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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

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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 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

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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 4: Genesis 30:25-43

Summary of Genesis 30:25-43:

Jacob asks Laban if he may return to his home country with his wife and children and flocks.  But Laban asks him to stay for he knows he has prospered only because of Jacob so he offers Jacob to name his price to stay.  Jacob says he will stay if Laban will give him as wages every speckled or spotted sheep and every dark-colored lamb and every spotted or speckled goat that is born.  He will separate out the current speckled and spotted and dark-colored animals and those will be cared for by Laban’s sons, which will decrease the odds of these being born.

Laban divided the animals as agreed upon and separated the flocks.  Jacob then placed tree branches in the water troughs so when the flocks came to drink they would mate. Jacob, caring for the solid-colored animals, kept his flocks separate from Laban’s and he only kept the strong ones.  The weak ones went to Laban.  Jacob grew exceedingly prosperous.

BSF Study Questions Genesis: Lesson 20, Day 4: Genesis 30:25-43

9a) Laban tries to say that he has learned by “divinination” that God has blessed him because of Jacob, which he did not. Jacob agrees with the idea in mind to trick Laban into him getting more sheep and goats by breeding for colors that he thought he could choose. He made separate flocks for him and Laban. Jacob’s grew strong, while Laban’s did not.

b) God, as always

10a) I always ask to myself when these “why did God do something,” why not? God can do what He wants. Why not bless Jacob if He wanted to? Why does/should God bless anyone? None of us deserve it. Genesis 12:1-3 tells us that God has promised to bless Abraham, and since Jacob now has the blessing, God will bless Jacob. Colossians 3:22-25 says we are working for God. 1 Peter 2:18-20 says to submit to your masters even if they are harsh. 1 Peter 3:9 says to repay evil with blessings. 1 Peter 5:6-7 says to give God your worries.

b) God has a plan, and it is good. He will bless you in His time.

BSF Study Questions Genesis: Lesson 20, Day 4: Genesis 30:25-43

Funny how neither one has learned anything as they have gotten older. Both Laban and Jacob are back at scheming again.

BSF Study Questions Genesis: Lesson 20, Day 4: Genesis 30:25-43

Jacob wants to go home, so he asks his master, Laban, for permission. Laban does not want him to go, knowing that he has prospered thanks to God’s blessing on Jacob. Jacob takes the spotted sheep and goats for his flock and intends to keep only the colored ones that are born, leaving Laban with all the others. Laban thinks he is getting a great deal since the spotted ones are rarer. However, he forgot who God is blessing — Jacob, not him.

Jacob cared for Laban’s solid color animals. Laban’s sons cared for the speckled and spotted ones three-days journey away.

Jacob put branches in the troughs to increase the number of spotted animals born so they could be his. He used the modern-day practice of selective breeding to get the characteristics (in this case, spots) that he wanted. We will see in Genesis 31:10-13 that God was behind it all.

God blesses Jacob because of the covenant promise, not because of anything he does/did. We are blessed through Jesus Christ, not anything we have done/did.

We see the example through Jacob of working for others in faith God will bless you, of working hard, and of trusting God to do the rest.

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BSF Study Questions Genesis: Lesson 20, Day 3: Genesis 30:14-24

Summary of Genesis 30:14-24:

Reuben gathered mandrakes for Leah. Rachel asked for some and Leah refused. Rachel told Leah she could sleep with Jacob then that night in exchange for mandraks. Jacob slept with Leah and she had another son named Issachar, meaning “reward.” Zebulon, meaning “honor” was born to Leah next. She also had a daughter named Dinah. God listened to Rachel and gave her a son as well named Joseph, meaning “may he add.”

BSF Study Questions Genesis: Lesson 20, Day 3: Genesis 30:14-24

6) We are not told this. This is speculation. As the head of the household, Jacob could end all of this mess at any point. He is weak and does not. I have no empathy for him. The kids we do not know. They are obviously impacted by their respective mother’s strained relationships, but we are not told how. Probably sibling rivalry and jealousy, but that’s common in every household tody.

