I’ve added an addendum to the end of the notes today that is not included in the audio. Also, if you printed the notes out before 2022, it will not be in them, either. I have included it in red to make it easier to find. Thank you!
GOOD MORNING, SIBLINGS!
Today’s readings are Genesis 30-31
Have you printed out the month’s reading plan? It has a checklist and is a great way to make sure you haven’t missed anything. Click here to see them.
The twelve sons of Israel are almost all here! We have a surprise mention of a daughter as well. Think about it, we normally only see the births of males recorded. Of course, Dinah plays a key role in part of an upcoming tragedy so that is likely why she is mentioned. It is also likely that Jacob had many other daughters but they were not mentioned as they remained more or less background characters.
LABAN’S ATTITUDE! Oh my goodness, did you catch Laban’s attitude throughout today’s passages? He is not the type of man I’d like to be related to, that is for sure.
Jacob and the goats
Genesis 30:37-43 Then Jacob took fresh sticks of poplar and almond and plane trees, and peeled white streaks in them, exposing the white of the sticks. He set the sticks that he had peeled in front of the flocks in the troughs, that is, the watering places, where the flocks came to drink. And since they bred when they came to drink, the flocks bred in front of the sticks and so the flocks brought forth striped, speckled, and spotted. And Jacob separated the lambs and set the faces of the flocks toward the striped and all the black in the flock of Laban. He put his own droves apart and did not put them with Laban’s flock. Whenever the stronger of the flock were breeding, Jacob would lay the sticks in the troughs before the eyes of the flock, that they might breed among the sticks, but for the feebler of the flock he would not lay them there. So the feebler would be Laban’s, and the stronger Jacob’s. Thus the man increased greatly and had large flocks, female servants and male servants, and camels and donkeys.
What was the purpose of the sticks? I believe this is one of the stories where we might be missing a piece that those familiar with the culture of that time would take for granted, something that is so obvious they felt no need to explain it.
One suggestion I heard, which I feel does carry some weight of possibility, is that you’ll notice these striped sticks were placed inside the water trough. It is thought by some that when the females came to drink, they would linger longer or be focused on these sticks which would allow them to stay longer and the solid males could take advantage of this opportunity and mate with them. We are told that Jacob placed the sticks there only when the ideal stock came to drink so that would enable the best of the flock to reproduce. If you’ve ever been around farm animals or seen some of the things farmers have found that help them in raising them, this doesn’t sound too far fetched to me. But I want to reiterate that it is merely speculation, which is all we can do at this point. Do you have any theories? Talk about them in the discussion thread today if you’d like. Either way, it is important to know the real reason why this happened and that is that the Father made it so, as we learn when Jacob recounts his dream in the next chapter.
Genesis 31:10-12 In the breeding season of the flock I lifted up my eyes and saw in a dream that the goats that mated with the flock were striped, spotted, and mottled. Then the angel of God said to me in the dream, ‘Jacob,’ and I said, ‘Here I am!’ And he said, ‘Lift up your eyes and see, all the goats that mate with the flock are striped, spotted, and mottled, for I have seen all that Laban is doing to you.
Genesis 31:19 Rachel’s theft -There is a significant reason as to why Rachel took her father’s idols. It was tradition in Mesopotamia that whoever had possession of the family gods was the owner or inheritor of the family wealth. Recall how hurt the girls were at their father’s treatment, feeling as if he had sold them. Add to this the disrespect he showed time and again to their husband and it’s not so shocking that Rachel would take steps to ensure her own justice.
Rachel’s character- I have always thought of her as the beautiful girl that Jacob fell in love with. She’s held a romantic spot in my mind, but reading how she treated her sister time and again has recast her as her father’s daughter to some degree with me.
But the thing to remember is that these people are human. They have faults. And as I’ve said before, our Bible does not try to whitewash our spiritual ancestors.
And how many times in our lives, if someone were reading our story, would they find serious fault in our own behavior?
Time and again in YHWH’s word we see humans as fallible, making poor decisions, and the results of their life being directly related to whether or not they turned to YHWH or turned away from Him, whether they sought Him or sought the World. We see the consequences of these decisions as a clear and distinct lesson to us.
As we are reading these stories, we can either shake our heads at them or realize that we have been told this bit of history because we are prone to repeat it. The Bible is a mirror. Each of these lessons has an application in our own lives.
By the way, these are my own notes, my personal takeaways from these verses. Do you know who the sole authority is on YHWH’s Word? YHWH.
Test everything, hold tight to what is good. – 1 Thess 5:21
Obedience is not the root of our salvation, but it is the fruit.
May YHWH bless the reading of His word!