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Author Topic: A Journey Thru Genesis  (Read 3080 times)

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Olde Tymer

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Re: A Journey Thru Genesis
« Reply #260 on: August 09, 2019, 09:58:27 am »
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● Gen 35:16b . . Rachel was in childbirth, and she had hard labor.

Rachel was no longer a spring chicken. Rueben, Jacob's firstborn, is now old enough to fool around with grown women. It's probably been in the neighborhood of 40+ years since Rachel's first meeting with Jacob back in chapter 29; when she was just a youngster of perhaps 15-20 years old at the time.

● Gen 35:17 . .When her labor was at its hardest, the midwife said to her: Have no fear, for it is another boy for you.

Rachel, no doubt remembered why she named her other son Joseph, back in chapter 30, while they were all yet still living up north with Laban. Joseph's Hebrew name is Yowceph (yo-safe') which is a mini prayer that says: May the Lord add another son for me. (Gen 30:24)

● Gen 35:18 . . But as she breathed her last-- for she was dying --she named him Ben-oni; but his father called him Benjamin.

A complicated delivery in those days typically ended in tragedy. People had no surgical skills nor tools and procedures to save either the mother or her child. The exact nature of Rachel's problem isn't stated. She could have experienced severe hemorrhaging, eclampsia, or maybe her heart just couldn't take the stress, and gave out.

Ben-oni possibly means: "A Son Born In Grief". But Jacob changed it to Binyamiyn (bin-yaw-mene') which possibly means: "The Son At My Right Hand".

Joseph, rather than Benjamin, became Jacob's favorite; and the only one of the twelve upon whom he could rely. (cf. Ps 16:8, Ps 110:1)


BTW: Benjamin holds the distinction of being the only one of Jacob's children born in the land of Canaan, i.e. he was a native son while the other boys were immigrants. Abraham was an immigrant too, having migrated from the area in and around what we know today as Iraq.

● Gen 35:19 . .Thus Rachel died. She was buried on the road to Ephrath-- now Bethlehem.

The postscript "now Bethlehem" indicates an editorial insertion by someone later; possibly a scribe or someone assigned the task of making copies; which was a perpetual task in the ages prior to the existence of modern papers, printing presses, and electronic storage media.

● Gen 35:20 . . Over her grave Jacob set up a pillar; it is the pillar at Rachel's grave to this day.

The pillar was probably just a pile of rocks, like a cairn. The phrase "to this day" indicates the day of the writer rather than the day upon which somebody in our own day might read this passage.

By the time of 1Sam 10:2-- roughly 1020 BC --Rachel's Tomb was a famous landmark. The traditional site, presently so-called, lies about four miles south of Jerusalem, and one mile north of Bethlehem. The current small, square shaped, domed structure isn't the original, but a relatively late monument. In 1841, the "tomb" was renovated, and in 1948 taken over by Jordanian invaders. Jews were barred from visiting it, and the area was converted into a Muslim cemetery; which was eventually liberated by Israelis in 1967.


NOTE: Loss of access to an important ancestor's grave site isn't just an archeological loss; it's a family loss.

When my father-in-law passed away in 2012 a step-daughter tried to  commandeer his body from the hospital so she could get him cremated and spread his ashes somewhere over the landscape in Arizona without the slightest consideration for the feelings of his blood kin who, except for my wife, all live on the East coast.

Well; thank heaven my wife and her sister intervened with the appropriate legal documents in the nick of time to take custody of their father's body before the step-daughter got away with her nefarious scheme. My father-in-law certainly deserved better than just discarding his ashes somewhere out in the desert. He was a pipeline engineer with the US Army on the Ledo Road (a.k.a. Stilwell Road) in the China/Burma/India theater in the second world war. His remains are now safely buried back East in the family's cemetery; where his real kin can come and visit him on occasion.
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Olde Tymer

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Re: A Journey Thru Genesis
« Reply #261 on: August 10, 2019, 08:29:13 am »
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● Gen 35:21 . . Israel journeyed on, and pitched his tent beyond Migdal-eder.

Although Israel is Jacob's spiritual name, it's also the name of his whole household (e.g. Gen 34:7) so that when Genesis says "Israel journeyed" it means everybody associated with Jacob was on the move.

An important technicality to note is that Abraham and Isaac were no more Israelites than Noah was. The name Israel began with Jacob, and was carried forward by his sons. In its infancy, Israel was a family name rather than the name of a nation that it is now. It might sound ridiculous, but in order for Abraham and Isaac to become Israelites, it would be necessary for Jacob to legally adopt them.

Migdal-eder is a compound word. Migdal can mean a tower, a rostrum, or a pyramidal bed of flowers. 'Eder is a proper name, of either a man or a place-name in Palestine. So Migdal-eder could be 'Eder's tower, which may not have even existed in Jacob's day but was a well known landmark in the author's.

Migdal appears only three times in Genesis: once here, and twice in chapter 11 in reference to the Tower of Babel. The tower in Babel was probably an elaborate ziggurat, but 'Eder's tower may have been something very rudimentary, quite simple to construct, and used for agrarian purposes-- e.g. tending herds; and watching for rustlers and predators --rather than especially for religious purposes.

● Gen 35:22a . .While Israel stayed in that land, Reuben went and lay with Bilhah, his father's concubine; and Jacob found out.

