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Author Topic: A Journey Thru Genesis  (Read 3108 times)

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Olde Tymer

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Re: A Journey Thru Genesis
« Reply #234 on: July 15, 2019, 08:24:21 am »
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● Gen 31:1 . . Now he heard the things that Laban's sons were saying: Jacob has taken all that was our father's, and from that which was our father's he has built up all this wealth.

People have a habit of using the "all" word just a little to the extreme. Jacob certainly didn't take all of Laban's flock; only the lambs that were born multicolored. However, what had seemed like a good bargain at the time their dad made it, took a most unexpected, and distressing downturn.

Somehow Jacob's flock of cross-breeds was increasing at an alarming rate and Laban's boys were seeing money on the hoof going to an outsider that should have been theirs. Laban, who before was pleased as punch when Jacob agreed to stay on, must now be wishing with all his heart that he would leave. But the old boy couldn't get out of the contract without losing face.

● Gen 31:2 . . Jacob also saw that Laban's manner toward him was not as it had been in the past.

You can usually tell when people hate your guts. Often they speak away, in another direction, while you stand there talking to the side of their face, and sometimes even to the back of their head. They are so overcome with malice that they cannot even stand to look directly at you. And when they do look, it's with narrowed, beady eyes; squinting, as if into the sun.

● Gen 31:3 . .Then the Lord said to Jacob: Return to the land of your fathers where you were born, and I will be with you.

Some people interpret that to read: And I will be waiting for you. They see it that way because they insist that Jews can't be blessed when they're out of the place of blessing; viz: out of Eretz Israel. But that's nonsense in Jacob's case. God promised He to be with him and protect him wherever he went. (Gen 28:15)

Time to go; and the timing couldn't be better. Laban really loathed Jacob by now and I'm sure he didn't want his nephew working on the ranch any longer. A falling out isn't necessarily a bad thing. I often take one as a nudge that God wants me elsewhere. Sometimes you have to burn one bridge before crossing another.

● Gen 31:4 . . Jacob had Rachel and Leah called to the field, where his flock was,

This next conversation was for the sisters' ears only so Jacob sprung an unannounced briefing out in the pastures where no one would overhear and go tattle to Laban. Jacob wants his wives' support for his next move; and he needs to find out how they feel about their dad and if they are ready to leave home and go out on their own. Rachel and Leah had never been away from Haran, nor away from their dad's influence before now; nor has anyone till now given them a say in their destiny.

● Gen 31:5-7 . . and said to them: I see that your father's manner toward me is not as it has been in the past. But the God of my father has been with me. As you know, I have served your father with all my might; but your father has cheated me, changing my wages time and again. God, however, would not let him do me harm.

No matter what Laban did in his nefarious efforts to thwart Jacob's prosperity, God would turn it to Jacob's advantage. He was indeed bullet proof and it must have frustrated his father-in-law to no end.

● Gen 31:8-9 . . If he said thus "The speckled shall be your wages" then all the flocks would drop speckled young. And if he said thus: "The streaked shall be your wages" then all the flocks would drop streaked young. God has taken away your father's livestock and given it to me.

Laban's blatant lack of scruples is beyond belief. He and Jacob had agreed that all the multicolored animals would be Jacob's. But whenever the purebred flock began producing too much of a certain strain-- say, the streaked ones --then Laban would change his mind and say that Jacob could only keep the spotted ones.

Well, then God made the herd produce more spotted ones. And when Laban would change the arrangement yet again and say that Jacob couldn't have any more spotted ones and could only have the ones that were striped; then God would see to it that striped babies were born. So, no matter which way Laban went, Jacob always won.

● Gen 31:10-12 . . Once, at the mating time of the flocks, I had a dream in which I saw that the he-goats mating with the flock were streaked, speckled, and mottled. And in the dream an angel of God said to me: Jacob! Here; I answered. And he said: Note well that all the he-goats which are mating with the flock are streaked, speckled, and mottled; for I have noted all that Laban has been doing to you.

There weren't really any streaked or speckled or mottled rams mating with the ewes because Laban's animals were all blue ribbon. But people in those days didn't know about recessive genes like we know about them today. So God showed Jacob, in a way that he could understand, that the animals doing the mating were the heterozygous ones. God, who can see past outside colors, and deep into genetic code, made sure the right ones were mating so Jacob's herd would increase to his advantage in spite of Laban's interference. (chuckle) Talk about a stacked deck!

● Gen 31:13 . . I am the God of Beth-el, where you anointed a pillar and where you made a vow to me. Now, arise and leave this land and return to your native land.

I wonder if Jacob could have used that as an excuse to depart; viz: tell Laban that God appeared and ordered him to return to Canaan and make good on his vow? Moses tried something like that with Pharaoh (Ex 3:18). But Pharaoh still wouldn't let them go, so God had to destroy Egypt to make him comply.

I seriously doubt that Laban would've ever let Jacob go on religious grounds. It's possible that's why Jacob sneaked away: to avoid a violent confrontation with his father-in-law that could lead to Laban's death. Leah and Rachel might have difficulty with that. Though the man was a weasel, he was still their dad.
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Olde Tymer

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Re: A Journey Thru Genesis
« Reply #235 on: July 16, 2019, 07:48:34 am »
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● Gen 31:14-15 . .Then Rachel and Leah replied and said to him: Have we then still a share and an inheritance in our father's house? Are we not considered by him as strangers? For he has sold us and even totally consumed our money!

Now the truth comes out. All along the girls had resented the calculating, business-like way that their dad sold them into marriage; like they were commodities: not even caring how they might feel about living with Jacob; and especially how the sisters might feel about sharing the same husband.

And what an incredible louse! The girls were each supposed to get a dowry, but Laban kept it back and then, of all things, spent their dowries on himself; or, worse yet, on himself and on the girls' brothers. Weasel! That reminds me of one of my favorite bumper stickers:

MEN ARE NOT PIGS!
Pigs are gentle, sensitive, intelligent animals.

Laban was obviously some sort of maladjusted sociopath with one of those "borderline" personality disorders. I don't know what happened to him in life to make him that way, but something was very wrong with that man. The attitude he displayed toward his little girls was absolutely abnormal. It was just as abnormal as any of the psycho dads in the news from time to time who get prosecuted for abusing their own little flesh and blood daughters.

● Gen 31:16 . .Truly, all the wealth that God has taken away from our father belongs to us and to our children. Now then, do just as God has told you.

Yaaaaaay! (cheering section activity) That's it! We're out of here. The girls are grown women with kids now and have to be thinking about their future. Leah and Rachel are ready to leave home and kiss Haran good-bye forever.

Thank God that Rachel, Leah, and Dinah knew a man like Jacob or they might have been poisoned on men all their lives. He wasn't perfect, yes that is true. But Jacob was an excellent family man. For twenty years Rachel and Leah observed and compared their brothers and their dad to Jacob. And guess what. They much preferred to live with Jacob. He was fair, sensitive, caring, accommodating, and always looking out for their best interests and letting them have their own way whenever possible.

