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Author Topic: A Journey Thru Genesis  (Read 2595 times)

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Olde Tymer

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Re: A Journey Thru Genesis
« Reply #195 on: June 07, 2019, 07:25:10 am »
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● Gen 26:5 . . inasmuch as Abraham obeyed Me and kept My charge: My commandments, My laws, and My teachings.

Some construe God's statement to indicate that Abraham was included in the covenant that Moses' people agreed upon with God as per Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. But the statement below excludes him.

"The Lord our God made a covenant with us in Horeb. Not with our forefathers did the Lord make this covenant, but with us, we, all of whom are here alive today." (Deut 5:2-3)

Were Abraham included in the Jews' covenant; God would have placed Himself in a serious dilemma.

The problem is: Abraham was married to a half sister (Gen 20:12)

The covenant prohibits marrying, and/or sleeping with, one's half sister. (Lev 18:9, Lev 20:17)

Under the terms and conditions of the Jews' covenant; men who sleep with their sisters are cursed the moment they do so because "cursed be he" is grammatically present tense; no delay and no waiting period; viz: the curse is immediate.

"Cursed be he who lies with his sister, his father's daughter or his mother's daughter." (Deut 27:22)

Cursed be he who does not uphold the words of this Torah, to fulfill them. (Deut 27:26)

Well; were God to slam Abraham with a curse for sleeping with his sister, then God would be obligated to slam Himself with a curse in return.

"The one who curses you I will curse" (Gen 12:3)

Abraham enjoyed quite an advantage. He had a certain kind of immunity. In other words, seeing as how Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy were instituted long after Abraham passed away; then none of the curses listed at Lev 26:3-38, Deut 27:15-26, and Deut 28:1-69 applied to him.

Abraham complied with God's requirements; His commands, His decrees and His laws voluntarily rather than by compulsion because he wasn't in a covenant with God that demanded him to do so like his posterity would be in the days of Moses. (Deut 5:2-3)

The promises God made to Abraham as per Gen 12:2-3 and Gen 17:8 were not sustained by Abraham's piety. In other words: once God made those promises, neither Abraham nor his posterity can ever lose them because they are unconditional

"The law, introduced 430 years later, does not set aside the covenant previously established by God and thus do away with the promise. For if the inheritance is based on law, it is no longer based on a promise; but God has granted it to Abraham by means of a promise." (Gal 3:17-18)

The "promise" in question reads like this:

"And I will give you and your seed after you the land of your sojournings, the entire land of Canaan for an everlasting possession, and I will be to them for a god." (Gen 17:8)

That should be really good news to Abraham's posterity because although the law has a marked effect upon their occupation of the land, it has no effect upon their entitlement to it.
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Olde Tymer

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Re: A Journey Thru Genesis
« Reply #196 on: June 08, 2019, 08:30:46 am »
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● Gen 26:6 . . So Isaac stayed in Gerar. When the men of the place asked him about his wife, he said "She is my sister" for he was afraid to say "my wife" thinking: The men of the place might kill me on account of Rebecca, for she is beautiful.

NOTE: The thing about human beauty is that it's subjective, i.e. only humans can appreciate it. A big ape like King Kong would not be attracted to a cute blonde girl because his chemistry isn't mixed right. For example; meerkat boys no doubt think that meerkat girls are sexy little hotties. But I seriously doubt that meerkat boys feel the same way about human girls.

The Hebrew word for "sister" is 'achowth (aw-khoth') and has very wide application. It can mean an actual biological sister of the same parents as the brother, or it can just mean female kin, either near or far. I'm guessing that Isaac and Rebecca were far enough apart in age that she could easily pass for his niece.

'achowth is very much like the New Testament Greek word suggenes (soong-ghen ace'). For example Luke 1:36, "Even Elizabeth your cousin is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be barren is in her sixth month." The word "cousin" is an arbitrary choice of words. Suggenes could just as easily been translated "aunt", or just simply "kin" and/or "relative" and/or "sister".


NOTE: Translating suggenes as "cousin" in Mary and Elizabeth's case is appropriate seeing as how both women were biologically related to Leah via Judah and Levi.

Suggenes and 'achowth are ambiguous words, and unless there is some additional clarification in the surrounding text, it is just about impossible to know precisely in what manner the female kin is related; for example in Gen 24:59-60, Rebeca's family called her a sister.

Isaac's response was semantic double-speak. In other words: he didn't tell an outright bald face lie; what he said was true; from a certain point of view-- he and Rebecca were related. But nevertheless, his response was a half truth meant to deceive.

I just have to wonder sometimes about the IQ of some of the patriarchs. God had just reaffirmed Abraham's covenant with Isaac; guaranteeing He would bless him on account of his father Abraham's righteousness (not Isaac's righteousness). Yet now he's worried about being murdered in Gerar? I'd hate to think that Isaac didn't believe God. I'd much rather reckon he wasn't paying attention.

● Gen 26:8 . . When some time had passed, Abimelech king of the Philistines, looking out of the window, saw Isaac sporting with his wife Rebecca.

Sporting with one's wife is far and away different than sporting with one's sister. The way those two were horsing around was unmistakably the behavior of lovers.

● Gen 26:9-10 . . Abimelech sent for Isaac and said: So she is your wife! Why then did you say "She is my sister". Isaac said to him: Because I thought I might lose my life on account of her. Abimelech said: What have you done to us! One of the people might have lain with your wife, and you would have brought guilt upon us.

I'm not surprised that Abimelech was frightened. It hadn't been all that long ago when his predecessor had a run-in with Isaac's god, That incident involving Abraham undoubtedly went down in the castle records.

And to top it off, out there grazing on Gerar pastures was a special breed of sheep that bore a witness for Abraham too (Gen 21:27-32) and their story was very likely woven into Gerar folklore. Oh yes. They knew about Yhvh alright; and they all knew what could happen to them if any of the local men messed around with Rebecca, the wife of Abraham's son.

● Gen 26:11 . . Abimelech then charged all the people, saying: Anyone who molests this man or his wife shall be put to death.

It is most encouraging to note that God is disposed to protect his own from the perils they bring upon themselves by the stupid blunders of their own self reliance. That's a tremendous advantage to have in life.

The Hebrew word for "molest" is from  naga' (naw-gah') which means: to touch, i.e. lay the hand upon (for any purpose; euphemistically, to lie with a woman); by implication, to reach (figuratively, to arrive, acquire); violently, to strike (punish, defeat, destroy, etc.)


NOTE: A popular euphemism in our day relative to men and women is so and so are "sleeping together" which means of course that they do naughtier stuff than merely slumber.

So Abimelech was not just talking about sexual molesting; but mandated that his people not even so much as lay a finger upon Isaac and Rebecca in any way at all. Isaac, of course, is getting by on his dad's influence. But what the hey, it doesn't hurt to be connected.
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Olde Tymer

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Re: A Journey Thru Genesis
« Reply #197 on: June 09, 2019, 07:57:43 am »
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● Gen 26:12-14a . . Isaac sowed in that land and reaped a hundredfold the same year. The Lord blessed him, and the man grew richer and richer until he was very wealthy: he acquired flocks and herds, and a large household,

Quite a bit of the land down around Gerar was public, sort of like our own American frontier in the days of Lewis and Clark; and was up for grabs by whoever had the wherewithal and the moxie to take it. In fact, the Philistines really weren't even a country of their own at this time, but more like a colony clinging to the sea coast of Palestine, with the majority of them still living on the isle of Crete. They would migrate and settle en masse centuries later.

