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Genesis Per Day

Discussion in 'Daily Devotionals' started by WebersHome, May 8, 2017.

  1. WebersHome

    WebersHome Active Member

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    Genesis 28:15


    Gen 28:15 . . Remember, I am with you: I will protect you wherever you go and will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.

    Actually, hardly any of those promises were fulfilled in Jacob's lifetime-- his offspring didn't become as populous as the dust of the earth, nor did they spread out to the east and the west and to the north and to the south. Nor did all the nations of the earth bless themselves by Jacob and his descendants. So what gives? How could God say: "I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you"

    I believe God has continually associated with Jacob to this very day, ever since the day of their first close encounter at Bethel. That didn't stop with Jacob's demise. No, their association goes on.

    "Now even Moses showed in the burning bush passage that the dead are raised, when he called the Lord "the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob." For He is not the God of the dead but of the living, for all live to Him." (Luke 20:37-38)

    In order to live "to" God (viz: live unto God) it is necessary to be in existence. God has always been with Jacob, and never left him even once-- all these many years; better than three-thousand of them by now. And all this whole time Jacob has lived under God's protection because God promised He would protect Jacob wherever he went; and in order for that promise to be meaningful, it has to include the afterlife. (cf. Ps 139:7-10, Matt 16:18)

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  2. WebersHome

    WebersHome Active Member

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    Genesis 28:16-19


    Gen 28:16-17a . . Jacob awoke from his sleep and said: Surely the Lord is present in this place, and I did not know it! Shaken, he said: How awesome is this place!

    Actually Jacob was very frightened. I believe that place gave him the creeps. It isn't unusual for an encounter with God to unnerve people. Even the very best saints get shook up by it. Daniel just about fainted when God talked with him (Dan 10:17. And Moses was very frightened when God descended upon Mt. Sinai. (Heb 12:18-21)

    Gen 28:17b . .This is none other than the house of God, and that is the gateway to heaven.

    The Hebrew word for "house" is somewhat ambiguous. It can indicate one's dwelling, and it can indicate one's entire estate. For example; Pharaoh's house at Gen 12:15 consisted of a palace while Abraham's house at Gen 14:14 consisted of all that he owned and possessed. Jacob apparently assumed (probably correctly) that the site where he met with God was a favorite of God's in Canaan, and had it staked out for himself: and who's to argue with that?

    Gen 28:18a . . Early in the morning, Jacob took the stone that he had put under his head and set it up as a pillar

    The word for "pillar" is from matstsebah (mats-tsay-baw') which is something stationed; viz: a column or (memorial stone)by analogy, an idol. All over the Mojave Desert in California are man-made stone monuments that mark the location of historical events and/or sites. One of my favorites is the Foot And Walker pass where Butterfield stagecoach passengers had to disembark and walk because the slope was too steep for horses to pull the coach with them inside it.

    Jacob's pillow stone became a souvenir of his very first close encounter with the Bible's God. To set it up, he would need something to elevate it and make it prominent. So he probably gathered more stones into a pile, like a cairn, and then put his pillow block on the very top as the cap stone.

    Gen 28:18b . . and poured oil on the top of it.

    The Bible doesn't say where Jacob got the idea to pour oil on his historical marker; so we'll just have to take an educated guess at it. It's very likely, considering the situation, that anointing the pillow stone with oil (probably either an edible, or medicinal oil rather than a petroleum based lubricant) dedicated it as a memorial to Jacob's contractual bond between himself and God.

    There's reported to be widespread evidence (I haven't seen it for myself) from the ancient Near East, for the use of oil in international treaty relationships, and in effectuating business contracts. The practice seems to have been a token of peace, friendship, and assumed obligation. In Jacob's case, the anointing is connected with the making of a vow that bound him to specific commitments.

    Gen 28:19 . . He named that site Bethel; but previously the name of the city had been Luz.

    Luz retained it's original name for a long time afterwards. On his way back home after twenty years with Laban, the name hadn't yet been changed to Bethel (Gen 36:6). Precisely when the site's name was officially changed to Bethel is difficult to ascertain.

    The word for "Bethel" is from Beyth-' El (bayth-ale') which means (what else?) house of God.

    According to Jewish folklore, the stone Jacob chose for his pillow was actually one of the stones Abraham used to construct the altar where he bound Isaac. Jewish folklore also believes the Temple Mount in Jerusalem to be the site where Abraham offered his son. Those lore imply that Bethel and the Temple Mount are geographically the same. But it's highly unlikely. The Temple Mount is in Jerusalem; and Bethel was about 12 miles to the north. The exact geographic location of the offering of Isaac is totally unknown at this time.

    In the days of Solomon's rule, Israel became divided into a north and a south, sort of like America's fracture during the Civil War. A king named Jeroboam ruled the northern part and another king named Rehoboam ruled the southern part. The northern part was called Israel, and the southern part was called Judah. Jeroboam became concerned that his subjects in the north might change sides due to the Temple being located in the south. (1Kgs 12:26-29)

    Point being, the Temple Mount was at Jerusalem in Rehoboam's realm; and Bethel was on Jeroboam's turf in the north; and if the people really wanted to get on God's bad side, they worshipped in the north.

    "Come to Bethel, and transgress" (Amos 4:4)

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  3. WebersHome

    WebersHome Active Member

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    Genesis 28:20-21


    Gen 28:20-21 . . Jacob then made a vow, saying: If God remains with me, if He protects me on this journey that I am making, and gives me bread to eat and clothing to wear, and if I return safe to my father's house-- Yhvh shall be my God.

    What's he saying? That the Lord has not been his god up to this point? Not necessarily. It wasn't uncommon in those days for people to worship other gods right along with Yhvh. This practice was later strictly forbidden by the first of the so-called Ten Commandments. (Ex 20:1-3)

    Jacob's uncle Laban (the very father of his beloved Rachel) was notorious for polytheism. On the one hand, he recognized Yhvh's divinity (Gen 24:50 and 31:29) while on the other hand he harbored a collection of patron gods in his home (Gen 31:19 and 31:30). In the ancient Semitic world; patron gods were equivalent to Catholicism's patron saints-- objects of devotion venerated as special guardians, protectors, and/or supporters; viz: alternative sources of providence.

    Jacob knew about Abraham's god and believed that He existed (Gen 27:20). But that's merely an educated consent, and nothing personal. It's like knowing and believing that Mr. Donald Trump is the President of the United States. But so what? Has the President ever come to your home for coffee or dinner? Have the two of you been to a movie together or to a picnic? Where was he when you were sick, down and out, and/or feeling helpless, hopeless, despondent and depressed? See what I'm saying?

    Lots of people glibly venerate the Bible's God. But very, very few can honestly say: The Lord is my friend, He cares about me, He cares about my life, He protects me and provides for me wherever I go. I am His, and He is mine. We are one; we are together.

    Jacob's vow reflects a personal decision of his own volition to make Yhvh the sole object of his religious devotion to the exclusion of all the other gods that people commonly venerated in his day. So we could paraphrase Gen 28:20-21 to read like this:

    "If God remains with me, if He protects me on this journey that I am making, and gives me bread to eat and clothing to wear, and if I return safe to my father's house-- then Yhvh shall be my only patron."

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  4. WebersHome

    WebersHome Active Member

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    Genesis 28:22


    Gen 28:22a . . And this stone, which I have set up as a pillar, shall be God's abode;

    Jacob's pillow stone wasn't really meant to be a dwelling or a container as we typically think of human habitat or animal cages. It was meant to be a sort of monitoring device. An 8th century BC Aramaic treaty inscription from Sfire, in Syria, terms each upright stone on which the treaty is inscribed as an abode of the gods.

    The Hebrew word for "God" is 'elohiym (el-o-heem') which is a plural word meaning gods of all descriptions; both the good and the bad; and the true and the false. So that we could translate Gen 28:22a-- "shall be the abode of the gods."

    The stone(s) symbolize a divine presence monitoring fulfillment and/or infractions of the terms of a treaty or a vow. So Jacob's pillar was not only the custodian of his vow, but was also its regulatory agency taking note whether Jacob and Yhvh keep their promises to each other. The very same thing turns up again in Gen 31:44-52.