You know, Jacob didn't have to sleep with the maids. He could have put his foot down and refused. But he did it to soothe his wives. I'm sure he was aware of their rivalry amongst themselves and tried to help keep the peace as best as he could. Life wasn't easy for Jacob; having to live with two miserable women.

But he was willing to go the extra mile; and even let the girls have a say in big decisions effecting the family's future. In the culture of that day, he really didn't have to. Do you think Laban or his boys would have been concerned about how the girls might feel about moving away to a new land? No way. Their dad and brothers were nothing like that. They would have just simply marched in and barked an announcement: Okay everybody; start packing! We leave for California in two days!

● Gen 31:17-18 . .Thereupon Jacob put his children and wives on camels; and he drove off all his livestock and all the wealth that he had amassed, the livestock in his possession that he had acquired in Paddan-aram, to go to his father Isaac in the land of Canaan.

That must have been quite a sight. Camels and people and supplies, dust billowing everywhere, with Jacob's drovers moving the herds, followed by a remuda of burros bringing up the rear. It was a real old fashion trail drive, kind of like an 1840's wagon train. The girls must have been very excited to be making their very first long-distance trek away from home. Rueben and his brothers of course saw it as one big adventure. Yahoooooo! Move 'em out! Beer-sheba or bust!

● Gen 31:19 . . Meanwhile Laban had gone to shear his sheep, and Rachel stole her father's household idols.

Labans's household gods may have corresponded to ilani-- family gods of the Nuzi household, and to the Roman's penates --household gods who were thought to protect food supplies and assure the general well-being of the family.

Since Laban was known for divination, some have suggested that Rachel may have stolen his gods in order to prevent him from discovering Jacob's whereabouts. However, I think Rachel just wanted those gods for their potential access to providence.

● Gen 31:20-21 . . Jacob kept Laban the Aramean in the dark, not telling him that he was fleeing, and fled with all that he had. Soon he was across the Euphrates and heading toward the hill country of Gilead.

There's a note in the JPS Tanakh concerning the phrase: "Jacob kept Laban the Aramean in the dark". The actual Hebrew says: he stole Laban's mind. So Rachel ripped off Laban's religion, and Jacob took his brains.

The precise route Jacob took to go home is uncertain. It's hard to believe that he came directly south through the Syrian Desert on the back side of Mt. Hermon. Maybe he did, I don't really know; but it sure looks that way

The region of Gilead is on the east side of the Jordan Valley in between Yam Kinneret (the Sea of Galilee) and the Dead Sea. Why Jacob didn't proceed down through Lebanon and the West Bank I'm not sure; except maybe he was in a very big hurry to get away from Laban and back on relatively safer home turf. The Gilead route would eventually take him into the Jordan Valley, one of the best sources of water and pasture for his animals. In Abraham's day, the Jordan Valley was well watered everywhere, like the garden of God. It was probably still in pretty good shape yet in Jacob's.

Nowadays, usually all that travelers really need are gas stations and motels. But in that day, the selection of a route was always dictated by the need of water and pasture for the animals; not only the herds, but also the ones people rode upon. The Jordan Valley was a relatively hazardous route because lions lived in that area back in Jacob's day; so his drovers would have to guard the livestock day and night to protect them from predators.
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Olde Tymer

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Re: A Journey Thru Genesis
« Reply #236 on: July 17, 2019, 08:29:59 am »
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● Gen 31:22 . . On the third day, Laban was told that Jacob had fled.

Laban was off some distance from home shearing his sheep, which usually included a festival of some sort. The messengers probably waited till the shearing was done, and the party was over, before laying the bad news on ol' Laban.

I'd imagine he must have been absolutely livid with rage; and probably got so worked up he actually turned red and began perspiring. Defeat is one thing. But to be beaten by kin, by a nephew no less, was unbearable.

● Gen 31:23 . . So he took his kinsmen with him and pursued him a distance of seven days, catching up with him in the hill country of Gilead.

It took Jacob ten days to go the same distance Laban covered in seven-- that is if Laban departed right away without delay; which he probably didn't. It would take at least a day or two to round up all his relatives and prepare for the journey. Laban's contingent had an advantage though. They weren't encumbered by herds and women and children, so they could cover a whole lot more ground in one day than Jacob's troupe.

● Gen 31:24 . . But God appeared to Laban the Aramean in a dream by night and said to him: Beware of attempting anything with Jacob, good or bad.

The Stone Tanach reads: Beware lest you speak with Jacob either good or bad.

But if God meant for Laban to stay completely away from Jacob and not say a single word to him, Laban would have gone home right then and there because he knew better than to mess with Jacob's god. Maybe Laban didn't worship Yhvh, but did at least fear Him. The book of Revelation tells of people who are absolutely terrified of God, but yet still refuse to submit. (Rev 6:12-17, Rev 16:10-11)

● Gen 31:25 . . Laban overtook Jacob. Jacob had pitched his tent on the Height, and Laban with his kinsmen encamped in the hill country of Gilead.

Once Laban's scouts located Jacob's troupe, his contingent made camp for the night and moved on up the next day; probably very early before Jacob's caravan could get up and moving again.

What a chore that must have been. First everyone had to be fed breakfast, which meant a whole lot of cooking. Somebody had to round up firewood for the portable ovens. Then the women prepared the meals, which must have been work itself since no one had packaged foods in those days. Then they had to do the dishes, repack, dismantle the tents, and load everything back on to the camels and donkeys. Meanwhile the drovers were out tightening up the herds and rounding up strays.

Into this busy scene rode MadDog Laban and his trigger-happy posse.

● Gen 31:26-27a . . And Laban said to Jacob: What did you mean by keeping me in the dark and carrying off my daughters like captives of the sword? Why did you flee in secrecy and mislead me and not tell me?

Duh. Like he really didn't know? Laban's kind are all alike. In my 70+ years, I've seen enough of them to know. Jerks like him are never in the wrong about anything; ever. And they always attempt to throw suspicion off themselves by trumping up a hollow charge against the very people they wronged. One of their favorite demands is: What's the matter with you; why are you acting like that? They are so aggravating with their perpetual habit of feigning a pious ignorance of their own self-generated bad circumstances.

Like captives of the sword? What does that imply-- that Jacob kidnapped Rachel and Leah and made slaves out of them? What utter nonsense! They were his wives as Laban very well knew!

And did he insinuate that Jacob dragged the girls (excuse me; the full-grown married women) away from Haran against their will? Laban himself was likely wont to drag a spouse around the whole world regardless of how she might feel about it. Why would it be wrong for Jacob to do it but not wrong for Laban? And that is another of his kind's traits. They are so quick to take the high moral ground and make the rules for everyone else to follow while at the same time fully exempting themselves from the very same standards.


NOTE: It's very interesting that Laban never even dreamed that Jacob consulted with Rachel and Leah first prior to departing for Isaac's turf. No doubt because that was something he would never do himself.

● Gen 31:27b . . I would have sent you off with festive music, with timbrel and lyre.

What a bare-faced lie. The only music Laban would have arranged for is some to accompany himself while he danced on Jacob's grave.

● Gen 31:28a . .You did not even let me kiss my sons and daughters good-bye!

