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BSF Study Questions Genesis: Lesson 22, Day 2: Genesis 34:1-12

Summary of Genesis 34:1-12:

Dinah, daughter of Jacob, decided to go visit the women of the land (unsure why).  Shechem, the son of the ruler of the area, Hamor, took her and raped her. He fell in love with her. Jacob and his sons were angry over this. Hamor asked Jacob for Dinah’s hand in marriage for his son, Shechem, and invited them to intermarry with them, trade, and own property in the land.

BSF Study Questions Genesis: Lesson 22, Day 2: Genesis 34:1-12

3) “They were filled with grief and fury.” Who wouldn’t be angry that their sister had been raped? Plus, Dinah would not be able to marry not being a virgin in that time.

4a) Shechem wanted to marry Dinah. Hamor offered Jacob and his family to settle among them, marry their daughters, live in the land, trade in it, and own property.

b) God’s people were called to not intermarry with the pagan cultures around them because then they will turn away from God to other gods.

5a) All cruelty bothers me.

b) Definitely pray about it. It can be overwhelming the sheer amount of evil in the world, but knowing God’s god it gives me peace. Help those I can.

Conclusions BSF Study Questions Genesis: Lesson 22, Day 2: Genesis 34:1-12

Unsure why Dinah went to town in the first place, and it sounds like she went by herself so she violated that rule/culture at the time. Now, they had little choice but to let Dinah get married.

End Notes BSF Study Questions Genesis: Lesson 22, Day 2: Genesis 34:1-12

map of Shechem www.atozmomm.com Genesis 34This story is used to prove the verity of the Bible. After all, who would record such evil deeds except God?

God had called Jacob to Bethel (Genesis 31:13), not Shechem. Inevitably, when you disobey God, bad things can happen.

It falls on Jacob for allowing Dinah to go unsupervised to the city. Yet, nothing is mentioned of that fact. In those times, it seems unsupervised women were raped. Dinah, as a teen, did rebellious things that have consequences as most teenagers do.

Was it love since Shechem raped Dinah? This was probably more a desire to have something more so than love.

Jacob’s sons are more angry than Jacob himself it seems. Jacob should have done something. Instead, the sons felt obligated to, and their choice was infinitely worse without guidance from the head of the family. In ancient times, however, the revenge of the brothers was commonplace.

The marriage proposal threatened God’s plan for all of humanity. God did not want intermarriage of his people, wanting them distinct from other cultures. The fix proposed by Shechem was not a fix at all. It would set a dangerous precedent.

They thought money could erase what happened. Imagine how Dinah felt. Being raped is one of the most vile crimes on this planet, leaving a lifetime full of sorrow and pain. Dinah probably wanted nothing to do with Shechem.

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Friday Digest: BSF’s Study of Genesis Lesson 21

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW IN GENESIS CHAPTERS 32 & 33:

  • God does whatever it takes to win your heart
  • God hears and answers our prayers
  • Expect God to answer
  • Expect God to wrestle for you and with you
  • God never lets go of you despite your repeated sins

Take Away: God is with us every step of our lives, and He grows us every chance He gets.

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BSF Study Questions Genesis: Lesson 21, Day 5: Genesis 33

map of succoth and peniel www.atozmomm.com
Jacob’s path is red. Esau’s path is blue.

Summary of Genesis 33:

Jacob sees Esau coming towards him with 400 men so he divides up the women and children, putting the maidservants first, then Leah and her kids and finally Rachel and Joseph in the rear (obvious preference here).  He went ahead and bowed 7 times to greet his brother.

Esau ran to meet Jacob and welcomed him with open arms.  They wept and kissed.  Jacob introduced his family and then insisted that Esau keep his gift of animals, saying to see his face is like seeing God’s.

Esau offered to accompany Jacob the rest of the way home, which Jacob refused, citing the fact his herds had a lot of babies and needed to go slow.  Esau offered to leave some of his men with Jacob, but Jacob refused that as well.

So Esau went back to Seir while Jacob went to Succoth to shelter.  Then he ventured on to Shechem where he bought the land upon which to pitch his tent.  He set up an altar.