Farming may seem like a switch from animal husbandry, but the combination was common among pastoral peoples those days for two good reasons. For one; Isaac's herds needed pasture. And two; man can't live on meat alone; he needs fruits and vegetables too.

And Isaac needed bushels and bushels of those items to feed his immense community. He inherited at least a thousand people from his dad. By now, those have multiplied well beyond that. I think if you'd have encountered Isaac's outfit in those days it would have resembled an Iowa town rather than a simple camp of Bedouins.

Rates of increase varied from thirty to a hundred (cf. Matt 13:8, Matt 19:29). Sixtyfold is very good, and wasn't unusual in Palestine back in those days. A hundredfold was rare, and occurred only in spots of extraordinary fertility.

The region of Babylonia, however, yielded two-hundred and even three-hundredfold, according to Herodotus (I.193) and all without genetically modified seeds. Just exactly what those fold numbers indicate is uncertain. Perhaps they were similar to a modern term relative to bushels per acre.
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Olde Tymer

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Re: A Journey Thru Genesis
« Reply #198 on: June 10, 2019, 08:04:35 am »
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● Gen 26:14b . . so that the Philistines envied him.

Some feel that the Philistines' envy was rooted in anti-Semitism. Well . . . there are always those seeking to enhance their own image as a victim; and this chapter would certainly seem a good source of propaganda for that purpose.

Envy is a normal human emotion that is typically blind to racial and ethnic identities. Envy isn't restricted to anti-Semitism, nor does it serve to identify it. Envy is a powerful passion; destroying friendships, fueling fierce rivalries, generating strong desires for revenge, and fracturing solidarity.


NOTE: Madison Avenue typically combines envy with gloating; which Webster's defines as to show in an improper or selfish way that you are happy with your own success or another person's failure. Whenever someone's goods and/or services in an ad are superior to others, there's usually no sympathy shown by the one with the superior stuff; only gloating over those less fortunate with no concern at all for their feelings. Thus advertisers encourage consumer rivalry and smug satisfaction. It's very common in TV ads.

Just watch the ads on TV, and the ones in magazines and you'll see. They constantly provoke us to keep up with and/or surpass our peers in clothing, cars, physical appearance, business success, and popularity. Envy is a powerful, negative feeling that overwhelms us whenever others are doing better than ourselves.

● Gen 26:15 . . And the Philistines stopped up all the wells which his father's servants had dug in the days of his father Abraham, filling them with earth.

You would think the Philistines would value those wells and put the water to use for themselves. But actually, there weren't really all that many Philistines in the Gerar area at the time. They didn't need the water; and they sure didn't want any squatters to discover the wells and thus be encouraged to settle down in their region.

Abimelech forbade his citizens to harm Isaac; but that didn't preclude harassing and annoying him. Cutting off his water supplies was very serious because Isaac needed them to irrigate crops and water the livestock. Without adequate water supplies, Isaac Enterprises was doomed. He had a right to file a complaint. But Abimelech felt it best for all concerned to run Isaac out of the country.


NOTE: I've a suspicion that the rural Philistines had become territorial; which can be roughly defined as an assumed property right due to long-time occupation; whether legal or otherwise. In other words; Isaac's rivals probably felt that although they didn't actually own the countryside, they had been there longer than Isaac so they had a preemptive right to dictate its use. It's a Neanderthal's way of thinking, but goes on all the time; commonly in work places where senior employees are inclined to dominate new hires.

● Gen 26:16 . . And Abimelech said to Isaac: Go away from us, for you have become far too big for us.

Just exactly what Abimelech meant by "far too big for us" is hard to know for sure. But it looks suspiciously like a cowardly act of favoritism; pure and simple. Instead of being fair and equitable with Isaac, Abimelech, like a cheap politician, ignored the vandalism his citizens had done against Isaac and made it look like this whole nasty business was his fault; vz: he was just getting too greedy and beginning to crowd everybody else out.

Was this maybe the first antitrust suit in history? Antitrust laws, in reality, put a limit on prosperity. They say that the principles of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are okay as long as you don't pursue them to an extreme. People often believe in a free enterprise system; but typically only up until somebody else's enterprise is having much better success at it than theirs.

● Gen 26:17 . . So Isaac departed from there and encamped in the wadi of Gerar, where he settled.

A wadi named Nahal Gerar is on modern maps of the Gaza region. Whether or not that was Isaac's wadi I don't know. Wadis are basins in which brooks flow, and therefore, were the well-watered and fertile parts of the country. In times of scant rain up in the highlands, the brooks in many wadis dry up, and then it becomes necessary to dig wells down into the subterranean water table.

According to ERETZ magazine, issue 64, the Gerar river draws its waters from tributaries that run along the slopes of the rain-swept Hebron mountains. Enormous amounts of water flow through it in winter, flooding the channel an average of seven times a year.

● Gen 26:18 . . Isaac dug anew the wells which had been dug in the days of his father Abraham and which the Philistines had stopped up after Abraham's death; and he gave them the same names that his father had given them.

Those wells were dug nearly a hundred years prior to this event; and makes one wonder how Isaac knew where they were and how he knew the names his dad had named them. The Gerarians probably waited until Abraham was dead to plug them up because they feared him. He had a reputation as a military leader and he also had a pact with the king Abimelech of Abraham's period.

● Gen 26:19-20 . . But when Isaac's servants, digging in the wadi, found there a well of spring water, the herdsmen of Gerar quarreled with Isaac's herdsmen, saying: The water is ours. He named that well Esek, because they contended with him.

Isaac was much too affable. He didn't have to let those guys buffalo him; after all, Isaac had a pretty good sized army of his own; left to him by his dad. He could easily have posted an armed platoon by the well to keep the local cowboys away from it. But no, he chose rather to condescend and let them have their own way. Isaac was truly a "turn the other cheek" kind of guy who was willing (maybe a bit too willing) to bend over backward to accommodate people and prevent violence and ill will.

Esek was a new well; not one of Abraham's. The herdsmen were motivated by envy so they were reluctant to share the regions resources with the likes of Isaac because they hated his success. They didn't contest Isaac's access to the water in Abraham's wells. They probably felt he had a right to use those; but the men would not tolerate Isaac taking any more water than that; and most especially water of this quality. It was literally living water-- viz: artesian.

Urban dwellers really don't appreciate their water and typically haven't a clue where it comes from nor how it gets into their homes. But in Isaac's day, people couldn't live too far from a natural source of water. Many of the ancient cities and communities were located adjacent to rivers for that very reason.
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Olde Tymer

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Re: A Journey Thru Genesis
« Reply #199 on: June 11, 2019, 08:03:00 am »
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● Gen 26:21 . . And when they dug another well, they disputed over that one also; so he named it Sitnah.

The Hebrew word for "Sitnah" is from sitnan (sit-naw') which is the very same as sitnah (sit-naw') which means: opposition (by letter).

Apparently the herdsmen were filing formal complaints against Isaac like the enemies of Ezra did when he was attempting to rebuild the temple in Jerusalem. (Ezr 4:6-7)

Gerar County's Water Board must have ruled in favor of the herdsmen because Isaac had to keep moving around until they finally left him alone.

