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Genesis XXVIII: the deaths of Jacob and Joseph

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Bible Study Guide 

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Jacob blesses his sons

Scripture in focus: Genesis 49

49:1-2 > Jacob calls his sons together to pronounce a blessing upon each one. Israel was about to speak to his sons and he did not want them to only listen, but to take heed of what he was about to say.

49:3-4 > Being the firstborn, Reuben had claims to the inheritance rights of the firstborn, but he defiled it through pride and immorality by laying with Bilhah, the mother of his brothers Dan and Naphtali (35:22). « Thou shall not excel »: The birthright and the double portion was given to Joseph; Reuben had one. He did not excel in honor, wealth, riches, or in numbers (Deuteronomy 33:6) all because his eyes were set on temporal fleshy pleasures rather than on God. His tribe never did excel and no important person (judge, king, or prophet) came from the tribe of Reuben. 

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49:5-7 > The second-born son Simeon and the third-born Levi are also harshly reprimanded for their evil deeds. They used circumcision (their covenant with God) to cruelly kill and avenge the rape of their sister Dinah. This only brought shame and disgrace to the house of Israel. The tribe of Simeon became the smallest in the second census of Moses (Numbers 26:14), were left out from the blessing of Moses (Deut. 33:8) and shared territory with Judah later on (Joshua 19:1-9). As for the tribe of Levi, they were scattered throughout Israel and because of their loyalty to God and by His grace (Exodus 32:26), they became a priestly tribe and the Lord was their inheritance.

49:8-12 > Judah’s name signifies praise. David and Solomon were of this tribe as well as the Messiah Who is referred to as « the Lion of the tribe of Judah » in Revelation 5:5. Jesus is referred to as Shiloh, the name meaning, « He whose right it is ». This tribe prospered greatly and had the largest population in Moses’ census (Numbers 1:27; 26:22). Judah was greatly blessed in material abundance and their land was a wine-growing country (Song of Solomon 1:14). We can see Christ through the everlasting blessings of Judah!

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49:13 > The tribe of Zebulun was situated by the seashore (between the Mediterranean Sea and the Sea of Galilee) and benefitted greatly from the trade route, the Via Maris.

49:14-15 > The tribe of Issachar is compared to an ass for its strength and for also their use in farming. They were strong, yes, but they would enjoy the good of the land and not strive for it, hence why they were mostly always put into servitude.

49:16-18 > Dan signifies « to judge » and one such notable judge that came from this tribe was Samson. Dan shall be a serpent by the way: This was certainly a troublesome tribe for they introduced idolatry into Israel (Judges 18:30). In 1 Kings 12:26-30, Jeroboam set up an idolatrous golden calf in Dan and later on, Dan, unfortunately, became a center of idol worship (Amos 8:14). Dan was left out of the listing of tribes regarding the 144,000 in Revelation 7:5-8; however, it is the first tribe listed in the millennial roll call of the tribes in Ezekiel 48. « I have waited for thy salvation, O LORD. »: The salvation of Samson was a temporary one whereas the salvation of the Messiah is an everlasting one. Jacob was ready to rest in Jesus. 

49:19: The tribe of Dan was a warlike one and this tribe supplied many troops for David (1 Chronicles 12:14).

49:20 > The tribe of Asher (which signifies happy or blessed) occupied great land from Zidon to Carmel of the sea; from the great sea to Asor, and even to Naason. They were fruitful in oil, wine, and wheat.

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49:21 > Naphtali certainly give beautiful or goodly words for their land was in the key portion near the Sea of Galilee, where Jesus did much of his teaching and ministry (Matthew 4:12-16).

49:22-26 > Joseph was a type of Christ. Although he was shot at (The archers have bitterly grieved him), he was still a prosperous and fruitful bough. His strength came not of himself, but from God. Jacob listed 5 wonderful titles for God while pouring out his blessing over Joseph: The Shepherd; the Stone of Israel; the Almighty; the mighty God of Jacob and the God of your father

49:27 > The tribe of Benjamin was a warlike tribe. Examples can be found through Ehud in Judges 3:15-23; Saul (1 Samuel 9:1; 14:47-52) and Paul (Acts 8:1-3) who was a ravenous prosecutor. Mordecai and Esther were also from this tribe.

49:28 > Jacob concludes the blessings of his sons aka the 12 tribes of Israel.

49:29-32 > Jacob’s dying instructions are carried out later in 50:12-14. He was the last of the great patriarchs (of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob) although God rose up other great men to use after them. Bible scholars put Jacob’s death at ca. 1858 B.C.

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Joseph dies

Scripture in focus: Genesis 50

50:1-3 > Jacob is embalmed and mourned for 70 days among the nation of Egypt.  Embalming is not a Hebrew custom, but rather an Egyptian one. The Hebrews do not embalm but bury their dead. In this case, it was necessary to embalm Jacob in order for his corpse to be carried and buried in the land of Canaan.

50:4-6 > After the mourning period, Joseph seeks the Pharaoh’s approval to go up to Canaan to bury his father. 

50:7-11 > It was a grand and honorable funeral procession fit for a king. The Egyptians did this because of their love and respect for Joseph. There was a seven-day mourning period for Jacob at the threshing floor of “Atad”. Seven means spiritually complete. Abel-mizraim or “Mourning of Egypt » was so named by the locals perhaps due to seeing so many Egyptians, they thought it was an Egyptian who died.

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50:12-14 > Jacob is buried in the cave of the field of Machpelah by his sons and everyone returns to Egypt. 

50:15 > Seeing that Jacob was now dead and buried, Joseph’s brothers yet again developed another fear through guilt. They thought that Joseph hated them and he pretended to get along with them for the sake of their father and now that Jacob was dead, a new hatred was going to take root. In the following chapters, we’ll see how this is further from the truth.

50:16-18 > Joseph’s brothers concocted a story through fear and their guilty conscience. Their action causes Joseph to weep for they thought lowly of him. He had already forgiven them and put the past behind. In the 18th verse, the brothers decided to go for themselves and humbly fall before Joseph (37:9).

50:19-21 > « Fear not: for am I in the place of God? »: Here, Joseph reminds his brothers that he would not arrogate himself with the power and vengeance that belongs to the Almighty. Given his status in Egypt as a high-ranking official, his word would’ve been good as gold, but Joseph knew that he was not God. Besides, whatever evil man may bring against us, God uses it for good (Romans 8:28).

Joseph comforts his brothers through his word and showed compassion. He loved them, forgave them, and provided for them. He is a beautiful shining example of how we should live with our family, enemies, and neighbors. 

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50:22-24 > Every time I read these closing chapters of Joseph’s life, I tend to get a little teary-eyed. Joseph was basically the first person I admired greatly when I was younger and was first introduced to Bible stories in primary school. Had none of those events occurred in his young life, then the Messiah couldn’t have come forth (see additional notes below). So, Joseph lived to be 110 years old and saw his great grandchildren’s children. In his last days on this earth, Joseph was content and happy. 

50:25-26 > Joseph died as he lived: firmly trusting in God to carry out His promises. It was by faith that he trusted in things not yet seen. According to Hebrews 11:22, Joseph was never buried in Egypt, but he was put in a coffin for 400 or so years until it was taken back to Canaan by Moses (Exodus 13:19) and buried by Joshua at Shechem (Joshua 24:32).

Bible scholars put the death of this remarkable man at ca. 1804 B.C. 

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And this is where the Book of Beginnings ends. 

Up next: A look back…

Additional Notes/Recap

^ Reuben is a great example of how the first can be last (Matthew 19:30).

^ Even when forgiven, the sins of our past can come back to hurt/haunt us for they may carry dreadful consequences that we have to face for a lifetime as we saw with Reuben and Simeon and Levi.

^ Dan shall be a serpent by the way: Because it was the tribe of Dan that introduced idol worship to Israel, some Bible scholars think that « serpent by the way » suggests that the Antichrist comes from this tribe based on Daniel 11:37 and Jeremiah 8:16.

^ Joseph lived a remarkable life because he trusted firmly in God. Had his brothers never sold him, he would’ve never gone to Egypt. Had he not gone to Egypt, he never would’ve been sold to Potiphar. Had he not been sold to Potiphar, he never would’ve been accused of rape by Potiphar’s wife. Had she never falsely accused him, he never would’ve been put in prison where he meets the baker and the butler. Had he never met them, he never interprets their dreams, never gets to interprets the Pharaoh’s dreams, is never made Prime Minister, will never consult and save lives during the severe famine. Had he never gone to Egypt to go through what made him who he was because of God, then his family would’ve surely died from the famine in Canaan. Had this family ceased to exist because of death by famine, then the Messiah can’t come forth and Jesus never came. Now, take a moment and imagine, what if Jesus never came?

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Heavenly Father, we bless and thank You for sending Jesus Christ to die for our sins and to give us hope. We also thank You for Joseph and the role he played in allowing the Messiah to come forth through his faithful actions in Jesus’ Name. Amen. 

Reference/Aids

* The Holy Bible 

* bible-studys.org

* blueletterbible.org

* prayer

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Genesis XXVII: Israel dwells in Goshen

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Bible Study Guide 

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Joseph presents his brothers 

Scripture in focus: Genesis 47

47:1-4 > After his family arrives in Goshen, Joseph introduced five of his brothers to Pharaoh so the King can ask them what questions he sees fit.

