 170l ch. 37:36m ch. 37:28n ch. 37:25o ver. 21; Acts 7:9; [ch. 21:22; 26:24, 28; 28:15; 1 Sam. 16:18; 18:14, 28]p 2 Chr. 26:5; Ps. 1:3q ver. 21; ch. 19:19; 33:10r ver. 8170The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Ge 39:5–6). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
  • 134. A Study In Genesis 134Joseph is taken to market in Egypt and sold to Potiphar, who works for Pharaoh. Pharaoh is the kingof Egypt and Potiphar is captain of the king’s guard. Between 1720 and 1550 BC, Egypt is ruled bythe Hyksos pharaohs who, like Joseph, have come from Canaan. They favor servants andadministrators from Semitic (that is, Asiatic or ‘foreign’) backgrounds.God’s presence was with Joseph throughout his time in Egypt. Although God never speaks directlyto Joseph like he did his father, Joseph’s life in Egypt is governed by God’s providential care. Hebecame a successful man in spite of being sold into slavery.The Lord blesses Joseph, and soon the young man is trusted to manage Potiphar’s entire household.171 God blessed Potiphar’s household because of Joseph. Potiphar was an “officer” of Pharaoh, theHebrew word for this is saris, which actually means “chamberlain”.Potiphar turned over his entire household for Joseph to run because he saw Joseph’s talents andrealized that God was with Joseph.Genesis 39:6b-10Now Joseph was thandsome in form and appearance. 7 And after a time his master’s wife cast hereyes on Joseph and said, “Lie with me.” 8 But he refused and said to his master’s wife, “Behold,because of me my master has no concern about anything in the house, and uhe has put everythingthat he has in my charge. 9 He is not greater in this house than I am, nor has he kept back anythingfrom me except yourself, because you are his wife. How then can I do this great wickedness and vsinagainst God?” 10 And as she spoke to Joseph day after day, he wwould not listen to her, to lie besideher or to be with her. 172Joseph’s refusal to sleep with Potiphar’s wife contrasts sharply with the behavior of Rueben andJudah. His integrity does not allow him to betray his master, who has trusted him with everythinghe owns. Additionally, this would be a “sin against God”.Genesis 39:11-15171 Knowles, A. (2001). The Bible guide (1st Augsburg books ed.) (37). Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg.t [ch. 29:17; 1 Sam. 16:12]u ver. 4v 2 Sam. 12:13; Ps. 51:4w [Prov. 1:10]172The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Ge 39:6–10). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
  • 135. A Study In Genesis 13511 But one day, when he went into the house to do his work and none of the men of the house wasthere in the house, 12xshe caught him by his garment, saying, “Lie with me.” But he left his garmentin her hand and fled and got out of the house. 13 And as soon as she saw that he had left his garmentin her hand and had fled out of the house, 14 she called to the men of her household and said tothem, “See, he has brought among us a Hebrew to laugh at us. He came in to me to lie with me, and Icried out with a loud voice. 15 And as soon as he heard that I lifted up my voice and cried out, he lefthis garment beside me and fled and got out of the house.” 173The situation came to a climax one day when Potiphar’s wife apparently became aggressive andtried to pull him down on the bed with her. When he tried to flee she held onto his garment so thathe had to leave it behind in order to get away from her.Her passion turned into the rage of a rejected woman. She wanted revenge since it was veryapparent that Joseph was never going to sleep with her. Appealing to their jealousy of Joseph, shecalled out loudly to the male servants of the household. She told the servants that Joseph had triedto rape her and that her screaming had been the only thing that had saved her. She blamedPotiphar for bringing a Hebrew into their household and endangering all the woman of the house.It is mentioned several times that Potiphar is an Egyptian and it would seem so was his wife andthose in the household. Egyptians, even then, appeared to not like the Hebrews. This may havebeen due to a resentment towards the Hyksos who had conquered them or because of past historywith Abraham and IsaacGenesis 39:16-2016 Then she laid up his garment by her until his master came home, 17 and she told him the samestory, saying, “The Hebrew servant, whom you have brought among us, came in to me to laugh atme. 18 But as soon as I lifted up my voice and cried, he left his garment beside me and fled out of thehouse.”19 As soon as his master heard the words that his wife spoke to him, “This is the way yourservant treated me,” his anger was kindled. 20 And Joseph’s master took him and yput him into thezprison, the place where the king’s prisoners were confined, and he was there in prison. 174When Potiphar returned home, his wife repeated her story. On hearing her story, Potiphar becamevery angry. The Bible doesn’t say whether or not the anger was against Joseph or his wife. Potipharknew his players and probably did not truly believe his wife’s story. However, he was obligated totake action.x [Prov. 7:13, 18]173The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Ge 39:11–15). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.y Ps. 105:18z ch. 40:3, 5; [ch. 40:15; 41:14]174The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Ge 39:16–20). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
  • 136. A Study In Genesis 136There is no indication that Joseph tried to defend himself. Part of Potiphar’s anger was due tolosing the service that Joseph provided to his household as well as the blessings that the householdwas enjoying because of Joseph.It is likely that Potiphar was the captain of the guards in charge of prisoners; he may even havebeen the chief executioner. At any rate, he saw to it that Joseph was put in the king’s prison (v. 20).This was the part of the prison reserved for political, rather than criminal prisoners. Joseph’sfaithfulness and devotion again brought him favor with the officers. “The Lord was with Joseph” isthe key to his success (39:2, 5, 21). Joseph had to suffer as a prisoner for at least two years, andprobably longer. Psalm 105:17–20 explains that this suffering put “iron” in his soul. It helped tomake a man out of him. People who avoid suffering have a hard time developing character.Certainly Joseph learned patience from his suffering (James 1:1–5) as well as a deeper faith in God’sWord (Heb. 6:12).175Genesis 39:21-2321But athe Lord was with Joseph and showed him steadfast love band gave him favor in the sight ofthe keeper of the prison. 22 And the keeper of the prison cput Joseph in charge of all the prisonerswho were in the prison. Whatever was done there, he was the one who did it. 23 The keeper of theprison paid no attention to anything that was in Joseph’s charge, because dthe Lord was with him.And whatever he did, the Lord made it succeed. 176But again, Joseph prospered with God’s blessing. The prison governor soon placed Joseph in chargeof the affairs of the prison.175 Wiersbe, W. W. (1993). Wiersbes expository outlines on the Old Testament (Ge 38–39). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.a ver. 2; Acts 7:9, 10b Ex. 3:21; 11:3; 12:36c ch. 40:4d ver. 2, 3176The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Ge 39:20–23). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
  • 137. A Study In Genesis 137Genesis 40 – Joseph Interprets Two Prisoner’s DreamsJoseph was seventeen years old when he went down to Egypt and thirty years old when heappeared before Pharaoh and was placed in charge of Egypt’s grain conservation program. Thetime in between along with his experiences, prepared Joseph for this position of leadership anddeliverance to which he was called.This parallels with King David’s story – he was anointed when he was a youth but did not becomeking until he was thirty. Also, those who trained from childhood to enter Levitical service were notpermitted to start their service until they were thirty. Jesus Himself, did not start his ministry untilhe was thirty.Genesis 40:1-4Sometime after this, the ecupbearer of the king of Egypt and his baker committed an offense againsttheir lord the king of Egypt. 2 And Pharaoh was angry with his two officers, the chief cupbearer andthe chief baker, 3fand he put them in custody in the house of the captain of the guard, in the prisonwhere Joseph was confined. 4 The captain of the guard appointed Joseph to be with them, and heattended them. They continued for some time in custody. 177The chief butler was the overseer of Pharaoh’s vineyards and wine cellar, as well as his personalcupbearer, responsible for seeing that all drinks served to the king were safe and of good quality.The Hebrew term cupbearer corresponds to the Egyptian wb’, an official (frequently a foreigner)who often became a confidant of the king and wielded political power (see K. A. Kitchen, NBD3 248).Nehemiah held this post in Persia.178The chief baker was responsible for the food which Pharaoh ate. The baker may be the Egyptianretehti, the head of the bakers, who had privileges in the royal court.179The Hebrew word (saris), used here of these two men and of Potiphar (see 39:1), normallymeans “eunuch.” But evidence from Akkadian texts shows that in early times the title was used of acourt official in general. Only later did it become more specialized in its use.180e Neh. 1:11f [ch. 39:20]177The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Ge 40:1–4). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.178 Biblical Studies Press. (2006; 2006). The NET Bible First Edition Notes (Ge 40:1). Biblical Studies Press.179 Biblical Studies Press. (2006; 2006). The NET Bible First Edition Notes (Ge 40:1). Biblical Studies Press.
  • 138. A Study In Genesis 138Both officers, especially the former, were, in ancient Egypt, always persons of great rank andimportance; and from the confidential nature of their employment, as well as their access to theroyal presence, they were generally the highest nobles or princes of the blood.181Both of these officers were thrown into the prison where Joseph was and he was given the task oftaking care of them. The Bible does not say exactly what their offense was or if they were evenguilty. Apparently the investigation of their crime was ongoing, but they were imprisoned in themeantime until their innocence or guilt was proven. Later, the butler was restored to his positionand the baker was not, so it would seem Pharaoh’s investigation found evidence of the baker’s guilt.Genesis 40:5-85 And one night they both dreamed—the cupbearer and the baker of the king of Egypt, who wereconfined in the prison—each his own dream, and each dream with its own interpretation. 6 WhenJoseph came to them in the morning, he saw that they were troubled. 7 So he asked Pharaoh’sofficers who were with him in custody in his master’s house, g“Why are your faces downcasttoday?” 8 They said to him, h“We have had dreams, and there is no one to interpret them.” AndJoseph said to them, i“Do not interpretations belong to God? Please tell them to me.” 182In ancient near East, dreams were often viewed as a medium of divine revelation. Because of theirimprisonment, the cupbearer and baker did not have access to the “magicians” and “wise men” whomight be able to interpret their dreams.The dreams made such an impression on both men that Joseph noticed their preoccupation the nextmorning. They told him about their dreams. Joseph told them that if they revealed their dreams tohim, he would seek the interpretation from God.Genesis 40:9-159 So the chief cupbearer told his dream to Joseph and said to him, “In my dream there was a vinebefore me, 10 and on the vine there were three branches. As soon as it budded, its blossoms shotforth, and the clusters ripened into grapes. 11 Pharaoh’s cup was in my hand, and I took the grapes180 Biblical Studies Press. (2006; 2006). The NET Bible First Edition Notes (Ge 40:2). Biblical Studies Press.181Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., Fausset, A. R., Brown, D., & Brown, D. (1997). A commentary, critical and explanatory, on the Old and NewTestaments (Ge 40:1). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.g [Neh. 2:2]h ch. 41:15i ch. 41:16; Dan. 2:28, 47182The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Ge 40:5–8). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
  • 139. A Study In Genesis 139and pressed them into Pharaoh’s cup and placed the cup in Pharaoh’s hand.” 12 Then Joseph said tohim, j“This is its interpretation: the three branches are three days. 13 In three days Pharaoh will lliftup your head and restore you to your office, and you shall place Pharaoh’s cup in his hand asformerly, when you were his cupbearer. 14 Only remember me, when it is well with you, and pleasedo me the kindness to mention me to Pharaoh, and so get me out of this house. 15 For mI was indeedstolen out of the land of the Hebrews, and nhere also I have done nothing that they should put meinto the pit.” 183The chief butler told his dream first and Joseph interpreted it for him. In three days time he wouldbe restored to his position. In return for this interpretation, Joseph asked the chief butler toremember him, and intercede for him with Pharaoh.Genesis 40:16-1916 When the chief baker saw that the interpretation was favorable, he said to Joseph, “I also had adream: there were three cake baskets on my head, 17 and in the uppermost basket there were allsorts of baked food for Pharaoh, but the birds were eating it out of the basket on my head.” 18 AndJoseph answered and said, o“This is its interpretation: the three baskets are three days. 19pIn threedays Pharaoh will lift up your head—from you!—and qhang you on a tree. And the birds will eat theflesh from you.” 184When the chief baker saw that the interpretation for the butler was good, he decided to reveal hisdream to Joseph also. Joseph told him that in three days his head would be removed from his bodyand then hanged on a tree. Instead of the birds eating Pharaohs bread, they would eat the bakersflesh.The interpretation indicated that after the investigation was over, the butler was found innocentbut the baker was not.Genesis 40:20-23j ver. 18; ch. 41:12; [Dan. 2:36]l 2 Kgs. 25:27; Jer. 52:31; [ver. 19, 20, 22; Ps. 3:3]m ch. 37:28n ch. 39:20183The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Ge 40:9–15). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.o See ver. 12p ver. 13q ver. 22184The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Ge 40:16–19). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
  • 140. A Study In Genesis 14020On the third day, which was Pharaoh’s rbirthday, he made a feast for all his servants and slifted upthe head of the chief cupbearer and the head of the chief baker among his servants. 21tHe restoredthe chief cupbearer to his position, and uhe placed the cup in Pharaoh’s hand. 22 But he vhanged thechief baker, as Joseph had interpreted to them. 23 Yet the chief cupbearer did not remember Joseph,but forgot him. 185On the third day, at a birthday banquet, Pharaoh lifted up the heads of his two officers. Thecupbearer was restored to his position, the baker was hanged. The interpretations of the dreamscame to pass exactly as Joseph said. Pharaoh had delayed announcing the findings of isinvestigation and his resultant verdict until the date of his own birthday, which was the third dayafter the two dreams.It was customary for the king to give a banquet for his servants on his birthday, and this would bethe ideal time to announce to all concerned the fate of these two prominent servants.In spite of the obvious implications of Joseph’s uncanny ability to interpret dreams, the cupbearerdid not remember him (40:20–23).The exact chronology of Joseph’s stay in prison cannot be determined. He may have been in prisonfor ten years prior to meeting Pharaoh’s officers. Two years elapsed before the cupbearerremembered Joseph.186r Matt. 14:6; Mark 6:21s ver. 13, 19t ver. 13u Neh. 2:1v ver. 19185The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Ge 40:20–23). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.186 Smith, J. E. (1993). The Pentateuch (2nd ed.) (Ge 39:21–40:23). Joplin, Mo.: College Press Pub. Co.
  • 141. A Study In Genesis 141Genesis 41 – Joseph Interprets Pharaoh’s DreamsGenesis 41:1-7After two whole years, Pharaoh dreamed that he was standing by the Nile, 2 and behold, there cameup out of the Nile seven cows attractive and plump, and they fed in the reed grass. 3 And behold,seven other cows, ugly and thin, came up out of the Nile after them, and stood by the other cows onthe bank of the Nile. 4 And the ugly, thin cows ate up the seven attractive, plump cows. And Pharaohawoke. 5 And he fell asleep and dreamed a second time. And behold, seven ears of grain, plump andgood, were growing on one stalk. 6 And behold, after them sprouted seven ears, thin and wblightedby the east wind. 7 And the thin ears swallowed up the seven plump, full ears. And Pharaoh awoke,and behold, it was a dream. 187These events take place two years after the butler was released from prison. Joseph is now thirtyyears old and has been in Egypt twelve years.The dreams in Joseph’s experience seem to come in twos. He had two related dreams, two dreamsexperienced by the butler and baker, two dreams experienced by Pharaoh.The depiction of the same theme with different figures greatly impresses Pharaoh. His dreamswere so vivid, that when he awoke he was surprised he had been dreaming. “Pharaoh,” from anEgyptian word Phre, signifying the “sun,” was the official title of the kings of that country. Theprince, who occupied the throne of Egypt, was Aphophis, one of the Memphite kings, whose capitalwas On or Heliopolis, and who is universally acknowledged to have been a patriot king. Betweenthe arrival of Abraham and the appearance of Joseph in that country, somewhat more than twocenturies had elapsed. Kings sleep and dream, as well as their subjects. And this Pharaoh had twodreams in one night so singular and so similar, so distinct and so apparently significant, so coherentand vividly impressed on his memory, that his spirit was troubled.188w [Ezek. 17:10; 19:12]; Hos. 13:15187The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Ge 41:1–7). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.188Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., Fausset, A. R., Brown, D., & Brown, D. (1997). A commentary, critical and explanatory, on the Old and NewTestaments (Ge 41:1). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.
  • 142. A Study In Genesis 142Nile RiverWhen two full years had passed, Pharaoh had a dream: He was standing by the Nile.The Nile is the longest river it in the world and flows 4,132 miles (6,650 kilometers) north througheastern Africa from its remotest head stream, the Ruvyironza River, in present-day Burundi to adelta and the mouth of the river at the Mediterranean Sea in northeast Egypt. For thousands ofyears the source of the Nile was unknown, and was considered to be one of the last great mysterieson earth that was still unsolved. Then in the 1850s, a party of Europeans discovered Lake Victoriaand its outflow. Later explorers traced the Nile’s ultimate source to the Ruvyironza River, which isone of the upper branches of the Kagera River in modern Tanzania. The Nile has been used forirrigation in Egypt since at least 4000 b.c., a function that now is largely regulated by the AswanHigh Dam, constructed in the 1960s in southern Egypt, near the city of Aswan.189Egyptian coloring is evident in these dreams. Cows like to stand half-submerged in the Nile amongits reeds in refuge from the heat and the flies. They then come up out of the water for pasture. Thetroubling part of the first dream was that seven ugly and gaunt cows came up and devoured theseven fat cows.The second dream carried a similar message: seven plump ears of grain … on a single stalk wereswallowed up by seven thin and scorched ears of grain that sprouted after them.The magicians of Egypt are frequently referred to in the history of the Exodus. Magic was aninherent part of the ancient Egyptian religion, and entered largely into their daily life. Theseparticular magicians (Hebrew, chartom), were an order of Egyptian priests who supposedlyunderstood and could interpret sacred writings. They cultivated a knowledge of art and science,interpreted dreams, and practiced divination and sorcery: “Then Pharaoh also called for the wisemen and the sorcerers, and they also, the magicians of Egypt, did the same with their secret arts.For each one threw down his staff and they turned into serpents” (Exodus 7:11–12).The magicians were men of great influence in Egypt, and were much esteemed and highly honored.They were sought out for direction and assistance on any subjects that required knowledge far outof the ordinary. Thus Pharaoh sent for them when he desired an interpretation of his strangedreams. Moses encountered similar men many years later, and even more years later there wereothers like them in Babylon: “Then the king gave orders to call in the magicians, the conjurers, thesorcerers and the Chaldeans, to tell the king his dreams. So they came in and stood before the king”(Daniel 2:2). See also Daniel 1:20.190 Freeman, J. M., & Chadwick, H. J. (1998). Manners & customs of the Bible (Rev. ed.].) (77–78). North Brunswick, NJ: Bridge-Logos189Publishers. Freeman, J. M., & Chadwick, H. J. (1998). Manners & customs of the Bible (Rev. ed.].) (76). North Brunswick, NJ: Bridge-Logos190Publishers.