BSF Study Questions Genesis: Lesson 21, Day 5: Genesis 33

13)  Esau is genuinely glad to see Jacob.  He runs to him, embraces him, kisses him, and he weeps.  He asks to meet Jacob’s family and he attempts to refuse Jacob’s gift of animals. A selfish man would have gladly accepted.  He offers to accompany Jacob back “home” and to offer an escort of men as well. Esau has completely forgiven Jacob. Jacob, on the other hand, misleads his brother to where he is going, not trusting him or his men.

14a) Home to see his mother and father, Rachel and Isaac. Or to Bethel, where God directs him (Genesis 31:13)

b) He went to Succoth.

15) Depends on your definition of broken. I have relationships that could be improved, that’s for sure. None are broken. Reaching out to them is the answer.

Conclusions BSF Study Questions Genesis: Lesson 21, Day 5: Genesis 33

I love how Jacob had it all wrong and Esau is glad to see him and means him no harm. It shows how we are often afraid of things we shouldn’t be.

End Notes BSF Study Questions Genesis: Lesson 21, Day 5: Genesis 33

We see Jacob’s preference in Rachel and Joseph here.

Note Jacob is in the lead here, a change in his character. Note too that if Jacob hadn’t deceived Esau, God’s words would have come true anyways. There is never a reason to justify sin, especially to help God along.

We see one of the most touching scenes in the Bible where Jacob and Esau embrace and weep. Esau shows that he had forgiven Jacob by questioning the gifts and refusing them at first.

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Esau is content here, a wealthy man as well. God kept Isaac’s promise to bless him, too. Esau accepted Jacob’s apology when he accepted the animals, showing them to be friends and not enemies.

Jacob misled Esau on where he was going, still not trusting him or his men. This was the old Jacob acting, not the new Israel who trusted in God. Instead of going south to Seir, he heads north to Succouth.

Jacob is to return to the Promised Land, but he does not go far enough, and we are not told why. He is to go to Bethel (Genesis 31:13). He delays, and we know that there are consequences to delays. Perhaps he is still afraid of Esau. He definitely doesn’t trust him.

Fun Fact: This is the second piece of Promised Land purchased by the patriarchs (the first being when Abraham bought the place to bury Sarah in Genesis 23).

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BSF Study Questions Genesis: Lesson 21, Day 4: Genesis 32:22-32

Summary of Genesis 32:22-32:

Jacob sent his two wives, two maid servants, and 11 kids across the Jabbok River. He also sent all of his possessions as well. He then wrestled with God in his sleep. The man touched his hip socket, leaving Jacob with a permanent limp as a sign of this struggle with God and with men. Jacob called the place Peniel, or “he struggles with God.” God renames Jacob Israel, or “God rules” Jacob saw God face-to-face and lived. The Israelites do not eat the hip socket where Jacob was touched.

BSF Study Questions Genesis: Lesson 21, Day 4: Genesis 32:22-32

10a) Jesus because Jesus is God in human form. No one can see God’s face and live, but they can see Jesus’s

Exodus 33:20 But,” he said, “you cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live.”

John 1:18 No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known.

Exodus 33:23 Then I will remove my hand and you will see my back; but my face must not be seen.”

b) To depend on him alone and to give up himself.

11) The man touched his hip socket, leaving Jacob with a permanent limp as a sign of this struggle with God and with men. It was to remind Jacob of God’s centrality in his life. Jacob responded with humble blessings and knew he only survived because of God’s infinite grace.

12) The fact my life could be and has been worse. The fact I know I am a mere human and that the world does not revolve around me. God is the one and only.

Conclusions BSF Study Questions Genesis: Lesson 21, Day 4: Genesis 32:22-32

I love this physical representation of surrendering to God. God uses any means to have all of us, including sending Jesus to wrestle. This gives me faith that God won’t let go of me, either.

End Notes BSF Study Questions Genesis: Lesson 21, Day 4: Genesis 32:22-32

Jacob sent his family over the river to protect them in case there was an attack. Jacob was alone with God, which would be his very last on the east side of the Jordan River. He prayed.

Note that a man wrestled with Jacob, not Jacob with the man. God was working on Jacob still. God wanted all of Jacob’s heart, and He had come to take it.