47:5-6 > Pharaoh gives them the best of the land. Also from his statement about wanting able-bodied rulers over his livestock, we can see that the Pharaoh had flocks, herds, and perhaps shepherds. Foreign shepherds who lived on plunder and up to no good were perhaps, an abomination to the Egyptians.

47:7 > After the introduction of his brothers and the granting of Goshen, Joseph presents his father Jacob who then blessed the Pharaoh. 

47:8-10 > Pharaoh enquires of Jacob’s age to which the reply was 130 years old. He also acknowledged that he was on pilgrimage for this world was not his real home. He then blessed the Pharaoh – perhaps wishing him happiness and thanks – and left the King’s presence.

47:11-12 > Joseph became his family’s only source of provision and supply after settling them down in Goshen (also referred to as the Land of Rameses in verse 11 although the first Rameses dynasty didn’t reign until 1319 B.C. Before the city was called Rameses, it was known as Tanis and before that, Avaris. In Psalm 78:12, 43, the region is referred to as Zoan).

47:13-14 > The famine was severe and the inhabitants of both Egypt and Canaan didn’t know what to do. During the earlier years of the famine, money was poured into the treasury of Egypt given that it was the only place to purchase food. Joseph took the money to Pharaoh for it belonged to him. It was with Pharaoh’s money, storehouses were built, corn was brought and men were employed to look after the corn and sell them.

47:15-17 > Due to the severity of the famine, Egypt and Canaan were bankrupted. With no more money to purchase provisions, the Egyptians approach Joseph for bread. A barter system was put in place: animals for grain.

47:18-20 > In time of national crisis, the government benefits the most. In what appears to be the 7th and final year of the famine, the people came yet again to Joseph, this time offering their land and bodies (as servants to the Pharaoh) in order to eat. Joseph bought all the land of Egypt for Pharaoh making him the sole proprietor. Now that the land belonged to the Pharaoh, the people would now pay rent as directed by law.

47:21 > Those that probably dwelled in towns and villages were moved to cities and those that dwelled in cities, Joseph moved them to provinces. The Egyptians were strangers in their own land. They were alive, yes, but they did not own anything in their name for everything now belonged to the wealthier Pharaoh.

47:22 > Priests in Egypt are sacred. They had to be pure in order to serve the gods and the King always provided their needs including food and land, so the priests did not have to sell their land.

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In Egypt, the Pharaoh was believed to be the mediator between the gods and mankind. And since he couldn’t perform ceremonies at all the temples, he appointed priests to carry out the rituals at each temple. 

47:23-24 > Joseph addresses the Egyptians concerning the land. A generous proposal was made in which the Pharaoh receives 20% from the produce of the land annually. This is the first record in Scripture of a national income tax.

47:25-26 > The Egyptians are grateful to Joseph and they agree with the new law regarding the land. Only the priests did not have to worry about paying anything since the Pharaoh assigns land (the first parts) to them so they were free of tax and tribute.

47:27 > The family of Israel grows rich and numerous.

47:28-31 > Jacob lived 17 years in Egypt and was now 147 years old. He saw the fulfillment of God’s promise of the Israel nation multiplying and now, the time of his death was at hand. He sends for Joseph and made him promise that he’ll be buried in Canaan and not Egypt. After Joseph promises to adhere to his wishes, Jacob bowed on the bed head to give God thanks. 

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Joseph brings his sons to Jacob

Scripture in focus: Genesis 48

48:1-2 > Sometime after Joseph conversed with his father and promised to bury him in Canaan, he gets word that Jacob is sick. Joseph takes his two sons to see their grandfather to hear his dying words and to also receive his blessing. When Jacob got word that his favorite son was coming to visit, his spirits revived and he sat upon the bed with the help of his staff (Hebrews 11:21). 

48:3-4 > Luz is another name for Beth-el. God had done MANY things for Jacob where it concerns both spiritual and temporal worldly blessings.

48:5-6 > Jacob adopts Joseph’s two sons as his. They were his despite having Egyptian blood. In a way, they were replacements for Reuben and Simeon, who lost the right to leadership and any form of status in Israel’s family because of their sin (34:25; 35:22). Ephraim and Manasseh would be two tribes for they would receive Rueben and Simeon’s birthright.

48:7 > Here, Jacob concludes his testimony.

48:8-10 > Jacob then turns his attention to his grandsons. He could not see plainly. He saw Joseph’s sons, but he couldn’t discern who they were clearly. He brought them nearer to him so he could have a better sight of them and bless them.

48:11-12 > Jacob had never hoped to see Joseph again – given that he thought his beloved son was dead – much less his beloved son’s offsprings. After reuniting with Joseph, he lived 17 more years. We’ll be with God for eternity!

48:13-14 > Given that Manasseh was the eldest by birthright, Joseph was placing him in front of Jacob’s right hand to receive the preferential blessing. Ephraim, being younger, was to receive the lesser blessing of the left hand. However, Jacob intentionally crossed his hands giving the preferential blessing to the younger for Ephraim would become a substitute name for Israel. Both tribes were blessed, but Ephraim was greater as a tribe and in Isaiah 7:8, 7:17, and Hosea 4:17, Ephraim became equal to the name Israel.

48:15-16 > Jacob then blessed Joseph. In v. 16, we get the first mention of God as Redeemer/Deliverer/Savior (« the Angel which redeemed me »). Also in v. 15, we get the first mention in the Bible of God as a shepherd to His people: « the God who had fed me » is literally « the God who has shepherded me » (blueletterbible.org).

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48:17-20 > It displeased Joseph to see the youngest receiving the superior blessing, but Jacob knew what he was doing because of the spirit of prophecy. Sometimes, the last shall be first and the first last (Matthew 20:16).

48:21-22 > The passing of the torch from Jacob to Joseph. I love how strong the recognition of God in Jacob’s life was: God was with him (28:15), He expected young Jacob to trust Him no matter the situation (31:3) and Jacob was able to give a beautiful testimony of God’s presence in his life (31:5). Now, Jacob was able to encourage others with the promise of God’s presence (48:21). 

Up next: The death of Jacob and Joseph

Additional Notes/Recap

^ Chapter 47 reminds me that we were bought with a prize. Thank You, Jesus! 💙

^ The right hand has always been the favored position in the Bible. The right hand signifies strength and skill. The right hand of God is a place of salvation and protection (Psalm 16:8) and God’s strength (Exodus 15:6). The bride of a King sat at his right hand (Psalm 45:9). Jesus Christ is always described as sitting at the right hand of God (Mark 14:62; 16:19). He sits at God’s right hand where He intercedes as a Priest for believers (Romans 8:34; Hebrews 8:1).

^ In 48:13-16, we see another example of the firstborn’s blessings given to the younger brother instead of the eldest. However, in this instance, there is no scheming or bitterness (Proverbs 10:22), as we read of in chapter 27.

Reference/Aids

* The Holy Bible 

* bible-studys.org

* blueletterbible.org

* prayer

***GIFs/Images that don’t belong to LPM are via Google Search (Right-click for original source)

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Genesis XXVI: Jacob learns that Joseph is alive.

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Bible Study Guide 

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Joseph makes himself known

Scripture in focus: Genesis 45 

45:1-3 > Emotionally charged, Joseph breaks down in front of everyone. He orders the Egyptians away from his presence and reveals to his brothers who he truly was. His brethren were sent into a state of shock that they were not able to say anything for a while. They were terrified for he was supposed to be dead years ago! They were probably anticipating the punishment to come thinking Joseph was after revenge. 

45:4-8 > Joseph gives his testimony about God’s divine intervention in his life. He did not hold a grudge or seek revenge for overtime (all the years he spent in Egypt) he realized that he was part of God’s plan to get the children of Israel into Egypt (via the famine) for 400 years. This was the fulfillment of that prophecy. v. 5, 7 & 8: « And God sent me » Joseph acknowledges that God was in control of his life and every situation and because of this, all things worked together for good.

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45:9-15 > Joseph tells his brothers to go home and to bring their father to Egypt to seek protection from the famine. In v. 9, he attributes his worldly grandeur, power and wealth to God and not Pharaoh and rightly so. V. 10: the land of Goshen was suitable for cattle, but it was loathed by the Egyptians. It was an Egyptian region not far from the court at Memphis, around the Wadi Tumilat, a valley that was about 40 miles long.

45:16-24 > Pharaoh blessed the sons of Jacob for Joseph’s sake. He was delighted that Joseph’s brothers had come and it had made Joseph so happy. I guess it’s safe to say that the news made the Egyptians happy for they were grateful to Joseph for his plan to keep them alive during the famine. 

45:25 > The boys arrive home safely and I can imagine Jacob’s joy at seeing them.

45:26 > They relate everything to their father and Jacob was speechless at the good news of Joseph being alive for he had been declared dead 22 years ago!

45:27-28 > The band of brothers told Jacob of Joseph’s achievements in Egypt and when he saw the magnificent wagons sent to carry him and his household to Egypt, Jacob’s countenance became cheerful for the son he was depressed over for so long was yet alive and well.  