  • 143. A Study In Genesis 143Genesis 41:8-13. 8 So in the morning xhis spirit was troubled, and he sent and called for all the ymagicians of Egyptand all its wise men. Pharaoh told them his dreams, but there was none who could interpret themto Pharaoh.9 Then the chief cupbearer said to Pharaoh, “I remember my offenses today. 10 When Pharaoh wasangry with his servants aand put me and the chief baker in custody in the house of the captain of theguard, 11 we dreamed on the same night, he and I, each having a dream with its own interpretation.12 A young Hebrew was there with us, a servant of the captain of the guard. When we told him, cheinterpreted our dreams to us, giving an interpretation to each man according to his dream. 13 Anddas he interpreted to us, so it came about. I was restored to my office, and the baker was hanged.”When the magician’s failed to interpret Pharaoh’s dreams, the butler remembered Joseph.Confessing his negligence to Pharaoh, he told him about how Joseph was able to interpret his ownand the baker’s dreams. Everything that Joseph said had come to pass.Genesis 41:14-1614Then Pharaoh sent and called Joseph, and they fquickly brought him out of the pit. And when hehad shaved himself and changed his clothes, he came in before Pharaoh. 15 And Pharaoh said toJoseph, “I have had a dream, and there is no one who can interpret it. hI have heard it said of youthat when you hear a dream you can interpret it.” 16 Joseph answered Pharaoh, “It is not in me; Godwill give Pharaoh a favorable answer.”1The brevity of this verse conveys the speed with which Joseph was brought from prison toPharaoh’s court. Protocol required that he be shaved and clothed before entering Pharaoh’spresence. The expression “out of the pit” graphically illustrates what it was like for Joseph to beincarcerated in prison.Shaving Among the Egyptiansx Ps. 77:4; Dan. 2:1, 3y ver. 24; Ex. 7:11, 22; [Dan. 1:20; 2:2; 4:7; Matt. 2:1]a [ch. 39:20]c See ch. 40:12–19d ch. 40:21, 22f [Dan. 2:25]h ver. 12; Dan. 5:161 Or (compare Samaritan, Septuagint) Without God it is not possible to give Pharaoh an answer about his welfare
  • 144. A Study In Genesis 144So Pharaoh sent for Joseph, and he was quickly brought from the dungeon. When he hadshaved and changed his clothes, he came before Pharaoh.Egyptians were known for their careful attention to personal cleanliness, and contrary to thecustoms of the Hebrews and others, the Egyptians only allowed a beard and hair to grow as a signof mourning, which was the reverse of the custom of the Hebrews, who shaved both as a sign ofmourning. “They have gone up to the temple and to Dibon, even to the high places to weep. Moabwails over Nebo and Medeba; Everyone’s head is bald and every beard is cut off” (Isaiah 5:2). TheEgyptians normal custom was to shave both for reasons of cleanliness. Strangely, however, while socareful to shave their beards, the Egyptians apparently wore false beards at times, for we have anumber of pictures and statues of Pharaohs showing them with beards, which we now know werefake.191Pharaoh tells Joseph that he dreamed of dream of great significance which no one could interpret.But he had heard that Joseph could interpret any dream. Joseph immediately told Pharaoh that hehimself could not, but God could. God would give Pharaoh the answer.Genesis 41:17-2417 Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Behold, in my dream I was standing on the banks of the Nile. 18Seven cows, plump and attractive, came up out of the Nile and fed in the reed grass. 19 Seven othercows came up after them, poor and very ugly and thin, such as I had never seen in all the land ofEgypt. 20 And the thin, ugly cows ate up the first seven plump cows, 21 but when they had eatenthem no one would have known that they had eaten them, for they were still as ugly as at thebeginning. Then I awoke. 22 I also saw in my dream seven ears growing on one stalk, full and good.23 Seven ears, withered, thin, and blighted by the east wind, sprouted after them, 24 and the thinears swallowed up the seven good ears. And lI told it to the magicians, but there was no one whocould explain it to me.”Pharaoh reported his dream to Joseph adding a few details not previously recorded. Again, hestated that no one had been able to interpret his dream.Genesis 41:25-36 Freeman, J. M., & Chadwick, H. J. (1998). Manners & customs of the Bible (Rev. ed.].) (77). North Brunswick, NJ: Bridge-Logos191Publishers.l ver. 8; [Dan. 4:7]
  • 145. A Study In Genesis 14525 Then Joseph said to Pharaoh, “The dreams of Pharaoh are one; mGod has revealed to Pharaohwhat he is about to do. 26 The seven good cows are seven years, and the seven good ears are sevenyears; the dreams are one. 27 The seven lean and ugly cows that came up after them are seven years,and the seven empty ears blighted by the east wind are also nseven years of famine. 28 It is as I toldPharaoh; oGod has shown to Pharaoh what he is about to do. 29 There will come pseven years ofgreat plenty throughout all the land of Egypt, 30 but after them there will arise qseven years offamine, and all the plenty will be forgotten in the land of Egypt. rThe famine will consume the land,31 and the plenty will be unknown in the land by reason of the famine that will follow, for it will bevery severe. 32 And the doubling of Pharaoh’s dream means that the sthing is fixed by God, and Godwill shortly bring it about. 33 Now therefore let Pharaoh select a discerning and wise man, and sethim over the land of Egypt. 34 Let Pharaoh proceed to appoint overseers over the land and take one-fifth of the produce of the land2 of Egypt during the seven plentiful years. 35 And tlet them gather allthe food of these good years that are coming and store up grain under the authority of Pharaoh forfood in the cities, and let them keep it. 36 That food shall be a reserve for the land against the sevenyears of famine that are to occur in the land of Egypt, so that the land may not perish through thefamine.” 192Joseph’s reply falls into two parts. Emphasizing the divine origin of the dreams, Joseph interpretstheir meaning to Pharaoh. He stresses that the two-fold revelation indicates that they will befulfilled soon. Then he outlines the action that Pharaoh ought to take in order to prepare for theseven years of famine. Joseph’s instructions are sufficiently detailed to impress Pharaoh deeply.Genesis 41:37-44m [Dan. 2:28, 29, 45; Rev. 4:1]n [2 Kgs. 8:1]o ver. 25p ver. 47q ver. 54; ch. 45:6r ch. 47:13s Num. 23:19; Isa. 14:24; 46:10, 112 Or over the land and organize the landt ver. 48192The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Ge 41:25–36). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
  • 146. A Study In Genesis 14637 This proposal pleased Pharaoh and all his servants. 38 And Pharaoh said to his servants, “Can wefind a man like this, uin whom is the Spirit of God?”339 Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Since God hasshown you all this, there is none so discerning and wise as you are. 40vYou shall be over my house,and all my people shall order themselves as you command.4 Only as regards the throne will I begreater than you.” 41 And Pharaoh said to Joseph, “See, wI have set you over all the land of Egypt.” 42Then Pharaoh xtook his signet ring from his hand and put it on Joseph’s hand, and yclothed him ingarments of fine linen zand put a gold chain about his neck. 43 And he made him ride in his secondchariot. aAnd they called out before him, “Bow the knee!”5 Thus he set him bover all the land ofEgypt. 44 Moreover, Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I am Pharaoh, and cwithout your consent no one shalllift up hand or foot in all the land of Egypt.” 193Pharaoh recognizes that Joseph is enabled by God to perceive things hidden to others. His counselwas wise. But he was also humble, giving God the glory for his abilities. Pharaoh knew immediatelythat Joseph was the one who should be in charge of the plan. He appointed Joseph over his entirekingdom, second only to Pharaoh himself. He would have full power to carry out his plan, and toenact and implement all necessary policies and regulations. Absolute obedience to Joseph would berequired of all Pharaoh’s subjects.A document from theTomb of Rekhmire in the late Bronze Age tells of the duties of the vizier inEgypt. He is the grand steward of all Egypt and all activities of state are under his control.To signify Joseph’s special appointment, Pharaoh presents him with his royal signet ring, dresseshim appropriately and provides royal transport.u Num. 27:18; Dan. 4:8, 18; 5:11, 143 Or of the godsv Ps. 105:21; Acts 7:104 Hebrew and according to your command all my people shall kiss the groundw ch. 42:6x Esth. 3:10; 8:2, 8, 10y [Esth. 8:15]z Ezek. 16:11; [Dan. 5:7, 29]a [Esth. 6:9]5Abrek, probably an Egyptian word, similar in sound to the Hebrew word meaning to kneelb ver. 40; ch. 42:6; 45:8, 9, 26c [Ps. 105:21, 22]193The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Ge 41:37–44). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
  • 147. A Study In Genesis 147The signet ring Pharaoh gave Joseph was a ring with a seal used for signing documents. When theseal was impressed on a soft clay document which then hardened, it left an indelible impression ofthe ruler’s seal and so carried his authority. Pharaoh also dressed Joseph in linen clothes and a goldneck chain, made him second in command to Pharaoh, and had him ride in the second chariot so allthe people could do homage to him.Genesis 41:45-4645And Pharaoh called Joseph’s name Zaphenath-paneah. And he gave him in marriage Asenath, thedaughter of Potiphera priest of On. So Joseph went out over the land of Egypt. 46 Joseph was thirtyyears old when he dentered the service of Pharaoh king of Egypt. And Joseph went out from thepresence of Pharaoh and went through all the land of Egypt.194It was not unknown for Semites to obtain high positions in the Egyptian government. For example,during the first half of the second millennium BC an “Asiatic” names Hur became Chancellor ofEgypt. Hur is well known from numerous scarab seals of the 17th and 16th centuries BC.Pharaoh gave Joseph a new name – Zaphenath-paneah (Zaphnath-paaneah—variouslyinterpreted, “revealer of secrets”; “savior of the land”; and from the hieroglyphics, “a wise manfleeing from pollution”—that is, adultery.195). Additionally, as a token of Joseph’s new status,Pharaoh gave him a wife, Asenath, from the priestly family of On (a city which was a center of sunworship seven miles north of Cairo and also known as Heliopolis). The provision of an Egyptianname and wife completes the process by which Pharaoh fully integrates Joseph into the royal court.Joseph’s marriage to Asenath, daughter of Potiphera, priest of On, would have completed hisassimilationOn being founded by an Arab colony, Poti-pherah, like Jethro, priest of Midian, might have been aworshipper God; and thus Joseph, a pious man, would be freed from the charge of marrying anidolatress for worldly ends.196Joseph was 30 at the time of his installment, 13 years after he was sold by his brothers (cf. 37:2).Joseph’s position gave him opportunity to travel extensively across Egypt. (Ps. 105:16-22 speaks ofJoseph’s imprisonment, release, and rise to power.)197d 1 Sam. 16:21; 1 Kgs. 12:6, 8; Dan. 1:19194The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Ge 41:45). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.195Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., Fausset, A. R., Brown, D., & Brown, D. (1997). A commentary, critical and explanatory, on the Old and NewTestaments (Ge 41:45). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.196Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., Fausset, A. R., Brown, D., & Brown, D. (1997). A commentary, critical and explanatory, on the Old and NewTestaments (Ge 41:45). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.cf. confer, compare197Walvoord, J. F., Zuck, R. B., & Dallas Theological Seminary. (1983-). The Bible knowledge commentary : An exposition of the scriptures(Ge 41:41–46). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
  • 148. A Study In Genesis 148After all these formalities were completed, Joseph got to work. He traveled across Egypt to surveyher resources and people in order to implement his plan.Genesis 41:47-4947 During the seven plentiful years the earth produced abundantly, 48 and he gathered up all thefood of these seven years, which occurred in the land of Egypt, and put the food in the cities. Heput in every city the food from the fields around it. 49 And Joseph stored up grain in greatabundance, elike the sand of the sea, until he ceased to measure it, for it could not be measured.198As Joseph predicted, Egypt began to experience seven very prosperous years. They had so muchstored up, they could no longer keep track of it.Genesis 41:50-5250 Before the year of famine came, ftwo sons were born to Joseph. Asenath, the daughter ofPotiphera priest of On, bore them to him. 51 Joseph called the name of the firstborn Manasseh. “For,”he said, “God has made me forget all my hardship and all my father’s house.” 652 The name of thesecond he called Ephraim, “For God has gmade me fruitful in the land of my affliction.”7199The names of the two sons of Joseph show that Joseph has not forgotten his past. Manasseh, means“forgetting” and signified that God had caused Joseph to forget all the long years of suffering andrejection. Not in the sense that he had no memory of them, but rather that the bitterness had beenremoved.Ephraim means “twice fruitful” in thankfulness for the manner in which God had so richly blessedhim and prospered him in the land where he had been unjustly afflicted for so many years.Genesis 41:53-57e ch. 22:17; Judg. 7:12; 1 Sam. 13:5; Ps. 78:27198The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Ge 41:46–49). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.f ch. 46:20; 48:56Manasseh sounds like the Hebrew for making to forgetg [ch. 49:22; Hos. 13:15]7Ephraim sounds like the Hebrew for making fruitful199The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Ge 41:50–52). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
  • 149. A Study In Genesis 14953 The seven years of plenty that occurred in the land of Egypt came to an end, 54 and hthe sevenyears of famine began to come, ias Joseph had said. There was famine in all lands, but in all the landof Egypt there was bread. 55 When all the land of Egypt was famished, the people cried to Pharaohfor bread. Pharaoh said to all the Egyptians, “Go to Joseph. What he says to you, do.”56So when the famine had spread over all the land, Joseph opened all the storehouses8 and jsold tothe Egyptians, for the famine was severe in the land of Egypt. 57 Moreover, all the earth came toEgypt to Joseph to buy grain, because the famine was severe kover all the earth. 200The years of plenty finally came to an end. The years of famine came on all nations, not just Egypt.When the people of Egypt began complaining to Pharaoh, he sent them to Joseph to deal with.Joseph sold the food to the Egyptians, he did not give it away. Had he given it away it would haverewarded indolence and short sightedness. Furthermore, the grain had been acquired by lawfuland fair means, by devoting most of the government’s taxing and buying power to it for seven years.To give it away would have meant bankrupting and destroying the government.Word spread of the Egyptian warehouses of food to all others outside of Egypt and people camefrom all over to buy grain.h Ps. 105:16; Acts 7:11i ver. 308 Hebrew all that was in themj ch. 42:6; [ch. 47:14, 20, 24]k ver. 54, 56200The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Ge 41:53–57). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
  • 150. A Study In Genesis 150Josephs TimelineEvent Age ScriptureJacob moves family to Canaan 6 Gen 31:17=21Joseph sold to Potiphar 17 Gen 37Joseph interprets dreams for butler & baker 28 Gen 40Joseph’s grandfather Isaac dies 29 Gen 35:28-29Joseph interprets Pharaoh’s dreams 30 Gen 41:1-367 years of plenty; Joseph’s sons are born 30-37 Gen 41:47-527 years famine; 2 yrs into famine reunited w/ family 37-44 Gen 41-47Jacob dies 56 Gen 47:28Joseph dies 110 Gen 50:22-26
  • 151. A Study In Genesis 151 Inscription of a Seven Years Famine on an island in the river Nile.“The inscription before us is on an island in the very middle of the river. The channel of the Nile for a distance offive miles is filled with the granite islands which cause the cataract.“The rocks on these islands are covered with inscriptions. They form the most ancient and most interestingvisitor’s book in the world.… Century after century and dynasty after dynasty from 2600 B.C. onward throughRoman times, kings and nobles, scribes and officers have left their record here.“The inscription before us purports to be an official communication from King Zoser of the third dynasty,addressed to a prince of Elephantine, telling the latter of the king’s great anxiety because the Nile had not risenand there had been no inundation for seven years. Unable to account for this, the king had summoned to hispresence one of the great wise men, Imhotep by name, and had questioned him regarding the gods of the Nile,who controlled its sources and the inundation. The wise man consulted his books and returned to the king with areport that the god Khnum was the controlling divinity at the cataract whence (according to Egyptian belief) theinundation came.… The king, overjoyed, ordered a sacrifice to be offered to the cataract god, and that night in adream Khnum appeared to him and promised to cause the regular and unfailing rise of the Nile thereafter.…“This seven years’ failure of the Nile occurred probably some 1,200 or 1,300 years before the time of Joseph, but itis interesting to find that such an occurrence was not an impossibility, in time long before the Hebrews ever sawEgypt.”(From “Egypt Through the Stereoscope,” by James H. Breasted, Ph.D., with twenty patent maps and plans.Copyright Underwood & Underwood.)