● Gen 26:22 . . He moved from there and dug yet another well, and they did not quarrel over it; so he called it Rehoboth, saying: Now at last the Lord has granted us ample space to increase in the land.

Rehoboth first appeared in the Bible at Gen 10:11 as the name of an ancient city. It appears two more times in the Bible after here as the name of a city (Gen 36:37, 1Chrn 1:48) and means pretty much what Isaac said, i.e. lots of room to maneuver and/or spread out.

The herdsmen had, by this time, probably pushed Isaac way out to land that nobody wanted. But God was with Isaac. Even the deserts produce when His hands are in it. (cf. Isa 35:1-4)

With those pesky herdsmen out of the way, the road, or rather, roads ahead were wide and clear; and Isaac could put the pedal to the metal and go full speed ahead and not worry about hitting an iceberg; viz: the sky was the limit.

Isaac was a very patient man, and affable too. But push him too far, and he might show his teeth. In a bit, Abimelech is coming calling and Isaac is going to confront the obtuse monarch about the way he was treated by the County Water Board.

Yes, Isaac Enterprises was a huge, going concern that spread over many acres of land. But he didn't obtain his wealth by dishonest means. All of Isaac's business was conducted legally and above board. And he complied with all of the Gerar County rulings concerning disputes over the water rights even though their rulings were undoubtedly biased in favor of Gerar citizens. Isaac didn't deserve to be treated so unfairly.

● Gen 26:23 . . From there he went up to Beer-sheba.

Exactly where the boys Jacob and Esau were during this era in Isaac's life isn't stated. They may have remained in the highlands to protect Isaac's interests while he was out of town, but then again, they may have been with him in Gerar: it's impossible to tell.

Genesis doesn't say exactly how long Isaac and Rebecca lived around Gaza. Isaac's usual haunts were Beer-lahai-roi, about 50 miles further south. Beer-sheba was Abraham's zone on oath between him and an earlier Abimelech. The Gerarians could be expected to leave Isaac alone there. The first night, God showed up.

● Gen 26:24a . .That night the Lord appeared to him and said: I am the god of your father Abraham.

In what manner, or by what method, God appeared to Isaac isn't stated. It could have been in a dream, it could have been as a traveling man, or a close encounter of a third kind: nobody knows for sure.

● Gen 26:24b . . Fear not, for I am with you,

It's reasonable to assume it was unnecessary for God to reassure Isaac, but Abimelech is on the way. He won't come alone either. He was a king; and kings travel with an armed retinue. So when news of this comes to Isaac, he would have good cause to become alarmed. I think God is just giving him a pep talk to prepare him for the meeting. Like they say: one with God is a majority; and a man who fears God, has no man to fear.

● Gen 26:24c . . and I will bless you

Isn't that what He promised earlier, when Isaac moved down into Gerar? Yes. And just in case Isaac thought that was a one time deal, and he would never be blessed again, God reaffirms his commitment to blessing Abraham's progeny.


NOTE: The Bible's readers aren't all that privy to what went on in the minds of the patriarchs. It could be-- and this is only a guess --that Isaac was feeling a bit guilty about his attempt to deceive Abimelech regarding the nature of his relationship with Rebecca. Because of that; his humanistic sense of justice may have suggested that his mistake cost him the previous blessing: or possibly future ones.

● Gen 26:24d . . and increase your progeny for the sake of My servant Abraham.

If I were a Hebrew man-- not a pseudo Jew like Gentiles who become Jews by conversion --but a real Hebrew man by blood, I would make a point of remembering that God will honor His commitment to Abraham. He hasn't preserved the people of Israel because they are Jews nor because they are so faithful to God. No, far from it. It's solely because of His personal commitment to Abraham-- period. (cf. Ex 32:9-14)

● Gen 26:25 . . So he built an altar there and invoked the Lord by name. Isaac pitched his tent there and his servants started digging a well.

Speaking to God by name is different than addressing Him officially as a deity or a monarch. Not that there's anything wrong with addressing the Bible's God officially as a deity or a monarch; but speaking to Him by name implies familiarity; which is a lots cozier than official protocol.

For example: If I were to meet with America's current US President Donald Trump, I would address him as Sir or Mr. President. It would be very presumptuous and disrespectful of me to address him by his name Donald because we have never associated on that level; nor do I expect to.
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Olde Tymer

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Re: A Journey Thru Genesis
« Reply #200 on: June 12, 2019, 08:04:49 am »
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● Gen 26:26 . . And Abimelech came to him from Gerar, with Ahuzzath his councilor and Phicol chief of his troops.

Well, well, well; look what the cat dragged in. There were a whole lot more than just those three men; you can bet on that. Phicol is the Army chief of staff. There is no way he escorted the king of Gerar without bringing along a fair-sized contingent of Gerar's trained fighting men as body guards.

But who is Ahuzzath?

The Hebrew word for "councilor" is from merea' (may-ray'-ah) which, in the sense of companionship, means: a friend

An earlier Abimelech, back in Abraham's days, practically kidnapped Sarah for his harem. But this one showed no interest at all in Rebecca, who was just as much a stunning ten as Sarah. In point of fact, when Abimelech complained that one of the people might have slept with Rebecca (Gen 26:9-10) he didn't complain that he himself might have.

Just between you and me: I suspect Mr. Ahussath was Abimelech's boy toy, if you know what I mean. It really wasn't unusual for ancient monarchs to have male lovers; and nobody thought too much of it at the time.

● Gen 26:27 . . Isaac said to them: Why have you come to me, seeing that you have been hostile to me and have driven me away from you?

Normally, kings in that day did not call on people. If they wanted to see somebody, they sent a summons to appear and dispatched an escort to make sure you didn't refuse. Isaac knew something was up because 'ol Abimelech was treating him as an equal; if not a superior. Isaac had by this time become strong enough to crush Abimilech's community, and the old boy very well knew it too.

I can't help but like a man like Isaac. He was so direct. Not really what one might call an in-your-face kind of guy; but transparent and unequivocal.

● Gen 26:28a . . And they said: We now see plainly that Yhvh has been with you,

As long as they thought Isaac was a nomadic farmer it was okay to dump on him? And now that they know he's connected with a supernatural being, they want to be his friend? But our man is cool. He won't let that get to him. You know what's going on here? Abimelech is holding his hat in his hand. And he is going to eat that hat too before it's over.

● Gen 26:28b-29a . . and we thought: Let there be a sworn treaty between our two parties, between you and us. Let us make a pact with you that you will not do us harm,

You know, it is just amazing how nice people can be when they realize they've bitten off more than they can chew. The Gerarians had sorely underestimated Isaac and thought they could push him around because he was an affable immigrant. Big mistake.

As time went by, they perceived that his prosperity could only be explained in a supernatural way. If it came to a fight, Isaac was allied with a powerful spirit being whom they all knew for a certainty from past experiences could not be defeated. Yes. Isaac was well able to totally clean their clocks and nail their hides to the barn door. (Isaac was only just recently visited by that Being back in verse 24 who encouraged Isaac to be brave, and also promised Divine assistance.)

