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BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 26, Day 5: Matthew 26:36-46

SUMMARY OF MATTHEW 26:36-46

Jesus and the disciples went to the Garden of Gethesmane. He told them to wait while he went and prayed. He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee (James and John) with him. He become sorrowful and troubled. He then left them, asking them to keep watch, and stepped further away. He prayed on his face to God to take the cup from him if it was God’s will.

He returned to his disciples who were sleeping. He chastized them for not keeping watch. He told them to watch and pray so they don’t fall into temptation.

He went away again and prayed to God to take the cup from him. He found them sleeping a second time. Then Jesus went a third time, praying the same prayer. He returned to his disciples, saying he is betrayed into the hands of sinners.

BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 26, Day 5: Matthew 26:36-46

10a) His sorrow for humanity and all of their sins. It’s a big burden to carry all of that weight on your shoulders. His sorrow for his own death, pain, and suffering.

b) He prayed on his face, asking God, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken form me. Yet, not as I will, but as you will.”

c) He chastized them for not keeping watch and not praying so they don’t fall into temptation. Basically, he has but hours to live and his closest friends are sleeping them away.

11) He asked to not go through this, but he said only if it was God’s will. He knew it was God’s will, and he knew his destiny. He accepts it willingly, but not without remorse.

12a) Although we may not like God’s will for our lives, it is His will, so we must accept it and move forward.

b) Thank you, Jesus, for taking my sin on your shoulders and carrying it for me so I may live forever in your kingdom free from sin.

Conclusions BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 26, Day 5: Matthew 26:36-46

I did not remember that Jesus checked on his disciples three times and that he prayed the same prayer three times afterward. Love this! Even though Jesus asked three times, God answered by confirming Jesus’s destiny. So good!

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End Notes BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 26, Day 5: Matthew 26:36-46

Gethsemane is east of the temple mount area in Jerusalem and on the lower slopes of the Mount of Olives. The town was surrounded by olive trees, and Gethsemane means “olive press,” indicating the vast importance of the olive to this region.

Here, Jesus is sorrowful, in part due to the physical pain he was about to suffer, but he was also sorrowful of carrying the entire world’s sin on his shoulders.  Luke 22:43 says that angels came and ministered to Jesus in the garden. He is about to face a spiritual battle, and he keeps Peter, James, and John with him.

If there were any other way for mankind to be saved, God would never have sent His one and only Son to die as he did. Thus, it is not possible.

The cup of judgment is a symbol for God’s wrath and judgment used in the Old Testament. (Psalm 75:8)  (Isaiah 51:17)  (Jeremiah 25:15)

Jesus would bear God’s wrath; this is what he is most sorrowful about. He is about to be separated from God, His Father, for the first time as he bears the sins of humanity. It’s like a kid who is lost and begins to panic. This is pure agony.

It was here, in this garden late at night, that we all were saved when Jesus decided once and for all to take our wrath upon himself. Prayer won the day.

Note that the disciples were no help at all in supporting their leader here.

Peter failed Jesus because he failed to watch and pray. Jesus warns him here, but he fails to take heed.

Note that Jesus prayed the same prayer repeatedly. This means we are to do the same. Pray with all your heart the same prayer.

Note Jesus did not flee. He met the challenge head-on. As should we meet all of our challenges.

Jesus would finish the work he had started. Praise, God Almighty!

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BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 26, Day 4: Matthew 26:31-35

SUMMARY OF MATTHEW 26:31-35

Jesus says that they will all fall away (desert him) because of him (who he is) this very night. But after he has risen, he will go ahead of them to Galilee. Peter says he never will, which is when Jesus says he will deny him 3 times before the rooster crows. Peter says no, as do the other disciples.

BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 26, Day 4: Matthew 26:31-35

8 ) They will all fall away because of him that very night.

9a) Peter tells Jesus he won’t fall away.

b) They are all in denial. It’s ironic how they know it will happen, but they do it anyway.

c) I don’t overestimate my own strength because I know I can’t do anything without God, His strength, and His power.

Conclusions BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 26, Day 4: Matthew 26:31-35

I love how the rooster crows! We now own chickens, and we have one rooster. Although I have to say, he never stops crowing except at night.

An interesting read:

End Notes BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 26, Day 4: Matthew 26:31-35

Jesus tells the disciples they will desert him in order to show them that Scripture must be fulfilled. Peter, like most of us, is in denial of wrongdoings and reliant on his own strength rather than God’s. Peter would falter, but Christ never does.

Peter was smug and self-assured. He will soon be humbled beyond belief. I’d be embarrassed and feel extremely guilty. This would definitely be hard to forgive myself for this one.

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BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 26, Day 3: Matthew 26:17-30

SUMMARY OF MATTHEW 26:17-30

When Passover arrived on the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the disciples asked Jesus where he wanted them to make preparations. He sent them into the city to a man’s house. That evening, Jesus told the disciples that one of them will betray him. All of the disciples ask if it is them. Jesus says it will be the one who has dipped his hand into the bowl, and it would be better if that man would not have been born. Jesus tells Judas it is him, when he asks Jesus.

