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Author Topic: A Journey Thru Genesis  (Read 4123 times)

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Olde Tymer

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Re: A Journey Thru Genesis
« Reply #182 on: May 25, 2019, 08:19:32 am »
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● Gen 25:7 . .This was the total span of Abraham's life: one hundred and seventy-five years.

Abraham resided in Canaan for 100 years; and outlived Sarah by 48. That's not the way it usually happens here in modern America. Wives typically outlive their husbands; and if you don't think that's true, just visit any one of a number of retirement communities. Men over 80 who can still walk on their own, and drive a car, are like the proverbial fox in a henhouse. As of 2009, the male/female ratio for people aged 85 and older was twice as many women as men.

● Gen 25:8a . . And Abraham breathed his last,

Abraham lived to see Jacob's and Esau's fifteenth birthday. The twins were born when Isaac was sixty. And Abraham died when Isaac was seventy-five. So the boys got to know their grandpa pretty good before the old master passed on.

Abraham lived a very brief life in comparison to his forbearers. From Noah's point of view, who lived to 950, Abraham practically died as a child. Out ahead in the new world, a man of a hundred years old will be considered just a kid. (Isa 65;19-20)

The human life span has steadily declined since Noah's day, and now the average American, even with all the food, and the most advanced medical care in the world, only lives on average about 77 years or so.

● Gen 25:8b . . dying at a good age, old and contented;

Too many people die at a bad age; viz: too soon-- for example all the teens who died in the Viet Nam war, and the ones currently being killed in Afghanistan.

The word for "contented" is from sabea' saw-bay'-ah) which means: satiated. In other words: Abraham didn't die unfulfilled; he lived a very satisfying life: he touched all the bases.

Thoreau once said that the mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation. Well; that doesn't fit Abraham. He never wished his life had turned out differently.

"Piety with contentment is great gain." (1Tim 6:9)
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Olde Tymer

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Re: A Journey Thru Genesis
« Reply #183 on: May 26, 2019, 08:18:06 am »
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● Gen 25:8c . . and he was gathered to his kin.

Burials always follow the phrase "gathered to his kin". So the gathering happens as soon as the person dies; and prior to their funeral. The difference between gathering and burial is quite distinct in Jacob's case; who was interred no less than forty days after his passing, yet was gathered to his kin immediately upon expiring. (Gen 49:33-50:3)

It would seem, therefore, that the employment of this idiom-- like the corresponding figure of speech: to lie down with one's fathers --refers to an ancient belief that despite Man's mortality, he possesses a rather durable component that survives beyond the death of his body. In other words: assassins may terminate the life of a human body; but they cannot terminate the life of a human soul. Not that it's impossible; it's just that only man's maker has the power to pull that off.

"Don't be afraid of them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather be afraid of Him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell." (Matt 10:28)

● Gen 25:9a . . His sons Isaac and Ishmael buried him

Isaac and Ishmael were by far the oldest of all the boys. At the time, they lived reasonably close to each other and I would not be surprised if Ishmael came up to visit Abraham quite often and was always aware of his health. Abraham was 86 years old when his first son was born; so Ishmael would be going on 90 when his dad died. (cf. Gen 16:16, Gen 25:7)

Like Isaac, Ishmael was an only child; that is until Isaac came along. But at first, he had Abraham all to himself for at least fifteen years.

Both of these guys were older and wiser men by this time. I'm sure Ishmael understood that the loss of his birthright due to his mother's emancipation wasn't Isaac's fault. And Isaac harbors no ill will towards his half-brother for anything he may have done as a kid. After all, grown-ups are no longer the kids they grew from. The kids they were are long gone. It's not a good thing to hold grudges against people for the things they did when they were underage and didn't know any better.

● Gen 25:9b-10 . . in the cave of Machpelah, in the field of Ephron son of Zohar the Hittite, facing Mamre, the field that Abraham had bought from the Hittites; there Abraham was buried, and Sarah his wife.

No doubt when Abraham negotiated for this property, he anticipated his own eventual interment. Well, this cave is big enough to become a family crypt. Later, more of his progeny would follow him there.
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Olde Tymer

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Re: A Journey Thru Genesis
« Reply #184 on: May 27, 2019, 08:20:26 am »
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● Gen 25:11a . . After the death of Abraham, God blessed his son Isaac.

With the death of Abraham, the covenant torch is passed on to the next patriarch. The promises now shift into Isaac's possession and it becomes his responsibility to take over as the family priest too.

● Gen 25:11b . . And Isaac settled near Beer-lahai-roi.

Everyone else from Abraham's camp settled there too now that Isaac is the new godfather. All of Abraham's servants, all his livestock, all the camels, all everything; the whole shebang is Isaac's and follows Isaac wherever Isaac tells them to go. You know, it's very difficult to forget Hagar while the Bible continues to mention a very sacred spot dear to her own heart. But this is the very last mention of Beer-lahai-roi. It's as if Abraham's era is closing and now we move forward into Isaac's.

