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Author Topic: A Journey Thru Genesis  (Read 2848 times)

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Olde Tymer

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Re: A Journey Thru Genesis
« Reply #208 on: June 19, 2019, 07:14:34 am »
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● Gen 27:29c . . Cursed be they who curse you, blessed they who bless you.

That the blessing upon Jacob was definitely the same as the blessing given to Abraham and Isaac is clear from the words spoken here in the final part.

First, Isaac conferred the material aspects of patriarchal life: prosperity. I am sure that Esau would have loved that part of it. However, there is nothing in the wording of the blessing to suggest that it included an actual bequeathal of Isaac's assets. Isaac's closing statement echoes God's own words to Abraham in Gen 12:3

Some have wondered why Isaac didn't include the balance of the Gen 12:2-3 blessing at this time; which goes like this:

"I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you shall be a blessing . . and all the families of the earth shall bless themselves by you."

Sad to say, I think Isaac knew very well it would be like blessing a beast. Though Esau might become a great nation, he would never become a blessing to all the families of the Earth; nor that they would bless themselves by him.

Yet even knowing that, Isaac was, for all intents and purposes, still determined to confer the patriarchy upon Esau, the secular son. I hate to say it, but I strongly suspect Isaac was becoming somewhat deranged; especially because of the feelings he entertained about his supposedly imminent death.

Anyway, he did pronounce the blessing upon Jacob; and did so under the very inspiration of God, though Isaac himself was trying to thwart the will of God all the while he was speaking.

Just so, many years later, the infamous prophet for profit, Balaam, in Numbers 22, 23, and 24, was forced to bless Israel even against his own will.

And in the days of Jesus of Nazareth (John 11:49-52) the high priest spoke prophetically of the meaning of Jesus' death; though the priest himself did not understand the real import of what he was saying; nor even put any stock at all in his own words.

The blessing which, by God's edict, should have gone to Jacob in the first place, was indeed finally pronounced upon him by his father in spite of Isaac's lack of willingness to do so. He was tricked into it, yes; but by thunder that shouldn't have been necessary.
_

Olde Tymer

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Re: A Journey Thru Genesis
« Reply #209 on: June 20, 2019, 09:52:18 pm »
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● Gen 27:30-33a . . No sooner had Jacob left the presence of his father Isaac-- after Isaac had finished blessing Jacob --than his brother Esau came back from his hunt. He too prepared a dish and brought it to his father. And he said to his father: Let my father sit up and eat of his son's game, so that you may give me your innermost blessing. His father Isaac said to him: Who are you? And he said: I am your son, Esau, your first-born! Isaac was seized with very violent trembling.

According to Jewish folklore, Isaac's first impulse, upon realizing he blessed the wrong son, was to retract the benediction from Jacob and give it to the son for whom it was intended; and would have except at that moment he saw Hell open beneath his feet, thus signifying that God was very displeased with his intentions; and if he persisted any longer to bless the wrong boy, he would suffer dire consequences. I would not be one bit surprised if that were true.

It began to dawn on Isaac what had happened. The truth suddenly came home to him like a frigid blast of icy wind. In spite of all his intentions, God overruled Isaac, and he blessed the younger instead of the elder; like he was supposed to do in the first place.

Furthermore, he realized he had been deceived by his true love Rebecca, and by his faithful son Jacob, whom he really hadn't appreciated very much up until now. I think he realized, that they, level-headed and sensible people that they were, deceived him in order to prevent the head of the house from doing what he very well knew he had no right to do. And God was in on the whole scheme, and had blessed Jacob through Isaac in spite of himself to the contrary. Jacob would indeed be blessed, just as he should have been all along.

● Gen 27:33b . .Who was it then-- he demanded --that hunted game and brought it to me? Moreover, I ate of it before you came, and I blessed him; now he must remain blessed!

This was clearly the will of God and there was nothing Isaac could do to change it. He had tried to, but God stopped him. As the impact of these thoughts came over him, Isaac became very shaken. Emotions of all sorts must have overwhelmed him-- anger with Jacob, concern for Esau's future, heartbreak over Rebecca's treachery, resentment at having his own plans thwarted, and shame for having played the fool in such an important spiritual matter. All those feelings surely contributed to his trembling.

Isaac quickly realized God had spoken to him in judgment, and that he had incurred great peril to himself in so ignoring the will of God. He had betrayed the trust of his father Abraham and had practically destroyed his own home; all because of a carnal appetite and parental adulation of a favorite son's physical exploits. No wonder the poor man was shaking so badly.

● Gen 27:34a . .When Esau heard his father's words, he burst into wild and bitter sobbing,

The word for "sobbing" is wayits'aq which is from tsa' aq (tsaw-ak') and means: to shriek.

I have a feeling the shriek that wrenched up out of Esau's lungs is the very same hysterical emotion that millions of damned will feel at The Great White Throne judgment of Rev 20:11-15 when the grim reality of their fate finally sinks in that they have lost Heaven forever. It's beyond words.

At the first, Esau entered his dad's room with cheerful anticipation. Then quite bluntly, Isaac blurts out that someone beat him to it. Watching his dad shivering, and seeing the look of fear wash over the patriarch's face, the awful truth became only too apparent and Esau gave vent to his disappointment with a dreadful scream.

● Gen 27:34b . . and said to his father: Bless me too, Father!