    Gen 28:22b . . and of all that You give me, I will set aside a tithe for You.

    This is probably the very first Biblical instance of the so-called "faith promise". Though coming from a wealthy family; and heir apparent to his father Isaac's personal fortune, the fulfillment of this particular vow was contingent, not upon what Jacob possessed already; but upon God's future providence.

    Jacob didn't promise a set dollar figure, but promised a "tithe" which in English Bibles is commonly translated a tenth; but in reality the Hebrew word 'asar (aw-sar') just means to apportion; which Webster's defines as: to divide and share out according to a plan; especially to make a proportionate division or distribution of.

    The value of a nondescript tithe therefore is left up to individual discretion.

    "Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God prefers a whole-hearted giver." (2Cor 9:7)

    "And here is my advice about what is best for you in this matter: Last year you were the first not only to give but also to have the desire to do so. Now finish the work, so that your eager willingness to do it may be matched by your completion of it, according to your means. For if the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what he does not have." (2Cor 8:10-12)

    Jacob was under no obligation to reciprocate and compensate God for the promises. Their fulfillment was dependent neither upon Jacob's generosity nor his piety. Fulfillment was dependent solely upon God's own personal integrity. So why should Jacob dedicate a tithe? Well; like I said, he didn't have to. Jacob's response was totally spontaneous and voluntary. His tithe was motivated from a sense of fair play, rather than a response to Holy mandates. In other words: Jacob reciprocated God's kindness with kindness of his own.

    A faith that gives out of friendship, rather than obligation, is much better than a religion that mandates a tithe. And the gift should be given where the giver feels whole-hearted about it; viz: they should have some say in where their offering goes, and they should be able to feel quite satisfied about it rather than feel as though their pockets were picked.

    So; how was Jacob going to transfer some of his assets into God's account? There was neither Temple nor synagogue in his day, and certainly no Aaronic priesthood. Abraham did his business with Melchizedek but there is no record of either Isaac or Jacob doing business with one of Mel's successors.

    When all else fails, a very, very good way to give to God is by helping people less fortunate than yourself; in other words: pay it forward.

    "He who is generous to the poor makes a loan to Yhvh: He will repay him his due." (Prv 19:17)

    There are lots of charities benefiting disadvantaged people. United Way lists quite few to pick from. Believe me, those causes are a whole lot more satisfying than just mindlessly tossing money into a basket passed around on a Sunday morning.

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  5. WebersHome

    WebersHome Active Member

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    Genesis 29:1-6


    Gen 29:1 . . Jacob resumed his journey and came to the land of the Easterners.

    The geographic region in Turkey where Jacob went wasn't actually east by his reckoning. It was just about dead north. But the people who populated that region had roots in the east. Here's another version.

    "Then Jacob went on his journey, and came to the land of the sons of the east."

    Many of the peoples in and around Haran, although they lived northward from Canaan, were actually descendants of early pioneers who migrated out west from the world of Babylon; just as Abraham and his dad Terah had done many years prior to Jacob's birth. (cf. Gen 11:1-2)

    Gen 29:2a . .There before his eyes was a well in the open.

    The balance of Jacob's trip, from Luz to this well, is passed over in silence. Apparently nothing of significance occurred along the way. If Jacob traveled at, say, 25 miles per day, it would have taken him about eighteen days to reach Haran.

    If he stuck to the trade route, he could have stopped in Damascus and took in some of the local sights and maybe stayed at a "motel" before pushing on. Food wouldn't really be a problem because there surely were plenty of settlements and/or vendors along the trade route.

    Major highways, like the old US routes 66, and 101, always had lots of merchants offering overnight accommodations, plus all the goods and services a traveler would likely need to see them through. I wouldn't be a bit surprised if there existed in that day fast food equivalents of McDonalds and Burger King.

    Gen 29:2b-3 . .Three flocks of sheep were lying there beside it, for the flocks were watered from that well. The stone on the mouth of the well was large. When all the flocks were gathered there, the stone would be rolled from the mouth of the well and the sheep watered; then the stone would be put back in its place on the mouth of the well.

    Apparently this well wasn't fed by an artesian source but was a variety that kept itself filled by seepage out of a substrate aquifer. A well like that-- which is more like a cistern --can become rancid very quickly by bird droppings, dead critters, and debris if it's not kept covered. Although structuring the watering time created a rush hour, it was sensible. That way the well wasn't left open for too long a time and there was less chance of polluting it.

    Gen 29:4a . . Jacob said to them: My friends, where are you from?

    Exactly what language Jacob spoke in his greeting isn't said; but during his era; Akkadian was a common language in Mesopotamia where Laban lived.

    I don't think this well is the very same one where Abraham's servant met Rebecca. For one thing, it's out in the open, not actually connected with any specific town. If it had been, then Jacob could have assumed the shepherds lived nearby and not asked them where they were from.

    This particular well was within walking distance of pasture land. Any grasses close in to the towns were likely over-grazed. That's just one of the natural results of progress and urban sprawl.

    Gen 29:4b-6a . . And they said: We are from Haran. He said to them: Do you know Laban the son of Nahor? And they said: Yes, we do. He continued: Is he well?

    Laban's location, and his state of affairs, would of course be Jacob's primary concern. After all, he just traveled nearly 500 miles to find him. If the man was dead or moved away, then the trip was all for nothing; and in those days, there was no way to call ahead.

    Gen 29:6b . .They answered: Yes, he is; and there is his daughter Rachel, coming with the flock.

    According to Gen 31:1 Laban had sons too, not just daughters. But the boys may have been too young at the time to go out in the fields alone. So big sister had to do all the ropin' and brandin' till her little brothers grew a few more hat sizes.

    Does that maybe indicate Rachel was a bit of a tomboy? Maybe. Personally; I think she was. But I don't think she was one of those hard, masculine kinds of tomboys, like some tough she-male working shoulder to shoulder with roughneck oil drillers, or packing a 9mm Glock, a nightstick, and a can of pepper spray as a cop, or putting out fires with a hook and ladder company, or dressed full-out for combat in Afghanistan.

    I think Rachel was one of those women who can survive in a man's world if need be; yet retain their feminine side too. They still like cosmetics, dinner out, husbands, family and children, pampering themselves with a trip to the beauty parlor, and shopping for new shoes and a purse-- but don't mind running a lawn mower, trimming the hedges, or firing up a leaf blower when they have to.

    There's a lot of single moms out there nowadays who haven't much choice but to wear a man's hat now and again-- not to prove a point, but just to get by.

    Herding sheep out in the open is risky for a lone woman. But apparently Rachel wasn't afraid of any of the local men; who no doubt were motivated by male chivalry to look out for her; and besides, we're going to see just up ahead that her dad was not a man to trifle with. Anybody who messed with Rachel would have to answer to Laban; and he was a man who took nothing lying down.

    Jacob is going to fall for this tomboy-ish angel in a very short time; and no surprise. Men often hook up with women that resemble their moms. That is so weird because some of those very same guys were brought up by moms from hell. But that's what they're used to. So, without even thinking about it, they often gravitate to those very same attributes in a girl.

    Well, Rachel and Rebecca were like peas in a pod. They were both confident, fearless, and decisive: not to mention tens to boot. I think Jacob felt very secure with women like that.

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  6. WebersHome

    WebersHome Active Member

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    Genesis 29:7-14a


    Gen 29:7 . . He said: It is still broad daylight, too early to round up the animals; water the flock and take them to pasture.

    The Hebrew word for "broad" is gadowl (gaw-dole') which means great (in any sense). Gadowl is variously translated as high day, the sun is high, early in the day, and much daylight.

    Apparently the usual time for watering flocks was later in the afternoon just prior to bedding them down for the night.

    Jacob just blew into the neighborhood and he's already telling strangers what to do! No doubt an attitude he brought with him from Isaac's ranch. Down there the servants jumped when Jacob said something. Up here in Haran though, things were just a wee bit different.

    Gen 29:8 . . But they said: We cannot, until all the flocks are rounded up; then the stone is rolled off the mouth of the well and we water the sheep.