The word for "sons" is ben (bane) which means a son (as a builder of the family name), in literal and figurative relationships, including grandson, subject, nation, quality or condition. Ben isn't always used to denote a specific gender, nor always used in genetic applications. In Gen 6:2 it simply refers to pious men rather than God's biological progeny. The New Testament equivalent of ben is huios (hwee-os') which means a child of either gender; e.g. Gal 4:6, 1John 3:1-2

Laban probably never kissed them before anyway, so why should Jacob think he would want to do it now? Didn't it ever occur to Laban's enormous conceit that maybe his offspring might all be glad to be rid of him?

● Gen 31:28b-29a. . It was a foolish thing for you to do. I have it in my power to do you harm;

Jacob's uncle is the king of meddlers. In Laban's imperialistic mind, Jacob deserved punishment for failing to consult with His Lordship before pulling up stakes and heading south. But Jacob has done nothing truly reprehensible. He's a grown man with a right to his own destiny. Jacob owes his uncle nothing; not even an explanation because the man is nothing less than a demon's seed; and on top of that a thoughtless bully and a stupendous bigot.
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Olde Tymer

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Re: A Journey Thru Genesis
« Reply #237 on: July 18, 2019, 09:14:47 am »
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● Gen 31:29b . . but the God of your father

The "god of your father" is all the same as saying your family's god. There a humorous difference between Jacob's family god and Laban's family gods. Jacob's family god can't be kidnapped and carried around in a saddle bag.

● Gen 31:29c . . said to me last night: Beware of attempting anything with Jacob, good or bad.

That was a no idle threat and I think the man knew it. If Laban tried to persuade Jacob to return to Paddan-aram; he would die. If he harmed Jacob; he would die. If he attempted to take the girls, the grandkids, and all the flocks; he would die.

In other words, God told that man not to interfere with Jacob's life in any way at all or He would give him good reason to regret it. From now on, Jacob, and all that pertained to him, was off limits-- including Laban's ex-daughters, who were both married women; old enough to be on their own, and completely out their dad's jurisdiction. When they were girls living at home under their father's roof; then their dad could rule them. But married women are ruled by their husbands.

"your husband . . . he will rule over you." (Gen 3:16)

● Gen 31:30a . .Very well, you had to leave because you were longing for your father's house.

Jacob had to leave because God issued him marching orders. And Jacob really needed to go anyway. Life with uncle Laban had become unbearable. It was humiliating, and it was suffocating. Jacob could never achieve his greatest potential with a man like that always interfering and controlling his destiny.

Leaving Laban's ranch was in truth, an act of self defense; not just for Jacob, but for Leah and Rachel too. Their dad ruled them from the day they were born. That's okay for minor children, but it is not an okay thing for married women. Married women need to be royalty in a home of their own, and be allowed to do their own thinking and to make their own decisions-- Princesses Of Quite A Lot, and Queens Of Everything.

I've heard it said that no one is truly a failure when they can always serve as a bad example. (chuckle) Sort of like ex drunks, smokers, and drug addicts. Well . . a man like Laban is a perfect example of a parent from hell. He's probably the worst case scenario there is. Hopefully most of us will never have to deal with an in-law like him.

But there are only two ways to deal with parents and in-laws from hell: 1) stand up for your rights, and 2) get as far away as possible where their meddling tendrils can't mess up your life. Jacob and the girls did both; and Yhvh's providence was right there on hand to make sure they succeeded.

● Gen 31:30 . . but why did you steal my gods?

Laban accused Jacob of taking the gods without even first inquiring if he actually did. In the American system of criminal justice, a person is assumed innocent until proven guilty; and the burden of proof is upon the accuser. Not only is that a very good principle of civic government, but it is also an excellent social skill and will go a long way towards nurturing friendships.

● Gen 31:31 . . Jacob answered Laban, saying: I was afraid because I thought you would take your daughters from me by force.

Jacob was probably right about that. He worked for Laban twenty years and suspected the old boy would never let Jacob take the girls away from Paddan-aram. Laban was definitely one of those over-my-dead-body kinds of people. With them; it's not a matter of doing what's right and fair all around; it's always a matter of who's going to win. But it's doubtful Laban would've traveled all that way just to retrieve his daughters or his gods: I've no doubt that what he really wanted was Jacob's livestock.

● Gen 31:32 . . But anyone with whom you find your gods shall not remain alive! In the presence of our kinsmen, point out what I have of yours and take it. Jacob, of course, did not know that Rachel had stolen them.

It might appear that Jacob spoke rashly. But in that day, the code of Hammurabi stipulated that the theft of temple gods was a death offense. Apparently, it was truly a very serious crime in the culture of that day to steal household gods as well.


NOTE: The Code of Hammurabi dates back to about 1772 BC. Precisely when Jacob was born has not yet been accurately established. Some feel his birth took place sometime between 2000 and 1700 BC.

Anyway; if Laban had been disposed to honor Hammurabi's code, then he wouldn't have been so quick to condemn Jacob. But the man was a code unto himself; which has been pretty obvious all along.
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Olde Tymer

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Re: A Journey Thru Genesis
« Reply #238 on: July 19, 2019, 09:06:30 am »
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● Gen 31:33-35 . . So Laban went into Jacob's tent and Leah's tent and the tents of the two maidservants; but he did not find them. Leaving Leah's tent, he entered Rachel's tent.

. . . Rachel, meanwhile, had taken the idols and placed them in the camel cushion and sat on them; and Laban rummaged through the tent without finding them. For she said to her father: Let not my lord take it amiss that I cannot rise before you, for the period of women is upon me. Thus he searched, but could not find the household idols.

I tend to think that if Rachel was strong enough to travel across country on the back of a jostling camel, then she was certainly strong enough to stand for a moment or two.

It's likely that Rachel's choice of words was a subtle indication to her dad that she had better sense than to plunk her derriere down on something as sacred as the household gods where there would be a chance of desecrating them with menstrual discharge; especially in a day when the sciences of feminine hygiene and sanitation weren't all that advanced.

She may indeed have actually been in her period at the time. If not, then Jacob himself would have suspected she was concealing something. You've got to hand it to Rachel. Considering the stakes, she was one cool lady under fire. Well; that was indeed one time that what some women deem "the curse" came in very handy.

● Gen 31:36-37 . . Now Jacob became incensed and took up his grievance with Laban. Jacob spoke up and said to Laban: What is my crime, what is my guilt that you should pursue me? You rummaged through all my things; what have you found of all your household objects? Set it here, before my kin and yours, and let them decide between us two.

It's a pity Jacob didn't have a force of armed men at his disposal like grandpa Abraham did at one time. Jacob and his ranch hands were pastoral men, totally untrained for war, and certainly not prepared to deal with a bully like Laban. When people are unarmed, and unskilled in warfare, they are easy prey, and might just as well kiss their human rights good-bye. There are those who yearn for peace at any price. But freedom is not free. In this evil world; freedom is a priceless treasure retained only by those with enough mettle to defend for it.

