The twins were so identical that it was impossible to tell them apart, but that’s where their similarities end for if Ray was the sun, Marcus was certainly the dark stormy weather.
“You make me out to be a robot,” Marcus accuses his twin as they sat in Mille Fleurs with three of their closest friends. “A robot without feelings, too.”
Ray elegantly shrugs for it was the Gallic thing to do before responding, “You’re so emotionless that when you’re chopping onions, you don’t even weep, but the poor onions do!”
Ramses found this highly amusing and the éclair that was about to be devoured was paused midway. Trishanti tried to hide her giggles behind a napkin as she stole a peek at her ex-boyfriend’s expression. Benny only shakes his head.
“I am not emotionally detached!” Marcus defends. “Just because I am not your typical stereotypical over sensitive Frenchman means that I am void of emotions. I just deal with it better than Mr. Sunshine In A Cup over there.”
“Marc, come on, we all know Ray’s the better twin.” Justin playfully inputs.
“And you call yourself a best friend.” Marcus rolls his eyes and looks at the healthy slice of tarte tatin that was placed in front of him by the waitress five minutes before the conversation took a weird turn. “I maintain that my brother is a saint, but it doesn’t make him flawless or perfect.”
Ray shrugs. “You’re right, but you’re only deflecting from the conversation. What a heartless thing to do!”
While the others laugh, Marcus scoffs, leans back and runs a hand through his auburn wavy hair. “All right, what’s the lowest you can hit me?”
Delighted, Ray stops eating for the moment and teasingly grins. “You never cried after reading Charlotte’s Web.”
Gasps simultaneously went around the table.
“I know you’re not a crier, but that’s a low blow even for you,” Trishanti accused.
“Says the ex,” Marcus sneers. “Look, the book sucked. I mean, all the other animals were going to get killed someday, so why do we care about the pig alone? Isn’t that selfish? He wasn’t even all that special. He stood under a stupid web and if a spider spun webs with words, then it makes the spider special, not the pig. THE SPIDER CAN SPELL!
“However, we all know that spiders don’t have a long lifespan so where did it get the time to be all philosophical and stuff? Wilbur is such a whiner that I couldn’t feel sorry for him. I don’t eat bacon, but if he whined one more time, I would’ve made him into bacon. He’s so dramatic, I guess he majored in theater.”
“Wow, you’re going to make a great dad.” Ramses sarcastically remarked. “It’s just a children’s book. Lighten up.”
“Says you, but my children are not going to read a book with the main character running around sobbing and squealing that it doesn’t want to die. In real life, spiders die and leave their children behind. Do human children cry about that? No, they try to kill the spiders. Fight me all you like, but I rest my case.”
Ray cracks a loving smile at his younger half. “And that’s why you’ll be a top lawyer. Don’t ever stop being you.” Two hours later, after the food was eaten and everyone caught up with one another’s life, Ray stood to help his twin with the crutches. As Ramses made a remark about forgetting Marc’s broken foot, Ray saw another opportunity to rib his brother, “I know, right, and it’s not like he cried when he was flung from the motorcycle either.”
Marcus sighed in exasperation. “Ray, you’re lucky I love you.”
“Otherwise you would’ve beaten me up with the crutches?”
“How do you…? Ray!”
Would Marcus ever cry? Who knows? I just wanted to write some banter.
All grammatical errors are mine.
I am currently reading my way through classics and wondering if my feelings have changed hence the existence of this story. Do I feel as Marcus does about Charlotte’s Web now? I guess you’ll have to wait for the review to find out. Coming soon!
I love Marcus. But I love Ray more. He was practically the very first character I developed when I took writing seriously back then, hence the reason he’ll biasedly always have first place in my fictional heart.
***GIFs/Images that don’t belong to LPM are via Google Search (Right-click for original source)
At the urgency in the voices of his twin toddlers, Ray immediately stopped icing the black coffee vanilla cupcakes and rushed over to them in the playpen that was positioned by the window. They were directing his gaze outside of the window with frantic pointing and worried chubby faces.
“Something wrong with the sky!” the twins echo in unison as they point out the window. “Look, Papa!”
Ray looked and smiled. “Nothing’s wrong with the sky, mes amours. It’s only a rainbow.”
The twins scrunched their adorable little faces at their ever-patient father.
Ray heartily laughs.
Marcus playfully nudged his sister-in-law. “I bet you a box of the finest Belgian chocolates that he’s going to give the babies a scientific explanation. Ça te dit?”
Diana looked at Marcus and then at her husband who was gathering the twins in his arms. “He’s going to tell them a story, but you’re on!”