Isaac was holding all the aces and didn't have to make a pact with anybody. He could have stood right up, lectured their derrieres soundly for the way he was treated in their country, and ordered them out of the house. They really had some chutzpah coming to him with a proposition like that. But Isaac was indeed a peaceable man; well in control of his tongue, and of his passions. If those crumbs were ready now to promise to leave him alone, well, then, okay, he was for it.

● Gen 26:29b . . just as we have not molested you but have always dealt kindly with you and sent you away in peace.

Was that true? Some of it. It's true the Federales didn't raid his camps, nor plunder his goods, nor rough anybody up. He wasn't subjected to unreasonable searches and seizures. And he wasn't forcibly deported like an undesirable, or an enemy of the state, or a criminal.

But still; they didn't deal fairly with Isaac. He never trespassed on private property, but dug his wells and settled on open range managed by the BLM; viz: public lands. Yet the county water commission always ruled against him even though his men dug those productive wells fair and square.

● Gen 26:29c . . From now on, be you blessed of Yhvh!

Haw-Haw-Haw-Haw-Haw! I just love it when the bad guys wish me the best from my god. "God bless you" they say. Oh sure; God bless me. As if they really give a hoot how the Bible's God feels about anybody.

● Gen 26:30 . .Then he made for them a feast, and they ate and drank.

The wicked often feel they won because their opponents are so civil and so agreeable. Isaac had plenty of good reason to be indignant. But he held his peace. That could be construed as weakness. Mistake! (on their part) You think Isaac consented to their crappy defense? No way.

Isaac was a shrewd diplomat. He picked his battles. Some things merit contention. But this incident didn't. Those guys were in his home with hat in hand and he took advantage of it to secure a non-aggression pact that benefited both communities: Isaac's and Abimelech's. If Isaac were to let his passions dictate the terms, then he might jeopardize his family and his servants. Isaac had his weak points, but political strategy wasn't one of them.

There are those in life whom we appropriately label thin skinned, reactive, and defensive. You know who they are. They sit still for nothing, take nothing lying down: they're stand up fighters; always ready to give others a piece of their mind and set them straight.

These contentious folk drain all the enjoyment out of social contact. Everybody has to walk on egg shells and be careful what's said around them so they don't explode. Too easily provoked, indignant and quarrelsome, these people will be excluded from Messiah's kingdom because his domain is characterized as a place of peace rather than strife.

"Give up anger, abandon fury, do not be vexed; it can only do harm. For evil men will be cut off, but those who look to the Lord-- they shall inherit the land. A little longer and there will be no wicked man; you will look at where he was-- he will be gone. But the lowly shall inherit the land, and delight in abundant well-being." (Ps 37:8-11)
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Bladerunner

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Re: A Journey Thru Genesis
« Reply #201 on: June 12, 2019, 04:17:55 pm »
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● Gen 26:26 . . And Abimelech came to him from Gerar, with Ahuzzath his councilor and Phicol chief of his troops.

Well, well, well; look what the cat dragged in. There were a whole lot more than just those three men; you can bet on that. Phicol is the Army chief of staff. There is no way he escorted the king of Gerar without bringing along a fair-sized contingent of Gerar's trained fighting men as body guards.

But who is Ahuzzath?

The Hebrew word for "councilor" is from merea' (may-ray'-ah) which, in the sense of companionship, means: a friend

An earlier Abimelech, back in Abraham's days, practically kidnapped Sarah for his harem. But this one showed no interest at all in Rebecca, who was just as much a stunning ten as Sarah. In point of fact, when Abimelech complained that one of the people might have slept with Rebecca (Gen 26:9-10) he didn't complain that he himself might have.

Just between you and me: I suspect Mr. Ahussath was Abimelech's boy toy, if you know what I mean. It really wasn't unusual for ancient monarchs to have male lovers; and nobody thought too much of it at the time.

● Gen 26:27 . . Isaac said to them: Why have you come to me, seeing that you have been hostile to me and have driven me away from you?

Normally, kings in that day did not call on people. If they wanted to see somebody, they sent a summons to appear and dispatched an escort to make sure you didn't refuse. Isaac knew something was up because 'ol Abimelech was treating him as an equal; if not a superior. Isaac had by this time become strong enough to crush Abimilech's community, and the old boy very well knew it too.

I can't help but like a man like Isaac. He was so direct. Not really what one might call an in-your-face kind of guy; but transparent and unequivocal.

● Gen 26:28a . . And they said: We now see plainly that Yhvh has been with you,

As long as they thought Isaac was a nomadic farmer it was okay to dump on him? And now that they know he's connected with a supernatural being, they want to be his friend? But our man is cool. He won't let that get to him. You know what's going on here? Abimelech is holding his hat in his hand. And he is going to eat that hat too before it's over.

● Gen 26:28b-29a . . and we thought: Let there be a sworn treaty between our two parties, between you and us. Let us make a pact with you that you will not do us harm,

You know, it is just amazing how nice people can be when they realize they've bitten off more than they can chew. The Gerarians had sorely underestimated Isaac and thought they could push him around because he was an affable immigrant. Big mistake.

As time went by, they perceived that his prosperity could only be explained in a supernatural way. If it came to a fight, Isaac was allied with a powerful spirit being whom they all knew for a certainty from past experiences could not be defeated. Yes. Isaac was well able to totally clean their clocks and nail their hides to the barn door. (Isaac was only just recently visited by that Being back in verse 24 who encouraged Isaac to be brave, and also promised Divine assistance.)

Isaac was holding all the aces and didn't have to make a pact with anybody. He could have stood right up, lectured their derrieres soundly for the way he was treated in their country, and ordered them out of the house. They really had some chutzpah coming to him with a proposition like that. But Isaac was indeed a peaceable man; well in control of his tongue, and of his passions. If those crumbs were ready now to promise to leave him alone, well, then, okay, he was for it.

● Gen 26:29b . . just as we have not molested you but have always dealt kindly with you and sent you away in peace.

Was that true? Some of it. It's true the Federales didn't raid his camps, nor plunder his goods, nor rough anybody up. He wasn't subjected to unreasonable searches and seizures. And he wasn't forcibly deported like an undesirable, or an enemy of the state, or a criminal.

But still; they didn't deal fairly with Isaac. He never trespassed on private property, but dug his wells and settled on open range managed by the BLM; viz: public lands. Yet the county water commission always ruled against him even though his men dug those productive wells fair and square.

● Gen 26:29c . . From now on, be you blessed of Yhvh!

Haw-Haw-Haw-Haw-Haw! I just love it when the bad guys wish me the best from my god. "God bless you" they say. Oh sure; God bless me. As if they really give a hoot how the Bible's God feels about anybody.

● Gen 26:30 . .Then he made for them a feast, and they ate and drank.

The wicked often feel they won because their opponents are so civil and so agreeable. Isaac had plenty of good reason to be indignant. But he held his peace. That could be construed as weakness. Mistake! (on their part) You think Isaac consented to their crappy defense? No way.

Isaac was a shrewd diplomat. He picked his battles. Some things merit contention. But this incident didn't. Those guys were in his home with hat in hand and he took advantage of it to secure a non-aggression pact that benefited both communities: Isaac's and Abimelech's. If Isaac were to let his passions dictate the terms, then he might jeopardize his family and his servants. Isaac had his weak points, but political strategy wasn't one of them.