Jacob endured countless indignities at the hands of his father-in-law, which he suffered in silence for many years. All the pent up emotion which he restrained for so long finally poured out in an unfettered tirade. Jacob demanded, in the witness of the kin they both had in common, to justify such a hot pursuit to catch him before he reached home with what was, in every way, rightfully his own private property. Laban could only maintain an embarrassed silence as Jacob spoke.

● Gen 31:38a . .These twenty years I have spent in your service, your ewes and she-goats never miscarried,

That is an incredible record. A certain number of still births are to be expected in any herd. But they never occurred because Jacob was gentle: he never whipped the animals, nor drove and fatigued Laban's herds like some overly zealous, insensitive shepherds might do; especially with flocks that belong to someone else and are not their own. And plus, Laban knew very well himself from divination, that Jacob's god ever watched over the pregnant animals so Laban could prosper under Jacob's care.

● Gen 31:38b . . nor did I feast on rams from your flock.

It was a shepherd's right to feed himself with meat from a flock he was hired to tend. But Jacob never exercised that right.

● Gen 31:39 . .That which was torn by beasts I never brought to you; I myself made good the loss; you exacted it of me, whether snatched by day or snatched by night.

If Jacob had but brought the remains in to show Laban, it would have would cleared him of any suspicion of negligence in guarding the herds from predators. But by not bringing them in, he automatically took the blame for their loss and paid for them out of his own pocket rather than make Laban absorb the loss. Why Jacob did that I don't know because he sure didn't have to. All he had to do to prove to Laban that he was there on the job guarding the herd from predators, was to demonstrate that he drove them away before they could finish eating their prey. Only a man truly looking out for the best interests of his master would ever do what Jacob did.

● Gen 31:40 . . Often, scorching heat ravaged me by day and frost by night; and sleep fled from my eyes.

Pastoral life takes its toll on men. Just look at some who have been ranching and farming for a number of years. They are old way before their time. The sun and the elements give them shoe leather faces lined with deep creases. Jacob, by the way, was at least 95 at this time and probably looked 150 after all those years out on the range with his father Isaac's herds, and later; his uncle Laban's.

● Gen 31:41 . . Of the twenty years that I spent in your household, I served you fourteen years for your two daughters, and six years for your flocks; and you changed my wages time and again.

Jacob reminded Laban of his service of twenty years, fourteen of which had been simply for the privilege of marrying his daughters. He didn't mention Laban's deception (probably for Leah's sake), which had doubled the length of his service in return for a woman he didn't want in the first place.

In spite of all the good, of all his conscientious service, and of all the charity that Jacob had lavished undeserving upon Laban, the man revised his agreement with Jacob ten times in an evil-minded attempt to garner all the gains for himself and to prevent his own nephew from prospering. The man sure knew how to repay loyalty. Yeah-- right in the teeth. And in the end, he fully intended to send his nephew away totally empty handed-- if indeed he would even spare Jacob's life.

It would require a college degree in criminal psychology to understand what makes a man like Laban tick. He was really too messed up to comprehend. But it's obvious that Laban so hated Jacob that he couldn't stand letting him keep a single thing that once belonged to himself. You know, even if there were no hell, one would have to be constructed to quarantine people like Laban because there is nowhere else for them to go. The kingdom of God is a place of peace and kindness. If certain undesirables like Laban were allowed in the kingdom of God; in short order they'd turn it into another kingdom of men.
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Olde Tymer

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Re: A Journey Thru Genesis
« Reply #239 on: July 20, 2019, 09:10:29 am »
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● Gen 31:42 . . Had not the God of my father, the God of Abraham and the Fear of Isaac, been with me, you would have sent me away empty-handed. But God took notice of my plight and the toil of my hands, and He gave judgment last night.

Anyone there that day, who had the slightest conscience at all, must have looked upon Laban as one would look upon the most crooked, and upon the most dishonest, unscrupulous, and unthankful of men with utter disgust. Jacob told it like it was, and no one objected; and no one stood up to speak in Laban's defense.

● Gen 31:43a . .Then Laban spoke up and said to Jacob: The daughters are my daughters, the children are my children, and the flocks are my flocks; all that you see is mine.

Oh, give it up already!! Someone really needed to teach that communistic crumb some principles related to the transfer of property. The girls were no longer his daughters. They were married women: one flesh with a man who worked very hard to both earn them and deserve them. The children were fathered by Jacob, not by Laban. And the flocks were Jacob's by right, not by loan nor by theft, nor by gift, nor by fraud. They were his honest compensation; the very wages that Laban himself had agreed upon.

Everything on that mountain pertaining to Jacob was personal property and Laban had no right to lay claim to any of it. He was just very lucky that Jacob was not of the kind to show him the business end of a shotgun and point him north, back the way he came.

When Laban finally had an opportunity to respond to Jacob's outburst, he couldn't say anything at all by way of denial to Jacob's claims and charges. Instead; he tried to divert attention away from the embarrassing facts by changing the subject. Though even himself knew very well he was in the wrong; a conceited man like Laban just can't bring himself to make public acknowledgement of his guilt.

People like him typically try whatever means they can muster to shift the blame away from themselves; or at least shift the attention away from their own culpability to whatever real or imagined grievances they can find in others.

● Gen 31:43b . .Yet what can I do now about my daughters or the children they have borne?

His question was just a smoke screen. Laban as much as said: It would be contrary to all human sensibilities to do anything to bring grief to my own flesh and blood. How could you possibly think I am capable of such a thing?

Laban's lack of integrity is almost beyond belief. He followed Jacob for seven days and at least three hundred miles for the specific purpose of murdering him and taking all the herds and all the people back to Paddan-aram. That wouldn't have caused his kin grief? --to murder his grandkids' dad, and to murder Leah's and Rachel's husband?

● Gen 31:44 . . Come, then, let us make a pact, you and I, that there may be a witness between you and me.

Instead of ending Jacob's life, which was no doubt his original intent, Laban now proposes a very noble settlement-- a gentleman's non-aggression pact between himself and Jacob.

● Gen 31:45-46 . .Thereupon Jacob took a stone and set it up as a pillar. And Jacob said to his kinsmen: Gather stones. So they took stones and made a mound; and they partook of a meal there by the mound.

Pillars were common in those days as watchers --gods who intervene in the affairs of men. (cf. Gen 28:22, Dan 4:17)

● Gen 31:47a . . Laban named it Yegar-sahadutha,

Yegar-sahadutha is Aramaic, Laban's tongue, and means: heap of the testimony, or cairn of witness.

● Gen 31:47b . . but Jacob named it Gal-ed.

Gal-ed is Hebrew and means pretty much the same thing.

● Gen 31:48-49 . . And Laban declared: This mound is a witness between you and me this day. That is why it was named Gal-ed; And [it was called] Mizpah, because he said: May the Lord watch between you and me, when we are out of sight of each other.

Mizpah means watchtower. Laban wasn't the one who called it Mizpah. It went on to become known as that because of his pronouncement.

