Gen. 35, Jacob Returns, Isaac and Rachel die

Discussion in '2000-02 Archive' started by Helen, Jul 8, 2002.

  1. Helen

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    Aug 29, 2001
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    After the debacle at Shechem over Dinah, God tells Jacob to go to Bethel. And he says something interesting to Jacob: "settle there, and build an altar there to God, who appeared to you when you were fleeing from your brother Esau."

    Remember God, Jacob?

    So Jacob obeys, and instructs his entire household to junk their idols. What idols? What are idols doing there?

    They had already been contaminated by not only Shechem, but there were also the idols Rachel had brought with her!

    And what was the 'terror of God' that went with him, keeping enemy towns quiet as they passed by? Did it have something to do with the violence of Jacob's sons regarding the Shechem attack? Or was there some miraculous covering over Jacob and his group as they moved? This word, "hitah" is used only this once in the entire Bible! And it means, simply, 'fear, terror.' It is a word different from every other word in the Bible which indicates fear or terror. So the suggestion is certainly that there was something different about this.

    The death of Deborah, Rebekah's nurse, is recorded here, along with her burial place. She must have been a very special person.

    Then God repeats the Abrahamic covenant to Jacob, again giving him the name Israel.

    After they moved from Bethel, Rachel starts into labor and dies giving birth. The child is Benjamin. The pillar that marked Rachel's tomb was still there during the time of Moses, as the remark there is an editorial one and clearly was not in the original tablet.

    And then Reuben, while his father must still be in mourning over Rachel, sleeps with Bilhah, her servant and his father's concubine! The only comment made about this is that "and Israel [Jacob] heard of it." But talk about rubbing salt in an open wound! There is something more to consider here. It does not say that he raped her; evidently she was willing. How could that have happened if they had not been at least flirting before this? Was Rachel's death what actually opened the door for these two? There is a story behind the story that we will never know, but it must have really been a bitter moment for Jacob.

    The text then lists Jacob's twelve sons. Look at the first four for something interesting:

    Reuben -- slept with his father's concubine
    Simeon -- would have been next in line for the birthright, but he deceived and murdered the Shechemites
    Levi -- ditto Simeon

    And then Judah -- fourth in line should not have meant much. But the Christ line is through him. Watch Judah in the coming chapters. He is an amazing person, almost eclipsed by his brother Joseph, but not quite.

    And Joseph was the son of Leah, the unloved wife. What an honor for her that she should be involved in the line of Christ!

    The chapter closes with Isaac's death at 180 years. Although he lived five years longer than his father, Abraham, this is still a very short age compared to his ancestors.

    Jacob and Esau together bury their father. How amicably? We don't know. Was it simply a formal affair? Did Esau finally come to terms with Jacob's deceptions? That's another thing we just don't know.
  2. Clint Kritzer

    Clint Kritzer
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    Oct 10, 2001
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