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Thread: This Way To Genesis

  1. #221
    Senior Member Deade's Avatar
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    Default Re: This Way To Genesis

    Nice job. Looking for more.

    cursor-on-the-ok-button-smiley-emoticon.gif
    Romans 8:28: “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God,
    to them who are the called according to His purpose.”

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    Post Re: This Way To Genesis

    -
    Genesis 27:46


    Gen 27:46 . . And Rebecca said to Isaac: I am weary of living
    because of the daughters of Heth. If Jacob take a wife of the
    daughters of Heth, such as these which are of the daughters of the
    land, I might as well die.


    Abraham purchased a cemetery plot from Heth's clan back in chapter 23.

    I think Rebecca was becoming very lonely for the company of daughters-in
    law of a kindred spirit. Christians considering marriage should really give
    some serious thought to how their parents feel about a prospective spouse.
    It's just not fair to force your choice down there throat with the haughty
    protest: It's MY life!

    No man is an island, entire of itself;
    Every man is a piece of the continent:
    A part of the main.
    (John Donne, 1624)

    All that people do, everything they say, every decision they make; has a
    ripple effect.

    You know, Isaac really wasn't a bad man. But something happened to him
    that made him lose interest in his patriarchal duties. I really do think the
    man was having problems with depression; which may have been associated
    somehow with his eyesight.

    What if you could never again see Orion and the Milky Way, nor a sunset,
    nor the colors of the rainbow, nor watch the flight of migrating geese or a
    buzzing humming bird, nor see the bees busily collecting their pollen, nor
    the wind shaking the trees, nor the fluorescent colors of Autumn foliage, nor
    the splendor of the Grand Canyon, nor a spider's web illuminated from
    behind by morning sunlight, nor the ocean's waves, nor fireworks on the 4th
    of July? And what about all the things you haven't seen yet? Defective
    eyesight would prevent you from ever seeing the things that you missed.

    There is a well known syndrome that occurs in men called male menopause;
    and also known by it's other name: andropause. Although male menopause
    is related to the aging process-- with resultant hormonal reductions --men's
    problems aren't caused by the very same kinds of changes that occur in
    women. Women's menopausal difficulties are chiefly chemical. But with men,
    it's mostly psychological.

    One of the primary symptoms of andropause is depression. Not just bouts of
    depression that come and go, but the chronic kind. Every day, every night:
    feelings of inadequacy and worthlessness plague men afflicted with chronic
    depression. They feel useless, they feel they'll never be any good again,
    they feel expendable; and they feel unnecessary. But worse, they feel
    unlovable; viz: not only do they feel like no one cares whether they live or
    die, but they feel it is impossible for anyone to care about them at all.

    It isn't unusual for men to rapidly deteriorate and die during the first
    eighteen months of their retirement years. Why? Because their jobs, and
    their careers, made their lives meaningful and worthwhile. It gave them a
    reason to live. It gave them strong feelings of value, it made them creative
    and gave them feelings of self worth and self esteem, and feelings of
    belonging in a man's world. At career's end, they feel expended and
    expendable; actually losing interest in living and it's almost as if they will
    themselves to pass away because there's nothing left to live for, and people
    begin treating them like children instead of mature adults.

    When we're young and spry, we look forward to the future with optimism
    and anticipation. But when we're older, there is nothing in life to look
    forward to anymore but falling apart and leaving it. All the good stuff is over.
    And it doesn't help having our bodies deteriorate along the way.

    I really think that Isaac's handicap robbed him of all reasonable optimism;
    and he saw no reason to go on living; especially at his age. Because of that,
    he had no spirit for patriarchal duties. When the boys brought him food that
    day, both of them asked their dad to sit up and eat. Sit up!? What the heck
    was he doing lying down? Well, I think he was lying around all day feeling
    sorry for himself, that's what. Life had become uninteresting to Isaac, and
    he was no longer one tough cookie; but rather, one whipped puppy.

    But not so Rebecca. No, No; not that quick-legged Aquarian. She was a
    fighter, she was a Rocky Balboa. Becky had a head on her shoulders. Ever
    the strong decisive woman, she put a bug in Isaac's ear to send Jacob away
    to find a spouse. Yes, she was being cunning again; but in the right of it too:
    as usual. It was a whole lot better for Jacob to depart with his dad's good
    will than running away from home without saying good-bye.

    Now that the blessing had actually been dispensed, and it was very clear to
    Isaac that Jacob was God's choice to perpetuate Abraham's covenant, there
    was no excuse to delay any longer in the matter of finding his son a suitable
    wife because men don't live forever, Their children have to take up the flame
    and carry it forward. Jacob was a virile man at this point in his life; but
    that's getting ready to change. This fact, combined with the immediate
    danger of another Cain-and-Abel episode, was more than enough reason for
    Isaac to send Jacob away.

    Rebecca's personal desire for Jacob to have a wife from her own people, one
    with whom she could have fellowship rather than the continual friction she
    experienced with Esau's Hittite wives, compelled her to convince Isaac that
    her own life wouldn't be worth living anymore if Jacob married the same
    kinds of impious women as his brother's.

    Was Rebecca a good wife? Even though she tricked her husband? And even
    though she was strong and decisive? I really believe she was because even
    in the US Navy, sometimes a captain needs his first officer to take over and
    run the ship till he's better.

    "The Lord God said; It is not good for man to be alone; I will make a fitting
    helper for him." (Gen 2:18)

    Isaac benefited from his dad Abraham's wisdom; and he had the providence
    of God to thank in the selection of his wife. Rebecca really saved the day,
    and got Isaac back up on his patriarchal feet. If it wasn't for her, nothing
    would have turned out right. She was indeed the perfect mate for that
    particular man. Unlike Eve who brought her man down; Becky propped her
    man up. Some women, infected with misandry, are pleased when their man
    goes down.