● Gen 25:12 . .This is the line of Ishmael, Abraham's son, whom Hagar the Egyptian, Sarah's slave, bore to Abraham.

Never once is Hagar listed as one of Abraham's wives. She was Sarah's slave; and nothing more. Genesis gives Ishmael's line only passing mention because the real focus lies along the covenant line. So we won't follow Ishmael's exploits after listing his progeny.

● Gen 25:13-16 . .These are the names of the sons of Ishmael, by their names, in the order of their birth: Nebaioth, the first-born of Ishmael, Kedar, Adbeel, Mibsam, Mishma, Dumah, Massa, Hadad, Tema, Jetur, Naphish, and Kedmah. These are the sons of Ishmael and these are their names by their villages and by their encampments: twelve chieftains of as many tribes.

Twelve tribes; just as God had foretold in Gen 17:20. These twelve "encampments" were little more than nomadic tent communities as compared to the more permanent fortified towns and hamlets that were common in the Canaan of Isaac's day.

● Gen 25:17 . .These were the years of the life of Ishmael: one hundred and thirty-seven years; then he breathed his last and died, and was gathered to his kin.

When Ishmael was "gathered to his kin" it wasn't to Abraham's clan but to his own: the Ishmael line. However, Abraham remained Ishmael's biological father whether Ishmael was legally his son or not. You can never change who sired you. Your genetic origin is impossible to reverse or alter; though it can be legally dissolved.

● Gen 25:18 . .They dwelt from Havilah, by Shur, which is close to Egypt, all the way to Asshur; they camped alongside all their kinsmen.

The "they" in this verse are the kin of verse 17 unto whom Ishmael was gathered.

Even though Ishmael's line isn't actually legal kin to Abraham's progeny, the line is still related to the other boys by blood and therefore genetic kinsman.

The expression "all the way to Asshur" is probably better rendered "as you go to Asshur" or "on the way to Asshur"-- ancient Assyria, now modern day Iraq. The Ishmaelites lived along the main caravan route leading from Egypt to Assyria; which would be very advantageous if you were into international trading, which they were (cf. Gen 37:25-28).

The precise locations of the Havilah and Shur of verse 18 are unknown; although it's fairly safe to assume that Havilah (sandy), and Shur delineated a region stretching from portions of modern day Jordan and Saudi Arabia, past Elat, across the northern Sinai Peninsula, and on over to Suez. In the time of Saul, Ishmael's territory was controlled by a people called Amalekites (1Sam 15:7).
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Olde Tymer

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Re: A Journey Thru Genesis
« Reply #185 on: May 28, 2019, 08:15:12 am »
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● Gen 25:19 . .This is the story of Isaac, son of Abraham. Abraham begot Isaac.

The word for "son" is ben (bane) and is used like American's use a middle name. Isaac's whole name is: Isaac ben Abraham. It's a common idiom in the Old Testament, and found in the New Testament too.

"They said: Is this not Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How can he now say? "I came down from heaven" (John 6:42)

The Lord's Greek name is lesous (ee-ay-souce') which is equivalent to the Hebrew name Yehowshuwa' (yeh-ho-shoo'-ah) which means: Joshua.

His dad's name in Greek is loseph (ee-o-safe') which is equivalent to the Hebrew name Yowceph (yo-safe') which means Joseph. So "Jesus, the son of Joseph" in hybridized English and Hebrew: is Joshua ben Joseph.


NOTE: The English spelling of Hebrew words often disagree with the spellings used by Orthodox Jews because there is no set standard for rendering Hebrew words in English form as yet so it's not uncommon for discrepancies to occur.

● Gen 25:20a . . Isaac was forty years old when he took to wife Rebecca,

Forty years-old might seem a bit late in life to get married for the first time, but in those days, a forty year-old man was still quite young.

The life expectancy of the average US male born in 2007 is 75.4 years. Isaac lived to 180; so at his marriage to Rebecca, he was about the equivalent of a modern 17 year-old. Jacob himself didn't marry Leah and Rachel and until he was over 80-- attesting to the robust health and longevity that men enjoyed in those days.

● Gen 25:20b . . daughter of Bethuel the Aramean of Paddan-aram, sister of Laban the Aramean.

The identity of Rebecca's mom remains a total mystery. By the time of Moses, uncle Laban was a large figure in Jewish history and you can safely bet the people of Israel were very familiar with that old rascal's ways. He mistreated not only Jacob, but also Leah and Rachel too, so he's not too popular with the people of Israel even today; seeing as how he was unkind and dishonest with their sacred ancestors and all.

