32.) Genesis 39:1 – 23

June 16, 2009

"Joseph and Potiphar's Wife," by Guido Reni, 1631 (Pushkin Museum, Moscow)

"Joseph and Potiphar's Wife," by Guido Reni, 1631 (Pushkin Museum, Moscow)

Genesis 39:1 – 23   (NRSV)

Joseph and Potiphar’s Wife

39) Now Joseph was taken down to Egypt, and Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, the captain of the guard, an Egyptian, bought him from the Ishmaelites who had brought him down there.

2The Lord was with Joseph, and he became a successful man; he was in the house of his Egyptian master. 3His master saw that the Lord was with him, and that the Lord caused all that he did to prosper in his hands. 4So Joseph found favor in his sight and attended him; he made him overseer of his house and put him in charge of all that he had. 5From the time that he made him overseer in his house and over all that he had, the Lord blessed the Egyptian’s house for Joseph’s sake; the blessing of the Lord was on all that he had, in house and field. 6So he left all that he had in Joseph’s charge; and, with him there, he had no concern for anything but the food that he ate.

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Proverbs 14:27 (New International Version)

The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life,
turning a man from the snares of death.

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Now Joseph was handsome and good-looking. 7And after a time his master’s wife cast her eyes on Joseph and said, “Lie with me.”

Voulez-vous coucher avec moi ce soir?

Voulez-vous coucher avec moi ce soir?

8But he refused and said to his master’s wife, “Look, with me here, my master has no concern about anything in the house, and he has put everything that he has in my hand. 9He is not greater in this house than I am, nor has he kept back anything from me except yourself, because you are his wife. How then could I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?”

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Reflection, a story:

“Rabbi, what can I do to silence the voice of temptation,” asked the man. When the rabbi replied that this voice might never be silenced, the man exclaimed, “But it’s driving me crazy. Is there any advice that can help me overcome it?”

“Ah, overcome it,” mused the rabbi, “Overcoming the voice is not hard at all. There is one magical word and when you say it, the voice is instantly overcome. It doesn’t go away, mind you. It rarely ever does that, but it can be overcome.”

“A magical word that will deliver me from the brink of temptation? Please share it with me,” the man begged.

The rabbi smiled and firmly replied, “No.”

“Why not? Please, I beg you.”

“No,” repeated the Rabbi. Crestfallen, the man turned to leave — when the rabbi softly explained that word “no” was, in fact, the magical word.

–from Countering the Voice of Temptation, by Lazer Gurkow.

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10And although she spoke to Joseph day after day, he would not consent to lie beside her or to be with her.

"Joseph and Potiphar's Wife," by a Christian artist in Thailand, Sawai Chinnawong, 2004.

"Joseph and Potiphar's Wife," by a Christian artist in Thailand, Sawai Chinnawong, 2004.

11One day, however, when he went into the house to do his work, and while no one else was in the house, 12she caught hold of his garment, saying, “Lie with me!” But he left his garment in her hand, and fled and ran outside.

"Joseph and Potiphar's Wife"  by contemporary New York artist Richard McBee.

"Joseph and Potiphar's Wife" by contemporary New York artist Richard McBee.

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Hebrews 13:4 (English Standard Version)

Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous.

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Music:

“Yield not to temptation, for yielding is sin;
Each vict’ry will help you some other to win;
Fight manfully onward; dark passions subdue;
Look ever to Jesus, He’ll carry you through.”

This song was written by Horation R. Palmer in 1868.  It is sung by Ramona Campbell. 

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13When she saw that he had left his garment in her hand and had fled outside, 14she called out to the members of her household and said to them, “See, my husband has brought among us a Hebrew to insult us! He came in to me to lie with me, and I cried out with a loud voice; 15and when he heard me raise my voice and cry out, he left his garment beside me, and fled outside.” 16Then she kept his garment by her until his master came home, 17and she told him the same story, saying, “The Hebrew servant, whom you have brought among us, came in to me to insult me; 18but as soon as I raised my voice and cried out, he left his garment beside me, and fled outside.”

19When his master heard the words that his wife spoke to him, saying, “This is the way your servant treated me,” he became enraged. 20And Joseph’s master took him and put him into the prison, the place where the king’s prisoners were confined; he remained there in prison.

21But the Lord was with Joseph and showed him steadfast love; he gave him favor in the sight of the chief jailer. 22The chief jailer committed to Joseph’s care all the prisoners who were in the prison, and whatever was done there, he was the one who did it. 23The chief jailer paid no heed to anything that was in Joseph’s care, because the Lord was with him; and whatever he did, the Lord made it prosper.

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Romans 6:15-18 (New Living Translation)

Well then, since God’s grace has set us free from the law, does that mean we can go on sinning? Of course not! Don’t you realize that you become the slave of whatever you choose to obey? You can be a slave to sin, which leads to death, or you can choose to obey God, which leads to righteous living.  Thank God! Once you were slaves of sin, but now you wholeheartedly obey this teaching we have given you.  Now you are free from your slavery to sin, and you have become slaves to righteous living.

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Book:

Bruce Feiler: Walking the Bible: A Journey by Land through the Five Books of Moses (Book II, Chapter 1 “On the Banks of the Nile”).

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The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:

Reni.  http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/d/d4/Joseph_and_Potiphar%27s_Wife.jpg/506px-Joseph_and_Potiphar%27s_Wife.jpg

Voulez-vous.   http://i53.photobucket.com/albums/g72/stolen1985/sleeping.jpg

Chinnawong.  http://www.omsc.org/art-at-omsc/sawai/joseph-potiphar-thumb.jpg

McBee.   http://www.fadingad.com/potifar.jpg


31.) Genesis 38:1 – 30

June 15, 2009

"Tamar and Judah"  by Emile Jean-Horace Vernet (1789-1863)

"Tamar and Judah" -- a spicy interpretation by Emile Jean-Horace Vernet (1789-1863)

Genesis 38:1 – 30   (NRSV)

Judah and Tamar

38) It happened at that time that Judah went down from his brothers and settled near a certain Adullamite whose name was Hirah. 2There Judah saw the daughter of a certain Canaanite whose name was Shua; he married her and went in to her. 3She conceived and bore a son; and he named him Er. 4Again she conceived and bore a son whom she named Onan. 5Yet again she bore a son, and she named him Shelah. She was in Chezib when she bore him.

6Judah took a wife for Er his firstborn; her name was Tamar. 7But Er, Judah’s firstborn, was wicked in the sight of the Lord, and the Lord put him to death.

8Then Judah said to Onan, “Go in to your brother’s wife and perform the duty of a brother-in-law to her; raise up offspring for your brother.”

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Matthew 22:24 (New International Version)

“Teacher,” the Sadducees said, “Moses told us that if a man dies without having children, his brother must marry the widow and have children for him.”

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9But since Onan knew that the offspring would not be his, he spilled his semen on the ground whenever he went in to his brother’s wife, so that he would not give offspring to his brother. 10What he did was displeasing in the sight of the Lord, and he put him to death also.

11Then Judah said to his daughter-in-law Tamar, “Remain a widow in your father’s house until my son Shelah grows up” —for he feared that he too would die, like his brothers. So Tamar went to live in her father’s house.

12In course of time the wife of Judah, Shua’s daughter, died; when Judah’s time of mourning was over, he went up to Timnah to his sheepshearers, he and his friend Hirah the Adullamite.

13When Tamar was told, “Your father-in-law is going up to Timnah to shear his sheep,” 14she put off her widow’s garments, put on a veil, wrapped herself up, and sat down at the entrance to Enaim, which is on the road to Timnah. She saw that Shelah was grown up, yet she had not been given to him in marriage.

"Tamar, Judah's Daughter-in-law" by Marc Chagall, 1958

"Tamar, Judah's Daughter-in-law" by Marc Chagall, 1958

15When Judah saw her, he thought her to be a prostitute, for she had covered her face. 16He went over to her at the road side, and said, “Come, let me come in to you,” for he did not know that she was his daughter-in-law.

