GOOD MORNING, Siblings!!
Today’s readings are Genesis 27-29
How are you doing with your reading? Do you realize we are over halfway done with Genesis already?! WHEW!
Amazing things happen when you start to read the Bible like this. What once felt like a haphazard collection of random stories bursts forth as a cohesive timeline comes to life. Characters take on life and we are able to trace YHWH’s promise and His will as He orchestrates the very passage of time.
Are you beginning to see it? Things we once felt were hard to understand, when we commit to reading them for ourselves, begin to make sense in a way we never imagined possible.
We begin to notice details, recognize recurring characters, patterns, roles, and through it all the character of YHWH is revealed to us time and again.
When YHWH’s people commit to reading His Word, everything changes.
Details, details, details! It is amazing how much information can be put into so few words and today’s three chapters are another example of that.
Let’s dive in and swim around a bit!
Genesis 27 Chapter Notes
Isaac knew that YHWH had set aside Jacob to receive the rights of the firstborn but he clearly favored Esau and sought to follow his own wishes instead.
Clearly, Esau knew Jacob was to be considered firstborn as well as we read in Genesis 27:36 he says “He supplanted me these two times: he took away my birthright and here now he has taken away my blessing!”.
Jacob’s transliterated name is “Ya’akov”. Yes, that “Y” is pronounced as a y because there was no J sound in Hebrew. His Hebrew name is ג’קוב . Now, since we don’t have those characters in our alphabet we have to do something called “transliterate” his name. This means we find the closest sounding corresponding letters in our alphabet in order to take his name from Hebrew to English. From there, we get Ya’akov and then our modern translators decided to call him Jacob. Recall that Jacob and James (the book of James) actually share the same Hebrew name.
The birthright and blessing were two different things. Knowing he had no claim on the birthright of firstborn, Esau had sought to be blessed with an inheritance of wealth from his father.
Interesting note: Isaac was 137 years old at this time. He was around sixty years old when Jacob and Esau were born (Gen 25:26) so that would put Jacob and Esau well into their seventies at this point in history. Didn’t see that coming, did ya?
Rebecca’s deception: It would seem Rebecca favored Jacob whereas Isaac favored Esau. Regardless, YHWH was very clear in what was to be. As Isaac made known he was going to bless Esau, though, Rebecca used deception to ensure YHWHs will was done. Ironically, her deception was not necessary. All she had to do was to trust in YHWH. Instead, her son ended up running for his life and harboring guilt over his part in this for much, if not all, of his life.
Genesis 29 Chapter Notes
Pattern alert: Mesopotamia was Abraham’s birthplace and where he sent a servant to find a wife for his son, Isaac. Now, Jacob returns to the same place for the same purpose. (There are other patterns in today’s reading as well)
Gathering at the well – Wells were a big gathering place for folks in these days, especially country folks. People and animals needed water on a regular basis so outside of the cities, wells were a big center of society and social life. A well was usually owned by someone – either a dignitary or a local family. The large rock over the well would have served multiple purposes: To keep out critters and dirt and to prevent just anyone from coming around and getting the water unless the owner had allowed them to. Generally, people would bring their flocks to be watered and pay the owner for the water. The owner would then roll away the stone for them. It appears in Genesis 29:8 that the shepherds could have been waiting on the owner to arrive and do just that when Rachel appeared. The scene that plays out next feels almost comedic to me. While the other men are patiently waiting on the designated person or owner to roll away the stone, Rachel walks up with her father’s sheep. Jacob is instantly smitten and immediately rolls the stone away himself to water her flock.
Note: the kiss Jacob gave Rachel was most likely one of greeting, not of a sensual nature, as was the custom. We gotta get out minds out of the gutter!
The wedding deceit – ugh. It always comes full circle, doesn’t it? Jacob deceived his father and now his father in law has deceived him.
A word about Leah having weak eyes: This is a translation of a Hebrew idiom that many believe means she wasn’t very pretty whereas we are told Rachel was very beautiful. We can gather this is the probable meaning from the use of “but” right after we are told that Leah has weak eyes, BUT her sister is very beautiful.
Leah was the firstborn and by rights she would have been married off first. We don’t see a record of Jacob consulting YHWH as to which women he was to marry but it is easy to imagine YHWH chose Leah as Jacob’s first wife when we see that He immediately blessed Leah upon her marriage with many sons. Not only that, but her sons would go on to be the Levites, the line of priests specifically ordained by YHWH, and the line of Judah, YHWH’s special and set apart chosen people.
Interesting note: Levi is not pronounced like the jeans. Instead, it is pronounced “Leh-vee”. Don’t you feel cool now?
How long did Jacob REALLY have to wait to marry Rachel? Many people think he worked seven years, married Leah, worked seven more, and married Rachel. That’s not what the Bible says though.
The Bible says he worked seven years, married Leah, finished out their wedding week (seven days), and then married Rachel. From there, after he had married Rachel, he worked an additional seven years to fulfill his additional obligation. Crazy what we learn when we read it for ourselves!
And in other wedding news: Esau married an Ishmaelite (Genesis 28:9). The two rejected sons (Esau and a descendant of Ishmael) formed a union that will further set into motion a pattern of war and enmity between their descendants and YHWH’s people that will carry on through the return of Messiah. Hang onto your hats, folks.
Important events: The twelve tribes of Israel are being born!! Reuben, Simeon, Levi, and Judah are born in chapter 29. Eight more to go! They’ll be born soon so keep your eyes open.
Play the name game – If you want to dig around and go deeper, check out the meaning and significance of the name of each son of Jacob. Often, in reading the Bible, if we want to know more of what is going on in the context, the background, and the untold parts of the story we simply have to look at the meanings of the names of the key (and supporting) characters. This is can lend great insight anytime we want to dig deeper into a story or understand the character of a person, the state of mind of their parents at the time of their birth, etc.
Backtracking a bit: My husband got to our readings yesterday and wrote this comment in the Facebook group. It makes a very good point that I think is important for us all to realize when it comes to Bible translations:
Regarding: Genesis 25:18 Within the different Bible translations there seems to be quite a variation in the final half of this verse. Some translations such as the ESV state (about Ishmael’s death) “He settled over against all his kinsmen.” Others such as the NIV state “And they lived in hostility toward all the tribes related to them.” Some translations indicate no conflict at all such as KJV – “He died in the presence of all his brethren.” Or the CJB – “he settled near all his kinsmen”.
History shows us that there were and are still conflicts between Issac’s people (Israel) and Ishmael’s people (Arabs). That isn’t necessarily up for debate here. It boils down to what the original Hebrew said and what the translators interpretation or assumed context was.
This is a prime example of some of the differences you may find in the translations. Christy and I will use many different translations as we study the Father’s word as there is no single translation that is perfect. As you walk through this study and learn more and more about the father, you’ll learn his characteristics and attributes. That (along with he Holy Spirit of course) will help you recognize the cases when you might need to dig a little deeper.
Below is a coffee chat I shared in the Facebook group in a past reading cycle. Whether you’re excited about what you’ve learned so far or feeling a little overwhelmed, this chat is for you.
Test everything, hold tight to what is good. – 1 Thess 5:21