At the Passover meal, Jesus took the bread and broke it, passing it to his disciples. He said this is his body and for them to eat it. Then he took the cup and told the disciples to drink, as it represented his blood of the covenant, which is poured out in order to forgive them all. Jesus says he will not drink it until the day he drinks it anew in his Father’s kingdom. They sang a hymn and then went out to the Mount of Olives.

BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 26, Day 3: Matthew 26:17-30

6a) Passover and it commemorated how God spared the Israelites from judgment while they were in Egypt and delivered them out of Egypt.

b) The Israelites sacrificed a lamb and marked their homes with the lamb’s blood so that God would passover their house and spare them. Jesus is the Passover lamb. He was sacrified for our sins so God will, in effect, pass over us when we stand before him. The Passover was an act of redemption of his people out of slavery. Similarly, Jesus redeems us from our slavery to sin and brings us to him forever.

7a)

Luke 22:19-20: The bread and the wine of communion represent us remembering Christ’s sacrifice for our sins on the cross. We cleanse ourselves with his body and blood so we can stand before God.

John 6:51-58: Jesus says that he is the living bread, so anyone that eats of the communion bread will have eternal life. The bread is his flesh, which he gives for the life of the world, and the wine his blood.

1 Peter 1:19: Jesus is a lamb without blemish, meaning he is perfect as is his blood. Thus, when you take communion, you are drinking of Christ’s perfection.

1 Peter 2:24: By Jesus’s wounds, we are healed. He bore our sins on his body so we could die to sin and live for righteousness.

1 John 1:7: Jesus’ blood purifies us from all sin.

b) Taking communion helps us to remember Jesus and what he did for us on the cross. He established the New Covenant so we could be closer to him and God. Whenever you take communicy, you proclaim his death and declare your faith in him and his sacrifice for us until his return. We are to remember Jesus via the communion until he comes again.

c) It helps to reflect on everything that Jesus did for us and our sins and give praise to God and Jesus because of it.

Conclusions BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 26, Day 3: Matthew 26:17-30

I love taking communion. It’s such a great time to be with the Lord and thank Him for all that He has done and will do.

End Notes BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 26, Day 3: Matthew 26:17-30

Most Bible scholars agree that Jesus had this Passover meal with his disciples before Passover because he knew he would be crucified. It should be called The Last Passover rather than the Last Supper since Jesus’s death effectively ended Passover.

Why does Jesus announce that one of the 12 disciples will betray him? Because, out of his infinite mercy, he is giving Judas one last opportunity to repent.

It is notable that the other disciples did not accuse the others. They simply asked Jesus if it were them that betrayed him. Note that none of the other disciples understood Jesus’s answer to Judas when he confirmed Judas was the betrayer.

Judas was an intimate friend of Jesus  Psalm 41:9  Jesus’s love for Judas is greater than Judas’s treachery of him.

Here, Jesus institutes the Lord’s Supper for all Christians.

John tells us that Jesus washes the disciples’ feet (John 13:1-11) and then Judas leaves (John 13:30). However, the exact timing of it all is unclear and unknown. Many contend Judas never partook of the Lord’s Supper.

The Passover Meal

Everything at the Passover meal has significance:

  • The bitter herbs is the bitterness of slavery
  • The salt water is the tears everyone shed as slaves
  • The lamb was the sacrifice

The bread now is Jesus’s body that was sacrificed and beaten for us. He gives us strength and provides all we need.

The wine now is Jesus’s cleansing and redeeming blood.

The New Covenant

Jesus institutes a new covenant with mankind that allows us to be with God from an inner cleansing Jesus offers. God’s word and Himself live in us (via the Holy Spirit).

There is considerable debate about if the bread and wine represent the actual blood and body of Christ (known as transubstantiation in Christian theology) or if it is the blood and body of Christ by faith alone (known as consubstantiation). Others say Jesus’s presence in the bread and wine is real, but only spiritual, not physical.

We TAKE the bread (so choosing Jesus is a choice). We EAT the bread (we are alive when we eat food, so we’re alive in Jesus).

Fun Fact: “Thanks” in ancient Greek is the word “Eucharist,” which is why the Lord’s Supper is sometimes called the Eucharist.

Jesus will gather all of his people at the Second Coming once again and have a great supper. (Revelation 19:9).

Jesus sang and worshipped God, as should we. Can you imagine heading to church and Jesus is the worship leader? Pretty cool!

Jesus sang the night before his crucifixion. He is at peace with God and His will. We should be, too.

Passover traditionally ended with three Psalms sung  Psalms 116-118. We can presume Jesus sang these here.

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BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 26, Day 2: Matthew 26:1-16

SUMMARY OF MATTHEW 26:1-16

Jesus tells his disciples he will be handed over to be crucified in two days. The chief priests and the elders assembled at the palace of the high priest named Caiaphas to plot to arrest Jesus and kill him. But they didn’t want to do it during the Feast.