    /
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  3. #223
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    Post Re: This Way To Genesis

    -
    Genesis 28:1-7


    Gen 28:1a . . So Isaac sent for Jacob and blessed him. He
    instructed him:


    This is the first time, at least on record, that Isaac has shown any real
    interest in Jacob's spiritual condition. You just have to wonder if Jacob
    received any religious instruction at all from his dad. I would not be
    surprised if Rebecca has been Jacob's only tutor up to this point.

    Isaac went through a very traumatic experience. I think he was shaken, and
    it appears to have succeeded in bringing him back to his senses. Now he
    renders upon Jacob the full extent of Abraham's blessing; which he really
    should have done a long time ago.

    Gen 28:1b-4 . .You shall not take a wife from among the Canaanite
    women. Arise, go to Paddan-aram, to the house of Bethuel, your
    mother's father, and take a wife there from among the daughters of
    Laban, your mother's brother. May El Shaddai bless you, make you
    fertile and numerous, so that you become an assembly of peoples.
    May He grant the blessing of Abraham to you and your offspring,
    that you may possess the land where you are sojourning, which God
    assigned to Abraham.


    It would have been much wiser of course, if circumstances had permitted, to
    keep Jacob at home and dispatch a trusted servant up to Haran to fetch a
    wife back down to Canaan like Abraham did for Isaac. But at this point, I
    guess that option was out of the question. Isaac's patriarchal laxity is having
    quite a domino effect upon Jacob's future. He's going to be tricked into
    taking two wives, sisters at that, and squander twenty years of his life
    indentured to a very crafty, dishonest man.

    Gen 28:5 . .Then Isaac sent Jacob off, and he went to Paddan
    aram, to Laban the son of Bethuel the Aramean, the brother of
    Rebecca, mother of Jacob and Esau.


    I just have to wonder if Isaac would have thought of Laban at all if not for
    Rebecca putting a bug in his ear.

    Not only was Laban an Aramean, but so were Abraham, Lot, Sarah, and
    Rebecca. The boys (Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob and Esau) were born in Canaan.
    So of what country were they? Canaan wasn't a united sovereignty like the
    USA. It was a frontier territory. Along the coast were Philistine colonies; the
    remainder populated by many communities scattered all over the place
    much like Native American peoples were in America's early days.

    I don't know about Ishmael and Esau, but Isaac and Jacob looked ahead to a
    future country that they would call home. That country didn't exist just yet
    in Jacob's day, but it would eventually, and he would be a somebody there--
    Abraham's covenant guarantees it. Those men haven't missed out on
    anything. According to the New Testament's Jesus, they will all return some
    day and live in that land as citizens in land promised to Abraham.

    "I say to you that many will come from the east and the west, and will take
    their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of
    heaven." (Matt 8:11)

    The writer of Hebrews said, that although those three men were pilgrims in
    Canaan, they will one day live inside it as citizens in a town of their own.

    "By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his
    inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was
    going. By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a
    foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs
    with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city with
    foundations, whose architect and builder is God." (Heb 11:8-10)

    I don't know exactly how much detail those men knew in their day; but that
    "city with foundations" is going to be some piece of work. (cf. Rev 21:2-27)

    Gen 28:6-7 . .When Esau saw that Isaac had blessed Jacob and
    sent him off to Paddan-aram to take a wife from there, charging him,
    as he blessed him "You shall not take a wife from among the
    Canaanite women" and that Jacob had listened to his father and
    mother and gone to Paddan-aram,


    That had to shake Esau up even more. Up to this point, for many, many
    years, he had been daddy's little boy. Now, practically overnight, Jacob
    takes center stage. It must have been very disturbing and I have no doubt it
    made Esau feel extremely insecure; probably for the first time in his life.

    Jacob listened to his parents. The difference between Jacob and Esau really
    shows in that respect. Esau did pretty much whatever he pleased. But Jacob
    wasn't like that. Even at 75 years old he took his parents advice. American
    kids today are famous for ignoring their parents guidance; and they usually
    end up regretting it too.

    His dad was smart all along, but the boy was too immature at the time to
    see it. He thought smartness came packaged with youth. In his mind; older
    people were expendable, obsolete, and out of touch with reality. But
    education doesn't necessarily make one wise: just conceited.

    Although Esau was Isaac's favorite, I really don't think he ever disciplined,
    scolded, nor lectured his eldest son for anything. I think he let Esau run wild
    so as to avoid stressing their relationship. Even though Esau's wives were a
    misery to Isaac and Rebecca, apparently no one ever spoke up and said
    anything about it till now; and as a result; Esau fell for one of the oldest
    ruses in the book:

    A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong;
    Gives it a superficial appearance of being right.
    (Thomas Paine)

    /
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    Post Re: This Way To Genesis

    -
    Genesis 28:8-12a


    Gen 28:8 . . Esau realized that the Canaanite women displeased his
    father Isaac.


    Now that Esau no longer enjoyed the status of a pampered athlete, he's a
    little more attuned to the opinions of others around him; most especially to
    the dad who at one time gave the impression his eldest was so wonderful.

    Gen 28:9a . . So Esau went to Ishmael and took to wife, in addition
    to the wives he had,


    Some feel that Esau did that to create an alliance with Ishmael; since he too
    was a disfavored son. But Ishmael was already deceased by this time. He
    was at least fourteen years older than Isaac, who was by this time around
    135. Ishmael died at 137; twelve years prior to this chapter. It is much more
    likely that Esau betrothed a woman from Ishmael's family in an attempt to
    redeem his marriages to the Hittite girls. Ishmael's girls, at least, were kin.

    Gen 28:9b . . Mahalath the daughter of Ishmael son of Abraham,
    sister of Nebaioth.


    Ishmael being long dead; his son Nebaioth made the arrangements for
    marriage.