Did Laban mean to imply that Jacob needed watching? For those twenty years in Laban's employ, what had Jacob ever done on the sly to harm Laban? Doesn't Jacob's sterling twenty-year employment record count for anything? But Laban just can't stop himself from denigrating his son-in-law right up to the bitter end of their association.
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Olde Tymer

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Re: A Journey Thru Genesis
« Reply #240 on: July 21, 2019, 10:09:04 am »
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● Gen 31:50 . . If you ill-treat my daughters or take other wives besides my daughters-- though no one else be about, remember, God Himself will be witness between you and me.

Had Jacob ever ill treated Rachel and Leah all those years in Laban's employ? When had the girls ever complained to their dad about Jacob's behavior? Was it really reasonable to assume he would ever abuse them some day? No it wasn't. Jacob had always treated the girls with kindness and consideration, and Laban had neither cause nor reason to think Jacob would ever do otherwise. And since when did Laban really care about Rachel and Leah anyway? He sold them like livestock, and spent their dowry on himself.

Marry other women? Jacob wasn't a womanizer; nor had he ever been a womanizer. He had only wanted just one in the first place; but was tricked by Laban himself into a bigamous marriage with two sisters that Israel's covenanted law would later forbid. But still, as a grown man, in the culture of that day, Jacob had every right to a harem while Laban had no right whatsoever to impose limits on the size and/or the nature of Jacob's family relations.

Laban intended for the stone pile to be a boundary between himself and Jacob so that Jacob would not come past it later on for revenge after God made him strong enough to whup Laban. But that was another evidence of his poor judgment of Jacob's character.

Jacob was definitely not a war-faring man; anybody could see that. He was just like his dad Isaac; who was also a peaceable man, satisfied to simply stop the strife between himself and his enemies. No way would Jacob ever seek revenge. It just wasn't in his nature to do that. But Laban had a wicked conscience. It wasn't beyond him to project his own base motives upon others and assume they would do the very same things he himself would do in their place.


NOTE: There are people in politics that are so Machiavellian that if they can't find any dirt on you, they'll contrive some and throw it at their opponent in hopes it sticks in the public's thinking; which it often does.

In return, Laban would promise to not come past the monument to cause Jacob any harm; which he no doubt would if God hadn't intervened to prevent it. What a hollow covenant. All Laban did that day was put up an appearance of nobility and try his best to save face in an otherwise very embarrassing situation. And the meanwhile heaping additional indignities upon Jacob, and slurring the reputation of a very decent man.


NOTE: Bethuel's blood produced three really good women: Rebecca, Leah, and Rachel. You gotta wonder what happened to the men. Why were they all such misfires? Families like that are a genetic mystery. Just look at Cain and Abel-- two brothers from the very same parents; yet one was a good man and the other not. Go figure.
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« Last Edit: July 21, 2019, 10:21:05 am by Olde Tymer »

Olde Tymer

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Re: A Journey Thru Genesis
« Reply #241 on: July 22, 2019, 07:42:35 am »
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● Gen 31:51 . . And Laban said to Jacob: Here is this mound and here the pillar which I have set up between you and me:

Laban didn't set up anything. He only participated in dedicating the pillar. Jacob and his sons set it up with their own hands. And it was all their own idea, not Laban's.

Laban likely reasoned that seeing as how he outranked his son-in-law in the social order, then whatever they did together should be reckoned to Laban's credit; sort of like the Pharaohs taking credit for their pyramids when it was others who did the actual construction. (cf. Dan 4:30)

● Gen 31:52 . . this mound shall be witness and this pillar shall be witness that I am not to cross to you past this mound, and that you are not to cross to me past this mound and this pillar, with hostile intent.

I think Laban was beginning to become just a little bit nervous because there was something different about Jacob. He wasn't acting like the quiet, humble, hard working hired hand Laban knew up in Paddan-aram. Jacob was acting more like a sheik. And I think Laban was just a little unraveled by that. He wasn't accustomed to that kind of a Jacob. And he knew it would be impossible to defeat Jacob while Jacob's god watched over him. And I think he was afraid that if Jacob ever did come up against him, Yhvh would make sure he won.

● Gen 31:53a . . May the God of Abraham and the god of Nahor-- their ancestral deities --judge between us.

Laban equated Abraham's God with Nahor's gods. Big mistake. Not all gods are equal. But to a man like Laban, one is as good as another.

● Gen 31:53b . . And Jacob swore by the Fear of his father Isaac.

No way was Jacob going to honor Nahor's gods with an oath. And speaking of that:

Here in America, the US Constitution protects religious liberty. However, the Constitution does not require American citizens to respect all religions equally. In our mind's eye, burning a holy book such as the Koran is no more destructive than burning yesterday's newspaper; and the First Amendment grants us the right to say so.

The US Government accommodates Arab feelings about Islam and the Koran because it is in the USA's national interests to do so. But I'm not a politician, nor do I desire to be one if it means compromising Christ's feelings about religions that propagate teachings different than his. (cf. 1Cor 10:25-31, 1Cor 16:22, and Gal 1:8-9)

Anyway, that ended the meeting and Laban went back to his own camp for the night.

● Gen 31:54 . . Jacob then offered up a sacrifice on the Height, and invited his kinsmen to partake of the meal. After the meal, they spent the night on the Height.

Jacob's sacrifice wasn't an 'olah (o-law') which is incinerated to ashes. It was a zebach (zeh'-bakh); which more resembles Passover, where the lamb is both an offering and a meal. So then, a biblical sacrifice isn't eo ipso something given up or destroyed, but essentially pertains to something dedicated; in this case: a festive dinner in Yhvh's honor.

You can bet that was a very happy occasion. Jacob's family was finally going to be rid of ol' MadDog Laban once and for all; and without violence too. Since a good part of the day was wrecked already, they stayed and planned on leaving the next day after an impromptu Thanksgiving dinner. Next hurtle: Big Red, a.k.a. Mr. Esau ben Isaac.
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Olde Tymer

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Re: A Journey Thru Genesis
« Reply #242 on: July 23, 2019, 08:52:04 am »
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● Gen 32:1 . . Early in the morning, Laban kissed his sons and daughters and bade them good-bye; then Laban left on his journey homeward.

Apparently nobody wanted to kiss Laban back, nor bid him a good-bye.

The old boy didn't altogether lack at least some affection for his family. But he surely realized they must have come to deeply resent him by now; and he was probably beginning to regret some of his actions. But Laban still couldn't bring himself to apologize to Jacob. That would have been just too humiliating, especially in front of all his kin; him being their paterfamilias and all.

No further mention is made of Laban nor his sons in the Bible. He has the distinction of being one of Scripture's most outstanding examples of a worldly, covetous man; grossly infected with an acute case of unbridled avarice, and completely void of genuine faith in the one true god.

He knew about Yhvh, and he was certainly given a thorough enough witness up at his ranch, and in his dreams. He had seen the reality of Yhvh in Jacob's life, along with the power of Yhvh in His blessings and protections of Jacob all those years. Laban himself had, as a consequence of associating with Jacob, enjoyed Yhvh's providence, and became wealthy on account of having Yhvh's man working for him on his ranch.