There are those in life whom we appropriately label thin skinned, reactive, and defensive. You know who they are. They sit still for nothing, take nothing lying down: they're stand up fighters; always ready to give others a piece of their mind and set them straight.

These contentious folk drain all the enjoyment out of social contact. Everybody has to walk on egg shells and be careful what's said around them so they don't explode. Too easily provoked, indignant and quarrelsome, these people will be excluded from Messiah's kingdom because his domain is characterized as a place of peace rather than strife.

"Give up anger, abandon fury, do not be vexed; it can only do harm. For evil men will be cut off, but those who look to the Lord-- they shall inherit the land. A little longer and there will be no wicked man; you will look at where he was-- he will be gone. But the lowly shall inherit the land, and delight in abundant well-being." (Ps 37:8-11)
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Ole Tymer you would be good at writing spoof books for wild Bill Hitchcock.

Blade
1 Cor 15:3-4.."For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:"

Acts 17:11.."These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so."

Olde Tymer

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Re: A Journey Thru Genesis
« Reply #202 on: June 13, 2019, 08:17:48 am »
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● Gen 26:31-32 . . Early in the morning, they exchanged oaths. Isaac then bade them farewell, and they departed from him in peace. That same day Isaac's servants came and told him about the well they had dug, and said to him: We have found water!

Ah, yes. It is always so pleasant to cap a victory with a good ending. Isaac had a perfect day.

● Gen 26:33 . . He named it Shibah; therefore the name of the city is Beer-sheba to this day.

The word for Shibah is from Shib' ah (shib-aw') which means: seven(th)

The new well is sister to a well Abraham dug many years previously in an unspecified region of Gerar. He, and the then Abimelech, settled ownership of that one with those seven ewes in chapter 21. So this is puzzling-- shib' ah is not the same word as sheba'. Sheba' means oath. Shib' ah means seven. Seven what? I don't know; Genesis doesn't say.

But the number 7 is often used in the Bible like we use the number 10 today. If we want to say something is perfect, we give it a ten. Isaac gave it a seven; so I think it's safe to assume that the water in the new well was really exceptional. (compare Rev 13:17-18 where the number of a man is given as 666, which is imperfection three times over. In other words: man is not only imperfect; but he's really imperfect.)

● Gen 26:34 . .When Esau was forty years old, he took to wife Judith daughter of Beeri the Hittite, and Basemath daughter of Elon the Hittite;

There seems to be some confusion concerning the names, and the number, of Esau's wives. Here are their names according to Gen 36:2-3.

"Esau took his wives from among the Canaanite women-- Adah daughter of Elon the Hittite, and Oholibamah daughter of Anah daughter of Zibeon the Hivite --and also Basemath daughter of Ishmael and sister of Nebaioth."

There were two girls named Basemath-- Adah, the daughter of Elon the Hittite, was also known as Basemath. Adah may have been surnamed to avoid confusing her with the other Basemath: Ishmael's daughter. The Oholibamah of 36:2 is the Judith of 26:34. She was the offspring of a mixed marriage between Beeri and Anah. She too may have been surnamed to avoid confusion.

● Gen 26:35 . .And they were a grief of mind to Isaac and Rebecca.

In other words, those two girls made life miserable for Isaac and Rebecca and caused them a great deal of mental, and emotional anguish. Some feel that they were also a source of spiritual friction because they were infidels who worshipped the gods of the Canaanites. No doubt they did. But how would that come into play? Well; their religions permitted the practice of some vile social customs.

Canaanite religions didn't forbid such things as wife swapping, promiscuity, adultery, sex with women in their period, burning children to death in sacrificial ceremonies, sleeping with close blood relatives, LGBT love, bestiality, nudity, astrology, divination, voodoo, magic, communication with the spirit world, witchcraft, drunkenness, and wild parties; including cult prostitution where women devotees sold themselves to support their "church" (cf. Gen 38:13-23)

So you can easily see just how vexing that women like that might be. How could Esau even trust them while he was away on safari? Lacking his companionship, they would either turn to each other for sensual comforts or seek out lovers among the servants. They might even hit on Rebecca and Isaac; and maybe even hit on their co-husband's third wife; Ishmael's Basemath. And the girls would have no qualms about walking around the house scantily clad or even in the nude; so you never knew what to expect when they invited you over.

Those two women were very definitely not the PowerPuff Girls-- the wholesome little kindergartners who make the world safe before bedtime. No; they were the PantyHose Girls who seanced, Tarot carded, and Ouija boarded their way to new excitements.

As bad as all that stuff was, it doesn't hold a candle to the danger of those women influencing Isaac's grandchildren. And that is a very real threat in mixed marriages. Men especially are susceptible to letting their wives guide the home's religious training. I've seen it often enough to know what I'm saying.

And with a man like Esau, a secular man who had no interest in religion to begin with, the kids had no hope at all of turning out right. They will grow up to scorn and ridicule Abraham's religion; and his god too. They will pick up the most abominable habits, and see nothing wrong in them.

There is one thing our kids can do for us that is unquestionably the most important thing they will ever do-- pass on our religious beliefs on to our progeny. No one else is going to do that for us. And we can't stay behind and make sure it happens. So if we leave our kids without a solid religious heritage; then their own kids-- our grandchildren --are doomed to return to secular concepts. And maybe worse.

Esau's side of the family went bad, that's for sure, just like Cain's did. And I believe it started on it's downhill slide right with his union to those two impious women. At Esau's age, and in that kind of home and upbringing; he should have known better. But in spite of his parents' protests; in spite of his parents' fears regarding their grandchildren; in spite of his parents' feelings about those women coming into their home; in spite of God's feelings regarding His religion; and in spite of his birthright; Esau forged ahead and married those two filthy women.

You know why? Because it was his life; and nobody was going to tell him how to live it. Some people, like the pharaoh that resisted Moses; are just defiant to the bone and they'll do things wrong just to stand up to you and assert their independence.
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Olde Tymer

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Re: A Journey Thru Genesis
« Reply #203 on: June 14, 2019, 07:25:51 am »
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● Gen 27:1a . .When Isaac was old

Just precisely how old Isaac was at this time, is difficult to tell. But I think we can come close enough for government work.

Jacob spent 20 years with Laban. (Gen 31:41a)

Joseph was born during that time. (Gen 30:22-24)

At just about the time Joseph was born, Jacob and Laban worked out an arrangement concerning shares of the livestock to compensate Jacob's labors. (Gen 30:25-34)

That deal with the livestock went on for six of the twenty years Jacob served Laban. (Gen 31:41b)

Joseph was 30 when he became prime minister of Egypt. (Gen 41:46a)

When Joseph went to work for Pharaoh; a 14 year period began, consisting of two divisions-- seven years of plenty, and seven years of famine. After the seven years of plenty, and two of the years of famine, when he was about 39, Joseph brought his dad down into Egypt. (Gen 45:6-9)

When Jacob arrived, he stood before Pharaoh and told him he was 130 years old. (Gen 47:7-9a)

Now we can do some arithmetic.

Jacob arrived in Egypt at 130. Subtracting Joseph's age of 39, we get 91; which was Jacob's age when Joseph was born. After subtracting 14-- the years Jacob worked for Laban up to the deal they made concerning the livestock --we're left with 77; which is Jacob's approximate age when he indentured himself to Laban.