7a) God listened and opened her womb.

b) God is in control and sovereign.

8 ) I learned early on to depend on God because humans in my life have let me down so often. As my husband starts a new career, we all are depending on God to help make up the shortfall in income.

Conclusions BSF Study Questions Genesis: Lesson 20, Day 3: Genesis 30:14-24

We see the desperation of both women here. Leah is still desperate for Jacob to love her, and Rachel is desperate for children. God is the only one we should be desperate for. He is our everything. In Him lies the answers to everything we seek.

End Notes BSF Study Questions Genesis: Lesson 20, Day 3: Genesis 30:14-24

Leviticus 18:18  woudl forbide the marrying of sisters. The Israelites will finally learn here that this is not a good idea.

The mandrake (called love apple in Hebrew) is mentioned in the Bible here and in Song of Songs 7:13. It is common in Israel and often grows as a weed. It is a member of the nightshade family, which contains the tobacco plant, as well as common vegetables, such as potatoes and tomatoes. It resembles a human so it was regarded with superstition in ancient times. It was believed to be an aphrodisiac and to promote fertility, which is why Rachel was willing to trade time with her husband for it. While the mandrake is common in Israel, it is rare in Paddan-Aram where they lived. This shows that both women are relying on a superstitious plant to solve their problems, rather than turning to God.

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We can gather from the text that Jacob had not been sleeping with Leah all that much since she accuses Rachel of stealing her husband. Rachel uses or prostitutes Jacob to get what she wants here. Both are trading sex and love, which should never be done. God is soveign though here again. He gives both women children, the one who gave the mandrake and the one who bargained for them, too.

The Bible warns of believing superstitions in our life. (Ex. 22:18Rev. 22:15)  Do you have any superstitions?

Issachar adn Zebulun are sons nine and ten for Jacob. Leah was done having children at this point.

God is often credited (rightly so) as opening and closing wombs in Old Testament times (Genesis 25:21), (Genesis 29:31), (1 Samuel 1:5).

Finally, Joseph is born to Rachel, Jacob’s 11th son.

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Friday Digest: BSF’s Study of Genesis Lesson 19

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW IN GENESIS CHAPTER 29:

  • God grows us, our character, and our faith through pain and suffering.
  • God knows exactly what we need.
  • God often teaches us life lessons the hard way.
  • Our sins yield consequences that can cause pain, but that God will use anyway to glorify Him.
  • God has a plan and a purpose for our pain and suffering, and it is good.
  • Pain and suffering lead us to depend more on God

Take Away: Hope in Christ overcomes all pain.

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BSF Study Questions Genesis: Lesson 19, Day 5: Genesis 29:31-35

Summary of Genesis 29:31-35:

God gave Leah children because she was unloved. Rachel was barren. Reuben was named because Leah was miserable, his name meaning “he has seen my misery.” Simeon was named cause she was unloved, his name meaning “one who hears.” Levi means “attached.” Judah was named for “praise” of the Lord.

BSF Study Questions Genesis: Lesson 19, Day 5: Genesis 29:31-35

14) Jacob to love her.

15) God shows us all kindness in difficult times. God shows kindness by continuing to be present, to guide, to lead, to be merciful, to forgive, and to give us hope through his son, Jesus.

16) She grows in her faith like we all do and realizes God is there for here when Jacob, her husband, is not emotionally.

17) God is faithful.

Conclusions BSF Study Questions Genesis: Lesson 19, Day 5: Genesis 29:31-35

I continue to be baffled as to why Jacob still sleeps with Leah besides the physical/procreation side. He knows Rachel is hurt by this, so why do it? Another sin since sex is meant as bonding as well as procreation. Sadly, sex is physical for all too many men today.

BSF notes takes the position that Jacob is fulfilling his duty by giving Leah an opportunity to bear children for status purposes. I can see this for maybe one or two kids, but to continue to have sex with her for all those years and watch his supposed beloved, Rachel, suffer heartache with each successive birth is nothing but selfishness in my eyes.