Jacob pleas to be let go, to surrender, to end it. We all must come to this same place with God, with force if necessary or circumstances that bring us to our knees.

Jacob is not making any demand here. He is asking God to bless him out of desperation  Hosea 12:3-5

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Jacob Wrestles with God/Jesus

All Jacob had was God, and that is all Jacob held on to. This is God’s answer to his previous prayer. He was being rescued from himself.

Israel is a compound word of two Hebrew words, one meaning fight or struggle and one meaning God. It correctly means God rules, not he struggles with God as most Bibles will tell you.

Note that the Bible will still refer to Jacob as Jacob at least twice as often as Israel. This indicates that Jacob is still human and will make mistakes.

Jacob overcame because he knew he was defeated. He also know exactly who defeated him. The new name is the blessing Jacob is asking for.

Jacob knew he should have been killed for wrestling for God, but in God’s mercy, he was allowed to live. As a reminder, he’d have a limp. And what a reminder!

jacob sends gifts to bribe esau genesis 32 www.atozmomm.com

BSF Study Questions Genesis: Lesson 21, Day 3: Genesis 32:9-21

Summary of Genesis 32:9-21:

Jacob prayed to God to save him from Esau. He praises God and admits how unworthy he is. Jacob then reminds God of His promise and covenant to preserve him and his family. He sent gifts of animals ahead to meet Esau in an effort to pacify him.

BSF Study Questions Genesis: Lesson 21, Day 3: Genesis 32:9-21

6) He calls God the God of Abraham and Isaac. He praises God and admits how unworthy he is. Jacob then reminds God of His promise and covenant to preserve him and his family. I love reminding God of His promises in prayer.

7) He sent gifts of animals ahead to meet Esau in an effort to pacify him.

8 ) His prayer to God praises God, admits how unworthy he is, admits his fears, and reminds God of His promises to him. He also is giving Esau many gifts as well

9) Fear of the unknown. Praying and reading my Bible helps.

Conclusions BSF Study Questions Genesis: Lesson 21, Day 3: Genesis 32:9-21

I love Jacob’s prayer here. It’s an example for all of us to follow:

  1. Humbly call upon God
  2. Tell God how unworthy you are
  3. Ask him for what you want in faith He will answer
  4. Remind Him of his promises. Powerful stuff here.

End Notes BSF Study Questions Genesis: Lesson 21, Day 3: Genesis 32:9-21

Jacob’s gifts can be seen as ways to earn favor or to bribe his brother not to harm him. Still, it’s a big improvement from stealing his brother’s birthright. Jacob is still trying to use human means to save himself here when it is always God who saves us. Instead of going out ahead to meet his brother, he waits, hoping his gifts will placate.

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BSF Study Questions Genesis: Lesson 21, Day 2: Genesis 32:1-8

Summary of Genesis 32:1-8:

Jacob leaves Laban headed home. Jacob meets two angels and called the place Mahanaim, or “two camps.”  Jacob prepares to meet Esau. He sends messengers to him to tell Esau he is returning in order to see if he is still trying to kill him. The messengers return to Jacob and tell him that Esau is coming to meet him and is bringing 400 men. Jacob divides up into two camps so that at least one camp can survive if they are attacked by Esau.

BSF Study Questions Genesis: Lesson 21, Day 2: Genesis 32:1-8

3a) Psalm says that the angels of the Lord camps around those who fear him and he delivers them. God sent an angel to protect Daniel in the lions’ den. Hebrews 1:14 says the Holy Spirit lives within you. 1 Corinthians 6:2-3 says God will judge the world. 2 Kings 6:8-23 tells how Israel was warned of approaching trouble. God sent angels to protect him.

b) Esau hated Jacob for when he traded his birthright for a bowl of stew (Genesis 25:27-34) and was made lord over Esau (Genesis 27:35-41). Esau threatened to kill Jacob because of his stealing the blessing (Genesis 27:41), and Rebekah never sent for him, so he is assuming Esau still wants to kill him (Genesis 27:45)

4a) He divides up his herd so that at least part of his family will escape if Esau attacks one segment.

b) He is guided by fear. He does not seek the Lord until after he divides his belongings and family.

