Chapter 35 — We open the chapter with God having a conversation with Israel. In verse 3 he says “Then come, let us go up to Bethel, where I will build an altar to God, who answered me in the day of my distress and who has been with me wherever I have gone”.
God reminds Jacob/Israel of his name change. Just as when we become a new creation in Christ, Jacob now known as Israel has a new name before the Lord. He has a personal relationship with HIM. God is no longer JUST the God of Abraham, and Isaac…. But Israel is NOW calling God “El Shaddai” which is “God Almighty”!! I find that so wonderfully tender. Our God KNOWS we all need gentle reminders of even the good things.
If you have maps in your Bible or are printing the maps I’ve included be sure to mark on (or write in) the cities below. 🙂 It helps me remember things better.
Leaves Beersheba; Has vision in Bethel; Marries in Haran, works for Laban; Wrestles with God in Penuel; Builds house in Succoth; Builds altar in Shechem; Settles in Bethel; Buries Rachel in Bethlehem; Buries Isaac and Leah in Hebron; Settles in Beersheba; Dies in Egypt (later reburied in Hebron) Ephrath is Bethlehem, in Hebrew it means “place of fruitfulness” or “house of bread” in Greek. (Of course that is where Jesus will be born…”I am the Bread”). Some journey, right??!!
We are back at the very place God gave Jacob his dream of the angels ascending and descending into Heaven on the ladder. Jacob had nothing. God has completely fulfilled His promises to Jacob.
The beginning of 35 is so important; Jacob removes all false idols or “lucky charms” and builds an altar to the Lord. God reaffirms the Abrahamic Covenant with Israel (Jacob). This request to remove idols will not be the last time we hear about this. Idols are not necessarily statues or trinkets, they can be things we cling to in our hearts that keep us from giving all of ourselves to HIM. They separate us from HIM.
Verse 18 – Rachel, whom Jacob/Israel deeply loved, died giving birth to her 2nd son, Jacob/Israel’s 12th son. Rachel named him Ben-Oni (meaning “son of my sorrow”.) Jacob/Israel changed his name to Benjamin (meaning “son of the right hand”.) PHEW!! Glad he changed his name!!
Vs 21: Israel moved on again and pitched his tent beyond Migdal Eder. While Israel was living in that region, REUBEN went in and slept with his father’s concubine Bilhah, and Israel heard of it. RUT ROW!!! … NOOOO HE DID NOT!!! But… OH YES… HE DID!! We have seen Sin… consequence…. Sin…. consequence…. (oh wait…. That explains some things in my life… ouch!!) It’s definitely going to be a problem … but as with all sin …. The consequences may take a while to show up (if you are writing things on the chart with the 12 sons of Jacob/Israel concerning what they did and did not do…. Write this incident down. Remember that Reuben is the FIRSTBORN in this family and believe it or not ….. this WILL impact his BIRTHRIGHT (remember the first born usually would receive a double portion of the family inheritance and a place of leadership among his people). And remember how Jacob, now Israel, was able to get Esau to sell his birthright and then he lied (with the help of his mother) to receive the blessing from Isaac to confirm all he would receive. If you need to know now what happens to Reuben, rather than wait…look at your cross references, Genesis 49:4 and 1 Chronicles 5:1. Just because the consequence does not happen right away, it will happen.
We end the chapter with the death of Isaac and Jacob/Israel and Esau burying their father in Mamre.
Chapter 36 –I almost had a snooze fest reading over all the names of Esau’s (the Edomites) descendanzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz … oops… I’m awake, I’m awake!! 🙂 I KNOW God repeats them for a reason, but I had to read them aloud to stay focused. The first thing I noticed was in verse 2 Esau married the daughter of Ishmael. I know it’s early in the book but already I had to look back and say “Who is Ishmael again?” Remember Abraham took Hagar to have a son instead of waiting for Sarah to have Isaac. Ishmael is the father of the ARAB nation… ding ding ding go the bells in my head!! So on the other side of the family tree you have Ishmael’s daughter. I remember this now from Chapter 28 after marrying the Hittites (which wasn’t in the family line.)
“Do not marry a Canaanite woman,” and that Jacob had obeyed his father and mother and had gone to Paddan Aram. Esau then realized how displeasing the Canaanite women were to his father Isaac; so he went to Ishmael and married Mahalath, the sister of Nebaioth and daughter of Ishmael son of Abraham, in addition to the wives he already had.
Now…. Did you notice another interesting name….Vs 11..Eliphaz the Temanite! NOW we know why we read Job when we did. (It also makes sense where he got his bad advice from!) The last name in the Esau list of descendants that stood out was Amelek. Amelek will be the FIRST people to attack the Israelites coming out of Egypt.
Chapter 37 — OH how I LOVE the story of Joseph. However, he was a bit of a spoiled brat as a teenager. He didn’t mind showing off his “coat of many colors” nor did he mind taunting the brothers with his dreams of him ruling over them one day!! Jacob/Israel does not hide the fact that Joseph is his favorite (ring any bells???….. Isaac favored Esau and Rachel favored Jacob.) “Like father/mother like son!” The fields are near Shechem (a lot happens there). In verse 21 (after the brothers have plotted to kill Joseph) Reuben was trying to save Joseph. Maybe this is why that consequence didn’t happen right away for him sleeping with Jacob’s Concubine. God used him to spare Joseph’s life. Judah also had a hand at saving Joseph, but was really just picking the “lesser of two evils” when suggesting to sell him. Judah NEVER thought Joseph would survive in the hands of slave traders. Did you also notice that in verse 27 his brothers sold him to the ISHMAELITES!!! Ummmmm…. This is not looking so good…..
HOW will this turn out?????… stay tuned….. for tomorrow 🙂
Sharing HIS love,