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Bible Study Notes on Genesis 33 – 20161201

Writing

Bible Study Notes

Genesis 33:1  “…Esau was coming…”
Esau had passed through all of the flocks and herds which Jacob had sent to meet him.  Jacob doesn’t know if Esau will greet him or try to kill him.

3  “…he crossed over before them…”
Jacob separated his wives and children, but he went before all of them to encounter Esau first.

4  “…Esau ran to meet him…”
Totally unexpected reaction.  Esau has apparently had a complete change of heart over the years.

11  “…take my blessing that is brought to you, because God has dealt graciously with me…”
Jacob is so relieved with Esau’s reaction, it brings joy to his heart.  He rightly gives glory to God for all he has and what God has done for him.

14-15  “Please let my lord go on ahead before his servant…What need is there…”
Not sure what Jacob was thinking in this exchange.  He obviously doesn’t want to continue on with Esau.  Commentaries suggest he realized how different he and Esau were, Jacob following after the leading of God, Esau following his own desires.  Now that there was peace between them, Jacob didn’t want anything to happen between them to upset that.

14-18  “…until I come to my lord in Seir…Jacob journeyed to Succoth…Jacob came safely to the city of Shechem…in the land of Canaan…”
Looks like he told Esau he would follow on to Seir, but instead went to Succoth for a time and then into the land of Canaan to Shechem.  Not sure why the change of mind.  He purchases land in Shechem, so he should have deed to the field that Abraham bought as a burial spot as well as this new parcel.

I hope you enjoy reading and studying His word.  May it accomplish what He desires.  Please feel free to comment or post questions.  Thanks for reading!

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Bible Study Notes on Genesis 32 – 20161129

Writing

Bible Study Notes

Genesis 32:1  “…the angels of God met him”
Doesn’t say if this was in a vision or dream or if Jacob saw the angels and they looked like the ones he had seen in his vision at Bethel years earlier.  Perhaps this was a reminder that God would keep His promises to him.

3  “…Jacob sent messengers before him to Esau…”
Pre-emptive measure to try and find out Esau’s state of mind regarding Jacob.  He also hoped to ease any tension by announcing his arrival.

6  “…four hundred men are with him”
Not what Jacob wanted to hear.  No explanation is given regarding the four hundred men, but Jacob assumes the worst.

11  “Deliver me, I pray, from the hand of my brother…”
Jacob knew where to turn when he realizes he has no options of his own.  He claims God’s promise which was given to Abraham and Isaac.

20  “…I will appease him with the present…”
Pretty slick idea.  God had greatly blessed Jacob for him to be able to provide such great numbers of animals.  Sending them a group at a time would cause them to overwhelm Esau as he came upon each.  Gift after gift should appease any hostility.

22  “…the ford of Jabbok”
Tributary of the Jordan on the east side.  North of Jerusalem and to the east.

24  “…a Man wrestled with him…”
Jacob is finally alone then God or His representative shows up.  Interesting that He chose to wrestle with Jacob.  Could have easily overcome him, but perhaps was getting Jacob to give his all in the fight.  Jacob had been assured of God’s promise and presence.  Would he give up at the appearance of conflict or stick with God?

28  “…Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel…”
What needed to be accomplished.  Jacob fought and didn’t give up.  He was given a new name showing the change from his former deceitful self to the one whom God could bless, one who trusted Him.

29  “…Why is it that you ask about My name…”
He may have won the fight, so to speak, but he wasn’t greater than his adversary.  And he was given a physical infirmity to keep his pride at bay and to remind him of the encounter.

30  “…I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved”
He understood the significance.  He received a blessing, but it was given to him, he didn’t overcome anyone to win it or earn it.

I hope you enjoy reading and studying His word.  May it accomplish what He desires.  Please feel free to comment or post questions.  Thanks for reading!

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Bible Study Notes on Genesis 31 – 20161128

Writing

Bible Study Notes

Genesis 31:1  “…heard the words of Laban’s sons…”
Jacob was still looking after Laban’s flocks.  He must have heard rumors among the servants he had who had mingled with Laban’s servants.  Or someone may have simply told him that they heard Laban’s sons speaking of him.  The rumors had a ring of truth as he also noticed Laban’s behavior toward him had changed and not for the better.

3  “…the LORD said to Jacob…”
Jacob wasn’t alone in all of this.  God had been watching.  The time had come for Jacob to return to Canaan.