5a) Unsure

b) Always pray.

BSF Study Questions Genesis: Lesson 21, Day 2: Genesis 32:1-8

Jacob reacts as most would: assuming Esau still wants to kill him. However, Jacob has spoken to God; he knows he is the promised one. Yet, he still fears for his life, and he does consult God after all the doings.

BSF Study Questions Genesis: Lesson 21, Day 2: Genesis 32:1-8

map of mahanaim www.atozmomm.com bsf genesis bible study

Bible scholars debate why the angels of God met Jacob and what occurred here. Perhaps it marks a new beginning for Jacob as he separates from the ways of Laban, or perhaps God was showing His great love for Jacob.

Remember that angels are our servants (Hebrews 1:14). The angels were there the entire time, he just couldn’t see them. Elisha’s servant experiences this as well 2 Kings 6:15-17, The same goes for us as well. Angels are around us, too.

Jacob was humbling himself before Esau (saying he was his servant) and explaining that he didn’t want anything from him as he was a man of wealth.

Jacob was afraid because he knew he has wronged Esau, so Esau may still be mad. He had lost all courage he had with Laban (Genesis 31:36-42).

Jacob forget the angels standing next to him out of his fear. Since Rebekah never sent for him, Jacob was facing many unknowns. He needed to turn to God. Jacob divided his camps in order to preserve some of his wealth if Esau attacked. Again, God is absent here.

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Friday Digest: BSF’s Study of Genesis Lesson 20

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW IN GENESIS CHAPTERS 30 & 31:

  • God is with you every day through every challenge
  • God brings about good despite our mishaps or missteps
  • God has a plan no matter what we do
  • God uses all of us for His glory
  • There is a time for patience and a time for action

Take Away: God pursues us even when we don’t pursue Him.

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BSF Study Questions Genesis: Lesson 20, Day 5: Genesis 31 and Hebrews 12:3-15

Summary of Genesis 31:

Laban’s sons were jealous of Jacob’s wealth. The Lord told Jacob it was time to return to his homeland. Jacob called Rachel and Leah to him and told them how he has worked for Laban despite the wages being constantly changed but God has been with him and has blessed him with their father’s livestock.

Jacob recounts a dream where God acknowledged Laban’s treachery and told Jacob to leave for home at once.  Rachel and Leah agree and say all Jacob has gained from their father should be theirs anyways as an inheritance.  Jacob and his family left Paddan Aram along with all of his livestock and goods for Canaan.  Rachel stole all of her father’s household gods and Jacob left without telling Laban.  They crossed the Euphrates.

Laban found out after three days that Jacob had fled.  He pursued him and caught up with him in Gilead.  God came to Laban in a dream, warning him not to speak to Jacob. Laban, in his infinite wisdom, speaks to Jacob anyways, and asks him why he had fled without saying good bye and why he has stolen the idols.

Jacob replies that he was afraid Laban would take his daughters from him (can’t blame him here) and that if someone has stolen the idols, may they die.

Laban searched and found nothing for Rachel was sitting on them and said she was having her period so she couldn’t stand to greet him.  Laban found nothing.

Jacob is mad at Laban for accusing him of stealing.  He points out how he has worked 20 years for him, 14 for his daughters and 6 for his flocks even though Laban has changed his wages on him 10 times, and God Himself even rebuked Laban for his behavior.

So Laban and Jacob made a covenant, asking Jacob not to mistreat his daughters or take any more wives and neither will cross the other’s “side” to harm each other.  They offered a sacrifice, spent the night, and the next day Laban bid his daughters farewell and left.

Summary of Hebrews 12:3-15:

The Lord disciplines those He loves and punishes everyone He accepts as a son. Endure hardship as discipline for God is treating you as a son.  For if you are not disciplines then you are not sons of God.  Everyone is disciplined.  God disciplines us for our good so we may share in His holiness.

Discipline is never pleasant, but it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace. Make every effort to live in peace and be holy; without holiness, no one sees the Lord. Do not be bitter.

BSF Study Questions Genesis: Lesson 20, Day 5: Genesis 31 and Hebrews 12:3-15

11) Jacob had noticed that Laban’s sons believed he had stolen Laban’s wealth, and Laban’s attitude towards Jacob had changed, too. But it was God who told Jacob to return.