The holiday of Purim commemorates an Agagite named Haman, who tried to exterminate the Jews in Esther's day. Maybe there should be a memorial for Laban too. Although he wasn't a villain on the scale of Haman, he nevertheless made ol' Jacob's life pretty miserable there for a while.
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Olde Tymer

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Re: A Journey Thru Genesis
« Reply #186 on: May 29, 2019, 07:35:34 am »
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● Gen 25:21a . . Isaac pleaded with the Lord on behalf of his wife, because she was barren;

Oh no. Not again! It seems like all the really attractive girls among Terah's female grandchildren had some sort of infertility condition.

Supposing Isaac never prayed for Rebecca. Would she have children? Absolutely! God gave his word to Abraham in Gen 17:19 that Isaac would become a very numerous people. So Rebecca, Isaac's divinely selected wife, was going to be a mommy; it was only a matter of time. But about one thing I think we can be sure of: Isaac didn't want to wait until Rebecca was ninety years old like his mom before having their first baby.

This is now the second time that the people of Israel were perpetuated by a miracle-- proving they are no ordinary people, but a people who wouldn't exist at all if God hadn't willed them into existence and into perpetuity.

● Gen 25:21b . . and the Lord responded to his plea, and his wife Rebecca conceived.

The twins Jacob and Esau were born when Isaac was 60 years old. So Isaac and Rebecca had been trying to have children for about 19 years. There is no record that Abraham ever prayed concerning Sarah's infertility. He dealt with the problem in another way.

Isaac, rather than follow the example of papa Abraham and sleep with one of the maids; did the wise thing by electing to petition God to cure his wife so they could have their own baby. There is of course no guarantee prayer will work for everyone, but it was just the ticket for them.

Youngsters can learn from their parents mistakes. If there was one thing you can bet Isaac did not want in his family, it was another Ishmael. Not that Ishmael was a bad seed, but his place in Abraham's home was a catalyst in generating much friction and rivalry, and also caused an inheritance problem for Isaac; not to mention Abraham's eventual heartbreak of finally emancipating Hagar and thus sending her and Ishmael off to fend for themselves.
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Olde Tymer

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Re: A Journey Thru Genesis
« Reply #187 on: May 30, 2019, 08:05:37 am »
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● Gen 25:22a . . But the children struggled in her womb,

The word for "struggled" is from ratsats (raw-tsats') which means: to crack in pieces, literally or figuratively

Haw-Haw-Haw-Haw-Haw. Those little tiny babies were trying to bust each other's skulls in there! The word ratsats is used just like that in a couple of places. (e.g. Jgs 9:53, Ps 74:12-13)

But I think it is more likely that each wanted to dominate the other. A common use of the word ratsats is oppression. (e.g. Deut 28:33-34, Jgs 10:6-8)

● Gen 25:22b . . and she said: If so, why do I exist?

That rendering is a bit murky. I think it would be better to paraphrase it: "If this is the case; then what am I doing here?"

Although Genesis revealed in verse 22a that Rebecca was carrying more than one child, and that the children were struggling for domination in the womb, the author wrote from inspiration and hind sight while Rebecca herself had no way of knowing what was going on at the time. It must have appeared to her that she was having a difficult pregnancy and in grave danger of dying in child birth.

That of course would make no sense at all to Rebecca because she was chosen for Isaac's wife by Divine providence; and her pregnancy was the result of Isaac's intercession. What was the point of going to all that trouble if she was only going to die right along with their first baby? In her mind, she certainly would have been much better off to have remained up north with her family than leave home with the servant to marry Isaac and lose her life bearing his child.

● Gen 25:22c . . She went to inquire of the Lord,

Went where? Well . . Isaac had settled near Beer-lahai-roi, the very water source where Hagar met with God for her very first time. This record is the very first time Rebecca met with God too, and she very likely met with God right at the same place Hagar did.

Hagar gave that spring of water its name Beer-lahai-roi in honor of her new best friend-- 'Ataah 'Eel R'iy  --the god who was aware of her problems, and who was also interested in helping her deal with them.

In the movie "Titanic" after looking at drawings a passenger made of some unusual women in Paris, and listening to him relate intimate details about them, the heroine turned and said: "You have a gift Jack. You see people."

Well, God sees people too. Beer-lahai-roi was Hagar's secret garden, and I sometimes wonder if Isaac didn't settle there because of that. I believe that is where Rebecca went to talk with God about her boys. And why not? That spring had good karma. And if God was sympathetic with Hagar there, then why wouldn't He be sympathetic with Rebecca there too? 'Ataah 'Eel R'iy is the very best kind of god to have-- one who sees people.