Nevertheless, Rebecca's brother remained a hard-core idolater/capitalist; seeking material gain for himself to the exclusion of all other considerations. Rather than seeking to follow only Yhvh, and gain the light of life, he merely envied, and resented, the blessings that God bestowed upon his son-in-law. Laban finally ended up with neither light nor blessings. Thus, Jacob and his community remained in association with The Light, while Laban and his clan melted into the darkness.

● Gen 32:2 . . Jacob went on his way, and angels of God encountered him.

Since the angels had nothing to say to Jacob, they obviously weren't there as messengers. I believe the angels came for an "effect". Here's what I mean.

Jacob's primary concern during his trip back to Canaan wasn't really his father-in-law's pursuit. His real concern was the inevitable confrontation with his brother Esau. The appearance of those angels very likely boosted Jacob's courage, and assured him God was still in the area and still looking out for his safety and making good on the promise at Gen 28:15.

Today, in our time, it's very unlikely to encounter celestial beings. But the messages we hear in church or in synagogue can do the job of boosting courage just the same if we but hear those messages through an ear of faith. Here's a good example.

In the third chapter of Isaiah, God predicted, through preaching, that terrible things were in store for Jerusalem. I mean really terrible things that would give you a bad case of butterflies in your stomach. You can imagine the effect that had on those who heeded what the prophet was saying. Well, God didn't want His believing followers worrying themselves that the impending doom was evident that God had tossed them aside, so this is what He said to them; through the preacher:

"Hail the just man, for he shall fare well; he shall eat the fruit of his works." (Isa 3:10)

God wanted His believing followers to know that although they would have to live through all those horrible judgments, it didn't mean they had lost His favor; they would just be collateral damage, so to speak. Well, Jacob can't escape his brother, but regardless of how it turned out; God would still be on his side.

Webster's defines "courage" as: mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty. Courage is an excellent virtue; and it's interesting who has it and who doesn't.

Fearless people aren't courageous. Scaredy cats facing their fears are the ones with courage. Fearless people are too often reckless and take foolish chances; whereas scaredy cats tread lightly. They're the ones with true valor; which Webster's defines as strength of mind or spirit that enables a person to encounter danger with firmness; viz: personal bravery.

Fearless people haven't a clue what bravery is. They wade into life afraid of nothing. Fearless people have nerves of steel; whereas those who face life with bravery, courage, and valor possess a different kind of mettle. They don't have nerves of steel; instead: they have resolve.

Well, Jacob was very nervous about meeting with his brother. His next adventure would take all the courage, and the valor, and the bravery he could muster. The appearance of those angels must have gone a long way towards beefing up his resolve to see it through.

● Gen 32:3 . .When he saw them, Jacob said: This is God's camp. So he named that place Mahanaim.

The word "Mahanaim" is from Machanayim (makh-an-ah'-yim) which means: double camp and/or two camps. One camp was Jacob's and the other was God's. Man and God, in friendly proximity, united in a common purpose. Too cool.
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Olde Tymer

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Re: A Journey Thru Genesis
« Reply #243 on: July 24, 2019, 08:28:48 am »
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● Gen 32:4 . . Jacob sent messengers ahead to his brother Esau in the land of Seir, the country of Edom,

The Hebrew word for "messengers" is the same word often used for angels. Since that word has such wide application, some have proposed that Jacob dispatched the holy angels on ahead to meet with Esau for him. Well, I think that might be stretching the imagination just a little too far. Jacob was in charge of his own camp, not God's, and there's no textual evidence to suggest otherwise.

Jacob had learned where Esau lived, and could have avoided contact with him if he wanted to. Esau's land was pretty far out of the way. His haunts were way down in Seir, a mountainous tract which runs along the eastern side of the Araba, once occupied by the ancient cave dwelling Horites.

If you have a map handy, it's in between the southern end of the Dead Sea and the northern tip of the Gulf of Aqaba. Jacob's destination was Shechem, in the vicinity of modern day Nabulus, up in the West Bank about 80 miles northwest of the tip of the Red Sea; as the crow flies.

● Gen 32:5a . . and instructed them as follows: Thus shall you say to my lord Esau: Thus says your servant Jacob:

Jacob instructed his servants to acknowledge Esau as Jacob's superior. It's true the patriarchy passed to Jacob, but he must have felt it was expedient to set that aside for now and approach his brother from the standpoint of their natural birth rank. Jacob never really desired to lord it over his brother, and there was certainly no reason to assert his patriarchal rank at this time[ most especially for the purpose of this particular reunion; which was to make amends for past grievances and to set the stage for Jacob's peaceable return to the neighborhood.

This show-down was a necessity. Jacob couldn't very well be looking over his shoulder all the time, wondering if Esau was around somewhere nearby drawing a bead on him. They had to get their differences smoothed out now before Jacob settled his family in Canaan. And this meeting was going to be difficult enough without invoking the prerogatives of royalty. No; it was better that Jacob met with Esau as his younger brother, and then go from there and see what happens.

● Gen 32:5b-6 . . I stayed with Laban and remained until now; I have acquired cattle, donkeys, sheep, and male and female slaves; and I send this message to my lord in the hope of gaining your favor.

The delegation's mission was merely to inform Esau that Jacob was back in town; and to make sure Esau knew that Jacob was not here for a fight. He was in fact inclined to seek Esau's good graces. Esau's initial reaction was probably an instinctive posture of self defense. Since it was predicted that the younger would rule the older, it may have appeared to Esau that Jacob was returning from Paddan-aram with a large body of fighting men to claim the covenanted boundaries, and to subjugate Esau under patriarchal rule as predicted in Gen 25:23.

● Gen 32:7-9 . .The messengers returned to Jacob, saying: We came to your brother Esau; he himself is coming to meet you, and there are four hundred men with him. Jacob was greatly frightened; in his anxiety, he divided the people with him, and the flocks and herds and camels, into two camps, thinking: If Esau comes to the one camp and attacks it, the other camp may yet escape.

Jacob quite naturally jumped to the conclusion that Esau still sought his death. From all appearances, it sure looked that way. So he followed a typical caravan tactic of dividing his troupe so that if Esau should attack the lead group, the one following would have a chance to escape while Esau was busy with the first. It would have been wiser to take up positions and wait for Esau to come to Jacob. But apparently, the local terrain wouldn't permit Jacob's assembly to scatter all over the place and thereby make it difficult for Esau to attack everyone at once.

● Gen 32:10 . .Then Jacob said: O God of my father Abraham and God of my father Isaac, O Lord, who said to me; Return to your native land and I will deal bountifully with you!

One can't help but admire Jacob's praying style. It's so practical-- no bombast, no pious rhetoric, no platitudes, no rote, and no siddur --just down to business, and right from the heart.

But what I really love most about his style is the appeal he makes to certain promises that God made to him. Jacob came to the point in his walk of faith where he realized that if God planned to make good on those promises, then He has to keep Jacob alive to do it; just like Abraham reasoned that God had to raise Isaac from the dead in order to keep the promises he made concerning him (cf. Heb 11:17-19) promises which, in reality, made Jacob just as bullet proof as they had made Abraham and Isaac.

