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Genesis 35:22b-29

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    Gen 35:22b-26 . . Now the sons of Jacob were twelve in number. The sons of Leah: Reuben-- Jacob's first-born --Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, and Zebulun. The sons of Rachel: Joseph and Benjamin. The sons of Bilhah, Rachel's maid: Dan and Naphtali. And the sons of Zilpah, Leah's maid: Gad and Asher. These are the sons of Jacob who were born to him in Paddan-aram.

    By the customs of that day, a maid's children sired by her mistress's husband, belonged to the mistress. So that Leah's children, counting Dinah, totaled nine; and those of Rachel: four.

    Of the four mothers, only two can be proven biologically related to Abraham. The genealogies of the maids Bilhah and Zilpah are currently unknown and wouldn't matter anyway seeing as how in the Bible, it's the father who determines a child's tribal affiliation rather than the mother.

    It's sometimes assumed that Jesus' mom Mary, and Zacharias' wife Elizabeth, were members of the same tribe seeing as how the New Testament says they were cousins (Luke 1:36). However, Elizabeth was related to Aaron, who himself was related to Leah's son Levi, while Mary was related to David, who himself was related to Leah's son Judah. So Mary and Elizabeth were cousins due to the same grandmother rather than the same tribe.

    Gen 35:27 . . And Jacob came to his father Isaac at Mamre, at Kiriath-arba-- now Hebron --where Abraham and Isaac had sojourned.

    Modern Hebron is located about 33 kilometers (20½ miles) south of Jerusalem as the crow flies.

    Although this is the first mention of a visit from Jacob since returning from up north, it probably wasn't the first instance: just the first one mentioned when his whole family, and the entire troupe-- servants and animals --came with him.

    Isaac was around 135 when Jacob left home to escape his sibling's wrath in chapter 28. His eyes were going bad even then, and by now, many years later, Isaac was probably quite blind. Since there is neither a record of his reactions, nor of a cordial response to his son's visit; it's possible Isaac had gone senile as well as blind.

    Gen 35:28 . . Isaac was a hundred and eighty years old

    At the time of Isaac's death, Jacob was 120 years old, having been born when his dad was 60 (Gen 25:26). When Jacob was 130, Joseph was 39 (cf. Gen 41:46, 53, 54; 45:6, 47:9). So that when Joseph was sold into Egyptian slavery at 17 (Gen 37:2), Jacob's age was 108; which was 12 years prior to Isaac's death. The insertion of Isaac's passing in the Bible record at this point, is sort of like a parenthesis because, chronologically, it's too soon.

    Gen 35:29a . . So Isaac breathed his last and died, and was gathered to his people, being old and full of days.

    Christ said the very hairs of our head are numbered. Well . . so's our breaths. Finally, one day, after countless thousands, we inhale that very last one, and it oozes back out as a ghastly rasp.

    While some people see a glass as half full, and others see as half empty; engineers see as overkill: viz: the glass is too big. Well . . in Isaac's case, the glass was full up to the top. On Sept 11, 2003, the actor John Ritter died of a torn aorta just one week shy of his 55th birthday. That is way too young to take your last breath. His glass wasn't full yet. With adequate health care, John Ritter may have lived another 25 years.

    Gen 35:29b . . And his sons Esau and Jacob buried him.

    A death in the family often brings its members closer together than a birth. By this time, Jacob and his brother were older and wiser, had mended their fences, and were getting on with their lives; refusing to hold any grudges. Esau, I believe, by this time fully understood what happened concerning the stolen birthright-- that it was God's intention for Jacob to have it in the first place --and he was peaceably resigned to accept it.

    After the funeral, Esau will begin planning to move away from the region; no longer having a paternal tie to the land wherein his father lived. It's not uncommon for children to settle within driving distance while their parents are living. But when your parents are dead, there's not much reason to stay in the neighborhood anymore-- and for some, it might be just the excuse they need to finally move away and start a new life elsewhere.
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