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Jacob and family journeys to Egypt

Scripture in focus: Genesis 46

46:1 > Jacob stopped at Beer-sheba to honor God with sacrifices. Both Abraham (21:33) and Isaac (26:25) had erected altars there.

46:2-3 > God spoke to Jacob regarding the journey to Egypt bringing him assurance through a dream just as He did when Jacob was about to leave the Promised Land (28:12-17). God promised to make a great nation of Jacob in Egypt. Also, Jacob knew about the prophecy given to Abraham telling of the Israelites’ 400 years servitude in Egypt (15:13).

46:4 > « I will go down with thee into Egypt » this promise was enough to silence any fears Jacob might have harbored. After all, God is not limited to one place, He is EVERYWHERE! « I will surely bring thee up again«  This will be fulfilled after Jacob’s death since God is referring to the nation of Israel and not a person (Jacob). Egypt was never meant to be a permanent home for Israel. « and Joseph shall put his hand upon thine eyes » A promise of his beloved son caring for him until his dying day.

46:5 > Being encouraged by the beautiful promises of God, Jacob proceeds with his journey. 

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46:6-7 > They arrived in Egypt safe and well. Biblical historians put the date at ca. 1877 B.C.; the Israelites stayed in Egypt for 430 years until the Exodus in 1445 B.C.

46:8-27 > A genealogical register of Jacob’s lineage in Egypt. 70 people grew to be millions at the exodus. It only takes a little for God to work with. In Acts 7:14, it is recorded as 75 people entering Egypt. It is not wrong if you add 5 more sons or grandsons of Joseph born in Egypt according to Bible scholars.

46:28 > Judah, of the Messianic line, was sent ahead to inform Joseph of his father’s arrival and to direct him a meeting place in Goshen for Jacob needed directions to find the area.

46:29 > Father and son are emotionally reunited after over 20 years! Joseph held onto his father for a good while as he wept with joy.

46:30 > After seeing and touching the apple of his eyes, Jacob could now be content to die. But he lived after this emotional reunion 17 more years (47:28).

46:31-34 > Joseph informs his family about his plans to ask Pharaoh for the area of Goshen, a place separate from the mainstream of Egyptian society. Also, Joseph’s father and brethren are shepherds and he is not embarrassed by their occupation. Goshen was abandoned with good pasture. God has already provided the perfect place for His children to dwell in this foreign land. Goshen was also the nearest part of the land to Canaan and perhaps nearer to Joseph who might have dwelled at Heliopolis or On. 

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Up next: Joseph meets with Pharaoh and brings his sons to Jacob. 

Additional Notes/Recap

^ The famine lasted for 7 years. When Joseph revealed himself to his brothers in chapter 45, only 2 of the 7 years had come to pass thus far (45:11). These 7 years of famine is like the 7 years of tribulation about to come on earth, and like Joseph, we must be prepared.

^ Go back again to 45:18. Dwell on it. Can you see a type and shadow here in what Joseph was promising his brothers and what Jesus promises His own? Jesus is preparing a place for us (John 14:2-3) and He’ll see to our every need. There will be a river of crystal clear water and a tree that bears fruit every month of the year (Revelation 22:1-2). How can we not want this? Also, reread 45:20. When Joseph’s brethren were told not to use their material things as an excuse to stay in Canaan, I see this as God telling us to leave our earthly things behind if we want to begin a new (and eternal) life with Him. In 45:22, the change of clothes shadows that when we leave this earth, we will put on our white robes of righteousness (Revelation 19:7-8). In v. 24, Joseph warns his brothers to keep a strait path (cross-reference Matthew 7:14). In other words, do not make things of this temporal world cause you to stray.

^ Overall, Chapter 45 is a shadow of beautiful promising things to come!

Reference/Aids

* The Holy Bible 

* bible-studys.org

* blueletterbible.org

* prayer

***GIFs/Images that don’t belong to LPM are via Google Search (Right-click for original source)

Disclaimer

Publié dans Bible Study

Genesis XXV: The return to Egypt

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Bible Study Guide 

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Joseph entertains his brothers

Scripture in focus: Genesis 43

43:1-2 > The famine wore on in Canaan and the food eventually ran out due to the size of Jacob’s family (children, grandchildren, and servants). Jacob commanded his sons to return to Egypt to purchase more food. 

43:3-5 > Judah tries to convince his father to send Benjamin with them on the journey. Joseph is referred to as « the man » for Judah did not know who he was. 

43:6 > Jacob doesn’t want to let go of Benjamin for he was the child of his beloved Rachel and he was afraid that he’ll never see him again. He was very angry that the brothers told the man that they had another brother. 

43:7 > Judah explains to his father why they had to tell the man that they indeed had another brother. One can feel the yearning in Joseph’s questions.

43:8-14 > Judah takes responsibility for Benjamin by putting his own life on the line and Jacob finally caves in. In the previous chapter (42:37-38), Jacob rejected Reuben’s offer to see Benjamin safely to Egypt, but in verse 11, he finally accepted Judah’s offer because of the intense famine in the land. And not only that, he sends presents for the man hoping that Simeon will be released from prison and Benjamin returns safely to Canaan (as we see in verse 14). This takes me back to the time when he showered his twin Esau with gifts in 33:10-11 when they finally reunited.

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43:15-18 > The brothers return to Egypt with Benjamin and Joseph is excited to see them once again especially his little brother. He invites them to dine with him, but they were afraid when they were brought to Joseph’s house assuming the worst: the Egyptian official (Joseph) was going to imprison them for stealing money from him.

43:19-23: Before the brothers venture into the house, they explained about the money to the steward of Joseph’s house perhaps hoping that the steward will pass it on to Joseph, but the steward said « fear not: your God, and the God of your father, hath given you treasure in your sacks« . It was because of the goodness of God, they had the money back, but the brothers were so preoccupied with thoughts of making things right, they missed the steward’s reference to God, for Egyptians did not recognize God. Some Bible scholars say that the steward was Manasseh, Joseph’s eldest son. 

43:24-25 > The steward treats them as honored guests and they made ready to present the gifts to Joseph when he came home.

43:26-28 > Remember 37:9? Remember how Joseph said eleven stars bowed down to him? His eleven brothers were now together and they were bowing to him. His boyhood dream came full circle when he enquired of Jacob’s well being and the brothers made obeisance on their father’s behalf for Jacob probably sent his salutations. Jacob represents the sun; the brothers, the eleven stars.

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43:29-30 > Joseph speaks a blessing to Benjamin and overcome with emotion at the joy of seeing his full brother, he quickly fled the room and into his private chamber to weep. He didn’t want to give himself away as yet in front of his brothers for it was not time to reveal his true identity.

43:31-32 > After his cry, he washes his face and went out to dine. The tables are segregated for Egyptians and Hebrews never ate at the same table together. Due to his rank, Joseph ate alone at one table (despite his power, he still couldn’t sit with the real Egyptians), the Egyptians at another, and Joseph’s brothers at another table. The Egyptians considered themselves superior for they came from gods and it was an abomination to socially mix with foreigners.

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43:33 > Joseph sits his 11 brothers according to birthright from youngest to eldest. The brothers were surprised, but they still didn’t have a clue as to who Joseph was. As far as they know, Joseph was dead (44:20). But so MANY clues were given! I guess God had blinded them to the obvious clues for it was not time yet.

43:34 > “Benjamin’s mess”: Favoritism. Joseph remembers that his brothers had resented him for their father had favored him the most so he decides to test his brothers by showing favoritism to Benjamin by giving him five times portion more than his brothers. However, the brothers passed this test showing that they were not jealous of Benjamin, but Joseph was not done testing them as we’ll see in the next chapter. 

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Joseph further tests his brothers

Scripture in focus: Genesis 44

44:1-2 > Joseph commanded his trusted steward to fill his brothers’ sacks with food and to give every man back his money. He also instructed the steward to place his special silver cup in Benjamin’s sack. The test here was to see how his brothers will react towards Benjamin in a sticky situation; to see how they felt about him. 

44:3-6 > The next morning, the brothers set out for home, but their joy is shortlived when Joseph’s steward (with a small army of men perhaps) comes after them and accuses them of theft. Verse 5: whereby indeed he divineth. The purpose of a silver cup/chalice/goblet was used by Egyptians for divining, meaning to call on an evil spirit for advice. It is not certain that Joseph practiced divination; the statement could’ve been made to make his brothers think he was an Egyptian for a true man after God’s heart would not divine a cup.

44:7-10 > The brothers claim that they are innocent of thievery. They were also confident that one of them had the cup that they declared the thief to be put to death and the rest of them be taken as slaves.

44:11-13 > The cup was found in Benjamin’s sack where the steward had placed it of course. The brothers’ reaction was instantaneous: they tore their clothes in mourning portraying the pain they felt in their hearts. They were certain that Benjamin was going to be sentenced to a life of slavery in Egypt if not death. When Joseph was taken as a slave, the brothers involved batted their eyes and allowed it to happen, now, they were willing to stand with Benjamin as they returned with him to the city. What a significant change in character!