    Actually, someone may have owned that well; and set the rules for it's use. In those days, whoever dug for water usually had the rights to it; somewhat like a prospector's claim in the gold fields out in 1850's California. Apparently the owner didn't mind people using the water as long as they respected his feelings about it. But Jacob had a mind of his own, and seemed to care very little for the property rights of others.

    There's a clash of civilizations going on in this scene. Jacob was from the frontier lands of Canaan where men of mettle did pretty much as they wished. I'm guessing that Haran was a bit more sophisticated.

    And then too; Jacob was a privileged kid born with a silver spoon in his mouth. I've seen the kind of superiority complex that kind of upbringing sometimes instills within children. Well; that's going to change. Jacob is entering the school of hard knocks, and he's going to learn a thing or two from professor Laban. But when it's all over, Jacob will be a better man for it.

    Gen 29:9-10 . .While he was still speaking with them, Rachel came with her father's flock; for she was a shepherdess. And when Jacob saw Rachel, the daughter of his uncle Laban, and the flock of his uncle Laban, Jacob went up and rolled the stone off the mouth of the well, and watered the flock of his uncle Laban.

    Violating local customs is an insolent thing to do; and almost certainly guaranteed to get you off on the wrong foot. And besides: fair is fair. The other shepherds were there ahead of Rachel, and no telling how long they'd been waiting. Word of Jacob's favoritism, and his disdain for fair play, would surely spread.

    Coming from a privileged family; Jacob was accustomed to doing pretty much as he pleased and answering to no one for it. But arriving in Haran, he was a nobody: a homeless drifter. Now he's going to learn what it's like to be just another face in the crowd; and he is also going to learn what it's like to do as you're told. Unkie Laban is just the bull o' the woods for some long overdue rich-kid attitude adjustment.

    Gen 29:11 . .Then Jacob kissed Rachel, and broke into tears.

    Poor Jacob. He'd been under a lot of stress lately; and probably feeling very alone in the world. His cousin must have seemed to him like an angel of mercy come to rescue his soul from the abyss. First he helped water her flock; for no apparent reason to Rachel other than courtesy; which she seemed to accept without any fuss. But then he impulsively kissed her (on the cheek I hope) and started sobbing. Rachel must have stared at Jacob like a man gone mad from a brain tumor.

    Gen 29:12 . . Jacob told Rachel that he was her father's kinsman, that he was Rebecca's son; and she ran and told her father.

    Zoom! Out of there like a bottle rocket (so to speak). Boy that girl sure takes after auntie Becky. Rachel lit out of there like the critters sent from Jessie the Cowgirl to fetch Sheriff Woody in Toy Story2.

    Gen 29:13a . . On hearing the news of his sister's son Jacob, Laban ran to greet him;

    I seriously doubt that Laban sprinted. The man was over 100 by now and near the age of Jacob's mom; maybe even older than her. Isaac and Rebecca were married twenty years before she became pregnant for the very first time, and Jacob is around 75 at this point. For a man Laban's age "rushed" and/or "hurried" seems more reasonable than ran.

    Gen 29:13b . . he embraced him and kissed him,

    Foreign customs often offend Americans. I was visiting the home of a Portuguese man in San Diego a number of years back when his son and daughter-in-law showed up unexpectedly. Dad and son greeted each other with a hug; and kissed full on the lips. I just about died; it was so gross. And then he kissed the daughter-in-law full on the lips too. I think you have to grow up in those kinds of customs to really be comfortable with them.

    Gen 29:13c-14a . . and took him into his house. He told Laban all that had happened, and Laban said to him; You are truly my bone and flesh.

    Adam said pretty much the very same thing about Eve at Gen 2:23 because she wasn't created from the dust as he had been, but was manufactured from already existing human tissue amputated from his own body. In other words: ol' Laban was saying "You and I are one and the same" because tricking a father in order to supplant a brother was just the thing Laban would have thought of himself had he been in Jacob's shoes.

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  7. WebersHome

    WebersHome Active Member

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    Genesis 29:14b-20


    Gen 29:14b . .When he had stayed with him a month's time,

    Well now . . isn't that a coincidence? Just when the rent was due.

    Gen 29:15 . . Laban said to Jacob: Just because you are a kinsman, should you serve me for nothing? Tell me, what shall your wages be?

    I have no doubt Jacob was already helping out and making himself useful around the place to compensate Laban for room and board. Being industrious just came natural to Jacob. If anybody could spot a conscientious worker, it was Laban. He wanted Jacob on the payroll, and probably with the intent of keeping him on permanently.

    Unfortunately, some people are prone to take advantage of their relatives. My dad was a home-delivery milk man back in the late forties and all through the fifties. He took my brother and I along to help him on Saturdays, holidays, and summer vacation. We alternated. My brother was on Mon-Wed-Fri, and I was on Tues-Thurs-Sat. Dad got us up at 4 am and we returned home around 6 or 7 pm.

    We were just kids, putting in twelve to fourteen-hour days. You know what my dad paid us? Two dollars. That amounts to roughly 14 to 17 cents an hour. Our friends were earning more money than that just by trading in pop and beer bottles they found along the road.

    Gen 29:16-17a . . Now Laban had two daughters; the name of the older one was Leah, and the name of the younger was Rachel. Leah had weak eyes;

    According to Jewish folklore, Leah had weak eyes from crying all the time at the prospect of being forced to marrying Esau.

    The word for "weak" is from rak (rak) which means, variously: tender, soft, weak, and/or gentle.

    So rak doesn't necessarily mean that something is feeble. It can also mean that something is kind and/or gentle as opposed to harsh and/or cruel. And in this case, where the beauty of two girls is being compared, I don't think the author of Genesis meant to convey that Leah's eyesight was weak; only that she had nice eyes, but little else to offer.

    Pity. Leah was a good girl; but just about bankrupt in what really matters to most guys; and as any woman with assets can vouch; most men think better with their eyes than with their brains. In other words: when it comes to women, men's brains switch off and it's all about the view after that: if you know what I mean.

    Gen 29:17b-18a . . Rachel was shapely and beautiful. Jacob loved Rachel;

    Duh. Why does that not surprise us? You know, Jacob was fortunate about something. In those days, a man didn't have to win a woman's heart. He had to win her custodian's heart. So men could pick out a girl like they might pick out a shirt or a new car. Girls, through no fault of their own, could easily get stuck with a very disagreeable man.

    But there is something very missing in this story-- Rachel's love for Jacob. The man was ga-ga over her. But how did she really feel about him?

    Gen 29:18b-19 . . so he answered; I will serve you seven years for your younger daughter Rachel. Laban said; Better that I give her to you than that I should give her to an outsider. Stay with me.

    Done! And just like that; a girl became engaged. Jacob traded seven years of his life for Rachel. But it wasn't really about money, and they actually dickered over wages later. What Jacob actually proposed was a service commitment; like the contracts musicians sign with recording companies; and professional athletes sign with big league teams like the Blazers or the Mets; and like the terms of service to which young men commit themselves to the armed forces.

    So Jacob didn't really buy Rachel with money. She was more like a bonus for signing up as a full-time employee with Laban. And the seven years weren't Laban's idea. They were Jacob's; and I think he made it so many years because he wanted to offer Laban a deal so lucrative that he couldn't possibly refuse it.

    Gen 29:20 . . So Jacob served seven years for Rachel and they seemed to him but a few days because of his love for her.

    It's a fact of human experience that men will sell their souls to satisfy their carnal lust. But I'm sure there was more to Rachel than just her looks. After seven years living in such close proximity, Jacob still wanted her. If she had been witchy, thin skinned, defensive, obtuse, chafing and demeaning, I'm pretty sure he would have lost interest by then. I say "pretty sure" because there are some men who will live with a witch in spite of the abuse they endure just so's they can have the woman of their dreams.

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  8. WebersHome

    WebersHome Active Member

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    Genesis 29:21-25


    Gen 29:21 . .Then Jacob said to Laban; Give me my wife, for my time is fulfilled, that I may cohabit with her.

    The word "cohabit" is not actually in the Hebrew. It should read "go near". What Jacob said, in the common colloquialism of our day, is what men sometimes say when they want to sleep with a particular girl. They sometimes say: Wow! I'd sure like to get next to that! (chuckle) Very expressive.