“A rainbow is a multicolored arc in the sky. It’s one of creation’s most splendid masterpieces all thanks to God.” Ray explained to the babies. “See, people were very wicked and refused to obey God; it displeased Him. However, one man found grace in God’s eyes: Noah. Had it not been for him, the world probably wouldn’t have existed today.”
Ashley tilts her head sideways to look at her father. “Vraiment?”
“Vraiment,” Ray clarifies. “After Noah followed God’s instructions in building an ark,a great floodcame and cleansed the earth removing evil-minded mankind. After Noah and family left the ark, a multi-colored curved bow appeared in the sky symbolizing God’s covenant He made with Noah as He promised to never destroy the world in such a way again.
“It’s a beautiful promise. How many colors do you see?”
As Ray occupied the babies, Diana turns to a smiling Marcus. “I know you got lost in the story, but you owe me a box of the finest Belgian chocolate known to man.”
The smile quickly morphed into a sourish scowl. “Ray, couldn’t you have given the babies a scientific explanation and leave it at that?” Marcus picks up one of his twin’s signature cupcake and starts walking away. “Now I owe your wife chocolates! Chocolates, Ray! C’est ouf!”
Ray’s infectious laughter fill the room causing his wife to join in.
French terms used:
* mes amours – my loves
* Ça te dit – up for it?
* vraiment – really
* C’est ouf – it’s crazy
All grammatical errors are mine.
Three places to study the meaning of a rainbow or what some of the colors may symbolize are found in Genesis, Ezekiel, and Revelation.
On another note, I’ll be sharing more stories, trains of thoughts, ideas, really short stories, etc. in the near future. I may post a lot of stories on Tuesdays. Most, if not all of the stories are Biblically-based and I want to start incorporating French in many of them.
***GIFs/Images that don’t belong to LPM are via Google Search (Right-click for original source)
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.
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.
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.
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 referenceZechariah 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 (see42:21). 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?
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.
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.
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!
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!
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
^ 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.
^ 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).
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.
Marcus scoffs as his and Ray’s friends – Benny, Justin, Ramses, and Hasan – cheerily sang birthday greetings to them. “Come on, guys, do you want the whole of Montmartre to know it’s our birthday?”
“Aw, Marc, don’t be grouchy!” Ray positively beams. “We only turn eighteen once!”
“Don’t encourage them!”
“We still love you, Marc!” Benny and Ramses chortled as the little party walked to the top of the district with Moulin de la Galette in sight.
“Eew! No! Love me less!”
The guys heartily laughed as they came to a stop in front of Le Petit Eiffel its blue and white facade beckoning potential patrons in. The twins had a reserved table for six two months ago and they were looking forward to spending the evening in good company. However, when they walked inside the Belle Époque inspired restaurant, the maître d was near tears and looked as if he was ready to quit.
The little party paused to take in the scene. One busboy was clearing a table of five, two waiters were trying not to crash into each other as they sped to the kitchen with orders and many patrons were complaining about poor service from such a fine establishment!
The maître d sighs. “It’s been like this for the past two hours. Monsieur Deschamps has broken his leg and left his nephew in charge, but Gregorie has not been nice to the staff and they had it to here and some of them quit earlier even the head chef.”
“What can we do to help?” the twins asked in unison.
The man was bewildered. “Are you joking? It’s your birthday! Your table is reserved and…”
“We want to help in any which way we can.” Ray was adamant. “La carte, s’il vous plaît.” He scanned the menu and grins. “I can cook everything except the frog legs,” he said making a face. “I’ll cook, Ramses can help, Marc and Benny can bus the tables and Justin and Hasan can be wait staff.”
Marcus frowns. “Why can’t I help you cook?”
“You’ll eat the dishes before they reach the tables.” Ray was already making a beeline for the kitchen. “All right, men, let’s go to work!”
Le Petit Eiffel had to turn away some patrons after word spread about the da Díxon twins busing tables. When the doors closed at midnight, everyone was exhausted. Marcus sat next to his twin munching on a pack of Lays he found abandoned in the kitchen cupboards. Justin, Benny, and Ramses were on the phones to their parents while Hasan hummed under his breath to an old Egyptian tune.
“Some birthday this turned out to be, huh?”
Ray smiles at Ramses. “At the end of the day, our expensive cologne and fancy clothes mean nothing. Tonight brought me immense joy and when I look back at the year I’ve had, I don’t think any memory will top this night. Being selfless as Jesus is my main priority and I love to serve whenever I can.”
Marcus nods in agreement and runs a hand through his wavy red hair just as Guy the maître d’ and the skeletal staff of the restaurant wheeled a cake on a trolley into the sitting area.
“Joyeux Anniversaire, jumeaux!” Guy happily exclaimed as everyone gathered around the cake. “Marcus, Ray, and friends, we thank you tremendously for your help tonight, especially on such a special occasion. May the good Lord continue to bless you.”