In Esau's mind, his dad really hadn't intended to bless Jacob; and was actually hoodwinked into it; so surely God couldn't possibly honor the fraudulent blessing. Isaac could just simply retract his words and bless the older son like he wanted to. But no. It was far more serious than either Esau or his dad imagined; which by now, via God's Spirit, Isaac was fully aware.

● Gen 27:34c . . But he answered: Your brother came with guile and took away your blessing.

That was really only a half truth; no doubt told with the intent to prevent alienating his eldest son. The fact of the matter is: Isaac couldn't change anything now even if he wanted to; and he knew it too because by now he was fully reminded of God's original mandate regarding the two boys even before they were born. Hardly knowing how to explain his wanton error to Esau, he simply blamed Jacob for it. But it was Isaac's fault all along. He should never have led Esau to believe he would get the blessing. So many dads cannot admit they made a mistake in the way they raised their kids. Isaac was certainly no better.

● Gen 27:36a . . [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!

Esau bitterly recalled that Jacob had taken away his birthright-- of course conveniently forgetting that he saw no value in it and traded his privilege for a measly bowl of porridge.

● Gen 27:36b-38 . . And he added: Have you not reserved a blessing for me? Isaac answered, saying to Esau: But I have made him master over you: I have given him all his brothers for servants, and sustained him with grain and wine. What, then, can I still do for you, my son? And Esau said to his father: Have you but one blessing, Father? Bless me too, Father! And Esau wept aloud.

It must have been a strange sight to see such a virile, strong, athletic he-man screaming like a woman and bawling like a little girl. Agonizingly, he begged his dad for a blessing of some kind for himself, probably hoping that somehow God, through his father's intercession, could be persuaded to change His mind. The portion of the blessing, which no doubt appealed to Esau the most-- that of political superiority and material security-- had been irrevocably given to Jacob; and all the blubbering in the world couldn't change the situation now.
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Olde Tymer

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Re: A Journey Thru Genesis
« Reply #210 on: June 21, 2019, 10:05:33 am »
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● Gen 27:39-40 . . And his father Isaac answered, saying to him: See, your abode shall be [away from] the fat of the earth and [from] the dew of heaven above. Yet by your sword you shall live, and you shall serve your brother; but when you grow restive, you shall break his yoke from your neck.

The words in the brackets don't actually appear in the Hebrew text. But according to a foot note in the 1985 JPS Tanakh; the meaning of the Hebrew is just what you see. Jacob's side of the family was granted the best water, fertile soils, and abundant yields. In contrast, Esau's side of the family would live in regions plagued with geological shortages of water, arable land, and natural pastures.

Isaac's prediction was fulfilled by the very nature of the rugged region that came to be known as the land of Edom. The Edomites, in general, lived in violence and subjection to Israel; remaining essentially independent until David's time, but then were subjugated permanently after that in spite of frequent rebellions and temporary partial freedom. Finally, Edom disappeared as a nation by that name: the little prophecy of Obadiah explains why.

Esau's life of indifference to spiritual matters-- in spite of being born to one of the most privileged heritages possible --had finally caught up with him and it was too late even for regrets.

● Gen 27:41 . . Now Esau harbored a grudge against Jacob because of the blessing which his father had given him, and Esau said to himself: Let but the mourning period of my father come, and I will kill my brother Jacob.

Well, he had a long wait ahead of him. Isaac lived another 45 years.

But isn't it odd how the human spirit desires to kill-- not just desire for harm and misfortune; but to the gravest extreme?

A few years ago, out here on a highway in Oregon, traffic was slowed. So a man tried to get ahead of it by driving on the shoulder to pass everyone up. As he went by a pick-up truck with some men in it, one of them threw a paper cup at him. He dropped back and fired a gun into the pick-up, killing one of the passengers.

That is so typical of the feelings that overwhelm human beings when they're angry. They want blood, and no other form of revenge will satisfy. Is it possible that there is anybody out there who has never wished that somebody would die?

Esau's personality changed dramatically. He went from an indifferent, carefree outdoor sportsman to a bitter, vindictive neurotic. The thought of his sissy brother ruling over him-- the superior son who was always admired and idolized for his strength and prowess --was just too much for Esau to bear.

● Gen 27:42a . . When the words of her older son Esau were reported to Rebecca,

You know, if criminals would just keep their mouths shut they might get away with a whole lot more crimes. But no, they just have to tell somebody about it. Esau must have vented his bitterness to some of the servants who, in turn, leaked it to Rebecca.

● Gen 27:42b-43a . . she sent for her younger son Jacob and said to him: Your brother Esau is consoling himself by planning to kill you. Now, my son, listen to me.

Again showing herself to be a woman of quick decision, Rebecca called Jacob and told him exactly what to do. Not wishing for a war between her sons, she thought it best to send Jacob away for a while.
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Olde Tymer

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Re: A Journey Thru Genesis
« Reply #211 on: June 22, 2019, 07:53:23 am »
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● Gen 27:43b-45 . . Flee at once to Haran, to my brother Laban. Stay with him a while, until your brother's fury subsides-- until your brother's anger against you subsides --and he forgets what you have done to him. Then I will fetch you from there. Let me not lose you both in one day!

The word for "fury" is from chemah (khay-maw') and/or chema' (khay-maw') which means: heat. The word for "anger" is from 'aph (af) which means: the nose or nostril; hence, the face, and occasionally a person; also (from the rapid breathing in passion) ire.