  • 152. A Study In Genesis 152Genesis 42 – Joseph’s Brothers Go To EgyptWhen the predicted famine strikes, peoples from all over the Mediterranean world come to Egyptfor grain (cf. 41:57). Among the supplicants are Joseph’s brothers (42:1–7). A strange sequence ofevents follows, in which Joseph seems to toy cruelly with his brothers (42:8–43:34). In fact Joseph’sactions test his brothers’ sincerity, and drive them to search their consciences for a reason why Godwould place them in such a precarious relationship with Egypt’s ruler. A final test, which putsJoseph’s brother Benjamin in danger of becoming Joseph’s slave, reveals the change that has takenplace in the brothers (44:1–26). Judah, whose flaws were revealed in chapter 38, shows that he hasbeen cleansed of the jealousy that led the brothers to sell Joseph, and now thinks more of hisfather’s grief than of consequences to himself (44:27–34). God, who was at work in Joseph all theseyears, has been at work in Joseph’s brothers too! Deeply moved, Joseph stuns his brothers byrevealing who he is, and explains that God has exalted him to power in Egypt in order to preserveall their lives (45:1–20). The brothers return home and tell the joyful news to Jacob, who is thrilledthat he will see his favorite son again (vv. 21–28).201Genesis 42:1-5When lJacob learned that there was grain for sale in Egypt, he said to his sons, “Why do you look atone another?” 2 And he said, “Behold, I have heard that there is grain for sale in Egypt. Go down andbuy grain for us there, that we may mlive and not die.” 3 So ten of Joseph’s brothers went down tobuy grain in Egypt. 4 But Jacob did not send Benjamin, nJoseph’s brother, with his brothers, for ohefeared that harm might happen to him. 5 Thus the sons of Israel came to buy among the others whocame, for the famine was in the land of Canaan. 202Shortage of food in Canaan forces Jacob to send his sons to Egypt. Benjamin, Joseph’s youngerbrother, remains at home because Jacob fears losing him too. His refusal to send Benjamin reveals201 Richards, L. O. (1991). The Bible readers companion (electronic ed.) (47). Wheaton: Victor Books.l Acts 7:12m ch. 43:8n ch. 35:18o ver. 38202The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Ge 42:1–5). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
  • 153. A Study In Genesis 153what Jacob had come to suspect. Joseph’s fate had not come to light, but the brothers’characteristics were known to the old man. Perhaps they would harm Benjamin as well.203The tropical rains, which annually falling swell the Nile, are those of Palestine also; and their failurewould produce the same disastrous effects in Canaan as in Egypt. Numerous caravans of its people, ,poured over the sandy desert of Suezfor the purchase of corn. “The sons of Israel” were amongthose compelled to go to Egypt. They were hesitant to undertake a journey from which painfulassociations made them strongly averse.204 But desperation and Jacob’s command finally madethem go.Genesis 42:6-116 Now Joseph was governor pover the land. He was the one who sold to all the people of the land.And Joseph’s brothers came and qbowed themselves before him with their faces to the ground. 7Joseph saw his brothers and recognized them, but he treated them like strangers and rspokeroughly to them. “Where do you come from?” he said. They said, “From the land of Canaan, to buyfood.” 8 And Joseph recognized his brothers, but they did not recognize him. 9 And Josephsremembered the dreams that he had dreamed of them. tAnd he said to them, “You are spies; youhave come to see the nakedness of the land.” 10 They said to him, “No, my lord, your servants havecome to buy food. 11 We are all sons of one man. We are honest men. Your servants have never beenspies.” 205About twenty years had passed since Joseph had seen his brothers. When they arrived in Egypt,they were taken to Joseph, because he was the governor in charge of all the grain. They had to bowdown before him, just as they had in his dreams.Joseph did not make himself known to his brothers and they apparently did not recognize him. Hewanted first to determine their true attitudes and then set the events in motion which would finallybring them to a true attitude of repentance and unity toward God and among themselves.203Walvoord, J. F., Zuck, R. B., & Dallas Theological Seminary. (1983-). The Bible knowledge commentary : An exposition of the scriptures(Ge 42:1–5). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.204Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., Fausset, A. R., Brown, D., & Brown, D. (1997). A commentary, critical and explanatory, on the Old and NewTestaments (Ge 42:5). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.p ch. 41:41q ch. 37:7, 9, 10r ver. 30s ch. 37:5, 9t ver. 7, 30205The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Ge 42:6–11). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
  • 154. A Study In Genesis 154He accused his brothers of being spies and using a grain-buying mission as a cover. His brothersdeny the accusation of being spies and protest that they are all brothers with the same father, withone brother still at home and one brother dead.Genesis 42:12-1712 He said to them, “No, it is the nakedness of the land that you have come to see.” 13 And they said,“We, your servants, are twelve brothers, the sons of one man in the land of Canaan, and behold, theyoungest is this day with our father, and one uis no more.” 14 But Joseph said to them, “It is as I saidto you. You are spies. 15 By this you shall be tested: by the life of Pharaoh, you shall not go from thisplace unless your youngest brother comes here. 16 Send one of you, and let him bring your brother,while you remain confined, that your words may be tested, whether there is truth in you. Or else, bythe life of Pharaoh, surely you are spies.” 17 And he put them all together in custody for three days.206Joseph tests the validity of their statement by stating that they must all stay in Egypt except for one,who was to go fetch their brother Benjamin.Joseph had them put into custody for three days to think about it.Genesis 42:18-2518On the third day Joseph said to them, “Do this and you will live, vfor I fear God: 19 if you are honestmen, let one of your brothers remain confined where you are in custody, and let the rest go andcarry wgrain for the famine of your households, 20 and xbring your youngest brother to me. So yourwords will be verified, and you shall not die.” And they did so. 21 Then they said to one another, y“Intruth we are guilty concerning our brother, in that we saw the distress of his soul, when he beggedus and we did not listen. That is why this distress has come upon us.” 22 And Reuben answeredthem, z“Did I not tell you not to sin against the boy? But you did not listen. So now athere comes areckoning for his blood.” 23 They did not know that Joseph understood them, for there was aninterpreter between them. 24 Then he turned away from them and bwept. And he returned to themu ver. 32; See ch. 37:30206The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Ge 42:12–17). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.v Lev. 25:43; Neh. 5:15w ver. 33x ver. 34; ch. 43:5; 44:23y [Job 36:8, 9]; See ch. 37:23–28z ch. 37:21a ch. 9:5; 2 Chr. 24:22; [1 Kgs. 2:32; Ps. 9:12; Luke 11:50, 51]b ch. 43:30
  • 155. A Study In Genesis 155and spoke to them. And he took Simeon from them and bound him before their eyes. 25cAnd Josephgave orders to fill their bags with grain, and to replace every man’s money in his sack, and to givethem provisions for the journey. This was done for them. 207As a concession, Joseph told his brothers that because he feared God, it would only be necessary forone of them to stay behind while the others returned to Canaan to bring back their other brother.In the meantime, they could take food back to their households.After three days of being held in custody, the brothers are beginning to see their situation as justpunishment for what they had done to Joseph many years before. When Joseph gave them theconditions of their return, they discussed this in front of Joseph, not realizing he could understandthem. He listens as Rueben chastises his brothers for wheat they did, reminding them all that hehad advised them not to sin against their brother.As Joseph heard them, he was so overwhelmed with emotion that he had to leave the room to weep.It’s not stated exactly what brought this on, perhaps Joseph realized his prayers had beenanswered. His brothers had come to the point of confession and repentance for their sin.After regaining control, he returned and resumed his instructions to them. One of them must staybehind in custody, while the others went home in order to bring their brother back.Joseph had the guards bind Simeon in front of them. Simeon was the next oldest to Rueben, andhad long manifested a cruel nature. He needed the instruction of a time in prison and chains morethan any of the others. He was also the one among the ten brothers who had been the mostresponsible for their action against Joseph. The brothers probably viewed this as further evidenceof God’s justice.Joseph then gave orders that their sacks be filled with grain and the men sent on their way. He alsotold his servants to restore the money they had paid for the grain into their respective sacks,realizing what embarrassment and concern this would cause them. He also provided them withprovisions for the trip.His brothers then departed. It would seem they were not overly grieved at having to leave Simeon,since they later seemed in no hurry to go back to Egypt to get him.Genesis 42:26-3526Then they loaded their donkeys with their grain and departed. 27 And as done of them opened hissack to give his donkey fodder at ethe lodging place, he saw his money in the mouth of his sack. 28He said to his brothers, “My money has been put back; here it is in the mouth of my sack!” At thisc ch. 44:1207The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Ge 42:18–25). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.d ver. 35; ch. 43:21e Ex. 4:24; Jer. 9:2
  • 156. A Study In Genesis 156their hearts failed them, and they turned trembling to one another, saying, “What is this that Godhas done to us?”29 When they came to Jacob their father in the land of Canaan, they told him all that had happenedto them, saying, 30 “The man, the lord of the land, spoke roughly to us and took us to be spies of theland. 31 But we said to him, ‘We are honest men; we have never been spies. 32 We are twelvebrothers, sons of our father. One gis no more, and the youngest is this day with our father in the landof Canaan.’ 33 Then the man, the lord of the land, said to us, ‘By this I shall know that you are honestmen: leave one of your brothers with me, and take grain for the famine of your households, and goyour way. 34 Bring your youngest brother to me. Then I shall know that you are not spies but honestmen, and I will deliver your brother to you, and you shall jtrade in the land.’ ”35kAsthey emptied their sacks, behold, every man’s bundle of money was in his sack. And when theyand their father saw their bundles of money, they were afraid.On the journey home, one of the brothers found the money he had paid for the grain with, laying ontop of his sacks. This caused great concern as they knew they would be accused of leaving withoutpaying for the grain. The brothers interpret this as something God has done, with the intention ofbringing further harm to them.After they arrived home and told Jacob all that had happened, all the brothers discovered theirmoney had been returned.Genesis 42:36-3836And Jacob their father said to them, “You have lbereaved me of my children: Joseph is no more,and Simeon is no more, and now you would take Benjamin. All this has come against me.” 37 ThenReuben said to his father, “Kill my two sons if I do not bring him back to you. Put him in my hands,and I will bring him back to you.” 38 But he said, “My son shall not go down with you, for nhisbrother is dead, and he is the only one left. oIf harm should happen to him on the journey that youare to make, pyou would bring down my gray hairs with sorrow to Sheol.” 208g ver. 13j ch. 34:10, 21k ver. 27; ch. 43:21l ch. 43:14n ver. 13, 32, 36; ch. 37:33; 44:28o ver. 4; ch. 44:29p ch. 37:35; 44:31208The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Ge 42:36–38). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
  • 157. A Study In Genesis 157Then Jacob became really upset. He accused the nine brothers of having been responsible for theloss of two of his children. And now they were trying to take Benjamin away.Upset by his father’s distress, Rueben (meaning well) rashly promised that he would be responsiblefor Benjamin if Jacob would let him go with them. If anything happened to Benjamin while inRueben’s care, Rueben would let Jacob slay his own two sons in punishment. Exactly whatsatisfaction he thought his father would get out of slaying two of his grandchildren, after alreadylosing his sons, is not clear. Rueben spoke without thinking or perhaps in desperation to showJacob how serious he was about keeping Benjamin safe.Jacob refused to even consider letting Benjamin go to Egypt. After losing Joseph, Jacob could notbear the thought of losing Benjamin too. He felt he would die of a broken heart.
  • 158. A Study In Genesis 158Genesis 43 – Joseph’s Brothers Return To EgyptGenesis 43:1-5Now the famine was qsevere in the land. 2 And when they had eaten the grain that they had broughtfrom Egypt, their father said to them, “Go again, buy us a little food.” 3 But Judah said to him, “Theman solemnly warned us, saying, ‘You shall not see my face unless your rbrother is with you.’ 4 Ifyou will send our brother with us, we will go down and buy you food. 5 But if you will not send him,we will not go down, for the man said to us, ‘You shall not see my face, unless your brother is withyou.’ ”Finally, the famine grows so severe that their grain supply is gone. Jacob tells his sons to go back toEgypt to buy more food.Judah was the one now to respond to his father. Judah insisted that they could not return to Egyptwithout Benjamin. They were not willing to make another trip unless Benjamin came also.Genesis 43:6-106 Israel said, “Why did you treat me so badly as to tell the man that you had another brother?” 7They replied, “The man questioned us carefully about ourselves and our kindred, saying, ‘Is yourfather still alive? Do you have another brother?’ What we told him was in answer to thesequestions. Could we in any way know that he would say, ‘Bring your brother down’?” 8 And Judahsaid to Israel his father, “Send the boy with me, and we will arise and go, that we may slive and notdie, both we and you and also our little ones. 9 I will be a pledge of his safety. From my hand youshall require him. tIf I do not bring him back to you and set him before you, then let me bear theblame forever. 10 If we had not delayed, we would now have returned twice.”Here in the narrative the name Israel begins to be used instead of Jacob. This name has not beenused since Genesis 37:13. It seems like as long as Jacob seemed completely broken and defeated byvirtue of Joseph’s apparent death, his old name Jacob was used. Now, for the first time, he begins toconsider the possibility of allowing Benjamin to go. His father is in the process of revival, and so heis called Israel again.q ch. 41:54, 57r ch. 42:20; 44:23s ch. 42:2t ch. 42:37; 44:32
  • 159. A Study In Genesis 159Jacob first rebukes the brothers for even mentioning they had a younger brother, but they toldJacob that “the man” had asked very specific questions about them and their family.Judah promised Joseph that he would be personally responsible for Benjamin. There was no othercourse of action but to take Benjamin. He reminded Jacob that if they had not procrastinated solong, they could have made the trip to Egypt and back twice now.Genesis 43:11-1411 Then their father Israel said to them, “If it must be so, then do this: take some of the choice fruitsof the land in your bags, and carry a present down to the man, a little ubalm and a little honey, gum,myrrh, pistachio nuts, and almonds. 12 Take double the money with you. Carry back with you themoney vthat was returned in the mouth of your sacks. Perhaps it was an oversight. 13 Take also yourbrother, and arise, go again to the man. 14 May wGod Almighty1xgrant you mercy before the man, andmay he send back your other brother and Benjamin. And as for me, yif I am bereaved of my children,I am bereaved.” 209Jacob finally realized that it must be as Judah said. If they had to go back they should take gifts andgive back the money from before.Jacob told them to take Benjamin, expressing the prayerful hope and confidence that God Almightywould overrule in the heart of the man and constrain him to return both Benjamin and Simeon. Ifnot, Israel was content to leave the matter with God. If he was to be deprived of his children, then itwould have to be that way. Israel’s faith seems to have become strong again. He was now puttinghis trust in God.u See ch. 37:25v ch. 42:25, 27, 35w See ch. 17:11 Hebrew El Shaddaix [Neh. 1:11]y ch. 42:36209The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Ge 43:11–14). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
  • 160. A Study In Genesis 160Genesis 43:15-23So the men took this present, and they took double the money with them, and Benjamin. They aroseand went down to Egypt and stood before Joseph.16 When Joseph saw Benjamin with them, he said to the zsteward of his house, “Bring the men intothe house, and slaughter an animal and make ready, for the men are to dine with me at noon.” 17The man did as Joseph told him and brought the men to Joseph’s house. 18 And the men were afraidbecause they were brought to Joseph’s house, and they said, “It is because of the money, which wasreplaced in our sacks the first time, that we are brought in, so that he may assault us and fall uponus to make us servants and seize our donkeys.” 19 So they went up to the steward of Joseph’s houseand spoke with him at the door of the house, 20 and said, a“Oh, my lord, bwe came down the firsttime to buy food. 21 And cwhen we came to the lodging place we opened our sacks, and there waseach man’s money in the mouth of his sack, our money in full weight. So we have brought it againwith us, 22 and we have brought other money down with us to buy food. We do not know who putour money in our sacks.” 23 He replied, “Peace to you, do not be afraid. Your God and the God of yourfather has put treasure in your sacks for you. I received your money.” Then he brought Simeon outto them. 210So Joseph’s brothers took the gifts, money, and Benjamin and returned to Egypt.When Joseph saw that Benjamin was with them, he ordered his steward to slaughter an animal andprepare it, he wanted these men brought to his house to dine. The ancients had the animals theydesired for food slaughtered in the courtyard of their dwelling, or, if they lived in a tent, in a nearbyarea. Some Egyptian monuments have illustrations of poulterers’ shops, but none illustratebutcher’s shops, and show all slaughtering of animals as being done in private houses. The reasonfor this is not known. Since poultry, fish, vegetables, and bread formed their principal food, perhapsthere wasn’t sufficient demand to warrant butcher shops.The method of slaying animals is well illustrated. Depending on the size of the animal, it was eitherheld or tied in some way, while the butcher cut its throat. The blood was sometimes drained into abasin and kept for some other use. The animal was then skinned, dressed, cut into pieces, and thepieces carried on trays to the cooking area, where it was immediately prepared for dinner so thatthere wasn’t sufficient time for the meat to begin to go bad. Since there was no way to preservemeat in those days, the animal was not killed until it was time to cook it. In our verse-text Josephorders his steward to “slaughter an animal and prepare dinner (slay, and make ready, KJV), so thatlittle time passed between the slaughter and the eating. This is similar to when the LORD and twoz ver. 19; ch. 44:1, 4; [ch. 24:2; 39:4]a ch. 44:18b ch. 42:3, 10c ch. 42:27210The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Ge 43:15–23). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
  • 161. A Study In Genesis 161angels visited Abraham and “he ran to the herd and selected a choice, tender calf and gave it to aservant, who hurried to prepare it” (Genesis 18:7). Also like what is written in 1 Samuel 28:24—“The woman had a fattened calf at the house, which she butchered at once.”211The brothers became concerned with this invitation and thought it was a ruse to have themarrested for stealing. So, before entering Joseph’s house, they explained to his steward what hadhappened and that they had brought the money back with them to return it.The steward replied that he had indeed received their money and their account was fully settled. Itmust have been their God and the God of their fathers who had put the money in their sacks. ThenSimeon was brought out to join them for the meal.Genesis 43:24-3124And when the man had brought the men into Joseph’s house and dgiven them water, and they hadwashed their feet, and when he had given their donkeys fodder, 25 they prepared ethe present forJoseph’s coming at noon, for they heard that they should eat bread there.26 When Joseph came home, they brought into the house to him the present that they had with themand fbowed down to him to the ground. 27 And he inquired about their welfare and said, “Is yourfather well, the old man gof whom you spoke? Is he still alive?” 28 They said, “Your servant ourfather is well; he is still alive.” And they hbowed their heads and prostrated themselves. 29 And helifted up his eyes and saw his brother Benjamin, ihis mother’s son, and said, “Is this your youngestbrother, gof whom you spoke to me? God be gracious to you, my son!” 30 Then Joseph hurried out,for jhis compassion grew warm for his brother, and he sought a place to weep. And he entered his Freeman, J. M., & Chadwick, H. J. (1998). Manners & customs of the Bible (Rev. ed.].) (82–83). North Brunswick, NJ: Bridge-Logos211Publishers.d See ch. 18:4e ver. 11f ch. 42:6; See ch. 37:5–11g ch. 42:11, 13h ver. 26i ch. 35:18g [See ver. 27 above]j 1 Kgs. 3:26; [Jer. 31:20]
  • 162. A Study In Genesis 162chamber and kwept there. 31 Then he washed his face and came out. And lcontrolling himself he said,“Serve the food.” 212The brothers were treated as honored guests: water was provided to wash their feet, their animalswere fed.Then when Joseph arrived they prostrated themselves before him once again as in Joseph’s dreamand presented him with their gifts.Joseph asked them about their own welfare and that of their father’s. And again, they prostratedthemselves before him.Then Joseph turned his attention to Benjamin and inquired as to whether this was their youngerbrother. He then said “God be gracious to you, my son” and hurried from the room, overwhelmedby emotion at seeing his brother Benjamin, the son of his mother.Genesis 43:32-3432They served him by himself, and them by themselves, and the Egyptians who ate with him bythemselves, because the Egyptians could not eat with the Hebrews, for that is man abomination tothe Egyptians. 33 And they sat before him, the firstborn according to his birthright and the youngestaccording to his youth. And the men looked at one another in amazement. 34nPortions were taken tothem from Joseph’s table, but Benjamin’s portion was ofive times as much as any of theirs. And theydrank and were merry2 with him. 213Herodotus and other ancient writers have commented on the exclusiveness of the Egyptians. Inkeeping with their segregation practices, three separate tables had to be set: one for the Hebrews,one for the Egyptian guests, and one for Joseph himself.In particular, the Egyptians abhorred the thought of eating at the same table with Hebrews. Theywere of a different race, a different language, and a different religion. The Egyptians knew thatJoseph was a Hebrew and that he worshipped the Hebrews’ God. Nevertheless, as far as socialcustoms were concerned, he now had an Egyptian name, an Egyptian wife, and in general lived ink ch. 42:24l ch. 45:1212The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Ge 43:23–31). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.m ch. 46:34; Ex. 8:26n [2 Sam. 11:8]o [ch. 45:22]2 Hebrew and became intoxicated213The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Ge 43:31–34). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
  • 163. A Study In Genesis 163the manner of the Egyptian rulers. He therefore could not eat directly with his brothers withoutgiving undue offense to the Egyptian guests who were present.After everyone was seated, the brothers noticed a remarkable thing – they had been seated in orderof age, from eldest to youngest. Then another odd thing happened, the waiters gave Benjamin fivetimes as much as they gave the other men. This statement does not refer to the whole meal;however, but rather to portions sent from the head table, as a gift of honor.In Egypt, as in other Oriental countries, there were, and are, two modes of paying attention to aguest whom the host wishes to honor—either by giving a choice piece from his own hand, orordering it to be taken to the stranger. The degree of respect shown consists in the quantity, andwhile the ordinary rule of distinction is a double mess, it must have appeared a very distinguishedmark of favor bestowed on Benjamin to have no less than five times any of his brethren.214This Egyptian aversion of Hebrews may have come from the fact that Lower and Middle Egypt hadonce been held in subjective oppression by the Hyksos, a tribe of nomad shepherds. The Hyksosestablished themselves in Egypt and had a succession of kings. They fought the Egyptians, burnedsome of their principal cities, committed great cruelties, and were not driven out until they andtheir descendants had occupied the country for hundreds of years. It’s believed they weren’t drivenout until just before the time of Joseph. Joseph later used this dislike of shepherds to place hisfamily in Goshen.215214Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., Fausset, A. R., Brown, D., & Brown, D. (1997). A commentary, critical and explanatory, on the Old and NewTestaments (Ge 43:34). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc. Freeman, J. M., & Chadwick, H. J. (1998). Manners & customs of the Bible (Rev. ed.].) (84). North Brunswick, NJ: Bridge-Logos215Publishers.
  • 164. A Study In Genesis 164Genesis 44 – Joseph Tests His BrothersJoseph set up his final test to establish two things. He wanted to determine whether his brotherswould attempt to lie their way out of the situation. And he wanted to see if they would desert theiryoungest brother, Benjamin, in favor of their own self-interest—what they had done, essentially, inselling Joseph into slavery many years before. They passed both tests. They told the truth and, inthe process, gave Joseph a great deal of information about relationships in the family of Jacob. Also,Judah did, in fact, offer himself in place of Benjamin to protect him, just as he had promised hisfather (43:8–10). His brothers’ unexpectedly righteous and sensitive response to Joseph’s testingled him to reveal his identity.216Genesis 44:1-3Then he commanded pthe steward of his house, q“Fill the men’s sacks with food, as much as they cancarry, and put each man’s money in the mouth of his sack, 2 and put my cup, the silver cup, in themouth of the sack of the youngest, with his money for the grain.” And he did as Joseph told him.3 As soon as the morning was light, the men were sent away with their donkeys. 217After the meal, while the brothers rested, Joseph had their sacks filled to brimming with grain. Andonce again, he returned their money. Then Joseph told the steward to place his own personal cup,“the silver cup” in Benjamin’s sack. This was to make it appear that Benjamin had stolen it so thatJoseph could accuse him of taking it. Joseph was testing the character of his brothers to see if theyhad really changed. Cabal, T., Brand, C. O., Clendenen, E. R., Copan, P., Moreland, J., & Powell, D. (2007). The Apologetics Study Bible: Real Questions, Straight216Answers, Stronger Faith (72). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.p ver. 4; See ch. 43:16q ch. 42:25217The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Ge 44:1–3). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
  • 165. A Study In Genesis 165Genesis 44:4-64 They had gone only a short distance from the city. Now Joseph said to his rsteward, “Up, followafter the men, and when you overtake them, say to them, ‘Why have you repaid evil for good? 15 Is itnot from this that my lord drinks, and sby this that he practices divination? You have done evil indoing this.’ ”6 When he overtook them, he spoke to them these words. 218As soon as they were past the city limits, Joseph sent his steward after them, instructing himcarefully what to say. He was to point out how well they had been treated, and then he was toaccuse them of returning evil for good. The steward was to point oout that it was “this” in which hismaster drank, and with which he was able to practice divination. The use of the pronoun “this”without any reference to an antecedent, would indicate that he believed they all knew full well whatit was they had stolen. Joseph had a reputation for prophetic insight, and the brothers themselvesmay have wondered how Joseph was able to seat them at the table in order of their ages. Theinference seems to be that the Egyptians attributed his powers to his cup of divination, and that thismay well have been an object coveted by many. And now, these foreigners had tried to steal it.It seems strange that a man like Joseph, knowing the true God, would have used a cup of divination.That it is a very unusual cup is indicated by the fact that the word gobia (Hebrew) has only threeuses in Scripture – in the sense used here, for the “bowls” on the golden candlestick in thetabernacle and for the “pots” full of wine used to tempt the Rechabites. It is known that theEgyptians used such cups for the purpose of predicting, claiming to see tokens of future events inthe reflections of water in the cup or in the arrangements assumed by small particles of gold orsilver in it. They believed that the spirits who knew future events would act on the cups contents insuch a way as to form these messages.It’s highly unlikely that God chose to reveal Himself to Joseph in this way, especially in view of suchBiblical warnings against the practice of any form of divination. It is more probable that Joseph, inhis preliminary dealings with his brothers, was simply adapting his image to that expected of anEgyptian leader who had priestly functions as well as political.Whatever was the actual reason for the cup, it is quite clear that Joseph’s brothers were greatlydismayed when they were accused of stealing it. They were being accused of the compound sin ofingratitude, theft, and apostasy. They were honest men who believed in one true God, and it wasunthinkable that they would commit such sins.Divining Cup or Bowlr ver. 11 Septuagint (compare Vulgate) adds Why have you stolen my silver cup?s ver. 15; ch. 30:27; [2 Kgs. 21:6; 2 Chr. 33:6]218The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Ge 44:3–6). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
  • 166. A Study In Genesis 166It is highly unlikely that Joseph actually practiced divination, he may only have merely instructed his stewardto ask an ironical question. It’s also possible the original words may have a different interpretation from thatwhich the translators have put upon them, as some believe. However, it is a fact that divining cups were usedamong the Egyptians and other nations. The cups were engraved or painted with magical inscriptions, andwhen used were filled with pure water. Most authorities agree with this, but they differ in opinion as to whatuse was made of the cup after the water was poured in. Here are the opinions of various writers, and it’spossible that they are all correct, and that different methods were used at different times. Divining cup1. The divination was performed by means of the figures that were reflected by the rays of light that were permitted to fall on the water.2. Melted wax was poured into the water, and the will of the gods was interpreted by the various shapes formed by the wax.3. The cup was shaken, and the position, size, or number of the bubbles that rose to the surface was considered.4. Small plates of silver or gold and precious stones and carved with magical characters were thrown into a divining bowl, and an incantation was said over the bowl. The reflections of the stones in the water were then interpreted, or a voice was supposedly heard, or a likeness of the deceased person about whom the inquiry was made supposedly appeared in the water.5. The diviner fixed his or her eyes on a specific point in the cup or bowl until a trance-like state was 219 entered, at which time the diviner was purported to be able to see strange and otherworldly things. Freeman, J. M., & Chadwick, H. J. (1998). Manners & customs of the Bible (Rev. ed.].) (85–87). North Brunswick, NJ: Bridge-Logos219Publishers.