She said, “What will you give me, that you may come in to me?”

17He answered, “I will send you a kid from the flock.”

And she said, “Only if you give me a pledge, until you send it.”

18He said, “What pledge shall I give you?”

She replied, “Your signet and your cord, and the staff that is in your hand.”

"Judah and Tamar"  School of Rembrandt, ca. 1650-60  (Residenzgalerie Salzburg)

"Judah and Tamar" School of Rembrandt, ca. 1650-60 (Residenzgalerie Salzburg)

So he gave them to her, and went in to her, and she conceived by him. 19Then she got up and went away, and taking off her veil she put on the garments of her widowhood.

20When Judah sent the kid by his friend the Adullamite, to recover the pledge from the woman, he could not find her. 21He asked the townspeople, “Where is the temple prostitute who was at Enaim by the wayside?”

But they said, “No prostitute has been here.”

22So he returned to Judah, and said, “I have not found her; moreover the townspeople said, ‘No prostitute has been here.’“

23Judah replied, “Let her keep the things as her own, otherwise we will be laughed at; you see, I sent this kid, and you could not find her.”

24About three months later Judah was told, “Your daughter-in-law Tamar has played the whore; moreover she is pregnant as a result of whoredom.”

And Judah said, “Bring her out, and let her be burned.”

25As she was being brought out, she sent word to her father-in-law, “It was the owner of these who made me pregnant.” And she said, “Take note, please, whose these are, the signet and the cord and the staff.”

26Then Judah acknowledged them and said, “She is more in the right than I, since I did not give her to my son Shelah.” And he did not lie with her again.

27When the time of her delivery came, there were twins in her womb. 28While she was in labor, one put out a hand; and the midwife took and bound on his hand a crimson thread, saying, “This one came out first.” 29But just then he drew back his hand, and out came his brother; and she said, “What a breach you have made for yourself!” Therefore he was named Perez. 30Afterward his brother came out with the crimson thread on his hand; and he was named Zerah.

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Matthew 1:1-3 (New International Version)

The Genealogy of Jesus

A record of the genealogy of Jesus Christ the son of David, the son of Abraham:
Abraham was the father of Isaac,
Isaac the father of Jacob,
Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers,
Judah the father of Perez and Zerah, whose mother was Tamar . . .

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TAMAR   by Joyce Carr Stedelbauer

I, Tamar, am not proud of what I have done,
you must understand … not proud of what I have done.
A desperate situation and I was justified.
You ladies alone today have other options –
savings – jobs – an acceptable place in society.
I was an outcast, a foreigner, twice widowed.
My father-in-law, Judah, son of Leah and Jacob,
reluctantly promised his youngest son
to care for me, as Hebrew law provided.
Judah reneged on his word – marriage or care,
would have let his son’s memory die with no heir.
I had no other choice.

Drying tears, I painted my eyes with kohl,
my mouth red with berry juice,
plaited ribbons in my hair,
humbling myself to sit near the city gate
with other ladies of the night.
It was degrading, a miserable experience,
I prayed as I waited ….
Judah came along as if he owned the road.
Smiling shyly at him – he turned –
hesitated but a moment –
came back to me.

Armed with the law of protection,
I demanded his ring before he took me.
Some months later he denied my claim
until I held out the dishonored ring.
Judah crumbled like a clod of dirt on the road.
Somehow out of His infinite goodness
God allowed me to birth twins sons
from the house of Judah, Messiah’s branch,
and the rest is His Story.

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Music:

We read the strange story of Tamar and Judah remembering that God loves us not because of what we do — but because of who He is.  It’s all grace.   “Grace”  sung by Michael W. Smith.  

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The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:

Vernet.  http://www.womeninthebible.net/images/1.9B-2_TAMAR_Tamar_and_Judah_Horace_Vernet.jpg

Chagall.  http://www.davidsongalleries.com/artists/chagall/chagall-22475_tamar.jpg

Rembrant school.  http://www.residenzgalerie.at/uploads/tx_csimageexplorer/0570_Rembrandtschule.A5Augeheller_01.jpg


30.) Genesis 37:1 – 36

June 12, 2009

josephcoat-kidart

Genesis 37:1 – 36   (NRSV)

Joseph Dreams of Greatness

37) Jacob settled in the land where his father had lived as an alien, the land of Canaan. 2This is the story of the family of Jacob. Joseph, being seventeen years old, was shepherding the flock with his brothers; he was a helper to the sons of Bilhah and Zilpah, his father’s wives; and Joseph brought a bad report of them to their father. 3Now Israel loved Joseph more than any other of his children, because he was the son of his old age; and he had made him a long robe with sleeves. 4But when his brothers saw that their father loved him more than all his brothers, they hated him, and could not speak peaceably to him.

"Yosef"  by Israeli artist Orna Ben-Shoshan, 2003

"Yosef" by Israeli artist Orna Ben-Shoshan, 2003

5Once Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers, they hated him even more. 6He said to them, “Listen to this dream that I dreamed. 7There we were, binding sheaves in the field. Suddenly my sheaf rose and stood upright; then your sheaves gathered around it, and bowed down to my sheaf.”

8His brothers said to him, “Are you indeed to reign over us? Are you indeed to have dominion over us?” So they hated him even more because of his dreams and his words.

9He had another dream, and told it to his brothers, saying, “Look, I have had another dream: the sun, the moon, and eleven stars were bowing down to me.”

"Joseph's Dreams," by contemporary Floridian artist Susan Govatos

"Joseph's Dreams" by contemporary Floridian artist Susan Govatos

10But when he told it to his father and to his brothers, his father rebuked him, and said to him, “What kind of dream is this that you have had? Shall we indeed come, I and your mother and your brothers, and bow to the ground before you?” 11So his brothers were jealous of him, but his father kept the matter in mind.

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Luke 2:51 (New Living Translation)

Then Jesus returned to Nazareth with his parents and was obedient to them. And his mother stored all these things in her heart.

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Joseph Is Sold by His Brothers

12Now his brothers went to pasture their father’s flock near Shechem. 13And Israel said to Joseph, “Are not your brothers pasturing the flock at Shechem? Come, I will send you to them.” He answered, “Here I am.” 14So he said to him, “Go now, see if it is well with your brothers and with the flock; and bring word back to me.” So he sent him from the valley of Hebron.

He came to Shechem, 15and a man found him wandering in the fields; the man asked him, “What are you seeking?” 16“I am seeking my brothers,” he said; “tell me, please, where they are pasturing the flock.” 17The man said, “They have gone away, for I heard them say, ‘Let us go to Dothan.’“

So Joseph went after his brothers, and found them at Dothan. 18They saw him from a distance, and before he came near to them, they conspired to kill him. 19They said to one another, “Here comes this dreamer. 20Come now, let us kill him and throw him into one of the pits; then we shall say that a wild animal has devoured him, and we shall see what will become of his dreams.”

21But when Reuben heard it, he delivered him out of their hands, saying, “Let us not take his life.” 22Reuben said to them, “Shed no blood; throw him into this pit here in the wilderness, but lay no hand on him” —that he might rescue him out of their hand and restore him to his father.

"Joseph is Sold by his Brothers," by Raphael, 1518 (The Vatican)

"Joseph is Sold by his Brothers" by Raphael, 1518 (The Vatican)

23So when Joseph came to his brothers, they stripped him of his robe, the long robe with sleeves that he wore; 24and they took him and threw him into a pit. The pit was empty; there was no water in it.

25Then they sat down to eat; and looking up they saw a caravan of Ishmaelites coming from Gilead, with their camels carrying gum, balm, and resin, on their way to carry it down to Egypt. 26Then Judah said to his brothers, “What profit is it if we kill our brother and conceal his blood? 27Come, let us sell him to the Ishmaelites, and not lay our hands on him, for he is our brother, our own flesh.” And his brothers agreed.