Bilhah was Rachel's maid, and quite a bit older than Reuben. She was also the mother of two of Reuben's half-brothers: Dan and Naphtali. Exactly why Reuben took an interest in Bilhah isn't stated. But, it's not like there was a shortage of girls his own age among the women in Jacob's camp. Jacob had a lot of hired help, and plenty of slaves too. If Reuben just wanted to sow some wild oats, it would have been very easy.

Reuben may have been interested in Bilhah for quite a while prior to this recorded incident; but was kept at bay by Rachel's oversight. Now, with her dead, and out of the way, the coast was clear for a carnal liaison. Exactly how Bilhah felt about the affair is not said; but may have been quite flattered by a younger man's interest; and who's to say she wasn't a cougar at heart.

One possibility, that seems quite reasonable, and actually makes much better business sense than the motions of a young man's passions, is that Reuben took a bold step to insure Rachel's maid Bilhah would not ascend to the position of favored wife over his own mom Leah.

He was surely aware of the sisterly rivalry between Rachel and Leah, since he was in the middle of a conjugal struggle between the two back in Gen 30:14-16; and he must have been fully aware of his mom's feelings over being switched on Rachel's wedding night. By sleeping with Bilhah, and thus "defiling" her, Reuben may have hoped Jacob would be sufficiently revolted enough by the affair so that he'd be inclined to avoid Bilhah from then on and turn his full attention upon Leah.

If the above is true, then it only goes to show just how heartless Reuben could be. His plan, if successful, would leave Bilhah in living widowhood, and the clutches of loneliness and sexual frustration for the remainder of her life. That very scenario was a reality in the case of David and his son Absalom. (2Sam 15:16, 16:20-22, and 20:2-3)

An additional possibility is that in ancient times, firstborn sons commonly inherited not only their father's estate, but also his wives and concubines. Reuben may thus have been claiming his future inheritance. But in so doing, he was, in reality, whether intentional or not, taking steps to depose Jacob; and thus gain immediate headship in the clan.

This seems likely because the boys really didn't think much of Jacob's competency. They went over his head in the incident at Shechem, and were disgusted with Jacob's lack of strong response to their sister's escapades: an episode which in reality disgraced the family of Israel. (Gen 34:30-31)

Whatever the true circumstances, and the motives, the thing Reuben did earned him Jacob's reprimand, and cost him the loss of his privileged position in the family (Gen 49:3-4). Reuben's birthright was transferred to Joseph (1Chro 5:1).
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Olde Tymer

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Re: A Journey Thru Genesis
« Reply #262 on: August 11, 2019, 10:02:02 am »
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● Gen 35:22b-26 . . Now the sons of Jacob were twelve in number. The sons of Leah: Reuben-- Jacob's first-born --Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, and Zebulun. The sons of Rachel: Joseph and Benjamin. The sons of Bilhah, Rachel's maid: Dan and Naphtali. And the sons of Zilpah, Leah's maid: Gad and Asher. These are the sons of Jacob who were born to him in Paddan-aram.

By the customs of that day, a maid's children sired by her mistress's husband, belonged to the mistress. So that Leah's children, counting Dinah, totaled nine; and those of Rachel: four.

Of the four mothers, only two can be proven biologically related to Abraham. The genealogies of the maids Bilhah and Zilpah are currently unknown and wouldn't matter anyway seeing as how in the Bible, it's the father who determines a child's tribal affiliation rather than the mother.

It's sometimes assumed that Jesus' mom Mary, and Zacharias' wife Elizabeth, were members of the same tribe seeing as how the New Testament says they were cousins (Luke 1:36). However, Elizabeth was related to Aaron, who himself was related to Leah's son Levi, while Mary was related to David, who himself was related to Leah's son Judah. So Mary and Elizabeth were cousins due to the same grandmother rather than the same tribe.

● Gen 35:27 . . And Jacob came to his father Isaac at Mamre, at Kiriath-arba-- now Hebron --where Abraham and Isaac had sojourned.

Modern Hebron is located about 33 kilometers (20˝ miles) south of Jerusalem as the crow flies.

Although this is the first mention of a visit from Jacob since returning from up north, it probably wasn't the first instance: just the first one mentioned when his whole family, and the entire troupe-- servants and animals --came with him.

Isaac was around 135 when Jacob left home to escape his sibling's wrath in chapter 28. His eyes were going bad even then, and by now, many years later, Isaac was probably quite blind. Since there is neither a record of his reactions, nor of a cordial response to his son's visit; it's possible Isaac had gone senile as well as blind.

● Gen 35:28 . . Isaac was a hundred and eighty years old

At the time of Isaac's death, Jacob was 120 years old, having been born when his dad was 60 (Gen 25:26). When Jacob was 130, Joseph was 39 (cf. Gen 41:46, 53, 54; 45:6, 47:9). So that when Joseph was sold into Egyptian slavery at 17 (Gen 37:2), Jacob's age was 108; which was 12 years prior to Isaac's death. The insertion of Isaac's passing in the Bible record at this point, is sort of like a parenthesis because, chronologically, it's too soon.

● Gen 35:29a . . So Isaac breathed his last and died, and was gathered to his people, being old and full of days.