  • 167. A Study In Genesis 167Genesis 44:7-107 They said to him, “Why does my lord speak such words as these? Far be it from your servants todo such a thing! 8 Behold, tthe money that we found in the mouths of our sacks we brought back toyou from the land of Canaan. How then could we steal silver or gold from your lord’s house?9uWhichever of your servants is found with it shall die, and we also will be vmy lord’s servants.” 10He said, “Let it be as you say: he who is found with it shall be my servant, and the rest of you shallbe innocent.” 220When the brothers are charged with theft, they deny doing anything wrong. They appeal to theirhonesty in bringing back the money found previously in their sacks. Confident in their innocence,they propose that anyone found hiding the cup should be put to death, with all of them becomingslaves to the steward. In reply, Joseph’s steward adopts a more lenient approach, merely requiringthat only the guilty person be enslaved.Genesis 44:11-1311Then each man quickly lowered his sack to the ground, and each man opened his sack. 12 And hesearched, beginning with the eldest and ending with the youngest. And the cup was found inBenjamin’s sack. 13 Then they wtore their clothes, and every man loaded his donkey, and theyreturned to the city. 221They searched each man’s sacks, starting with the oldest to the youngest. As the sacks were openedthey must have seen their return money, but no mention is made of it. The cup was found inBenjamin’s sack, where Joseph had instructed it to be placed.This of course, was a test by Joseph to see if his brothers would act honorably or not. If they wantedto be rid of Benjamin, now was their opportunity.Instead of deserting Benjamin, they “rent their clothes” in grief and all of them went back to the citywith Benjamin. They would not leave without him.Genesis 44:14-16t ch. 43:21u [ch. 31:32]v ver. 16220The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Ge 44:6–10). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.w ch. 37:29221The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Ge 44:10–13). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
  • 168. A Study In Genesis 168When they had all returned to Joseph’s house, he formally charged them and wanted to know whythey had done such a thing. Did they not know that he, Joseph, had the gift of divination? Josephportrays himself as having the ability to discover secrets hidden from others. This is probably aplay on Joseph’s part to illicit information from the brothers. Now that he has created theimpression that he can discover knowledge with divine help, his brothers may feel that they can nolonger conceal their past actions. For this reason, Judah remarks “God has found out the guilt ofyour servants”. The brothers are convinced that God is now holding them to account for theiractions against Joseph. On behalf of all the brothers, Judah speaks to Joseph.Genesis 44:17-2417But he said, “Far be it from me that I should do so! Only the man in whose hand the cup wasfound shall be my servant. But as for you, go up in peace to your father.”18 Then Judah went up to him and said, b“Oh, my lord, please let your servant speak a word in mylord’s ears, and clet not your anger burn against your servant, for dyou are like Pharaoh himself. 19My lord asked his servants, saying, ‘Have you a father, or a brother?’ 20 And we said to my lord, ‘Wehave a father, an old man, eand a young brother, fthe child of his old age. His brother is dead, and healone is left of his mother’s children, and his father loves him.’ 21 Then you said to your servants,g‘Bring him down to me, that I may set my eyes on him.’ 22 We said to my lord, ‘The boy cannot leavehis father, for if he should leave his father, hhis father would die.’ 23 Then you said to your servants,i‘Unless your youngest brother comes down with you, you shall not see my face again.’24 “When we went back to your servant my father, we told him the words of my lord. 222Judah begs Joseph for the opportunity tos peak to him in private in order to ask an important favorof him. The tone of his opening words expresses total deference, for Judah recognizes that Joseph is“like Pharaoh himself”b ch. 43:20c Ex. 32:22d ch. 41:40e ver. 30; [ch. 43:8]f [ch. 37:3]g ch. 42:15, 20; 43:3, 5h [ver. 31]i ch. 43:3222The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Ge 44:17–24). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
  • 169. A Study In Genesis 169Judah recounts the events that led up to this confrontation. He reminded Joseph that he had shownreal interest in their personal affairs, asking about their father and younger brother, and howJoseph had insisted that they bring Benjamin down to Egypt with them, even though their fatherwould be in danger of death if they did so. He was pleading not only for Benjamin’s life, but hisfather’s also.Genesis 44:25-3125And when jour father said, ‘Go again, buy us a little food,’ 26 we said, ‘We cannot go down. If ouryoungest brother goes with us, then we will go down. For we cannot see the man’s face unless ouryoungest brother is with us.’ 27 Then your servant my father said to us, ‘You know that my wife boreme ktwo sons. 28 One left me, and I said, lSurely he has been torn to pieces, and I have never seenhim since. 29 If you mtake this one also from me, nand harm happens to him, you will bring down mygray hairs in evil to Sheol.’30“Now therefore, as soon as I come to your servant my father, and the boy is not with us, then, ashis life is bound up in the boy’s life, 31 as soon as he sees that the boy is not with us, he will die, andyour servants will bring down the gray hairs of your servant our father with sorrow to Sheol. 223Judah recounted how his father had finally given consent to allow Benjamin to go and of his father’sfinal plea. Judah assured Joseph that the very life of his father was so intimately bound up withBenjamin’s life that he (Judah) could not bear to go back home without him.Genesis 44:32-3432For your servant became a pledge of safety for the boy to my father, saying, o‘If I do not bring himback to you, then I shall bear the blame before my father all my life.’ 33 Now therefore, please letyour servant remain instead of the boy as a servant to my lord, and let the boy go back with hisbrothers. 34 For how can I go back to my father if the boy is not with me? I fear to see the evil thatwould find my father.” 224Judah offers to take Benjamin’s place and let Benjamin return to his father in Canaan in order toprevent him from dying of grief at the loss of a second son. For Judah, this would be preferable toj ch. 43:2k ch. 46:19l ch. 37:33m ch. 42:36, 38n ch. 42:4, 38223The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Ge 44:24–31). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.o ch. 43:9224The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Ge 44:32–34). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
  • 170. A Study In Genesis 170witnessing his father’s distress if Benjamin did not return with them. The selfless attitude of Judahstands in sharp contrast to what he previously displayed when arguing that Joseph should be soldinto slavery. On that occasion, Judah cared little about the impact that this would have on hisfather.
  • 171. A Study In Genesis 171Genesis 45 – Joseph Reveals Himself to His BrothersGenesis 45:1-3Then Joseph could not pcontrol himself before all those who stood by him. He cried, “Make everyonego out from me.” So no one stayed with him when Joseph made himself known to his brothers. 2And he wept aloud, so that the Egyptians heard it, and the household of Pharaoh heard it. 3 AndJoseph said to his brothers, q“I am Joseph! Is my father still alive?” But his brothers could notanswer him, for they were dismayed at his presence. 225There was no longer any doubt in Joseph’s mind that his brothers were now changed men. Theywere aware of God’s leading in their lives and their responsibility to Him. They had love for theirfather as well as one another.Joseph is so overwhelmed at this point that he asks for all the servants and others who were withhim to leave. He wanted to be alone with his brothers. He then wept so loud that all those aroundhim heard him weeping and word spread to Pharaoh’s household about it. Note: The ESV versionsays that “the household of Pharaoh heard it”, other interpretations say “the household of Pharaohheard of it”. Either way, Joseph was so overwhelmed with emotion that he wept loud enough forothers to hear.Following this outburst of weeping, which probably alarmed his brothers, Joseph reveals himself tohis brothers. His declaration is then followed by wanting to know if his father was still alive. Thebrothers, of course, are flabbergasted. The Hebrew word (bahal) means “troubled, amazed, orfrightened”.45:2 Loud Weepingp ch. 43:31; [Esth. 5:10]q Acts 7:13225The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Ge 45:1–3). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
  • 172. A Study In Genesis 172And he wept so loudly that the Egyptians heard him, and Pharaoh’s household heard aboutit.As previously said, the physical descendants of Isaac and Ishmael are passionate and expressivepeople, with seemingly supercharged emotions that often appear excessive to those of othercultures. Their weeping is loud whether it comes from joy or grief, and equally loud is their laughteror wails. Their joy is exuberant, often full of unrestrained enthusiasm, and their grief is depressive,filled with almost hopeless despair. Their love is deep and demonstrative, and their hate is violentand destructive. The angel of the LORD said to Sarah’s servant Hagar about her son Ishmael: “Hewill be a wild donkey of a man; his hand will be against everyone and everyone’s hand against him,and he will live in hostility toward all his brothers” (Genesis 16:12). It was true through the days ofthe Bible and it is true today.226Genesis 45:4-84 So Joseph said to his brothers, “Come near to me, please.” And they came near. And he said, “I amyour brother, Joseph, rwhom you sold into Egypt. 5 And now do not be distressed or angry withyourselves because you sold me here, sfor God sent me before you to preserve life. 6 For the faminehas been in the land these two years, and there are tyet five years in which there will be neitheruplowing nor harvest. 7 And God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant on earth, and tokeep alive for you many survivors. 8 So it was not you who sent me here, but God. He has made me afather to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house and vruler over all the land of Egypt. 227Joseph puts their minds at ease, assuring them that he is not hateful towards them or planning ontaking revenge. Then he goes on to explain that God had put him here I Egypt to save lives.Therefore, they no longer need to be afraid or angry with themselves.He told them there was yet another five years of famine to come. God had sent Joseph before themto preserve for them a “remnant” on earth (“remnant” translates as posterity”). God had made hima “father to Pharaoh” and lord of all his house and ruler over all the land of Egypt.Genesis 45:9-15 Freeman, J. M., & Chadwick, H. J. (1998). Manners & customs of the Bible (Rev. ed.].) (87). North Brunswick, NJ: Bridge-Logos226Publishers.r ch. 37:28s ch. 50:20; Ps. 105:16, 17t ch. 41:30u Ex. 34:21; Deut. 21:4; 1 Sam. 8:12; [Isa. 30:24]v ver. 26; ch. 41:43227The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Ge 45:4–8). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
  • 173. A Study In Genesis 1739 Hurry and go up to my father and say to him, ‘Thus says your son Joseph, God has made me lord ofall Egypt. Come down to me; do not tarry. 10wYou shall dwell in the land of Goshen, and you shall benear me, you and your children and your children’s children, and your flocks, your herds, and allthat you have. 11xThere I will provide for you, for there are yet five years of famine to come, so thatyou and your household, and all that you have, do not come to poverty.’ 12 And now your eyes see,and the eyes of my brother Benjamin see, that it is ymy mouth that speaks to you. 13 You must tellmy father of all my honor in Egypt, and of all that you have seen. Hurry and zbring my father downhere.” 14 Then he fell upon his brother Benjamin’s neck and wept, and Benjamin wept upon his neck.15 And he kissed all his brothers and wept upon them. After that his brothers talked with him. 228Joseph told his brothers to hurry back to his father and tell him the news. Joseph instructed hisentire family to move to Egypt with him. He would arrange for them to have adequate room for alltheir households as well as their flocks and herds, in the land of Goshen.The precise location of Goshen is disputed, it was probably a region in the eastern delta area of theNile suitable for herdsmen in the Wadi Tumilat. (This is not the same Goshen as that of Joshua10:41.)Joseph chooses the region of Goshen because of its suitability for herdsmen and its close proximityto him. The location also lessened the likelihood of Jacob’s family being absorbed into Egyptiansociety, enabling them to retain their ethnic and religious distinctiveness. The Egyptian textPapyrus Anastasis VI tells of Pharaoh Memeptah, in approximately 1220 B.C., allowing Edomitenomads to live in Goshen “to keep themselves and their flocks alive in the territory of the king”.Joseph assured them that he would take care of them during the next five years of famine so theywould not come to poverty. They must go and tell their father all that had transpired and to bringhim to Egypt as soon as possible.Then Joseph and Benjamin embraced and then he kissed and wept upon each of his brothers inturn. After which they all talked. JOSEPH IN EGYPT Genesis 39–50 SERVANT PRISON PLENTY FAMINE SOJOURNw ch. 46:34; 47:1, 4, 6, 27; 50:8; Ex. 8:22; [ch. 47:11; Josh. 10:41]x ch. 47:12; 50:21y [ch. 42:23]z Acts 7:14228The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Ge 45:8–15). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
  • 174. A Study In Genesis 174 39:1–19 39:20–40:23 41:1–52 41:53–47:26 47:27–50:26 Potiphar‘s Meets Two Brothers, Goshen House the Butler Children Benjamin and Born Arrive the Baker 17 Yrs. Jacob Jacob Dies Arrives 1860 1877 Age 17–19 Age 19–30 Age 30–37 Age 37–44 Age 44–110 (2+ Yrs.) (11 Yrs.) (7 Yrs.) (7 Yrs.) (70 Yrs.) 1901–1898 1898–1887 1887–1880 1880–1873 1873–1807 BC BC BC BC BC Steward Dream PRIME MINISTER Interpreter229229 Smith, J. E. (1993). The Pentateuch (2nd ed.) (Ge 45:1–24). Joplin, Mo.: College Press Pub. Co.