"Joseph is sold by his brothers"  by Friedrich Overbeck, 1816  (Alte Nationalgalerie, Berlin)

"Joseph is sold by his brothers" by Friedrich Overbeck, 1816 (Alte Nationalgalerie, Berlin)

28When some Midianite traders passed by, they drew Joseph up, lifting him out of the pit, and sold him to the Ishmaelites for twenty pieces of silver.

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Matthew 26:14-15 (New Living Translation)

Then Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve disciples, went to the leading priests  and asked, “How much will you pay me to betray Jesus to you?” And they gave him thirty pieces of silver.

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And they took Joseph to Egypt 29When Reuben returned to the pit and saw that Joseph was not in the pit, he tore his clothes. 30He returned to his brothers, and said, “The boy is gone; and I, where can I turn?”

31Then they took Joseph’s robe, slaughtered a goat, and dipped the robe in the blood. 32They had the long robe with sleeves taken to their father, and they said, “This we have found; see now whether it is your son’s robe or not.”

33He recognized it, and said, “It is my son’s robe! A wild animal has devoured him; Joseph is without doubt torn to pieces.” 34Then Jacob tore his garments, and put sackcloth on his loins, and mourned for his son many days. 35All his sons and all his daughters sought to comfort him; but he refused to be comforted, and said, “No, I shall go down to Sheol to my son, mourning.” Thus his father bewailed him.

36Meanwhile the Midianites had sold him in Egypt to Potiphar, one of Pharaoh’s officials, the captain of the guard.

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Art:

Joseph’s Bloody Coat Brought to Jacob, by Velazquez Diego, 1630, now in Monasterio de San Lorenzo, El Escorial, Spain. http://history.hanover.edu/courses/art/veljos.jpg

Music:

“Coat of Many Colors,” written and sung by Dolly Parton; how a Bible story helped her through a difficult time in her childhood.

on DVD:

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Written by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice. With Donny Osmond, Maria Friedman. 1999.

Joseph. Starring Ben Kingsley, Paul Mercurio.  1995. 

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The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:

Joseph’s colorful coat.  http://www.holytrinityglencraig.org/Images/Joseph.gif

Ben-Shoshan.   http://www.ben-shoshan.com/ComputerArt/JPEGLarge/Yosef.html

Govatos.  http://susangovatos.com/websites/SusanGovatos/works/7836_195035m.jpg

Raphael.  http://www.christusrex.org/www1/stanzas/L26-Sold.jpg

Overbeck.   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Friedrich_Overbeck_003.jpg


29.) Genesis 35:1 – 36:43

June 11, 2009

faithtitle1

Genesis 35:1 – 36:43   (NRSV)

Jacob Returns to Bethel

35) God said to Jacob, “Arise, go up to Bethel, and settle there. Make an altar there to the God who appeared to you when you fled from your brother Esau.”

2So Jacob said to his household and to all who were with him, “Put away the foreign gods that are among you, and purify yourselves, and change your clothes; 3then come, let us go up to Bethel, that I may make an altar there to the God who answered me in the day of my distress and has been with me wherever I have gone.” 4So they gave to Jacob all the foreign gods that they had, and the rings that were in their ears; and Jacob hid them under the oak that was near Shechem. 5As they journeyed, a terror from God fell upon the cities all around them, so that no one pursued them.

6Jacob came to Luz (that is, Bethel), which is in the land of Canaan, he and all the people who were with him, 7and there he built an altar and called the place El-bethel, because it was there that God had revealed himself to him when he fled from his brother.

8And Deborah, Rebekah’s nurse, died, and she was buried under an oak below Bethel. So it was called Allon-bacuth.

9God appeared to Jacob again when he came from Paddan-aram, and he blessed him. 10God said to him, “Your name is Jacob; no longer shall you be called Jacob, but Israel shall be your name.” So he was called Israel. 11God said to him, “I am God Almighty: be fruitful and multiply; a nation and a company of nations shall come from you, and kings shall spring from you. 12The land that I gave to Abraham and Isaac I will give to you, and I will give the land to your offspring after you.” 13Then God went up from him at the place where he had spoken with him.

14Jacob set up a pillar in the place where he had spoken with him, a pillar of stone; and he poured out a drink offering on it, and poured oil on it. 15So Jacob called the place where God had spoken with him Bethel.

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Reflection:

Where have you been when God has spoken to you?

What have you done to commemorate it, and to worship?

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Music:

“Here I Am to Worship.”  

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The Birth of Benjamin and the Death of Rachel

Birth of Benjamin and death of Rachel, (The Vatican, Sala dei Patriarchi)

“Birth of Benjamin and death of Rachel”  (The Vatican, Sala dei Patriarchi)

16Then they journeyed from Bethel; and when they were still some distance from Ephrath, Rachel was in childbirth, and she had hard labor. 17When she was in her hard labor, the midwife said to her, “Do not be afraid; for now you will have another son.” 18As her soul was departing (for she died), she named him Ben-oni; but his father called him Benjamin.

19So Rachel died, and she was buried on the way to Ephrath (that is, Bethlehem), 20and Jacob set up a pillar at her grave; it is the pillar of Rachel’s tomb, which is there to this day.

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Ecclesiastes 3:1-2 (King James Version)

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:

A time to be born, and a time to die.

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Rachel's Tomb, photograph from the 1860's

Rachel’s Tomb, photograph from the 1860’s

Rachel's Tomb, current photo.

Rachel’s Tomb, current photo.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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21Israel journeyed on, and pitched his tent beyond the tower of Eder. 22While Israel lived in that land, Reuben went and lay with Bilhah his father’s concubine; and Israel heard of it.

Now the sons of Jacob were twelve.23The sons of Leah: Reuben (Jacob’s firstborn), Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, and Zebulun.

24The sons of Rachel: Joseph and Benjamin.

25The sons of Bilhah, Rachel’s maid: Dan and Naphtali.

26The sons of Zilpah, Leah’s maid: Gad and Asher. These were the sons of Jacob who were born to him in Paddan-aram.

The Death of Isaac

27Jacob came to his father Isaac at Mamre, or Kiriath-arba (that is, Hebron), where Abraham and Isaac had resided as aliens. 28Now the days of Isaac were one hundred eighty years. 29And Isaac breathed his last; he died and was gathered to his people, old and full of days; and his sons Esau and Jacob buried him.

Esau’s Descendants

36) These are the descendants of Esau (that is, Edom). 2Esau took his wives from the Canaanites: Adah daughter of Elon the Hittite, Oholibamah daughter of Anah son of Zibeon the Hivite, 3and Basemath, Ishmael’s daughter, sister of Nebaioth. 4Adah bore Eliphaz to Esau; Basemath bore Reuel; 5and Oholibamah bore Jeush, Jalam, and Korah. These are the sons of Esau who were born to him in the land of Canaan.

6Then Esau took his wives, his sons, his daughters, and all the members of his household, his cattle, all his livestock, and all the property he had acquired in the land of Canaan; and he moved to a land some distance from his brother Jacob. 7For their possessions were too great for them to live together; the land where they were staying could not support them because of their livestock. 8So Esau settled in the hill country of Seir; Esau is Edom.

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Hebrews 12:14-17 (New International Version)

Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many. See that no one is sexually immoral, or is godless like Esau, who for a single meal sold his inheritance rights as the oldest son. Afterward, as you know, when he wanted to inherit this blessing, he was rejected. He could bring about no change of mind, though he sought the blessing with tears.

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9These are the descendants of Esau, ancestor of the Edomites, in the hill country of Seir. 10These are the names of Esau’s sons: Eliphaz son of Adah the wife of Esau; Reuel, the son of Esau’s wife Basemath. 11The sons of Eliphaz were Teman, Omar, Zepho, Gatam, and Kenaz. 12(Timna was a concubine of Eliphaz, Esau’s son; she bore Amalek to Eliphaz.) These were the sons of Adah, Esau’s wife. 13These were the sons of Reuel: Nahath, Zerah, Shammah, and Mizzah. These were the sons of Esau’s wife, Basemath. 14These were the sons of Esau’s wife Oholibamah, daughter of Anah son of Zibeon: she bore to Esau Jeush, Jalam, and Korah.

middle_east_ot_mapClans and Kings of Edom

15These are the clans of the sons of Esau. The sons of Eliphaz the firstborn of Esau: the clans Teman, Omar, Zepho, Kenaz, 16Korah, Gatam, and Amalek; these are the clans of Eliphaz in the land of Edom; they are the sons of Adah. 17These are the sons of Esau’s son Reuel: the clans Nahath, Zerah, Shammah, and Mizzah; these are the clans of Reuel in the land of Edom; they are the sons of Esau’s wife Basemath. 18These are the sons of Esau’s wife Oholibamah: the clans Jeush, Jalam, and Korah; these are the clans born of Esau’s wife Oholibamah, the daughter of Anah. 19These are the sons of Esau (that is, Edom), and these are their clans.