A woman anointed Jesus at Bethany  in the home of Simon the Leper. She poured very expensive perfume on his head. The disciples upbraided the woman, saying they could have sold the perfume for a high price and given the money to the poor. Jesus chastized the disciples, saying he will not always be with them. She is preparing him for burial. She will be remembered for what she has done.

Judas Iscariot went to the chief priests to ask how much they would give him to betray Jesus. They said 30 silver coins. He agreed to do so when the opportunity rose.

BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 26, Day 2: Matthew 26:1-16

3) In many ways. She gave Jesus her most precious possession freely. The woman sacrificed a lot to do so. She did so herself as a woman. She endured scorn by the disciples to do so. It is very inspiring to remember to give Jesus my best, too.

4a) They did not see the heart of the woman; all they saw was monetary value, not eternal value.

b) Jesus saw the woman’s heart, her love, and her intentions. He made sure she would be remembered forever for what she did.

c) Unsure. Sometimes I think nothing at all.

5) 30 silver coins. Exodus 21:32 says that 20 skekles of silver is to paid for the life of a slave who had been killed by another’s bull (or at the fault of another). The bull would be put to death. Zechariah 11:12-13 says the pay of a shepherd was 30 pieces of silver, as well as the pay for the potter. Jesus lowers himself to what a slave is worth. Zechariah the prophet foretold this moment, so 30 pieces of silver fulfills prophecy.

Conclusions BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 26, Day 2: Matthew 26:1-16

Great, great lesson. Love how we see the love for Jesus with the most precious possession, adjacent to the intense hatred of him and the wish for his death.

Great read!

End Notes BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 26, Day 2: Matthew 26:1-16

Jesus is done instructing. He now will focus on finishing his work on Earth.

This is the fourth and last time Jesus announces his own death that is recorded in the book of Matthew.

The high priest was appointed for life. Caiapas ruled until his death in A.D. 36

While the high priests did not want to kill Jesus during Passover, God had other plans. God was in control, and He would save humanity on His own time.

The Anointing of Jesus

John (John 12) tells us that this woman was Mary, the sister of Lazarus and Martha. (Luke 10:39),

If you read all of the Bible passages for this event, the majority of Bible scholars believe that Matthew, Mark, and John record this event, while Luke records a separate event.

This is the only time Simon the leper is mentioned in the Bible. Many Bible scholars believe Jesus healed him since a leper was considered unclean and could not host others in their home.

We are told by John that the disciple who criticized was Judas (no shock since he seems to have money on the mind). (John 12:4-6). Mark 14:5 tells us that the perfume was worth a year’s wages.

The woman did a good work for Jesus. She gave her most prized possession, as should we. Jesus was comforted in these heavy hours.

Nothing is wasted for Jesus. Nothing is too good for Jesus.

No doubt the woman probably did not know the significance of her unbridled gift to Jesus. The same holds true for us. The smallest act done in Jesus’s name can make all the difference in others’ lives.

Judas’ Betrayal

Some Bible scholars believe that because Judas’s betrayal is recorded directly after this “waste” that Judas saw, he then made up his mind to betray Jesus.

Judas’ only clear motive in betraying Christ is greed. Bible scholars have debated for centuries what motivated this betrayal, from disillusionment of who Jesus was to he was a Judean. It’s clear that this simple motive was enough.

30 pieces of silver is only worth about $25 in today’s money — not a lot of money to betray someone who you’ve followed for the last two years. This shows Judas never cared for Jesus. He rejected repentance, and he would pay the ultimate price.

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BSF Study Questions Genesis: Lesson 26, Day 5: Genesis 44:18-34

Summary of Genesis 44:18-34:

Judah pleads for Benjamin’s life, in the end offering to take his place because he cannot face Jacob and tell him that Benjamin has been taken from him like they did when they sold Joseph into slavery. Judah explains to Joseph that Benjamin is the only son left of his mother and Jacob loves him deeply. He recounts the whole conversation with Jacob of taking Benjamin so that he (Joseph) would sell them grain. He says that Jacob will die if they return without Benjamin.

BSF Study Questions Genesis: Lesson 26, Day 5: Genesis 44:18-34

13) Judah cannot bear to see the misery that would come upon Jacob and the fact that Jacob would die in sorrow. Just the fact that Judah does not want Benjamin taken says it all. Here, his actions speak louder than his words. All of the brothers could have left Benjamin. Instead, they stand up for him.

14) Personal Question. My answer: Age and experience has contributed to my growth. Unsure the evidence, however.

15a) Regret is when you feel sadness, repentance, or disappointment over an event that has happened or been done to you. Repentance is a feeling of regret for past wrongs and a commitment to change for the better. The Eerdmans Bible Dictionary defines repentance as “a complete change of orientation involving a judgment upon the past and a deliberate redirection for the future.” Sorrow leads to repentance. Regret is the first step; repentance follows regret and is the act of change.

b) Just the fact I want to repent is God’s grace. Many people feel bad over what they’ve done, but don’t resolve to change. Resolving to change so when the situation presents itself again is repentance and that lead to salvation. “Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret.” 2 Corinthians 7:10 So my answer is all the time since I sin all the time.