The twins grin at each other as the restaurant filled with the sweet traditional singing of “happy birthday”.
And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant: just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
All grammatical errors are mine.
I must confess that I rarely write stories now. I only write when I’m inspired by God and lately, my focus is not on writing stories so I don’t know when another one might be published on this blog. This one was meant to be longer, but hey, the shorter version works, too.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
^ 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.
It’s okay to look back at the past. Just don’t stare.
Looking back at 2018 like…
It went by in a whoosh, but it was a wonderful year for me despite some of the trials. If I had to sum up 2018 in one word, it will be “peace”.
Peace came to me
I didn’t go looking for peace last year, but it was what I actually needed in my life and God granted it to me in many ways. This is something I’ve been open about last year on this platform. What does peace means to me? It means that I’m fully content and fulfilled. It means I feel light for my burdens I’ve laid at His feet. It means that despite what I’m going through or what I may go through, I have a God willing to fight for me.
This is a continuous cycle. I don’t have everything under control; that’s what I have God for. He’s the reason I wake up on mornings to face each day. Without His strength, I am nothing. There are multiple times when I fall short of His glory, but I go to Him and pour out my heart in prayer. Reading/studying/discovering His Word has left a great impression on me. There’ll be hard times for God never said the Christian life is all about comfort and laziness, but it’s through these moments, we learn that God is with us no matter what we face and it’s also when we become strong/er. He is our light in dark times.
Most spectacular moment
Les Bleus lifting the World Cup of course! In 2014, I wrote a fictional Les Bleus story based on the Euro then, which we lost, but I did say that we were going to win the World Cup in 2018 at the end of that story and it gave solace to a Parisian football fan who was actually following the story. It took 4 years of waiting and one patient final, but it was worth it. It was lovely seeing France lift another cup after 20 years.
Euro 2020 come on!
Well, it’s no secret that I love the French language. I also love a few other languages including Italian, Japanese, and Greek. Last year, I set out to learn those languages, but my mind was not entirely focused and I was not making the time to learn anything foreign. At the moment, I am not bothered anymore in becoming fluent in another tongue. I’ll still learn here and there as I love learning how to say certain words and phrases in another language, but that’s about it.
I’ve experienced the highs and the lows of writing. It once consumed my life. Last year, I saw a dip in my writing and I lost interest up to a certain point. Every time I tried to explain to someone the new direction my writing is going in, they failed to understand. They couldn’t comprehend why I don’t want to work on a novel of sorts to gain a profit. I only write when I’m inspired to especially when I’m led to write for God in all things for His glory. Yes, God has given me the gift of writing although I’m not a wordsmith and I don’t want to waste it writing books for profit. I’ll be going in depth on this topic later on.
In short, despite the ups and downs, 2018 has been a blessing for me and I thank God tremendously. I also want to thank each and every one of you who have read, liked, followed, and shared your thoughts! I pray that 2019 would be/is a blessing and that you put Jesus in the center of everything. We have been given 12 new chapters and 365 chances to make 2019 memorable so take every opportunity to do just that.
Let us boldly and confidently approach the throne whenever we need a sense of direction, whenever our burdens increase, when we feel like we’re drowning; when we struggle. Get honest with God. Approach with confidence. Take comfort – and advantage – knowing that we have a Mediator to plead on our behalf.
Rebekah & Jacob conspire to obtain Isaac’s blessings
Scripture in focus: Genesis 27
Isaac is now old in age and blind and he believed that it was his time to die so he called Esau to his deathbed to make a request (27:1-4). Inside these 4 opening chapters, we see that Esau was right there to answer his father when he was called (Behold, here am I). Yes, he was his father’s favorite and there might be nothing redeemable about Esau at this point, but I figured that he loved his father. Isaac thought his time had come to die so he wanted to put his affairs in order, but first, he wanted to eat his favorite son’s savory meat. Isaac was 137 at this time and he lived 43 more years (35:28) so it seemed that he was being dramatic. And he also wanted to bless Esau ignoring the fact that this was the same son who bartered his birthright and married heathen women. Despite all of that, he still loved and favored Esau. Despite God’s warning, he schemed in an attempt to bless the son who despised his birthright.
Oh, Isaac knew his motive was wrong, but he didn’t care.