    Gen 29:22-23 . . And Laban gathered all the people of the place and made a feast. When evening came, he took his daughter Leah and brought her to him; and he cohabited with her.

    Jacob has got to rank as just about the dumbest groom in history. He knew both of those girls like the back of his hand. For seven years he lived right next door and saw them both every day. Leah and Rachel didn't even resemble each other. The one was shapely and beautiful. The other was not. Even if he couldn't see well enough in the dark to tell the difference, he certainly should have been able to feel the difference; and to recognize the difference in their voices.

    Was that man so totally plastered with booze from the reception that he couldn't even tell who, or what, he slept with that night? Haw-Haw-Haw-Haw-Haw

    But the real mystery was Leah. Wouldn't you think that she would have spoke up and said something before things got out of hand? That sly girl. (chuckle) Personally I think she had a big crush on Jacob. Later on Leah will try very hard to get Jacob to transfer his affections to her and forget about Rachel.

    This so reminds me of Sadie Hawkins' day in the Little Abner comics of the old days. In the town of Dog Patch, men didn't grow on trees; there just wasn't enough to go around; and on top of that, some of the hillbilly girls weren't much to look at either. Subsequently, some of the local gals had a tough time getting husbands.

    So, in memorial of an old spinster lady named Sadie Hawkins, a special day was set aside each year wherein the bachelorettes had a chance to get hitched. All they had to do was run down one of the unattached men; and whoever they caught, absolutely had to marry them; no exchanges and no returns.

    But hey! Where was Rachel!?! Was she tied up out in the barn or something? Well; I hate to say it, but I really don't think she ever did want to marry Mr. Jacob. He was at least 82 years old by this time. Abraham and Sarah were only ten years apart but it's really impossible to know Rachel's age. She hadn't been through menopause yet, that much can be known; but that's about all. I really think she was in on the whole scam all along and I think Rachel was seriously hoping Jacob would settle for Leah and forget all about her. But alas; such was not to happen. Jacob was very determined. He accepted his fate with Leah, but went after Rachel anyway.


    NOTE: The covenant that Yhvh's people eventually agreed upon with God as per Lev 18:18 protects sisters like Rachel and Leah so that men are not permitted to cohabit with both girls at the same time.

    Gen 29:24 . . Laban had given his maidservant Zilpah to his daughter Leah as her maid.

    Zilpah didn't say anything either. In fact she very likely assisted Leah to bathe and prepare for her wedding night. Poor Jacob. He was so defeated. It was like the whole world, and even the stars above in their courses, were in a grand conspiracy to dupe the old boy that night.

    Gen 29:25 . .When morning came, there was Leah! So he said to Laban: What is this you have done to me? I was in your service for Rachel! Why did you deceive me?

    There is really no one to blame for this situation but Jacob himself. They say to never look a gift horse in the mouth. But I think your wedding night has to be the exception. For crying out loud, you'd think the man would have enough sense to make sure the woman in his bed was the one who was supposed to be there. Yes, Laban was a rascal. But then so was Leah, and so was Zilpah; and Rachel too. And maybe this gave Jacob cause to remember how he tricked his own dad back home into giving him Esau's blessing. (chuckle) There's an old saying: What goes around, comes around.

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    Last edited: Dec 6, 2017
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    Genesis 29:26-30


    Gen 29:26 . . Laban said; It is not the practice in our place to marry off the younger before the older.

    Jacob lived in "our place" for seven years. I tend to think he knew full well their customs.

    Perhaps Jacob expected the locals would make an exception for him because he was a rich boy from down south. But no; local custom was local custom, and even Mr. Silver Spoon In Your Mouth was going to have to accept it.


    NOTE: I suspect the wedding guests all knew that Jacob was being tricked on his wedding night, but I also suspect that they never forgot his lack of fair play back at the well when he first blew into town. You know, when you're unfair with people, you have to expect that they will be unsympathetic when unfairness comes your way.

    Gen 29:27 . .Wait until the bridal week of this one is over and we will give you that one too, provided you serve me another seven years.

    Serving Laban the first seven years for Rachel was Jacob's idea; except that instead of getting Rachel; he got Leah. Now Laban's proviso is that Jacob serve yet another seven years for Rachel; which will total fourteen for a girl he was supposed to get in seven. I think most any normal red-blooded man would have refused.

    But Jacob was an Ethan Frome kind of guy. I don't think he wanted to hurt Leah, and maybe even felt partially responsible for her predicament.

    That's a crummy reason to marry a girl, but I don't think Jacob could have lived with himself if he threw Leah back now. After all, Jacob was her first love, and it's not like she was used goods or anything.

    It's true that Jacob was not above fraud; but basically, he was a fairly honorable man.

    Gen 29:28-29 . . Jacob did so; he waited out the bridal week of the one, and then he gave him his daughter Rachel as wife. Laban had given his maidservant Bilhah to his daughter Rachel as her maid.

    Maidservants weren't just female commodities. They were actually a part of the household, and often treated with a pretty fair degree of respect.

    Gen 29:30 . . And Jacob cohabited with Rachel also; indeed, he loved Rachel more than Leah. And he served him another seven years.

    I'm sure Jacob never mistreated Leah. But he wasn't crazy about her in a romantic way. It's like the relationship between Robert Philip and his fiancé Nancy Tremaine in the Disney movie Enchanted. Nancy is neither a bad girl nor a bad choice-- the chemistry just isn't there.

    Unfortunately, human nature being what it is, Jacob's situation probably led to some favoritism. And in this case, I think Jacob began spending most of his time with Rachel and leaving Leah out in the cold; so to speak; viz: she was in the unenviable limbo of a burden to her husband. However, since Jacob chose to keep Leah, he was morally obligated to treat her as if he was infatuated with her, even if he really wasn't.

    When you get right down to it; Leah didn't do any more to Jacob than what he did to his dad; so all in all: what right had Jacob to complain? I've a pretty strong feeling that after Leah's week was fulfilled, no more was said about this incident.

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  10. WebersHome

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    Genesis 29:31-35


    Gen 29:31 . .The Lord saw that Leah was unloved and he opened her womb; but Rachel was barren.

    God didn't make Rachel barren. She was already that way. And Leah was too. In fact, every one of the matriarchs were barren women. It must have been in their genes. But The Lord elected to repair Leah and leave Rachel out of whack for a while longer.

    I really don't think what The Lord did was punishment against Jacob and Rachel. I think it was a countermeasure to force Jacob to pay a little more attention to Leah. It's very important for spouses to bond. Allowing Jacob to focus too much of his attention on Rachel would soon make Leah the odd man out; and a very lonely woman.

    But why would God do that-- take an interest in Leah's problems? Because, as Hagar discovered, Abraham's god is a sensitive god who sees people (Gen 16:13-14). And it seems very obvious to me that He was sympathetic to Leah's circumstances.

    And that tells me something. It's true that Leah was in on the scheme to trick Jacob. But God didn't get upset with her for that. In fact, it looks to me like He was actually very pleased that she married Jacob. After all, it was through Leah that the man predicted in Dan 7:13-14 would come, not Rachel. I believe that is very significant.

    I would even go so far as to say that Leah was the one God Himself would have picked for Jacob if he had only sought a wife in the very same manner that Abraham had sought one for Isaac. But no. Jacob took matters into his own hands, came to Haran in person, and fell in love with the wrong girl. Well; he ended up marrying Leah anyway in spite of his feelings for Rachel; just like his dad ended up blessing Jacob in spite of his feelings for Esau.

    Most guys have visions of the girl they would like to marry. She's young, gorgeous, shapely, and compliant. But the reality is: most will never find a girl like that. So they settle for what they can get and become resigned to missing out on life. Big mistake. Leah was no less a woman just because she wasn't Miss Haran circa 1770 bc. And when the chips are down in life, your very best friend had better be your wife. Beauty means nothing when a man is out of work, or coming down with cancer. That's when guys need a faithful friend, not a love pet.

    Unbeknownst to Jacob, he was destined to father the twelve tribes of Israel. Up to now, It had been one patriarch fathering just one descendant. But that all changed with Jacob. The nation of Israel quite literally started with him.

    (chuckle) That guy lived solo for better than eighty years of his life and then all of a sudden, WHAM, in just one week's time, four women moved in with him. Then, in just seven years time, he had a posse of juveniles running around the house. Awww-Haw-Haw-Haw-Hawww !!