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44:14-15 > They returned to Joseph’s house where Joseph was waiting and fell in total submission before him to plead for Benjamin and Jacob. Joseph, still in disguise as an Egyptian in front of his brothers continue his act. 

44:16-17 > « God hath found out the iniquity of thy servants » Judah, as the family spokesman, admits that they had truly sinned when they had stolen Joseph’s freedom. He did not shift any of the blame to Benjamin showing Joseph how much their hearts had indeed changed. Joseph tells them that they can go on home except for Benjamin who was going to be his servant. He just wanted to keep Benjamin. 

44:18-32 >  Judah intercedes for Benjamin. He also mercifully pleads for his father speaking of Jacob’s delight in Benjamin. Judah tells Joseph the story in its entirety from the beginning reminding Joseph that he was the one who wanted to set his eyes on Benjamin when they returned to Egypt for food hence the reason why Benjamin accompanied them.  Judah’s compassion shows Joseph that his brothers’ hearts were turned around for the best and it overwhelms him.

44:33-34 > Judah lays down his life for Benjamin and his father out of love proving that he was not the same man twenty years earlier (37:26-27). This display of sacrificial love foreshadows what Jesus Christ eventually did for the entire world. Here, Judah was a type of Christ, from whose tribe he sprung. And just as Christ forgave all of us, Joseph eventually forgives his brothers. 

Up next: Joseph makes himself known

Additional Notes/Recap

^ Part of God’s plan was for Israel to be in Egypt for 400 years and it’s no coincidence that it started with Israel/Jacob entering into Egypt with his family. As we see in chapter 43, the Egyptians did not mix with foreigners. Before Genesis comes to an end, God took Israel and his family out of the corrupted Canaan and placed them among racially so-call superior people who did not see any reasons to mingle with them. However, God had sent Joseph on ahead to make the arrangements for this destined time during which His people increased to millions.

^ In 43:12, Jacob instructs his sons to take double money with them. There’s a Math problem in there somewhere. If ten brothers went to Egypt and they took double money with them, how much units of money were there? Answer: 20 units. Does this lead somewhere? Yes. Silver and money are the same interchangeably, and this answers EXACTLY to the 20 pieces of silver they sold Joseph for in 37:28 (blueletterbible.org). Our God is not a God of coincidence. He is very detailed when it comes to His plans. 

Reference/Aids

* The Holy Bible 

* bible-studys.org

* blueletterbible.org

* prayer

*** Images and GIFs via Google Search

Publié dans Bible Study

Genesis part XXIV: A lesson in repentance and salvation

In case you missed it:

Bible Study Guide 

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Jacob sends his sons to buy corn in Egypt

Scripture in focus: Genesis 42

42:1 >  »Why do you look at one another? » Jacob noticed that perhaps at the mention of the word « Egypt », the brothers looked at one another in a strange way. He wanted to know why, but they couldn’t tell him that they sold Joseph to Egypt; they lived with this terrible secret and guilt for 20 years. 

42:2 > The famine was not letting up and the only way for Jacob’s family to obtain food was to go into Egypt and buy it. 

42:3-4 > Ten of the eleven brothers obeyed their father’s order and immediately set out for Egypt. Benjamin was the youngest and Jacob’s favorite and he didn’t want anything to happen to him so he kept him away from the world.

42:5-8 > Prophesy of a young Joseph’s dreams are fulfilled from verses 9 and 37:5-11 when his brothers paid respect by bowing down to him. Joseph was now a mature adult and Egyptian in appearance and mannerism therefore, his brothers didn’t recognize him. Joseph knew them, though, and he was about to put them through a series of tests.

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42:9 > Joseph remembers the dreams he had when he was young. This was God’s doing. He recalled the dreams to Joseph’s memory to guide him accordingly. He was to be used as an instrument for the correction and restoration of the brothers (blueletterbible.org) and therefore, he had to keep his true identity under wraps for now… like a secret agent! He knew his brothers weren’t spies, but he didn’t want to break his role as ruler, so he accused them of being such to hear what they’ll say.

42:10-11 > The brothers replied that they all had the same father and therefore not likely spies.

42:12-13 > Still in character, Joseph accuses the brothers of espionage. The brothers knew they didn’t deserve this rough treatment. After all, they only wanted to obtain food and return home to their waiting father. Feeling the pressure to defend themselves, they told Joseph that they were 12 brothers, but « the youngest is this day with our father » (Benjamin) and « one is not » for they thought Joseph to be dead by now. If they only knew!

42:14-16 > If Joseph’s heart soared (after hearing that his father and youngest brother was still alive) and broke a little (hearing that his own brothers pronounced him to be dead), he did not show any emotion in front of them. He sticks to the spy accusation. Besides, he didn’t trust his brothers’ words when it came to Benjamin. He had to see Benjamin with his own eyes to make sure that they didn’t do something similar to Benjamin as they did to him. One of the brothers had to be elected to go back to Jacob’s house to bring Benjamin down into Egypt to make sure that they were telling the truth. 

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42:17 > Joseph gives the brothers a taste of the suffering he endured when he was brought into Egypt as a slave by putting them in prison. There, they’ll consult which brother will go up again to Canaan and bring Benjamin. Three days in prison (Joseph spent 3 years) was also enough to humble them and so, they were willing to do whatever Joseph demanded. 

42:18-20 > Joseph visits his brothers on the 3rd day to give orders. He feared God meaning that he did not want his brothers to fear him; he wanted them to trust him. If they were really honest men as they said they were, then they’ll do as he says. 

42:21 > The guilt returns tenfold! The brothers confer that they were guilty of the sin concerning their brother Joseph. After selling Joseph, they probably never talked of it again, but being imprisoned in Egypt for three days made them realized the error of their sin and it took twenty-two long years.

They’ve reached the first step to salvation by being convicted of their sins. Before we even ask forgiveness, we must identify our sins. 

42:22 > Reuben reminds his brothers that he told them not to lay a wicked hand on Joseph (37:21-22). They hearken unto him by not killing Joseph and although the Word does not say, it does seem probable that Reuben went out of sight from his brothers for a little while. Perhaps he took a stroll to try to figure how to get Joseph out of the pit and back home again when his brothers took Joseph out of the pit and sold him to the passing Ishmaelites.

42:23 > The brothers spoke freely thinking that Joseph was an Egyptian hence the reason he was using an interpreter, but Joseph understood every word which tumbled from their lips. See, in order for the relationship between the brothers to be restored, God had to work on their hearts so they can repent, be forgiven, heal, and move on. It probably grieved Joseph, but he had to let God have His way. 

42:24 > Overcome with emotion, Joseph wept. He knew this was God’s doing after hearing his brothers confess their sins and especially Reuben’s concern for him. After he composed himself, he returned to speak with his brothers. Simeon was kept as a hostage.

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42:25-28 > Joseph’s commands are carried out by a steward or deputy and the brothers – except Simeon – was sent on their way to Canaan. It was only when they stopped to take care of their beasts, that one of them opened his sack only to find his money restored. The money that he paid for the grain! Something was not right and their guilty conscience returned when they pondered “What is this that God has done to us?” 

Salvation is a free gift for everyone. We cannot buy it or obtain it by material means.

42:29-35 > The brothers return home and relate all that had befallen them while in Egypt to their father. And lo and behold! When every brother opened their sack, the money they paid to the steward was restored. Again, salvation is a free gift. We cannot buy it. Restoration is a joyful affair for all involved. Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit (Psalm 51:12).

With Simeon in prison and with the restored monies, the brothers must return to Egypt for they could be accused of thievery and Simeon could be hanged.

42:36 > Jacob thinks everything is against him. With Joseph presumed dead and Simeon in an Egyptian prison, he did not want to lose another son. Jacob indirectly blamed the other sons for Joseph’s death. Also, he was so overwhelmed, he only thought of himself and how his happiness and comfort was being ripped apart. As Christians, we were never meant to be comfortable. Joseph was certainly not comfortable when he was taken from the pit and sold into Egypt, but he approached the attitude differently. When bad things happen and our world is shaken up, instead of the « Woe is me » attitude, approach it as knowing the situation would work together for the good (Romans 8:28). Even if you cannot see it, trust God.

42:37 > As the eldest, Reuben spoke on behalf of his brothers. « Slay my two sons, if I bring him not to thee » he doesn’t mean that children should be killed, but he put the life of his two sons at stake to show his father that he would do everything in his will to make sure Benjamin returns home safe and sound. He takes responsibility for Benjamin’s safety.

42:38 > But Jacob refused to send his precious son into Egypt clinging to the fact (and blame) that Joseph was no more with him. His remark also showed that he didn’t care if Simeon spent the rest of his life in an Egyptian prison for he was not of Rachel. 

Up next: The return to Egypt

Additional Notes/Recap

^ I love discovering little nuggets in God’s Word and this chapter in Genesis brings it home where it concerns salvation and restoration. Joseph showed that when power is used properly, it benefits everyone. 

Reference/Aids

* The Holy Bible 

* bible-studys.org

* blueletterbible.org

* prayer

*** Images and GIFs via Google Search

Publié dans Bible Study

Genesis part XXIII: Pharaoh promotes Joseph

In case you missed it:

Bible Study Guide

God never forgets us, but yet, we tend to forget all about Him until that minute of need arises and we remember Him. Never start your day without God. The first thing you must do when you first open your eyes on mornings is to thank Him and engage in prayer with Him, for He must be the first Person we communicate with each day.