Allowing for a generous intermission of 2 years-- encompassing Rebecca's scheme, Jacob's flight to Haran, and his eventual indenture to Laban --Jacob's age in the section of Genesis we're in today, can very reasonably be put at 75.

Isaac was 60 when Jacob was born. (Gen 25:26)

So adding 75 to 60, puts Isaac somewhere in the neighborhood of 135 years old at the beginning of chapter 27.

Everyone involved in this next episode was getting up in years and thus quite mature. Jacob and Esau, though 75 years old, were, nonetheless, vigorous men and, gerontologically speaking, relatively young in terms of the aging process as it existed in those days. Even Isaac wasn't as near death as he feared since he lived another 45 years to be 180 when he died. (Gen 35:28)

● Gen 27:1b . . and his eyes were too dim to see,

The word for "dim" is from kahah (kaw-haw') which means: to be weak; viz: to despond and/or grow dull.

So Isaac wasn't actually blind, as some have proposed. It's far more likely he was stricken with cataracts, macular degeneration and/or some other vision condition very common among people his age even today.

● Gen 27:1c-2 . . he called his older son Esau and said to him; My son. He answered; Here I am. And he said; I am old now, and I do not know how soon I may die.

It's common for older men to feel that not only is their time running out, but also their luck. I've dodged several bullets in my 75 years; two of them literal; and can't reasonably expect to live too much longer before the law of averages catches up to me either by accident, crime, or natural causes.
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Olde Tymer

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Re: A Journey Thru Genesis
« Reply #204 on: June 15, 2019, 08:09:36 am »
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● Gen 27:3-4 . . Now then, please take your gear, your quiver and your bow, and go out to the field and hunt game for me; and prepare a savory dish for me such as I love, and bring it to me that I may eat, so that my soul may bless you before I die.

The part about "my soul" is a curious statement. The Hebrew word is nephesh (neh'-fesh) which is a very common word for all creatures great and small in the Old Testament beginning at Gen 1:20. Nepesh never refers to unconscious life; viz: it only refers to fauna, never to flora.

But the interesting thing is: man not only is a soul (Gen 2:7) but according to Gen 27:4, Gen 34:2, and a host of other passages, man also has a soul; so it turns out that nephesh is a bit ambiguous.

A pretty good paraphrase of that portion of the passage would be "that I may bless you from the core of my being". (viz: the bottom of his heart)

Esau was Isaac's favorite and I don't think he ever did care too much for Jacob. If he had purposed to bless Jacob, I think it would have been done with a very grudging spirit. This particular blessing regards Esau's inheritance. He already sold the patriarchy to Jacob for a bowl of lentil soup. Whether or not Isaac was aware of the deal the brothers struck, is not said.

What takes place next in chapter 27 is difficult to believe. To think that two grown-ups, one at least 75 and the other very likely 115 years old, took part in this incredibly clownish deception. I could understand young, inexperienced kids doing something so stupid. But it is difficult to understand how supposedly mature adults like Rebecca and Jacob could ever seriously ponder such a silly scheme.

It is simply moronic that Rebecca would even remotely consider that her crafty little plan had even the remotest chance of success. Conducted under false pretenses, and a fake ID; it would only be a matter of hours before the scam was uncovered, the ill gotten blessing of course retracted, and the perpetrators soundly excoriated . . unless . . unless there is more to this incident than meets the eye; and there most certainly is.

Ninety-five years prior to this point in time, God personally selected a vibrant water girl up in Haran to be Isaac's spouse. The wisdom of that selection is now going to become apparent as we begin to realize who actually wore the spiritual pants in Isaac's house. If spirituality were a martial art, Rebecca would be a black belt. Her discernment regarding matters of Heaven is just incredible. Was she really a silly female? Far from it.

In spite of God's mandate in chapter 25 concerning Jacob, and in spite of the plainly obvious superiority of Jacob's character, and his spiritual discernment, and his convictions, and in spite of Esau's blatant indifference to his birthright, and to his spiritual heritage, and to the mind of God; Isaac was nevertheless apparently determined to give both the patriarchy and the inheritance to Esau-- clearly the wrong choice; not to mention a direct affront to God. The inheritance was one thing, but the patriarchy was a whole other matter altogether.

Esau even married impious women from among the pagan Canaanites. A horrible choice considering the repercussions of such spouses upon the future of Abraham's covenant. And Esau no doubt made that choice against the counsel and consent of his parents; proving all the more just how head-strong and self-willed the man really was. Motivated by the gain of temporal advantage, and the gratification of carnal appetites; Esau had no spiritual vision at all. Well; Rebecca is fixin' to give Mr. Isaac, and his secular son Mr. Esau, the wake-up call of their lives!

Esau was a man's man. I think if any of us met him, we would be instantly drawn by his charisma and virility. And I think that Isaac saw in him the kind of man he always wished he was himself. But in the coin of heaven, Esau had no more worth than a dilapidated old shoe.

It's difficult to comprehend how favoritism, on the part of such a presumably spiritual man as Isaac, could be based upon such a carnal motive as the taste of venison. But it wasn't just the meal, but rather the way it was obtained.

We get runs of Salmon up here in Oregon's rivers at various times of the year. Last time I checked; you could buy fresh Coho Salmon in local supermarkets for about $12 a pound. But no; guys prefer instead to spend all day on a river shivering in the freezing cold just to catch one Salmon in the wild.

But the river fish means something that the supermarket fish can never mean. Yes, both are edible and both make great eating and honestly you can't tell the difference. But one is obtained with a shopping cart. The other by a man's own bare hands: with fishing tackle, by personal energy combined with risk, skill, and cunning, i.e. man vs wild. All those are important to a "real" man's feelings of personal worth.

It was customary in Jacob's day to mark solemn occasions with a feast; like the one Isaac prepared for Abimelech when they swore an oath together in chapter 26. And since the blessing Isaac resolved to bestow upon Esau was such an important one, it seemed appropriate that the solemnities should be marked by a feast of wild meat provided by Esau's own personal hunting skills.

However, father and son didn't reckon on the God factor, and they surely didn't reckon on black-ops Rebecca. Their little party is not going to happen because this sharp gal from up north anticipated this very day and is all set to implement a little fiesta of her own.
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Olde Tymer

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Re: A Journey Thru Genesis
« Reply #205 on: June 16, 2019, 07:40:53 am »
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● Gen 27:5a . . Rebecca had been listening as Isaac spoke to his son Esau.

We might ask: Why was Rebecca so concerned anyway? Didn't God decree the firstborn's rights to Jacob? Then Jacob will get them anyway; won't he?

Yes. Jacob would eventually end up with the firstborn's rights anyway; but the problem was: the outgoing patriarch had to impart the blessing and obviously Mr. Isaac wasn't inclined to do so. It appears to me that Isaac was actually going to attempt to circumvent God's wishes and I honestly think it was because he was afraid of alienating his favorite son.

Rebecca wasn't stupid, nor inclined to superstition. I seriously doubt she was silly enough to believe the words of the blessing themselves held sufficient magic to confer the firstborn's rights upon Jacob just because he happened to be in the room and hear them as they were spoken in his direction. After all, it was all done under false pretenses and a fake ID. No court in the land would uphold anything obtained by a fraud like that. But her scheme was designed to do something else entirely.