But suppose Rebecca had instead opted to pray from inside her tent? Would God have heard her from there? Yes, He would have heard (cf. Ps 139:7-12, Matt 6:6). It isn't necessary to resort to a special sanctuary, or a shrine, or take your case to a professional priesthood for mediation. People often pray from very unusual places; and get good results. (e.g. Jonah 2:1-3)

If Jonah could pray and be heard from inside a smelly ol' fish's tummy, and if God can be worshipped elsewhere than a church (John 4:21-24) then I guess it should be okay if Rebecca prayed from inside her tent-- and it should be okay if somebody prayed from their car, or bedroom, or in the mountains on a hike, or even in the restroom at work.
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Olde Tymer

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Re: A Journey Thru Genesis
« Reply #188 on: May 31, 2019, 08:01:14 am »
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● Gen 25:23a . . and the Lord answered her: Two nations are in your womb, two separate peoples shall issue from your body;

The Hebrew word for "nations" is from gowy (go'-ee); or the short version goy (go'-ee) which means: (in the sense of massing) a foreign nation; hence, Gentiles; also (figuratively) a troop of animals, or a flight of locusts.

The words gowy and goy, are commonly used by modern Jews in referring to people who aren't Jewish. But the words goyim and goy do not especially mean non-Jews. Those words apply to all manner of people masses; both Jew and Gentile. There are other Bible examples where those words unmistakably apply to not only non Jews, but Jews too. For example:

"I will make of you a great nation" (Gen 12:2).

That promise was made to Abraham regarding his progeny. The word for "nation" in that verse (which in this case clearly refers to the people of Israel) is gowy, the same word describing both Jacob and Esau.

Another example is Gen 18:17-18 where both Hebrews and Gentiles are referred to as goyyim:

"Now the Lord had said, Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do, since Abraham is to become a great and populous nation and all the nations of the earth are to bless themselves by him?"

In another instance; God gave His word that, while the universe exists, the people of Israel would never cease to be goy.

"Thus said the Lord, Who established the sun for light by day, the laws of moon and stars for light by night, Who stirs up the sea into roaring waves, Whose name is Lord of Hosts: If these laws should ever be annulled by Me-- declares the Lord-- only then would the offspring of Israel cease to be a nation before Me for all time." (Jer 31:35-36)

So the people of Israel are still goy even to this very day.

Gen 25:23a is an interesting development. God chose Sarah to be the one through whom Abraham's covenant would perpetuate-- likewise He chose Rebecca for the same purpose. It was through her that the covenant would perpetuate too. But Rebecca is somehow different. For reasons of His own, God waited for her to come along before getting down to business multiplying the seed promised in Gen 13:16.
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Olde Tymer

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Re: A Journey Thru Genesis
« Reply #189 on: June 01, 2019, 07:55:03 am »
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● Gen 25:23b . . One people shall be mightier than the other, and the older shall serve the younger.

Esau will come out first; therefore, chronologically, he's the eldest son. However, the right of primogeniture was taken from him and given to Jacob. That was God's sovereign prerogative as the paterfamilias of Moses' people.

Biblically, the firstborn son's birthright isn't inalienable; rather, quite transferable to a younger sibling e.g. Rueben and Joseph (1Chrn 5:1) and Mannasah and Ephraim (Gen 48:13-19) and David and Jesus (Ps 110:1 cf. Matt 22:42-45).

● Gen 25:24 . .When her time to give birth was at hand, there were twins in her womb.

Multiple births in human beings arise either from the simultaneous impregnation of more than one ovum or from the impregnation of a single ovum that divides into two or more parts, each of which develops into a distinct embryo. Plural offspring developing from a single egg are known as "identical"-- they are always of the same gender, resemble one another very closely, and have similar fingerprints and blood types.

Offspring produced from separate ova are "fraternal"-- not necessarily of the same gender; they have the usual family resemblance of brothers and sisters.

Precisely of which type Jacob and Esau were, is difficult to tell. However, they are definitely not identical; either in physical appearance nor in personality, nor in speech.

● Gen 25:25a . .The first one emerged red, like a hairy mantle all over;

The word for "red" is 'admoniy (ad-mo-nee') which can refer to either red hair or to a reddish, rosy complexion. In Esau's case, it's difficult to know for certain which applied. That he was a hairy kid right from birth is uncontested. However, to avoid the association with red hair; some feel that the conjunction "and" should be inserted just after the comma, so that the verse would read: The first one emerged red, and hairy all over like a mantle.

Jacob looked like most babies do at birth: a little cherub; bald and smooth skinned.

Esau, in contrast, was not only hairy, but because of his fur, he was rough to the touch; sort of like a woolen G.I. blanket. Esau wasn't your typical cuddly little tykester. When Rebecca held him, it wasn't like holding a little boy, it was more like holding a grizzly bear cub, so to speak. Maybe that was a contributing factor in Rebecca's favoritism of Jacob? How many mothers can really warm up to a baby who looks like he'll morph into a werewolf any second?

● Gen 25:25b . . they named him Esau.