4  “…Jacob sent and called Rachel and Leah to the field, to his flock”
Commentaries made discussion regarding Jacob calling his wives to the field.  Hard to know the reasons or his thinking, but it seems to me he had decided to leave and was preparing things.  His flock was a three day journey from Laban’s.  If his wives came to him he could be assured of privacy in speaking with them.  Considered that his current location may have been toward Canaan, and bringing the family out to him would have given him a head start.  But it appears Rachel went back to the house after speaking with him, so his location may not have been a factor.

7  “…changed my wages ten times…”
Bit of an exaggeration or figure of speech, but it makes a true point.  Laban was a selfish man who manipulated people to his advantage.

9  “…God has taken away the livestock of your father…”
Regardless of what Jacob was doing to try to manipulate the content of the flocks and herds, he did at least say that God was in control of it.  Hard to know how much he truly trusted God as he was such a schemer.  Man uses God to support his actions when he feels they need moral justification.  In his defense, God had spoken to him, so I give him the benefit of the doubt.

13  “I am the God of Bethel…”
Reference to God that was personal to Jacob.  God could have said the God of Abraham and your father, but He referred to Himself as the one who spoke to Jacob at Bethel.  It’s not enough to have parents with a relationship with God.  We must have our own with Him.

15-16  “…he has sold us, and also completely consumed our money…all these riches…God has taken…are really ours and our children’s…”
Can’t be sure of the feelings expressed here.  They could have just been presenting the situation in a matter-of-fact manner.  But I wouldn’t blame them for any hostility toward their father.  His actions toward them and their futures were inexcusable.  Not sure what the reference to our money is about except to say that Laban received goods and service from Jacob for Rachel and Leah, yet he used it on himself.  He didn’t give them anything as an inheritance.  A more caring father would have used the benefit he received from his son-in-law in payment for his daughters as a blessing to them.  Would have benefited them and not cost him anything extra.  That idea seems to be brought out in verse sixteen.

19  “…Rachel had stolen the household idols…”
Commentaries are unsure of what these were exactly and Rachel’s reasons for taking them.  Seems the people of God in the Old Testament always had a problem viewing God as the only true god.  They continued to have these little idols for some reason, some even to discern what Almighty God wanted.  He makes it clear to Moses that He doesn’t need any idol to assist in worship of Himself.

20  “…he did not tell him that he intended to flee”
Don’t blame him.  Laban always had an excuse for changing the conditions of the situation in his favor.  Best to just get up and get out.

Topics21  “…crossed the river…”
Must have been on the northeast side of the Euphrates.

22  “…on the third day…”
References were made to the fact that Jacob’s flock was three days journey from Laban’s, and that Laban was gone a distance away when Jacob left.  He must have been some distance away for it to take three days to get word to him.  I don’t see any messenger taking his time to deliver the news unless the message was just made in passing by normal contact.

24  “…God had come to Laban the Syrian in a dream by night…”
God was working both sides.  He could have easily controlled the situation from Jacob’s side only, but He showed Himself as God to Laban as well as sovereign over all.

27  “…I might have sent you away with joy…”
Might have, but I doubt it.  Laban had proven that he couldn’t be trusted.

29  “It is in my power to do you harm…”
Man always thinks he is something when he is nothing.  Our reliance on our perception of our own power is always misplaced.

32  “…Jacob did not know that Rachel had stolen them”
Proverbs says that a virtuous wife’s worth is far above rubies.  The heart of her husband can safely trust in her.  Women need to understand how very important that is.  I’m afraid many today ignore that in exchange for self importance.

34  “…Rachel…sat on them…”
She shows she learned deceitfulness from her father, unfortunately.

36-42  Nice little rant by Jacob, but he spoke the truth.

43  “…my daughters…my children…my flock; all that you see is mine…”
How you take this section depends on whether you give Laban any slack.  He could, as one commentary suggested, be showing some heart after Jacob’s rant and be simply stating his relationship to everything.  All of these people and things came from me, so how could I do anything evil against them.  He could also still be showing his selfish behavior and be trying to save face after Jacob’s rant.  I have a right to everything, but I’ll give it up to keep the peace.  Conniving people can give the semblance of reason and kindness when it fits their needs.  Regardless of Laban’s true feelings on the matter, God had spoken to him, so he was at least wise enough to do as he was told.

53  “The God of Abraham, the God of Nahor, and the God of their father…”
Interesting reference to God going back to before Nahor.  Gives credence to the idea that this family had stayed at least somewhat true to Almighty God since the flood.  Commentaries also suggested that Laban may have intended three different gods, the one of Abraham, the one of Nahor, and the one used by their fathers.  This could be why it states that Jacob swore by the Fear of Isaac, a direct reference to Almighty God.

I hope you enjoy reading and studying His word.  May it accomplish what He desires.  Please feel free to comment or post questions.  Thanks for reading!