12a) ) Verse 7 “God has not allowed him (Laban) to harm me.” verse 9 “God has taken away your father’s livestock and has given them to me.” Verse 11-13 “I am the God of Bethel” and God made the animals born spotted. verse 42 “If the God of my father, the God of Abraham and the Fear of Isaac, had not been with me, you (Laban) would surely have sent me away empty-handed. But God has seen my hardship and the toil of my hands, and last night he rebuked you.” They made a covenant together that resolved the bitterness.

b) Pray and thank God.

13) Verse 3 “And I will be with you.” Verse 42: But God has seen my hardship and the toil of my hands, and last night he rebuked you. It encourages me that all my work is worth it, and God is with me.

Conclusions BSF Study Questions Genesis: Lesson 20, Day 5: Genesis 31 and Hebrews 12:3-15

Unsure whey we read Hebrews here since we weren’t asked about it. Rachel is most definitely smart in hiding the idols. However, taking them? Not so smart. She has God. She needs nothing else.

End Notes BSF Study Questions Genesis: Lesson 20, Day 5: Genesis 31 and Hebrews 12:3-15

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Just as Rachel is jealous of Leah, Laban’s sons are jealous of Jacob’s wealth. Love does not envy  (1 Corinthians 13:4). Envy is bad; it killed Jesus. (Matthew 27:18).

God is nudging Jacob back home (Genesis 30:25) and encouraging him, too.

God reminds Jacob of his Bethel (Genesis 28:10), where God has spurred him on to find Rachel. It’s good for all of us to remember times and places where God has shown up. This strengthens us and encourages us in times we feel God is far away.

It was important for Jacob to have the support of his wives. After all, they would be leaving their family for the first time ever, taking their kids with them, to an unknown land. Both women agreed for once and were ready to help in any way they could.

One cool detail you might have missed is that Jacob’s entire family road camels. This is like saying everyone drove their own car here in the US. It’s a sign of Jacob’s immense wealth.

Jacob snuck away when he did not need to. God had already told him to go. It’s evident he would be protected. Perhaps Jacob is so mad at Laban at this point he just wanted to leave.

Rachel Steals her Father’s Idols

We are not told why Rachel stole the idols. Obviously, you should not steal, especially from your mother and father (she broke two of God’s ten commandments here yet to be given to Moses). Scholars debate the reasons:

  • She herself secretly worshipped these idols
  • She didn’t want her father to worship these idols
  • She didn’t want her father to catch them through divination
  • Idols were traditionally used as deeds to property
  • She didn’t like her father, so she took something of his to anger him
  • She wanted protection on the long journey

The reason didn’t matter. She stole; this is wrong.

They left Paddan Aram and Haran for Gilead, which is about 300 miles away and close to the sea of Galilee. Since it took 3 days for Laban to notice, the families must have lived a considerable distance away from one another. Note that God cautions Laban to deal fairly with Jacob. Laban was probably angry and did intend to harm him. God’s warning meant “you touch him and you will pay.”

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Jacob and Home

Jacob is close to home when Laban catches up. It took Laban 7 days to catch up to Jacob who is now near the Jordan River and very close to home. Laban tried to shame him with a celebration and a chance to say good bye to his family. He threatens harm as well. Jacob fervently denies he stole the idols, not knowing Rachel had.

Jacob let Laban have it, citing all he had done for him in 20 years and showing him how ungrateful he was being. He was angry over it all, maybe even remembering the trickery of Leah. He helped Laban. Jacob replaced any lost animal of Laban’s with his own and tells him that God sent him away.

Note that Jacob does not claim God as his own, only Abraham and Isaac’s.

Mizpah meant God is watching and He will repay you if you sin. Laban still claims everything is his, but says he’ll let Jacob have it. The pillar was a sign of their separation. It appears they still left with much animosity between them. From here on out, Jacob’s family will be separated from everyone else.

Laban will never see his daughters or grandchildren again. He now disappears from Bible history, presumably returning home and living out his life as he always had. The separation between Laban and Jacob had to happen. Like this example shows us, it is not always pretty.