The Hebrew word for Esau is from 'Esav (ay-sawv'); the meaning of which isn't known for certain. Some say it means rough-- like rough to the touch. Others think it might mean to cover, or envelop like a blanket --a distinct possibility given Esau's appearance as one covered with hair all over his body. (maybe even on his little tush too.)

● Gen 25:26a . .Then his brother emerged, holding on to the heel of Esau;

Sibling rivalry between the two baby brothers was very intense. Jacob undoubtedly held on to Esau's heel to slow him down so he wouldn't get too far ahead-- and also an aggressive attempt to stop him from going first even though Esau was legitimately first in line to be born.

● Gen 25:26b . . so they named him Jacob.

The Hebrew word for Jacob is from Ya' aqob (yah-ak-obe') which means: heel-catcher.

Esau defined a heel-catcher like this:

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

Supplanters take things by coup, usurping, artifice and/or treachery; e.g. Ray Kroc and the McDonalds®  fast food chain.

Right from the womb, Jacob desired supremacy over his brother Esau and struggled to get out ahead of him. How male infants can be so competitive at such an early age is a total mystery; but not impossible. Boys are competitive by nature, and don't like to come in second place; especially against a brother. For some strange reason, it is much easier for a boy to suffer defeat by a non-kin male opponent than by his own sibling.

Jacob is one very Tricky Ricky who knows how to trip people up, and how to keep them from getting ahead, and how to cleverly separate them from what is rightfully theirs.

That boy was born way too soon. He should have been on Wall Street; manipulating stocks, marketing derivatives, and raiding corporations. Jacob isn't usually portrayed in Scripture as a man of muscle and brute strength, but as a man of cunning and determination, a man who gets what he wants by patience, stealth, intelligence, and/or trickery rather than by brute force. Maybe he should have been a corporate lawyer?
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« Last Edit: June 01, 2019, 08:08:30 am by Olde Tymer »

Olde Tymer

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Re: A Journey Thru Genesis
« Reply #190 on: June 02, 2019, 07:57:48 am »
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● Gen 25:26c . . Isaac was sixty years old when they were born.

Isaac married Rebecca at forty (Gen 25:20). If Becky was 18 at her wedding, she would have been 38. Imagine waiting twenty years to have your first child? Quite a few modern marriages end long before then.

● Gen 25:27a . .When the boys grew up, Esau became a skillful hunter, a man of the outdoors;

Esau was the macho kind of boy dads are usually very proud of. He was a rugged, athletic man who preferred to sleep on the ground, under the stars, rather than between sheets. A real he-man; who, in our own day, would very likely own several guns; some of which would be brutal calibers like a .44 magnum revolver or a 10 ga. shotgun.

But Esau was totally physical. The poor lad had no brain at all. He was brave, adventurous, and a natural at hunting, but that is about all you could say for him-- kind of like professional sports stars who only got into college because of their athletic ability, not especially for any academic accomplishments.

Esau pegged the mark in virility; but at the same time rated a big fat zero in sense and sensibility-- a Neanderthal knuckle-dragger kind of guy. There was really no need for Esau to kill wildlife for fresh meat: as if the family were desperate for food; after all, Isaac was very wealthy in livestock.

No. Esau hunted for sport, and his goal was not to help support the family, but to show-off his prowess, and to impress himself, and those around him.

Esau excelled in outdoor survival skills: he was very definitely one-up on Jacob in that sphere; plus it gained him a level of admiration from his dad that exceeded the esteem Isaac held for Jacob.

But for all his natural athletic ability, Esau placed no importance whatsoever upon things of eternal value. He was the classic man under the sun; viz: earthly, secular to the bone, and his so-called "needs" took the highest priority over everything. (cf. 1Cor 2:14)

"See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many be defiled; that there be no immoral or impious person like Esau, who sold his own birthright for a single meal." (Heb 12:15-16)

● Gen 25:27b . . but Jacob was a mild man

What's Genesis saying? That Jacob was a wimp; some kind of a mommy's boy? No. Far from it. The word for "mild" is from tam (tawm) which means: gentle; viz: temperate.

The Bible's God holds gentleness in very high regard.

"For yet a little while, and the wicked shall not be: yea, thou shalt diligently consider his place, and it shall not be. But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace." (Ps 37:10-11)

"Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth." (Matt 5:5)

The koiné Greek word for "meek" in the third beatitude is praus (prah-ooce') which means essentially the very same thing as tam; viz: temperate; mild.

Moses was meek (Num 12:3) and Christ was meek. (Matt 11:29, Matt 21:5)

Webster's defines mild as: gentle in nature or behavior; viz: temperate; in other words: agreeable, approachable, reasonable, calm, mellow, and self-controlled.

Non-temperate people could be characterized as moody, grudging, irritable, emotional, thin-skinned, unreasonable, irrational, reactive, defensive, confrontational, assertive; and around whom one has to walk on egg shells all the time.