Christ said the very hairs of our head are numbered. Well . . so's our breaths. Finally, one day, after countless thousands, we inhale that very last one, and it oozes back out as a ghastly rasp.

While some people see a glass as half full, and others see as half empty; engineers see as overkill: viz: the glass is too big. Well . . in Isaac's case, the glass was full up to the top. On Sept 11, 2003, the actor John Ritter died of a torn aorta just one week shy of his 55th birthday. That is way too young to take your last breath. His glass wasn't full yet. With adequate health care, John Ritter may have lived another 25 years.

● Gen 35:29b. . And his sons Esau and Jacob buried him.

A death in the family often brings its members closer together than a birth. By this time, Jacob and his brother were older and wiser, had mended their fences, and were getting on with their lives; refusing to hold any grudges. Esau, I believe, by this time fully understood what happened concerning the stolen birthright-- that it was God's intention for Jacob to have it in the first place --and he was peaceably resigned to accept it.

After the funeral, Esau will begin planning to move away from the region; no longer having a paternal tie to the land wherein his father lived. It's not uncommon for children to settle within driving distance while their parents are living. But when your parents are dead, there's not much reason to stay in the neighborhood anymore-- and for some, it might be just the excuse they need to finally move away and start a new life elsewhere.
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Olde Tymer

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Re: A Journey Thru Genesis
« Reply #263 on: August 13, 2019, 11:15:28 am »
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Chapter 36 is mostly a genealogy, so I'm only going to do just twelve of its forty-three verses.

● Gen 36:1 . .This is the line of Esau-- that is, Edom.

Edom is from the Hebrew word 'Edom (ed-ome') which is the color red; and was the tag hung on him back in Gen 25:30.

● Gen 36:2-7 . . Esau took his wives from among the Canaanite women-- Adah daughter of Elon the Hittite, and Oholibamah daughter of Anah daughter of Zibeon the Hivite-- and also Basemath daughter of Ishmael and sister of Nebaioth. Adah bore to Esau Eliphaz; Basemath bore Reuel; and Oholibamah bore Jeush, Jalam, and Korah. Those were the sons of Esau, who were born to him in the land of Canaan.

. . . Esau took his wives, his sons and daughters, and all the members of his household, his cattle and all his livestock, and all the property that he had acquired in the land of Canaan, and went to another land because of his brother Jacob. For their possessions were too many for them to dwell together, and the land where they sojourned could not support them because of their livestock.

Just as Lot had done, Esau chose to migrate rather than remain and cause problems for Jacob. Some say Esau did this out of respect for Jacob's patriarchal position; but no one really knows why. Maybe Esau just thought the grass was greener elsewhere.

Esau had done well for himself in spite of his loss of the birthright: which would have given him the lion's share of Isaac's estate-- and with no tax complications; heirs in those days made out pretty good.

● Gen 36:8 . . So Esau settled in the hill country of Seir-- Esau being Edom.

Seir was the name of an oblong-shaped region extending south from the Dead Sea to the Gulf of Aqaba-- a.k.a. Idumaea. Seir includes the ruins of Petra, which were used as a movie set in a portion of the Indiana Jones trilogy.

● Gen 36:9-12 . .These are the names of Esau's sons: Eliphaz, the son of Esau's wife Adah; Reuel, the son of Esau’s wife Basemath. The sons of Eliphaz were Teman, Omar, Zepho, Gatam, and Kenaz. Timna was a concubine of Esau's son Eliphaz; she bore Amalek to Eliphaz.

Of all Esau's progeny, Mr. Amalek really stands out in the Bible as the father of a very disagreeable people. Keep in mind that all of Esau's clan, including Amalek, are just as much Abraham's biological kin as Jacob's family. (Deut 23:8)

During his journey with the people of Israel, after their liberation from Egyptian slavery, Moses was attacked by Amalek's clan. (Ex 17:8-16, Deut 25:17-19) Thus resulting in a perpetual curse upon the Amalekites as a people. An Agagite (descendant of Amalek, 1Sam 15:2-8) named Haman initiated a large-scale genocide against Israel in the book of Esther.

Haman's infamy is memorialized every year during the Jewish holiday of Purim. It's customary to boo, hiss, stamp feet and rattle noisemakers whenever the name of Haman is spoken in the Purim service.
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Olde Tymer

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Re: A Journey Thru Genesis
« Reply #264 on: August 14, 2019, 09:12:23 am »
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● Gen 37:1-2a . . Now Jacob was settled in the land where his father had sojourned, the land of Canaan. This, then, is the line of Jacob:

Genesis doesn't list a big genealogy right here like the one for Esau in chapter 36, but rather, it's going to "follow" the line of Jacob from here on in to the end of Genesis.

● Gen 37:2b . . At seventeen years of age, Joseph tended the flocks with his brothers, as a helper to the sons of his father's wives Bilhah and Zilpah.

Although "his . . .wives" is vernacularly correct; there's no record of Jacob actually marrying either of the two maids. They were his concubines in the same manner as Hagar when Sarah pushed her handmaid off on Abraham as a "wife". (Gen 16:4).


NOTE: Jacob was pretty much stuck with Bilhah and Zilpah because were he ever to emancipate them, he would forfeit any and all children the two servant women bore for him; which is exactly how Abraham disinherited his eldest son Ishmael. We talked about that back in chapter 21.