(chuckle) Ol' Esau was indeed a passionate man. But his was not the lingering passion of a scented candle, or of a Yule log, which burn slowly for a long time. His rage burned more like a tumbleweed; a flashing, momentary flame that would soon pass. Esau might hold a grudge, but he wouldn't go on red faced and breathing heavy about it for very long.

Moody, introspective people, often stay upset for long periods of time; which really exasperates the Esau types who usually get over things quickly. The Esau types are happy to let personal conflicts blow over and then move on. But the moody types are always wanting to dredge up unresolved hurts and argue about them again and again for the Nth time until someone finally listens.

Some lawsuits, like the one between President Clinton and Paula Jones, often cannot be settled out of court because personalities like hers want an admission of guilt and an apology. Money is out of the question, and an insult to boot, because people like Paula Jones are never satisfied with anything less than a public hanging.

Knowing Esau's nature, Rebecca figured his rage would pass away quickly and he would soon return to his typical carefree ways. Unfortunately, it was past twenty years before Jacob came back home, and there is no record that he ever saw his mom again.

Rebecca's stratagem was indeed costly, but it could have gone much worse if Jacob had stayed home. Surely any attempt by Esau to kill Jacob would have resulted in Esau's death; the Lord protecting Jacob for future use. But I think Rebecca feared Esau might succeed and then become permanently alienated from the family like Cain was after killing his brother Abel. So she would, in effect, lose both boys in one day just as grandma Eve did.

Rebecca-- the bright, discreet lass that she was --no doubt had counted all the costs of her scheme; and believed the issue was vital enough to require her to do what she did. As a matter of fact, later events proved that she was correct. Esau did soon get over his rage, and he prospered quite adequately in a material sense. Jacob never did really lord it over him, which was probably all Esau really cared about anyway.

Both boys survived this calamitous event: hubby Isaac too. And Jacob went on to spawn the people of Israel, thus making a line to Messiah; by whom the Serpent's head would be crushed, and the entire world blessed beyond measure.

They say all's well that ends well. Maybe. Rebecca's family was fractured, and she lost the companionship of a really good son. Hers was a sacrifice of the heart. I would really like to see Rebecca compensated for that some day.
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Bladerunner

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Re: A Journey Thru Genesis
« Reply #212 on: June 22, 2019, 07:34:42 pm »
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● Gen 27:43b-45 . . Flee at once to Haran, to my brother Laban. Stay with him a while, until your brother's fury subsides-- until your brother's anger against you subsides --and he forgets what you have done to him. Then I will fetch you from there. Let me not lose you both in one day!

The word for "fury" is from chemah (khay-maw') and/or chema' (khay-maw') which means: heat. The word for "anger" is from 'aph (af) which means: the nose or nostril; hence, the face, and occasionally a person; also (from the rapid breathing in passion) ire.

(chuckle) Ol' Esau was indeed a passionate man. But his was not the lingering passion of a scented candle, or of a Yule log, which burn slowly for a long time. His rage burned more like a tumbleweed; a flashing, momentary flame that would soon pass. Esau might hold a grudge, but he wouldn't go on red faced and breathing heavy about it for very long.

Moody, introspective people, often stay upset for long periods of time; which really exasperates the Esau types who usually get over things quickly. The Esau types are happy to let personal conflicts blow over and then move on. But the moody types are always wanting to dredge up unresolved hurts and argue about them again and again for the Nth time until someone finally listens.

Some lawsuits, like the one between President Clinton and Paula Jones, often cannot be settled out of court because personalities like hers want an admission of guilt and an apology. Money is out of the question, and an insult to boot, because people like Paula Jones are never satisfied with anything less than a public hanging.

Knowing Esau's nature, Rebecca figured his rage would pass away quickly and he would soon return to his typical carefree ways. Unfortunately, it was past twenty years before Jacob came back home, and there is no record that he ever saw his mom again.

Rebecca's stratagem was indeed costly, but it could have gone much worse if Jacob had stayed home. Surely any attempt by Esau to kill Jacob would have resulted in Esau's death; the Lord protecting Jacob for future use. But I think Rebecca feared Esau might succeed and then become permanently alienated from the family like Cain was after killing his brother Abel. So she would, in effect, lose both boys in one day just as grandma Eve did.

Rebecca-- the bright, discreet lass that she was --no doubt had counted all the costs of her scheme; and believed the issue was vital enough to require her to do what she did. As a matter of fact, later events proved that she was correct. Esau did soon get over his rage, and he prospered quite adequately in a material sense. Jacob never did really lord it over him, which was probably all Esau really cared about anyway.

Both boys survived this calamitous event: hubby Isaac too. And Jacob went on to spawn the people of Israel, thus making a line to Messiah; by whom the Serpent's head would be crushed, and the entire world blessed beyond measure.

They say all's well that ends well. Maybe. Rebecca's family was fractured, and she lost the companionship of a really good son. Hers was a sacrifice of the heart. I would really like to see Rebecca compensated for that some day.
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I see your still spreading it around good or bad, right or wrong.

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 #213 on: June 23, 2019, 09:40:53 am »
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● Gen 27:46 . . And Rebecca said to Isaac: I am weary of living because of the daughters of Heth. If Jacob take a wife of the daughters of Heth, such as these which are of the daughters of the land, I might as well die.