20These are the sons of Seir the Horite, the inhabitants of the land: Lotan, Shobal, Zibeon, Anah, 21Dishon, Ezer, and Dishan; these are the clans of the Horites, the sons of Seir in the land of Edom. 22The sons of Lotan were Hori and Heman; and Lotan’s sister was Timna. 23These are the sons of Shobal: Alvan, Manahath, Ebal, Shepho, and Onam. 24These are the sons of Zibeon: Aiah and Anah; he is the Anah who found the springs in the wilderness, as he pastured the donkeys of his father Zibeon. 25These are the children of Anah: Dishon and Oholibamah daughter of Anah. 26These are the sons of Dishon: Hemdan, Eshban, Ithran, and Cheran. 27These are the sons of Ezer: Bilhan, Zaavan, and Akan. 28These are the sons of Dishan: Uz and Aran. 29These are the clans of the Horites: the clans Lotan, Shobal, Zibeon, Anah, 30Dishon, Ezer, and Dishan; these are the clans of the Horites, clan by clan in the land of Seir.

31These are the kings who reigned in the land of Edom, before any king reigned over the Israelites. 32Bela son of Beor reigned in Edom, the name of his city being Dinhabah. 33Bela died, and Jobab son of Zerah of Bozrah succeeded him as king. 34Jobab died, and Husham of the land of the Temanites succeeded him as king. 35Husham died, and Hadad son of Bedad, who defeated Midian in the country of Moab, succeeded him as king, the name of his city being Avith. 36Hadad died, and Samlah of Masrekah succeeded him as king. 37Samlah died, and Shaul of Rehoboth on the Euphrates succeeded him as king. 38Shaul died, and Baal-hanan son of Achbor succeeded him as king. 39Baal-hanan son of Achbor died, and Hadar succeeded him as king, the name of his city being Pau; his wife’s name was Mehetabel, the daughter of Matred, daughter of Me-zahab.

40These are the names of the clans of Esau, according to their families and their localities by their names: the clans Timna, Alvah, Jetheth, 41Oholibamah, Elah, Pinon, 42Kenaz, Teman, Mibzar, 43Magdiel, and Iram; these are the clans of Edom (that is, Esau, the father of Edom), according to their settlements in the land that they held.

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The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:

“Faith,” from Bethel Church, Rock Hill, SC.   http://www.bethelrockhill.org/images/faithtitle.jpg

Vatican frescoes.  http://asv.vatican.va/immagini/visit/1p_2s/1p_2sala_ovest_5.jpg

Rachel’s Tomb, old.  http://www.sacred-destinations.com/israel/rachels-tomb-pictures/rachels-tomb-1860s-earthly-footsteps-of-man-of-galilee.jpg

Rachel’s Tomb, now.  http://www.rachelstomb.org/fortress1.jpg

map.  http://www.solarnavigator.net/geography/geography_images/Middle_East_Levant_map.png


28.) Genesis 34:1 – 31

June 10, 2009

rape-poster

Genesis 34:1 – 31   (NRSV)

The Rape of Dinah

34)  Now Dinah the daughter of Leah, whom she had borne to Jacob, went out to visit the women of the region. 2When Shechem son of Hamor the Hivite, prince of the region, saw her, he seized her and lay with her by force. 3And his soul was drawn to Dinah daughter of Jacob; he loved the girl, and spoke tenderly to her. 4So Shechem spoke to his father Hamor, saying, “Get me this girl to be my wife.”

5Now Jacob heard that Shechem had defiled his daughter Dinah; but his sons were with his cattle in the field, so Jacob held his peace until they came.

6And Hamor the father of Shechem went out to Jacob to speak with him, 7just as the sons of Jacob came in from the field. When they heard of it, the men were indignant and very angry, because he had committed an outrage in Israel by lying with Jacob’s daughter, for such a thing ought not to be done.

8But Hamor spoke with them, saying, “The heart of my son Shechem longs for your daughter; please give her to him in marriage. 9Make marriages with us; give your daughters to us, and take our daughters for yourselves. 10You shall live with us; and the land shall be open to you; live and trade in it, and get property in it.”

11Shechem also said to her father and to her brothers, “Let me find favor with you, and whatever you say to me I will give. 12Put the marriage present and gift as high as you like, and I will give whatever you ask me; only give me the girl to be my wife.”

13The sons of Jacob answered Shechem and his father Hamor deceitfully, because he had defiled their sister Dinah. 14They said to them, “We cannot do this thing, to give our sister to one who is uncircumcised, for that would be a disgrace to us. 15Only on this condition will we consent to you: that you will become as we are and every male among you be circumcised. 16Then we will give our daughters to you, and we will take your daughters for ourselves, and we will live among you and become one people. 17But if you will not listen to us and be circumcised, then we will take our daughter and be gone.”

18Their words pleased Hamor and Hamor’s son Shechem. 19And the young man did not delay to do the thing, because he was delighted with Jacob’s daughter. Now he was the most honored of all his family. 20So Hamor and his son Shechem came to the gate of their city and spoke to the men of their city, saying, 21“These people are friendly with us; let them live in the land and trade in it, for the land is large enough for them; let us take their daughters in marriage, and let us give them our daughters. 22Only on this condition will they agree to live among us, to become one people: that every male among us be circumcised as they are circumcised. 23Will not their livestock, their property, and all their animals be ours? Only let us agree with them, and they will live among us.”

24And all who went out of the city gate heeded Hamor and his son Shechem; and every male was circumcised, all who went out of the gate of his city.

Dinah’s Brothers Avenge Their Sister

25On the third day, when they were still in pain, two of the sons of Jacob, Simeon and Levi, Dinah’s brothers, took their swords and came against the city unawares, and killed all the males. 26They killed Hamor and his son Shechem with the sword, and took Dinah out of Shechem’s house, and went away. 27And the other sons of Jacob came upon the slain, and plundered the city, because their sister had been defiled. 28They took their flocks and their herds, their donkeys, and whatever was in the city and in the field. 29All their wealth, all their little ones and their wives, all that was in the houses, they captured and made their prey.

30Then Jacob said to Simeon and Levi, “You have brought trouble on me by making me odious to the inhabitants of the land, the Canaanites and the Perizzites; my numbers are few, and if they gather themselves against me and attack me, I shall be destroyed, both I and my household.”

31But they said, “Should our sister be treated like a whore?”

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Music:

Dinah does not speak at all in this chapter.  One Jewish tradition has it that, after this event,  Dinah never spoke another word for the rest of her life.  For Dinah and all those who are suffering and without a voice:   “He Knows My Name”  by  Maranatha Singers.

Books:

The Red Tent, by Anita Diamont, 1997. A story of the women in Jacob’s household, told from Dinah’s point of view.

The Son of Laughter, by Frederick Buechner, 1993. Jacob looks back on his life and his family.

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The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved

Images courtesy of:


27.) Genesis 32:1 – 33:20

June 9, 2009

"Jacob Wrestling with the Angel," by Gustave Dore, 1855.

"Jacob Wrestling with the Angel," by Gustave Dore, 1855.

Genesis 32:1 – 33:20   (NRSV)

32) Jacob went on his way and the angels of God met him; 2and when Jacob saw them he said, “This is God’s camp!” So he called that place Mahanaim.