The words "as a helper to" aren't in the actual Hebrew of that passage. They're what is known as inserted words that translators sometimes employ to smooth out texts so they'll clearly say what the translators think the author meant to convey. Some translators insert the preposition "with" at that point, so the passage reads; "Joseph tended the flocks with his brothers"

Actually, Joseph was in charge of his brothers Dan, Naphtali, Gad, and Asher; who were all older than him. And it was he who was responsible to manage the flocks because the phrase; "tended the flocks" actually connotes he was shepherding the flock; i.e. Joseph was the trail boss.

Joseph's authority was also indicated by the "coat of many colors" that his dad made for him. The Hebrew word for "colors" is of uncertain meaning and some translators prefer to render it "long sleeves" rather than colors.

It seems clear that the intent of this special garment was as a badge of Joseph's authority-- sort of like a military man's uniform --and of his favored position in the family. Joseph may well have been the only one of Jacob's twelve sons that he could fully trust since, for the most part, the older men had proved themselves beyond control in the past.

The sons of Bilhah and Zilpah weren't really Joseph's full brothers, but half. The only full brother was Benjamin, and at this time, he was too young to go out on trail drives.

Genesis displayed a pretty bad case of sibling rivalry back in chapter 4, which led to a younger brother's untimely death. This case of sibling rivalry would surely have resulted in Joseph's untimely demise if God hadn't intervened to prevent it. It's really sad that the majority of Jacob's sons were dishonorable men; the kind you definitely don't want your own daughter bringing home to meet the folks.

Although Joseph was an intelligent boy, and a responsible person, he certainly lacked tact. His social skills were immature, and needed some serious refinement because he really had a way of boasting, and chafing his older brothers.

● Gen 37:2b . . And Joseph brought bad reports of them to their father.

Whether or not the "reports" could be construed as tattling is debatable. After all, Joseph, as trail boss, was directly responsible to Jacob.

It's been my experience that upper management doesn't want to hear those kinds of reports. All they want to know is whether or not the company is meeting its deadlines and operating at a profit. It's lower management's responsibility to manage the work force so that upper management can remain undistracted to do other things that are far more worthy of their time, their talents, and their attention. A lower manager who can't rectify personnel problems in their own department usually gets fired and replaced by somebody who can.

● Gen 37:3a . . Now Israel loved Joseph best of all his sons

Uh-oh! Doesn't that sound familiar? Isaac had his favorite too: Mr. Esau. There's nothing like favoritism to divide a family and guarantee it becoming an ugly environment festering with sibling rivalry, yet that is so human a thing to do. Put grown-ups in a group of kids and in no time at all, the grown-ups will gravitate towards favorites, and become merely tolerant of the others.

● Gen 37:3b . . for he was the child of his old age; and he had made him an ornamented tunic.

The "ornamented tunic" is all the same as what's usually known as the coat of many colors.

One might be tempted to think Joseph was Jacob's favorite son because of his love for Rachel; but Genesis says it was because Joseph was "the child of his old age". Well, Benjamin was a child of Jacob's old age too but not nearly as favored. So the real meaning may be that Joseph was a child of wisdom, i.e. the intelligence of an older man; viz: Joseph was smart beyond his years and thus more a peer to Jacob rather than just another mouth to feed.

● Gen 37:4 . . And when his brothers saw that their father loved him more than any of his brothers, they hated him so that they could not speak a friendly word to him.

Genesis doesn't say the brothers wouldn't speak a friendly word; it says they "couldn't".

Hatred does that to people. It just kills a person overcome with malice to be nice to the people they hate. They just can't do it. Their eyes narrow, their lips tighten, they look away, they become thin-skinned, their minds fill with epithets, they constantly take offense and can barely keep a civil tongue in their head, if at all, because deep in their hearts, they want the object of their hatred either dead or thoroughly disfigured and/or smitten with some sort of terrible misfortune.
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Re: A Journey Thru Genesis
« Reply #265 on: August 14, 2019, 07:53:55 pm »
.
● Gen 37:1-2a . . Now Jacob was settled in the land where his father had sojourned, the land of Canaan. This, then, is the line of Jacob:

Genesis doesn't list a big genealogy right here like the one for Esau in chapter 36, but rather, it's going to "follow" the line of Jacob from here on in to the end of Genesis.

● Gen 37:2b . . At seventeen years of age, Joseph tended the flocks with his brothers, as a helper to the sons of his father's wives Bilhah and Zilpah.

Although "his . . .wives" is vernacularly correct; there's no record of Jacob actually marrying either of the two maids. They were his concubines in the same manner as Hagar when Sarah pushed her handmaid off on Abraham as a "wife". (Gen 16:4).


NOTE: Jacob was pretty much stuck with Bilhah and Zilpah because were he ever to emancipate them, he would forfeit any and all children the two servant women bore for him; which is exactly how Abraham disinherited his eldest son Ishmael. We talked about that back in chapter 21.