A temperate person, though mellow in demeanor, should never be assumed lacking in strength, courage, conviction, or self confidence. Anybody who's studied the lives of Moses and Jesus can easily testify that neither of those men were either timid, wimpy, or vacillating; no, they walked softly and carried a big stick.

Jacob and his dad Isaac were temperate men; but could be assertive when the situation called for it. Temperate people like Jacob and Isaac pick their battles carefully, and avoid getting all riled up over trifles.

That's all saying Jacob was mature and sensible; in contrast to his brother Esau who was carnal, immature, sensuous, and acted more like an adolescent than a grown man. Mature men take their responsibilities seriously, and their priorities are far different than a guy like Esau who just wants to have fun and adventure all the time.

So anyway, in the economy of God, a person with tam is to be admired way over and above a rugged athletic he-man. It's okay to be a rugged athletic he-man. There's nothing eo ipso wrong in that. After all, David was a rugged he-man himself. But it's not okay to be one without tam. Well, that was Esau-- the picture of health and male virility, but he lacked tam. Esau was a rude, lewd, crude bag of pre-chewed food dude.

Jacob was very different. It's true he was crafty, and maybe a bit dishonest at times; but he was no wimp I can assure you; and, on the whole, a very good man.

Jacob was mellow: he didn't need to show off and win the applause of the crowd to feel good about himself. He was the strong silent type who enjoyed home life and ranching. He was productive, and that's where he found the most contentment in life.

Jacob had the qualities that many good women look for in a husband. He was stable, enjoyed being at home with his family, worked an honest day's work, loved his mom, had no issues with women, and appreciated the value of religion.

Jacob wasn't a grand-stander, nor a narcissistic show-off; nor the kind of guy to run off on adventures all the time or constantly move to where the grass was greener. He didn't leave home till he was 75, and even then it was only because he was on the lamb. Jacob was the kind of man who buys a home and stays in the same neighborhood until his kids are out of school.
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« Last Edit: June 02, 2019, 08:17:19 am by Olde Tymer »

Olde Tymer

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Re: A Journey Thru Genesis
« Reply #191 on: June 03, 2019, 07:43:41 am »
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● Gen 25:27c . . who stayed in camp.

Does that mean Jacob never ventured outdoors? No. After all, his family was pastoral; they lived in tents and spent their whole lives working outdoors. Staying in camp only means Jacob would rather come on home when the day was over, take a hot shower, eat dinner with his family, brush his teeth, and sleep between clean sheets rather than needing a bath out under the stars on the ground with creepy-crawlies.

Esau wasn't dependable; and probably off away from home on one safari after another. But Jacob was always nearby, ready to lend a hand with the chores, shear the sheep, mend the fences, and help his mom get in a load of wood and water. He was like the ranchers in the movie Shane-- hard working and dependable --very unlike his wild and wooly brother who very likely scorned animal husbandry and thought of it as a life for losers.

Jacob was a lot like his mom Rebecca. Although she too came from a family with servants, it wasn't below her to bring in the evening water when it was time. Jacob could have kicked back and lived the life of a spoiled rich kid and never lifted a finger to help out around the ranch, leaving it all up to the servants. But he didn't do that. No. Jacob was a working rancher: he pitched in wherever he could because it was his nature to make himself useful and productive.

● Gen 25:28a . . Isaac favored Esau because he had a taste for game;

The Hebrew word for "favored" is from 'ahab (aw-hab') or possibly 'aheb (aw-habe') which mean: to have affection for.

Family counselors will tell you that favoritism is harmful: and who from a large family doesn't already know that. But nevertheless it's just about near impossible to prevent favoritism. People are only human after all.

Up to this point, Esau seems an okay kind of guy. No really serious faults are readily apparent. And he seems affable enough. On the pages of Old Testament Scripture, he isn't said to be a friendless loner, or an angry sociopath; nor into bad habits like drinking, gambling, murder, robbery, lies, laziness, fighting, disrespect for his parents, blasphemy, selfishness, foul language, or anything else like that.

The only apparent difference between Esau and Jacob-- up to this point --is Esau's preference for roaming the great outdoors instead of putting in a day's work around the ranch. Jewish folklore lays some pretty heavy sins upon Esau. but none of them are listed here in chapter 25.

For now, neither Isaac nor Rebecca have voiced any gripes against either one of their boys. Isaac does favor Esau more, but only because of the venison that he prepared for his dad on occasion-- which of course would appeal to Isaac because it was wild game rather than the meat of domestic animals. Guys sometimes feel more manly when they eat meat taken in hunting rather than from a local super market. Isaac is one of those men for whom this proverb rings true: The way to a man's heart is through this stomach.

● Gen 25:28b . . but Rebecca favored Jacob.