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Bible Study Notes on Genesis 30 – 20161124

Writing

Bible Study Notes

Genesis 30:1  “…Rachel envied her sister…”
Having children was of major importance.  A woman did not feel complete unless she was able to perpetuate the line.  Rachel was already in competition with her sister over Jacob.  Not having children, especially when Leah was already having several, just made it worse.

2  “…God, who has withheld from you the fruit of the womb”
I’ve heard people say that childbirth isn’t a miracle, just a function of nature.  Yet man still cannot guarantee pregnancy or a full term birth.  God has been and always will be the final say on children.  Why He allows children to be born from rape or incest or into families where they aren’t loved and cared for is a mystery, but He is still in control.  Man is not.

3  “…Here is my maid Bilhah…”
Here we go again.  I wonder if Jacob knew the story behind Ishmael.  Considering they apparently didn’t see anything wrong with the practice, and his favorite wife is so upset with the situation, I would imagine he felt some pressure to go along with the idea, even if he had any reservations.  The patience of God with man never ceases to amaze me.

15  “…you have taken away my husband…Therefore he will lie with you tonight…”
Leah was the first married, so she had a right to expect Jacob to be a husband to her.  But she surely knew how Jacob felt about Rachel when she was joined to him.  He had probably split his time between all of them, perhaps more out of duty than anything else, but since Leah had not conceived in some time, he may have been spending more time with Rachel as reflected in Rachel’s statement of where Jacob would spend the night.

16  “…You must come in to me, for I have surely hired you…”
The situation lends itself to numerous jokes if it weren’t so tragic.  What should have been a joyful time of intimacy and reveling in God’s gift has become a duty and a labor, part of a feud between two sisters who were the victims of their father’s deceitfulness.

23  “…God has taken away my reproach”
Being childless wasn’t only a reason for feeling incomplete, it was also a social stigma.  While society doesn’t look down on childlessness as it once did, some women still feel the emptiness if they aren’t able to have children.

26  “Give me my wives and my children for whom I have served you, and let me go…”
Jacob’s term of service to Laban has ended.  He has fulfilled seven more years for Rachel.  The phrasing of his request brings questions.  Commentaries had only suggestions.  Some wondered if Laban still had some say and control over his daughters and their children even though he had given them to Jacob in return for his service.  I wonder if it was just a way of Jacob saying he had fulfilled his time so he wanted Laban to give him some type of material payment and send them off with his blessing.

30  “…when shall I also provide for my own house”
Here Jacob is bringing up the issue of material possessions.  He has been working for Laban for fourteen years, and all of the blessing that God has given Jacob has been going to Laban.  Now he needs to have his own possessions to provide for his family.

31-32  “…You shall not give me anything…removing from there all the speckled and spotted sheep…and these shall be my wages”
This was a little difficult to catch on first reading.  It sounds like Jacob is saying he will take all the spotted animals.  But if that were so, it would contradict what he said about Laban not giving him anything.  The phrase these shall be my wages is not referring to those already there, but to future ones that are spotted and speckled.  The idea was to remove all multicolored ones from the flocks and herds, and then any that are born from the solids that were spotted or speckled would be Jacob’s.  That way no one could say he had taken what was Laban’s.  Laban likes this as he probably figured there wouldn’t be many multicolored ones born to solids.  He pulls out the multicolored ones, gives them to his sons, then puts three days journey between himself and Jacob.  Probably between thirty and sixty miles depending on what they considered a day’s journey.

39  “So the flocks conceived before the rods, and the flocks brought forth streaked, speckled, and spotted.”
The action of putting streaked rods in front of the flocks and herds as they mated may or may not have had any influence on their offspring.  Commentaries had no explanation other than that it was believed that whatever a female was focused on when she conceived would be passed on to the offspring.  Jacob appears to have subscribed to this belief, but it is agreed that the primary, if not the only, factor was the providence of God.  He certainly used the occasion to build up Jacob’s possessions in fulfillment of His promise to him.

I hope you enjoy reading and studying His word.  May it accomplish what He desires.  Please feel free to comment or post questions.  Thanks for reading!

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Bible Study Notes on Genesis 29 – 20161122

Writing

Bible Study Notes

Genesis 29:1  “…came to the land of the people of the East”
Doesn’t tell us how long this journey was.  Commentary said it may have been several hundred miles.  May have taken a month to get there.

4  “…Jacob said to them…and they said…”
Obviously spoke the same language.  Probably not too surprising as the people he was looking for had common ancestors.