The words "as a helper to" aren't in the actual Hebrew of that passage. They're what is known as inserted words that translators sometimes employ to smooth out texts so they'll clearly say what the translators think the author meant to convey. Some translators insert the preposition "with" at that point, so the passage reads; "Joseph tended the flocks with his brothers"

Actually, Joseph was in charge of his brothers Dan, Naphtali, Gad, and Asher; who were all older than him. And it was he who was responsible to manage the flocks because the phrase; "tended the flocks" actually connotes he was shepherding the flock; i.e. Joseph was the trail boss.

Joseph's authority was also indicated by the "coat of many colors" that his dad made for him. The Hebrew word for "colors" is of uncertain meaning and some translators prefer to render it "long sleeves" rather than colors.

It seems clear that the intent of this special garment was as a badge of Joseph's authority-- sort of like a military man's uniform --and of his favored position in the family. Joseph may well have been the only one of Jacob's twelve sons that he could fully trust since, for the most part, the older men had proved themselves beyond control in the past.

The sons of Bilhah and Zilpah weren't really Joseph's full brothers, but half. The only full brother was Benjamin, and at this time, he was too young to go out on trail drives.

Genesis displayed a pretty bad case of sibling rivalry back in chapter 4, which led to a younger brother's untimely death. This case of sibling rivalry would surely have resulted in Joseph's untimely demise if God hadn't intervened to prevent it. It's really sad that the majority of Jacob's sons were dishonorable men; the kind you definitely don't want your own daughter bringing home to meet the folks.

Although Joseph was an intelligent boy, and a responsible person, he certainly lacked tact. His social skills were immature, and needed some serious refinement because he really had a way of boasting, and chafing his older brothers.

● Gen 37:2b . . And Joseph brought bad reports of them to their father.

Whether or not the "reports" could be construed as tattling is debatable. After all, Joseph, as trail boss, was directly responsible to Jacob.

It's been my experience that upper management doesn't want to hear those kinds of reports. All they want to know is whether or not the company is meeting its deadlines and operating at a profit. It's lower management's responsibility to manage the work force so that upper management can remain undistracted to do other things that are far more worthy of their time, their talents, and their attention. A lower manager who can't rectify personnel problems in their own department usually gets fired and replaced by somebody who can.

● Gen 37:3a . . Now Israel loved Joseph best of all his sons

Uh-oh! Doesn't that sound familiar? Isaac had his favorite too: Mr. Esau. There's nothing like favoritism to divide a family and guarantee it becoming an ugly environment festering with sibling rivalry, yet that is so human a thing to do. Put grown-ups in a group of kids and in no time at all, the grown-ups will gravitate towards favorites, and become merely tolerant of the others.

● Gen 37:3b . . for he was the child of his old age; and he had made him an ornamented tunic.

The "ornamented tunic" is all the same as what's usually known as the coat of many colors.

One might be tempted to think Joseph was Jacob's favorite son because of his love for Rachel; but Genesis says it was because Joseph was "the child of his old age". Well, Benjamin was a child of Jacob's old age too but not nearly as favored. So the real meaning may be that Joseph was a child of wisdom, i.e. the intelligence of an older man; viz: Joseph was smart beyond his years and thus more a peer to Jacob rather than just another mouth to feed.

● Gen 37:4 . . And when his brothers saw that their father loved him more than any of his brothers, they hated him so that they could not speak a friendly word to him.

Genesis doesn't say the brothers wouldn't speak a friendly word; it says they "couldn't".

Hatred does that to people. It just kills a person overcome with malice to be nice to the people they hate. They just can't do it. Their eyes narrow, their lips tighten, they look away, they become thin-skinned, their minds fill with epithets, they constantly take offense and can barely keep a civil tongue in their head, if at all, because deep in their hearts, they want the object of their hatred either dead or thoroughly disfigured and/or smitten with some sort of terrible misfortune.
_


a long one today. plenty of wind

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 #266 on: August 15, 2019, 09:34:47 am »
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● Gen 37:5-8 . . Once Joseph had a dream which he told to his brothers; and they hated him even more.

. . . He said to them: Hear this dream which I have dreamed. There we were binding sheaves in the field, when suddenly my sheaf stood up and remained upright; then your sheaves gathered around and bowed low to my sheaf.

. . . His brothers answered: Do you mean to reign over us? Do you mean to rule over us? And they hated him even more for his talk about his dreams.

Considering the already hostile mood fomenting among his brothers, Joseph really should have kept the dream to himself. There wasn't any real need for the others to know about it anyway. It's said that silence is golden. Well, sometimes silence is diplomatic too.

● Gen 37:9-11 . . He dreamed another dream and told it to his brothers, saying; Look, I have had another dream: And this time, the sun, the moon, and eleven stars were bowing down to me.

. . . And when he told it to his father and brothers, his father berated him. What; he said to him; is this dream you have dreamed? Are we to come, I and your mother and your brothers, and bow low to you to the ground? So his brothers were wrought up at him, and his father kept the matter in mind.

As the family's prophet, Jacob's inspired intuition instantly caught the dream's message; though he was a bit indignant. However, Jacob didn't brush the dream off because his prophetic insight told him there just might be something to it.

Jacob interpreted the moon in Joseph's dream sequence to be Rachel; so one might ask: How could she be subject to Joseph while deceased?

Well; the mother element of the family of Israel at that time was a composite unity consisting of four biological moms-- Rachel and Leah, and Bilhah and Zilpah --not just the one. So the logical conclusion is that the moon's identity wasn't restricted to Rachel; there were still three moms remaining alive to represent the moon and thus fulfill Joseph's dream.