    You know, life sometimes dealt cruelly with girls in that day. Romance was
    out of the question. Even if there was a boy in the neighborhood that took
    their breath away, the girls weren't allowed to even date, let alone marry
    him. They had to marry a man their dads or their brothers selected--
    oftentimes a total stranger and often someone quite a bit older than
    themselves. You'll often see it said in the Bible that so and so loved a
    particular girl; but hardly ever will you see where she loved him back.

    I believe that Abraham was a conscientious parent and made certain
    Ishmael received religious training. By the time Ishmael was evicted at
    fifteen or so, he had a pretty good basic knowledge regarding Abraham's
    god. And his mom Hagar was familiar with Him too. So it would not surprise
    me if Mahalath was pretty sound in the correct beliefs. She was a much
    better choice than the Hittite girls, and she is never once said to be a
    heartbreak to either Isaac or Rebecca. I would like to think Mahalath was
    very good company for Rebecca; which would have been a real comfort to
    her now that Jacob was gone.

    Unfortunately, Mahalath was too little too late. It was like closing the gate
    after the horses have run out of the corral. I'm sure Mahalath was okay; but
    Esau's new wife could never change God's decree concerning Jacob. Esau
    lost out: and he lost out big.

    Gen 28:10 . . Jacob left Beer-sheba, and set out for Haran.

    It's difficult for me to believe that Jacob made the 450 mile trip to Haran all
    by himself. He may have, I don't know. I'm not saying he didn't. After all,
    Hagar was apparently traveling alone when she ran away from Sarah back in
    chapter 16. But that was a very dangerous, foolish thing to do. A lone
    person in wild country is just asking for trouble. What if they were to fall and
    break a leg? Or were attacked by brigands and wild animals?

    The route to Haran was used by caravans so Jacob may have traveled along
    with one for safety's sake; and if not then maybe with travelers on foot like
    himself sort of like the pilgrims who trek the El Camino de Santiago de
    Compostela in Spain.

    Gen 28:11a . . He came upon a certain place

    According to Gen 28:19, the "certain place" was Bethel. The site started out
    as Luz; but later came to be known by the name Jacob gave it. Today it's
    commonly believed Bethel was somewhere around Beitin, about twelve miles
    north of Jerusalem and maybe two and a half miles northeast of Ramallah.
    At this point, Jacob was maybe sixty miles from Beer-sheba-- probably the
    second or third day of his journey.

    Gen 28:11b . . and stopped there for the night, for the sun had set.

    Travel at night without a car with good electric headlights was not a good
    idea in those days. Palestine was once the habitat of bears and lions; and
    the odds were against you of getting lost and losing your way in the dark.

    Gen 28:11c . .Taking one of the stones of that place, he put it
    under his head and lay down in that place.


    I doubt the stone was very large. Probably just enough to elevate his head a
    little so he wouldn't lie with his cheek right down on flat dirt. That is so
    uncomfortable. Try it. Put a towel or something down on the floor and lie
    down on the side of your head. It's much more comfortable to stack a few
    books first and then put the towel down. He probably did it like that and
    cushioned the stone with a bag or a coat.

    Gen 28:12a . . He had a dream;

    In the book of Genesis, dreams are a common means of communication
    between God and human beings. Is that still going on? I really don't know.
    But if it ever happened to me, I would consider it a nightmare.

    /
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    Post Re: This Way To Genesis

    -
    Genesis 28:12b-14


    Gen 28:12b . . a ladder was set on the ground and its top reached
    to the sky, and angels of God were going up and down on it.


    The word for "ladder" is from cullam (sool-lawm') which is actually a
    staircase. This is the one and only place in the entire Old Testament where
    that specific word is used. One of the problems with Old Testament Hebrew
    is that scholars are not quite sure what some of the ancient words really
    mean. Cullam could just as easily mean an elevator or an escalator. In
    Jacob's era, even ziggurats were a common staircase to heaven. (cf. Gen
    11:4)

    There's something very conspicuous about the staircase in Jacob's dream:
    there were no people on it-- only the angels of God. So what does that
    mean? Well . . the staircase was, after all, merely a figment, not a reality.
    But it has to signify something real or it would be just a big fat waste of a
    perfectly good vision. I would say the staircase clearly represents, at the
    very least, an avenue to God.

    But why show Jacob a stairway to heaven if human beings weren't using it in
    his day? I think that the very existence of a pathway to God meant that one
    day not only angels, but human beings too would be using it-- because, in
    reality, that stairway represents Christ; Jacob's great, great, great grandson.
    (cf. John 1:45-51)

    Gen 28:13a . . And behold, Yhvh stood above it and said: I am Yhvh
    God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac;


    On the page of Scripture, this is Jacob's very first close encounter with his
    father's god. Till now, Yhvh had been merely data in Jacob's head;
    something he picked up in home-school yeshiva.

    Exactly why God chose to become personal with Jacob at just that moment
    in his life is a mystery. But the moment came not around the dinner table at
    home with family; but actually when Jacob stepped away from his family.

    It was as if Jacob's own family-- the holiest family on earth at the time-- the
    keepers of the knowledge of the one true god --was actually hindering
    Jacob's spiritual progress; and if anything is to be learned at all from his
    experience, it's that his own father, the spiritual head of the house, was the
    one to blame for it. It certainly wasn't Rebecca; no, not when it was to her
    that God revealed the eldest of the two lads would serve the younger: and
    I'm really curious why God didn't repeat His edict to Isaac.

    Gen 28:13b-14 . . the ground on which you are lying I will assign to
    you and to your offspring. Your descendants shall be as the dust of
    the earth; you shall spread out to the west and to the east, to the
    north and to the south. All the families of the earth shall bless
    themselves by you and your descendants.


    Those are essentially the very same promises that God originally made to
    Abraham. The most important one, that of blessing to all nations, has been
    passed on down, not to all the descendants of Abraham, but only to special
    ones. Beginning with Isaac, then Jacob, then to Judah, and eventually to
    David, and then to Messiah.