Jacob Sends Presents to Appease Esau

3Jacob sent messengers before him to his brother Esau in the land of Seir, the country of Edom, 4instructing them, “Thus you shall say to my lord Esau: Thus says your servant Jacob, ‘I have lived with Laban as an alien, and stayed until now; 5and I have oxen, donkeys, flocks, male and female slaves; and I have sent to tell my lord, in order that I may find favor in your sight.’“

6The messengers returned to Jacob, saying, “We came to your brother Esau, and he is coming to meet you, and four hundred men are with him.”

7Then Jacob was greatly afraid and distressed; and he divided the people that were with him, and the flocks and herds and camels, into two companies, 8thinking, “If Esau comes to the one company and destroys it, then the company that is left will escape.”

9And Jacob said, “O God of my father Abraham and God of my father Isaac, O Lord who said to me, ‘Return to your country and to your kindred, and I will do you good,’ 10I am not worthy of the least of all the steadfast love and all the faithfulness that you have shown to your servant, for with only my staff I crossed this Jordan; and now I have become two companies.

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Reflection:

But the centurion said, “Lord, I am not worthy for you to come under my roof, but just say the word, and my servant will be healed.”
–Matthew 8:8

Mary said, “The Lord has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant.  The Mighty One has done great things for me.”
–Luke 1:48-49

Our unworthiness.  God’s love and faithfulness.  The favor of the Mighty One.  How do they all fit together in our lives?

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11Deliver me, please, from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau, for I am afraid of him; he may come and kill us all, the mothers with the children. 12Yet you have said, ‘I will surely do you good, and make your offspring as the sand of the sea, which cannot be counted because of their number.’“

13So he spent that night there, and from what he had with him he took a present for his brother Esau, 14two hundred female goats and twenty male goats, two hundred ewes and twenty rams, 15thirty milch camels and their colts, forty cows and ten bulls, twenty female donkeys and ten male donkeys. 16These he delivered into the hand of his servants, every drove by itself, and said to his servants, “Pass on ahead of me, and put a space between drove and drove.”

17He instructed the foremost, “When Esau my brother meets you, and asks you, ‘To whom do you belong? Where are you going? And whose are these ahead of you?’ 18then you shall say, ‘They belong to your servant Jacob; they are a present sent to my lord Esau; and moreover he is behind us.’“

19He likewise instructed the second and the third and all who followed the droves, “You shall say the same thing to Esau when you meet him, 20and you shall say, ‘Moreover your servant Jacob is behind us.’“ For he thought, “I may appease him with the present that goes ahead of me, and afterwards I shall see his face; perhaps he will accept me.” 21So the present passed on ahead of him; and he himself spent that night in the camp.

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Proverbs 18:16 (New International Version)

A gift opens the way for the giver.

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Jacob Wrestles at Peniel

"Jacob Wrestling the Angel," by contemporary American artist Karen Laub-Novak.

"Jacob Wrestling the Angel," by contemporary American artist Karen Laub-Novak.

22The same night he got up and took his two wives, his two maids, and his eleven children, and crossed the ford of the Jabbok. 23He took them and sent them across the stream, and likewise everything that he had. 24Jacob was left alone; and a man wrestled with him until daybreak.

"Battle of Jacob and an Angel"  by Jan Spychalski, 1946  (National Museum, Poznan, Poland)

"Battle of Jacob and an Angel" by Jan Spychalski, 1946 (National Museum, Poznan, Poland)

25When the man saw that he did not prevail against Jacob, he struck him on the hip socket; and Jacob’s hip was put out of joint as he wrestled with him. 26Then he said, “Let me go, for the day is breaking.”

But Jacob said, “I will not let you go, unless you bless me.”

27So he said to him, “What is your name?” And he said, “Jacob.”

28Then the man said, “You shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel, for you have striven with God and with humans, and have prevailed.”

29Then Jacob asked him, “Please tell me your name.”

But he said, “Why is it that you ask my name?” And there he blessed him.

30So Jacob called the place Peniel, saying, “For I have seen God face to face, and yet my life is preserved.” 31The sun rose upon him as he passed Penuel, limping because of his hip. 32Therefore to this day the Israelites do not eat the thigh muscle that is on the hip socket, because he struck Jacob on the hip socket at the thigh muscle.

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Ephesians 6:11-13 (English Standard Version)

Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.

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Music:

Take My Hand, Precious Lord, recorded by Elvis Presley in 1957.  

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Jacob and Esau Meet

jacobesaumeet-bw

33)  Now Jacob looked up and saw Esau coming, and four hundred men with him. So he divided the children among Leah and Rachel and the two maids. 2He put the maids with their children in front, then Leah with her children, and Rachel and Joseph last of all. 3He himself went on ahead of them, bowing himself to the ground seven times, until he came near his brother. 4But Esau ran to meet him, and embraced him, and fell on his neck and kissed him, and they wept.

"The Reunion of Jacob and Esau," by Italian painter Francesco Hayez, 1844 (Pinacoteca Tosio Martinengo, Brescia, Italy)

"The Reunion of Jacob and Esau," by Italian painter Francesco Hayez, 1844 (Pinacoteca Tosio Martinengo, Brescia, Italy)

5When Esau looked up and saw the women and children, he said, “Who are these with you?” Jacob said, “The children whom God has graciously given your servant.” 6Then the maids drew near, they and their children, and bowed down; 7Leah likewise and her children drew near and bowed down; and finally Joseph and Rachel drew near, and they bowed down.

8Esau said, “What do you mean by all this company that I met?” Jacob answered, “To find favor with my lord.” 9But Esau said, “I have enough, my brother; keep what you have for yourself.” 10Jacob said, “No, please; if I find favor with you, then accept my present from my hand; for truly to see your face is like seeing the face of God—since you have received me with such favor. 11Please accept my gift that is brought to you, because God has dealt graciously with me, and because I have everything I want.” So he urged him, and he took it.

12Then Esau said, “Let us journey on our way, and I will go alongside you.” 13But Jacob said to him, “My lord knows that the children are frail and that the flocks and herds, which are nursing, are a care to me; and if they are overdriven for one day, all the flocks will die. 14Let my lord pass on ahead of his servant, and I will lead on slowly, according to the pace of the cattle that are before me and according to the pace of the children, until I come to my lord in Seir.” 15So Esau said, “Let me leave with you some of the people who are with me.” But he said, “Why should my lord be so kind to me?”

16So Esau returned that day on his way to Seir. 17But Jacob journeyed to Succoth, and built himself a house, and made booths for his cattle; therefore the place is called Succoth.

Jacob Reaches Shechem

18Jacob came safely to the city of Shechem, which is in the land of Canaan, on his way from Paddan-aram; and he camped before the city. 19And from the sons of Hamor, Shechem’s father, he bought for one hundred pieces of money the plot of land on which he had pitched his tent. 20There he erected an altar and called it El-Elohe-Israel.

Upper: Jacob negotiates the purchase of the field in which he had pitched his tents.  Lower: Jacob told of the rape of his daughter Dinah.  Nave mosaics from the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore, Rome.

Upper: Jacob negotiates the purchase of the field in which he had pitched his tents. Lower: Jacob told of the rape of his daughter Dinah. Nave mosaics from the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore, Rome.

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The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:

Dore.  http://terpconnect.umd.edu/~wkallfel/Phil140Spring2007-8/jacob_wrestles_angel.jpg

Novak.   http://www.washingtonartsgroup.org/images/May%202003%20Russia%20Images/Novak-Jacob%20Wrestling%20the%20Angel.JPG

Spychalski.   http://artyzm.com/e_obraz.php?id=1749


26.) Genesis 31:1 – 55

June 8, 2009

"The Reconciliation of Jacob and Laban"  by Italian Baroque painter Ciro Ferri

"The Reconciliation of Jacob and Laban" by Italian Baroque painter Ciro Ferri

Genesis 31:1 – 55   (NRSV)

Jacob Flees with Family and Flocks

31) Now Jacob heard that the sons of Laban were saying, “Jacob has taken all that was our father’s; he has gained all this wealth from what belonged to our father.” 2And Jacob saw that Laban did not regard him as favorably as he did before.

