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Bible Study Guide
Put God first and watch Him work. Don’t ever think that anything is too big for God to handle and go at it alone. NOTHING on the face of this earth is ever too big for our King! Even if/though evil and wickedness upset your life, God will use them to bring about good. He knows what He’s doing so trust Him.
Jacob returns to Beth-el; deaths of Rachel and Isaac
Scripture in focus: Genesis 35
35:1 > God tells Jacob to return to Beth-el (House of God) where he should’ve returned to in the first place instead of Shechem. We find ourselves in difficult situations when we do not go where God tells us in the first place. I can testify to this as well.
35:2-4 > Spiritual preparations are made for the trip to Beth-el including bathing and changing into clean clothes and the putting away of idols which were perhaps taken from the temple of Shechem (34:25-26) and Rachel probably still had her father’s idols (31:19), but once Jacob set his heart on God once again, his family followed. His act shows the leadership role that men have within the family. The earrings had to go too, for they were probably linked with pagan significance.
When we become Christians, we should clean house for sometimes, there are other objects/items that elevate another god.
35:5-6 > The family traveled from Shechem to Beth-el with God’ protection.
35:7 > Jacob builds an altar in Beth-el calling it El-beth-el (God of the House of God) repairing his relationship with God. It’s like the prodigal son coming home.
35:8 > Soon after they came to Beth-el, Deborah died. She came with Rebekah as a companion from Haran (24:59) and seemed like a beloved family member. She was buried at the bottom of the hill/mountain on which Beth-el stood under an oak which was called Allon-bachuth (‘oak of weeping’) because of the mourning for her loss.
35:9 > Jacob has returned to his first love (Revelation 2:4-5), the relationship is restored, and he is blessed by God.
35:10-15 > God talks with Jacob:
- v. 10: In 32:28, Jacob was promised a new name: Israel. Here, God confirms it.
- v. 11: He is God Almighty. He is all we’ll ever need for He is sufficient. The nation and company God promised Jacob certainly came to pass in the nation of Israel (named after Jacob) and the 12 tribes of which were many nations. The kings God spoke of consisted of David, Solomon among others and especially the King of Kings.
- v. 12: The promised land (Canaan) will be given to Jacob in due time.
- v. 13: After conversing with Jacob, God departs.
- v. 14-15: Jacob set up a pillar of stones, poured a drink offering upon it (water or wine) and poured oil to make a covenant. Jacob establishes the name of the place as Beth-el.
35:16-17 > We’re not sure how long Jacob and his family stayed in Beth-el, but here, we see them heading for Ephrath (also called Bethlehem). And the time for Rachel to give birth came, but the labor was difficult. She was having another son and the midwife offered words of comfort through this difficulty.
35:18 > On her last breath, a dying Rachel named her son Ben-oni meaning ‘Son of my sorrow’, but Jacob named him Benjamin (‘Son of my right hand/strength’). Her prayer from 30:24 was answered, but all she found was sorrow instead of sweet victory. Her death is in fulfillment to the curse Jacob pronounced on the one who stole Laban’s idols in 31:32. Benjamin was Jacob’s last and 12th son.
35:19-20 > Rachel is buried near Bethlehem and Jacob erects a monument in her memory. In Matthew’s day, Rachel weeps at Ramah over the slaughter of the children in Bethlehem (Jeremiah 31:15; Matthew 2:16-18). This analogy of Rachel weeping is compared to the grief of Israel in exile.
Rachel’s Tomb has become a popular site of pilgrimage for Jews, Christians, and Muslims. The tomb is marked by a small white domed Ottoman.
Today, Jewish graves are covered with stones for they tend to place a stone whenever they visit a grave thus following Jacob’s example of placing stones on Rachel’s grave.
Stones on Jewish graves on the Mount of Olives, Jerusalem via Wikipedia
35:21 > Jacob spreads his tent in a place for his flocks, a mile from Bethlehem. It is the supposed place where the shepherds were watching their flocks when the angel came to them to report the birth of Christ (Luke 2:8). Edar means ‘flock’.
35:22 > Reuben was the firstborn, but because of his sin (incest), it cost him his birthright and he was replaced by Joseph (49:3-4; Deuteronomy 22:30; 1 Chronicles 5:1-2). This was a sin against the entire family.
35:23-26 > A list of Jacob’s sons chosen by God’s grace.
35:27 > Jacob finally makes it home after more than 20 years and he gets to see his father Isaac one last time before his death.
35:28-29 > Isaac lived to be 180 years old. He died in good old age and was buried by his twin sons, Jacob and Esau where Abraham and Sarah were buried. This is the last time we’ll see the brothers together.
Scripture in focus: Genesis 36
36:1 > An account is given of Esau who was surnamed Edom from the red pottage he dramatically sold his birthright for to his brother Jacob.
36:2-5 > Record of Esau’s wives, sons, and daughters. Bashemath means “fragrance”, Reuel “friend of God/God is a friend”, Eliphaz “God is gold/God is fine gold” and Adah “ornament/beauty”.
36:6-8 > Esau takes all of his possessions and moves into another country (Seir) for the land couldn’t contain both his and Jacob’s abundant blessings.
36:9 > The Edomites descended from Esau and they were neighbors to the Israelites (Numbers 20:21; Deuteronomy 23:7).
36:10-19 > An account is given on the sons of Esau. “Dukes” meant tribal leaders.
36:20-30 > The genealogy of Seir is accounted to show the ancient inhabitants before they were driven out and succeeded by Esau and his sons.
36:31-43 > A record of the Kings of Edom.
Until we all meet again to lift up our Savior, may peace be unto you in Jesus’s Name.
Up next: Joseph’s dreams upset his brothers.
^ With Benjamin’s birth, the 12 tribes of Israel were complete.
^ Bethlehem means ‘house of bread’. In Micah 5:2, it’s referred to as Bethlehem Ephratah.
* The Holy Bible
*** Images and GIFs via Google Search