Isaac also wanted to give Esau the best blessings, but Rebekah heard and a deceptive plan was born for Jacob to deceive his father (27:5-10). Jacob was nervous as he reminded his mother that his twin was a hairy man, but he was willing to go along with the plan even as his mother was prepared to bear the brunt of being cursed should it occur (27:11-14). Let us pause for a bit and look at the drama thus far: not one of these actors are innocent. Isaac knew fully well that God chose Jacob from the very beginning to be blessed, yet, he wanted to do things his way. Esau agreed with his father’s plan even after agreeing to give Jacob his birthright, so he breaks a promise to his twin. Rebekah was eavesdropping when she heard her husband’s intentions to bless Esau in secret so instead of waiting for God, she and Jacob took matters into their own hands.
Rectifying the matter, Rebekah made Jacob “feel” like Esau (27:15-16). After preparing the savory meat and bread, she gave the dish to Jacob which he takes to his father impersonating Esau (27:17-19). Isaac doesn’t believe what he is hearing for hunting takes time (27:20). Jacob could’ve stopped the deceit right here and come clean, but instead, he brought God into it. Isaac was still in doubt so he asked the impersonator to come closer so he can feel if it’s really his beloved son (27:21-23). He was still highly suspicious because of the voice, but Jacob held on firmly saying that he was, in fact, Esau (27:24). Isaac happily ate the venison (27:25) and asked Jacob to kiss him perhaps to get a better smell of his clothing (27:26-27). But you know what bugged me? The fact that he loved Esau’s venison so much, but he couldn’t the difference in taste.
And Isaac unknowingly blessed Jacob (27:28-29). God’s will be done as He prophesied in 25:23 and 26:23.
Jacob made haste and left his father’s tent just as Esau came back from his hunt bearing savory meat expecting to be blessed (27:30-31). He only wanted the blessing which was super selfish of him. Poor Isaac when he realized he was duped (27:32-33)! He tried to go against God’s will. He thought he had beaten God when he blessed Esau when in fact, it was Jacob. God’s will, would ALWAYS be done regardless of man fighting it. And that’s why Isaac trembled.
Esau is anguished and begs his father to bless him (27:34), but it was already too late (27:35) and Esau angrily vents about his birthright blaming someone else for his sins; still expecting some sort of blessing (27:36-38). Although Esau wept, his tears were not of repentance; he simply felt sorry for himself (Hebrews 12:15-17). Isaac gives Esau a limited blessing (27:39-40). Esau is suddenly bitter and filled with hatred for his twin and he had murder in his heart vowing to kill Jacob as soon as Isaac died. If he only knew Isaac was not going to die immediately! (27:41). Someone overhears Esau’s murderous intention and tells it to Rebekah who didn’t hesitate to call Jacob to let him know of his brother’s wickedness (27:42). Rebekah tells him that he must flee to the dwelling place of her brother Laban for a few days until Esau’s anger cooled (27:43-45). Little did she know that Jacob’s few days turned out to be more than 20 years and this was the last time that she’ll be seeing her favorite son.
Rebekah masks her intentions with a lie to get Isaac to allow Jacob to leave (27:46).
Scripture in focus: Genesis 28
Isaac calls, blesses and warns Jacob about taking a Canaanite woman as a wife, instead instructing him to go to Padan-aram (28:1-2). Jacob was now heir to the Promised Land and the Canaanites were to be dispossessed of the land of Canaan. Also, it was time for Jacob to get married for he was 70 years old. Jacob is given the blessing of Abraham, the aspect of the birthright Esau despised (28:3-5). When Esau witnessed the blessing his twin was given and that Jacob obeyed his parents (28:6-7), and that the Canaanite women were not marriage material (28:8), Esau adds wives by marrying back into the line of Abraham through the family of Ishmael (28:9). He was trying to win back favor with his father.
Jacob left home alone; no servants accompanying him on this journey (28:10), he used stones for pillows (28:11) and then he dreamed (28:12). This vision showed that Jacob had access to heaven, that God was nearer than he thought. The “ladder” was most likely a stairway. This is a symbolic picture of Jesus (John 1:51). He is the ladder. He is the Mediator between heaven and earth. God speaks to Jacob in 28:13-15. This was no doubt, a life-changing experience for Jacob after meeting God in this personal way. He awakens from the dream thinking that God wouldn’t have been present in a place like that (28:16). God is EVERYWHERE! We cannot hide from Him for He’ll find us. David knew this (Psalm 139:7). Jacob was afraid (a respectful fear) and called the place “dreadful” (the usage here has to do with reverence. How “awesome” is this place!) for God dwell there (28:17).
Jacob marked the site as a special significance calling the place Beth-el which means House of God (28:18-19). He then made a vow unto God (28:20-22). Jacob also mentioned tithing (the tenth). Tithing pleases God and even now, He blesses those who tithe 10% of their income to Him.