Abraham purchased a cemetery plot from Heth's clan back in chapter 23.

I think Rebecca was becoming very lonely for the company of daughters-in-law of a kindred spirit. Christians considering marriage should really give some serious thought to how their parents feel about a prospective spouse. It's just not fair to force your choice down there throat with the haughty protest: It's MY life!

No man is an island, entire of itself;
Every man is a piece of the continent:
A part of the main.

-- John Donne, 1624 --

All that people do, everything they say, every decision they make; has a ripple effect.

You know, Isaac really wasn't a bad man. But something happened to him that made him lose interest in his patriarchal duties. I really do think the man was having problems with depression; which may have been associated somehow with his eyesight.

What if you could never again see Orion and the Milky Way, nor a sunset, nor the colors of the rainbow, nor watch the flight of migrating geese or a buzzing humming bird, nor see the bees busily collecting their pollen, nor the wind shaking the trees, nor the fluorescent colors of Autumn foliage, nor the splendor of the Grand Canyon, nor a spider's web illuminated from behind by morning sunlight, nor the ocean's waves, nor fireworks on the 4th of July? And what about all the things you haven't seen yet? Defective eyesight would prevent you from ever seeing the things that you missed.

There is a well known syndrome that occurs in men called male menopause; and also known by it's other name: andropause. Although male menopause is related to the aging process-- with resultant hormonal reductions --men's problems aren't caused by the very same kinds of changes that occur in women. Women's menopausal difficulties are chiefly chemical. But with men, it's mostly psychological.

One of the primary symptoms of andropause is depression. Not just bouts of depression that come and go, but the chronic kind. Every day, every night: feelings of inadequacy and worthlessness plague men afflicted with chronic depression. They feel useless, they feel they'll never be any good again, they feel expendable; and they feel unnecessary. But worse, they feel unlovable; viz: not only do they feel like no one cares whether they live or die, but they feel it is impossible for anyone to care about them at all.

It isn't unusual for men to rapidly deteriorate and die during the first eighteen months of their retirement years. Why? Because their jobs, and their careers, made their lives meaningful and worthwhile. It gave them a reason to live. It gave them strong feelings of value, it made them creative and gave them feelings of self worth and self esteem, and feelings of belonging in a man's world. At career's end, they feel expended and expendable; actually losing interest in living and it's almost as if they will themselves to pass away because there's nothing left to live for, and people begin treating them like children instead of mature adults.

When we're young and spry, we look forward to the future with optimism and anticipation. But when we're older, there is nothing in life to look forward to anymore but falling apart and leaving it. All the good stuff is over. And it doesn't help having our bodies deteriorate along the way.

I really think that Isaac's handicap robbed him of all reasonable optimism; and he saw no reason to go on living; especially at his age. Because of that, he had no spirit for patriarchal duties. When the boys brought him food that day, both of them asked their dad to sit up and eat. Sit up!? What the heck was he doing lying down? Well, I think he was lying around all day feeling sorry for himself, that's what. Life had become uninteresting to Isaac, and he was no longer one tough cookie; but rather, one whipped puppy.

But not so Rebecca. No, No; not that quick-legged Aquarian. She was a fighter, she was a Rocky Balboa. Becky had a head on her shoulders. Ever the strong decisive woman, she put a bug in Isaac's ear to send Jacob away to find a spouse. Yes, she was being cunning again; but in the right of it too: as usual. It was a whole lot better for Jacob to depart with his dad's good will than running away from home without saying good-bye.

Now that the blessing had actually been dispensed, and it was very clear to Isaac that Jacob was God's choice to perpetuate Abraham's covenant, there was no excuse to delay any longer in the matter of finding his son a suitable wife because men don't live forever, Their children have to take up the flame and carry it forward. Jacob was a virile man at this point in his life; but that's getting ready to change. This fact, combined with the immediate danger of another Cain-and-Abel episode, was more than enough reason for Isaac to send Jacob away.

Rebecca's personal desire for Jacob to have a wife from her own people, one with whom she could have fellowship rather than the continual friction she experienced with Esau's Hittite wives, compelled her to convince Isaac that her own life wouldn't be worth living anymore if Jacob married the same kinds of impious women as his brother's.

Was Rebecca a good wife? Even though she tricked her husband? And even though she was strong and decisive? I really believe she was because even in the US Navy, sometimes a captain needs his first officer to take over and run the ship till he's better.

"The Lord God said; It is not good for man to be alone; I will make a fitting helper for him." (Gen 2:18)

Isaac benefited from his dad Abraham's wisdom; and he had the providence of God to thank in the selection of his wife. Rebecca really saved the day, and got Isaac back up on his patriarchal feet. If it wasn't for her, nothing would have turned out right. She was indeed the perfect mate for that particular man. Unlike Eve who brought her man down; Becky propped her man up. Some women, infected with misandry, are pleased when their man goes down.
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Olde Tymer

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Re: A Journey Thru Genesis
« Reply #214 on: June 25, 2019, 08:04:07 am »
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● Gen 28:1a . . So Isaac sent for Jacob and blessed him. He instructed him:

This is the first time, at least on record, that Isaac has shown any real interest in Jacob's spiritual condition. You just have to wonder if Jacob received any religious instruction at all from his dad. I would not be surprised if Rebecca has been Jacob's only tutor up to this point.