Conclusions BSF Study Questions Genesis: Lesson 26, Day 5: Genesis 44:18-34

I love how the brothers pass this test of Joseph’s of caring. What if they hadn’t? The story of God’s people would have been different, indeed.

End Notes BSF Study Questions Genesis: Lesson 26, Day 5: Genesis 44:18-34

Many Bible scholars call Judah’s appeal moving. Others call it pathetic. Either way, it’s one of absolute desperation. Once again, Judah is putting the blame on someone else, saying this all started because Joseph asked them questions. All they wanted was to buy some grain. He once again says that Joseph is torn to pieces. I’m wondering how Joseph is taking this. I’m surprised he never asked what happened to him/Joseph to see if he could get the truth from them.

Joseph asks “What is this you have done?” giving the brothers a chance to repent and explain themselves. This is the same question God asks Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden and of Cain when he killed Abel.

You can see now that Judah does care about Jacob’s feelings when before they didn’t, even though Jacob favored both Joseph and now Benjamin. I can only imagine that Benjamin was even more favored now that Joseph is gone than before.

Since Judah is the one who volunteers to exchange his life for Benjamin’s, we see sacrificial love, which usually only occurs under the umbrella of love and is a sign of transformation (John 13:34). Since he was the one who wanted to sell Joseph  (Genesis 37:26-27), we know for sure that his heart at least has changed.

In these two chapters, we see how the brothers have matured. They stay with Benjamin, they don’t care he gets more food, they offer themselves as slaves, and they care for Jacob. They also know all of this is happening because of their sin against Joseph (Genesis 44:16) , and they accept that. This is a lot of growth, indeed.

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BSF Study Questions Genesis: Lesson 26, Day 4: Genesis 44:1-17

Summary of Genesis 44:1-17:

Joseph then gives his brothers all of the grain that they can carry. He then orders each man’s silver to be placed back in the mouth of their sacks and for his silver cup to be placed in Benjamin’s sack. Joseph lets his brothers pack up and leave. Then he sends men after them to accuse them of stealing. The brothers deny having stolen anything, citing the fact that they even brought back the other silver they had found in their sacks. They boast that if anyone finds it, that person will die and the rest of them will become slaves. The silver cup is found in Benjamin’s sack. The brothers tore their clothes and returned to the city.

Joseph asked them why they stole from him since he can divine things with the cup. The brothers have no defense, taking this as God’s payback for what they did to Joseph. They declare themselves Joseph’s slaves. Joseph says only the one who was found with the cup will be his slave.

BSF Study Questions Genesis: Lesson 26, Day 4: Genesis 44:1-17

11) Joseph is testing his brothers to see how they react when Benjamin is found to have the silver. Perhaps Joseph wants to see if they are happy that they will be rid of Benjamin like they were him.

12a) Night and day. The brothers couldn’t wait to be free from Joseph who told them he would rule over them and they would bow to him one day. Here, they tear their clothes and accompany Benjamin back to Egypt.

b) The brothers are older now with families of their own. They have matured. They know how much they hurt their father by getting rid of Joseph, and they can’t bear to tell him Benjamin is gone, too. Judah says he is personally responsible for Benjamin.

c) Anyone can change, even those who do evil. This is good to remember when evil is done to us as well.

Conclusions BSF Study Questions Genesis: Lesson 26, Day 4: Genesis 44:1-17

Great way to see how the hearts of the brothers have changed and to test them, bringing them to complete repentance for what they did to him.

End Notes BSF Study Questions Genesis: Lesson 26, Day 4: Genesis 44:1-17

Bible scholars doubt that Joseph actually used the cup for divination. I mean, God speaks to him. Joseph obviously doesn’t need a cup. It was probably just to emphasize to the brothers the magnitude of the crime they were being accused of.

The brothers are so confident no one stole it that they offer death as a penalty.

Their reaction to Benjamin having the cup says it all: they did not want any harm to come to him, as they did Joseph.

We see the brothers bowing before Joseph for a third time (Genesis 37:5-11). They needed Benjamin to go free and were humble in their approach.

The brothers could not return to Jacob without Benjamin. So, they would stick by him, becoming slaves with him. It took all this time for the brothers to finally realize their wrong against Joseph, and now they would pay the price. It seems they have accepted that. No one can hide from God or escape the penalties of their decisions. Time will get you; either on this side of heaven or the other.

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BSF Study Questions Genesis: Lesson 26, Day 2: Genesis 43:1-14

Summary of Genesis 43:1-14:

Israel/Jacob and all of their family ate all of the grain that the brothers had brought back from Egypt. When they ran out, Israel told them to get more, at first without Benjamin. He blamed them for telling “the man” (aka Joseph) that they had another brother. The brothers told him they were simply telling the truth when asked, nothing more. How were they to know the man would demand to see Benjamin?

Judah said the man would not give them any more grain without Benjamin. Reluctantly, faced with the starvation of his family, Israel agreed to let them take Benjamin. He also sent twice the amount of silver to pay for the first grain, and he sent other, local gifts as well. Finally, Israel put Benjamin’s fate in the hands of God.