● Gen 37:12-14a . . One time, when his brothers had gone to pasture their father's flock at Shechem, Israel said to Joseph: Your brothers are pasturing at Shechem. Come, I will send you to them. He answered: I am ready. And he said to him: Go and see how your brothers are and how the flocks are faring, and bring me back word. So he sent him from the valley of Hebron.

A guy like Joseph is every supervisor's dream. When asked to do something, his response was; "I am ready."

Hebron (a.k.a. Hevron, a.k.a. Al Khalil) is still on the map. It's about 18˝ miles west of the Dead Sea, as the crow flies, and about 20˝ miles south of Jerusalem.

Shechem (a.k.a. Nablus) is still on the map too. It's about 48 miles north of Jerusalem; ergo: 68˝ miles north of Hebron.

So Joseph had a long ways to go. It's amazing that people pastured their herds so far from home in those days; but then it wasn't unusual for out-west cattle barons during America's 1800's to pasture cows that far; and even farther.

The Prairie Cattle Company once ranged 156,000 cows on five million acres of land. At 640 acres per square mile; that factors out to something like 7,812 square miles; viz: an 88⅜ mile square; which really isn't all that big when you think about it. It's a lot of area; but 88⅜ miles is really not all that great a distance for an automobile; though the distance around the perimeter would be something like 353˝ miles. At 55 mph it would take roughly 6˝ hours start to finish-- quite a bit longer on a camel and/or a donkey's back.

Personally, I would have been concerned about Joseph's safety more than anything else; but apparently nobody interfered with Jacob's family in those days (Gen 35:5) so they pretty much had carte blanche to graze wherever they liked in those parts.

● Gen 37:14b-17 . .When he reached Shechem, a man came upon him wandering in the fields. The man asked him: What are you looking for? He answered: I am looking for my brothers. Could you tell me where they are pasturing? The man said: They have gone from here, for I heard them say "Let us go to Dothan". So Joseph followed his brothers and found them at Dothan.

It's interesting that the man isn't on record asking Joseph who he was nor who his brothers might be. Probably everybody around Shechem knew Jacob's family personally because they had all lived around there for some time before moving south. In America's olde West, people knew each other for miles around because, quite simply, there just wasn't all that many people to know.

Dothan has yet to be precisely located. Some say it was about 12 miles north of Shechem; but that's really only an educated guess. Years later, Dothan became the stage for a pretty exciting event. (2Kgs 6:8-23)
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Olde Tymer

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Re: A Journey Thru Genesis
« Reply #267 on: August 16, 2019, 08:00:06 am »
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● Gen 37:18a . .They saw him from afar,

It's unlikely they would recognize Joseph's face from a distance but that coat of his probably stood out like a semaphore flag.

● Gen 37:18b-20 . . and before he came close to them they conspired to kill him. They said to one another: Here comes that dreamer! Come now, let us kill him and throw him into one of the pits; and we can say a savage beast devoured him. We shall see what comes of his dreams!

The brothers' display of intended cruelty to their own kid brother Joseph is shocking coming from the sacred patriarchs of the people of Israel.

I seriously doubt the brothers were intent upon ending Joseph's life only so his dreams wouldn't come true. That was just bombastic rhetoric. Truth is: they just hated him; simple as that.

Isn't it odd that when people hate someone they want them dead? How about maybe a beating instead? Why not throw hot coffee or scalding water in their face, or maybe singe their back with a hot steam iron while they're sleeping? Why death? Because death is all that will truly satisfy the human heart's hatred. Maybe nobody reading this will ever actually murder anybody; but that doesn't mean you aren't a murder. Wishing somebody would die, is the wish of a murderer's heart; and that's the plain truth of it.

"Whosoever hates his brother is a murderer" (1John 3:15)

The koiné Greek word for "brother" in that passage is adelphos (ad-el-fos') which refers to one's kin rather than to one's neighbor.

Hatred for one's kin doesn't make the hater guilty of murder; it's only saying that someone harboring hatred for their kin has the nature of a murderer. For example: if a lion never ate meat even once in it's life, it would still be a carnivore because lions have the nature of a carnivore. In like manner, if kin-haters never get around to killing the objects of their hate; they would still be murderers because they have the nature of a murderer.

"Out of the heart come murders" (Matt 15:19)
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Olde Tymer

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Re: A Journey Thru Genesis
« Reply #268 on: August 17, 2019, 07:27:51 am »
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● Gen 37:21-22 . . But when Reuben heard it, he tried to save him from them. He said: Let us not take his life. And Reuben went on: Shed no blood! Cast him into that pit out in the wilderness, but do not touch him yourselves-- intending to save him from them and restore him to his father.

The suggestion to murder Joseph was apparently discussed in private among only some of the brothers at first. When they attempted to bring Reuben in on it, he balked. Reuben, the eldest son, seems to be the one dissenting opinion in Joseph's case-- so far. Exactly why, is not stated; but even though he messed up by sleeping with his father's concubine; that doesn't mean he's okay with murdering his own kid brother.