Well, that's understandable. Jacob was religious, temperate, conscientious, and helpful: attributes Rebecca would certainly value; whereas Esau was secular, out hunting, and saw no value in his dad's religion whatsoever (Heb 12:15-17). And Jacob was very likely home a whole lot more than Esau; and made good company too. Guys like Esau tend to be center-of-attention addicts; and eclipse everyone else in the room to the point where you get the feeling they believe themselves the only ones in the whole wide world that count and the only justification for your existence is to be their audience.

Rebecca was a no-nonsense kind of girl. I think she was very impressed by Abraham's chief steward because he was serious about his business and got right to it with no fooling around; plus he was a man of prayer too. I think all of that had a great deal of influence on Rebecca's decision to leave home with him.

I suspect Rebecca saw that very same kind of character in Jacob; and it had more appeal to her than the swash buckling, great white hunter attitude that compelled Esau to go off on safari so often. Not that an adventurer's nature is bad or anything like that. But Rebecca preferred the company of disciplined, level headed, temperate men who take care of their families and put them first. The kind who take their responsibilities seriously and don't shirk.
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« Last Edit: June 03, 2019, 07:46:09 am by Olde Tymer »

Olde Tymer

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Re: A Journey Thru Genesis
« Reply #192 on: June 04, 2019, 08:05:36 am »
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● Gen 25:29 . . Once when Jacob was cooking a stew, Esau came in from the open, famished.

I guess Esau never heard of the Boy Scouts' motto: Be prepared. Well . . next time, maybe he'll be a little more careful to fill his ALICE pack with some LRRP rations before going out in the boonies.

The word for "stew" is from naziyd (naw-zeed') which means: something boiled, e.g. soup. According to Gen 25:34, one of the ingredients in Jacob's soup was lentils: a type of flat, round seed related to the pea and is eaten as a vegetable.

● Gen 25:30a . . And Esau said to Jacob: Give me some of that red stuff to gulp down, for I am famished

The word for "red" (stuff) is from 'adom (aw-dome') which means: rosy.

● Gen 25:30b . . which is why he was named Edom.

Edom is from 'Edom (ed-ome') or possibly 'Edowm (ed-ome') which mean: red. 'Edom and 'Edowm are derived from 'adom; the word for rosy.

I actually knew a man when I was a kid whose nick-name was Rose; and what die-hard football fan hasn't heard of Rosey Grier?

● Gen 25:31 . . Jacob said: First sell me your birthright.

The birthright consists of two distinct components. One is material, and the other is spiritual. If Israel's covenanted law can be used as a guideline in this instance, then the holder of the birthright (which is transferable) is entitled to twice the amount of material inheritance given to his siblings. (Deut 21:15-17)

But Jacob isn't asking for Esau's material birthright; it's the spiritual one that he's after. Jacob wanted very much to be the family's next patriarch; and no doubt Rebecca wanted him too.

The position of patriarch carries heavy responsibilities. If Esau was to rule over the family, then he would be responsible to provide for them both materially and spiritually. Abraham was a very successful patriarch in both respects, but most especially in the spiritual.

It was the patriarch's duty to build, and officiate at, the family's altar; just as Abraham had done all those years (cf. Job 1:5). It was also the patriarch's duty to dispense the knowledge God and make sure it was carried forward in the family so as to prevent its loss to future generations (cf. Gen 18:19). I think what Jacob was really after was the inspiration that came with being the spiritual patriarch. (cf. Gen 20:7)

As far as Esau was concerned, the material aspect of his birthright was all that mattered. He was totally secular and cared nothing at all for his spiritual birthright. On the other hand, Jacob dearly longed for the spiritual aspect-- the material part being only incidental. No doubt the two brothers had discussed these very things over the years so that Jacob already knew exactly how Esau felt about it. So that, half in jest, and probably half in disgust, he proposed that Esau barter his spiritual birthright for food.
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Olde Tymer

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Re: A Journey Thru Genesis
« Reply #193 on: June 05, 2019, 07:14:25 am »
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● Gen 25:32-33 . . And Esau said: I am at the point of death, so of what use is my birthright to me? But Jacob said: Swear to me first. So he swore to him, and sold his birthright to Jacob.

It just amazes me how much faith the people of long ago put in oaths. Nowadays nobody trusts an oath. You've got to sign your name on the dotted line, preferably with a witness and/or a notary, because it would be totally foolish to take anybody's word on anything; even if they swore to it.

Even if Isaac now gave the birthright to Esau, which he fully intended to do, at least Jacob had the assurance that his brother wouldn't retain the spiritual aspect. Isaac would never interfere with a contract between the two brothers sealed by an oath. He would have to honor it. The spiritual birthright would now go to Jacob, which, according to Gen 25:23, is exactly what the supreme paterfamilias of Abraham's clan mandated in the first place.