● Gen 32:11-13 . . I am unworthy of all the kindness that You have so steadfastly shown Your servant: with my staff alone I crossed this Jordan, and now I have become two camps. Deliver me, I pray, from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau; else, I fear, he may come and strike me down, mothers and children alike. Yet You have said; I will deal bountifully with you and make your offspring as the sands of the sea, which are too numerous to count.

Jacob was given a promise, and he held God to it. It takes real spiritual fortitude to do that. In court, we commonly make people take an oath to tell the truth and then hold them to their word. And we notarize our legal documents so they become binding and carry some weight. So why don't we do the very same thing with God? Would He be insulted? No way! If only more people would hold God to his word like Jacob did. There's absolutely nothing wrong with that. As the writer of the book of Hebrews said; reliance upon God's testimony provides one with encouragement, and an anchor for the soul. (Heb 6:16-19)
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Re: A Journey Thru Genesis
« Reply #244 on: July 24, 2019, 09:50:50 pm »
.
● Gen 32:4 . . Jacob sent messengers ahead to his brother Esau in the land of Seir, the country of Edom,

The Hebrew word for "messengers" is the same word often used for angels. Since that word has such wide application, some have proposed that Jacob dispatched the holy angels on ahead to meet with Esau for him. Well, I think that might be stretching the imagination just a little too far. Jacob was in charge of his own camp, not God's, and there's no textual evidence to suggest otherwise.

Jacob had learned where Esau lived, and could have avoided contact with him if he wanted to. Esau's land was pretty far out of the way. His haunts were way down in Seir, a mountainous tract which runs along the eastern side of the Araba, once occupied by the ancient cave dwelling Horites.

If you have a map handy, it's in between the southern end of the Dead Sea and the northern tip of the Gulf of Aqaba. Jacob's destination was Shechem, in the vicinity of modern day Nabulus, up in the West Bank about 80 miles northwest of the tip of the Red Sea; as the crow flies.

● Gen 32:5a . . and instructed them as follows: Thus shall you say to my lord Esau: Thus says your servant Jacob:

Jacob instructed his servants to acknowledge Esau as Jacob's superior. It's true the patriarchy passed to Jacob, but he must have felt it was expedient to set that aside for now and approach his brother from the standpoint of their natural birth rank. Jacob never really desired to lord it over his brother, and there was certainly no reason to assert his patriarchal rank at this time[ most especially for the purpose of this particular reunion; which was to make amends for past grievances and to set the stage for Jacob's peaceable return to the neighborhood.

This show-down was a necessity. Jacob couldn't very well be looking over his shoulder all the time, wondering if Esau was around somewhere nearby drawing a bead on him. They had to get their differences smoothed out now before Jacob settled his family in Canaan. And this meeting was going to be difficult enough without invoking the prerogatives of royalty. No; it was better that Jacob met with Esau as his younger brother, and then go from there and see what happens.

● Gen 32:5b-6 . . I stayed with Laban and remained until now; I have acquired cattle, donkeys, sheep, and male and female slaves; and I send this message to my lord in the hope of gaining your favor.

The delegation's mission was merely to inform Esau that Jacob was back in town; and to make sure Esau knew that Jacob was not here for a fight. He was in fact inclined to seek Esau's good graces. Esau's initial reaction was probably an instinctive posture of self defense. Since it was predicted that the younger would rule the older, it may have appeared to Esau that Jacob was returning from Paddan-aram with a large body of fighting men to claim the covenanted boundaries, and to subjugate Esau under patriarchal rule as predicted in Gen 25:23.

● Gen 32:7-9 . .The messengers returned to Jacob, saying: We came to your brother Esau; he himself is coming to meet you, and there are four hundred men with him. Jacob was greatly frightened; in his anxiety, he divided the people with him, and the flocks and herds and camels, into two camps, thinking: If Esau comes to the one camp and attacks it, the other camp may yet escape.

Jacob quite naturally jumped to the conclusion that Esau still sought his death. From all appearances, it sure looked that way. So he followed a typical caravan tactic of dividing his troupe so that if Esau should attack the lead group, the one following would have a chance to escape while Esau was busy with the first. It would have been wiser to take up positions and wait for Esau to come to Jacob. But apparently, the local terrain wouldn't permit Jacob's assembly to scatter all over the place and thereby make it difficult for Esau to attack everyone at once.

● Gen 32:10 . .Then Jacob said: O God of my father Abraham and God of my father Isaac, O Lord, who said to me; Return to your native land and I will deal bountifully with you!

One can't help but admire Jacob's praying style. It's so practical-- no bombast, no pious rhetoric, no platitudes, no rote, and no siddur --just down to business, and right from the heart.

But what I really love most about his style is the appeal he makes to certain promises that God made to him. Jacob came to the point in his walk of faith where he realized that if God planned to make good on those promises, then He has to keep Jacob alive to do it; just like Abraham reasoned that God had to raise Isaac from the dead in order to keep the promises he made concerning him (cf. Heb 11:17-19) promises which, in reality, made Jacob just as bullet proof as they had made Abraham and Isaac.

● Gen 32:11-13 . . I am unworthy of all the kindness that You have so steadfastly shown Your servant: with my staff alone I crossed this Jordan, and now I have become two camps. Deliver me, I pray, from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau; else, I fear, he may come and strike me down, mothers and children alike. Yet You have said; I will deal bountifully with you and make your offspring as the sands of the sea, which are too numerous to count.

Jacob was given a promise, and he held God to it. It takes real spiritual fortitude to do that. In court, we commonly make people take an oath to tell the truth and then hold them to their word. And we notarize our legal documents so they become binding and carry some weight. So why don't we do the very same thing with God? Would He be insulted? No way! If only more people would hold God to his word like Jacob did. There's absolutely nothing wrong with that. As the writer of the book of Hebrews said; reliance upon God's testimony provides one with encouragement, and an anchor for the soul. (Heb 6:16-19)
_


Believe you got it a little 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 #245 on: July 26, 2019, 08:21:26 am »
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● Gen 32:14a . . After spending the night there,

No one knows yet just exactly where Mahanaim was located. According to a Jordanian tourism web site, it was north of the river W. Zarqa (N. Yaboq) up in some elevated ground a few miles east of Deir Alla. If your map doesn't show Deir Alla; then from 'Amman Jordan look northward to the W. Zarqa river and follow it west to its junction with the Jordan River. Deir 'Alla is about 3 or 4 miles northwest of the point where the W. Zarqa river meets the Jordan.

● Gen 32:14b-16 . . he selected from what was at hand these presents for his brother Esau: 200 she-goats and 20 he-goats; 200 ewes and 20 rams; 30 milch camels with their colts; 40 cows and 10 bulls; 20 jenny donkeys and 10  jack donkeys.

That's a total of 580 animals altogether. I don't know what each of those species are worth on the hoof at today's prices, but all combined; it has to be a heck of a lot of money. Especially for the camels. In Birqash Egypt, prices for camels vary from 100 to 1,200 US dollars. Jacob sent Esau 30 females with their calves. Even in the median price range, that's about 16,500 US dollars worth of dromedaries.