The site of Bethel via thebiblejourney.org
Love at first sight
Scripture in focus: Genesis 29
Jacob arrives in the land of Mesopotamia/Syria which lay east of Canaan and comes to a covered well (29:1-3). He asks the shepherds what city they’re from and they responded that they were from Haran the very place Jacob was bound for (29:4). Just as he enquires about their knowledge of Laban, his (Laban’s) daughter Rachel comes with the flock of sheep to water them (29:5-6). What perfect timing! This is Jacob’s first glimpse of Rachel. He gives the shepherds advice (29:7), but I reckoned that he was trying to get rid of them so he can speak to Rachel. However, the shepherds did not want to violate the law of rolling the stone away to water the sheep (29:8). It seemed like the shepherds watered the sheep at a certain time daily and had to wait until the other shepherds were gathered so everyone can water their flocks.
And Rachel came with her father’s sheep: for she kept them (29:9).
When Jacob saw Rachel coming nearer with the flock, he rolls the stone away from the well’s mouth and watered Rachel’s flock of sheep (29:10). He knew he had come to marry one of Laban’s daughters, so he had to make a great first impression. He then kissed Rachel in a way of civility and wept with happiness (29:11). He told her that he was a near kinsman of her father and his mother was her father’s sister and she ran and told her father these things (29:12). Laban rushes to greet him, welcome him into his home, and Jacob told him everything (29:13). Laban said that Jacob could stay for a month (29:14). Back in the ancient days, by tradition, a stranger can stay with someone for up to 3 days. If he’s still there on the 4th day, he’ll state his name and mission. If he’ll like to remain much longer, he’ll have to work in some agreed-upon way as we’ll see in verse 15. If Jacob wanted to remain, he must stay as a hired servant.
Laban had two daughters: the eldest being Leah and the youngest being Rachel (29:16). Leah’s eyes were not as beautiful as her sister’s; see how beauty always have such a HUGE role to play? (29:17). But Jacob loved Rachel and he seems to have from the very first moment they met. For him, it was love at first sight and he was willing to serve 7 years for her (29:18). Essentially, seven years was a dowry. But Laban had plans for Jacob. Oh, yes, yes, the deceiver was about to be deceived. Whatever we reap, we sow after all.
A deal is struck since Laban would prefer his daughter to marry a relation rather than a stranger (29:19). Jacob served seven years which seemed like a few days (29:20). I love how Jacob loved Rachel! Although he was not allowed to spend as much time with her – for there were rules regarding unmarried men and women – just the sight of her and the conversations they had in passing made the time seem shorter. Jacob was willing to wait for Rachel for 7 years. An important lesson on love here: TRUE LOVE WAITS. True love is not a princely kiss or all those make-believe stuff and lies we see on the teLIEvision.
I’ve always admired the love Jacob had for Rachel. This is one of the greatest love stories of all time and I’ll like to dedicate a post at a later time to them.
By contract, Rachel was Jacob’s wife and the conditions were fulfilled, and now he wanted his wife (29:21). Laban made the marriage public (29:22), but when evening came, he switched Rachel for Leah (29:23). According to the wedding customs of those days, the bride was veiled until she was finally alone with her husband. However, it must have been dark by then and Jacob, unaware of the change of girls given that he was not expecting it, slept with Leah. And Laban gave Leah a wedding present in the form of a handmaid call Zilpah (29:24).
The next morning, Jacob realizes that he was deceived and calls Laban out on it (29:25). Jacob felt wronged. He served 7 years for beautiful Rachel, not tender-eyed Leah! How dare, Laban gave him the daughter that was not as beautiful as Rachel?! Laban’s deception is similar to that of what Jacob did to his brother Esau and father Jacob. Laban comes up with an excuse saying that the younger must not be given before the older in marriage (29:26). So why didn’t he say so when Jacob agreed to serve 7 years for the woman who stole his heart at the well? Laban tells Jacob to complete the wedding week with Leah and he’ll give Rachel to be his wife if he promises to serve another 7 years (29:27). Of course, Jacob would do just about anything to have Rachel as his wife, so he complied (29:28). Laban gifts Rachel a handmaid by the name of Bilhah for her wedding gift (29:29).
He loved Rachel more than Leah for she was his choice from the very beginning; she was the woman he originally served 7 years for (29:30). But God loved Leah and He took compassion on her (29:31). Leah conceived and gave birth to Reuben meaning “behold, a son” and she thinks because he is the firstborn of Jacob, he’ll come to his senses and love her (29:32). Her second born was named Simeon meaning “hearing” for the Lord has heard her (29:33). Her third son was called Levi meaning “attachment” in the hope that her husband will love her and become attached to her after giving him something his beloved Rachel couldn’t: 3 sons (29:34). She called the 4th son Judah meaning “praise” and the Messiah sprung from this tribe and she stopped bearing for a while (29:35).