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Joseph interprets Pharaoh’s dreams and is promoted

Scripture in focus: Genesis 41 

41:1-7 > Two years after the chief butler is taken out of prison, the Pharaoh has two disturbing dreams startling him out of sleep both times. The river, he is standing by in the dream is the Nile. The Egyptians’ life revolved around this river and they worshipped it (of course!). Cows (kine) were also worshipped, so it’s no wonder the Pharaoh dreamt of cows. As for ‘corn’, the term is a generic term for any grain and the Egyptians used the cows to trample the ‘ears’ of the grain which would’ve looked something like this barley here:

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The Nile is the longest river in the world and it flows through 11 countries. Without this river, Egyptian civilization wouldn’t have existed due to the arid climate.

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41:8 > The next morning, Pharaoh sends for all the impressive magicians and wise men, but they, too, were astounded and couldn’t interpret Pharaoh’s dreams. Oh, the sorcery of those so-called dream experts! They’ve just set the stage for Joseph to enter into Egyptian history.

41:9-13 > The chief butler suddenly remembers Joseph and relates his dream account and experience to Pharoah.

41:14 > The timing of God is perfect. A few years passed, and Joseph must’ve been feeling neglected, for he was an innocent man imprisoned in a strange land. See, during the times that we may feel isolated from God or we’re continuously praying and seeing no results, these are the times God is working in/through us to develop our character, to transforming it into that of the image of Jesus Christ. During the time Joseph was in prison, God was doing just that for him and that’s why when it was time for Joseph to get out of prison, it was done quickly, for it was done in God’s timing (also see Psalm 81:5-7).

When we look back at a younger Joseph, he shared his dreams with his brothers in a self-glorifying way and standing before Pharaoh in the following chapters, we see how humbled he has become, and even wiser. 

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41:15-16 > Now, 30 years of age, Joseph stands before Pharaoh. He is given an opportunity to glorify himself, but he’ll have none of it, instead choosing to glorify God. A sharp contrast to the so-call Christian actors and singers we have lately who, when given the opportunity, shine the light on ‘self’. 

41:17-24 > Pharaoh tells Joseph his dream and we’re given additional details. In 41:4, we see the ill-favored and lean-fleshed cows eat up the fat and healthy cows and in 41:21, we see that despite eating the fat cows, the skinny cows remained the same instead of becoming fat.

41:25-32 > Joseph interprets the dreams telling the Pharaoh that the dreams are one and was repeated twice (in one night) for God was going to bring it to pass (v. 32). He reveals that the dream is a warning of severe famine, after seven years of good harvests.

41:33-36 > Joseph offers advice to the Pharaoh.

41:37-38 > Pharaoh approves the proposed advice and his servants were also in agreement. The Egyptians might not have understood the « Spirit of God » (the first mention of the Holy Spirit coming upon a man in the Bible) fully, but they knew that God had assisted Joseph.

41:39-44 > Joseph is promoted to a position of great authority. He is now the number two man in Egypt; the Vizier (Prime Minister) to the Pharaoh.

41:45 > « And Pharaoh called Joseph’s name Zaphnath-paaneah » Various proposals have been given for the meaning of Joseph’s Egyptian name, the top two being « The Salvation of the World » and « God Speaks and He Lives ». Joseph is also given Asenath as wife; she was the daughter of the priest of On.

The Egyptians were sun worshippers and in Joseph’s time, the centre of sun worship in Lower Egypt was the temple of Atum (see notes below about this deity) at On (later called Heliopolis by the Greeks). Two obelisks were originally erected at On by Pharaoh Tuthmosis III (c.1504 – 1450BC); they were called Cleopatra’s Needle and had nothing to do with Cleopatra. Today, those obelisks can be seen in Central Park, New York and on the Embankment in London.

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The Obelisk of On (Heliopolis) via Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco

41:46-49 > The seven years of plenty came to pass. It’s important to note, that, like Jesus, Joseph begins the Lord’s work at 30 years old, both on orders from God.

41:50-52 > Sons are born to Joseph, before the first year of the famine. The firstborn, he called Manasseh meaning « One Who Causes Me to Forget » for God made Joseph forget all his previous pain and trial. Ephraim means « Fruitful » for God made him fruitful in Egypt. His sons were given Hebrew names for although Joseph forgot his pain, he did not forget the faith of his fathers.

41:53-56 > The 7 years of the famine begins and it not only affected Egypt, but also in surrounding countries such as Arabia, Syria, Palestine, etc.

41:57 > All the neighboring nations came to Egypt to buy corn.

Fun Fact: Egypt was once known as the breadbasket of the world because of the Nile.

Up next: Joseph’s family comes to Egypt and his dreams of teenage years come to pass.

Additional Notes/Recap

^ The probable kings during Joseph’s period in Egypt – enslavement and rise to power – were said to be Khakheperre Senusret II/Sesostris II (ca. 1897-1878 BC) and Khakheperre Senusret III/Sesostris III (1878-1843 BC) which would’ve been the 12 Dynasty. I’ll love to do further research into this Dynasty! I’ll publish my findings at a later time.

^ Atum or Atem or Tem was also known as the great he-she was a creator god. He was the first and most important god to be worshipped in Iunu (Heliopolis, Lower Egypt) for the ancient Egyptians believed that Atum (the setting sun) rose from the waters of chaos (Nun) and created all the gods. Later, Ra (the rising sun) would become the main god. 

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REFERENCES/AIDS

* The Holy Bible 

* bible-studys.org

* blueletterbible.org

* prayer

*** Images and GIFs via Google Search

Publié dans Bible Study

Genesis part XXII: Joseph interprets dreams

In case you missed it:

Bible Study Guide

Let us continue to praise the holy name of our Lord. Let us sing hallelujah until He comes again. Let us lift up our voices to the sky and magnify our King! Jesus Christ is coming back again; never be afraid to let the world know.

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Joseph resists temptation; ends up in prison

Scripture in focus: Genesis 39

39:1 > So, the Ishmaelites brought Joseph to Egypt and sold him to Potiphar, an officer of the Pharaoh and captain of the guard (meaning that Potiphar was a highly trusted official in the Egyptian government).

39:2-3 > God was with Joseph. Even while he was a servant in Potiphar’s house, God blessed him tremendously. Although Potiphar might not have known Jehovah for he was a sun worshipper (Ra), he knew where the blessings came from. And just by seeing Joseph work honestly and diligently, Potiphar knew that Jehovah was real.

39:4-6 > Joseph now had favor with both God and man. Potiphar liked and trusted him so much that he made Joseph the head servant or steward of his house committing all his business to Joseph’s care. Remember, when Joseph first came to Egypt, it was foreign to him. He didn’t know any of the customs, the culture, or the language, so he had to rise early and stay up late to do his job and to also learn the ways of the Egyptian.  

All of this was setting the wheels in motion for something much bigger in Joseph’s future despite being a slave.

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39:7 > Joseph was said to be handsome in form and in appearance, so it was not long when he caught the roving eyes of Potiphar’s wife. « Lie with me, » said the predator to the prey. She tries to seduce Joseph into adultery, a sin God loathes. Some suggested that Potiphar was most likely a eunuch and the marriage was that of a ceremonial arrangement. But whether he was a eunuch or not, Egyptian women (in the ancient world) did not care for any code of morality. Even if they were married, they’ll seduce and sleep with whoever the eye desires.

39:8-9 > Joseph refuses her advances and tries to reason with her. He calls adultery a « great wickedness » and « a sin against God ». He told her that Potiphar has been nothing but good to him and he refused to partake in this wicked thing. He lets her know that although it might be alright with Potiphar, it wouldn’t be all right with God for a man should never share his wife.

We like to call sin by another enticing name, but Joseph calls it what it is: sin. 

39:10 > Potiphar’s wife persisted, though. Joseph’s reasoning went into her right ear and out her left. And as the days went by, she continues to make advances against him. But Joseph resisted the temptation. He had to tell her no EVERY DAY! proving that he was faithful to God in his actions. He knew that if he sinned, he would’ve sinned not only against Potiphar but also against God (Psalm 51:4). He also made sure to never be caught in her company alone as evidenced in the following verse.

Joseph was in the world (Egypt), but his faith and devotion in God helped him to stay on the right track and to kick temptation in the face.

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39:11-12 > « And it came to pass about this time » biblical scholars note that this could’ve been a year after the woman of the house began making her bold sexual advances towards Joseph. She made sure none of the men were in the house so she could trap Joseph when he came to do his business (inspect the accounts etc.). She ambushed Joseph, grabbing him by his garment, but he fled from the scene quickly leaving his garment behind. This is what we must do when faced with temptation: run as fast as we can away from the lust of the flesh! 

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When God provides a way of escape, take it. (1 Corinthians 10:13).

39:13-18 > Potiphar’s wife makes unjust sexual allegations against Joseph when she realized that Joseph had no intention in taking her up on her offer. Her lust turns to hatred and she eventually accuses Joseph of rape and Joseph has no way to defend himself for there wasn’t a witness present. This brings to mind Jesus’ silence before his accusers.