Isaac went through a very traumatic experience. I think he was shaken, and it appears to have succeeded in bringing him back to his senses. Now he renders upon Jacob the full extent of Abraham's blessing; which he really should have done a long time ago.

● Gen 28:1b-4 . .You shall not take a wife from among the Canaanite women. Arise, go to Paddan-aram, to the house of Bethuel, your mother's father, and take a wife there from among the daughters of Laban, your mother's brother. May El Shaddai bless you, make you fertile and numerous, so that you become an assembly of peoples. May He grant the blessing of Abraham to you and your offspring, that you may possess the land where you are sojourning, which God assigned to Abraham.

It would have been much wiser of course, if circumstances had permitted, to keep Jacob at home and dispatch a trusted servant up to Haran to fetch a wife back down to Canaan like Abraham did for Isaac. But at this point, I guess that option was out of the question. Isaac's patriarchal laxity is having quite a domino effect upon Jacob's future. He's going to be tricked into taking two wives, sisters at that, and squander twenty years of his life indentured to a very crafty, dishonest man.

● Gen 28:5 . .Then Isaac sent Jacob off, and he went to Paddan-aram, to Laban the son of Bethuel the Aramean, the brother of Rebecca, mother of Jacob and Esau.

I just have to wonder if Isaac would have thought of Laban at all if not for Rebecca putting a bug in his ear.

Not only was Laban an Aramean, but so were Abraham, Lot, Sarah, and Rebecca. The boys (Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob and Esau) were born in Canaan. So of what country were they? Canaan wasn't a united sovereignty like the USA. It was a frontier territory. Along the coast were Philistine colonies; the remainder populated by many communities scattered all over the place much like Native American peoples were in America's early days.

I don't know about Ishmael and Esau, but Isaac and Jacob looked ahead to a future country that they would call home. That country didn't exist just yet in Jacob's day, but it would eventually, and he would be a somebody there-- Abraham's covenant guarantees it. Those men haven't missed out on anything. According to the New Testament's Jesus, they will all return some day and live in that land as citizens in land promised to Abraham.

"I say to you that many will come from the east and the west, and will take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven." (Matt 8:11)

The writer of Hebrews said, that although those three men were pilgrims in Canaan, they will one day live inside it as citizens in a town of their own.

"By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God." (Heb 11:8-10)

I don't know exactly how much detail those men knew in their day; but that "city with foundations" is going to be some piece of work. (cf. Rev 21:2-27)

● Gen 28:6-7 . .When Esau saw that Isaac had blessed Jacob and sent him off to Paddan-aram to take a wife from there, charging him, as he blessed him "You shall not take a wife from among the Canaanite women" and that Jacob had listened to his father and mother and gone to Paddan-aram,

That had to shake Esau up even more. Up to this point, for many, many years, he had been daddy's little boy. Now, practically overnight, Jacob takes center stage. It must have been very disturbing and I have no doubt it made Esau feel extremely insecure; probably for the first time in his life.

Jacob listened to his parents. The difference between Jacob and Esau really shows in that respect. Esau did pretty much whatever he pleased. But Jacob wasn't like that. Even at 75 years old he took his parents advice. American kids today are famous for ignoring their parents guidance; and they usually end up regretting it too.

His dad was smart all along, but the boy was too immature at the time to see it. He thought smartness came packaged with youth. In his mind; older people were expendable, obsolete, and out of touch with reality. But education doesn't necessarily make one wise: just conceited.

Although Esau was Isaac's favorite, I really don't think he ever disciplined, scolded, nor lectured his eldest son for anything. I think he let Esau run wild so as to avoid stressing their relationship. Even though Esau's wives were a misery to Isaac and Rebecca, apparently no one ever spoke up and said anything about it till now; and as a result; Esau fell for one of the oldest ruses in the book:

A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong;
Gives it a superficial appearance of being right.

-- Thomas Paine --
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« Last Edit: June 25, 2019, 08:07:22 am by Olde Tymer »

Olde Tymer

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Re: A Journey Thru Genesis
« Reply #215 on: June 26, 2019, 08:57:38 am »
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● Gen 28:8 . . Esau realized that the Canaanite women displeased his father Isaac.

Now that Esau no longer enjoyed the status of a pampered athlete, he's a little more attuned to the opinions of others around him; most especially to the dad who at one time gave the impression his eldest was so wonderful.

● Gen 28:9a . . So Esau went to Ishmael and took to wife, in addition to the wives he had,

Some feel that Esau did that to create an alliance with Ishmael; since he too was a disfavored son. But Ishmael was already deceased by this time. He was at least fourteen years older than Isaac, who was by this time around 135. Ishmael died at 137; twelve years prior to this chapter. It is much more likely that Esau betrothed a woman from Ishmael's family in an attempt to redeem his marriages to the Hittite girls. Ishmael's girls, at least, were kin.

● Gen 28:9b . . Mahalath the daughter of Ishmael son of Abraham, sister of Nebaioth.

Ishmael being long dead; his son Nebaioth made the arrangements for marriage.

You know, life sometimes dealt cruelly with girls in that day. Romance was out of the question. Even if there was a boy in the neighborhood that took their breath away, the girls weren't allowed to even date, let alone marry him. They had to marry a man their dads or their brothers selected-- oftentimes a total stranger and often someone quite a bit older than themselves. You'll often see it said in the Bible that so and so loved a particular girl; but hardly ever will you see where she loved him back.