BSF Study Questions Genesis: Lesson 19, Day 5: Genesis 29:31-35

Here we see Leah forced into a marriage with a man who will never love her, and she suffers because of it, hated by her sister, Rachel, yet she can’t change it. It’s not like she could leave or get a divorce. God loves her as he blesses her with children, so important in those times.

Isaiah 54:5 “For the Maker is your husband — the Lord Almighty is his name…”

Reuben is the first born son of Jacob, yet he would not inherit the promise.

We see Leah’s hope shift to God instead of Jacob, which she would never have.

Note the priests (the tribe of Levi) and the royal line (the tribe of Judah) comes from Leah, as well as the Messiah (from Judah). Leah was blessed for her circumstances and for her faith, indeed.

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BSF Study Questions Genesis: Lesson 19, Day 4: Genesis 29:21-30

Summary of Genesis 29:21-30:

Jacob asks for Rachel’s hand once his 7 years is up. Laban throws a feast, but when evening came he substitued Leah for Rachel. He gave Leah a servant named Zilpah. When morning came, Jacob realized he had been tricked. When he confronts Laban, Laban says the custom is to take the older daughter first. Jacob agrees to keep Leah as his wife, but he then marries Rachel in exchange for 7 more years of labor. Rachel’s servant is Bilhah.

BSF Study Questions Genesis: Lesson 19, Day 4: Genesis 29:21-30

9) Laban may have been worried no one would marry Leah is she was uncomely. He also knew he could get free labor from Jacob basically for another 7 years. When he confronts Laban, Laban says the custom is to take the older daughter first.

10) Leah is now married to someone who does not love her. Rachel is favored. Rachel has to share her husband. No one trusts Laban.

11) Jacob deceived Esau out of the blessing, and he pretends to be Esau to receive Isaac’s blessing. Galatians says that Jacob sowed a sinful nature and reaped destruction because of it.

12) Just because you are forgiven does not mean you can change what happened. You cannot undo anything in this world. Actions reap other actions. You are responsible for your choices.

13) Unsure. It’s hard to see this from my eyes.

Conclusions BSF Study Questions Genesis: Lesson 19, Day 4: Genesis 29:21-30

I’m wondering how this went down and how both women felt about this. Leah was forced to marry someone who did not want her. Rachel was forced to allow her sister to take her place that night. I’m wondering too how Jacob did not notice this before he slept with her. Assuming there was no light, and no one said anything or Jacob would have recognized her voice. Still, the logistics of this deceit baffle me. You would think someone would know here.

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End Notes BSF Study Questions Genesis: Lesson 19, Day 4: Genesis 29:21-30

Leah would have been veiled until they were alone together and with no artificial light….still….

Neither girl had a say in this deceit. It was all Laban. Leah may have been happy, sad, angry. We just don’t know.

The morning must have been a shock. Everyone was angry probably — all because of original sin — Jacob’s.

Many Bible scholars believe that Laban’s excuse was made up and was no custom or law at that time.

Polygamy was a sin of ignorance in Abraham’s day. The example was Adam and Eve, but there was no law against more than one wife. Here Jacob is forced to have 2 wives in order to save Leah from a life of solitude, but it is still a sin.

Jacob most definitely reaped what he had sown, and while Jacob was the younger chosen by God to receive the blessing, he married the older instead.

God disciplined Jacob by allowing this to happen as a consequence of his previous sins. Still, Laban is guilty of sin as well. He used his own daughters for free labor and to ensure Leah was married.

The second 7 years was probably a lot tougher than the first. This was definitely a harder pill to swallow, especially considering Jacob’s age.

Laban gets what he wants initially, but, like always, he’ll get his later. God gives people what they want even when they use sin as a means, but they still have consequences.

In this time, Leah was not defiled and could not be married to another. Jacob was obligated to keep her. That being said, I don’t see how he was obligated to sleep with her and have children with her, especially if he didn’t love her EXCEPT for God’s mandate to be fruitful and multiply. Still, I don’t see how he continued doing this.

Having multiple wives was not uncommon in this culture at that time.