^ To add to 27:21-24, after Jacob received the blessing, he had to pay the consequences for his deceit: he never saw his mother after the fiasco, Esau wanted to kill him, his uncle Laban deceived him, but what probably hurt the most was being exiled from his family for years.
^ Extra notes on Chapter 27: Had Isaac not been blind, Esau would’ve surely gotten the blessing he did not deserve. There is implied symbolism here as well of God having a favorite which was the Israelites, but they took their heritage for granted refusing the blessing that would come through Jesus Christ. The Israelites were the firstborn. They refused to accept the beautiful blessing and the Gentiles got it.
^ Jacob’s vow in 28:20-22 is the first vow we read of in scripture.
^ Leah means “weary” while Rachel means “ewe” a female sheep.
^ Although Jacob married two sisters, he let everyone know that Rachel was highly favored in his heart. Maybe he could’ve tried to love Leah equally, but it was impossible, for she was not as beautiful as Rachel. He even loved the sons of Rachel (Joseph and Benjamin) more than the others.
^ The two greatest tribes came from Leah: Levi (the priestly tribe) and Judah (the royal tribe). And most importantly, the Messiah came from Leah, the less beautiful sister. She was neglected and despised (are you beginning to see the similarities of Jesus in many of these characters in Genesis? They set the stage for His eventual coming), but she didn’t blame God for her circumstance, instead, she praised Him.
The following is unedited and all grammatical errors are mine:
Ray needed to be in two places at the same time: his swim meet and Romance Lit Club. It was his first swim meet so he chose to go there asking his twin to stand in for him at RLC. Although Marcus knew what he was in for, he obliged for he couldn’t say no to his twin, plus, there was bribery cake in it.
The club had a total of thirty members and they met in the music room on Wednesday evenings. Today, twenty-three showed up to read their favorite sonnet. Marcus was aghast. There was no way he was going to pull this off now. He hated sonnets!
A tall lanky guy stands and addresses Marcus, “Ray, if you don’t mind…”
Where Ray was charming, Marcus was the total opposite, but he forced a smile – when all he wanted to do was coldly glare – and said, “By all means, be my guest, Papin.” He listened half-heartedly as Papin gushed over a sonnet by Elizabeth Barrett Browning and tuned him out as he gazed out the window thinking about the batch of cupcakes Ray was going to especially bake just for him.
“I shall but love thee better after death.”
“Ugh!” Marcus moaned in despair when some of the girls clap wildly. “Please, stop the train I want to get off.” By the time the fourth reader dramatically read her sonnet, Marcus wanted to hurt something. “I rather watch water boil!” he let out a breath and chanted internally, Think about the cupcakes. Oui, the cupcakes!
They were black coffee vanilla cupcakes that left a somewhat bittersweet coffee aftertaste in the mouth. Ray was skilled at creating bizarre foods that ended up being masterpieces.
And they were all his after sitting in on this stupid romance club for one hour and a half. The cupcake dream soon disappear when Jarvis Facinelli said, “This sonnet is perhaps the most popular to date! It’s Sonnet 18 by Shakespeare who I consider the greatest romance writer of all time.”
Trying hard not to laugh, Marcus bit the inside of his left cheek and insolently rolls his eyes, “Right, and Shah Rukh is the best actor in the world.”
Jarvis frowns. “Ray, I know you have your opinions…”
“Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?” Marcus cuts off the escalating rant. “Thou art more lovely and more temperate.” He mocks. “As if he was comparing his love to the weather! It’s emotionless and dispassionate and it’s like talking to a dead fish.”
“Oh, yeah,” Jarvis challengingly folds his arms. “then what’s your killer passionate opening? Something from a dead French fanatic, perhaps?” he sneers.
“Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth: for thy love is better than wine,” Marcus smirks as the class was thrown into an uproar. A few of the girls sigh dreamily. Papin was frantically trying to rack his mind for the sonnet number and Jarvis was still staring at him with contempt.
“Who wrote that sonnet?” Papin finally asked.
“Ever heard of the Holy Bible?” Marcus looks on as everyone nods. “Good. That’s Song of Solomon. Read chapter one for the next class and we’ll discuss the greatest piece of romance ever told. As for me,” he picks up his backpack. “I’ll be devouring some of the finest cupcakes soon. Au revoir!”
Well, I know that you’re familiar with this one! 😄You might have also seen movies with twins switching lives or a class for a day or maybe even two. Some results were hilarious, or successful, while some were plain disastrous; but twins enjoy sharing the pranks they’ve pulled on their classmates, friends, and even relatives. One of my favorite accounts involved identical twin teachers pulling off the big switcheroo, but some students noted the difference in handwriting and the class went nuts. Luckily, the teacher was just standing in for his identical twin for one day… or was he?