I believe that Abraham was a conscientious parent and made certain Ishmael received religious training. By the time Ishmael was evicted at fifteen or so, he had a pretty good basic knowledge regarding Abraham's god. And his mom Hagar was familiar with Him too. So it would not surprise me if Mahalath was pretty sound in the correct beliefs. She was a much better choice than the Hittite girls, and she is never once said to be a heartbreak to either Isaac or Rebecca. I would like to think Mahalath was very good company for Rebecca; which would have been a real comfort to her now that Jacob was gone.

Unfortunately, Mahalath was too little too late. It was like closing the gate after the horses have run out of the corral. I'm sure Mahalath was okay; but Esau's new wife could never change God's decree concerning Jacob. Esau lost out: and he lost out big.

● Gen 28:10 . . Jacob left Beer-sheba, and set out for Haran.

It's difficult for me to believe that Jacob made the 450 miles trip to Haran all by himself. He may have, I don't know. I'm not saying he didn't. After all, Hagar was apparently traveling alone when she ran away from Sarah back in chapter 16. But that was a very dangerous, foolish thing to do. A lone person in wild country is just asking for trouble. What if they were to fall and break a leg? Or were attacked by brigands and/or wild animals?

The route to Haran was used by caravans so Jacob may have traveled along with one for safety's sake; and if not, then maybe with travelers on foot like himself sort of like the pilgrims who trek the El Camino de Santiago de Compostela in Spain.

● Gen 28:11a . . He came upon a certain place

According to Gen 28:19, the "certain place" was Bethel. The site started out as Luz; but later came to be known by the name Jacob gave it. Today it's commonly believed Bethel was somewhere around Beitin, about twelve miles north of Jerusalem and maybe two and a half miles northeast of Ramallah. At this point, Jacob was maybe sixty miles from Beer-sheba-- probably the second or third day of his journey.

● Gen 28:11b . . and stopped there for the night, for the sun had set.

Travel at night without a car with good electric headlights was not a good idea in those days. Palestine was once the habitat of bears and lions; and the odds were against you of getting lost and losing your way in the dark.

● Gen 28:11c . .Taking one of the stones of that place, he put it under his head and lay down in that place.

I doubt the stone was very large. Probably just enough to elevate his head a little so he wouldn't lie with his cheek right down on flat dirt. That is so uncomfortable. Try it. Put a towel or something down on the floor and lie down on the side of your head. It's much more comfortable to stack a few books first and then put the towel down. He probably did it like that and cushioned the stone with a bag or a coat.

● Gen 28:12a . . He had a dream;

In the book of Genesis, dreams are a common means of communication between God and humans. Is that still going on? I really don't know. But if it ever happened to me, I would consider it a nightmare.
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Olde Tymer

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Re: A Journey Thru Genesis
« Reply #216 on: June 27, 2019, 08:26:00 am »
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● Gen 28:12b . . a ladder was set on the ground and its top reached to the sky, and angels of God were going up and down on it.

The word for "ladder" is from cullam (sool-lawm') which is actually a staircase. This is the one and only place in the entire Old Testament where that specific word is located so we can't compare it's application in other contexts.

One of the problems with Old Testament Hebrew is that scholars are not quite sure what some of the ancient words really mean. Cullam could just as easily mean an elevator or an escalator.

There's something very conspicuous about the staircase in Jacob's dream: there were no humans on it. So what does that mean? Well . . the staircase was, after all, merely a figment rather than a physical object. But it has to signify something real in order to be useful. I would say the dream indicates, at the very least, that there's an avenue-- a connection --between Heaven and Earth so that mankind isn't totally isolated from God.

● Gen 28:13a . . And behold, Yhvh stood above it and said: I am Yhvh-- god of Abraham your father, and the god of Isaac;

On the page of Scripture, this is Jacob's very first close encounter with his father's god. Till now, Yhvh had been merely data in Jacob's head; something he picked up in home-school yeshiva.

Exactly why God chose to become personal with Jacob at just that moment in his life is a mystery. But the moment came not around the dinner table at home with family; but actually when Jacob stepped away from his family.

It was as if Jacob's own family-- the holiest family on earth at the time; the keepers of the knowledge of the one true god --was actually hindering Jacob's spiritual progress; and if anything is to be learned at all from his experience, it's that his own father, the spiritual head of the house, was the one to blame for it. It certainly wasn't Rebecca; no, not when it was to her that God revealed the eldest of the two lads would serve the younger: and I'm really curious why God didn't repeat His edict to Isaac.

● Gen 28:13b-14 . . the ground on which you are lying I will assign to you and to your offspring. Your descendants shall be as the dust of the earth; you shall spread out to the west and to the east, to the north and to the south. All the families of the earth shall bless themselves by you and your descendants.

Those are essentially the very same promises that God originally made to Abraham. The most important one, that of blessing to all nations, has been passed on down, not to all the descendants of Abraham, but only to special ones; beginning with Isaac, then Jacob, and eventually to Christ. (Gal 3:16)

Not all Hebrews are a blessing to all the families of the earth. Only those Hebrews who inherited the patriarchy are a blessing because it is through them that Messiah's line has existed. The other Hebrews really don't count for much in that respect except that the nation, as a whole, is credited with safe-keeping the Old Testament. (Rom 3:1-2)
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Olde Tymer

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Re: A Journey Thru Genesis
« Reply #217 on: June 28, 2019, 09:03:39 am »
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● Gen 28:15 . . Remember, I am with you: I will protect you wherever you go and will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.