BSF Study Questions Genesis: Lesson 26, Day 2: Genesis 43:1-14

3) Because he did not want to send Benjamin and risk losing him.

4) Judah told Jacob that the man would not see them (sell them grain) if they came back without Benjamin. Judah also said that he would be responsible for Benjamin and bear the blame if he came back without him. He said that if they didn’t go, everyone would starve.

5a) “Put some of the best products of the land in your bags and take them down to the man as a gift — a little balm and a little honey, some spices and myrrh, some pisttachio nuts and almonds. Take double the amount of silver with you, for you must return the silver that was put back into the mouths of your sacks. Perhaps it was a mistake. Take your brother also and go back to the man at once. And may God Almighty grant you mercy before the man so that he will let your other brother and Benajmin come back wih you.”

b) God is in control. He grants mercy. He will let the man let Benjamin return to him.

c) Jacob has finally put his faith in God for the outcome of Benjamin. After all, Benjamin is God’s, not Jacob’s. He is resigned and accepting of what will happen.

6) Just putting my faith in God that my husband’s new ventures will be fruitful and profitable and that we will make it through.

Conclusions BSF Study Questions Genesis: Lesson 26, Day 2: Genesis 43:1-14

Love how we see Jacob come full circle. I also love how it’s Jacob’s kids that are the voice of reason, ensuring they don’t die because of their father’s fears.

End Notes BSF Study Questions Genesis: Lesson 26, Day 2: Genesis 43:1-14

Jacob’s hand is forced to go back to Egypt for food. Perhaps he hoped he could forget about the whole thing and leave Simeon in jail. However, as the famine wore on, they needed food, and Egypt was the only place to get it. I’m wondering what Joseph is thinking all this time. It was quite some time since the brothers left. I’m wondering if Joseph felt sorry for Simeon in jail like he was for no fault of his own. The waiting and the procrastination of Jacob must have been hard on everyone involved. Yet, God’s plan would prevail.

Bible scholars are unsure of the age of Benjamin here. Some Bible translations refer to Benjamin as a lad. Yet, he is probably older, maybe even with a family of his own at this time (Genesis 46:21).

Judah offers to be responsible for Benjamin’s return. Perhaps he feels guilty since he was the one to propose the sale of Joseph (Genesis 37:26-27) and to treat Tamar horribly (Genesis 38).

Judah is the 4th son of Jacob, but emerges the leader here. Simeon and Levi were responsible for hte murder of the Shechemites. Reuben had slept with Bilhah, his father’s wife. Judah takes the lead here.

Jacob is giving gifts to Joseph in the hopes of winning his favor, like with Esau in  Genesis 33:10-11)  He orders them to take twice the amount of silver to pay for what they owe and to purchase more grain. Bible scholars say this is equivalent to 20 pieces of silver they sold for Joseph.(Genesis 37:28).

Some Bible scholars say Jacob’s prayer is not showing enough faith. To me, even a little faith is better than none at all.

BSF Study Questions Genesis Lesson 26, Day 5: Genesis 38

Summary of passage:  After Joseph was sold to the Midianites, Judah left his family and went to Adullam.  He married a Canaanite woman names Shua and had 3 sons with her–the last of which was born in Kezib.  When Judah’s first-born son grew up (Er), he married a woman named Tamar.  But Er was so wicked that the Lord put him to death.

Onan, the second-born of Judah, now was ordered to sleep with Tamar since it was law back then to produce heirs for the line.  Onan refused and the Lord killed him too.

Tamar went to live in her father’s house until the third son, Shelah, was grown.  However, Tamar was not given to Shelah when he had come of age so Tamar dresses up as a prostitute in order to trick Judah into sleeping with her.  He does indeed sleep with her and she conceives twin boys.  She keeps his seal, cord, and staff in order to prove he is the father to avoid being accused of prostitution and put to death.  Judah admits he was wrong in not giving her Shelah so spares her life.

Their names are Perez and Zerah.

Questions:

12)  We see in Genesis 34:1 that Dinah apparently was a girl of the town who “visited the women of the land” frequently.  We see the horrendous retribution by Simeon and Levi wiping the town of Shechem from the map.  Joseph was sold to slavery by all the brothers in Genesis 37.  And now Judah marries a Canaanite.

13)  The whole family might have become pagans once again and the line to Jesus would have been tainted forever.  Belief in the One, True God could have vanished all together and God would have had to start all over again.  Remember, those who believed in God at this time were all from Abraham’s family.  And not that many generations have passed since then.  Perhaps hundreds?  Maybe a thousand people believed in God.

It’s not hard to imagine how these people could be swallowed up by the corruption and unbelief around them.

14)  No.  Judah.  Judah shouldn’t have married a Canaanite.  Period.  When God kills two of your three sons that should have been a hint that you made a mistake.  However, like Rachel, Tamar resorted to trickery to get what should have been rightfully hers.  This is not good in God’s eyes.  But I can’t help but wonder in ancient times how women had little other means to do anything.  Not that their behavior is justified.  But it is understandable considering women were mere property back then.