No doubt Simeon and Levi had no reservations about ending Joseph's life on the spot; having already displayed malicious tempers and made their bones while handling their sister's scandal back in chapter 34. Reuben's balk seems honestly motivated by a sincere concern for his dad's paternal feelings. Reuben already hurt Jacob's feelings once before by sleeping with his concubine. I don't think he wanted to do that again.

● Gen 37:23-24 . .When Joseph came up to his brothers, they stripped Joseph of his tunic, the ornamented tunic that he was wearing, and took him and cast him into the pit. The pit was empty; there was no water in it.

Some of the brothers would have sorely loved to burn that "despicable" coat to ashes since it fully represented their kid brother's lording it over them.

The Hebrew word for "pit" is bowr (bore); and means a hole (especially one used as a cistern or a prison). Bowr is variously translated cistern, well, prison, dungeon, and sometimes a pit as bottomless; viz: an abyss.

The "pit" may have been one of two widely-known natural water tanks in that area. Some commentators believe the word "Dothan" means two wells, or two natural tanks; like the Terrapin Tanks in the 1948 western movie The 3 Godfathers with John Wayne and Ward Bond. I seriously doubt that experienced drovers like Jacob's sons would have dropped Joseph in a tank with water because if he were to die in there; his putrefying body would have contaminated it; thus rendering the precious resource unfit for drovers and their herds. Natural water sources were essential to the safety of both man and beast in those days.

Ancient Jewish commentators made the tank home to some lethal critters.

T. And when Joseph came to his brothers, they stripped him of his garment, the figured garment that was on him, and took and threw him into the pit; but the pit was empty, no water was therein, but serpents and scorpions were in it. (Targum Jonathan)

● Gen 37:25a . .Then they sat down to a meal.

Would you be comfortable sitting down to a meal while listening to somebody weeping and sobbing in the background? According to Gen 42:21 that's what Joseph's brothers did. He spent some of his time down in that tank begging for his life; and they just kept right on dining like he wasn't even there.

I read a story of the torture and mistreatment of captives in Sadaam Hussein's pre-invasion jails. This one poor Iraqi man was forced sit down upon the jagged neck of a broken glass pop bottle; and while the bottle filled with blood from his torn bowel, Iraqi police played a game of cards.
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Olde Tymer

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Re: A Journey Thru Genesis
« Reply #269 on: August 19, 2019, 08:24:41 am »
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● Gen 37:25b . . Looking up, they saw a caravan of Ishmaelites coming from Gilead, their camels bearing gum, balm, and ladanum to be taken to Egypt.

In our day, the Ishmaelites would be driving diesel trucks loaded with flat screen TVs, 501 Levi jeans, Nike sports apparel, Apple iPhones, and Doritos.

The gum may have been tragacanth, or goats-thorn gum, because it was supposed to be obtained from that plant.

The balm (or balsam) is an aromatic substance obtained from a plant of the genus Amyris, which is a native of Gilead. In point of biblical fact, Gilead was famous for its balm (Jer 8:22, Jer 46:11). Balms were of medical value in those days.

The ladanum was probably labdanum, (possibly myrrh), a yellowish brown to reddish brown aromatic gum resin with a bitter, slightly pungent taste obtained from a tree (esp. Commiphora abyssinica of the family Burseraceae) of eastern Africa and Arabia.

Gilead was located in the modern-day country of Jordan-- a mountainous region on the east side of the Jordan River extending from the Sea of Galilee down to the north end of the Dead Sea. It's about sixty miles long and twenty miles wide. Its scenery is beautiful; the hills are fertile and crowned with forests. It was on Gilead's western boundary that Jacob confronted Laban in chapter 31, and also on Gilead's western boundary where Jacob grappled with the angel in chapter 32.

The land of Gilead connected to a major trade route (spice road) from Turkey and Mesopotamia to Egypt; and all points in between. Quite possibly the Ishmaelites were following a track that would eventually take them right down the very road that Hagar had taken towards Shur on her flight from Sarah back in chapter 16.

The Ishmaelites were a blended people consisting of the families of Ishmael and Midian, who were Abraham's progeny (Gen 16:15, Gen 25:2). The two ethnic designations-- Midianites and Ishmaelites --are interchangeable (e.g. Gen 37:28, Jdgs 8:24, Jdgs 8:26). Since the Ishmaelites were Abraham's progeny, then they were blood kin to Jacob's clan; ergo: blood kin not only to Joseph, but also to all the rest of the people of Israel.

● Gen 37:26-27 . .Then Judah said to his brothers: What do we gain by killing our brother and covering up his blood? Come, let us sell him to the Ishmaelites, but let us not do away with him ourselves. After all, he is our brother, our own flesh. His brothers agreed.

Judah's alternative made good sea sense. There was always the risk that somebody might rescue Joseph out of that tank and he would then high-tail it for home and tattle on his brothers for what they did to him. With him an anonymous slave, miles and miles away in Egypt, everything would work out just the way most of them wanted, and the brothers would get a little something in return for Joseph's hide.

● Gen 37:28 . .When Midianite traders passed by, they pulled Joseph up out of the pit. They sold Joseph for twenty pieces of silver to the Ishmaelites, who brought Joseph to Egypt.