Actually, hardly any of those promises were fulfilled in Jacob's lifetime-- his offspring didn't become as populous as the dust of the earth, nor did they spread out to the east and the west and to the north and to the south. Nor did all the nations of the earth bless themselves by Jacob and his descendants. So what gives? How could God say: "I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you"

I believe God has continually associated with Jacob to this very day, ever since the day of their first close encounter at Bethel. That didn't stop with Jacob's demise. No, their association goes on.

"Now even Moses showed in the burning bush passage that the dead are raised, when he called the Lord "the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob." For He is not the God of the dead but of the living, for all live to Him." (Luke 20:37-38)

In order to live "to" God (viz: live unto God) it is necessary to be in existence. God has always been with Jacob, and never left him even once-- all these many years; better than three-thousand of them by now. And all this whole time Jacob has lived under God's protection because God promised He would protect Jacob wherever he went; and in order for that promise to be meaningful, it has to include the afterlife. (cf. Ps 139:7-10, Matt 16:18)

● Gen 28:16-17a . . Jacob awoke from his sleep and said: Surely the Lord is present in this place, and I did not know it! Shaken, he said: How awesome is this place!

Actually Jacob was very frightened. I believe that place gave him the creeps. It isn't unusual for an encounter with God to unnerve people. Even the very best saints get shook up by it. Daniel just about fainted when God talked with him (Dan 10:17. And Moses was very frightened when God descended upon Mt. Sinai. (Heb 12:18-21)

● Gen 28:17b . .This is none other than the house of God, and that is the gateway to heaven.

The Hebrew word for "house" is somewhat ambiguous. It can indicate one's dwelling, and it can indicate one's entire estate. For example; Pharaoh's house at Gen 12:15 consisted of a palace while Abraham's house at Gen 14:14 consisted of all that he owned and possessed. Jacob apparently assumed (probably correctly) that the real estate where he met with God was a favorite of His in Canaan; i.e. He had it staked out for Himself: and who's to argue with that?
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Olde Tymer

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Re: A Journey Thru Genesis
« Reply #218 on: June 29, 2019, 09:34:47 am »
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● Gen 28:18a . . Early in the morning, Jacob took the stone that he had put under his head and set it up as a pillar

The word for "pillar" is from matstsebah (mats-tsay-baw') which is something stationed; viz: a column or (memorial stone)by analogy, an idol. All over the Mojave Desert in California are man-made stone monuments that mark the location of historical events and/or sites. One of my favorites is the Foot And Walker pass where Butterfield stagecoach passengers had to disembark and walk because the slope was too steep for horses to pull the coach  with them inside it.

Jacob's pillow stone became a souvenir of his very first close encounter with the Bible's God. To set it up, he would need something to elevate it and make it prominent. So he probably gathered more stones into a pile, like a cairn, and then put his pillow block on the very top as the cap stone.

● Gen 28:18b . . and poured oil on the top of it.

The Bible doesn't say where Jacob got the idea to pour oil on his historical marker; so we'll just have to take an educated guess at it. It's very likely, considering the situation, that anointing the pillow stone with oil (probably either an edible, or medicinal oil rather than a petroleum based lubricant) dedicated it as a memorial to Jacob's contractual bond between himself and God.

There's reported to be widespread evidence (I haven't seen it for myself) from the ancient Near East, for the use of oil in international treaty relationships, and in effectuating business contracts. The practice seems to have been a token of peace, friendship, and assumed obligation. In Jacob's case, the anointing is connected with the making of a vow that bound him to specific commitments.

● Gen 28:19 . . He named that site Bethel; but previously the name of the city had been Luz.

Luz retained it's original name for a long time afterwards. On his way back home after twenty years with Laban, the name hadn't yet been changed to Bethel (Gen 36:6). Precisely when the site's name was officially changed to Bethel is difficult to ascertain.

The word for "Bethel" is from Beyth-' El (bayth-ale') which means (what else?) house of God.

According to Jewish folklore, the stone Jacob chose for his pillow was actually one of the stones Abraham used to construct the altar where he bound Isaac. Jewish folklore also believes the Temple Mount in Jerusalem to be the site where Abraham offered his son. Those lore imply that Bethel and the Temple Mount are geographically the same. But it's highly unlikely. The Temple Mount is in Jerusalem; and Bethel was about 12 miles to the north. The exact geographic location of the offering of Isaac is totally unknown at this time.

In the days of Solomon's rule, Israel became divided into a north and a south, sort of like America's fracture during the Civil War. A king named Jeroboam ruled the northern part and another king named Rehoboam ruled the southern part. The northern part was called Israel, and the southern part was called Judah. Jeroboam became concerned that his subjects in the north might change sides due to the Temple being located in the south. (1Kgs 12:26-29)

Point being, the Temple Mount was at Jerusalem in Rehoboam's realm; and Bethel was on Jeroboam's turf in the north; and if the people really wanted to get on God's bad side, they worshipped in the north.

"Come to Bethel, and transgress" (Amos 4:4)
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Olde Tymer

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Re: A Journey Thru Genesis
« Reply #219 on: June 30, 2019, 07:46:39 am »
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● Gen 28:20-21 . . Jacob then made a vow, saying: If God remains with me, if He protects me on this journey that I am making, and gives me bread to eat and clothing to wear, and if I return safe to my father's house-- Yhvh shall be my God.