7  “Then he said, “Look…”
Seems odd from the text that Jacob, a stranger, would be giving commands to shepherds he has just met.  Commentary suggests it wasn’t as it reads.  Jacob, a shepherd himself, was inquiring why they were waiting to water their sheep when there was still so much day left.  The shepherds explained it to him so they obviously understood his question.

10  “…Jacob went near and rolled the stone from the well’s mouth…”
Sounds like a bit of showing off.  I believe he was trying to make an impression.

11  “…Jacob kissed Rachel, and lifted up his voice and wept”
Odd actions.  Not sure what to make of it.  Commentaries suggest the kiss was a greeting after learning Rachel was a relative and part of the family he was looking for.  The weeping may be of joy or relief that his quest is nearly complete.  Not sure why we’re not given more about Jacob’s exact state of mind, thus it’s hard to know what is going on in his head.

15  “…should you therefore serve me for nothing…”
Commentary suggests that guests would stay for only a few days before working to pay their way.  Jacob was apparently working for Laban while he lived in his house.

17  “Leah’s eyes were delicate…”
Different thoughts on what is meant here.  Had always heard it was a reference to bad eyesight.  Commentaries suggest it may have meant she had blue eyes or blear eyes, eyes made dim with tears from some issue.  All would have been considered a blemish which would make Leah less desirable than her sister Rachel.

25  “…What is this you have done to me…”
What a sorry state of affairs.  Jacob the trickster has come upon someone who is as deceitful as himself.  Laban blames his behavior on regional custom, yet never mentioned this custom to Jacob when he made the deal.  He should have given Rachel as a wife to compensate for his behavior, yet he is bold enough to require seven more years of labor from Jacob for something that is already his.

30  “…he also loved Rachel more than Leah…”
Hard to know what to think here.  It’s an absolute tragedy for a wife to be unloved by her husband.  Yet it’s understandable since Jacob never intended to wed Leah.  He was in love with Rachel.  The three of them were victims of Laban’s scheme.

31  “…the LORD saw that Leah was unloved, He opened her womb…”
Interesting statement and those following.  Commentary suggests it wasn’t a case of Leah being completely unloved, but loved less than Rachel.  And as she had four sons, Jacob was obviously having relations with her.  It’s hard to know the cultural issues in play here.  Perhaps it was a case of the women competing to obtain rank within the family structure, competition that should not exist at all.

35  “…she called his name Judah…”
The line through which would come the Messiah.  Interesting that God didn’t choose one of the sons of the favored wife, but one of the first one.

I hope you enjoy reading and studying His word.  May it accomplish what He desires.  Please feel free to comment or post questions.  Thanks for reading!

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Bible Study Notes on Genesis 28 – 20161120

Bible Study Notes

Genesis 28:1  “…You shall not take a wife from the daughters of Canaan” It’s hard to know what transpired before now between Isaac and Rebekah and their sons.  I wonder if they ever shared with them God’s work in their lives and how important it was that they follow Him.  I . . . → Read More: Bible Study Notes on Genesis 28 – 20161120

Bible Study Notes on Genesis 27 – 20161118

Bible Study Notes

Genesis 27:4  “…that my soul may bless you before I die” Passing on the birthright and blessing.  Commentary raised the question of whether Isaac was doing this even though he must have known God intended to pass on the promise through Jacob.  Hard to say.  Isaac may not have heard the . . . → Read More: Bible Study Notes on Genesis 27 – 20161118

Bible Study Notes on Genesis 26 – 20161115

Bible Study Notes

Genesis 26:1  “There was a famine in the land…Isaac went to Abimelech…” Commentaries suggest the name Abimelech is a title rather than a name.  Abraham had a covenant with an Abimelech of the Philistines earlier, so perhaps Isaac considered those in the town allies.  I wonder if he was also considering . . . → Read More: Bible Study Notes on Genesis 26 – 20161115

Bible Study Notes on Genesis 25 – 20161113

Bible Study Notes

Genesis 25:1  “Abraham again took a wife…” Much debate is listed in the commentaries as to when this occurred, before or after the death of Sarah.  Some are concerned that it had to be before since he would have been too old to have children.  Others say it had to have . . . → Read More: Bible Study Notes on Genesis 25 – 20161113

Bible Study Notes on Genesis 24 – 20161111

Bible Study Notes

Genesis 24:2  “…oldest servant of his house, who ruled over all that he had…” Probably Eliezer of Damascus that is mentioned in chapter fifteen.  Without a son, Abraham says he would be the heir.  Nothing is ever mentioned of strife or unfaithfulness in regard to him even though he surely knew . . . → Read More: Bible Study Notes on Genesis 24 – 20161111