39:19-20 > Potiphar had no way of knowing that his wife was lying, but in his eyes, his wife was telling the truth for she had a piece of Joseph’s garment as « evidence ». He put Joseph in prison instead of killing him. Even throughout this « trial » God was protecting Joseph for he was innocent.

39:21-23 > Joseph prospers in prison because of God. He has been blessing Joseph throughout the trials he endured. The Lord was with him no matter what. As a slave in Potiphar’s house, Joseph learned the business side of things. While in prison, he gained insight into the administrative skills that would not only save his family one day but also the world. The work of the prisoners soon prospered because God was with Joseph.

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The butler and the baker

In this chapter, we see two dreams in one night by two men (the baker and the butler) while they’re in prison with Joseph who is 28 years at the time. But did you ever notice that dreams associated with Joseph came in pairs? Joseph dreamt 2 dreams, the butler and the baker’s dreams complemented each other and the Pharaoh had two dreams which also complemented each other.

Scripture in focus: Genesis 40

40:1-3 > Joseph meets the chief baker and the chief butler after they offended the Pharaoh. We’re not told what crimes they committed, but because of their occupations, we’ll have to go with food. And whether it was minor or major, the Pharaoh could care less. If he feels offended, he has the authority to throw anyone in prison.

40:4 > Although Joseph had a position of high ranking authority in prison he never misused his position, instead, using it to serve. Just as Jesus humbled Himself and served.

40:5-7 > Joseph was all about the people as we see from these verses. He was concerned about the baker and the butler instead of feeling sorry for himself. This paints a picture of how kind-hearted Joseph was.

40:8 > The men revealed that they’re sad because there was no one to interpret their dreams. Ancient Egyptians practiced the interpreting of dreams in order to foretell the future (oneiromancy) and they had their own dream interpreters, but Joseph let the men know that interpretations – and any foretelling of the future for that matter – belonged to God. Seeing that the men were disturbed by their dreams, Joseph invites them to relate their dreams to him for he was confident God knew what the dreams were about. 

40:9-11 > The butler gives an account of his dream. With keywords such as « vine » and « branches », this brings to mind John 15:1-17. Also, the 3 branches represented 3 days in this dream and it also foretold Jesus’ 3 days and 3 nights (Matthew 12:40).

40:12-15 > Joseph interprets the butler’s dream and it’s good. He requests the butler’s kindness, but the butler won’t remember him until the time was right which was God’s perfect timing: two years later.

40:16-19 > The baker is delighted with the interpretation and decides to tell his dream to Joseph also. His joy is shortlived, though. Now, imagine had the baker told Joseph his dream first and the butler decided not to tell his because of fear of bad news, how would he have known to mention Joseph’s name to the Pharaoh two years later? All things work together for good (Romans 8:28).

40:20-23 > Three days later, the Pharaoh celebrates his birthday by restoring the butler to his position and hanging the baker thus fulfilling Joseph’s interpretations. Also, this is one of two instances where birthdays are mentioned specifically in the Bible, the other being King Herod. Both kings made a feast and in both cases, a man was killed. The baker was hung and John the Baptist was beheaded.

Until we all meet again to lift up our Savior, may peace be unto you in Jesus’s Name. 

Up next: Joseph’s rise to greatness

Additional Notes/Recap

^ It certainly took Joseph a while (11 years) to reach to the top. When he was sold into slavery, he was only 17 years old (37:2). When he was promoted by the Pharaoh, he was 30 (41:46); before that, he was in prison for 2 years (41:1).

^ Butler literally means “cupbearer of the king” and he would’ve been the one to serve Pharaoh his drinks. 

^ Unless Joseph was moved to another facility, but reading chapter 40, we see that he was still imprisoned (40:3), the prison was called “the house of the captain of the guard” (40:3), “his lord’s house” (40:7), and a “dungeon” (40:15).

REFERENCES/AIDS

* The Holy Bible 

* bible-studys.org

* blueletterbible.org

* prayer

*** Images and GIFs via Google Search

Publié dans Bible Study

Genesis part XXI: Joseph dreams of greatness and is sold

In case you missed it:

Bible Study Guide

When you’re happy, pray. When you feel the weight of the world on your shoulders, pray. When blessed, stressed, in distress, mad, glad, sad, upset, over the moon, pray. No matter what we’re going through or the situation we’re in, always take time to pray for God loves and values our prayer relationship with Him. 

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Joseph dreams of greatness

Scripture in focus: Genesis 37

37:1 > Jacob continues to live in Canaan, at Hebron.

37:2-4 > We meet a 17-year-old Joseph, Jacob’s favorite child thus causing his brothers to resent him. They also view Joseph as a tattler for he carried their evil report their father. In these opening chapters, we can already see that this is a troubled family given that Jacob failed to learn his lesson where favoritism is concerned (25:28). He gave Joseph a coat of multi-colors. This colorful coat or long-sleeved robe or tunic set Joseph apart from his brothers.

37:5-8 > Joseph has his first dream and he told it to his brothers. They hated him even more for they thought he was full of himself. Even if Joseph didn’t understand the dream, they did, knowing that one day, little Joseph would reign over them. It involves sheaves of wheat meaning that his status over his brother will have to do with food as we see in later chapters.

37:9-11 > Yet, Joseph had another dream and he told it to his brothers once again and then his father. « Behold, I have dreamed a dream more; and, behold, the sun and the moon and the eleven stars made obeisance to me. » The sun was symbolic of his father, the moon his mother and the 11 stars were his brothers. It can also refer to Jesus coming from the Israelite nation (Revelation 12:1).

Jacob scolds Joseph not believing that his own flesh and blood would be elevated above everyone in the family. Yet, Jacob pondered over the meaning of the dream.

Joseph was having these dreams for he was chosen of God and God speaks to some people in dreams. Some dreams are not meant to be told to others and Joseph fell short of wisdom in this area.

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37:12-14 > Jacob’s sons fed his flocks in Shechem (50 miles north of Hebron) and they were gone quite some time so Jacob decides to send Joseph to check up on them.

37:15-17 > Joseph encounters a traveler and asks after his brothers and their flocks. The man directs him to Dothan, a place of two wells.

37:18-20 > Joseph’s brothers plot their revenge when they see him coming from a distance. They spitefully call him a « dreamer » and plot to take away his life while concealing the murder. When jealousy surpasses hatred, it can turn into murder. On top of it, they were going to sin further by lying to their father.

Dothan was a plain country located between the hills of Samaria and Mount Carmel, a thriving Canaanite city in Joseph’s day. It was a convenient site for merchants to use as the main trade route on their way to Egypt. Today, the site of the city is marked by Tel Dothan, a mound in the town of Jenin.

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Images of Dothan via Google Search

37:21-22 > Reuben was not included in the plot. However, he overheard it and was immediately against it. As the eldest, he felt that it was his duty to deliver Joseph out of the hands of his bloodthirsty brothers. He talked them into sparring Joseph’s life by proposing to throw him into a pit; his intention to rescue Joseph later and bring him back to their father.

37:23-28 > Joseph is stripped of his special coat as soon as he came upon them and cast into an empty waterless pit (Also reference Zechariah 9:11). His brothers might have thought that Joseph was at their mercy, but he was really at God’s mercy. On top of it, they sat down to have a meal while Joseph pleaded for them to let him go (see 42:21). Then, behold! A company of Ishmaelites came into play which would change the course of destiny for Joseph thus fulfilling God’s purpose for him. Had his brothers known that this was God’s will all along, they would’ve probably ignored Reuben and kill Joseph, but they wouldn’t have liked God’s vengeance! 

Judah proposes that instead of killing Joseph they sell him to the Ishmaelites. It seems that Leah’s sons (Reuben & Judah) had no intention in killing Joseph, but the sons of the handmaids really wanted to.

And Joseph was sold for 20 pieces of silver.

37:29-30 > Reuben was absent during the time of the sale. He was horrified to discover that Joseph was gone from the pit. He tore his clothes off as an expression of mourning for he thought Joseph was dead. His grief showed how much he really wanted to rescue Joseph back in verse 22. « whither shall I go? » Reuben is conflicted in his feelings. Should he flee or should he go back home to face his father?

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37:31-35 > After telling Reuben what they did with Joseph, the brothers devised a scheme by killing a kid goat and dipping Joseph’s coat in the blood so it’ll look as if Joseph was killed by a wild beast. They send the bloody coat with a messenger to Jacob who confirms that the coat did belong to his favorite son. Heartbroken, Jacob mourns the loss of Joseph for many years refusing to be comforted by his sons and daughters. This was very cruel on behalf of the brothers involved in this scheme.

37:36 > Meanwhile, Joseph ends up in the court of a high Egyptian official by the name of Potiphar. 

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The Judah-Interlude

The story only gets worse.

Before we continue with Joseph’s account in Egypt and how he became great, we come to the Judah-Interlude. We’ll see the wickedness and immorality of Joseph’s elder brother in this chapter as he mistook his own widowed daughter-in-law for a shrine prostitute, has intercourse with her and threatens to burn her alive for prostitution until it is revealed that he was the father of the child she had conceived. 