3Then the Lord said to Jacob, “Return to the land of your ancestors and to your kindred, and I will be with you.”

4So Jacob sent and called Rachel and Leah into the field where his flock was, 5and said to them, “I see that your father does not regard me as favorably as he did before. But the God of my father has been with me. 6You know that I have served your father with all my strength; 7yet your father has cheated me and changed my wages ten times, but God did not permit him to harm me. 8If he said, ‘The speckled shall be your wages,’ then all the flock bore speckled; and if he said, ‘The striped shall be your wages,’ then all the flock bore striped. 9Thus God has taken away the livestock of your father, and given them to me.

a lamb of a Jacob sheep flock, from Perfect Spot Farm in NC

a lamb of a Jacob sheep flock, from Perfect Spot Farm in NC

10″During the mating of the flock I once had a dream in which I looked up and saw that the male goats that leaped upon the flock were striped, speckled, and mottled. 11Then the angel of God said to me in the dream, ‘Jacob,’ and I said, ‘Here I am!’ 12And he said, ‘Look up and see that all the goats that leap on the flock are striped, speckled, and mottled; for I have seen all that Laban is doing to you. 13I am the God of Bethel, where you anointed a pillar and made a vow to me. Now leave this land at once and return to the land of your birth.’“

14Then Rachel and Leah answered him, “Is there any portion or inheritance left to us in our father’s house? 15Are we not regarded by him as foreigners? For he has sold us, and he has been using up the money given for us. 16All the property that God has taken away from our father belongs to us and to our children; now then, do whatever God has said to you.”

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Reflection:

Rachel and Leah complain about the loss of their inheritance because of their father’s dishonorable behavior.  Consider for a moment the inheritance our Heavenly Father is keeping safe for you.  Can the thought of that inheritance encourage you to good thoughts, words, and deeds today?

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade—kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.
–1 Peter 1:3-5
(NIV)

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17So Jacob arose, and set his children and his wives on camels; 18and he drove away all his livestock, all the property that he had gained, the livestock in his possession that he had acquired in Paddan-aram, to go to his father Isaac in the land of Canaan.

19Now Laban had gone to shear his sheep, and Rachel stole her father’s household gods. 20And Jacob deceived Laban the Aramean, in that he did not tell him that he intended to flee. 21So he fled with all that he had; starting out he crossed the Euphrates, and set his face toward the hill country of Gilead.

Laban Overtakes Jacob

The hills of Gilead, a mountainous region east of the Jordan River.

The hills of Gilead, a mountainous region east of the Jordan River.

22On the third day Laban was told that Jacob had fled. 23So he took his kinsfolk with him and pursued him for seven days until he caught up with him in the hill country of Gilead. 24But God came to Laban the Aramean in a dream by night, and said to him, “Take heed that you say not a word to Jacob, either good or bad.”

25Laban overtook Jacob. Now Jacob had pitched his tent in the hill country, and Laban with his kinsfolk camped in the hill country of Gilead. 26Laban said to Jacob, “What have you done? You have deceived me, and carried away my daughters like captives of the sword. 27Why did you flee secretly and deceive me and not tell me? I would have sent you away with mirth and songs, with tambourine and lyre. 28And why did you not permit me to kiss my sons and my daughters farewell? What you have done is foolish. 29It is in my power to do you harm; but the God of your father spoke to me last night, saying, ‘Take heed that you speak to Jacob neither good nor bad.’ 30Even though you had to go because you longed greatly for your father’s house, why did you steal my gods?”

31Jacob answered Laban, “Because I was afraid, for I thought that you would take your daughters from me by force. 32But anyone with whom you find your gods shall not live. In the presence of our kinsfolk, point out what I have that is yours, and take it.” Now Jacob did not know that Rachel had stolen the gods.

33So Laban went into Jacob’s tent, and into Leah’s tent, and into the tent of the two maids, but he did not find them. And he went out of Leah’s tent, and entered Rachel’s. 34Now Rachel had taken the household gods and put them in the camel’s saddle, and sat on them. Laban felt all about in the tent, but did not find them.

35And she said to her father, “Let not my lord be angry that I cannot rise before you, for the way of women is upon me.” So he searched, but did not find the household gods.

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Art:

Laban Searching Jacob’s Baggage for the Stolen Idols, Laurent de La Hire, 1647 (The Louvre).  A very thorough snoop!    http://www.wga.hu/art/l/la_hire/laban.jpg

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36Then Jacob became angry, and upbraided Laban. Jacob said to Laban, “What is my offense? What is my sin, that you have hotly pursued me? 37Although you have felt about through all my goods, what have you found of all your household goods? Set it here before my kinsfolk and your kinsfolk, so that they may decide between us two.

38″These twenty years I have been with you; your ewes and your female goats have not miscarried, and I have not eaten the rams of your flocks. 39That which was torn by wild beasts I did not bring to you; I bore the loss of it myself; of my hand you required it, whether stolen by day or stolen by night. 40It was like this with me: by day the heat consumed me, and the cold by night, and my sleep fled from my eyes. 41These twenty years I have been in your house; I served you fourteen years for your two daughters, and six years for your flock, and you have changed my wages ten times. 42If the God of my father, the God of Abraham and the Fear of Isaac, had not been on my side, surely now you would have sent me away empty-handed. God saw my affliction and the labor of my hands, and rebuked you last night.”

Laban and Jacob Make a Covenant

43Then Laban answered and said to Jacob, “The daughters are my daughters, the children are my children, the flocks are my flocks, and all that you see is mine. But what can I do today about these daughters of mine, or about their children whom they have borne? 44Come now, let us make a covenant, you and I; and let it be a witness between you and me.”

45So Jacob took a stone, and set it up as a pillar. 46And Jacob said to his kinsfolk, “Gather stones,” and they took stones, and made a heap; and they ate there by the heap. 47Laban called it Jegar-sahadutha: but Jacob called it Galeed.

Mizpah Medal

Mizpah Medal

48Laban said, “This heap is a witness between you and me today.” Therefore he called it Galeed, 49and the pillar Mizpah, for he said, “The Lord watch between you and me, when we are absent one from the other. 50If you ill-treat my daughters, or if you take wives in addition to my daughters, though no one else is with us, remember that God is witness between you and me.”

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Music:

“Friends”  by Michael W. Smith.   

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51Then Laban said to Jacob, “See this heap and see the pillar, which I have set between you and me. 52This heap is a witness, and the pillar is a witness, that I will not pass beyond this heap to you, and you will not pass beyond this heap and this pillar to me, for harm. 53May the God of Abraham and the God of Nahor” —the God of their father—“judge between us.”

So Jacob swore by the Fear of his father Isaac, 54and Jacob offered a sacrifice on the height and called his kinsfolk to eat bread; and they ate bread and tarried all night in the hill country.

55Early in the morning Laban rose up, and kissed his grandchildren and his daughters and blessed them; then he departed and returned home.

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Proverbs 10:12 (English Standard Version)

Hatred stirs up strife,
but love covers all offenses.

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The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:

Ferri.    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/ab/Ciro_Ferri_-_The_Reconciliation_of_Jacob_and_Laban.jpg

Jacob sheep lamb.   http://www.patchworkfibers.com/Perfectspotfarm/images/DSCN2424.jpg

hill country of Gilead.   http://images.absoluteastronomy.com/images/encyclopediaimages/h/hi/hills_of_gilead.jpg

Mizpah Medal.  http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_gSSM01brUHQ/SO2mXY9teRI/AAAAAAAACqE/FomM6lGm1_E/s320/Mizpah_Medal.jpg


25.) Genesis 30:1 – 43

June 5, 2009

Leah and Zilpah.  Or is it Rachel and Bilhah?

Leah and Zilpah. Or is it Rachel and Bilhah?

Genesis 30: 1 – 43   (NRSV)

30)  When Rachel saw that she bore Jacob no children, she envied her sister; and she said to Jacob, “Give me children, or I shall die!”

