Monday, February 29, 2016

Monday - Genesis 35 - Bethel, Bethlehem, Benjamin & Bilhah

In this chapter it is recorded that Jacob met with God several times and that he was again reminded of God's covenant with him... and of his new name, Israel.
Contrary to Jacob's fears, the people of the land were afraid of him rather than being ready to retaliate as he had supposed they would (as a result of the violence of Simeon and Levi against the Hittites). Not that they were naturally afraid of Jacob; God actually caused them to be afraid.
In obedience to God, Jacob sanctified his family by burying their idols and jewelry under an oak tree in Shechem. Then he went back to Bethel and built another altar to God. There he buried his mother's nurse who had evidently "graduated" into his household upon his return to Canaan. A short time later he buried his wife Rachel in Bethlehem after she had died giving birth to Benjamin.
As if these sorrows weren't enough for Jacob, his eldest son committed incest with one of his surviving wives, Bilhah (who had been Rachel's servant). This is one reason why Judah became the blessed and royal son of Israel instead of Ruben (Genesis 49:4).
Now, as if all of these heartaches were not enough, Jacob had to say goodbye to his father too. Isaac passed away at the ripe old age of 180.

Truly the words of Job 14:1 apply to the life of Israel, "Man that is born of a woman is of few days, and full of trouble."

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