However, it is also important to note that although identical in appearance, twins do have different personalities and habits. They might look the same, but they are not always the same except in a few rare cases.
At the beginning of the month, I was reminded that God wants us to have relationships via one of my close colleagues. Not only marriageable relationships but friendly relationships as well. He wants us to embrace our brothers and sisters; to forgive where necessary. I am grateful and blessed by the people in my life for they were placed in it for a reason so I thank God always for them.
Twins and birthright
Scripture in focus: Genesis 25
When I realized that we’ll be discussing twins today, I smiled thinking ‘how perfect!’ for it ties in wonderfully for the twin theme I’m doing this month. 😃 In this chapter, we learn that Abraham had more children and why Esau was dramatic in selling his birthright.
Abraham took a wife, her name was Keturah and she bore him 6 sons and they were the fathers of various Arab countries (25:1-4) See note below in recap. Abraham gave his wealth and the Promised Land to Isaac the principal heir (25:5) but to the sons, he had by the concubines (Hagar & Keturah), he gave them gifts and send them eastward (Arabia & surroundings) away from Isaac for the flesh and the spirit cannot cohabit in peace (25:6). Abraham lived to be 175 years (Isaac would’ve been 75) and then he departs from this world in good old age (25:7-8). He is buried by his sons Isaac and Ishmael where his wife Sarah was buried 38 years before (25:9-10). Isaac dwelled by Lahai-roi and God blessed him (25:11). Lahai-roi was near the wilderness of Beersheba and Paran, where Ishmael dwelt so these brothers were not far from each other.
25:12-18 deals with the life and descendants of Ishmael. He had 12 sons and they were blessed right here on earth (25:13-16). These 12 princes had Egyptian ancestry and were Arabs. The genealogy is in their names. Nebajoth (Isaiah 60:7) was an Arab people (Nabathaeans) that inhabited all the country from the Euphrates to the Red Sea. Kedar (Isaiah 21:13) meaning ‘dark’ or ‘mighty’ were Arabians; the Arabic language is most frequently, in Jewish writings, called the language of Kedar (bible-studys.org). Ishmael lived to be 137 years old (25:17). Havilah unto Shur refers to the vast desert of Arabia; eastward was called the wilderness of Havilah and westward was referred to as Shur. Simply put, these were Arabs living in all Arab countries surrounding Israel (25:18).
Isaac’s story begins at 25:19. He was 40 years old when he married Rebekah the daughter of Bethuel the Syrian of Padan-aram (25:20). ‘Syrian’ here is translated as ‘Armenia’ and was called Mesopotamia in 24:10. It is not to be confused with the Syria of which Damascus was the capital. Isaac prayed on his wife’s behalf for children because she was barren after 20 years. God heard and answered Isaac’s prayer (25:21). There was conflict in her womb so she went to enquire before the Lord as to why (25:22). God tells Rebekah that she has twins within her, they will each father nations, and one shall be greater than the other and also, the elder shall serve the younger (25:23).
When the 9 months were up, she realized that God’s word was true and there were indeed twins in her womb (25:24).
Esau was the firstborn of the twins and he was red and hairy (25:25). Esau was the father of the Edomites and his father’s favorite. It was too bad he despised his birthright for later, he is used as an example to illustrate the non-elect of God (Romans 9:13). Jacob was born clutching the heel of his twin brother (25:26). In that day, “heel-catcher” meant “con man” or “rascal” and this personality of Jacob came to pass when he conned his twin out of his birthright. Isaac was 60 years old when they were born.
Although twins, the boys were different from each other. Esau tilled and sowed the land and was an expert hunter whereas his twin was a godly and quiet man (25:27). In some cases, parents have favorites and Isaac and Rebekah were no different. Isaac loved Esau and his savory food whereas Rebekah loved Jacob (25:28). Jacob sodded pottage (cooked a stew) when Esau came from the field weary. Here we see that Esau hunts and Jacob cooks (25:29). Esau begs his brother for food saying that he was faint acting as if he was at death’s door if he didn’t get food (25:30). And this is where the play upon words forever cements Esau’s fate: he was born red (and hairy) and he sold his birthright for red stew. He was also called Edom which means ‘red’.
Ooh, that cunning Jacob deviously asking for his twin’s birthright! (25:31). Esau wasn’t even thinking logically or clearly for that matter. Perhaps he went out to hunt all day in the sweltering heat, caught nothing and was so disappointed that he let false emotions cloud his thinking. He wanted food and he wanted it now! He’s also thinking that one day he’s going to die so what does a birthright matter anyway (25:32). In his dramatic moment, he overlooked how valuable a birthright is! The son of the birthright received a double portion of the inheritance. Upon the passing of his father, he’ll have the right to be the head of the family and priest/spiritual leader (Deuteronomy 21:17; Exodus 4:22; 1 Chronicles 5:1-2).