2Jacob became very angry with Rachel and said, “Am I in the place of God, who has withheld from you the fruit of the womb?”

3Then she said, “Here is my maid Bilhah; go in to her, that she may bear upon my knees and that I too may have children through her.”

4So she gave him her maid Bilhah as a wife; and Jacob went in to her. 5And Bilhah conceived and bore Jacob a son. 6Then Rachel said, “God has judged me, and has also heard my voice and given me a son”; therefore she named him Dan.

7Rachel’s maid Bilhah conceived again and bore Jacob a second son. 8Then Rachel said, “With mighty wrestlings I have wrestled with my sister, and have prevailed”; so she named him Naphtali.

9When Leah saw that she had ceased bearing children, she took her maid Zilpah and gave her to Jacob as a wife. 10Then Leah’s maid Zilpah bore Jacob a son. 11And Leah said, “Good fortune!” so she named him Gad.

12Leah’s maid Zilpah bore Jacob a second son. 13And Leah said, “Happy am I! For the women will call me happy”; so she named him Asher.

an illustration of a mandrake

an illustration of a mandrake, a plant that was thought to help barren women conceive a child

14In the days of wheat harvest Reuben went and found mandrakes in the field, and brought them to his mother Leah. Then Rachel said to Leah, “Please give me some of your son’s mandrakes.”

15But she said to her, “Is it a small matter that you have taken away my husband? Would you take away my son’s mandrakes also?”

Rachel said, “Then he may lie with you tonight for your son’s mandrakes.”

16When Jacob came from the field in the evening, Leah went out to meet him, and said, “You must come in to me; for I have hired you with my son’s mandrakes.” So he lay with her that night.

17And God heeded Leah, and she conceived and bore Jacob a fifth son. 18Leah said, “God has given me my hire because I gave my maid to my husband”; so she named him Issachar.

19And Leah conceived again, and she bore Jacob a sixth son. 20Then Leah said, “God has endowed me with a good dowry; now my husband will honor me, because I have borne him six sons”; so she named him Zebulun.

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Psalm 127:3-5 (New International Version)

Sons are a heritage from the LORD,
children a reward from him.

Like arrows in the hands of a warrior
are sons born in one’s youth.

Blessed is the man
whose quiver is full of them.
They will not be put to shame
when they contend with their enemies in the gate.

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21Afterwards she bore a daughter, and named her Dinah.

Finally -- a daughter!

Finally -- a daughter!

22Then God remembered Rachel, and God heeded her and opened her womb. 23She conceived and bore a son, and said, “God has taken away my reproach”; 24and she named him Joseph, saying, “May the Lord add to me another son!”

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Music:

Forgive me for this selection — it’s a little corny and the theology is suspect in a few of the lines — but it is a song that seems to fit a family with 12 children!  Ray Stevens sings “Everything Is Beautiful,” 1970.   

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Jacob Prospers at Laban’s Expense

25When Rachel had borne Joseph, Jacob said to Laban, “Send me away, that I may go to my own home and country. 26Give me my wives and my children for whom I have served you, and let me go; for you know very well the service I have given you.”

27But Laban said to him, “If you will allow me to say so, I have learned by divination that the Lord has blessed me because of you; 28name your wages, and I will give it.”

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1 Timothy 5:18 (Contemporary English Version)

It is just as the Scriptures say, “Don’t muzzle an ox when you are using it to grind grain.” You also know the saying, “Workers are worth their pay.”

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29Jacob said to him, “You yourself know how I have served you, and how your cattle have fared with me. 30For you had little before I came, and it has increased abundantly; and the Lord has blessed you wherever I turned. But now when shall I provide for my own household also?”

31He said, “What shall I give you?”

Jacob said, “You shall not give me anything; if you will do this for me, I will again feed your flock and keep it: 32let me pass through all your flock today, removing from it every speckled and spotted sheep and every black lamb, and the spotted and speckled among the goats; and such shall be my wages. 33So my honesty will answer for me later, when you come to look into my wages with you. Every one that is not speckled and spotted among the goats and black among the lambs, if found with me, shall be counted stolen.”

an example of a "Jacob sheep" (listed as a threatened breed), patterned with black and white spots

an example of a "Jacob sheep" (listed as a threatened breed), patterned with black and white spots, from Sweetgrass Farm, MI

34Laban said, “Good! Let it be as you have said.” 35But that day Laban removed the male goats that were striped and spotted, and all the female goats that were speckled and spotted, every one that had white on it, and every lamb that was black, and put them in charge of his sons; 36and he set a distance of three days’ journey between himself and Jacob, while Jacob was pasturing the rest of Laban’s flock.

37Then Jacob took fresh rods of poplar and almond and plane, and peeled white streaks in them, exposing the white of the rods. 38He set the rods that he had peeled in front of the flocks in the troughs, that is, the watering places, where the flocks came to drink. And since they bred when they came to drink, 39the flocks bred in front of the rods, and so the flocks produced young that were striped, speckled, and spotted. 40Jacob separated the lambs, and set the faces of the flocks toward the striped and the completely black animals in the flock of Laban; and he put his own droves apart, and did not put them with Laban’s flock. 41Whenever the stronger of the flock were breeding, Jacob laid the rods in the troughs before the eyes of the flock, that they might breed among the rods, 42but for the feebler of the flock he did not lay them there; so the feebler were Laban’s, and the stronger Jacob’s. 43Thus the man grew exceedingly rich, and had large flocks, and male and female slaves, and camels and donkeys.

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The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:

two pregnancies.  http://images.inmagine.com/img/blendimages/bld082/bld082027.jpg

Mandrake.  http://www.a42.com/images/118-Mandrake/mandrake.gif

baby girl.   http://opinionsandexpressions.files.wordpress.com/2008/07/baby_girl_lying.png

Jacob’s sheep.  http://www.sweetgrass-jacobs.com/drummond.jpg


24.) Genesis 29:1 – 35

June 4, 2009

"Jacob and Rachel"  Israel Biblical Art Commemorative Gold Coin, minted in 2003

"Jacob and Rachel" Israel Biblical Art Commemorative Gold Coin, minted in 2003

Genesis 29:1 – 35   (NRSV)

Jacob Meets Rachel

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Music:

Was it “love at first sight” when Jacob saw Rachel?  Yes, or no — it is true that Jacob loved Rachel dearly all his life.  Here is Celine Dion singing the Elvis classic, “I Can’t Help Falling in Love with You.”  This clip is from her 1993 tour, when she closed each show with this song.  

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29) Then Jacob went on his journey, and came to the land of the people of the east. 2As he looked, he saw a well in the field and three flocks of sheep lying there beside it; for out of that well the flocks were watered. The stone on the well’s mouth was large, 3and when all the flocks were gathered there, the shepherds would roll the stone from the mouth of the well, and water the sheep, and put the stone back in its place on the mouth of the well.

4Jacob said to them, “My brothers, where do you come from?”

They said, “We are from Haran.”

5He said to them, “Do you know Laban son of Nahor?”

They said, “We do.”

6He said to them, “Is it well with him?”

“Yes,” they replied, “and here is his daughter Rachel, coming with the sheep.”

7He said, “Look, it is still broad daylight; it is not time for the animals to be gathered together. Water the sheep, and go, pasture them.”

8But they said, “We cannot until all the flocks are gathered together, and the stone is rolled from the mouth of the well; then we water the sheep.”

9While he was still speaking with them, Rachel came with her father’s sheep; for she kept them. 10Now when Jacob saw Rachel, the daughter of his mother’s brother Laban, and the sheep of his mother’s brother Laban, Jacob went up and rolled the stone from the well’s mouth, and watered the flock of his mother’s brother Laban. 11Then Jacob kissed Rachel, and wept aloud.