    Gen 29:32 . . Leah conceived and bore a son, and named him Reuben; for she declared: The Lord has seen my affliction. Now my husband will love me.

    Reuben's name is from Re'uwben (reh-oo-bane') which means: See; a son!

    Children do have a way of bonding a (normal) man to their mother. It doesn't always work, but often does.

    Gen 29:33 . . She conceived again and bore a son, and declared; This is because The Lord heard that I was unloved and has given me this one also. So she named him Simeon.

    Simeon's name is Shim'own (shim-one') which means: hearing. Leah was obviously a woman of prayer and had no reservations about sharing her personal problems with the god of her choice.

    Gen 29:34 . . Again she conceived and bore a son and declared; This time my husband will become attached to me, for I have borne him three sons. Therefore he was named Levi.

    Levi's name is Leviy (lay-vee') which means: attached; viz: bonded.

    Jacob was indeed a family man now. In spite of his romantic passions for Rachel, he would never again feel the same way about Leah. She could never be just another woman in the house now that she was the mother of his children. Jacob couldn't help but feel bonded to her. God's idea worked. You say: how do I know it worked? Because the next boy was named in gratitude to God for saving the marriage.

    Gen 29:35 . . She conceived again and bore a son, and declared; This time I will praise The Lord. Therefore she named him Judah. Then she stopped bearing.

    Well done! And Judah was a real honor too. His became the tribe of Israel's kings; and from them descended David, and Christ.

    The Hebrew word for "Judah" is Yehuwdah (yeh-hoo-daw') from whence the word Yehuwdiy (yeh-hoo-dee') is derived; which means a Jehudite i.e. Judaite; viz: a Jew.

    The scheme God implemented to bond Jacob to Leah would probably not work with men like Esau. Not all guys are cut out to be family men. But Jacob was definitely cut out for it because he was a man who liked being home at night (Gen 25:27).

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    Genesis 30:1-6


    Gen 30:1a . .When Rachel saw that she had borne Jacob no children, she became envious of her sister;

    Sibling rivalry is bad enough. But when siblings compete for the affections of the same love object, it's all the worse. I don't know what it is about kin, but it's much easier to compete with someone outside the family than those within. Rivalry within family is not just a competition; it is more like the passions of a blood feud. The feelings run deep, and hot, and painful. People who never had a brother or sister cannot understand this. You just have to live it to know what it's like.

    Gen 30:1b . . and Rachel said to Jacob: Give me children, or I shall die.

    Somehow Rachel felt the fault was Jacob's as if he were doing something to deliberately prevent conception. According to Jewish folklore, it was a common practice in that day for a man with two wives to give the prettier one some sort of birth control herb to prevent her from getting pregnant and losing her figure. Thus the prettier of the two was reserved for pleasure; and the other for bearing children. Genetically, that was a pretty dumb idea since the practice results in the perpetuation of inferior stock. I seriously doubt you'll ever see breeders of dogs, cats, livestock and/or race horses conducting their business like that.

    Jacob wasn't doing anything to Rachel. She was just simply unable to have children. If only she had followed her sister Leah's example in prayer instead of getting in one of those moods, then she wouldn't have been so ready to rag on Jacob for something over which he had no control.

    Gen 30:2a . . Jacob was incensed at Rachel

    Jacob's anger was no doubt an unpleasant mixture of hurt and indignation. He really did love Rachel. She wasn't just a girl toy. For her to insinuate that he was keeping her around just for pleasure must have bitten deeply into his soul. Romantic love can easily turn into hate-- very suddenly and very quickly; like turning a page in a book.

    Romantic love is very different than the love of a loyal friend. Romantic love seeks its own best interests and is very fragile and easily wounded. Fraternal love is much better. It's like a strong anchor. The more a storm buffets the ship, the deeper the anchor digs into its moorage.

    Gen 30:2b . . and said: Can I take the place of God, who has denied you fruit of the womb?

    I'm sure that just as soon as Jacob lashed out at Rachel he regretted it. His retort implied that she was a sinner who didn't deserve children. What an ugly thing to say. But he was upset and felt betrayed by his best girl. So his reaction is understandable. But isn't there a better way? Yes.

    Instead of attacking her husband in an attempt to put blame, Rachel would have been much better off just finding a nice quiet spot and telling God how she was feeling about her sterility-- how it was hurting her and making her feel inferior to her sister: and threatening her marriage. Would God respond to that? Yes. Because that is exactly what Rachel did do eventually. It's just too bad she didn't think of it sooner.

    If Rachel felt that God cared about her at all, then she would have recognized that barrenness was serving some sort of Divine purpose; even if she couldn't think of one at the time. But Rachel's circumstances were causing her feelings to override her thinking; and making her emotional and reactive instead of objective and rational.

    Gen 30:3-5 . . She said: Here is my maid Bilhah. Consort with her, that she may bear on my knees and that through her I too may have children. So she gave him her maid Bilhah as concubine, and Jacob cohabited with her. Bilhah conceived and bore Jacob a son.

    That was indeed a strange custom, and a cruel one at that. Why is it nobody ever thought to ask the maids how they felt about it? I just don't think it's ethical to subjugate women to the status of mere breeder stock.

    Those who give their babies away in adoption, often don't want to see them when they're born-- not even a glimpse; they don't even want to know their gender. They want their baby delivered and whisked out of the room immediately with no more feeling than doing their business in the lou. Women who get abortions typically do not want to see a sonogram of their babies nor listen to its heartbeat because that's just too bonding and sensitive. Pharaoh's daughter (Ex 2:6) fell apart when she gazed upon baby Moses weeping. What normal woman can resist something like that?

    The maid's baby would be legally Rachel's, but she would never be the biological mother. Nothing can ever change a thing like that.

    Gen 30:6 . . And Rachel said: God has vindicated me; indeed, He has heeded my plea and given me a son. Therefore she named him Dan.

    Dan's name means judge, and/or the past tense: judged. (or possibly: a judgment)

    In Rachel's mind, Bilhah's success proved that God wasn't withholding children from her for being a sinner, as Jacob had insinuated. But Dan wasn't really Rachel's child. He was only hers by adoption.

    But who was going to nurse Dan? There was no such thing as formula in those days. Somebody had to be his wet nurse. Well . . what about Dan's biological mom? Didn't she just go through a pregnancy? So Dan remained with his biological mother at least until he was weaned; and probably longer too. It wasn't like they all lived miles apart. All four women were practically living under the same roof.

    So although Dan was reckoned legally Rachel's child, he wasn't taken away from home. Trouble is; Bilhah became a single mom with no husband. But she wasn't really alone. At least she had Dan; and her boy had Jacob; and everyone was together, in one way or another.

    I am he,
    As you are he,
    As you are me,
    And we are all together.

    (The Beatles; I am The Walrus, 1967)

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    Last edited: Dec 8, 2017
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    Genesis 30:7-16


    Gen 30:7-8 . . Rachel's maid Bilhah conceived again and bore Jacob a second son. And Rachel said; A fateful contest I waged with my sister; yes, and I have prevailed. So she named him Naphtali.

    rayyyrrr! scratch! Man that woman was scrappy! No second place winner; Rachel would keep kicking at you even if her arms were pinned down on the mat. Move over Chyna! (Chyna used to be a WWF professional female wrestler)

    "Naphtali" is from Naphtaliy (naf-taw-lee') which means: my wrestling. Not just any wrestling, but "my" wrestling. Apparently Rachel took things very personal. The bitter rivalry between her and Leah had become the total focus of Rachel's life.

    Gen 30:9 . .When Leah saw that she had stopped bearing, she took her maid Zilpah and gave her to Jacob as concubine.

    Since Jacob favored Rachel, when did he find time for Leah and Zilpah? Well; don't women have a certain time of the month? It was very unsanitary in those days to sleep with women during their period and, in fact, was later forbidden by the laws of the covenant that Yhvh's people agreed upon with God. (Lev 15:19-24, 18:19)

    So every month, like clockwork, Jacob was forced to sleep with Leah whether he liked it or not. I guess he could have slept on the couch, but that would look stupid. So Leah got a shot at him at least one week a month. And she made the most of it, you can be sure of that! So now she farmed him out to Zilpah's bed for that week to see what would happen. If Rachel could have children by her maid, then by golly Leah was going to do it too. Boy, those sisters were really at war!