I believe her intent was to wake Isaac up and make him return to his senses. The man did fear God. That much is beyond question. But he was lax in his patriarchal duties. Before this is over, he will regret his laxity very, very much.

● Gen 27:5b-7 . .When Esau had gone out into the open to hunt game to bring home, Rebecca said to her son Jacob: I overheard your father speaking to your brother Esau, saying: Bring me some game and prepare a dish for me to eat, that I may bless you, with the Lord's approval, before I die.

That's not really what Isaac said. It appears that Rebecca embellished a little and added "with the Lord's approval." Compare Gen 3:3 where Eve embellished God's testimony in Gen 2:17 where He didn't forbid them to "touch" the fruit; no, only to eat it.

● Gen 27:8 . . Now, my son, listen carefully as I instruct you.

Cool as a vice cop, Rebecca executes Plan A with the step by step precision of a well arranged sting. I can just visualize her grip upon Jacob's arm, gazing up into his face with a most intense look, as she gears him up to get started on his part of the scheme.

● Gen 27:9a . . Go to the flock and fetch me two choice kids,

Why two? Well, for one thing: deer produce a much larger quantity of meat than a little bitty kid. It's true Isaac couldn't possibly eat a whole deer at one sitting, but Rebecca can only use parts of the kids that best resemble the venison cuts Isaac prefers. And Esau more than likely cooked up a whole lot more than just one serving. I think he typically brought his dad a heaping buffet and let him pick out what he wanted; and anything left over was kept as victuals for the rest of the house; which of course included Esau himself.

Rebecca is going to have to duplicate that setting as best as she can. And she will too. After all, who was it taught those two boys how to cook in the first place? None other than Becky Crocker.

● Gen 27:9b . . and I will make of them a dish for your father, such as he likes.

This is additional evidence that it wasn't merely the flavor of Esau's cooking that made Isaac love him. Rebecca could duplicate the taste of venison with goat meat so that you couldn't tell the one from the other.

● Gen 27:10a-11a . .Then take it to your father to eat, in order that he may bless you before he dies. Jacob answered his mother Rebecca: But....

Jacob straight away sees where his mom is going with this and likes it. However . . there's just one problem: Rebecca can duplicate Esau's cooking; but how will Jacob duplicate Esau? They didn't have the benefit of slick Hollywood make-up artists in those days so how are they going to make Jacob look (or rather, feel) like his brother?

Well, they have Isaac's poor eyesight to their advantage; so Jacob's appearance won't have to be all that accurate. But they will need at least one prosthetic: body hair.

● Gen 27:11b-12 . . my brother Esau is a hairy man and I am smooth-skinned. If my father touches me, I shall appear to him as a trickster and bring upon myself a curse, not a blessing.

Isaac might get the wrong idea and think that Jacob is poking fun at his bad eyesight by playing a dumb trick on him. That would hurt the old boy's feelings a great deal to think that his 75 year-old son thought so little of him as to perpetrate such a cruel prank; which of course would warrant a curse; because it is not only cruel to play tricks on the blind, but, even worse, to be cruel to one's parents.

● Gen 27:13 . . But his mother said to him: Your curse, my son, be upon me! Just do as I say and go fetch them for me.

That's the oldest ploy in the book. It's the very same reasoning the German military guards used to justify their duties at Auschwitz and Dachau. "You can't blame us" they said; "We only did what we were told." That seems reasonable enough. After all, the ones in charge are really responsible; right?

Wrong. The midwives of Ex 1:15-17 could have used the very same excuse; but didn't. And God commended them for fearing Him. If they had obeyed Pharaoh, they would have received condemnation instead. Everyone bears their own personal responsibility and has a duty to raise conscientious objections.

In other words: it is a sin to violate your conscience. Yes, soldiers and minor children are to obey their superiors-- but to the point of sin? Never! Besides, Jacob was no minor child. He was a grown man.

But Rebecca needed some leverage to keep Jacob in the game. By playing the "filial authority" card, she persuaded Jacob to stay on track. Luckily, he wasn't too bright at the time and failed to appreciate his own personal accountability. After all, the man was at least 75 years old; not just a little kid.

But then again, I think Jacob the supplanter really wanted to pull this thing off and just needed a way to appease his own misgivings about it; so it wasn't too difficult to win him over.
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Olde Tymer

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Re: A Journey Thru Genesis
« Reply #206 on: June 17, 2019, 08:38:53 am »
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● Gen 27:14-15 . . He got them and brought them to his mother, and his mother prepared a dish such as his father liked. Rebecca then took the best clothes of her older son Esau, which were there in the house, and had her younger son Jacob put them on;

The word for "house" is from bayith (bah'-yith) which means: a dwelling (in the greatest variation of applications), including family.

Does that mean Rebecca lived in a permanent structure? I don't think so. Bayith doesn't always mean what we think. In Gen 6:14 it implicates the interior of the ark. At Gen 7:1 it implicates Noah's family, and quite possibly even all their belongings-- a regular Noah's Family Robinson. At Gen 15:2, bayith implicates Abraham's entire estate: his tents, his livestock, and his servants.

Some have proposed that Esau's best clothes were special-- for religious observances --like the garments that priests might wear. But that certainly doesn't fit Esau's character. I think it was just a nice outfit of some sort, maybe even the one he got married in. But anyway, they sure didn't get washed often because his clothes usually smelled like the outdoors-- and that could mean anything from plain old dirt to wild flowers and meadow grass.

But why were those clothes (viz: his cleanest dirty shirts) in Rebecca's home? I believe it was because Rebecca anticipated this very day and kept them right there handy so she could put them on Jacob when the time came. And that is why she never washed the smell out of them. Jacob of course was very likely a tidy sort of guy and kept his clothes clean. But Esau was a rugged outdoor type who's clothes you would expect to have an odor.

● Gen 27:16 . . and she covered his hands and the hairless part of his neck with the skins of the kids.

Those hides would still be raw and untreated. So Rebecca had to scrub and scrape to get all the fat and blood off so they wouldn't have a visceral smell to them. Yuck! That's reminiscent of scenes from Silence Of The Lambs.

● Gen 27:17 . .Then she put in the hands of her son Jacob the dish and the bread that she had prepared.

Yummy. From the kitchen of Becky Crocker; with biscuits and gravy too. Well, this is as far as Rebecca can go. Now it's all up to Mr. Jacob to pull this off. Good luck dude. Don't chicken out now. HWUAH! (Navy SEAL cheer)

● Gen 27:18-19a . . He went to his father and said: Father. And he said: Yes, which of my sons are you? Jacob said to his father: I am Esau, your first-born; I have done as you told me.

That man makes me proud. No mumbling, no stuttering, no hesitation-- right to it. Yes; he is a big fat liar. But I love it. You watch. Any day now he'll get a letter in the mail from CIA recruiters praising his moral flexibility.


NOTE: When Jacob called out to his dad; he used what is known as a "vocative" which Webster's defines as: of, relating to, or being a grammatical case marking out the one addressed. In other words: a vocative is intended to get the attention of a specific person in a room rather than everybody in the room.

This may seem superfluous, and I guess it isn't germane to the study of Genesis; but the principle has an important application in Christianity. Compare Rom 8:15 and Gal 4:6 where the Aramaic vocative Abba indicates that the Father's children don't call out to Him as merely a clan's paterfamilias, but rather, like Jacob did with Isaac: as one's very own papa.

