BSF Study Questions Genesis Lesson 24, Day 5: Genesis 33

Summary of passage:  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.

Questions:

14a)  He bowed down to the ground 7 times upon meeting Esau.  He calls himself Esau’s servant and his lord.  He insists Esau keep his peace offering of animals.

b)  They both wept.  He compared seeing Esau’s face to seeing God’s face (no light statement).

c)  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.

15)  No where does it say in this passage Jacob passed 10 years at Shechem.  In fact, it doesn’t say.  This is a guess by scholars based off of a guess at Dinah’s age.  Genesis 31:13 seems to imply that God is calling Jacob to Bethel.  And in Genesis 35:1, God specifically calls Jacob to Bethel.

We all know if God calls, you go and go NOW!  Don’t wait!  Like the servant’s example in bringing back Rebekah, we must do God’s will and promptly.  There is no time to wait. Especially when we know life is so very short.

Conclusions:  In that culture, the act of Esau accepting the gifts was an act of forgiveness.  You never accepted gifts from an enemy.  With Esau’s acceptance, all was put right between the two brothers.

Jacob is still afraid of Esau.  He doesn’t want Esau to accompany him and he ends up lying to him, saying he will follow him when Jacob instead goes the opposite direction. Despite having wrestled with God, Jacob is STILL not trusting God to be in control and lead him.  Jacob inserts “Jacob” instead of “Israel” here and lingers where he should not.

Plus, Genesis 31:13 seems to imply God is calling Jacob to Bethel.  So why does he stop here in Shechem?  Fear.  Obstinance.  Desire to still be in charge.

One commentary I read suggested Jacob wanted to be close to the city (based off of Genesis 33:18), which is speculation in my view.  I believe Jacob just wanted to be away from Esau so he went in the opposite direction and stopped somewhere, which happened to be Shechem.

Interesting, however, to note that Jacob is repeating Lot’s sin of wanting to be close to Sodom.  As we shall see in chapter 34, sinful people have an unduly influence upon the godly.

Map Work:  Map of Shechem and Bethel with Jabbok River HERE

Another one with Succoth and Peniel HERE

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BSF Study Questions Genesis Lesson 24, Day 4: Genesis 32:20-32

Summary of passage:  Jacob sends pacifying gifts to Esau ahead of him while he stayed behind.  He sent his family and possessions across the River Jabbok.  He was left alone and he wrestled with a man all night.  The man touched the socket of Jacob’s hip as they wrestled.  Jacob asked for a blessing from the man before he let him go.  The man asked his name and then changed it to Israel because he had struggled with God and men had overcome.

He was blessed by the man and the place was called Peniel.  Jacob was limping from his battle.

Questions:

9)  He hasn’t yet fully trusted in God.  He hasn’t submitted his will to God’s.  He hasn’t surrendered nor died to self.

10)  We are told Jacob struggled with the angel and overcame him.  Jacob then wept and begged for the angel’s favor.  We are told this took place near Bethel.

11)  The man was God in the person of Jesus for we know God himself never appeared to man (Exodus 33:20; John 1:18; John 6:46).  Verse 28 says it clearly when the man speaks and tells Jacob “you have struggled with God”

12)  Ok.  A bit presumptuous, isn’t this question?  No one “forces” God to do anything.  So just knowing that one fact about God you know the answer to this question.

Jacob is accepting God’s blessing.

13)  When we fight His will for our life.

Conclusions:  Like Day 2, I’m left with mixed feelings on this lesson (as you may have been able to tell by their brevity). This is a very famous passage in the Bible.  My Bible heading is “Jacob Wrestles With God” and it seems as though BSF focuses too much effort on getting us to realize this is God (the obvious) instead of focusing on the end results and how Jacob needed God to show up in his life again (as I do right now)–and the not-so-obvious.

I would have preferred more questions like 13 instead of like 11 and 12.  My opinion, of course.  This passage has such depth and meaning as it shows how we all wrestle with God until we finally submit to Him.  Instead, we are left hanging.  A missed opportunity by BSF.

We all need to surrender our will and our self-reliance (hard to do in America) to God.  It is God’s way on His “Way of Holiness(Isaiah 35:8) or the other highway.  God must be our center.  God must be in control.  God must conquer us.  When we are defeated by this world and all that happens to us, we weep to God for His blessings as Jacob did.  We come crawling to Him, broken.  Right where we need to be in order to move forward into the Promised Land.  As Jacob shows us.

“I will not let you go unless you bless me”.  Jacob grasps the Lord with all his strength, knowing how much he needs God.  We must do the same.  All the time.  Hold onto God and never let go.

Jacob’s enemy is not Esau.  It is self.  It is death to self that Jacob is struggling against.

The name change signifies the passing of Jacob’s old life into his new life of trusting God 100%.  Of being ALL in.

God graced Jacob with a limp as a reminder for the rest of his life to turn to Him.

“Why do you ask my name?” God asks.  For we all should know His name.

Analysis of Genesis 32 and Jacob:  You can see why Jacob needed to wrestle with God from this passage.  It starts out with God’s army camped next to Jacob.  Still, he is afraid.  Then Jacob prays to God.  Still, he is afraid.  Next, God wrestles with Jacob. Finally, he surrenders.

Good lesson for all of us how God never gives up on our unbelief and how He does whatever it takes to get us to SEE and turn and fall to the ground at his awesomeness.

Map of Peniel and Mahanaim:  Not my favorite but the best one I could find  HERE.