Furthermore, Judah wasn’t following the law either by refusing to give Tamar to Shelah. Judah held all the power in his hands to do what was right and he refused.

15a)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Perhaps she came to believe in the Lord and back then there wasn’t a lot of believers in the One, True God to choose from as husbands.

However, this question may be misguided and makes a lot of assumptions.  How do we know she had her own friends and opportunities for marriage?  Tamar was now a widow and she had no land or anything to go with that status.  She had also married outside of her culture.  Normally, this causes a rift between her and her “friends” and family so she may have been labeled as an outcast.

Furthermore, as a widow, it was Judah, NOT her father, who now decided whom she should marry.  Only he could give her in marriage and provide a dowery.  And from what Tamar was seeing, it appeared Judah’s intentions were to leave her with her father for the rest of her life.

Well, an unmarried woman and childless in that culture was an outcast period.  She’d have no son to provide for her and would have no purpose outside of the marriage realm. She was facing a bleak future and hence took matters into her own hands.  Can anyone blame her?

In conclusion, I don’t think she had any other opportunities to marry.  I think this question is wrong in asserting that.  I think she had no friends either.  Her former friends were probably all married now with a family of their own.  And as a mother we all know once you have kids it is difficult to maintain friendships with your single friends who have no kids simply because you have nothing in common any more with them.  I think this is more likely the case.

Like I said, there weren’t a lot of other believers out there to marry at this time.  I believe she was stuck between a rock and a hard place and didn’t like either one.

It was obvious the Lord was with her.  If she was a believer, she could have been praying for a solution to her problem.  She probably acted before He answered.  But He never abandoned her and He blessed her in a way only we know (by being in Christ’s line). Amazing!

b)  Ruth, who was a Gentile as well, accepted the Lord as her God after her marriage to Ruth’s son. She would not turn back to her people who were unbelievers and who worshipped other gods.  Rahab has heard of God’s power and abilities and although it doesn’t say if she was a believer when at this time when she protected the two spies, she reveres God enough to get on his side and not the side of her people.

Tamar seems to be the same way.  She probably was converted when she was married to Er and would not turn her back on God no matter what happened to her.

16)  Judah sent Tamar back to her father to live because he thought “he may die too like his brothers” (verse 11) and then refused to give her Shelah, probably out of fear he would be stricken by the Lord as well (verse 14).    Verse 26 is where Judah mentions she is more righteous than him for her actions.

17)  Personal Question.  My answer:  First because her story takes up a whole chapter in Genesis.  And her actions were righteous and because of them we have Jesus.  Her story is an example of following the law.  If it hadn’t of been for Tamar’s actions, there would have been no Jesus.  She was responsible for conceiving, not Judah.  Hence, I believe she is mentioned in recognition of that fact.

Conclusions:  We look at some powerful women in this lesson that clung to God despite all the hardships involved.  For supposedly a “weak” lot, women play a powerful role in God’s world even when in man’s she is nothing.

Onan was more than happy to have sex with Tamar but didn’t want her to have a child that would not be considered his.  He was shirking the law and for that he is judged.

We must remember God caused Tamar to conceive.  It was His will that she carry the line even if she used deception.  Just like Rebekah and Jacob.  God is in control despite all man’s doings.

Both Tamar and Judah are shining examples of God’s grace.  Neither was worthy to be the heir of Jesus but they were both chosen by God to be so.  Despite our sins, God loves us anyways and uses us in powerful ways.

End Note:  I had never drawn the conclusion that Jacob and his family were meant to get out of Canaan for a bit in order to escape the pagans around them.  I had always assumed that they only went to Egypt for food.  Now I see God’s wisdom and purposes in a new light.

It is just absolutely amazing how God has everything planned and how we may only see one purpose (like the need for food); whereas, God has infinitely more (like getting them out of Canaan to protect them).  Good to remember in my life as well.

Map of Timnah, Bethel, and Adullum:  http://bibleatlas.org/full/timnah.htm

Adullum is beneath Timnah to the right a bit.  Bethel is in the upper-right hand corner in the brown.  So Judah left Bethel where his family had been staying, went to Adullum and got married, then went up to Timnah to shear his sheep.  The place where Tamar waited for Judah, Enaim, is right outside of Timnah on maps I found.

BSF Study Questions Genesis Lesson 26, Day 4: Skimming Joseph’s Story in Genesis 39-41

Summary of passage:  Genesis 39 tells how Potiphar’s Wife wanted to sleep with Joseph but he refused so she told her husband he tried to take her and he ended up in prison. Genesis 40 tells that while Joseph was in prison he began interpreting others’ dreams. Genesis 41 tells how Joseph languored in prison for 2 years until he was called upon to interpret Pharaoh’s dreams.  Joseph credits God and seeing that God is with him Pharaoh puts Joseph in charge of all of Egypt–second in command beneath him.

Questions:

9a)  Jacob refused to be comforted and was disconsolate when his favorite son, his whole world, died.  He refused to rejoice that Joseph was in heaven, in a better place.  Instead, he only wanted to die.  This was from his emphasis on Joseph as his favorite son.  When Joseph died, so did Jacob.

b)  Throughout all the circumstances that happened to Joseph, he rose to become the number two guy of the most powerful nation on earth.  He not only saved God’s chosen people but he also saved Egypt and all the peoples around.  God used Joseph to ensure all prospered.  Joseph’s family was reconciled.