    Not all Hebrews are a blessing to all the families of the earth. Only those
    Hebrews who inherited the patriarchy are a blessing because it is through
    them that Messiah's line propagated. The other Hebrews really don't count
    for much in that respect except that the nation, as a whole, is credited with
    safe-keeping the Bible. (Rom 3:1-2)

    /
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    Post Re: This Way To Genesis

    -
    Genesis 28:15


    Gen 28:15 . . Remember, I am with you: I will protect you
    wherever you go and will bring you back to this land. I will not leave
    you until I have done what I have promised you.


    Actually, hardly any of those promises were fulfilled in Jacob's lifetime— his
    offspring didn't become as populous as the dust of the earth, nor did they
    spread out to the east and the west and to the north and to the south. Nor
    did all the nations of the earth bless themselves by Jacob and his
    descendants. So what gives? How could God say: "I will not leave you until I
    have done what I have promised you"

    I believe God has continually associated with Jacob to this very day, ever
    since the day of their first close encounter at Bethel. That didn't stop with
    Jacob's demise. No, their association goes on.

    "Now even Moses showed in the burning bush passage that the dead are
    raised, when he called the Lord "the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and
    the God of Jacob." For He is not the God of the dead but of the living, for all
    live to Him." (Luke 20:37-38)

    In order to live "to" God (viz: live unto God) it is necessary to be in
    existence. God has always been with Jacob, and never left him even once—
    all these many years; better than three-thousand of them by now. And all
    this whole time Jacob has lived under God's protection because God
    promised He would protect Jacob wherever he went; and in order for that
    promise to be meaningful, it has to include the afterlife. (cf. Ps 139:7-10,
    Matt 16:18)

    /
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    Post Re: This Way To Genesis

    -
    Genesis 28:16-19


    Gen 28:16-17a . . Jacob awoke from his sleep and said: Surely the
    Lord is present in this place, and I did not know it! Shaken, he said:
    How awesome is this place!


    Actually Jacob was very frightened. I believe that place gave him the creeps.
    It isn't unusual for an encounter with God to unnerve people. Even the very
    best saints get shook up by it. Daniel just about fainted when God talked
    with him (Dan 10:17. And Moses was very frightened when God descended
    upon Mt. Sinai. (Heb 12:18-21)

    Gen 28:17b . .This is none other than the house of God, and that is
    the gateway to heaven.


    The Hebrew word for "house" is somewhat ambiguous. It can indicate one's
    dwelling, and it can indicate one's entire estate. For example; Pharaoh's
    house at Gen 12:15 consisted of a palace while Abraham's house at Gen
    14:14 consisted of all that he owned and possessed. Jacob apparently
    assumed (probably correctly) that the site where he met with God was a
    favorite of God's in Canaan, and had it staked out for himself: and who's to
    argue with that?

    Gen 28:18a . . Early in the morning, Jacob took the stone that he
    had put under his head and set it up as a pillar


    The word for "pillar" is from matstsebah (mats-tsay-baw') which is
    something stationed; viz: a column or (memorial stone)by analogy, an idol.
    All over the Mojave Desert in California are man-made stone monuments
    that mark the location of historical events and/or sites. One of my favorites
    is the Foot And Walker pass where Butterfield stagecoach passengers had to
    disembark and walk because the slope was too steep for horses to pull the
    coach with them inside it.

    Jacob's pillow stone became a souvenir of his very first close encounter with
    the Bible's God. To set it up, he would need something to elevate it and
    make it prominent. So he probably gathered more stones into a pile, like a
    cairn, and then put his pillow block on the very top as the cap stone.

    Gen 28:18b . . and poured oil on the top of it.

    The Bible doesn't say where Jacob got the idea to pour oil on his historical
    marker; so we'll just have to take an educated guess at it. It's very likely,
    considering the situation, that anointing the pillow stone with oil (probably
    either an edible, or medicinal oil rather than a petroleum based lubricant)
    dedicated it as a memorial to Jacob's contractual bond between himself and
    God.

    There's reported to be widespread evidence (I haven't seen it for myself)
    from the ancient Near East, for the use of oil in international treaty
    relationships, and in effectuating business contracts. The practice seems to
    have been a token of peace, friendship, and assumed obligation. In Jacob's
    case, the anointing is connected with the making of a vow that bound him to
    specific commitments.

    Gen 28:19 . . He named that site Bethel; but previously the name of
    the city had been Luz.


    Luz retained it's original name for a long time afterwards. On his way back
    home after twenty years with Laban, the name hadn't yet been changed to
    Bethel (Gen 36:6). Precisely when the site's name was officially changed to
    Bethel is difficult to ascertain.

    The word for "Bethel" is from Beyth-' El (bayth-ale') which means (what
    else?) house of God.

    According to Jewish folklore, the stone Jacob chose for his pillow was
    actually one of the stones Abraham used to construct the altar where he
    bound Isaac. Jewish folklore also believes the Temple Mount in Jerusalem to
    be the site where Abraham offered his son. Those lore imply that Bethel and
    the Temple Mount are geographically the same. But it's highly unlikely. The
    Temple Mount is in Jerusalem; and Bethel was about 12 miles to the north.
    The exact geographic location of the offering of Isaac is totally unknown at
    this time.

    In the days of Solomon's rule, Israel became divided into a north and a
    south, sort of like America's fracture during the Civil War. A king named
    Jeroboam ruled the northern part and another king named Rehoboam ruled
    the southern part. The northern part was called Israel, and the southern part
    was called Judah. Jeroboam became concerned that his subjects in the north
    might change sides due to the Temple being located in the south. (1Kgs
    12:26-29)

    Point being, the Temple Mount was at Jerusalem in Rehoboam's realm; and
    Bethel was on Jeroboam's turf in the north; and if the people really wanted
    to get on God's bad side, they worshipped in the north.