  • 175. A Study In Genesis 175Genesis 45:16-2016 When the report was heard in Pharaoh’s house, “Joseph’s brothers have come,” it pleasedPharaoh and his servants. 17 And Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Say to your brothers, ‘Do this: load yourbeasts and go back to the land of Canaan, 18 and take your father and your households, and come tome, and aI will give you the best of the land of Egypt, and you shall eat the fat of the land.’ 19 Andyou, Joseph, are commanded to say, ‘Do this: take bwagons from the land of Egypt for your littleones and for your wives, and bring your father, and come. 20 Have no concern for1 your goods, forthe best of all the land of Egypt is yours.’ ” 230News of what was transpiring reached Pharaoh who instructs Joseph to tell his brothers to returnto Canaan and bring the entire family to Egypt, promising that they would receive good things andeat the “fat” of the land. Pharaoh would provide wagons for bringing their wives and children.They were not to worry about bringing all their possessions, because anything they needed wouldbe provided.Genesis 45:21-2421 The sons of Israel did so: and Joseph gave them bwagons, according to the command of Pharaoh,and gave them provisions for the journey. 22 To each and all of them he gave ca change of clothes,but to Benjamin he gave three hundred shekels2 of silver and dfive changes of clothes. 23 To hisfather he sent as follows: ten donkeys loaded with the good things of Egypt, and ten female donkeysloaded with grain, bread, and provision for his father on the journey. 24 Then he sent his brothersaway, and as they departed, he said to them, e“Do not quarrel on the way.” 231Joseph lavishes gifts on them, in particular Benjamin. He sends them on their way with more giftsfor Jacob.Joseph admonishes his brothers not to “quarrel on the way”. The Hebrew word “ragaz” istranslated “fall out” only this once, its more common meaning is “be troubled”, a caution that woulda ch. 47:6b ch. 46:51 Hebrew Let your eye not pity230The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Ge 45:16–22). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.b [See ver. 19 above]c [2 Kgs. 5:5, 22, 23]2 A shekel was about 2/5 ounce or 11 gramsd [ch. 43:34]e [ch. 42:22]231The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Ge 45:21–24). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
  • 176. A Study In Genesis 176be greatly needed; for not only during the journey would they be occupied in recalling the partsthey had respectively acted in the events that led to Joseph’s being sold into Egypt, but theirwickedness would soon have to come to the knowledge of their father.232Joseph was warning themnot to let doubts or fears arise again after they left him. Every one of his promises was genuine, andhe wanted them all to move down to Egypt with minimum delay.Genesis 45:25-2825 So they went up out of Egypt and came to the land of Canaan to their father Jacob. 26 And theytold him, “Joseph is still alive, and he is ruler over all the land of Egypt.” And his heart becamenumb, for he did not believe them. 27 But when they told him all the words of Joseph, which he hadsaid to them, and when he saw fthe wagons that Joseph had sent to carry him, the spirit of theirfather Jacob revived. 28 And Israel said, “It is enough; Joseph my son is still alive. I will go and seehim before I die.” 233Upon their return to Canaan, the brothers told Jacob what had happened and that Joseph was stillalive. The news was met with disbelief and shock, but as Jacob looked out at all the gifts and atBenjamin and his gifts, he came to believe they were telling the truth.As Jacob becomes convinced of the truth, the narrator stops calling him by his old name Jacob, andbegins to call him Israel again. Jacob is overjoyed that he will se Joseph one more time before hedies.No comment is made on what the brothers told Jacob as to why Joseph was in Egypt to begin with.This royal invitation to Jacob, the old patriarch, and to the 10 brothers burdened with guilt, was aturning point in their lives and a fulfillment of God’s prediction (15:13-16) that they would go intoisolation in a foreign country and multiply without losing their identity.234232Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., Fausset, A. R., Brown, D., & Brown, D. (1997). A commentary, critical and explanatory, on the Old and NewTestaments (Ge 45:24). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.f ver. 19, 21; ch. 46:5233The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Ge 45:25–28). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.234Walvoord, J. F., Zuck, R. B., & Dallas Theological Seminary. (1983-). The Bible knowledge commentary : An exposition of the scriptures(Ge 45:25–28). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
  • 177. A Study In Genesis 177Genesis 46 – Joseph’s Family Moves To EgyptVerses 1 – 27 fall into two distinct parts: the itinerary for Jacob’s journey to Egypt, and a register,based on genealogical information, of those who were members of Jacob’s family when they settledin Egypt.Genesis 46:1-4So Israel took his journey with all that he had and came to gBeersheba, and offered sacrifices hto theGod of his father Isaac. 2 And God spoke to Israel iin visions of the night and said, “Jacob, Jacob.” Andhe said, “Here am I.” 3 Then he said, “I am God, jthe God of your father. Do not be afraid to go downto Egypt, for there I will kmake you into a great nation. 4 I myself will go down with you to Egypt,and I will also lbring you up again, and mJoseph’s hand shall close your eyes.” 235Before Jacob leaves for Egypt, God speaks to him in a vision. Previously God had prohibited Isaacfrom going to Egypt during a time of famine (6:1-5). Given this earlier prohibition and what hadhappened to Abraham in Egypt during another famine, Jacob may have been very reluctant to go.God puts Jacob’s mind at ease saying that “I myself will go down with you”. God also promises “Iwill also bring you up again”. God is reassuring Jacob that his journey to Egypt will hot underminethe devine promises that center on Canaan. Although Jacob will die in Egypt, he will be buried withhis ancestors Abraham and Isaac in Canaan.God’s purpose for leading them to Egypt was that he might make of them a “great nation”. Althoughthe foundation of the nation had been established in the twelve sons of Israel, their descendantswould need the discipline of living for a period in Eygpt before they were really ready to assumetheir role in God’s economy.g ch. 21:31, 33; 26:33; 28:10h ch. 26:24, 25; 28:13; 31:42i ch. 15:1; Job 33:14, 15j ch. 28:13k ch. 35:11; [ch. 12:2; Ex. 1:7, 9; Deut. 26:5]l ch. 15:16; 28:15; 48:21; 50:24; Ex. 3:8m ch. 50:1235The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Ge 46:1–4). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
  • 178. A Study In Genesis 178In Egypt, there was not the danger of assimilation as was in Canaan. The Egyptians felt themselvesracially superior and were reluctant to mix and intermarry with foreigners, especially shepherds, afact that has been confirmed by students of Egyptian antiquities. Also, these people were culturallyand intellectually the most advanced nation in the world at the time, so there was much of futurevalue the children of Israel could learn in Egypt.Although the Israelites would profit both financially and culturally by associated with theEgyptians, they would be forced to dwell apart by themselves, developing their own culture andlearning to center the lives on God. This would forge them into a distinct and unique people, readyto receive and promulgate the laws of God and the great plan of God.God also assured Jacob that he would see Joseph again and it would be his beloved son Joseph whowould perform the sacred duty of “laying his hand upon thine eyes”, that is, of closing his eyes indeath for his burial.Genesis 46:5-75Then Jacob set out from Beersheba. The sons of Israel carried Jacob their father, their little ones,and their wives, in the wagons nthat Pharaoh had sent to carry him. 6 They also took their livestockand their goods, which they had gained in the land of Canaan, and ocame into Egypt, Jacob and allhis offspring with him, 7 his sons, and his sons’ sons with him, his daughters, and his sons’daughters. All his offspring he brought with him into Egypt. 236These verses underline that Jacob took with him to Egypt everything that he possessed, includingall the members of his family. These general comments prepare for the more detailed register offamily members in verses 8-27.The Beni Hasan Mural, which was found in an Egyptian tomb, depicts a group of Asiatics as theytravel into Egypt bringing animals, weapons, and musical instruments. All the men are bearded andthey wear clothes with elaborate designs.Genesis 46:8-27n ch. 45:19, 21, 27o Josh. 24:4; Ps. 105:23; Isa. 52:4; Acts 7:14, 15236The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Ge 46:5–7). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
  • 179. A Study In Genesis 1798pNow qthese are the names of the descendants of Israel, who came into Egypt, Jacob and his sons.rReuben, Jacob’s firstborn, 9 and the sons of Reuben: Hanoch, Pallu, Hezron, and Carmi. 10 The sonsof Simeon: Jemuel, Jamin, Ohad, Jachin, Zohar, and Shaul, the son of a Canaanite woman. 11 The sonsof sLevi: Gershon, Kohath, and Merari. 12 The sons of tJudah: Er, Onan, Shelah, Perez, and Zerah (butuEr and Onan died in the land of Canaan); and the sons of vPerez were Hezron and Hamul. 13wThesons of Issachar: Tola, Puvah, Yob, and Shimron. 14 The sons of Zebulun: Sered, Elon, and Jahleel. 15These are the sons of Leah, xwhom she bore to Jacob in Paddan-aram, together with his daughterDinah; altogether his sons and his daughters numbered thirty-three. 16 The sons of Gad: Ziphion,Haggi, Shuni, Ezbon, Eri, Arodi, and Areli. 17yThe sons of Asher: Imnah, Ishvah, Ishvi, Beriah, withSerah their sister. And the sons of Beriah: Heber and Malchiel. 18zThese are the sons of Zilpah,awhom Laban gave to Leah his daughter; and these she bore to Jacob—sixteen persons.19The sons of Rachel, Jacob’s wife: Joseph and Benjamin. 20 And bto Joseph in the land of Egypt wereborn Manasseh and Ephraim, whom Asenath, the daughter of Potiphera the priest of cOn, bore tohim. 21 And dthe sons of Benjamin: Bela, Becher, Ashbel, Gera, Naaman, Ehi, Rosh, Muppim, Huppim,and Ard. 22 These are the sons of Rachel, who were born to Jacob—fourteen persons in all.23The sons of Dan: Hushim. 24eThe sons of Naphtali: Jahzeel, Guni, Jezer, and Shillem. 25fThese arethe sons of Bilhah, gwhom Laban gave to Rachel his daughter, and these she bore to Jacob—sevenpersons in all.p For ver. 8–11, see Ex. 6:14–16q Ex. 1:1–5r Num. 26:5; 1 Chr. 5:1–3s 1 Chr. 6:1t 1 Chr. 2:3; 4:21u ch. 38:3, 7, 10v ch. 38:29; 1 Chr. 25w 1 Chr. 7:1x See ch. 29:32–35; 30:1–21y 1 Chr. 7:30z See ch. 30:10–13a ch. 29:24b ch. 41:50–52c ch. 41:45d See Num. 26:38–40; 1 Chr. 7:6–12; 8:1e 1 Chr. 7:13
  • 180. A Study In Genesis 18026 All the persons belonging to Jacob who came into Egypt, who were his own descendants, notincluding Jacob’s sons’ wives, were sixty-six persons in all. 27 And the sons of Joseph, who were bornto him in Egypt, were two. hAll the persons of the house of Jacob who came into Egypt were seventy.237By faith, Jacob left Hebron and started for Egypt, and God honored his faith by revealing Himselfagain and renewing His promises (46:2–4). Jacob no doubt remembered that Abraham had sinnedin going to Egypt (12:10ff), and that Isaac had been forbidden to go there (26:2), so he wasreassured by God’s Word. Instead of being a place of defeat, Egypt would be a place of blessing, forthe nation would increase in spite of suffering. The whole family went with Jacob: the thirty-threedescendants of Leah (vv. 8–15); the sixteen descendants of Zilpah (vv. 16–18); the fourteendescendants of Rachel (vv. 19–22); and the seven descendants of Bilhah (vv. 23–25). Actually sixty-six traveled with Jacob, and when we add Jacob and Joseph and his two sons (v. 27), we get a total ofseventy. See Ex. 1:5. Acts 7:14 says that there were seventy-five in the family, but this may includethe five children of Ephraim and Manasseh, listed in 1 Chron. 7:14ff. Note that Judah was now thetrusted one, for Jacob sent him ahead as the leader. Meanwhile, Joseph was preparing the way withPharaoh, finding them places to live and occupations to follow while in the land. 238The four families listed in these scriptures add up to 70 names. This number does not include anyof the wives of Jacob’s sons and grandsons (nor the husbands of his daughters or granddaughters),but only those who were of his own seed. Of these, however, only 66 actually “came with Jacob intoEgypt”, since Joseph, Manasseh, and Ephraim were already there when he came.In verse 26 the number of descendants is said to be 66, whereas the number in verse 27 is 70. Thefirst number represents those who traveled with Jacob to Egypt, and the second number includesthe children and grandchildren already in Egypt. The following tabulation shows how these twofigures are determined:Leah’s children and grandchildren (v 15) 33Zilpah’s children and grandchildren (v18) 16Rachel’s children and grandchildren (v 22) 14Bilhah’s children and grandchildren (v 25) 7 70f See ch. 30:5–8g ch. 29:29h Ex. 1:5; Deut. 10:22; [Acts 7:14]237The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Ge 46:16–27). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.238 Wiersbe, W. W. (1993). Wiersbes expository outlines on the Old Testament (Ge 46–47). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
  • 181. A Study In Genesis 181Dinah (v 15) + 1 71Er and Onan (who died in Canaan; v 12); Joseph and his two sons, already in Egypt (v 20) - 5Those who went to Egypt with Jacob (v 26) 66Joseph, Manass, Ephraim, Jacob (v 27) + 4Jacob and his progeny in Egypt (v 27) 70It is from the 70 (which included Joseph’s two sons born in Egypt, vv 20, 27; cf 41:50-52) that thenation of Israel would grow. (In the early church, Stephen referred to 75 members in Jacob’s family;see comments on Acts 7:14.)239The number 70 seems to have been associated in a particular way with the nation of Israel eversince the time when these 70 became its official founders. There were 70 elders (Num.11:16), 70years of captivity (II Chron. 36:21), 70 “weeks” determined on the people of Israel to finish thetransgression (Daniel 9:24), 70 translators of the Septuagent translation of the Old Testament intoGreek, 70 members of the Sanhedrin in the days of Jesus, and 70 “witnesses” to Israel sent by Christ(Luke 10:1).There is some controversy about the accuracy of these numbers because in Acts 7:14, in Stephen’sspeech he says there were 75 of Jacob’s kindred who were called into Egypt. This addition of five tothe total in Genesis is usually explained by noting that Stephen referred to the Septuagenttranslation, which for some reason had added 5 of Joseph’s descendants through Ephraim andManasseh to the list of Genesis 46.Genesis 46:28-3428 He had sent Judah ahead of him to Joseph to show the way before him in Goshen, and they cameiinto the land of Goshen. 29 Then Joseph prepared his chariot and went up to meet Israel his fatherin Goshen. He presented himself to him and jfell on his neck and wept on his neck a good while. 30Israel said to Joseph, k“Now let me die, since I have seen your face and know that you are still alive.”31 Joseph said to his brothers and to his father’s household, l“I will go up and tell Pharaoh and willsay to him, ‘My brothers and my father’s household, who were in the land of Canaan, have come tome. 32mAnd the men are shepherds, for they have been keepers of livestock, and they have broughttheir flocks and their herds and all that they have.’ 33 When Pharaoh calls you and says, m‘What is239Walvoord, J. F., Zuck, R. B., & Dallas Theological Seminary. (1983-). The Bible knowledge commentary : An exposition of the scriptures(Ge 46:8–27). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.i See ch. 45:10j [ch. 45:14]k [Luke 2:29, 30]l ch. 47:1m ch. 47:3
  • 182. A Study In Genesis 182your occupation?’ 34 you shall say, m‘Your servants have been keepers of livestock nfrom our youtheven until now, both we and our fathers,’ in order that you may dwell oin the land of Goshen, forevery shepherd is pan abomination to the Egyptians.” 240Here Judah takes the lead in anticipation of the blessing that his father will bestow on him.Joseph uses his God-given administrative skills to ensure that his family settles safely in Egypt. Assoon as Joseph heard his father was coming, he hitched up his chariot and went up to Goshen tomeet him. When they finally met, Joseph wept on his father’s neck “a good while”. Jacob could nowdie in peace because he had seen Joseph’s face once again.Joseph gives advice to his brothers, anticipating that they will be summoned by Pharaoh. Josephuses his knowledge of the Egyptians’ sense of ethnic superiority in favor of his family. He knew thatthe Egyptians considered shepherds “abhorrent” 241To ensure that they will be given the land ofGoshen, he instructs them to say that they are keepers of livestock, and that this is their traditionaloccupation. This is so Pharaoh will be willing to let them stay in Goshen, apart from the generalpopulation of Egypt, otherwise Pharaoh might want to see them mix and intermarry with theEgyptian populace. Because of the Egyptian aversion to shepherds, Pharaoh would be willing to letthem stay apart from other Egyptians. Joseph jumped in his chariot to go meet his father, Jacob.m [See ver. 32 above]m [See ver. 32 above]n ch. 37:12o ver. 28p ch. 43:32; Ex. 8:26240The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Ge 46:28–34). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society. Cabal, T., Brand, C. O., Clendenen, E. R., Copan, P., Moreland, J., & Powell, D. (2007). The Apologetics Study Bible: Real Questions, Straight241Answers, Stronger Faith (76). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
  • 183. A Study In Genesis 183
  • 184. A Study In Genesis 184Genesis 47 – Jacob’s Family Settles In GoshenGenesis 47:1-6So Joseph qwent in and told Pharaoh, “My father and my brothers, with their flocks and herds andall that they possess, have come from the land of Canaan. They are now in rthe land of Goshen.” 2And from among his brothers he took five men and spresented them to Pharaoh. 3 Pharaoh said tohis brothers, t“What is your occupation?” And they said to Pharaoh, u“Your servants are shepherds,as our fathers were.” 4 They said to Pharaoh, v“We have come to sojourn in the land, for there is nopasture for your servants’ flocks, for the famine is severe in the land of Canaan. And now, please letyour servants dwell win the land of Goshen.” 5 Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Your father and yourbrothers have come to you. 6 The land of Egypt is before you. Settle your father and your brothersxin the best of the land. yLet them settle in the land of Goshen, and if you know any zable men amongthem, put them in charge of my livestock.” 242Although Joseph was second in power in the kingdom, he could not make a decision to assign alarge area of fertile land to a foreign tribe without the specific approval of Pharaoh. Having settledthem down tentatively in Goshen, he then takes five of his brothers with him to Pharaoh’s court.Joseph makes a formal announcement to Pharaoh that his family and their possessions (callingspecial attention to their flocks and herds) had come to Egypt as Pharaoh had invited them to do.He also tells Pharaoh they are in the land of Goshen, awaiting Pharaoh’s pleasure.q ch. 46:31r See ch. 45:10s Acts 7:13t ch. 46:33u ch. 46:32, 34v ch. 15:13; Deut. 26:5w ch. 46:34x ch. 45:18y ver. 4z Ex. 18:21, 25242The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Ge 47:1–6). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
  • 185. A Study In Genesis 185When Pharaoh asked their business, to see how they might best fit into the Egyptian economy, theytold Pharaoh that they and their fathers had always been shepherds. They also told Pharaoh thatthey have come only to “sojourn” in the land because of the famine in Canaan. Since Goshen hadgood pasture land for their flocks, they requested permission to live there. Goshen is not referredto in ancient Egyptian writings, but the name it bore in later times was the district of Rameses (v11; cf Ex. 1:11). This, plus the fact that it was fertile and near to Joseph at court, suggests that it wasnear the eastern part of the Nile Delta.243As Joseph had anticipated, this was the best solution from Pharaoh’s point of view also. Pharaohfirst acknowledged to Joseph that his family had arrived and that he fully remembered hisinvitation. Graciously he offered to let them dwell anywhere in Egypt and then, more specifically,he indicated his approval of Goshen.Though shepherds were “an abomination” to the Egyptians, Pharaoh did have extensive herds ofcattle of his own. He therefore offered to employ any of the Israelite clan who were competent todo so, to assume charge over his cattle.Genesis 47:7-107 Then Joseph brought in Jacob his father and stood him before Pharaoh, aand Jacob blessedPharaoh. 8 And Pharaoh said to Jacob, “How many are the days of the years of your life?” 9 And Jacobsaid to Pharaoh, “The days of the years of my bsojourning are 130 years. cFew and evil have been thedays of the years of my life, and dthey have not attained to the days of the years of the life of myfathers in the days of their bsojourning.” 10 And Jacob eblessed Pharaoh and went out from thepresence of Pharaoh. 244Before settling him in Goshen, Joseph presented his father to Pharaoh, who received him with thecourtesy of an Eastern monarch, and the respect which the sight of age, far exceeding the ordinaryterm of life in Egypt, would ensure. Even though Pharaoh was more wealthy and powerful, Jacobwas clearly more superior. Pharaoh seems to have sensed this and recognized that he was speakingto a man of unusual spiritual depth and perception, a man who had known and walked with God formany years.243Walvoord, J. F., Zuck, R. B., & Dallas Theological Seminary. (1983-). The Bible knowledge commentary : An exposition of the scriptures(Ge 47:1–12). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.a ver. 10b 1 Chr. 29:15; Ps. 39:12; 119:19, 54; Heb. 11:9, 13c Job 14:1; [Ps. 39:4, 5; James 4:14]d ch. 11:32; 25:7; 35:28b 1 Chr. 29:15; Ps. 39:12; 119:19, 54; Heb. 11:9, 13e ver. 7244The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Ge 47:7–10). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
  • 186. A Study In Genesis 186In acknowledgment of Pharaoh’s kindness, “Jacob blessed” him; and in answer to the questionabout his age, compared “the days of the years” of his own “pilgrimage” with those of his fathers.Abraham had lived one hundred and seventy-five, Isaac one hundred and eighty years; while Jacobwas at the age of only one hundred and thirty, apprehending the approach of death. Compared totheirs, his days had not only been “few” but “evil,” full of trial, sorrow, and care, ever since his flightfrom his father’s house.245 Jacob’s reply alludes to those event that have made his life less thanhappy (e.g. his treatment of Esau, his sons deception regarding Joseph, his experience with Labanand Rachel, the events surrounding Dinah).The Hebrew term “sojourning” implies that Jacob and his fathers had no permanent abode. Thoughthey had settled in Canaan and had purchased a few small tracks of ground, they had been semi-nomads with never a truly permement home.At the conclusion of their conversation, Jacob once again blesses Pharaoh and then leaves.Genesis 47:11-1211 Then Joseph settled his father and his brothers and gave them a possession in the land of Egypt,in the best of the land, in the land of fRameses, gas Pharaoh had commanded. 12 And Josephhprovided his father, his brothers, and all his father’s household with food, according to the numberof their dependents. 246After Pharaoh’s official approval, Joseph deeds a portion of the land of Goshen to his family. Heselected a tract in the best part of this land, as Pharaoh had authorized, a region known as Remeses.The storehouse cities Pithom and Raameses (Exodus 1:11) were later to be built in this area.The region seems to have been bordered on the west by the Nile, since the Israelites “did eat fishfreely in Egypt” (Numbers 11:5). According to Psalm 78:12, their property must have included “thefield of Zoan”, which was one of the outlet channels of the Nile fairly near the sea. In general, it wasclose to Egypt’s northeast corner, more or less isolated from the bulk of the Egyptian population,which concentrated more to the south and west.Joseph saw to it that his family had enough food. He had to ration it out, even to them, because ofthe years of famine he knew were still coming.Genesis 47:13-21245 Edersheim, A. (1997). Bible History: Old Testament (Ge 46–48). Oak Harbor: Logos Bible Software.f Ex. 1:11; 12:37; [ch. 45:10]g ver. 6h ch. 45:11; 50:21246The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Ge 47:10–12). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
  • 187. A Study In Genesis 18713 Now there was no food in all the land, for the famine was very severe, so that the land of Egyptand the land of Canaan languished by reason of the famine. 14iAnd Joseph gathered up all the moneythat was found in the land of Egypt and in the land of Canaan, in exchange for the grain that theybought. And Joseph brought the money into Pharaoh’s house. 15 And when the money was all spentin the land of Egypt and in the land of Canaan, all the Egyptians came to Joseph and said, “Give usfood. jWhy should we die before your eyes? For our money is gone.” 16 And Joseph answered, “Giveyour livestock, and I will give you food in exchange for your livestock, if your money is gone.” 17 Sothey brought their livestock to Joseph, and Joseph gave them food in exchange for the horses, theflocks, the herds, and the donkeys. He supplied them with food in exchange for all their livestockthat year. 18 And when that year was ended, they came to him the following year and said to him,“We will not hide from my lord that our money is all spent. The herds of livestock are my lord’s.There is nothing left in the sight of my lord but our bodies and our land. 19 Why should we diebefore your eyes, both we and our land? kBuy us and our land for food, and we with our land will beservants to Pharaoh. And give us seed that we may live and not die, and that the land may not bedesolate.”20 So Joseph bought all the land of Egypt for Pharaoh, for all the Egyptians sold their fields, becausethe famine was severe on them. The land became Pharaoh’s. 21 As for the people, he made servantsof them1 from one end of Egypt to the other.247When all of their money was gone, the Egyptians appeal to Joseph for help. He responds by offeringto buy their livestock. This sustains them for another year.However, the following year, with no livestock or money, the Egyptians resort to selling their landand themselves as debt slaves to Pharaoh. They also request seed in order to sustain themselvesfor the future. Joseph willingly grants their request.Some scholars believe that Joseph’s scheme was for the purpose of gaining wealth and to enslavethe people. However, it was the people of Egypt who came to Joseph with the proposal andobviously they did not feel this way (see verse 25 – “You have saved our lives”). Whatever gain thatwas involved accrued to Pharaoh, not Joseph. It is true that it created a feudalistic economy, but thealternative, that of placing everyone on a dole system, would have destroyed the personal andnational moreale, would have bankrupted the government and very likely would have culminatedin social anarchy. The stores of food would soon have been depleted and mass starvation wouldhave followed.Genesis 47:22-26i ch. 41:56j ver. 19k [Neh. 5:2, 3]1 Samaritan, Septuagint, Vulgate; Hebrew he removed them to the cities247The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Ge 47:13–22). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