● Gen 25:34 . . Jacob then gave Esau bread and lentil stew; he ate and drank, and he rose and went away. Thus did Esau spurn the birthright.

Had Esau politely waived the birthright, that probably would've been okay with God, and no hard feelings about it: after all; not everyone is cut out to be a spiritual guru. But to merchandise something sacred to God was an insult that must have cut Him deeply.

Ironically, the birthright wasn't Esau's to sell in the first place since God pre destined it to Jacob before the boys were born (Rom 9:11-12). I can't help but wonder what happened to the information that God passed on to Rebecca back when. Did she keep it under her hat all those years? If so; why?

Jacob and Rebecca no doubt both appreciated their association with Isaac, and were grateful Yhvh was their god. But did Esau did appreciate it? No, he didn't; nor did he see any advantage to it. He was truly a secular man: an earthly dude through and through. He wasn't a heavenly man in any sense of the word; no, far from it.

 "A natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised." (1 Cor 2:14)
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Olde Tymer

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Re: A Journey Thru Genesis
« Reply #194 on: June 06, 2019, 07:48:22 am »
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● Gen 26:1a . .There was a famine in the land-- aside from the previous famine that had occurred in the days of Abraham

That previous famine occurred in chapter 12 before Isaac was born; even before Ishmael was born. So many good, prosperous years have gone by since the last famine. This may in fact have been the very first famine that Isaac ever witnessed, and probably his last too.

The Hebrew word for "famine" is from ra' ab (raw-awb') which means: hunger (more or less extensive)

People go hungry either because they can't buy the foods they need, or can't grow it for lack of soil or water. In Isaac's case it was probably a lack of water that made the difference. He had lots of money. But cattle can't live on legal tender. Down in the lowlands there would very likely be plenty of water in wells and springs that could be used for irrigation. So it's off to the lowlands they go; herds and all.

● Gen 26:1b . . and Isaac went to Abimelech, king of the Philistines, in Gerar.

This was very likely another Abimelech-- not the same man in chapter 20 whom Abraham knew. That Abimelech was very likely dead by now. The name "Abimelech" is more like a title than a moniker; sort of like Czar, Pharaoh, or Caesar.

Gerar hasn't been fully identified, but the site might be in one of the branches of Wady Sheri'a, at a place called Um Jerrar, near the coast southwest of Gaza and 9 miles from it. The site answers fairly well to the statements of Eusebius and Jerome, that it was 25 (Roman) miles south of Eleutheropolis (Beit Jibrin). It's actually 30 English miles, but distances weren't very accurately determined in early times. Gerar was known in the first 5th century CE, when it was the seat of a bishopric; and its bishop, Marcian, attended the Council of Chalcedon 451 CE.

According to ERETZ Magazine, issue 64, Abimelech's land is an ample valley with fertile land and numerous springs; a perfect place for a man with cattle to weather out the drought.

Isaac's decision to investigate the possibility of living amongst Abimelech's people was quite possibly influenced by Abraham's pact with them back in chapter 20. Hopefully they would be inclined to honor his dad's relationship with the previous Abimelech and let Isaac's community live down there at least until it started raining again up in the highlands.

● Gen 26:2a . .The Lord had appeared to him

This is the very first recorded incident where God appeared especially for Isaac. When he was offered as a burnt offering back in chapter 22, God appeared to his dad while Isaac was with him. But God was not said to appear to Isaac. This is the first time.

You know, probably nobody alive today will ever be honored by a divine close encounter of a third kind. We will live out our pathetically boring little lives always never quite sure if maybe we were hoodwinked-- hoping against hope that the Bible is true. And wouldn't the joke be on us if it isn't? What a bunch of gullible morons Christians would be if there is no Bible's God after all.

● Gen 26:2b . . and said: Do not go down to Egypt;

Isaac may have been considering Egypt as plan B if Gerar didn't work out.

● Gen 26:2c . . stay in the land which I point out to you.

That had to be encouraging. Even if things looked bad in Gerar when Isaac arrived, he could rest upon the fact that he was going in the right direction.

● Gen 26:3a . . Reside in this land, and I will be with you and bless you;

Suppose it turned out Isaac didn't like the land God selected for him and moved to another one? Well he could just forget about the promise: "I will be with you and bless you" That promise was conditional. He had to live where God directed him to live.

● Gen 26:3b-4 . . I will assign all these lands to you and to your heirs, fulfilling the oath that I swore to your father Abraham. I will make your heirs as numerous as the stars of heaven, and assign to your heirs all these lands, so that all the nations of the earth shall bless themselves by your heirs--

Although some translations render the word "heirs" plural, zera' is one of those Hebrew words that can just as accurately be translated in the singular as well the plural: like the words sheep, fish, and deer. In this case, it's probably best to understand zera' in the singular because it most certainly refers to Jacob rather than to both he and his brother Esau.
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