    "Come to Bethel, and transgress" (Amos 4:4)

    /
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    Post Re: This Way To Genesis

    -
    Genesis 28:20-21


    Gen 28:20-21 . . Jacob then made a vow, saying: If God remains
    with me, if He protects me on this journey that I am making, and
    gives me bread to eat and clothing to wear, and if I return safe to
    my father's house-- Yhvh shall be my God.


    What's he saying? That the Lord has not been his god up to this point? Not
    necessarily. It wasn't uncommon in those days for people to worship other
    gods right along with Yhvh. This practice was later strictly forbidden by the
    first of the so-called Ten Commandments. (Ex 20:1-3)

    Jacob's uncle Laban (the very father of his beloved Rachel) was notorious for
    polytheism. On the one hand, he recognized Yhvh's divinity (Gen 24:50 and
    31:29) while on the other hand he harbored a collection of patron gods in his
    home (Gen 31:19 and 31:30). In the ancient Semitic world; patron gods
    were equivalent to Catholicism's patron saints-- objects of devotion
    venerated as special guardians, protectors, and/or supporters; viz:
    alternative sources of providence.

    Jacob knew about Abraham's god and believed that He existed (Gen 27:20).
    But that's merely an educated consent, and nothing personal. It's like
    knowing and believing that Mr. Barak Hussein Obama is the President of the
    United States. But so what? Has the President ever come to your home for
    coffee or dinner? Have the two of you been to a movie together or to a
    picnic? Where was he when you were sick, down and out, and/or feeling
    helpless, hopeless, despondent and depressed? See what I'm saying?

    Lots of people glibly venerate the Bible's God. But very, very few can
    honestly say: The Lord is my friend, He cares about me, He cares about my
    life, He protects me and provides for me wherever I go. I am His, and He is
    mine. We are one; we are together.

    Jacob's vow reflects a personal decision of his own volition to make Yhvh the
    sole object of his religious devotion to the exclusion of all the other gods
    that people commonly venerated in his day. So we could paraphrase Gen
    28:20-21 to read like this:

    "If God remains with me, if He protects me on this journey that I am
    making, and gives me bread to eat and clothing to wear, and if I return safe
    to my father's house-- then Yhvh shall be my only patron."

    /
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    Post Re: This Way To Genesis

    -
    Genesis 28:22


    Gen 28:22a . . And this stone, which I have set up as a pillar, shall
    be God's abode;


    Jacob's pillow stone wasn't really meant to be a dwelling or a container as
    we typically think of human habitat or animal cages. It was meant to be a
    sort of monitoring device. An 8th century BC Aramaic treaty inscription from
    Sfire, in Syria, terms each upright stone on which the treaty is inscribed as
    an abode of the gods.

    The Hebrew word for "God" is 'elohiym (el-o-heem') which is a plural word
    meaning gods of all descriptions; both the good and the bad; and the true
    and the false. So that we could translate Gen 28:22a-- "shall be the abode
    of the gods."

    The stone(s) symbolize a divine presence monitoring fulfillment and/or
    infractions of the terms of a treaty or a vow. So Jacob's pillar was not only
    the custodian of his vow, but was also its regulatory agency taking note
    whether Jacob and Yhvh keep their promises to each other. The very same
    thing turns up again in Gen 31:44-52.

    Gen 28:22b . . and of all that You give me, I will set aside a tithe
    for You.


    This is probably the very first Biblical instance of the so-called "faith
    promise". Though coming from a wealthy family; and heir apparent to his
    father Isaac's personal fortune, the fulfillment of this particular vow was
    contingent, not upon what Jacob possessed already; but upon God's future
    providence.

    Jacob didn't promise a set dollar figure, but promised a "tithe" which in
    English Bibles is commonly translated a tenth; but in reality the Hebrew
    word 'asar (aw-sar') just means to apportion; which Webster's defines as: to
    divide and share out according to a plan; especially to make a proportionate
    division or distribution of.

    The value of a nondescript tithe therefore is left up to individual discretion.

    "Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not
    reluctantly or under compulsion, for God prefers a whole-hearted giver."
    (2Cor 9:7)

    "And here is my advice about what is best for you in this matter: Last year
    you were the first not only to give but also to have the desire to do so. Now
    finish the work, so that your eager willingness to do it may be matched by
    your completion of it, according to your means. For if the willingness is
    there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to
    what he does not have." (2Cor 8:10-12)

    Jacob was under no obligation to reciprocate and compensate God for the
    promises. Their fulfillment was dependent neither upon Jacob's generosity
    nor his piety. Fulfillment was dependent solely upon God's own personal
    integrity. So why should Jacob dedicate a tithe? Well; like I said, he didn't
    have to. Jacob's response was totally spontaneous and voluntary. His tithe
    was motivated from a sense of fair play, rather than a response to Holy
    mandates. In other words: Jacob reciprocated God's kindness with kindness
    of his own.

    A faith that gives out of friendship, rather than obligation, is much better
    than a religion that mandates a tithe. And the gift should be given where the
    giver feels whole-hearted about it; viz: they should have some say in where
    their offering goes, and they should be able to feel quite satisfied about it
    rather than feel as though their pockets were picked.

    So; how was Jacob going to transfer some of his assets into God's account?
    There was neither Temple nor synagogue in his day, and certainly no
    Aaronic priesthood. Abraham did his business with Melchizedek but there is
    no record of either Isaac or Jacob doing business with one of Mel's
    successors.

    When all else fails, a very, very good way to give to God is by helping people
    less fortunate than yourself; in other words: pay it forward.

    "He who is generous to the poor makes a loan to Yhvh: He will repay him his
    due." (Prv 19:17)

    There are lots of charities benefiting disadvantaged people. United Way lists
    quite few to pick from. Believe me, those causes are a whole lot more
    satisfying than just mindlessly tossing money into a basket passed around
    on a Sunday morning.