    Gen 30:10-11 . . And when Leah's maid Zilpah bore Jacob a son, Leah said: What luck! So she named him Gad.

    Gad is from gad (gawd) which means: a troop. (chuckle) Leah was having enough boys to field a recon squad.

    Gen 30:12-13 . .When Leah's maid Zilpah bore Jacob a second son, Leah declared: What fortune! meaning, Women will deem me fortunate. So she named him Asher.

    Well; what had the local women been deeming her up till then? Women can be so cruel to each other. Leah wasn't attractive, and she was getting up in years before she met Jacob. Women in Leah's neighborhood very likely made her the object of sneering gossip: "Oh, here comes that old maid. Hasn't she found a husband yet? Poooooor thing; tsk." And they would put on their best pity faces for Leah as she walked by.

    The name "Asher" is from 'Asher (aw-share') which means: happy.

    Gen 30:14 . . Once, at the time of the wheat harvest, Reuben came upon some mandrakes in the field and brought them to his mother Leah. Rachel said to Leah: Please give me some of your son's mandrakes.

    Mandrake is the common name for any of a genus of herbs. The species to which the name is particularly applied has two varieties, vernal and autumnal, both native to the Mediterranean and Himalayan regions and especially to Greece. The whole plant has a fetid odor. As late as the Middle Ages, a dose of the oddly shaped root was sometimes given to patients as a narcotic before surgical operations. In the United States, mayapple is often called mandrake.

    The mandrake has traditionally been an object of superstition, largely because of the resemblance of its forked root to the human figure. Used as an aphrodisiac, the mandrake was also variously regarded as a charm for pregnancy-- a sort of fertility drug --also for invulnerability, and for discovering treasure.

    Leah certainly didn't need mandrakes to have children. She was doing just fine without a charm or a fertility drug. But she may have wanted them around the house for medicinal purposes and home remedies. Rueben was trained to recognize mandrakes and he brought them home because he knew his mom would want them: and of course Rachel would want them too because she was infertile.

    Gen 30:15a . . But she said to her: Was it not enough for you to take away my husband, that you would also take my son's mandrakes?

    Of the two sisters, Leah is the only one to label Jacob "my" husband. Personally, I don't think Rachel ever really thought too much of Jacob.

    One of the very first social skills children learn from their parents is sharing. Jacob's family was so bitterly divided that his wives, two blood kin sisters, were not even disposed to display even the simplest of graces towards each other. In other words, Leah was saying: if you want some mandrakes, go out and find your own!

    Gen 30:15b-16 . . Rachel replied: I promise, he shall sleep with you tonight, in return for your son's mandrakes. When Jacob came home from the field in the evening, Leah went out to meet him and said: You are to sleep with me, for I have hired you with my son's mandrakes. And he lay with her that night.

    Haw! Jacob became a gigolo in his own home. His wives were not only fighting amongst themselves because of him, but they were bartering for him like a commodity too. Jacob was sure in a pickle. He was probably like most men; just wanting peace and quiet in his own home. If that's what the women arranged for him that night, well alright; if it made them happy and kept the noise down then what the hey.

    You would think the home life of the patriarchs would be the most sterling role models you could ever want. But no. They were actually pretty disappointing. And why was that? Becuz they were people. They weren't a celestial breed of supernatural beings whose home planet was located out in space somewhere between the Kuiper Belt and the Oort Cloud.

    No, the patriarchs didn't fall down from Jupiter as a superior race of extragalactic agents, not did they draft in on the tail of a comet and drop off in the land of Palestine. None of that. They were just as human as anybody else and they were all slaves to human proclivities and predilections right along with the rest of the Adams' family.

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    Genesis 30:17-21


    Gen 30:17 . . God heeded Leah, and she conceived and bore him a fifth son.

    God was favorably inclined to grant Leah's wishes. But why doesn't God grant the wishes of all barren women? Is that fair? Why is God sensitive to some while ignoring the feelings of others? I wish I could answer that. The brutal fact is: God is merciful to whom He wishes to be merciful. Love it or leave it; we're stuck with a God who has a mind of His own and does as He pleases. (cf. Matt 20:1-15)

    Gen 30:18 . . And Leah said: God has given me my reward for having given my maid to my husband. So she named him Issachar.

    Issachar's name is Yissaskar (yis-saw-kawr') which means: he will bring a reward (or possibly; he is a reward). To Leah, Issachar really was worth his weight in gold to her as a mother.

    I really don't understand Leah's reasoning. Why would God approve of putting her husband in bed with the maid? Sounds like a plot for a soap opera to me. But nevertheless, Leah was happy with the way things turned out.

    You know, that really shows the importance that women in that day put upon children. Leah was willing to share her husband with another woman as long as it meant more babies for herself. Isn't that something? How many women would feel that way today-- especially here in abortion-prone, career-minded, day-care dependent, glass-ceiling, women's-lib, feminist-active America?

    I would like to point something else out too. Leah was crazy about kids and she was crazy about her husband. That is not so apparent with Rachel. She only wanted kids out of envy for her sister's fertility. And she even sold Jacob's affections for nothing more than some wild herbs. A lordly price.

    I really shouldn't be too harsh with Rachel. I truly believe she was stuck in an arranged marriage against her will. After all, it wasn't her idea to marry Jacob. Her dad engineered the whole thing. And Leah had already worn the shine off Jacob by the time Rachel got a shot at him so that was no big treat. I just don't think Rachel's heart was really in it.

    I feel sorry for her. She really should have been given a home of her very own; not thrown into someone else's marriage to wreck it with strife and rivalry-- most especially not her own sister's. Rachel deserved better than that. She really got a raw deal in life, that's for sure.

    Gen 30:19-20a . .When Leah conceived again and bore Jacob a sixth son, Leah said: God has given me a choice gift; this time my husband will exalt me, for I have borne him six sons.

    So far, Leah is the only woman in the house calling Jacob "my" husband; and from one night to the other, she never really knew where he'd be-- with her, one of the maids, or with Rachel. Jacob probably had a toothbrush and shaving gear in every one of their bathrooms.

    Well . . Leah wanted her husband to live at home with her, not with one of the other women. Sleeping with the others was just a fact of life around there and she was getting used to it. Leah could deal with that. But when he was done fooling around with the others, she wanted him to come home to her, not stay overnight with one of them. Since God had blessed her with the most boys, and the most children, it only seemed right in Leah's mind that she had more claim on Jacob than anybody else and he really should be bonded to her more than the others.

    Gen 30:20b . . So she named him Zebulun.

    Zebulin's name is from Zebuwluwn (zeb-oo-loon') or Zebuluwn (zeb-oo-loon'); or Zebuwlun (zeb-oo-loon') which mean: habitation. Synonyms for habitation are: occupancy, residence, domicile, and home. In other words, Zebulin is where a man hangs his hat.

    Gen 30:21 . . Last, she bore him a daughter, and named her Dinah.

    Dinah's name is from Diynah (dee-naw'). That word is the feminine of duwn (doon) which means: judgment, justice. and/or fair play.

    You can bet Dinah was an instant hit with the women. Now they had someone to make dolls for, and cute little dresses, and tiny little knickers. And they could show her how to paint her fingernails, perm her hair, and put on make-up and eye shadow. I would guess that Dinah did more to help the women forget their differences and become friends than anything else around there.

    And Jacob no doubt liked her immensely. It is just about impossible for a normal man to resist the charms of a bouncy little cherub. I've seen the toughest blue collar beasts you can imagine become mushy morons around little girls. When one of those teensy sweethearts puts her chubby little arms around a man's neck and says "Daddy, I love you" it's all over but the burial. If sons were indeed prized in those days, then the daughters were icing on the cake.


    NOTE: Dinah is the very first girl on record born to the people of Israel.

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    Genesis 31:1-13


    Gen 31:1 . . Now he heard the things that Laban's sons were saying: Jacob has taken all that was our father's, and from that which was our father's he has built up all this wealth.