The money in this instance isn't by weight as it had been in the purchase of Sarah's cemetery back in chapter 23. This money is by the piece; of which the precise nomenclature and value are currently unknown. They could have been any size and worth; depending upon international merchant agreements in those days. Joseph was sold at a price that Moses' Law later fixed for juveniles. (Lev 27:5)

Incidentally, Christ was sold out for thirty pieces of silver (Matt 26:15) about which the Bible says was a "lordly" price. (Zech 11:12-13)
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Olde Tymer

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Re: A Journey Thru Genesis
« Reply #270 on: August 20, 2019, 08:13:04 am »
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● Gen 37:29-30 . .When Reuben returned to the pit and saw that Joseph was not in the pit, he rent his clothes. Returning to his brothers, he said: The boy is gone! Now, what am I to do?

Precisely where, and why, Reuben wasn't present when his brothers sold Joseph isn't stated.

Reuben wasn't privy to his brothers' scheme to sell Joseph so he innocently "informs" them of their kid brother's disappearance. Imagine his dismay to discover that they, of all people, sold their own blood kin into slavery! How in blazes is he supposed to explain that to his dad!?!

Reuben is so disturbed that he can't think straight; so his brothers, in their characteristic cold, calculating way, devise yet another nefarious scheme. They will stain Joseph's ornamental garment with blood and let their dad draw his own conclusions about it.

● Gen 37:31-32 . .Then they took Joseph's tunic, slaughtered a kid, and dipped the tunic in the blood. They had the ornamented tunic taken to their father, and they said: We found this. Please examine it; is it your son's tunic or not?

So without any explanation, nor details of the circumstances leading up to Joseph's disappearance, they let Jacob jump to his own conclusion. That is a very, very common, and very, very human way of perpetrating a lie.

● Gen 37:33-34 . . He recognized it, and said: My son's tunic! A savage beast devoured him! Joseph was torn by a beast! Jacob rent his clothes, put sackcloth on his loins, and mourned for his son many days.

This is the very first mention of sackcloth in the Bible. It's a rough, coarse material like burlap commonly used for packaging grain in bags. Though an inexpensive fabric, it's prickly and chafes the skin so it's not really suitable for undergarments. Exactly where Jacob got the idea to abuse himself like that is unknown; but it's common in the Old Testament: mostly donned as an outer garment rather than under.

If Joseph was "torn" then why was his tunic still in one piece? It's not uncommon for carnivorous beasts like grizzly bears to devour a portion of people's clothing right along with their flesh.

Well . . poor Jacob is so overcome with grief over the loss of his favorite son that his logic chip just simply overheated and crashed. People who are gravely upset sometimes have trouble finding their car keys even if they're right inside their own pants pocket.

● Gen 37:35a . . All his sons and daughters sought to comfort him

"sons and daughters" is somewhat ambiguous and can indicate not just Jacob's progeny, but every man, woman, and child in the whole family regardless of age with himself the paterfamilias of the whole bunch.

● Gen 37:35b . . but he refused to be comforted, saying: No, I will go down to the grave mourning for my son.

The Hebrew word translated "grave" is sheol (sheh-ole') and this is its first appearance in the Bible.

Sheol is sometimes translated grave, sometimes hell, sometimes netherworld (a.k.a. the world of the dead; viz: the afterlife) and sometimes not translated at all but left as-is in Hebrew; presumably to avoid controversy.

The New Testament equivalent of sheol is haides (hah'-dace) which is an afterlife place where all the dead go, both the good dead and the bad dead, and the young and the old regardless of age, race, religion, and/or gender.

The prophet Jonah went to sheol at some time during his nautical adventure (Jonah 2:2) a place that he described as the roots of the mountains (Jonah 2:6a). Well; the mountains aren't rooted in the tummies of fish; they're rooted down deep in the earth (Jonah 2:6b).

According to Ps 16:8-10 and Acts 2:22-31, Christ spent some time in sheol/haides while waiting for his body to be restored to life.

According to Matt 12:40, sheol/haides is in the heart of the earth. Well; Christ wasn't buried in the heart of the earth; he was buried on the surface in a rock-hewn tomb. So in order for Christ to be on the surface of the earth and simultaneously in the heart of the earth, he and his body had to part company.

● Gen 37:35c . .Thus his father bewailed him.

Sometimes it's really best to leave people alone and let them grieve through their loss. Many a well-meaning "comforter" has only succeeded in making matters worse by attempting to talk friends out of their grief with good-intentioned, but nevertheless; tiresome philosophical platitudes.

And people who stifle their grief are only forestalling the inevitable. One day, possibly when they least expect it, and quite possibly inconveniently, it will catch up to them.

● Gen 37:36 . .The Midianites, meanwhile, sold him in Egypt to Potiphar, a courtier of Pharaoh, and his chief steward.

Although slavery normally isn't regarded a blessing, in this case Joseph couldn't have been sold into a better situation. Potiphar was well-connected instead of just another plantation owner who would work Joseph to the bone; undernourished, inadequately housed, and poorly clothed.

Courtiers were typically royalty's personal assistants and performed a variety of duties. Potiphar was "chief steward". The Hebrew words means boss of the butchers; an ambiguous term which implies not just slaughtering and/or cooking animals for food, but also supervising capital punishments, and/or supervising Pharaoh's personal bodyguards along with the oversight of his own private jails; especially jails for political prisoners.
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