    /
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    Post Re: This Way To Genesis

    -
    Genesis 29:1-6


    Gen 29:1 . . Jacob resumed his journey and came to the land of the
    Easterners.


    The geographic region in Turkey where Jacob went wasn't actually east by
    his reckoning. It was just about dead north. But the people who populated
    that region had roots in the east. Here's another version.

    "Then Jacob went on his journey, and came to the land of the sons of the
    east."

    Many of the peoples in and around Haran, although they lived northward
    from Canaan, were actually descendants of early pioneers who migrated out
    west from the world of Babylon; just as Abraham and his dad Terah had
    done many years prior to Jacob's birth. (cf. Gen 11:1-2)

    Gen 29:2a . .There before his eyes was a well in the open.

    The balance of Jacob's trip, from Luz to this well, is passed over in silence.
    Apparently nothing of significance occurred along the way. If Jacob traveled
    at, say, 25 miles per day, it would have taken him about eighteen days to
    reach Haran.

    If he stuck to the trade route, he could have stopped in Damascus and took
    in some of the local sights and maybe stayed at a "motel" before pushing
    on. Food wouldn't really be a problem because there surely were plenty of
    settlements and/or vendors along the trade route.

    Major highways, like the old US routes 66, and 101, always had lots of
    merchants offering overnight accommodations, plus all the goods and
    services a traveler would likely need to see them through. I wouldn't be a bit
    surprised if there existed in that day fast food equivalents of McDonalds and
    Burger King.

    Gen 29:2b-3 . .Three flocks of sheep were lying there beside it, for
    the flocks were watered from that well. The stone on the mouth of
    the well was large. When all the flocks were gathered there, the
    stone would be rolled from the mouth of the well and the sheep
    watered; then the stone would be put back in its place on the mouth
    of the well.


    Apparently this well wasn't fed by an artesian source but was a variety that
    kept itself filled by seepage out of a substrate aquifer. A well like that--
    which is more like a cistern --can become rancid very quickly by bird
    droppings, dead critters, and debris if it's not kept covered. Although
    structuring the watering time created a rush hour, it was sensible. That way
    the well wasn't left open for too long a time and there was less chance of
    polluting it.

    Gen 29:4a . . Jacob said to them: My friends, where are you from?

    Exactly what language Jacob spoke in his greeting isn't said; but during his
    era; Akkadian was a common language in Mesopotamia where Laban lived.

    I don't think this well is the very same one where Abraham's servant met
    Rebecca. For one thing, it's out in the open, not actually connected with any
    specific town. If it had been, then Jacob could have assumed the shepherds
    lived nearby and not asked them where they were from.

    This particular well was within walking distance of pasture land. Any grasses
    close in to the towns were likely over-grazed. That's just one of the natural
    results of progress and urban sprawl.

    Gen 29:4b-6a . . And they said: We are from Haran. He said to
    them: Do you know Laban the son of Nahor? And they said: Yes, we
    do. He continued: Is he well?


    Laban's location, and his state of affairs, would of course be Jacob's primary
    concern. After all, he just traveled nearly 500 miles to find him. If the man
    was dead or moved away, then the trip was all for nothing; and in those
    days, there was no way to call ahead.

    Gen 29:6b . .They answered: Yes, he is; and there is his daughter
    Rachel, coming with the flock.

    According to Gen 31:1 Laban had sons too, not just daughters. But the boys
    may have been too young at the time to go out in the fields alone. So big
    sister had to do all the ropin' and brandin' till her little brothers grew a few
    more hat sizes.

    Does that maybe indicate Rachel was a bit of a tomboy? Maybe. Personally;
    I think she was. But I don't think she was one of those hard, masculine
    kinds of tomboys, like some tough she-male working shoulder to shoulder
    with roughneck oil drillers, or packing a 9mm Glock, a nightstick, and a can
    of pepper spray as a cop, or putting out fires with a hook and ladder
    company, or dressed full-out for combat in Afghanistan.

    I think Rachel was one of those women who can survive in a man's world if
    need be; yet retain their feminine side too. They still like cosmetics, dinner
    out, husbands, family and children, pampering themselves with a trip to the
    beauty parlor, and shopping for new shoes and a purse-- but don't mind
    running a lawn mower, trimming the hedges, or firing up a leaf blower when
    they have to.

    There's a lot of single moms out there nowadays who haven't much choice
    but to wear a man's hat now and again-- not to prove a point, but just to get
    by.

    Herding sheep out in the open is risky for a lone woman. But apparently
    Rachel wasn't afraid of any of the local men; who no doubt were motivated
    by male chivalry to look out for her; and besides, we're going to see just up
    ahead that her dad was not a man to trifle with. Anybody who messed with
    Rachel would have to answer to Laban; and he was a man who took nothing
    lying down.

    Jacob is going to fall for this tomboy-ish angel in a very short time; and no
    surprise. Men often hook up with women that resemble their moms. That is
    so weird because some of those very same guys were brought up by moms
    from hell. But that's what they're used to. So, without even thinking about
    it, they often gravitate to those very same attributes in a girl.

    Well, Rachel and Rebecca were like peas in a pod. They were both confident,
    fearless, and decisive: not to mention tens to boot. I think Jacob felt very
    secure with women like that.

    /

  11. #231
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    Post Re: This Way To Genesis

    -
    Genesis 29:7-14a


    Gen 29:7 . . He said: It is still broad daylight, too early to round up
    the animals; water the flock and take them to pasture.


    The Hebrew word for "broad" is gadowl (gaw-dole') which means great (in
    any sense). Gadowl is variously translated as high day, the sun is high, early
    in the day, and much daylight.

    Apparently the usual time for watering flocks was later in the afternoon just
    prior to bedding them down for the night.

    Jacob just blew into the neighborhood and he's already telling strangers
    what to do! No doubt an attitude he brought with him from Isaac's ranch.
    Down there the servants jumped when Jacob said something. Up here in
    Haran though, things were just a wee bit different.