NOTE: Milch camels are the equivalent of dairy cows. Camel's milk is much more nutritious than that from a cow. It's lower in fat and lactose, and higher in potassium, iron and Vitamin C. It's normally drunk fresh, and the warm frothy liquid, heavy and sweet, is usually an acquired taste for the Western palate. Most Saudi Arabian camels are females reared for their milk in dairy herds.

● Gen 32:17-21a . .These he put in the charge of his servants, drove by drove, and he told his servants: Go on ahead, and keep a distance between droves. He instructed the one in front as follows: When my brother Esau meets you and asks "Whose man are you? Where are you going? And whose [animals] are these ahead of you?" you shall answer: Your servant Jacob's; they are a gift sent to my lord Esau; and [Jacob] himself is right behind us.

. . . He gave similar instructions to the second one, and the third, and all the others who followed the droves, namely: Thus and so shall you say to Esau when you reach him. And you shall add: And your servant Jacob himself is right behind us.

Some people have proposed that Jacob's tactic was an evidence of a lack of faith in God's providence. I don't accept that theory for one second! Here's a better way to look at it.

Supposing you were a university student with poor grades. So one night, in desperation, you pray and ask God to help you pass the finals. After prayers, you go to bed with all the confidence in the world that God will somehow pack all the information you need to pass the test into your brain cells while you're asleep. Next day you fail the test. You know why? Duh! You didn't prepare for it.

When men praise the Lord in battle, they should also pass the ammunition; and when a farmer prays for a good crop, he should say amen with a hoe; and when people pray for a safe trip to grandma's house, they should put gas in the tank and check the oil, the water, and the tires, and fasten all the seat belts.

Never pray for success without taking some initiative to make all the sensible preparations in your power that are necessary to get it. If you do your part to the best of your ability; the odds are in your favor that God will do His part too; i.e. if He feels like it. Please don't ever take God for granted; that's just plain bad manners.

● Gen 32:21b-22 . . For he reasoned: If I propitiate him with presents in advance, and then face him, perhaps he will show me favor. And so the gift went on ahead, while he remained in camp that night.

The phrase "propitiate him" is from kaphar (kaw-far') which means: to cover (specifically with bitumen); figuratively, to expiate or condone, to placate or cancel. That is a very common word for atonement, and that is exactly what Jacob had in mind: to show his brother that he wished to reconcile their differences. (cf. 1John 2:2)

● Gen 32:23 . .That same night he arose, and taking his two wives, his two maidservants, and his eleven children, he crossed the ford of the Jabbok.

The Jabbok is in the country of Jordan and is a very loopy stream. It's path traces out a huge fish hook beginning in the hills near Amman; then goes about 7 miles northeast to Az Zarqa. From there it goes about 6 miles north to As Sukhnah, then about 7 miles northwest; passing by Al Qunayyah. From there it goes sort of west, drawing a pair of camel humps for about 10 miles to a lake near Jarash. From there it goes dead west for about 11 miles before turning southwest for ten miles to its junction with the Jordan River.

I'm sure Jacob's decision was mostly a security measure. If he waited till daylight to get his family across, Esau might show up unexpected while they were crossing and have the camp at a disadvantage. It was to Jacob's credit that he distanced himself from the women and children. If Esau and his men were coming for Jacob's blood, the mothers and their children would very likely get hurt in the fracas if Jacob were among them.

● Gen 32:24a . . After taking them across the stream, he sent across all his possessions. Jacob was left alone.

After helping his family to cross over, Jacob took some help and returned to the other side to gather up all their stuff. He stayed while they went on back over with everything and underwent a very strange close encounter of a third kind.
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« Last Edit: July 26, 2019, 08:23:53 am by Olde Tymer »

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Re: A Journey Thru Genesis
« Reply #246 on: July 27, 2019, 09:48:15 am »
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● Gen 32:24b . . And a man wrestled with him until the break of dawn.

There's been some speculation regarding not only the identity of this man but also his species. Some say it was the pre-incarnate Jesus Christ. Some say it was Esau's evil angel. Some say it was one of God's holy angels. And some say it was God himself in a human form. Hosea can help settle this.

"The Lord once indicted Judah, and punished Jacob for his conduct, requited him for his deeds. In the womb he tried to supplant his brother; grown to manhood, he strove with a divine being, he strove with an angel and prevailed-- the other had to weep and implore him. At Bethel [Jacob] would meet him, there to commune with him." (Hos 12:3-5)

There can be no doubt who Jacob communed with at Bethel. Jacob met Yhvh there on his way north when he left home. And he met Yhvh there again in Bethel after returning. The man that Jacob wrestled with that night was no evil angel, that's for sure; and Jacob very well knew it too.

How it is possible for Yhvh to appear in a human form? I don't know but He did it again in Moses' day. (Ex 24:9-11)

Their conflict shouldn't be construed as some sort of combat or an athletic event. It wasn't that at all. When Jacob perceived that the man was actually divine, he clutched and hung on; refusing to let Yhvh depart until He blessed him.

When my boy was little, sometimes he would cling to my ankles like a little boa constrictor and I would have to drag him around the room for a while before he'd let go. Well, that's what Jacob did. No one since has ever been so dogged determined with God like that. The angel was reluctant to bless Jacob for good reason: so Bible students could see just how much Jacob really valued spiritual things. Some people extol David's love for God, but I prefer to extol Jacob for his stubborn refusal to let go. It's easy to see now why God wanted the patriarchy for him instead of his brother Esau.

From the little we know about Jacob, I'm guessing that the one thing he valued most about God more than anything else was providence. We got a glimpse of that back in chapter 28 when Jacob said: "If God will be with me and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat and clothing to wear, so that I come again to my father's house in peace, then Jehovah shall be my God"

Juxtapose Jacob with Cain; the man who walked out on God. Well; not only did Jacob not walk out on God, but he refused to let God walk out on him. Jacob was a pretty amazing guy.

There is a really good story about a Gentile woman in the New Testament who was persistent with God like Jacob. Not quite as physical as he, but, in her own way, just as persistent nonetheless. (Matt 15:21-18)

Some people lose heart, and give up on God way too soon. It's not that He's stubborn and doesn't really want to bless, or that we have to somehow overcome His reluctance. No, that's not it. For some reason God is very pleased when we cling and show Him we mean business. Dogged prayer, like tough love, gets results and shows God we mean business and that we won't take "no" for an answer. Is God annoyed by that? Far from it. Compare the "persistence" parables at Luke 11:5-10 and Luke 18:2-8.

Many years prior to where we are now in Genesis, Jacob had a dream. He saw a staircase with Yhvh standing at the top. At the time, Jacob just gawked in awe; but were he to have that same dream at this point in his life, Jacob would have run up those stairs and tackled The Lord before He could get away. The man coming back down from the north isn't the same man that ran away from home. He's different.

● Gen 32:25 . .When he saw that he had not prevailed against him, he wrenched Jacob's hip at its socket, so that the socket of his hip was strained as he wrestled with him.

In spite of the injury, Jacob still hung on and refused to let go. The injury served a purpose. It wasn't to make Jacob let go; after all, the angel could just as easily broken both of Jacob's arms. The injury served to handicap Jacob, and force him to depend even more upon God's providence; and less upon himself.
_

 

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