What's he saying? That the Lord has not been his god up to this point? Not necessarily. It wasn't uncommon in those days for people to worship other gods right along with Yhvh. This practice was later strictly forbidden by the first of the Ten Commandments. (Ex 20:1-3)

Jacob's uncle Laban (the very father of his beloved Rachel) was notorious for polytheism. On the one hand, he recognized Yhvh's divinity (Gen 24:50 and 31:29) while on the other hand he harbored a collection of patron gods in his home (Gen 31:19 and 31:30). In the ancient Semitic world; patron gods were equivalent to Catholicism's patron saints-- objects of devotion venerated as special guardians, protectors, and/or supporters; viz: alternative sources of providence.

Jacob knew about Abraham's god and believed that He existed (Gen 27:20). But that's merely an educated consent, and nothing personal. It's like knowing and believing that Mr. Barak Hussein Obama is the President of the United States. But so what? Has the President ever come to your home for coffee or dinner? Have the two of you been to a movie together or to a picnic? Where was he when you were sick, down and out, and/or feeling helpless, hopeless, despondent and depressed? See what I'm saying?

Lots of people glibly venerate the Bible's God. But very, very few can honestly say: The Lord is my friend, He cares about me, He cares about my life, He protects me and provides for me wherever I go. I am His, and He is mine. We are one; we are together.

Jacob's vow reflects a personal decision of his own volition to make Yhvh the sole object of his religious devotion to the exclusion of all the other gods that people commonly venerated in his day. So we could paraphrase Gen 28:20-21 to read like this:

"If God remains with me, if He protects me on this journey that I am making, and gives me bread to eat and clothing to wear, and if I return safe to my father's house-- then Yhvh shall be my only patron."
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Olde Tymer

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Re: A Journey Thru Genesis
« Reply #220 on: July 01, 2019, 10:02:43 am »
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● Gen 28:22a . . And this stone, which I have set up as a pillar, shall be God's abode;

Jacob's pillow stone wasn't really meant to be a dwelling or a container as we typically think of human habitat or animal cages. It was meant to be a sort of monitoring device. An 8th century BC Aramaic treaty inscription from Sfire, in Syria, terms each upright stone on which the treaty is inscribed as an abode of the gods.

The Hebrew word for "God" is 'elohiym (el-o-heem') which is a plural word meaning gods of all descriptions; both the good and the bad; and the true and the false. So that we could translate Gen 28:22a-- "shall be the abode of the gods."

The stone(s) symbolize a divine presence monitoring fulfillment and/or infractions of the terms of a treaty or a vow. So Jacob's pillar was not only the custodian of his vow, but was also its regulatory agency taking note whether Jacob and Yhvh keep their promises to each other. The very same thing turns up again in Gen 31:44-52.

● Gen 28:22b . . and of all that You give me, I will set aside a tithe for You.

This is probably the very first Biblical instance of the so-called "faith promise". Though coming from a wealthy family; and heir apparent to his father Isaac's personal fortune, the fulfillment of this particular vow was contingent, not upon what Jacob possessed already; but upon God's future providence.

Jacob didn't promise a set dollar figure, but promised a "tithe" which in English Bibles is commonly translated a tenth; but in reality the Hebrew word 'asar (aw-sar') just means to apportion; which Webster's defines as: to divide and share out according to a plan; especially to make a proportionate division or distribution of. 

The value of a nondescript tithe therefore is left up to individual discretion.

"Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God prefers a whole-hearted giver." (2Cor 9:7)

"And here is my advice about what is best for you in this matter: Last year you were the first not only to give but also to have the desire to do so. Now finish the work, so that your eager willingness to do it may be matched by your completion of it, according to your means. For if the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what he does not have." (2Cor 8:10-12)

Jacob was under no obligation to reciprocate and compensate God for the promises. Their fulfillment was dependent neither upon Jacob's generosity nor his piety. Fulfillment was dependent solely upon God's own personal integrity. So why should Jacob dedicate a tithe? Well; like I said, he didn't have to. Jacob's response was totally spontaneous and voluntary. His tithe was motivated from a sense of fair play, rather than a response to divine dictates. In other words: Jacob reciprocated God's kindness with kindness of his own.

A faith that gives out of friendship, rather than obligation, is much better than a religion that mandates a tithe. And the gift should be given where the giver feels whole-hearted about it; viz: they should have some say in where their offering goes, and they should be able to feel quite satisfied about it rather than feel as though their pockets were picked.

So; how was Jacob going to transfer some of his assets into God's account? There was neither Temple nor synagogue in his day, and certainly no Aaronic priesthood. Abraham did his business with Melchizedek but there is no record of either Isaac or Jacob doing business with one of Mel's successors.

When all else fails, a very, very good way to give to God is by helping people less fortunate than yourself; in other words: pay it forward.

"He who is generous to the poor makes a loan to Yhvh: He will repay him his due." (Prv 19:17)

There are lots of charities benefiting disadvantaged people. United Way lists quite few to pick from; and just about every city has at least one gospel-oriented rescue mission. For sure; those causes are a whole lot more satisfying than just mindlessly tossing money into a basket passed around on a Sunday morning.
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