  • 188. A Study In Genesis 18822lOnlythe land of the priests he did not buy, for the priests had a fixed allowance from Pharaoh andlived on the allowance that Pharaoh gave them; therefore they did not sell their land.23 Then Joseph said to the people, “Behold, I have this day bought you and your land for Pharaoh.Now here is seed for you, and you shall sow the land. 24 And at the harvests you shall give a mfifth toPharaoh, and four fifths shall be your own, as seed for the field and as food for yourselves and yourhouseholds, and as food for your little ones.” 25 And they said, “You have saved our lives; nmay itplease my lord, we will be servants to Pharaoh.” 26 So Joseph made it a statute concerning the landof Egypt, and it stands to this day, that Pharaoh should have the fifth; othe land of the priests alonedid not become Pharaoh’s. 248The exception to the rule was the priests who administered the Egyptian religious system. Byorders of Pharaoh, they retained their lands and their portion of grain was that “which Pharaohgave them”.As far as the rest of the populace was concerned, Joseph fulfilled his part of the bargain, providingseed for their lands and food for their households. Since the title of the lands now belonged toPharaoh, it was agreed that the people would continue to work their own lands, using seedfurnished by the government, and that they could keep for themselves 80% of what they produced,with 20% going to Pharaoh.In effect, this amounted to a permanent annual income tax of 20% of gross income. This is notexcessive by today’s standards, especially since these farmers had no rent to pay, no cost ofinvestment or upkeep. Presumably, a similar or equitable arrangement was provided for thosewith specific occupations other than farming.The citizens were grateful to Joseph for saving their lives, recognizing that they were being treatedfairly and this plan was a fair plan under the circumstances. In fact, this plan worked so well it wasstill in effect at the time of Moses.Genesis 47:27-3127Thus Israel settled in the land of Egypt, pin the land of Goshen. qAnd they gained possessions in it,and were fruitful and multiplied greatly. 28 And Jacob lived in the land of Egypt seventeen years. rSothe days of Jacob, the years of his life, were 147 years.l [Ezra 7:24]m ch. 41:34n See ch. 33:15o ver. 22248The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Ge 47:21–26). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.p See ch. 45:10q ch. 46:3
  • 189. A Study In Genesis 18929And swhen the time drew near that Israel must die, he called his son Joseph and said to him, “Ifnow tI have found favor in your sight, uput your hand under my thigh and vpromise to deal kindlyand truly with me. wDo not bury me in Egypt, 30 but let me lie with my fathers. Carry me out of Egyptand xbury me in their burying place.” He answered, “I will do as you have said.” 31 And he said,“Swear to me”; and he swore to him. Then yIsrael bowed himself upon the head of his bed.2249Joseph’s family came into Egypt a little more than two years after the famine began and were therefor the last five years of it. Even during the famine they began to prosper in Egypt. Their mainoccupation was sheep and cattle raising and Goshen provided good pasturage so their flocks andherds multiplied and thrived.Also, their own numbers rapidly multiplied. At the time that they entered Egypt there were justover 100 of them (70 plus wives and children). When they left Egypt, there were over two millionIsraelites. With a growth rate of 5-6% per year, this was reasonable.After 17 years, when Joseph was 147 years old, he died. Before dying, he called Joseph to his sideand made him promise to bury him in Canaan, where his parents and grandparents were buried.He referred, of course, to the Cave of Machpelah which had been purchased by Abraham (chap. 23).Wanting Joseph to affirm that he would carry through on his promise, Jacob asked his son to put hishand under Jacob’s thigh250To put your hand under another’s thigh and make a promise was, in ancient cultures, a most solemnway of committing yourself to carry out that promise. Over time, Jacob had begun to take moreseriously the Lord’s promises at Bethel to give the land of Canaan to Abraham’s descendants and tobring Jacob back to that land permanently (28:13, 15; 48:4). When he had first received thoser [ver. 9]s Deut. 31:14; 1 Kgs. 2:1t See ch. 33:15u ch. 24:2v ch. 24:49w [ch. 50:25]x ch. 49:29; 50:5, 13y ch. 48:2; 1 Kgs. 1:47; [Heb. 11:21]2 Hebrew; Septuagint staff249The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Ge 47:27–31). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.chap. chapter250Walvoord, J. F., Zuck, R. B., & Dallas Theological Seminary. (1983-). The Bible knowledge commentary : An exposition of the scriptures(Ge 47:28–31). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
  • 190. A Study In Genesis 190promises from God, he had been content to remain away from Canaan for 20 years (31:41). As heneared the end of his life, Jacob came to view things much differently.251Then Jacob bowed himself upon the head of the bed. This gester of bowing was possibly in worshipor in gratitude to Joseph (which would fulfill Joseph’s predictive dream in 37:6-11). By notexplaining why Jacob bowed, Genesis allows for any of these interpretations. Hebrew 11:21 refersto this, citing the Septuagent, which has Joseph bowing on the head of his staff. The differencebetween the two words in Hebrew is very small. They have the exact same consonants and onlytwo vowels are different. “hammittah” is “the bed” and “hammatteh” is the staff. Cabal, T., Brand, C. O., Clendenen, E. R., Copan, P., Moreland, J., & Powell, D. (2007). The Apologetics Study Bible: Real Questions, Straight251Answers, Stronger Faith (77–78). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
  • 191. A Study In Genesis 191Family Tree: Jacob
  • 192. A Study In Genesis 192Genesis 48 – Jacob’s Blessing on Joseph and His SonsJacob, close to death, pronounces a variety of blessings on his sons. The first part of this process isrecorded in this chapter and focuses specifically on Joseph and his two sons, Mannasseh andEphraim. Immediately following this, all of Jacob’s other sons gather around his bed in order to beblessed.While Chapters 48 and 49 stand together, the events of 48:1-22 set Joseph and his younger sonEphraim apart from all the other brothers. In particular, Ephraim receives from Jacob the blessingof the firstborn indicating that the special liine traced throughout Genesis will continue through hisdescendants. Various elements of Chapter 48 are reminescent of how jacob was blessed by hisfather Isaac.Genesis 48:1-7After this, Joseph was told, “Behold, your father is ill.” So he took with him his two sons, Manassehand Ephraim. 2 And it was told to Jacob, “Your son Joseph has come to you.” Then Israel summonedhis strength and sat up in bed. 3 And Jacob said to Joseph, z“God Almighty1 appeared to me at aLuz inthe land of Canaan and blessed me, 4 and said to me, ‘Behold, I will make you fruitful and multiplyyou, and I will make of you a company of peoples and will give this land to your offspring after youbfor an everlasting possession.’5 And now your ctwo sons, who were born to you in the land ofEgypt before I came to you in Egypt, dare mine; Ephraim and Manasseh shall be mine, asReuben and Simeon are. 6 And the children that you fathered after them shall be yours. Theyshall be called by the name of their brothers in their inheritance. 7 As for me, when I came fromPaddan, to my sorrow eRachel died in the land of Canaan on the way, when there was still somedistance2 to go to Ephrath, and I buried her there on the way to Ephrath (that is, Bethlehem).‖ 252z See ch. 17:11 Hebrew El Shaddaia ch. 28:13, 19; 35:6, 9b ch. 17:8c ch. 41:50–52; 46:20d Josh. 13:7; 14:4; 17:17e See ch. 35:9–192 Or about two hours’ distance252The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Ge 48:4–7). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
  • 193. A Study In Genesis 193Joseph, upon notice of his father’s illness, goes to see him; though a man of honour and business,heshows his father the respect he deserves. Joseph also takes his two sons with him to say goodbye totheir grandfather.Jacob speaks to Joseph, picking up on three distinct issues.First he refers to the theophany (his vision of God) at Bethel, recalling the all important promisesmade to him by God (28:13-15).Second, Jacob elevates his grandsons Ephraim and Mannaseh to the status of full sons, on par withReuben and Simeon (48:5). Later this will result in Joseph’s descendants, through Ephraim andMannaseh, being viewed as two separate tribes. Consequently, when the land of Canaan is divided,Joseph, through his descendants, receives 1/6 of the territory. This double portion of theinheritance confirms that Joseph was designated “the firstborn” in place of Reuben (I Chron. 5:1-2and Gen.35:22-23). Joseph’s other sons would receive their inheritance through their two olderbrothers.Jacob desired Joseph to be recognized in a special way, partly because of all he had done for thefamily, but also because he was the firstborn son of his wife, Rachael. Jacob had fully intended, inthe beginning, that Rachael be his only wife, in that case, Joseph would have been his firstborn. Ithad been Laban’s deception that had caused things to develop differently.It was customary that the oldest receive a double portion of the inheritance, but the father, as headof the family, could change this arrangement if the situation, in his opinion, warranted such achange. Jacobe was perfectly in his rights to transfer the birthright from Reuben to Joseph. Ruebenhad clearly shown both through his incestrous relation with Bilhah and his general weakness incharacter, that he was not fit for the responsibility.Jacob decided it would be most effective to convey the double inheritance directly to Joseph’s twosons, rather than Joseph himself. So he adopted them as his own sons, so that they would be equalin rank to Reuben and Simeon, the two that were firstborn chronologically.Lastly, Jacob recalled his great love for Rachael, and how she had died prematurely in giving birth toBenjamin.Genesis 48:8-12
  • 194. A Study In Genesis 1948 When Israel saw Joseph’s sons, he said, “Who are these?” 9 Joseph said to his father, f“They are mysons, whom God has given me here.” And he said, “Bring them to me, please, that gI may bless them.”10 Now hthe eyes of Israel were dim with age, so that he could not see. So Joseph brought them nearhim, iand he kissed them and embraced them. 11 And Israel said to Joseph, j“I never expected to seeyour face; and behold, God has let me see your offspring also.” 12 Then Joseph removed them fromhis knees, and he bowed himself with his face to the earth. 253Jacob’s eyes were dim with age. He could see that Joseph had brought two people with him, but notwho they were. When he asked Joseph about them, Joseph presented his sons to Jacob so Jacobcould bless them. These verses are not inferring that Jacob had never seen Ephraim and Manassehor that his mind was confused in old age. Rather, because Jacob’s eyesight had deteriorated, hecould not see who accompanied Joseph. Jacob would not have have lived in Egypt for almost 17years without ever meeting Joseph’s sons254Jacob embraced and kissed Joseph’s two sons, thanking God that He had allowed him to not only seeJoseph again, but also his sons. To express his love and reverence for his father, Joseph moves hissons out of the way and bowed with his face to the ground.Genesis 48:13-2013 And Joseph took them both, Ephraim in his right hand toward Israel’s left hand, and Manasseh inhis left hand toward Israel’s right hand, and brought them near him. 14kAnd Israel stretched out hisright hand and laid it on the head of Ephraim, who was the younger, and his left hand on the head ofManasseh, lcrossing his hands (for Manasseh was the firstborn). 15 And he blessed Joseph and said, “The God mbefore whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac walked,the God who has been my shepherd all my life long to this day, 16 nthe angel who has oredeemed me from all evil, bless the boys;f [ch. 33:5]g ch. 49:25, 26; Heb. 11:21; [ch. 27:4]h [ch. 27:1]i ch. 27:27j [ch. 37:33; 45:26]253The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Ge 48:8–12). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society. Cabal, T., Brand, C. O., Clendenen, E. R., Copan, P., Moreland, J., & Powell, D. (2007). The Apologetics Study Bible: Real Questions, Straight254Answers, Stronger Faith (78). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.k ver. 17l ver. 19m ch. 17:1; 24:40
  • 195. A Study In Genesis 195and in them let pmy name be carried on, and the name of my fathers Abraham and Isaac;and let them qgrow into a multitude3 in the midst of the earth.”17 When Joseph saw that his father rlaid his right hand on the head of Ephraim, it displeased him,and he took his father’s hand to move it from Ephraim’s head to Manasseh’s head. 18 And Josephsaid to his father, “Not this way, my father; since this one is the firstborn, put your right hand on hishead.” 19 But his father refused and said, r“I know, my son, I know. He also shall become a people,and he also shall be great. Nevertheless, shis younger brother shall be greater than he, and hisoffspring shall become a multitude4 of nations.” 20 So he blessed them that day, saying, “By you Israel will pronounce blessings, saying, t‘God make you as Ephraim and as Manasseh.’ ”Thus he put Ephraim before Manasseh. 255The blessing of Joseph is intimately linked to the blessing of his two sons. Joseph actually has hissons in the correct position that they will be blessed, but since Mannaseh is the eldest, he moveshim from his left over to Jacob’s right and Ephraim, who is on Joseph’s right, he moves to Jacob’sleft.But then Joseph crosses his hands and places his right hand on Ephraim to start the blessing.Thinking Jacob made a mistake, Joseph protested. But Jacob’s words, I know, my son, I know,expressed the confidence of his faith: he was blessing according to the divine plan, not according tonormal custom. He had learned that in spite of what man attempted to do God had blessed him, theyounger. This he now carried forward to Joseph’s sons. Jacob told Joseph that Mannaseh wouldindeed multiply and be blessed, but Ephraim would be even more so.n ch. 28:15; 31:11, 13, 24; Ex. 23:20o Isa. 44:22, 23; 49:7; 63:9; [2 Sam. 4:9; Ps. 34:22; 121:7]p Amos 9:12; Acts 15:17q [Num. 26:34, 37]3 Or let them be like fish for multituder ver. 14r [See ver. 17 above]s Num. 1:33, 35; 2:19, 21; Deut. 33:174 Hebrew fullnesst [Ruth 4:11, 12]255The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Ge 48:13–20). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
  • 196. A Study In Genesis 196Subsequent history reveals that the Ephramites become one of the leading tribes, with Joshualeading the people into the promised land. They are also the leading tribe in the northern Kingdom,after the division in the days of Jeroboam (I Kings 12:19, 25). But the Ephraimites are later rejectedby God in favor of Judah.Genesis 48:21-2221Then Israel said to Joseph, “Behold, I am about to die, but uGod will be with you and will bring youagain to the land of your fathers. 22 Moreover, I have given to vyou rather than to your brothers onemountain slope5 that I took from the hand of the Amorites with my sword and with my bow.” 256Jacob concluded his blessing by promising Joseph that God would be with him and bring even himagain back to the land of his fathers. Joseph did return there to bury his father (Gen. 50:7) andeventually he, himself, would be buried there. But Jacob’s primary reference was the return of hisdescendants to inhabit the land.He then mentioned a very special tract of ground, which he himself had conquered from theAmorites which he bequeathed to Joseph – a mountain slope. This may have been what wasreferred to in verses 34:25-29. It also became Joseph’s burial place (Joshua 24:32).u ch. 46:4; 50:24v Josh. 24:32; John 4:55 Or one portion of the land; Hebrew shekem, which sounds like the town and district called Shechem256The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Ge 48:21–22). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
  • 197. A Study In Genesis 197Genesis 49 – Jacob’s Blessings on Joseph’s BrothersThis chapter should be studied alongside the Blessing of Moses in Deuteronomy 33 and the Song ofDeborah in Judges 5. The tribal characteristics are summed up in the form of Jacob’s blessing. Werefuture traits described beforehand by Jacob, or did Israel read its history back into his blessing?There is no reason to doubt that he pronounced such blessings on his sons. Later history mighthave led to an expansion of the earlier oracles, but the chapter is rooted in history.257Genesis 49:1-2wThen Jacob called his sons and said, “Gather yourselves together, that I may tell you what shallhappen to you xin days to come. 2“Assemble and listen, O sons of Jacob, listen to Israel your father.Before he died, Jacob uttered patriarchal prophecies regarding the future of all of his sons. In callinghis sons to his bedside, Jacob said he would tell them what would become of them in the daysahead. His words, then, were a deliberately chosen prophetic oracle.258In this final message to hissons, Jacob revealed their character and predicted their history. 259The expression “in the future” ( , ’akharit hayyamim, “in the end of days”) is found mostfrequently in prophetic passages; it may refer to the end of the age, the eschaton, or to the distantfuture. The contents of some of the sayings in this chapter stretch from the immediatecircumstances to the time of the settlement in the land to the coming of Messiah. There is a greatdeal of literature on this chapter, including among others C. Armerding, “The Last Words of Jacob:Genesis 49, ” BSac 112 (1955): 320-28; H. Pehlke, “An Exegetical and Theological Study of Genesis49:1–28” (Th.D. dissertation, Dallas Theological Seminary, 1985); and B. Vawter, “The CanaaniteBackground of Genesis 49, ” CBQ 17 (1955): 1-18.260257Paschall, F. H., & Hobbs, H. H. (1972). The teachers Bible commentary: A concise, thorough interpretation of the entire Bible designedespecially for Sunday School teachers (50–51). Nashville: Broadman and Holman Publishers.w For ver. 1–27, see Deut. 33:6–25x Num. 24:14; Deut. 4:30; 31:29; Isa. 2:2; Jer. 23:20; Dan. 2:28; 10:14; Hos. 3:5258Walvoord, J. F., Zuck, R. B., & Dallas Theological Seminary. (1983-). The Bible knowledge commentary : An exposition of the scriptures(Ge 49:1–2). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.259 Wiersbe, W. W. (1993). Wiersbes expository outlines on the Old Testament (Ge 49). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.BSacBibliotheca Sacra (a journal)CBQCatholic Biblical Quarterly (a journal)
  • 198. A Study In Genesis 198The eleven paragraphs which follow outline Jacob’s predictions regarding his sons. The sons are notall mentioned in the order of their birth and no satisfactory explanation for this unusual order hasbeen suggested.261Genesis 49:3-4 3“Reuben, you are ymy firstborn, my might, and the zfirstfruits of my strength, preeminent indignity and preeminent in power. 4Unstable as water, you shall not have preeminence, because youawent up to your father’s bed; then you defiled it—he went up to my couch!Jacob begins with Rueben, the oldest. Reuben was weak and unstable, as well as lustful. Worst ofall had been his act of adultery and incest with Bilhah (Genesis 35:22). Because of this last reason,Reuben’s first born rights are rescinded. He would never excel. History shows that the tribe ofReuben never produced a leader of any kind for the nation as a whole. The Reubenites were thefirst tribe to ask for a place to settle, not waiting to cross the Jordan with the others. Theyparticipated in the erection of an unauthorized place of worship (Joshua 22:10-34). During thelater wars with the Canaanites, in the days of Deborah and Barak, the tribe of Reuben failed toanswer the call to arms (Judges 5:15-16).Genesis 49:5-75b“Simeon and Levi are brothers; weapons cof violence are their swords. 6Let my soul come not intotheir council; dO my glory, ebe not joined to their company. For in their anger they killed men, and intheir willfulness they fhamstrung oxen. 7Cursed be their anger, for it is fierce, and their wrath, for itis cruel! I will gdivide them in Jacob and scatter them in Israel.Simeon and Levi are next. These two had manifested anger and cruelty. They had caused greatembarrassment, as well as danger, to the whole family when they had slain all the Shechemitesbecause of the rape of their sister, Dinah.260 Biblical Studies Press. (2006; 2006). The NET Bible First Edition Notes (Ge 49:1). Biblical Studies Press.261 Smith, J. E. (1993). The Pentateuch (2nd ed.) (Ge 49:1–28). Joplin, Mo.: College Press Pub. Co.y ch. 29:32z Deut. 21:17a ch. 35:22; 1 Chr. 5:1b ch. 29:33, 34c ch. 34:25, 26d [Ps. 16:9; 57:8]e [Ps. 26:9]f Josh. 11:6, 9; 2 Sam. 8:4g See Num. 3:5–13; Josh. 19:1–9; 1 Chr. 4:24–39
  • 199. A Study In Genesis 199Distancing himself from their cruel wrath and fierce anger, Jacob indicates that their descendantswill be scattered throughout the other tribes. As a result, their strength will be dissipated;preventing them from bringing destruction on Israel. In fulfillment of this, the Levites (whoseinheritance will be their ministry at the sanctuary) receive 48 cities distributed throughout all thetribal areas.The Simeonites obtain land with the terriroty taken by Judah. Some of the sons of Simeon werecaptured and dwelled in some of the lands of the Edomites and Amalekites, outside of Canaan (IChronicles 4:39-43). In the days of the divided kingdom, many of the Simeonites left Israel to joinJudah (II Chronicles 15:9). They were eventually either mostly assimilated by Judah or scatteredoutside of Israel altogether, and little is heard of them after the days of King Asa.Genesis 49:8-128“Judah, hyour brothers shall praise you; iyour hand shall be on the neck of your enemies; jyourfather’s sons shall bow down before you. 9Judah is ka lion’s cub; from the prey, my son, you havegone up. lHe stooped down; he crouched as a lion and as a lioness; who dares rouse him? 10Themscepter shall not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff nfrom between his feet, until tributecomes to him;1and to him shall be the obedience of the peoples. 11Binding his foal to the vine andhis donkey’s colt to the choice vine, he has washed his garments in wine and his vesture in theblood of grapes. 12His oeyes are darker than wine, and his teeth whiter than milk. 262Next is Judah. He receives a long and positive blessing from his father, permeated with statementsthat highlight positive qualities of leadership. He would be the leader among the tribes, he woulddefeat their enemies and would become as the lion is king of the beasts. Judah was to have thepatriarchal dominion and responsibility of the firstborn (even though Joseph got the doubleinheritance). His lands would be productive and fruitful.h ch. 29:35; [ch. 27:29]i [Job 16:12]j 1 Chr. 5:2k Rev. 5:5; [Deut. 33:22; Hos. 5:14]l [Num. 23:24; 24:9]m Num. 24:17; Zech. 10:11n Deut. 28:571By a slight revocalization; a slight emendation yields (compare Septuagint, Syriac, Targum) until he comes to whom it belongs; Hebrewuntil Shiloh comes, or until he comes to Shiloho Prov. 23:29262The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Ge 49:8–12). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
  • 200. A Study In Genesis 200Judah became the dominant tribe at the time of King David and remained so from that timeforward. Jesus would come from the tribe of Judah. Daniel was also from the tribe of Judah.The prediction concerning Judah in 49:10 is the most important one in the chapter for messianicunderstanding. The expression “until Shiloh come” is quite troublesome, yet the heart of the verse.There is little likelihood that the translation “Shiloh” is correct, although it is an actual translation ofthe Hebrew word as it now stands. Towns do not “come,” but the meaning of the word “peace” maybe understood figuratively.The NASB renders the third line of Genesis 49:10, “Until Shiloh comes.”Many sources, including the Targum (Aram. paraphrase of the OT), see “Shiloh” as a title of theMessiah. However, the Hebrew word šîlōh should be rendered “whose it is,” that is, the scepter willnot depart from Judah … until He comes whose it (i.e., the scepter) is (or as the niv puts it, to whomit belongs). Similar words in Ezekiel 21:27, “until He comes to whom it (the crown, Ezek. 21:26)rightfully belongs” were addressed to the last king of Judah.263It is more likely that we have here an abbreviation for a longer expression, found in Ezekiel 21:27,which may be translated “until he comes to whom it belongs.” Thus the verse is saying that thescepter shall not depart from Judah until the one arrives for whom it is destined, the messianic sonof David.264After the captivity, those who returned were primarily from the tribes of Judah and Benjamin, alongwith many Levites, as the other ten tribes had been scattered by the Assyrians. Although manyfrom the ten tribes did manage to return to the land, Judah was essentially from then onsynonymous with Israel as a whole. This continued until the actual coming and crucifixion of Jesus.Soon after, Jerusalem was destroyed and the jews were dispersed into the nations. Since then, eventhe geneologies have been lost so that the tribal distinctions have all been fused and blurred amongthe Jews as a whole.Genesis 49:13-15NASB New American Standard BibleAram. AramaicOT Old Testamenti.e. id est, that is263Walvoord, J. F., Zuck, R. B., & Dallas Theological Seminary. (1983-). The Bible knowledge commentary : An exposition of the scriptures(Ge 49:8–12). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.264Paschall, F. H., & Hobbs, H. H. (1972). The teachers Bible commentary: A concise, thorough interpretation of the entire Bible designedespecially for Sunday School teachers (51). Nashville: Broadman and Holman Publishers.