Somebody give Esau an Oscar!
And Esau sold his birthright to Jacob (25:33). While it was unfair of Jacob to take advantage of his brother, blame can also be placed at Esau’s feet for he despised his birthright. He was so concerned with his material needs, he failed to stop and consider his actions: what God considered sacred, he made common. Isn’t it ironic that Jacob was buying something that was already his base on what God said in v.23?
So Esau sold his birthright for a bowl of stew for he despised his inheritance (25:34).
Isaac is wealthy and Esau takes two wives
Scripture in focus: Genesis 26
A famine was in the land (26:1), but God appeared unto Isaac (vision/dream) and told him not to go down to Egypt as his father Abraham had done (26:2) for He wanted Isaac to stay in Canaan and try his faith in Him (26:3). No matter what crisis may arise, God wants us to depend on Him and not do our own thing because of lack of faith. If you trust Him when things are easy, trust Him, even more, when things are hard. God reminds Isaac of the promise that He made to Abraham all over again in 26:4 and He also reminded Isaac of his father’s obedience to Him (26:5).
So Isaac stayed in Gerar (26:6).
Isaac repeats his father’s mistake when he lied about Rebekah being his sister (26:7). And he was doing so good in 26:1-5! Sin always finds a way to knock on the door for the flesh is weak. Technically speaking, Rebekah was a second cousin to Isaac. So one day, Abimelech looked out a window and was astonished to see Isaac sporting (showing endearment for Rebekah) with his wife (26:8). Abimelech summons Issac and wants to know his reason for lying about his relation to Rebekah to which Isaac replied that he was afraid to lose his life (26:9).
Just as Abraham was scolded by a pagan king, so was Isaac (26:10-11).
Isaac works hard and becomes wealthy and God has also blessed him (26:12-14). Jealousy causes people to do strange things. This was one of the factors why the Philistines had filled the well with dirt (26:15). The Philistines asked Isaac to leave and without argument, he leaves and pitches his tent in Gerar (26:16-17). In the valley of Gerar, Isaac’s servants dug the wells again finding springing water in one of them (26:18-19). Although the wells were dug by Isaac’s servants, the herdmen of Gerar laid claim to it so Isaac named the wells Esek (meaning “contention”) and Sitnah (meaning “enmity”) (26:20-21). Finally, a third well was dug without argument and Isaac named it Rehoboth (“room enough”) giving all the credit to God (26:22).
Isaac went up to Beer-sheba where the Lord appeared to him that same night (26:23-24). He then built an altar, giving thanks to God and his servants dug a well there (26:25). He is visited by Abimelech and Phichol and he enquires of their visit given that they had sent him away from dwelling among them (26:26-27). They made peace with Isaac because God was with him just as He was with Abraham (26:28-31). On that very same day, Isaac was told that the well had water (26:32) and Isaac called the well Sheba meaning “an oath” (26:33).
And Esau was 40 years old when he takes two wives (26:34) thus grieving his parents (26:35). These two women were from the Hittites and God had forbidden Hebrew men from intermarrying them. Also, Esau had broken the Hebrew custom rule: instead of his parents choosing his future bride, he went and chose for himself.
^ 25:1-2: I first understood this to be Abraham remarrying after Sarah’s death, but the Bible is not in chronological order and for this reason, scholars have been arguing over the valid date of this marriage. Examing it, it opens ‘then again Abraham took a wife’ strongly implying that he took another wife, but it does not state whether before or after Sarah’s death. Abraham would’ve been over 100 years old and marrying Keturah and having 6 sons by her would’ve contradicted his statement in 17:17 although nothing is too hard for our God. Keturah was around when Sarah was alive; she was a concubine and secondary wife. The Bible does not tell us the period in Abraham’s time when this marriage took place, but in 1 Chronicles 1:32, Keturah is referred to as a concubine which implied that the proper wife was living. With Sarah’s blessing (knowing that she was about to die perhaps?), Abraham could’ve married Keturah or after the marriage of Isaac. Either way, I love how the Word makes us think.
Do you have any thoughts on this topic?
^ “Keturah” means incense.
^ Abraham is mentioned 70 times in the New Testament alone. Only Moses is mentioned more times in the New Testament (80 times).
^ Isaac was the second of the great Patriarchs, (Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob).
^ Are we selling out our birthright? Ephesians 1:3-14 shows us our birthright in Jesus.
^ Just as Pharoah was a royal title, so was the title Abimelech (26:8) which was a philistine dynastic title. The Abimelech Abraham would’ve encountered 97 years before would’ve already passed away.