Just like Romans 8:28 says “In all things God works for the good of those who love him”. All things work together for my good.  Even the bad works for good.  We just have to remember to trust God and what He is doing for He has a purpose that we cannot see nor understand.  God is in control and no matter what happens to us or around us we must not worry.  For His plan will prevail.

10)  Thrown down the cistern and sold by his brothers.  Potiphar’s wife lied to have him thrown in prison.  He explained a dream to a cellmate who forgets about him.  There he sat for 2 years until he interpreted Pharaoh’s dreams.

11)  God protects Joseph from the death of his brothers (Genesis 37).  Potiphar’s wife tempts Joseph day after day but he tell her he cannot sin against God (Genesis 39:9). Potiphar puts him in jail when he could easily have killed him and while in jail Joseph is favored by God (Genesis 39:21) and put in charge of the prisoners and God “gave him success in whatever he did” (Genesis 39:23).

While in prison, Joseph meets those who will tell Pharaoh about him, the chief cupbearer.  Joseph credits his interpretations to God (Genesis 40:8; 41:16)

Conclusions:  Honestly, didn’t like this lesson.  Not much point to it.  Why not just be assigned to read the passages and then answer questions?

9b is why the story of Joseph is so powerful and why almost everyone (even non-Christians) know his story. For despite all the terrible things that happen to Joseph, he never once gives up on God and God never forgets Joseph.  I think this story particularly resonates with Americans who hold the American dream:  that no matter where you come from you can rise to succeed.  No matter how many hard knocks you take, you must always get up and keep fighting.

With one caveat:  As long as you give God the credit.

I know, even non-Christians rise and succeed but it is all God’s plan and God’s credit even if they don’t believe nor acknowledge it.

But as Christians we must.  His glory.  Never ours.  As Joseph so wondrously shows us how.

BSF Study Questions Genesis Lesson 26, Day 3: Genesis 37:12-36

Summary of passage:  The brothers (notice Joseph is conspicuously absent) were grazing sheep near Shechem when Jacob/Israel sent Joseph to check up on them and make sure all was well.

When Joseph arrived in Shechem, the brothers had moved on to Dothan.  The brothers saw him coming and plotted to kill him.  The mocked him by calling him dreamer and planned to kill him and throw him in a cistern and tell Jacob that a ferocious animal killed him.

But Reuben tried to rescue Joseph.  He suggested not to shed blood and just to throw him into a cistern and then come back later.  Basically, just to teach Joseph a lesson was his plan.

So the brothers stripped him of his robe and threw him into an empty cistern.  The brothers then sat down to eat their meal when a caravan of Ishmaelites appeared heading to Egypt to sell spices.  Judah (interestingly the fourth born and the one whom Jesus will come from) sees dollar signs so he suggests why don’t they sell their brother to the Ishmaelites?  They will be rid of Joseph AND have money in their pockets.  ALL agreed.

So the brothers pulled Joseph out of the cistern and sold him for 20 shekels of silver (note the obvious reference to Jesus here who was betrayed for 30 pieces of silver) to the Midianites.

Reuben who apparently was not there during all of this but where he went and why is uncertain returns to find Joseph gone.  He tears his clothes (obviously upset) and questions his brothers.

They took Joseph’s coat and spread goat’s blood all over it.  They presented this to Jacob/Israel who concluded a ferocious animal did tear Joseph to pieces.

Jacob tore his clothes, put on sackcloth and mourned his son for days.  All tried to comfort him but he refused them.  Jacob wept.

The Midianites sold Jacob in Egypt to Potiphar, the captain of the Pharaoh’s guards.

Questions:

5)  Joseph went to the Valley of Hebron as instructed but not finding his brothers, he inquires of them and is told they went to Dothan.  So Joseph follows them to Dothan.  He is rewarded by being thrown in a cistern and sold as a slave.

6a)  Reuben and Judah

b)  Genesis 42 says that Joseph pleaded for his life.  I imagine he screamed at the top of his lungs.  He probably tried to reason with them, saying he wouldn’t boast any more.  He probably even tried bribes like giving them his precious coat or something.  I’m sure he asked why they were doing this to him.  I’m sure he shed some tears.

c)  This question to me seems to be justifying what happened to Joseph by drawing the parallel.  There is no justification for throwing someone in a pit, plotting their murder, and selling them into slavery.  Joseph did not deserve what happened to him no matter what sins he had committed (which weren’t that bad compared to murder and the like).

Joseph’s crime was boasting.  We suffer the same when pride rules instead of humbleness.  We are often blinded to people and things around us and our lives become self-centered instead of God-centered.

However, I submit that you can’t fault a 17 year-old kid for being prideful and full of hubris.  Especially if you compare to today’s society where 30 somethings never grow up and are the same way.  If anyone is to blame, it’s Jacob and Rachel who spoiled him rotten and created the discord between the brothers.  Joseph did not deserve to suffer.

d)  They were both stripped of their clothing according to the passages and they were watched over and guarded.