  • 201. A Study In Genesis 20113p“Zebulun shall dwell at the qshore of the sea; he shall become a haven for ships, and his bordershall be at Sidon. 14r“Issachar is a strong donkey, crouching between the sheepfolds.215He saw that aresting place was good, and that the land was pleasant, so he bowed his shoulder to bear, andsbecame a servant at forced labor. 265Not much is mentioned about Zebulun and Issacher’s nature in Genesis, other than in general,grouped together with the brothers as a whole.Zebulun is listed here before Issachar, although according to Genesis 30:17-22, Issachar was bornbefore Zebulun. Since Zebulun’s territory did not actually extend to the Meditteranean Sea (Joshua19:10-16), Jacob’s remarks are difficult to interpret. Major trading routes from the coast, which layabout 10 miles (16 km) to the west, ran through the tribal region of Zebulun, providing an outlet tothe sea, and involvement by Zubulanites in the coastal commerce of exporting and importing, andthus living in Sidon by the sea, may be the substantive fulfillment of Jacob’s poetic words.Furthermore, if the name “Sidon” (one of Phoenecia’s leading cities) is used here as a collectiveterm to refer to Phoenicia in general, then the statement that “his border shall be at Sidon” is quiteappropriate.Jacob’s blessing of Issachar emphasizes the strength of his descendants, it also indicates that like adonkey, they will be forced to work for others, but precisely what situation is envisioned is unclear.Issachar, located in the fertile broad pleasant plain of Esdraelon, was often subject to invadingarmies.266Genesis 49:16-21p [Deut. 33:18, 19]; Josh. 19:10, 11q [Deut. 1:7; Josh. 9:1; Judg. 5:17]r Judg. 5:16; [1 Chr. 12:32]2 Or between its saddlebagss Josh. 16:10265The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Ge 49:13–15). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.266Walvoord, J. F., Zuck, R. B., & Dallas Theological Seminary. (1983-). The Bible knowledge commentary : An exposition of the scriptures(Ge 49:13–15). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
  • 202. A Study In Genesis 20216t“Dan shall ujudge his people as one of the tribes of Israel. 17Dan vshall be a serpent in the way, aviper by the path, that bites the horse’s heels so that his rider falls backward. 18I wwait for yoursalvation, O Lord. 19x“Raiders shall raid yGad,3 but he shall raid at their heels. 20z“Asher’s food shallbe rich, and he shall yield royal delicacies. 21 a“Naphtali is a doe let loose that bears beautifulfawns.4267Next are the four sons of the two handmaids. They are not listed in chronological order.Jacob sees in Dan and his descendants both positive and negative attributes. Their snakelikebehavior is later reflected in their assault on the unsuspecting inhabitants of Laish (Judges 18).“Dan shall judge”. The name Dan is a play on the Hebrew word “judge”. Dan was to provide justice(“Dan” means “judge”), but the tribe chose treachery, like a snake by the roadside. In the time of theJudges the first major practice of idolatry appeared in the tribe of Dan (Jud. 18:30).268The tribe of Dan occupied the smallest area of any of the tribes along the northern seacoastvulnerable to attack. However, they were a dangerous adversary, well able to protect Israel’snorthern boundary against invaders.Of Gad, Jacob prophesied that, although invading troops might assault his home, he would in turnrepel them and press on the heel of the enemy. Gad’s realm was east of the Jordan on the edge ofthe kingdom of the Ammonites and other desert people, and thus was especially open to attack.However, the Gadites were well able to fight (I Chronicles 5:18, 12:8)Asher was to have and enjoy rich food and royal delicacies. As it turned out, Asher’s lot fell on therich northern seacoast north of Mount Carmel, all the way to Tyre and Zedon (Joshua 19:24-31).t [Deut. 33:22]u ch. 30:6v Judg. 18:27w Ps. 25:5; 119:166, 174; Isa. 25:9; Mic. 7:7; [Luke 2:25]x [Deut. 33:20]y See 1 Chr. 5:18–223Gad sounds like the Hebrew for raiders and raidz [Deut. 33:24]a [Deut. 33:23]4 Or he gives beautiful words, or that bears fawns of the fold267The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Ge 49:16–21). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.268Walvoord, J. F., Zuck, R. B., & Dallas Theological Seminary. (1983-). The Bible knowledge commentary : An exposition of the scriptures(Ge 49:16–17). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
  • 203. A Study In Genesis 203However they failed even to take possession of the Tyre-Sedon region, and the tribe soon becameinsignificant, possibly deteriorating because of their love of east and proximity to the Phoenicians.Naphtali is described as a “hind let loose”. His descendants would be known for swiftness, aswarriors fleet of foot. They would also be known as composers of eloquent speech and beautifulliterature. The best known of his descendants was Barak, who, with Deborah, won a mighty victoryover Jaken and Sisera of the Canaanites (Judges 4:6, 15) mainly with men of his own tribe andZebulun.Genesis 49:22-2622“Joseph is ba fruitful bough, a fruitful bough by a spring; his branches run over the wall. 523Thearchers itterly attacked him, shot at him, and harassed him severely, 24yet his bow remainedunmoved; his arms6 were made agile by the hands of the eMighty One of Jacob (from there is theShepherd,7gthe Stone of Israel), 25hby the God of your father who will help you, by itheAlmighty8jwho will bless you with blessings of heaven above, blessings of the deep that crouchesbeneath, blessings of the breasts and of the womb. 26The blessings of your father are mighty beyondthe blessings of my parents, up to the bounties of the everlasting hills. 9May they be lon the head ofJoseph, and on the brow of him who was set apart from his brothers.Finally Jacob gets to Joseph and Benjamin. Joseph received a blessing comparible to that of Judah.Joseph’s tribes through his sons Ephraim and Mannaseh, would be strong and numerous. He wasalso compared to a man who was beset by enemy archers but who had survived because his ownbow was strong and steady, and whose hands were made strong by th eGod who had strengthenedJacob. This was not only in reference to Joseph’s triumph over the enmity of his brothers but wasalso prophetic of the experience of Joseph’s descendants.b ch. 41:52; Josh. 17:14, 185 Or Joseph is a wild donkey, a wild donkey beside a spring, his wild colts beside the wall6 Hebrew the arms of his handse Ps. 132:2, 5; Isa. 1:247 Or by the name of the Shepherdg Isa. 28:16; Eph. 2:20; 1 Pet. 2:4; [Deut. 32:4]h ch. 35:3; 50:17i ch. 17:1; 35:118 Hebrew Shaddaij Deut. 33:139 A slight emendation yields (compare Septuagint) the blessings of the eternal mountains, the bounties of the everlasting hillsl Deut. 33:16
  • 204. A Study In Genesis 204This is the first time where God is actually called the Shepherd. Likewise this si the first time God iseither called the Stone or the Rock.Joseph was the one “separate from” (Hebrew nazir – later used for Naraties) his brothers, and thusmarked out for distinction and service. This was seen later fulfilled as many of Israel’s leaders werefrom the tribe of Ephraim and Mannaseh. Joshua, Deborah, and Samuel were from Ephraim; Gideonand Jephtheh were from Mannaseh. Both tribes were strong in ware and their lands were fertileand production. Jeroboam, an Ephraimite, led the rebellion which produced the divided kingdom,and the northern kingdome came to be called alternatively by the names Israel and Ephraim, whilethe southern kingdom was called Judah.It is prophetically significant that Jacob’s blessing centered especially on Joseph and Judah and thatthese two eventually became the two dominant divisions of Israel. It is further significant that onlyphysical blessings were promised Joseph, whereas the spiritual blessing of being the ancestor of theMessiah was promised to Judah, in addition to physical blessings and political leadership.Genesis 49:27-2827m“Benjamin is a ravenous wolf, in the morning devouring the prey and at evening ndividing thespoil.” All these are the twelve tribes of Israel. This is what their father said to them as he blessed 28them, blessing each with the blessing suitable to him. 269The final son is Benjamin. He would be as a ravening wolf, devouring the prey and dividing thespoil. The tribe of Benjamin would be bold and strong, successful in warfare, but at the same timethey could become cruel and voracious. Both attributes were later evident in the tribe as isdemonstrated in Judges 20, which almost cost the Benjamites their identity as one of the twelvetribes. Also, the first king of Israel, Saul, was a Benjamite whose character quite preciselycorresponded to Jacobs prophecy.Jacob concluded his blessings on his sons, calling them prophetically the twelve tribes of Israel. Hisbelling of his sons emphasizes the contribution that each will make. While the unity of the twelve isassumed, the tribes of Judah and Joseph are clearly distinguished from all the others in terms oftheir leadership role within the nation. Beyond Genesis, the tribes of Ephraim and Judah areconsistently portrayed as taking the lead, with the latter eventually providing the Davidic dynasty.Genesis 49:29-33 Then he commanded them and said to them, “I am to be ogathered to my people; pbury me with29my fathers qin the cave that is in the field of Ephron the Hittite, 30 in the cave that is in the field atm [Judg. 20:21, 25; Ezek. 22:27]n Zech. 14:1; [Ezek. 39:10]269The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Ge 49:27–28). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
  • 205. A Study In Genesis 205Machpelah, to the east of Mamre, in the land of Canaan, rwhich Abraham bought with the field fromEphron the Hittite to possess as a burying place. 31sThere they buried Abraham and Sarah his wife.There tthey buried Isaac and Rebekah his wife, and there I buried Leah— 32 the field and the cavethat is in it were bought from the Hittites.” 33 When Jacob finished commanding his sons, he drewup his feet into the bed and breathed his last and uwas gathered to his people. 270In his last instruction to his sons, Jacob asks to be buried with his fathers in the cave purchsed byAbraham from Ephron the Hittite. While jacob indicates that Tebekah and Leah were also buried atMachpelah, this information is not recorded elsewhere in Genesis.In verse 33, the idiom “was gathered to his people”, is commonly used in connection with dying,reflecting a belief in being reunited with others in the afterlife.o ver. 33; ch. 25:8p ch. 47:30q ch. 50:13; [ch. 23:9]r See ch. 23:16–18s ch. 23:19; 25:9t ch. 35:29u ver. 29270The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Ge 49:28–33). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
  • 206. A Study In Genesis 206Genesis 50 – Jacob is BuriedGenesis 50:1-6Then Joseph vfell on his father’s face and wept over him and kissed him. 2 And Joseph commandedhis servants the physicians to wembalm his father. So the physicians embalmed Israel. 3 Forty dayswere required for it, for that is how many are required for embalming. And the Egyptians xwept forhim seventy days.4 And when the days of weeping for him were past, Joseph spoke to the household of Pharaoh,saying, y“If now I have found favor in your eyes, please speak in the ears of Pharaoh, saying, 5 Myfather made me swear, saying, ‘I am about to die: in my tomb zthat I hewed out for myself in theland of Canaan, there shall you bury me.’ Now therefore, let me please go up and bury my father.Then I will return.” 6 And Pharaoh answered, “Go up, and bury your father, as he made you swear.”271In the last chapter of Genesis we have the record of the burial of jacob. No other burial in the Bibleis accorded so long and detailed an account, a fact which indicates the importance placed on Jacobby God in His plan of redemptive history. Jacob’s desire to be buried in Hebron reflects his beliefthat, as God has consistently promised, the future for his descendants lies in Canaan, not Egypt.When Jacob’s spirit left his body, Joseph fell down on his father weeping and kissing him. Afterweeping on his father’s dead body, Joseph instructed that Jacob’s body be embalmed for burial intypical Egyptian fashion. The embalming period was seldom less than a month and normally took40 days. The Egyptians mourned for Jacob 70 days—two and one-half months—just two days shortof the normal time of mourning for a Pharaoh. This showed the great respect the Egyptians had forv ch. 46:4w ver. 26; [2 Chr. 16:14; Mark 16:1; Luke 23:56; John 19:39, 40]x [ver. 10; Num. 20:29; Deut. 34:8; 1 Sam. 31:13; Job 2:13]y ch. 47:29; See ch. 33:15z 2 Chr. 16:14; Isa. 22:16; Matt. 27:60271The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Ge 50:1–6). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
  • 207. A Study In Genesis 207Joseph. For the Israelites, the normal time of mourning was somewhere between seven and thirtydays.272Not only was embalming the traditional method of burial for a great man in Egypt, but it would alsohelp delay the normal process of putrafaction and would enable Jacob’s corpse to be transported toHebron. Mummification was not practiced by the Hebrews, and so Joseph entrusts the task to hispersonal physicians (“his servants the physicians”). Since embalming is normally a religiouspractice involving priests, Joseph deliberately chose physicians for the task in order to distinguishhis father’s belief’s from those of the Eyptian priests. Apart from Jacob, the only other personmentioned in the Bible that was embalmed is Joseph (vs. 26).After the time of mourning, Joseph asked Pharaoh and got permission to go bury his father in theCave of Machpelah in Canaan. First he approaches Pharaoh’s officers for his request, then asks thatthey convey is request to Pharaoh. Joseph has to promise to return to Egypt after his father’s burial.The reason Joseph, who was second-in-command in Egypt, did not speak directly to Pharaoh wasbecause of the Hebrew custom of allowing their beards and hair to grow during the days ofmourning.Joseph had not yet taken the body of his father into the land of Canaan to bury it, and so his time ofmourning was not finished: “When they reached the threshing floor of Atad, near the Jordan, theylamented loudly and bitterly; and there Joseph observed a seven-day period of mourning for hisfather” (Genesis 50:10). Thus an unshaved Joseph, who was probably also wearing sackcloth, wouldhave been a great offense to Pharaoh if he had appeared before him. When Joseph returned toEgypt, he would have shaved his head and beard and put back on his normal Egyptian clothing, andso could once more appear before Pharaoh.273272Walvoord, J. F., Zuck, R. B., & Dallas Theological Seminary. (1983-). The Bible knowledge commentary : An exposition of the scriptures(Ge 50:1–6). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books. Freeman, J. M., & Chadwick, H. J. (1998). Manners & customs of the Bible (Rev. ed.].) (94–95). North Brunswick, NJ: Bridge-Logos273Publishers.
  • 208. A Study In Genesis 208EmbalmingThen Joseph directed the physicians in his service to embalm his father Israel. So thephysicians embalmed him, taking a full forty days, for that was the time required forembalming.Among the ancient Egyptians, embalming was a method of preserving a body by using variousaromatic substances like myrrh, cassia, and cinnamon. Embalming is believed to have originatedwith them about 4000 b.c., and was in common use for well over 3000 years. The customapparently had a religious origin and was used so that the person’s body and soul could be reunitedafter death. Eventually the practice of embalming spread to others, such as the Assyrians, Persians,Scythians, and Jews. Various Egyptian burial methodsThe Egyptian form of embalming became more complicated over the years, and reached such astage that bodies embalmed thousands of years ago are still in an excellent state of preservationtoday. The soles of the feet of some mummies unwrapped after as much as 3000 years were stillsoft and elastic. Historians estimate that the Egyptians embalmed approximately 73 O-millionbodies, and although many of the mummies disintegrated in the intense heat of northern Africa,archaeologists estimate that many millions are still preserved in undiscovered tombs and burialplaces.The Egyptians method of embalming consisted removal of the viscera—the soft internal organs ofthe body—and the brains. (Some say the heart and kidneys were left in place, or removed andprepared for preservation and then replaced—or put into vases and placed in the burial tomb.) Amixture of balsamic herbs and other substances like bitumen and salt were then used to fill thebody cavities, balsams were injected into the arteries and veins, and the incisions were sewn up.The body was then steeped in niter (carbonate of soda) for a period of forty to seventy days.