"Jacob Meets Rachel," by Raphael, 1518 (The Vatican)

"Jacob Meets Rachel," by Raphael, 1518 (The Vatican)

12And Jacob told Rachel that he was her father’s kinsman, and that he was Rebekah’s son; and she ran and told her father. 13When Laban heard the news about his sister’s son Jacob, he ran to meet him; he embraced him and kissed him, and brought him to his house. Jacob told Laban all these things, 14and Laban said to him, “Surely you are my bone and my flesh!” And he stayed with him a month.

Jacob Marries Laban’s Daughters

15Then Laban said to Jacob, “Because you are my kinsman, should you therefore serve me for nothing? Tell me, what shall your wages be?” 16Now Laban had two daughters; the name of the elder was Leah, and the name of the younger was Rachel. 17Leah’s eyes were lovely, and Rachel was graceful and beautiful. 18Jacob loved Rachel; so he said, “I will serve you seven years for your younger daughter Rachel.”

19Laban said, “It is better that I give her to you than that I should give her to any other man; stay with me.” 20So Jacob served seven years for Rachel, and they seemed to him but a few days because of the love he had for her.

21Then Jacob said to Laban, “Give me my wife that I may go in to her, for my time is completed.”

22So Laban gathered together all the people of the place, and made a feast. 23But in the evening he took his daughter Leah and brought her to Jacob; and he went in to her. 24(Laban gave his maid Zilpah to his daughter Leah to be her maid.)

25When morning came, it was Leah! And Jacob said to Laban, “What is this you have done to me? Did I not serve with you for Rachel? Why then have you deceived me?”

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Matthew 26:52 (English Standard Version)

For all who take the sword will perish by the sword.

Now the shoe is on the other foot.  Jacob, who had deceived his father, is now deceived by his father-in-law.  “Oh!  What a tangled web we weave / When first we practice to deceive!” — Sir Walter Scott.

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26Laban said, “This is not done in our country—giving the younger before the firstborn. 27Complete the week of this one, and we will give you the other also in return for serving me another seven years.”

28Jacob did so, and completed her week; then Laban gave him his daughter Rachel as a wife. 29(Laban gave his maid Bilhah to his daughter Rachel to be her maid.) 30So Jacob went in to Rachel also, and he loved Rachel more than Leah. He served Laban for another seven years.

31When the Lord saw that Leah was unloved, he opened her womb; but Rachel was barren. 32Leah conceived and bore a son, and she named him Reuben; for she said, “Because the Lord has looked on my affliction; surely now my husband will love me.”

33She conceived again and bore a son, and said, “Because the Lord has heard that I am hated, he has given me this son also”; and she named him Simeon.

34Again she conceived and bore a son, and said, “Now this time my husband will be joined to me, because I have borne him three sons”; therefore he was named Levi.

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Leah

If I squint I can see him in the field, that Jacob,
that shape that isn’t a tree or a sheep.

When my sister goes out with her lunch basket
I watch till two shapes melt and sink.

They could do anything to me, those two,
and I wouldn’t see it until it was too late.

Laban tells me I’m the one with power.
You’re the one who’s bearing sons, he says.

But there they go in the field,
my sister and our husband,

and here I sit in my tent
exercising power.

–Barbara D. Holender

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35She conceived again and bore a son, and said, “This time I will praise the Lord”; therefore she named him Judah; then she ceased bearing.

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Matthew 1:1-2 (New Living Translation)

This is a record of the ancestors of Jesus the Messiah, a descendant of David and of Abraham:

Abraham was the father of Isaac.
Isaac was the father of Jacob.
Jacob was the father of Judah and his brothers.

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29-love-baby-boy

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The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:

Coin.  http://www.commem.com/images/Gold_Coins/2003_Rach_10_NIS_f.JPG

Raphael.  http://www.christusrex.org/www1/stanzas/L22-Rachel.jpg

baby boy shirt.   http://rlv.zcache.com/i_love_my_baby_boy_t_shirt-p235821185189795774t5hl_


23.) Genesis 28:10 – 22

June 3, 2009

"Jacob's Ladder," by William Blake, 1806

"Jacob's Ladder" by William Blake, 1806

Genesis 28:10 – 22     (NRSV)

Jacob’s Dream at Bethel

10Jacob left Beer-sheba and went toward Haran. 11He came to a certain place and stayed there for the night, because the sun had set. Taking one of the stones of the place, he put it under his head and lay down in that place. 12And he dreamed that there was a ladder set up on the earth, the top of it reaching to heaven; and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it.

"The Dream of Jacob"  by Chinese artist He Qi

"The Dream of Jacob" by contemporary Chinese artist He Qi

13And the Lord stood beside him and said, “I am the Lord, the God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac; the land on which you lie I will give to you and to your offspring; 14and your offspring shall be like the dust of the earth, and you shall spread abroad to the west and to the east and to the north and to the south; and all the families of the earth shall be blessed in you and in your offspring. 15Know that I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.”

"Jacob's Ladder," by Israeli artist Lika Tov

"Jacob's Ladder," by Israeli artist Lika Tov

16Then Jacob woke from his sleep and said, “Surely the Lord is in this place—and I did not know it!”

17And he was afraid, and said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.”18So Jacob rose early in the morning, and he took the stone that he had put under his head and set it up for a pillar and poured oil on the top of it. 19He called that place Bethel; but the name of the city was Luz at the first.

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Reflection:

If God is present at every point in space, if we cannot go where He is not, cannot even conceive of a place where he is not, why then has not that Presence become one of the universally celebrated facts of the world?  The patriarch Jacob saw a vision of God and cried out in wonder, “Surely the Lord is in this place and I knew it not.”  That was his trouble and it is ours.  Men do not know that God is here.  What a difference it would make if they knew.
–A. W. Tozer

What physical markers (like Jacob’s pillar) can you put in your surroundings to remind yourself that God is here?

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20Then Jacob made a vow, saying, “If God will be with me, and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat and clothing to wear, 21so that I come again to my father’s house in peace, then the Lord shall be my God, 22and this stone, which I have set up for a pillar, shall be God’s house; and of all that you give me I will surely give one tenth to you.”

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Romans 8:31-39 (New International Version)

If God is for us, who can be against us?
He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written:
“For your sake we face death all day long;
we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

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Music:  Stairway or Ladder?

The NIV and New Living Version call what Jacob saw in his dream a stairway. The NASB and the English Standard Version call it a ladder.  We have a song for each word!

Led Zeppelin’s beautiful “Stairway to Heaven,” 1971, is the most requested and most played song on FM radio stations in the United States.  This is a ten minute clip.  

Paul Robeson sings “We are Climbing Jacob’s Ladder” at the Mother Zion Church in New York, 1958.  

Art:

Jacob’s Dream, by Adam Elsheimer (Frankfort).   http://www.wga.hu/art/e/elsheime/dream.jpg
.
Jacob’s Dream, by Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, 1726 (painted in the Palazzo Patriarcale, Udine, Italy).   http://www.wga.hu/art/t/tiepolo/gianbatt/1udine/6udine.jpg
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Other Jacob’s Ladders!

a Jacob's Ladder quilt, by Gwen Hurlbert

a Jacob's Ladder quilt, by Gwen Hurlbert

Jacob's Ladder flower

Jacob's Ladder flower

Jacob's Ladder puzzle

Jacob's Ladder puzzle

Jacob's Ladder, a patented commercial cardio machine

Jacob's Ladder, a patented commercial cardio machine

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The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:

Blake.   http://www.penwith.co.uk/artofeurope/blake-jacobs-ladder.jpg

He Qi.    http://www.heqigallery.com/GALLERY%20OT%20A/index.html

Tov.  http://www.estrellafineart.com/images/Tov%20Jacobs%20Ladder.jpg

Quilt.  http://www.quilttownusa.com/Quilt_Gallery/Those%20Fabulous%2030s/30s7.jpg

Flower.  http://www.northcreeknurseries.com/_ccLib/image/plants/DETA-245.jpg

Puzzle.  http://0-0-0checkmate.com/DesignScienceToys/hDesignScienceToys/Jacobs_Ladder_6196.jpg

Cardio machine.    http://factorydirectfitnessequipment.com/images/jacobimage.jpg