Scripture in focus: Genesis 38

38:1-5 > Judah separates from his brethren, marries a Canaanite woman by the name of Shuah and fathers three sons: Er, Onan, and Shelah.

38:6-7 > Judah chose a suitable wife for his firstborn, Er. Her name was Tamar (her name signifies a « palm tree »). But Er was exceedingly wicked that God had to strike him dead.

38:8-10 > According to the custom/law of levirate marriage if a man dies before providing heirs, it was the duty of his brother/s to marry his wife and to give her heirs. The child was then considered the son of the brother who died given that the living brother acted in his place. This law was later incorporated in Deuteronomy 25:5-10. But Onan was not down with this for the son was going to be called a son of Er and not his. He didn’t care for Er’s name to be carried on and didn’t care that this applied only for the firstborn. If Onan had no intention to be responsible and had his heart set on his desires (using Tamar for his own sexual gratifications), then he shouldn’t have married her. God also struck him down for his wickedness.

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38:11 > Judah unfairly proposes that his widowed daughter-in-law return to her father’s house and wait until Shelah come of age to marry her in order to fulfill the obligation of his late brothers. However, Judah had already lost two sons and he had no intention of giving his third son into marriage to Tamar.

38:12 > Judah’s wife Shuah died. He mourns her loss and when his time of mourning was over, he went to town with his friend, Hirah.

38:13 > Tamar is told that Judah is in Timnath to « sheer his sheep ». In the ancient world, this event (« sheering of sheep ») was associated with festivity and licentious behavior characteristic of pagan fertility-cult practices (bible-studys.org).

38:14-18 > There is no way that Tamar was going to remain childless especially after seeing that Shelah was grown and should be married to her. Na uh! So she sets a trap for Judah by playing the harlot (by wearing the veil suggested prostitution). Judah sees her but doesn’t recognize her. Lust clouds his eyes, they negotiated a price (a young goat) and they had sex and she conceives by him. It’s amazing how Judah told her to remain a widow for years, but shortly after grieving, he’s seeking pleasure from a prostitute.

38:19-23 > Tamar disappears into thin air after the deed was done. Or did she? Tamar made haste back to her father’s house and put back on the garments of her widowhood so no one would suspect a thing. All she had to do now was wait for the birth. Judah sends a friend to pay Tamar and to retrieve the pledge (signet, bracelets, and staff) he left with her, but there was no trace of her so Judah gave up the pledge leaving it with her. If he had only known!

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38:24 > When news reached Judah that his daughter-in-law played a harlot, he found it easy to pass judgment on her sin by condemning her to burn. He didn’t stop to think about his very own sins for in his eyes, Tamar had committed adultery and she should pay for her wicked sin.

38:25-26 > Tamar was shrewd. By keeping Judah’s pledge, she easily vindicates herself when she stood in the court. She sent a messenger to Judah with his pledge and just like that, the tables were turned. « She hath been more righteous than I » Judah eventually realized that he was in the wrong for not keeping his word in his refusal to give his son Shelah to Tamar and for committing fornication with her. She was only after what was hers (inheritance rights).

38:27 > Tamar is having twin boys.

38:28-30 > Zarah (meaning « splendor ») stuck out his hand first and the midwife ties a scarlet thread around his wrist that she might know whose hand the firstborn belong to. However, Zarah pulls his hand back and his brother Pharez (meaning « breach ») came out of his mother’s womb as the firstborn. Pharez is listed as an ancestor of Jesus Christ in Matthew 1:3 and Luke 3:33. He came into the messianic line which went through Boaz and Ruth and King David (Ruth 4:18-22).

Despite Judah and Tamar’s works, God chose them to be in the line of the Messiah. What beautiful and glorious grace!

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Until we all meet again to lift up our Savior, may peace be unto you in Jesus’s Name. 

Up next: Joseph interprets Pharoah’s dreams

Additional Notes/Recap

^ The multi-colored coat signified privilege, favor, and birthright. 

^ The Ishmaelites were descendants of Ishmael and of Abraham through Keturah and Midian (25:1-2) and were also known as Midianites. The Ishmaelites traveling to Egypt in 37:25-28 were Arab traders who sold to the Egyptian Pharaohs. The balm was for healing and the spicery and myrrh were sweet smelling perfumes.

^ History timeline puts Joseph’s arrival in Egypt at c.1679BC.

^ Potiphar means « the one whom Ra has given » or « the one who was placed on earth by Ra ». Either way, his unique name meant he belonged to the sun and Ra was Egypt’s sun god.

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^ Despite his early failures, Judah rose to a position of leadership later on in life and is even blessed by his father as such a leader among the 12 brothers in 49:8-10. He is the founder of the tribe of Judah and is symbolized as a lion. Later on, Christ is called the « Lion of the tribe of Judah » (Revelation 5:5).

REFERENCES/AIDS

* The Holy Bible 

* bible-studys.org

* blueletterbible.org

* prayer

*** Images and GIFs via Google Search

Publié dans Bible Study

Genesis part XX: Back to Beth-el and Esau’s legacy

In case you missed it:

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. 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Esau’s family

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.

Additional Notes/Recap

^ 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. 

REFERENCES/AIDS

* The Holy Bible 

* bible-studys.org

* blueletterbible.org

* prayer

*** Images and GIFs via Google Search

Publié dans Bible Study

Genesis part XIX: Jacob’s name is changed, a twintastic reunion, and revenge for a sister.

In case you missed it:

Bible Study Guide

Brothers and sisters, we should put our trust entirely, not in man, but in the Father. Not in this ‘do what thou wilt’ society, but in the Holy Spirit. Not in the baseless music spewing from our radio, but in the Psalms and spiritual songs. Trust in the name of the Lord our God always. 

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Before we begin, I’m trying a new format/structure from today. I hope it makes studying the verses/chapters a little easier. If it doesn’t, I’ll revert back to the old method.

Jacob’s name is changed

Scripture in focus: Genesis 32

32:1-2 > Jacob is met by an angelic host at Mahanaim. They were with him all the time for God never abandons his own. Jacob can now see the angelic host because he chose to separate himself from the world (Laban). When we separate from the world, the believer is given greater insight.

Mahanaim, meaning « double camp » (Jacob’s camp & the camp of the heavenly hosts), was located east of the Jordan River in Gilead near the River Jabbok (now call the River Zarqa). We’ll see more of Mahanaim later on in Numbers, Joshua, and 2 Samuel.

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The Zarqa River via jo.geoview.info

32:3-5 > Jacob sends messengers before him to Esau, who now resides in the land of Seir. Jacob also wants his brother to know that he is a man of wealth now and he is not coming to take anything away from him. He even humbled himself before his brother addressing Esau as « lord ». Twenty years is such a long time for these two!

32:6-8 > When the messengers returned and informed Jacob that his twin was coming to meet him with an army of 400 men, Jacob was greatly distressed. He was thinking of how he wronged Esau in the past and this fear crippled him. Instead of trusting God’s « two camps », he divided the people with him, thus creating his own « two camps ».

32:9-12 > Realizing that his method was wrong, Jacob turns to God and prays for deliverance. His prayer was full of faith and thanksgiving.

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32:13-21 > Jacob sends Esau’s gifts to pacify him. I tend to smile whenever I read these passages, for Jacob didn’t even know what his brother’s feelings were towards him after 20 years and he’s trying to get on his good side. And if he really trusted God 100%, he would’ve led and not hid. He surrendered everything, but himself.

32:22-23 > Jacob sends all his possessions over the river. Only God can help him now.

Jacob was now alone. God had to get him alone to deal with him. He was also empty. Jabbok is significant here for it means « to empty itself » in Hebrew. According to a fired up sermon by my pastor many months ago, God had to bring Jacob to a place of empty. When we have nothing, this is the time that we discover God is the rock at the bottom.

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32:24-25 > Jacob wrestles with a man until the break of dawn. The man here was either the Angel of the Lord also identified as the pre-incarnate appearance of Jesus Christ in the OT or an angel representing God (see Exodus 3:2; Hosea 12:4; John 1:18). This was a fight of faith and God wanted Jacob to empty himself and to encourage his faith. The divine being touched the hollow of Jacob’s thigh and the hip bone was moved out of place, suggesting that he could’ve bested Jacob at any time. 

32:26 > Even though Jacob lost to a greater man, he clung desperately, pleading to be blessed. The fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much and faith in prayer lays hold on God even if we have to wrestle all night until the breaking of dawn. Jacob was not stopping until he got an answer from God and he sought it with weeping (also refer to Hosea 12:3-5). That fleshly nature which had not been conquered by God had to be done. He had to give up his self-will/reliance and depend SOLELY on God for all of his needs.

When you go into battle with God, you only win by losing. 

32:27-29 > Jacob’s name is changed to Israel, a compound of two words: sarah (« struggle » or « fight ») and el (« God »). Israel means « God rules » or « God’s fighter ». How beautiful! The being refused to tell Jacob his name for he knew Jacob knew it already. He blessed Jacob right where they wrestled and this blessing is the passing away of the old life (Jacob) into the new (Israel). I view it as a sort of baptism then.