7a)  20 sheckels.  30 silver coins.

b)  He had been the favored, the special one, the coddled one, the one chosen to receive the birthright.  And now he’s a slave.  It must have been a huge adjustment.  Imagine your freedom and world gone completely and now you must do hard labor and answer to others.

c)  The same.  When bad things happen, we think God doesn’t care, that He’s turned His back on us and is allowing our suffering.  We often don’t equate it to future good for it is hard in the moment to do so.  We ask “Why is God allowing this to happen in our lives?”  We pray and wait.  That’s all we can do.

8a)  Personal Question.  My answer:  I would say both.  There are other ways God could have chosen for Joseph to rise to be the number two guy in Egypt and save the lives of many people–many ways that did not involve suffering.  But Joseph did have to learn some hard lessons about living for others, being grateful, and turning to God always.

I think of Naomi and Ruth who lost everything but still believed in God.  They both had to do back-breaking labor in order to survive but in the end Ruth married Boaz and he provided for them both.  They had to have God at their center before good things happened.

Jacob had to work hard before he was able to return to the Promised Land.  He had to be taught hard lessons the hard way.  Moses killed a man and had to live in Midian for 40 years as a shepherd before God called him.  Job lost everything in a test of faith by God.

The Bible is full of examples where God inflicts us with hardships in order to grow us and our faith–not only for us but for those around us and in Joseph’s case for an entire nation.

b)  Joseph’s dreams were an encouragement for they told Joseph his family and Israel would bow to him.

Conclusions:  What was Reuben doing while the brothers dispatched Joseph?  Most likely he was trying to get them to move on so he could return unknowingly to free Joseph since no one else liked his plan.

Can you imagine the brothers sitting callously by, calmly eating their meal, while Joseph is screaming at the top of his lungs, pleading with them not to harm him and to let him go free?  This just shows the depth of the brothers’ hatred for their little brother, the effect Jacob’s favoritism had on them, and how deep the devil had twisted their hearts.

Also, their is no sign of remorse on the brothers part upon presenting their father with Joseph’s coat.  They are aloof, indifferent, and callous to the core.

How plausible is the excuse to Jacob that wild animals killed him?  What wild animals lived in Canaan during this time that could cause such a bloody death?  Lions, bears, crocodiles, and cheetahs used to roam ancient Israel.  So this is very plausible.

[Side Note:  When we think of lions, we think of the African lions that roar on the plains in Africa.  Few people know that there is actually another lion species, the Asiatic Lion, that used to roam Asia as well.  However, due to the Romans import of wild animals for the Gladiatorial fights, this species was decimated.  Due to man’s penchant for cheap thrills, most of the rest were eradicated with the advent of firearms.  There is now only a tiny population in a pocket in India and some in zoos.  Sad, sad, sad.  Man is capable of such good but he is also capable of such harm.]

[Side Note to the Side Note:  Many people don’t think of gladiatorial fights with wild animals.  But the Romans imported thousands and thousands of wild animals that included lions, elephants, tigers, cheetahs, etc to fight with the gladiators over hundreds of years.  The Romans virtually eliminated some species from the face of the planet. They inflicted so much damage (such as the Asiatic Lion) that these species still have not recovered.  And the people of Rome (not just the leaders) stood by and watched this slaughter week after week and even called for more.  Fascinating study if you ever get the chance.  But incredibly sad at how God commissioned us to care for the animals and instead we kill them off for no other reason than to watch them fall.  Probably some twisted heart within us that says ‘Better them than me.’]

It is tempting to think Jacob kept Joseph back from tending the flock because he wanted to protect him.  But by Jacob sending Joseph out into the desert by himself to check up on his brothers, this idea is proven wrong.  Joseph faced robbers, other men who would do him harm, as well as animals and the elements.  This shows to me that Joseph stayed behind because he wasn’t required to work like his brothers were–another example of favoritism shown.

End Notes:  In Leviticus 27:5, God sets the price of those dedicated to the Lord based on ages and those between the age of 5 and 20 (the age of Joseph) is 20 shekels of silver–the same Joseph is sold for.

Reuben is not the good guy here despite his show of tearing his clothes.  It would only have taken one brother to stand up and say, “This is wrong!” and it wouldn’t have happened.  Reuben complicitly and cowardly agrees in his actions when he left the scene. It usually only takes one person with the courage to stand up for what’s right and man’s inherent morals kick in.  But if no one does, then crowd mentality kicks in and chaos ensues (see this commentary on crowd mentality and Jesus HERE).

God fingerprints are everywhere here.  For example, the cistern was empty.  Normally, it would have been full of water but it wasn’t so Joseph would have been drowned.  That was God.

Hard to believe the Messiah came from Judah when we read Judah’s actions here. However, we are about to see how selling Joseph to the Midianites begins a series of events and circumstances that leads to the most powerful man in the world at that time–the Pharaoh of Egypt.  And only God can weave a web that intricate and create something that impossible.