    People have a habit of using the "all" word just a little to the extreme. Jacob certainly didn't take all of Laban's flock; only the lambs that were born multicolored. However, what had seemed like a good bargain at the time their dad made it, took a most unexpected, and distressing downturn.

    Somehow Jacob's flock of cross-breeds was increasing at an alarming rate and Laban's boys were seeing money on the hoof going to an outsider that should have been theirs. Laban, who before was pleased as punch when Jacob agreed to stay on, must now be wishing with all his heart that he would leave. But the old boy couldn't get out of the contract without losing face.

    Gen 31:2 . . Jacob also saw that Laban's manner toward him was not as it had been in the past.

    You can usually tell when people hate your guts. Often they speak away, in another direction, while you stand there talking to the side of their face, and sometimes even to the back of their head. They are so overcome with malice that they cannot even stand to look directly at you. And when they do look, it's with narrowed, beady eyes; squinting, as if into the sun.

    Gen 31:3 . .Then the Lord said to Jacob: Return to the land of your fathers where you were born, and I will be with you.

    Some people interpret that to read: And I will be waiting for you. They see it that way because they insist that Jews can't be blessed when they're out of the place of blessing; viz: out of Eretz Israel. But that's nonsense in Jacob's case. God promised He to be with him and protect him wherever he went. (Gen 28:15)

    Time to go; and the timing couldn't be better. Laban really loathed Jacob by now and I'm sure he didn't want his nephew working on the ranch any longer. A falling out isn't necessarily a bad thing. I often take one as a nudge that God wants me elsewhere. Sometimes you have to burn one bridge before crossing another.

    Gen 31:4 . . Jacob had Rachel and Leah called to the field, where his flock was,

    This next conversation was for the sisters' ears only so Jacob sprung an unannounced briefing out in the pastures where no one would overhear and go tattle to Laban. Jacob wants his wives' support for his next move; and he needs to find out how they feel about their dad and if they are ready to leave home and go out on their own. Rachel and Leah had never been away from Haran, nor away from their dad's influence before now; nor has anyone till now given them a say in their destiny.

    Gen 31:5-7 . . and said to them: I see that your father's manner toward me is not as it has been in the past. But the God of my father has been with me. As you know, I have served your father with all my might; but your father has cheated me, changing my wages time and again. God, however, would not let him do me harm.

    No matter what Laban did in his nefarious efforts to thwart Jacob's prosperity, God would turn it to Jacob's advantage. He was indeed bullet proof and it must have frustrated his father-in-law to no end.

    Gen 31:8-9 . . If he said thus "The speckled shall be your wages" then all the flocks would drop speckled young. And if he said thus: "The streaked shall be your wages" then all the flocks would drop streaked young. God has taken away your father's livestock and given it to me.

    Laban's blatant lack of scruples is beyond belief. He and Jacob had agreed that all the multicolored animals would be Jacob's. But whenever the purebred flock began producing too much of a certain strain--say, the streaked ones --then Laban would change his mind and say that Jacob could only keep the spotted ones.

    Well, then God made the herd produce more spotted ones. And when Laban would change the arrangement yet again and say that Jacob couldn't have any more spotted ones and could only have the ones that were striped; then God would see to it that striped babies were born. So, no matter which way Laban went, Jacob always won.

    Gen 31:10-12 . . Once, at the mating time of the flocks, I had a dream in which I saw that the he-goats mating with the flock were streaked, speckled, and mottled. And in the dream an angel of God said to me: Jacob! Here; I answered. And he said: Note well that all the he-goats which are mating with the flock are streaked, speckled, and mottled; for I have noted all that Laban has been doing to you.

    There weren't really any streaked or speckled or mottled rams mating with the ewes because Laban's animals were all blue ribbon. But people in those days didn't know about recessive genes like we know about them today. So God showed Jacob, in a way that he could understand, that the animals doing the mating were the heterozygous ones. God, who can see past outside colors, and deep into genetic code, made sure the right ones were mating so Jacob's herd would increase to his advantage in spite of Laban's interference. (chuckle) Talk about a stacked deck!

    Gen 31:13 . . I am the God of Beth-el, where you anointed a pillar and where you made a vow to me. Now, arise and leave this land and return to your native land.

    I wonder if Jacob could have used that as an excuse to depart; viz: tell Laban that God appeared and ordered him to return to Canaan and make good on his vow? Moses tried something like that with Pharaoh (Ex 3:18). But Pharaoh still wouldn't let them go, so God had to destroy Egypt to make him comply.

    I seriously doubt that Laban would've ever let Jacob go on religious grounds. It's possible that's why Jacob sneaked away: to avoid a violent confrontation with his father-in-law that could lead to Laban's death. Leah and Rachel might have trouble dealing with that.

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  15. WebersHome

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    Genesis 31:14-21


    Gen 31:14-15 . .Then Rachel and Leah replied and said to him: Have we then still a share and an inheritance in our father's house? Are we not considered by him as strangers? For he has sold us and even totally consumed our money!

    Now the truth comes out. All along the girls had resented the calculating, business-like way that their dad sold them into marriage; like they were commodities: not even caring how they might feel about living with Jacob; and especially how the sisters might feel about sharing the same husband.

    And what an incredible louse! The girls were each supposed to get a dowry, but Laban kept it back and then, of all things, spent their dowries on himself; or, worse yet, on himself and on the girls' brothers. Weasel! That reminds me of one of my favorite bumper stickers:

    MEN ARE NOT PIGS!
    Pigs are gentle, sensitive, intelligent animals.

    Laban was obviously some sort of maladjusted sociopath with one of those "borderline" personality disorders. I don't know what happened to him in life to make him that way, but something was very wrong with that man. The attitude he displayed toward his little girls was absolutely abnormal. It was just as abnormal as any of the psycho dads in the news from time to time who get prosecuted for abusing their own little flesh and blood daughters.

    Gen 31:16 . .Truly, all the wealth that God has taken away from our father belongs to us and to our children. Now then, do just as God has told you.

    Yaaaaaay! (cheering section activity) That's it! We're out of here. The girls are grown women with kids now and have to be thinking about their future. Leah and Rachel are ready to leave home and kiss Haran good-bye forever. ☺

    Thank God that Rachel, Leah, and Dinah knew a man like Jacob or they might have been poisoned on men all their lives. He wasn't perfect, yes that is true. But Jacob was an excellent family man. For twenty years Rachel and Leah observed and compared their brothers and their dad to Jacob. And guess what. They much preferred to live with Jacob. He was fair, sensitive, caring, accommodating, and always looking out for their best interests and letting them have their own way whenever possible.

    You know, Jacob didn't have to sleep with the maids. He could have put his foot down and refused. But he did it to soothe his wives. I'm sure he was aware of their rivalry amongst themselves and tried to help keep the peace as best as he could. Life wasn't easy for Jacob; having to live with two miserable women.

    But he was willing to go the extra mile; and even let the girls have a say in big decisions effecting the family's future. In the culture of that day, he really didn't have to. Do you think Laban or his boys would have been concerned about how the girls might feel about moving away to a new land? No way. Their dad and brothers were nothing like that. They would have just simply marched in and barked an announcement: Okay everybody; start packing! We leave for California in two days!

    Gen 31:17-18 . .Thereupon Jacob put his children and wives on camels; and he drove off all his livestock and all the wealth that he had amassed, the livestock in his possession that he had acquired in Paddan-aram, to go to his father Isaac in the land of Canaan.

    That must have been quite a sight. Camels and people and supplies, dust billowing everywhere, with Jacob's drovers moving the herds, followed by a remuda of burros bringing up the rear. It was a real old fashion trail drive, kind of like an 1840's wagon train. The girls must have been very excited to be making their very first long-distance trek away from home. Rueben and his brothers of course saw it as one big adventure. yahoooooo! Move 'em out! Beer-sheba or bust!

    Gen 31:19 . . Meanwhile Laban had gone to shear his sheep, and Rachel stole her father's household idols.

    Labans's household gods may have corresponded to ilani-- family gods of the Nuzi household, and to the Roman's penates --household gods who were thought to protect food supplies and assure the general well-being of the family.