32:30 > Jacob called the place Peniel meaning « Face of God ». No one can look the Father in the face and live, so the being Jacob wrestled with was a form of God’s Spirit (see Hosea 12:4).

32:31-32 > The sun of righteousness shone upon Jacob as a token of goodwill, but now, he also walked with a limp to remind him that without God, there is no victory. The Israelites abstain from eating the sinew for it is a reminder of Jacob’s encounter with God.

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The twins have a short reunion

Scripture in focus: Genesis 33

33:1-2 > Jacob prepares his family to meet his brother.

33:3 > Before his meeting with God, Jacob was not prepared to face his twin first. Now, he’s willing to lead the procession and by bowing down 7 times, Jacob showed submission and humility to his elder brother who was now lord of a country. Seven means « spiritually complete ».

33:4-7 > Esau warmly greets his brother and they both wept in joy and probably from relief. Esau was happy to see that his twin was alive after 20 years in exile. Jacob worried for nothing after all. What was in the past will remind there, for there was no need to drag it up again. They had so much to talk about and Jacob gave God thanks for everything.

« And he said, the children which God hath graciously given thy servant » I love how Jacob referred to his children as gifts from God for that’s what they are: a gift and a loan, something which many parents tend to forget and some would go as far as to dictate the grown child’s life hindering him/her from doing God’s work.

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Jacob & Esau reunion via Google Search

33:8-9 > Jacob’s gift to his brother was a token of goodwill. In the eastern countries, it’s the norm to carry gifts for friends. But Esau had enough already.

33:10 > « I have seen thy face, as though I had seen the face of God » Here, Jacob acknowledges how much God has changed his twin, as he couldn’t find a trace of malice on Esau’s face. Esau had made peace with God and he was obviously happy to see Jacob.

33:11 > Jacob urges Esau until he took the gifts. With Jacob giving of the gifts, he was showing how sorry he was and with Esau accepting, Esau was forgiving Jacob. 

« I have enough » both brothers had been blessed bountifully by God and could, therefore, contend that they had enough (1 Timothy 6:6).

33:12-14 > Esau wanted Jacob to follow him back to his home in Seir, but Jacob knew if he drove the animals hard, they will die and he tells Esau so. He wanted to take his time so he tells Esau to go on ahead and he’ll follow him to Seir.

33:15-16 > Esau wants to leave some of his men with Jacob to show him the way to Seir and to also guard him, but Jacob respectfully declines the offer. Esau returns that day to Seir.

33:17 > Jacob journeys to Succoth (meaning « booths »). The Bible doesn’t tell us if Jacob had indeed gone to Seir, so we’re not sure if this journey takes place after he spent some time in Seir or if Jacob allowed Esau to go a few days beyond him and then headed south.

33:18-20 > Jacob eventually comes to Shechem, buys land for a tomb from the sons of Hamor and sets up an altar with his new name El-elohe-Israel meaning « God of Israel ». Before he died (50 years later in Egypt), Jacob gave this land to Joseph (48:22), whose bones were buried there 400 years later after God’s people left Egypt (Joshua 24:32). Joseph’s tomb can still be seen today in Shechem, which is modern-day Nablus, but public access is said to be limited.

It was also here in Shechem, that Jacob’s well became a vital scene in the ministry of Jesus 1,900 years later (John 4:5-6).

Dinah is ravished and her brothers take revenge

Scripture in focus: Genesis 34

When the Bible shows its leaders and heroes in such terrible, stark truth, we can know for sure that it is a book from God. Men don’t write about themselves and their ancestors like this. (blueletterbible.org)

In 31:13, God instructs Jacob to return to Beth-el, but instead, he chose to take his family to the ungodly Shechem. In the process, Dinah is defiled which causes her brothers to take revenge on her behalf, thus distressing Jacob. Dinah was the only sister to the 12 sons of Jacob.

34:1 > Dinah went out to visit some local girls she has become acquainted with or was going out to make friends with them (the world). But she was young, beautiful, unattached, and worse, unsupervised. She would’ve been considered fair game by the local men who saw her. Also, she would’ve been around 13-17 years of age. 

34:2-4 > Shechem saw how beautiful Dinah was to look upon and takes her by force. After violating her, he tries to express his love for her. His « love » was not godly love. He was a prince so he thought he was entitled to have whatever he wanted including Dinah. After the forcible rape, Shechem tries to justify his love and desire for marriage by asking his father Hamor to get Dinah to be his wife. Had he so loved Dinah, he would’ve married her first. Him professing his love for her is inexcusable for the sin he committed against her will. 

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Dinah making friends with the world via Google Search

34:5-6 > Jacob seems to take the news of defilement of his daughter calmly when Hamor came to reason with him. At this time, Dinah was detained at the palace with Shechem, flattered that a handsome prince cared about her well being. We also have to remember that she was young and naive and would’ve believed every caring word which dropped from the prince’s mouth.

34:7 > Jacob’s sons came from the field as soon as they heard. They were ashamed and angry. Dinah was supposed to be living a holy life as she was part of the covenant people. Nevertheless, the brothers will protect their sister’s honor by taking revenge in a sinful manner.

34:8-12 > Hamor and Shechem seek to arrange Dinah’s marriage even proposing intermarriage (v9), but their negotiating method was also insulting to Jacob’s family (v12). Not once, Hamor apologized for the sin his son had committed nor did he make Shechem apologize for he thought marriage would’ve sufficed for the crime.

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34:13-17 > If it’s one thing Jacob’s offsprings knew to do well is to deceive and they did just that with Hamor and Shechem. Dinah would be Shechem’s wife if father and son agree to their terms: every male of the city should submit to circumcision. What a sinful proposal!

34:18-19 > The proposal pleased Hamor and Shechem for Shechem was lovesick over Dinah and would’ve done anything her brothers told him to do. He didn’t hesitate to get it done right away for he was honorable in his men’s eyes (a shining example) and he was willing to right his wrong by marrying Dinah.

34:20 > The gate of the city is where courts of justice and perhaps important/urgent meetings were held. Hamor and Shechem addressed the men of the city of entering into a possible allegiance with Jacob’s family.

34:21 > Because they’ve held a meeting with Jacob and his sons, Hamor and Shechem decided that they were peaceful and harmless as they bothered no one. Also, seeing how blessed Jacob’s family was, Hamor and Shechem tried to show the men of the city how they can reap beautiful benefits as well.

34:22 > On one condition, though: all the men had to be circumcised.

34:23 > By intermarrying, all the wealth and riches of Israel will come into the hands of the Canaanites.

34:24 > Men, eh? They’ll do anything for wealth and women! They were brought and sold that every part of Jacob’s wealth would be shared with them and they’ll marry women, perhaps even more beautiful than their women, and so, EVERY male was circumcised. 

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34:25 > On the 3rd day when they knew the men of the city were in pain/sore and the men wouldn’t be able to defend themselves for the wounds were inflamed and the men might have been nursing fevers, Levi and Simeon struck the city slaying all the grown males, thus massacring innocent lives in the process.

34:26 > Hamor and Shechem are killed and Dinah is rescued.

34:27-29 > After « justifying » this murder, it doesn’t stop there. Jacob’s sons plundered the city as if it was the entire city that defiled Dinah, took their livestock, their children, their women, and all worldly possessions they laid their hands on.

34:30 > Jacob is displeased with his sons’ wicked actions, but he doesn’t rebuke them. Instead, he’s more concerned about his safety in the land and rightly so, but Jacob lacked parenting skills. 

34:31 > Levi and Simeon does not care. Should Shechem had treated their sister like a prostitute? Should they have just looked the other way and allowed Shechem to marry their sister while disgracing their good name? They forbid! Somewhere in this tone, they blame their father, the protector, and leader of the family, for not doing anything on his only daughter’s behalf. 

Until we all meet again to lift up our Savior, may peace be unto you in Jesus’s Name.

Up next: Jacob returns to Beth-el and Esau’s legacy

Additional Notes/Recap

^ Although angels are « higher » beings than us, they are ordained by God to minister to us as they did to Jesus (Matthew 4:11) and to be our servants (Hebrews 1:14).

^ Dinah venturing out to visit the land (just as the prodigal son was enticed by the world) – whether out of curiosity or of a friendly gesture – brings to mind James 4:4 which warns us that friendship with the world is enmity with God. Dinah was captivated by the evil world of Shechem and her focus was on the pretty things. She failed to see the lurking dangers around her for she was blind to reality. Because of her wandering away from home – and Jacob refusing to take leadership over the situation – Dinah ruins the good name of her family and a whole city was destroyed in her name. 

^ In Genesis 49:5-7, Jacob calls out Simeon and Levi’s true nature and prophecized that the two tribes will be divided. God did divide both tribes, later on, scattering them among Israel. Because of their lack of faithfulness, the tribe of Simeon was terminated and was incorporated into the tribal area of Judah. The tribe of Levi was very faithful to God although they, too, were scattered. They rejected the worship of the golden calf (Exodus 32:26-28) and was called a blessing. 

REFERENCES/AIDS

* The Holy Bible 

* bible-studys.org

* blueletterbible.org

* prayer

*** Images and GIFs via Google Search