● Gen 27:19b-20 . . Pray sit up and eat of my game, that you may give me your innermost blessing. Isaac said to his son: How did you succeed so quickly, my son? And he said: Because the Lord your God granted me good fortune.

What did he say!? My golly that man had chutzpah! He actually dragged the name of God into the lie. Now Jacob will be condemned to the lower regions for sure; or will he?

"I say unto you: that many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven." (Matt 8:11)

● Gen 27:21-23 . . Isaac said to Jacob: Come closer that I may feel you, my son-- whether you are really my son Esau or not. So Jacob drew close to his father Isaac, who felt him and wondered: The voice is the voice of Jacob, yet the hands are the hands of Esau. He did not recognize him, because his hands were hairy like those of his brother Esau; and so he blessed him.

So then, in spite of their twin-ness, there was enough of a difference in the brothers' voices to be discernable. However, Rebecca somehow attached size-cut pieces of young goat skin on the backs of Jacob's hands and fingers with some sort of toupee adhesive so it would feel to Isaac as if it were a man's natural hairs. That was a pretty good trick; and would probably land her a job as a Hollywood make-up artist.

● Gen 27:24 . . He asked: Are you truly my son Esau? And when he said: I am,

Some people are of the opinion that Jacob was a mama's boy. Well, maybe he was. But one thing he had that most mama's boys don't; and it's a level head under stress. Jacob was as calm and calculating as a test pilot all during this incident.

I tell you, that man amazes me. I bet Rebecca was just outside the door sweating bullets while all this was going on; hoping and praying that Jacob not lose his cool and bolt out of the room in a panic. This is just the kind of cool under fire that the Secret Service looks for; but then, you need a pretty high IQ to work with those guys.

● Gen 27:25 . . he said: Serve me and let me eat of my son's game that I may give you my innermost blessing. So he served him and he ate, and he brought him wine and he drank.

The wine was probably out in the kitchen. When Jacob went back to get it, don't you think Rebecca hugged him and gave him a great big thumbs up? I do. Those two were a team! The original Mission Impossible task force.

While Isaac was eating, he and Jacob probably chatted. About what; I don't have a clue. But Jacob managed to pull it off like a pro. Isaac really thought he was talking with Esau.
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Olde Tymer

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Re: A Journey Thru Genesis
« Reply #207 on: June 18, 2019, 08:08:25 am »
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● Gen 27:26-27 . .Then his father Isaac said to him: Come close and kiss me, my son. And he went up and kissed him. And he smelled his clothes and he blessed him, saying, Ah, the smell of my son is like the smell of the fields that the Lord has blessed.

Esau probably always smelled like that and Rebecca took full advantage of it. He should have washed his clothes once in a while. Good grief the man had two wives. What the heck did they do all day? Neglect their chores to watch Oprah, Dr. Phil, Judge Judy, and the Soaps?

I bet if you visited Esau's home the kids were running around in dirty underwear and snotty noses all the time. You probably had to kick a path to walk and wouldn't dare sit down because something might stick. Poor Rebecca. What a pair of daughters-in-law. I bet when they all got together on holidays, Judith and Basemath sat around on their tushes and gossiped while Rebecca and Jacob did all the dishes.

● Gen 27:28 . . May God give you of the dew of heaven and the fat of the earth, abundance of new grain and wine.

The Hebrew word for the "fat" pertaining to Abel's offering is cheleb (kheh' leb); or cheleb (khay'-leb) which don't always indicate fleshly fat, but mostly mean the richest or the choicest parts.

The Hebrew word for the "fat" pertaining to Isaac's blessing is mashman (mash-mawn') which, again, doesn't always indicate fleshly fat; but also richness; e.g. a rich dish, a fertile field, and or a robust man. In other words; Isaac's blessing is agricultural.

The benediction, first of all, regards things in nature necessary for prosperity in an agrarian economy-- rain, fertile soil, and abundant yields. Rain is an especially precious resource in the country of Israel where today it's confined to just one season a year lasting only three months. In the old days, they had two rainy seasons; the early rains and the latter rains.

City slickers hate rain. It's so inconvenient. It gets their hair wet; they have to run the wipers; it floods their streets and storm drains, their gutters overflow from clogged downspouts, they can't wear flip-flops-- caring little that the foods available in the supermarkets and convenience stores are utterly dependent upon adequate rain. I think that some people actually think their foods are manufactured in sweat shops rather than grown in the dirt. They just can't make the connection.

● Gen 27:29a . . Let peoples serve you, And nations bow to you;

Jacob's progeny has exercised dominance over many nations in the past, most especially during Solomon's period. Today they're in a slump. But that benediction isn't dead yet; no, not by a long sea mile. In the future, Israel will be the seat of world power and the center for religious studies. You'd never know it to look at Jacob's condition today; but it's going to happen.

● Gen 27:29b . . Be master over your brothers, and let your mother's sons bow to you.

The magic words! --and the very ones I'm sure Rebecca was anxiously waiting to hear. His "mother's sons" right then only amounted to (in Isaac's mind) just one: Mr. Jacob. But Rebecca became a grandma and today her sons can't even be numbered. Every one of them are supposed to honor Jacob and bow in respect because he, along with Isaac and Abraham, is a member of the elite league of senior patriarchs.

The bestowal of the patriarchy upon Jacob was done with God as a witness, who has, so far, neither interfered nor intervened; nor has He seen fit to alert Isaac to Jacob's deception, nor said a single word about the whole fraudulent business.

In short, the Almighty God, of all people, is apparently condoning Jacob's funny business. It seems to me, that the only way to understand this situation is to conclude that, whatever may be wrong with the stratagem and deception of Jacob and Rebecca, the sin of Esau and Isaac was infinitely more grievous.

Yes, it's true that God doesn't usually condone lies; and I'm sure Jacob and his mom well knew it. They were spiritual people; both of them. But I really think that as bad as deception might be in God's sight, it had become a desperate necessity in this case to prevent a much worse sin: that of blasphemously presuming to impart the most holy of God's offices to a man who neither appreciated its depth, nor would honor it-- and to do so directly in the face of God's commandment against it.

Such an eventuality surely would have incurred God's most severe discipline upon both Isaac and Esau; and I am convinced that Rebecca felt she must prevent that occurrence at all costs, even if it meant alienating her husband and infuriating Esau to the point of seeking Jacob's death.

Isaac, because of the solemn nature of what he was doing, (conveying holy covenant promises and blessings to a son, who in turn would be responsible for their transmission and implementation in his own family) was no doubt under the influence of the power of God that day and was carried along in the scheme even though he half suspected the son in the room with him wasn't Esau. No. Jacob was getting that blessing, and there was nothing short of Heaven and Hell themselves that could prevent it.

The Almighty Himself, who had made His solemn covenant with Abraham, and renewed it with Isaac, certainly was present in that room during the whole affair. What would have happened if Esau was instead standing there that day we can only surmise.

But it seems highly probable that the consequences would have been tragic for both father and son. The Almighty God's holy promises and covenants are never to be dispensed as trifles, subject to the whim and preference of self centered mortals who are swayed to make important decisions simply upon the taste of their favorite foods.
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