    Gen 29:8 . . But they said: We cannot, until all the flocks are
    rounded up; then the stone is rolled off the mouth of the well and we
    water the sheep.


    Actually, someone may have owned that well; and set the rules for it's use.
    In those days, whoever dug for water usually had the rights to it; somewhat
    like a prospector's claim in the gold fields out in 1850's California.
    Apparently the owner didn't mind people using the water as long as they
    respected his feelings about it. But Jacob had a mind of his own, and
    seemed to care very little for the property rights of others.

    There's a clash of civilizations going on in this scene. Jacob was from the
    frontier lands of Canaan where men of mettle did pretty much as they
    wished. I'm guessing that Haran was a bit more sophisticated.

    And then too; Jacob was a privileged kid born with a silver spoon in his
    mouth. I've seen the kind of superiority complex that kind of upbringing
    sometimes instills within children. Well; that's going to change. Jacob is
    entering the school of hard knocks, and he's going to learn a thing or two
    from professor Laban. But when it's all over, Jacob will be a better man for
    it.

    Gen 29:9-10 . .While he was still speaking with them, Rachel came
    with her father's flock; for she was a shepherdess. And when Jacob
    saw Rachel, the daughter of his uncle Laban, and the flock of his
    uncle Laban, Jacob went up and rolled the stone off the mouth of the
    well, and watered the flock of his uncle Laban.


    Violating local customs is an insolent thing to do; and almost certainly
    guaranteed to get you off on the wrong foot. And besides: fair is fair. The
    other shepherds were there ahead of Rachel, and no telling how long they'd
    been waiting. Word of Jacob's favoritism, and his disdain for fair play, would
    surely spread.

    Coming from a privileged family; Jacob was accustomed to doing pretty
    much as he pleased and answering to no one for it. But arriving in Haran, he
    was a nobody: a homeless drifter. Now he's going to learn what it's like to
    be just another face in the crowd; and he is also going to learn what it's like
    to do as you're told. Unkie Laban is just the bull o' the woods for some long
    overdue rich-kid attitude adjustment.

    Gen 29:11 . .Then Jacob kissed Rachel, and broke into tears.

    Poor Jacob. He'd been under a lot of stress lately; and probably feeling very
    alone in the world. His cousin must have seemed to him like an angel of
    mercy come to rescue his soul from the abyss. First he helped water her
    flock; for no apparent reason to Rachel other than courtesy; which she
    seemed to accept without any fuss. But then he impulsively kissed her (on
    the cheek I hope) and started sobbing. Rachel must have stared at Jacob
    like a man gone mad from a brain tumor.

    Gen 29:12 . . Jacob told Rachel that he was her father's kinsman,
    that he was Rebecca's son; and she ran and told her father.


    Zoom! Out of there like a bottle rocket (so to speak). Boy that girl sure
    takes after auntie Becky. Rachel lit out of there like the critters sent from
    Jessie the Cowgirl to fetch Sheriff Woody in Toy Story2.

    Gen 29:13a . . On hearing the news of his sister's son Jacob, Laban
    ran to greet him;


    I seriously doubt that Laban sprinted. The man was over 100 by now and
    near the age of Jacob's mom; maybe even older than her. Isaac and
    Rebecca were married twenty years before she became pregnant for the
    very first time, and Jacob is around 75 at this point. For a man Laban's age
    "rushed" and/or "hurried" seems more reasonable than ran.

    Gen 29:13b . . he embraced him and kissed him,

    Foreign customs often offend Americans. I was visiting the home of a
    Portuguese man in San Diego a number of years back when his son and
    daughter-in-law showed up unexpectedly. Dad and son greeted each other
    with a hug; and kissed full on the lips. I just about died; it was so gross. And
    then he kissed the daughter-in-law full on the lips too. I think you have to
    grow up in those kinds of customs to really be comfortable with them.

    Gen 29:13c-14a . . and took him into his house. He told Laban all
    that had happened, and Laban said to him; You are truly my bone
    and flesh.


    Adam said pretty much the very same thing about Eve at Gen 2:23 because
    she wasn't created from the dust as he had been, but was manufactured
    from already existing human tissue amputated from his body. In other
    words: ol' Laban was saying "You and I are one and the same" because
    tricking a father in order to supplant a brother was just the thing Laban
    would have thought of himself had he been in Jacob's shoes.

    /
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    Post Re: This Way To Genesis

    -
    Genesis 29:14b-20


    Gen 29:14b-15 . .When he had stayed with him a month's time,
    Laban said to Jacob: Just because you are a kinsman, should you
    serve me for nothing? Tell me, what shall your wages be?


    It's curious that Laban would offer Jacob employment. I'm guessing that
    Jacob had offered to help out around Laban's ranch only just long enough for
    the heat blow over back home; but Laban became impressed with Jacob's
    work ethic and wanted him on permanently. Sometimes good help is very
    hard to find; and worth paying for.

    Gen 29:16-17a . . Now Laban had two daughters; the name of the
    older one was Leah, and the name of the younger was Rachel. Leah
    had weak eyes;


    According to Jewish folklore, Leah had weak eyes from crying all the time at
    the prospect of being forced to marrying Esau.

    The word for "weak" is from rak (rak) which means, variously: tender, soft,
    weak, and/or gentle.

    So rak doesn't necessarily mean that something is feeble. It can also mean
    that something is kind and/or gentle as opposed to harsh and/or cruel. And
    in this case, where the beauty of two girls is being compared, I don't think
    the author of Genesis meant to convey that Leah's eyesight was weak; only
    that she had nice eyes, but little else to offer.

    Pity. Leah was a good girl; but just about bankrupt in what really matters to
    most guys; and as any woman with assets can vouch; most men think
    better with their eyes than with their brains. In other words: when it comes
    to women, men's brains switch off and it's all about the view after that: if
    you know what I mean.