  • 209. A Study In Genesis 209The length of time may have increased from forty days to seventy as the Egyptians learned how tobetter preserve the bodies, or, as some say, it may have taken forty days to embalm the bodyproperly and thirty days to soak it. After the steeping, the body was wound with long strips of linenand similar clothes. The strips were often seven or eight inches wide and as long as six or sevenhundred feet, and were saturated with herbs and other substances similar to those used to fill thebody cavities.Only the Egyptians perfected the art of embalming to the degree that mummies have beenpreserved in excellent condition for thousands of years, and that may be because only theyembalmed for the religious purpose of preserving the body for life after death. That was probablyalso why methods of embalming varied in different cultures. The Assyrians used honey inembalming, the Persians used wax, and the Jews used spices and aloes. Alexander the Great wasembalmed with honey and wax.Joseph had his father embalmed, seemingly according to the Egyptian custom: “Then Josephdirected the physicians in his service to embalm his father Israel. So the physicians embalmed him,taking a full forty days, for that was the time required for embalming. And the Egyptians mournedfor him seventy days” (Genesis 50:2–3). Historians say that Egyptian embalmers banded togetheras a guild, so it’s a moot question as to whether the physicians spoken of here were also theembalmers, or, as some say, whether Jacob was embalmed by physicians because he was not anEgyptian, and so was not subject to their customary practices. When Joseph died, he also wasembalmed: “So Joseph died at the age of a hundred and ten. And after they embalmed him, he wasplaced in a coffin in Egypt” (Genesis 5:26). Many years later, “Moses took the bones of Joseph withhim because Joseph had made the sons of Israel swear an oath. He had said, “God will surely cometo your aid, and then you must carry my bones up with you from this place” (Exodus 13:19).The Scriptures record that a form of embalming was used for two others: Asa and Jesus. “Theyburied him [Asa] in the tomb that he had cut out for himself in the City of David. They laid him on abier covered with spices and various blended perfumes, and they made a huge fire in his honor” (2Chronicles 16:14).In the case of the Lord, the form of preparing the body externally was much like that of theEgyptians, and, as the Scripture tells us, was a Jewish custom: “He was accompanied by Nicodemus,the man who earlier had visited Jesus at night. Nicodemus brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes,about seventy-five pounds. Taking Jesus’ body, the two of them wrapped it, with the spices, in stripsof linen. This was in accordance with Jewish burial customs” (John 19:39–40). Obviously, seventy-five pounds of myrrh and aloes were enough to completely cover his body and to saturate the linenstrips in which He was wrapped. (It should be noted, also, that since the Scripture tells us that Jesus’body was wrapped in “strips of linen cloth,” that eliminates the possibility that the “Shroud ofTurin” came from the Lord’s body, since a shroud is a single winding sheet.)274Genesis 50:7-9 Freeman, J. M., & Chadwick, H. J. (1998). Manners & customs of the Bible (Rev. ed.].) (91–94). North Brunswick, NJ: Bridge-Logos274Publishers.
  • 210. A Study In Genesis 2107 So Joseph went up to bury his father. With him went up all the servants of Pharaoh, the elders ofhis household, and all the elders of the land of Egypt, 8 as well as all the household of Joseph, hisbrothers, and his father’s household. Only their children, their flocks, and their herds were left ainthe land of Goshen. 9 And there went up with him both chariots and horsemen. It was a very greatcompany. 275It is evident that Pharaoh gave orders that the funeral be recognized as an official Egyptian statefuneral, with all due honors accorded to the dead. Probably as a result of the high esteem in whichJoseph was held, the funeral procession is comprised of a large number of prominent Egyptianofficials and public figures as well as all of Jacob’s family, the procession included chariots andhorsemen. So it was a grand caravan winding up from Egypt, skirting the Red Sea, heading acrossthe Sinai desert, south of the Dead Sea, and then up it’s eastern shores to the Jordan River. Egyptian funeral processionThis was Joseph’s first time back in his homeland in 39 years (he had been in Egypt 22 years beforeJacob moved there and Jacob had lived there 17 years). Centuries later the children of Israel wouldleave Egypt again, taking with them the bones of a patriarch, Joseph himself. Here, however, thesojourn into the land of promise was temporary; the grave was a claim to the land of promise. Godhad promised Jacob that He would return him to the land and that Joseph would bury him (46:4).276Genesis 50:10-14a See ch. 45:10275The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Ge 50:6–9). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.276Walvoord, J. F., Zuck, R. B., & Dallas Theological Seminary. (1983-). The Bible knowledge commentary : An exposition of the scriptures(Ge 50:7–9). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
  • 211. A Study In Genesis 21110When they came to the threshing floor of Atad, which is beyond the Jordan, bthey lamented therewith a very great and grievous lamentation, and he cmade a mourning for his father seven days. 11When the inhabitants of the land, the Canaanites, saw the mourning on the threshing floor of Atad,they said, “This is a grievous mourning by the Egyptians.” Therefore the place was named Abel-mizraim;1 it is beyond the Jordan. 12 Thus his sons did for him as he had commanded them, 13 ford his sons carried him to the land of Canaan and buried him in the cave of the field at Machpelah,to the east of Mamre, which Abraham ebought with the field from Ephron the Hittite to possessas a burying place. 14 After he had buried his father, Joseph returned to Egypt with his brothersand all who had gone up with him to bury his father. 277Coming to the threshing floor of Atad, the funeral procession halts to mourn for seven days. Theprecise location is not known. The expression “beyond the Jordan” could be in either Canaan orTransjordan.The threshing floor was not in a shed or a building or any place covered with a roof and surroundedby walls, but normally an open-air circular piece of slightly elevated ground from fifty to one-hundred feet in diameter, that was smooth, hard, and clean. Following the harvest, the threshingfloor was the center of the economic activity of the village and surrounding area. The sheaves ofdried cereal grass from the harvested fields were brought here to be trampled by oxen or brokendown by threshing sledges (vehicles mounted on low runners). The grain was further separatedfrom the grass and chaff with winnowing forks, which were used to toss the trampled products intothe air so that the wind would blow away the light grass and chaff and the grain would fall to theground. After that, sieves were used to strain out the grain from whatever products still remainedwith it.Once all this was done, the separated grain was closely guarded until it could be distributed.Sometimes the villages had communal granaries, but most people kept their personal supply ofgrain in home storage pits or private granaries. For Scripture references see: Deuteronomy 25:4;Ruth 3:2–7; 2 Samuel 24:22; Isaiah 41:15–16; Jeremiah 15:7; Joel 2:24; Amos 2:13, 9:9; Luke 22:31.Atad, which means thorn, is the name of the person who owned a threshing floor, east of the Jordanand north of the Dead Sea, where Jacob held a formal seven-day period of mourning for his father.b [2 Sam. 1:17; Acts 8:2]c [ver. 3]1Abel-mizraim means mourning (or meadow) of Egyptd ch. 49:29, 30; [Acts 7:16]e ch. 23:16277The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Ge 50:12–14). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
  • 212. A Study In Genesis 212Because the Egyptians who were with him joined in the mourning, the Canaanites who lived therecalled the place Abel-mizraim, which means “the mourning of Egypt.”278Genesis 50:15-2115 When Joseph’s brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, “It may be that Joseph will hateus and pay us back for all the evil that we did to him.” 16 So they sent a message to Joseph, saying,“Your father gave this command before he died, 17 ‘Say to Joseph, Please forgive the transgression ofyour brothers and their sin, because they did evil to you.’ And now, please forgive the transgressionof the servants of fthe God of your father.” Joseph wept when they spoke to him. 18 His brothers alsocame and gfell down before him and said, “Behold, we are your servants.” 19 But Joseph said to them,“Do not fear, for ham I in the place of God? 20 As for you, you meant evil against me, but iGod meant itfor good, to bring it about that many people2 should be kept alive, as they are today. 21 So do notfear; jI will provide for you and your little ones.” Thus he comforted them and spoke kindly to them.279Following the burial of Jacob, the brothers are fearful that Joseph will take revenge on them for allthey have done. Afraid to address Joseph in person, they send a message confessing their guilt andseeking his forgiveness. Then the brothers came in person and fell down before him. “Behold, weare your servants” fulfills Joseph’s dreams. Joseph assures them that all is well. God hadtransformed their eveil into good and as a result many lives were saved.The principle that God ultimately overrules human sin for His glory and the ultimate good ofmankind is important in Scripture. The crucifixion is the prime example of it.Joseph’s forgiveness unites the family. Freeman, J. M., & Chadwick, H. J. (1998). Manners & customs of the Bible (Rev. ed.].) (96). North Brunswick, NJ: Bridge-Logos278Publishers.f ch. 49:25g [ch. 37:7, 10]h ch. 30:2; [2 Kgs. 5:7]i ch. 45:5, 72 Or a numerous peoplej ch. 45:11; 47:12279The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Ge 50:15–21). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
  • 213. A Study In Genesis 213Genesis 50:22-2622 So Joseph remained in Egypt, he and his father’s house. Joseph lived 110 years. 23 And Joseph sawEphraim’s children kof the third generation. The lchildren also of Machir the son of Manasseh weremcounted as Joseph’s own.324 And Joseph said to his brothers, “I am about to die, but nGod will visityou and bring you up out of this land to the land othat he swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.”25 Then pJoseph made the sons of Israel swear, saying, “God will surely visit you, and you shall carryup my bones from here.” 26 So Joseph died, being 110 years old. They qembalmed him, and he wasput in a coffin in Egypt. 280Jacob died when Joseph was 56 years old. Joseph continued to live another 54 years, dying at theage of 110. Joseph lived long enough to see his grandchildren and great-grandchildren.When Joseph was about to die, he called his brothers to him. How many were still alive is notstated. He reminds them that God would lead them from Egypt to the promised land. All that timethey must take his bones with them and bury them in Canaan.Joseph then died and he was embalmed and placed in a coffin in Egypt. Moses eventually fulfillsJoseph’s instructions, and his remains are buried at Shechem (Joshua 24:32).With this record of the death of their brother and deliverer, coupled with the promise of a futuredelivereance, the Book of Genesis ends. The groundwork is laid and the transition is in place for theBook of Exodus, when God would raise up a new prophet and leader in His servant Moses.Joseph’s Coffink [Job 42:16; Ps. 128:6]l Num. 32:39; 1 Chr. 7:14, 15m [ch. 30:3]3 Hebrew were born on Joseph’s kneesn ch. 15:14; 46:4; 48:21; Ex. 3:16, 17; [Heb. 11:22]o ch. 15:18; 26:3; 28:13; 35:12; 46:4p Ex. 13:19; Josh. 24:32q See ver. 2280The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Ge 50:22–26). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
  • 214. A Study In Genesis 214Although Joseph was embalmed by the Egyptians, it is probable that he was not embalmed in their customarymanner for the purpose of preserving his body so that it could be united with his soul after death. This wouldhave been against his religious beliefs. It is also probable that the coffin they put him in was a sarcophagus,which is a stone coffin, often decorated, and located above ground. This would be in keeping with his tellingthe sons of Israel, “you must carry my bones up from this place” (Genesis 50:25). This would be a lot easier todo if the coffin were not buried in the ground. SarcophagusAlso, note that Joseph did not request that his “body” be carried up, which he probably would have done if hewas going to be embalmed in the normal Egyptian way, but that his “bones” be carried up. This would seem todenote that he was going to be buried in a sarcophagus (coffin) that was made of limestone.The word sarcophagus is a gruesome name and comes to us from Latin and Greek, having been derived inGreek from sarx (flesh) and phagein (to eat). The Greek word sarkophagos meant “eating flesh,” and in thephrase “lithos (stone) sarcophagos” denoted a limestone that was thought to decompose the flesh of corpsesthat were put in it. The Greek word sarkophagos used by itself as a noun then came to mean “coffin.” The termwas carried over into Latin, where sarcophagus was used in the phrase “lapis (stone) sarcophagus,” referringalso to the same limestone. Sarcophagus used as a noun in Latin meant “coffin of any material.” The Latinword was then brought over into English, with the first recorded use being in 1601 to mean the flesh-consuming stone, and then in 1705 to mean any stone coffin. Considering that in Exodus 13:19 it’s writtenthat “Moses took the bones of Joseph with him,” it’s most likely that Joseph’s coffin was made of a limestonethat consumed his flesh between the time of his burial and the time when his “bones” were taken by Moses. 281 Freeman, J. M., & Chadwick, H. J. (1998). Manners & customs of the Bible (Rev. ed.].) (96–99). North Brunswick, NJ: Bridge-Logos281Publishers.
  • 215. A Study In Genesis 215
  • 216. A Study In Genesis 216APPENDIX A – LINKS TO EXTERNAL DOCUMENTS, WEBSITES, ANDSUPPLEMENTAL INFORMATIONMichael S. Heiser, Deuteronomy 32:8 and the Sons of Godhttp://thedivinecouncil.com/Deut328.pdf
  • 217. A Study In Genesis 217Appendix B – Supplemental Articles and DocumentsArticle by Johnny CisnerosTaken from the November/December 2010 IssuePg. 30-31Start to Finish: Bible Study Guide for Narratives about the Patriarchs Genesis 15:1-213 Steps: 91 When reading a passage from After these events, the word of ―He said to him, ―Bring me a threethe narratives about the the LORDcame to Abram in a year-old cow, a three year-old ram, a vision: turtledove, and a young pigeon.‖patriarchs, consider its purpose,structure and fit, theme, 10 ―Fear not, Abram, ―So he brought all these to Him,characters, locations, events, and I am your shield; split them down the middle, and laiduse in the New Testament. your reward shall be very the pieces opposite each other, but he great.‖ did not cut up the birds. 11Birds of2 Consult the Bible, a theology prey came down on the carcasses, but 2book, bible dictionaries and But Abram said, ―Lord GOD, Abram drove them away. 12As thecommentaries. what can you give me, since I am sun was setting, a deep sleep fell on childless, and the heir of my house Abram, and suddenly a terror and is Eliezer of Dam-ascus?‖ great darkness descended on him.3 Summarize the passage in light 3 Abram continued, ―Look, youof what you’ve learned. have given me no offspring, so a 13 Then the LORD said to Abram, slave born in my house will be my ―Know this for certain: Your offspringWords in bold and colored type heir.‖ will be strangers in a land that doescorrespond with steps. not belong to them; they will be 4 Now the word of the LORD came enslaved and oppressed 400 years. 14PURPOSE to him: ―This one will not be your However, I will judge the nation heir; instead one who comes from they serve, and afterwards they will your own body shall be your heir.‖ go out with many possessions. 15ButTHEME 5 He took him outside and said, you will go to your fathers in peace ―Look at the sky and count the and be buried at a ripe old age. 16InCHARACTERS stars, if you are able to count the fourth generation they will return them.‖ Then he said to him,―Your here, for the iniquity of the AmoritesSTRUCTURAL FIT offspring will be that numerous.‖ has not yet reached its full measure.‖ 6 17LOCATIONS Abram believed the LORD, and he When the sun had set and it was counted it to him as righteousness dark, a smoking fire pot and a flaming . torch appeared and passed betweenEVENTS 7 He also said to him, ―I am the the divided animals. 18On that day the LORD who brought you from Ur LORD made a covenant with Abram,USE IN NEW of the Chaldeans to give you this saying, ―I give this land to yourTESTAMENT land to possess.― offspring, from the brook of Egypt to the Euphrates River: 19the land 8SUMMARY But he said, ―Lord GOD, how can ofthe Kenites, Kenizzites, I know that I will possess it‖? Kadmonites, 20Hittites, Perizzites, Rephaim, 21Amorites, Canaanites, Girgashites, and Jebusites.‖
  • 218. A Study In Genesis 218QUESTION: What is the purpose of Genesis? through this area. This strategic location for the nationANSWER: The purpose of Genesis is to explain the Israel would make God‘s blessing accessible to allorigin of the created order and the origin of the people nations. (Bromley [ed.], The International Standardof Israel. Bible Encyclopedia Revised, vol. 3, pg. 634.)QUESTION: What is the theme of Genesis? QUESTION: What key even happens in the story?ANSWER: The ―central theme of Genesis is the ANSWER: The LORD makes a covenant with Abramprovision of a divine covenant with Abraham and his (15:9-21).descendants with its promises to make them the peopleof God, heirs of the land of Canaan, and a blessing to Making a covenant can involve the sacrifice ofthe world.‖ (Ross and Oswalt, Cornerstone Biblical animals. (In this passage the animals are split in twoCommentary: Genesis, Exodus, pg.10.) and divided.) The parties making the covenant walk through the divided animals to symbolically say ―If IQUESTION: What key characters are mentioned in don‘t keep this covenant, may the same thing thatthe passage? happened to these animals happen to me‖. Surprisingly God does not require Abram to walk through theANSWER: Word of the LORD (15:1) and Abram divided animals. Instead He takes it upon Himself to(15:1). The phrase ―word of the LORD‖ can signal the fulfill what He has promised.origin of a message, but here it signals the appearanceof a messenger. Notice that the ―word of the LORD‖ QUESTION: Do the New Testament authorsperforms the actions of a person: ―He took [Abram] reference Gen 15:1-21?outside and said…‖ (15:5). Abram did not just have anencounter with a voice, but with a person: Abram ANSWER: Yes.addresses the ―word of the LORD‖ as ―Lord GOD,‖one of God‘s names. Paul cites Gen 15:6 in two of his letters (Rom 4:3; Gal 3:6) and James cites the same verse in his letter (JamesQUESTION: What is the structure of Genesis? 2:23).ANSWER: Genesis can be divided into two parts: 1) QUESTION: How would you summarize the messageCreation of the earth and the history of all humanity (1- of this passage?12) Creation of a nation and the history of thepatriarchs (12-50) ANSWER: This passage teaches us that God is committed to fulfilling His promises.(Freedman, Myers and Beck, Eerdmans Dictionary ofthe Bible, pg. 491. For a detailed Discussion of God interrupted Abram‘s life with an invitation tostructure, see Hamilton’s Book of Genesis, pgs. 2-11.) participate in His mission and message. God promised to bless Abram, and Abram believed God even thoughQUESTION: Where does this passage fit? the ―ingredients‖ were not in place. When Abram asked for confirmation, God was not offended.ANSWER: Genesis 15:1-21 fits within the history of Instead, He took it upon Himself to bring the promisethe patriarchs (12-50). to fulfillment.QUESTION: What key locations are mentioned in this God interrupts our lives too. He invites us topassage? participate in His mission and message. Like a good father, He gives us gifts so that we can be a blessing to others. And we can be confident in Him to fulfill whatANSWER: Ur of the Chaldeans (15:7) and ―this land‖ He has promised, even though we may not see or have(15:7, 18) the ―ingredients‖.―This land‖ is Canaan-modern day Palestine. Finally, we learn that righteousness – doing what is―[A]ncient Palestine lay at the crossroads of the worldof its day.‖ Both merchants and armies traveled right in God‘s kingdom – is about trusting the King.
  • 219. A Study In Genesis 219Why Circumcision? Circumcision is mentioned nearly one the males were all incapacitated for a hundred times in the Bible. It is a central time-knew that circumcision was focus for Old Testament and New connected to God’s promise. It probably Testament theology. (Rom 4:9-12; Gal didn’t make any sense, though, until 2:1-12, 5:1-10). If we’re honest, that just Sarah became pregnant. sounds absurd. Everyone in Abraham’s household Circumcision was the sign of God’s witnessed the miracle of Isaac’s birth. covenant with Abraham (Gen 17:9-14), From that point on, every male under- but it was also widely practiced in the stood why they had been circumcised: ancient Near East (the method, though, Their entire race-their very existence- wasn’t always the same). Jeremiah 9:25- began with a miraculous act of God. 26 notes that Israel’s neighbors were Every woman was reminded of this when circumcised. Archaeologists have also she had sexual relations with her Israelite found that it was practiced in Syria and husband, and when her sons were Phoenicia. Textual remains indicate that circumcised. Circumcision was a visible, circumcision in Egypt goes back to a t continuous reminder that Israel owed its least 2200 BC, centuries before the existence to Yahweh, who created them Israelites were enslaved. Israelite men out of nothing. may have even submitted to Egyptian circumcision while in Egypt, since Joshua In the New Testament, membership into commanded the men crossing into the God’s family is “circumcision neutral” (Gal Promised Land to be re-circumcised in 5:6). It is faith in Christ, not a Jewish order to “roll away the reproach of Egypt”. identity signified by circumcision, that (Josh 5:2,9). The evidence suggests that makes someone part of the Church. Paul circumcision did not distinguish Israelite even connects baptism to circumcision men from their foreign neighbors. (Col 2:10-12). Like circumcision, baptism is a response driven by faith. Both signs When God told Abraham to be are for men and women. circumcised, he was past the age of bearing children and his wife, Sarah, was incapable of having children (Gen 18:11). Nevertheless, it would be through Sarah’s womb (Gen 17:21; 18:14) that God would Article taken from Bible Study Magazine fulfill His promise of innumerable offspring November/December 2010 Issue, pg. 33 to Abraham (Gen 12:1-3). God’s Author Michael S. Heiser covenant with Abraham could only be realized by miraculous intervention. The miraculous nature of Isaac’s birth is the key to understanding circumcision as the sign of the covenant. After God made His promise to Abraham, every male member of Abraham’s household was required to be circumcised (Gen 17:15- 27). Every male-and every woman, since

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