    Gen 29:17b-18a . . Rachel was shapely and beautiful. Jacob loved
    Rachel;


    Duh. Why does that not surprise us? You know, Jacob was fortunate about
    something. In those days, a man didn't have to win a woman's heart. He
    had to win her custodian's heart. So men could pick out a girl like they might
    pick out a shirt or a new car. Girls, through no fault of their own, could
    easily get stuck with a very disagreeable man.

    But there is something very missing in this story-- Rachel's love for Jacob.
    The man was ga-ga over her. But how did she really feel about him?

    Gen 29:18b-19 . . so he answered; I will serve you seven years for
    your younger daughter Rachel. Laban said; Better that I give her to
    you than that I should give her to an outsider. Stay with me.


    Done! And just like that; a girl became engaged. Jacob traded seven years
    of his life for Rachel. But it wasn't really about money, and they actually
    dickered over wages later. What Jacob actually proposed was a service
    commitment; like the contracts musicians sign with recording companies;
    and professional athletes sign with big league teams like the Blazers or the
    Mets; and like the terms of service to which young men commit themselves
    to the armed forces.

    So Jacob didn't really buy Rachel with money. She was more like a bonus for
    signing up as a full-time employee with Laban. And the seven years weren't
    Laban's idea. They were Jacob's; and I think he made it so many years
    because he wanted to offer Laban a deal so lucrative that he couldn't
    possibly refuse it.

    Gen 29:20 . . So Jacob served seven years for Rachel and they
    seemed to him but a few days because of his love for her.


    It's a fact of human experience that men will sell their souls to satisfy their
    wants. But I'm guessing there was more to Rachel than just her looks. After
    seven years living in such close proximity, Jacob still wanted her. If she had
    been one of those tough, thin skinned, defensive, obtuse, chafing and
    demeaning Tomb Raider kind of girls, I'm pretty sure Jacob would have lost
    interest by then. I say "pretty sure" because there are some men who will
    live with a witch in spite of the abuse they endure just so's they can sleep
    with the woman of their dreams; viz: a trophy wife rather than a man's best
    friend forever.

    /
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    Post Re: This Way To Genesis

    -
    Genesis 29:21-25


    Gen 29:21 . .Then Jacob said to Laban; Give me my wife, for my
    time is fulfilled, that I may cohabit with her.


    The word "cohabit" is not actually in the Hebrew. It should read "go near".
    What Jacob said, in the common colloquialism of our day, is what men
    sometimes say when they want to sleep with a particular girl. They
    sometimes say: Wow! I'd sure like to get next to that! (chuckle) Very
    expressive.

    Gen 29:22-23 . . And Laban gathered all the people of the place and
    made a feast. When evening came, he took his daughter Leah and
    brought her to him; and he cohabited with her.


    Jacob has got to rank as just about the dumbest groom in history. He knew
    both of those girls like the back of his hand. For seven years he lived right
    next door and saw them both every day. Leah and Rachel didn't even
    resemble each other. The one was shapely and beautiful. The other was not.
    Even if he couldn't see well enough in the dark to tell the difference, he
    certainly should have been able to feel the difference; and to recognize the
    difference in their voices.

    Was that man so totally plastered with booze from the reception that he
    couldn't even tell who, or what, he slept with that night? Haw-Haw-Haw
    Haw-Haw :-)

    But the real mystery was Leah. Wouldn't you think that she would have
    spoke up and said something before things got out of hand? That sly girl.
    (chuckle) Personally I think she had a big crush on Jacob. Later on Leah will
    try very hard to get Jacob to transfer his affections to her and forget about
    Rachel.

    This so reminds me of Sadie Hawkins' day in the Little Abner comics of the
    old days. In the town of Dog Patch, men didn't grow on trees; there just
    wasn't enough to go around; and on top of that, some of the hillbilly girls
    weren't much to look at either. Subsequently, some of the local gals had a
    tough time getting husbands.

    So, in memorial of an old spinster lady named Sadie Hawkins, a special day
    was set aside each year wherein the bachelorettes had a chance to get
    hitched. All they had to do was run down one of the unattached men; and
    whoever they caught, absolutely had to marry them; no exchanges and no
    returns.

    But hey! Where was Rachel!?! Was she tied up out in the barn or something?
    Well; I hate to say it, but I really don't think she ever did want to marry Mr.
    Jacob. I really think she was in on the whole scam all along and I think
    Rachel was seriously hoping Jacob would settle for Leah and forget all about
    her. But alas; such was not to happen. Jacob was very determined. He
    accepted his fate with Leah, but went after Rachel anyway.

    NOTE: The covenant that Yhvh's people eventually agreed upon with God as
    per Lev 18:18 protects sisters like Rachel and Leah so that men are not
    permitted to cohabit with both girls at the same time.

    Gen 29:24 . . Laban had given his maidservant Zilpah to his
    daughter Leah as her maid.


    Zilpah didn't say anything either. In fact she very likely assisted Leah to
    bathe and prepare for her wedding night. Poor Jacob. He was so defeated. It
    was like the whole world, and even the stars above in their courses, were in
    a grand conspiracy to dupe the old boy that night.

    Gen 29:25 . .When morning came, there was Leah! So he said to
    Laban: What is this you have done to me? I was in your service for
    Rachel! Why did you deceive me?


    There is really no one to blame for this situation but Jacob himself. They say
    to never look a gift horse in the mouth. But I think your wedding night has
    to be the exception. For crying out loud, you'd think the man would have
    enough sense to make sure the woman in his bed was the one who was
    supposed to be there. Yes, Laban was a rascal. But then so was Leah, and so
    was Zilpah; and Rachel too. And maybe this gave Jacob cause to remember
    how he tricked his own dad back home into giving him Esau's blessing.
    (chuckle) There's an old saying: What goes around, comes around.

    /
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