    Since Laban was known for divination, some have suggested that Rachel may have stolen his gods in order to prevent him from discovering Jacob's whereabouts. However, I think Rachel just wanted those gods for their potential access to providence.

    Gen 31:20-21 . . Jacob kept Laban the Aramean in the dark, not telling him that he was fleeing, and fled with all that he had. Soon he was across the Euphrates and heading toward the hill country of Gilead.

    There's a note in the JPS Tanakh concerning the phrase: "Jacob kept Laban the Aramean in the dark". The actual Hebrew says: he stole Laban's mind. So Rachel ripped off Laban's religion, and Jacob took his brains. ☺

    The precise route Jacob took to go home is uncertain. It's hard to believe that he came directly south through the Syrian Desert on the back side of Mt. Hermon. Maybe he did, I don't really know; but it sure looks that way

    The region of Gilead is on the east side of the Jordan Valley in between Yam Kinneret (the Sea of Galilee) and the Dead Sea. Why Jacob didn't proceed down through Lebanon and the West Bank I'm not sure; except maybe he was in a very big hurry to get away from Laban and back on relatively safer home turf. The Gilead route would eventually take him into the Jordan Valley, one of the best sources of water and pasture for his animals. In Abraham's day, the Jordan Valley was well watered everywhere, like the garden of God. It was probably still in pretty good shape yet in Jacob's.

    Nowadays, usually all that travelers really need are gas stations and motels. But in that day, the selection of a route was always dictated by the need of water and pasture for the animals; not only the herds, but also the ones people rode upon. The Jordan Valley was a relatively hazardous route because lions lived in that area back in Jacob's day; so his drovers would have to guard the livestock day and night to protect them from predators.

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  16. WebersHome

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    Genesis 31:22-29a


    Gen 31:22 . . On the third day, Laban was told that Jacob had fled.

    Laban was off some distance from home shearing his sheep, which usually included a festival of some sort. The messengers probably waited till the shearing was done, and the party was over, before laying the bad news on ol' Laban.

    I'd imagine he must have been absolutely livid with rage; and probably got so worked up he actually turned red and began perspiring. Defeat is one thing. But to be beaten by kin, by a nephew no less, was unbearable.

    Gen 31:23 . . So he took his kinsmen with him and pursued him a distance of seven days, catching up with him in the hill country of Gilead.

    It took Jacob ten days to go the same distance Laban covered in seven-- that is if Laban departed right away without delay; which he probably didn't. It would take at least a day or two to round up all his relatives and prepare for the journey. Laban's contingent had an advantage though. They weren't encumbered by herds and women and children, so they could cover a whole lot more ground in one day than Jacob's troupe.

    Gen 31:24 . . But God appeared to Laban the Aramean in a dream by night and said to him: Beware of attempting anything with Jacob, good or bad.

    The Stone Tanach reads: Beware lest you speak with Jacob either good or bad.

    But if God meant for Laban to stay completely away from Jacob and not say a single word to him, Laban would have gone home right then and there because he knew better than to mess with Jacob's god. Maybe Laban didn't worship Yhvh, but did at least fear Him. The book of Revelation tells of people who are absolutely terrified of God, but yet still refuse to submit. (Rev 6:12-17, Rev 16:10-11)

    Gen 31:25 . . Laban overtook Jacob. Jacob had pitched his tent on the Height, and Laban with his kinsmen encamped in the hill country of Gilead.

    Once Laban's scouts located Jacob's troupe, his contingent made camp for the night and moved on up the next day; probably very early before Jacob's caravan could get up and moving again.

    What a chore that must have been. First everyone had to be fed breakfast, which meant a whole lot of cooking. Somebody had to round up firewood for the portable ovens. Then the women prepared the meals, which must have been work itself since no one had packaged foods in those days. Then they had to do the dishes, repack, dismantle the tents, and load everything back on to the camels and donkeys. Meanwhile the drovers were out tightening up the herds and rounding up strays.

    Into this busy scene rode MadDog Laban and his trigger-happy posse.

    Gen 31:26-27a . . And Laban said to Jacob: What did you mean by keeping me in the dark and carrying off my daughters like captives of the sword? Why did you flee in secrecy and mislead me and not tell me?

    Duh. Like he really didn't know? Laban's kind are all alike. In my 70+ years, I've seen enough of them to know. Jerks like him are never in the wrong about anything; ever. And they always attempt to throw suspicion off themselves by trumping up a hollow charge against the very people they wronged. One of their favorite demands is: What's the matter with you; why are you acting like that? They are so aggravating with their perpetual habit of feigning a pious ignorance of their own self-generated bad circumstances.

    Like captives of the sword? What does that imply-- that Jacob kidnapped Rachel and Leah and made slaves out of them? What utter nonsense! They were his wives as Laban very well knew!

    And did he insinuate that Jacob dragged the girls (excuse me; the full-grown married women) away from Haran against their will? Laban himself was likely wont to drag a spouse around the whole world regardless of how she might feel about it. Why would it be wrong for Jacob to do it but not wrong for Laban? And that is another of his kind's traits. They are so quick to take the high moral ground and make the rules for everyone else to follow while at the same time fully exempting themselves from the very same standards.

    NOTE: It's very interesting that Laban never even dreamed that Jacob consulted with Rachel and Leah first prior to departing for Isaac's turf. No doubt because that was something he would never do himself.

    Gen 31:27b . . I would have sent you off with festive music, with timbrel and lyre.

    What a bare-faced lie. The only music Laban would have arranged for is some to accompany himself while he danced on Jacob's grave.

    Gen 31:28a . .You did not even let me kiss my sons and daughters good-by!

    The word for "sons" is ben (bane) which means a son (as a builder of the family name), in literal and figurative relationships, including grandson, subject, nation, quality or condition. Ben isn't always used to denote a specific gender, nor always used in genetic applications. In Gen 6:2 it simply refers to pious men rather than God's biological progeny. The New Testament equivalent of ben is huios (hwee-os') which means a child of either gender; e.g. Gal 4:6, 1John 3:1-2

    Laban probably never kissed them before anyway, so why should Jacob think he would want to do it now? Didn't it ever occur to Laban's enormous conceit that maybe his offspring might all be glad to be rid of him?

    Gen 31:28b-29a . . It was a foolish thing for you to do. I have it in my power to do you harm;

    Jacob's uncle is the king of meddlers. In Laban's imperialistic mind, Jacob deserved punishment for failing to consult with His Lordship before pulling up stakes and heading south. But Jacob has done nothing truly reprehensible. He's a grown man with a right to his own destiny. Jacob owes his uncle nothing; not even an explanation because the man is nothing less than a demon's seed; and on top of that a thoughtless bully and a stupendous bigot.

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  17. WebersHome

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    Genesis 31:29b-32


    Gen 31:29b . . but the God of your father

    The "god of your father" is all the same as saying your family's god. There a humorous difference between Jacob's family god and Laban's family gods. Jacob's family god can't be kidnapped and carried around in a saddle bag.

    Gen 31:29c . . said to me last night: Beware of attempting anything with Jacob, good or bad.

    That was a no idle threat and I think the man knew it. If Laban tried to persuade Jacob to return to Paddan-aram; he would die. If he harmed Jacob; he would die. If he attempted to take the girls, the grandkids, and all the flocks; he would die.

    In other words, God told that man not to interfere with Jacob's life in any way at all or He would give him good reason to regret it. From now on, Jacob, and all that pertained to him, was off limits-- including Laban's ex-daughters, who were both married women; old enough to be on their own, and completely out their dad's jurisdiction. When they were girls living at home under their father's roof; then their dad could rule them. But married women are ruled by their husbands.

    "your husband . . . he will rule over you." (Gen 3:16)

    Gen 31:30a . .Very well, you had to leave because you were longing for your father's house.

    Wrong! Jacob had to leave because God issued him marching orders. And Jacob really needed to go anyway. Life with uncle Laban was unbearable. It was humiliating, and it was suffocating. Jacob could never achieve his greatest potential with a man like that always interfering and controlling his destiny.

    Leaving Laban's ranch was in truth, an act of self defense; not just for Jacob, but for Leah and Rachel too. Their dad ruled them from the day they were born. That's okay for minor children, but it is not an okay thing for married women. Married women need to be royalty in a home of their own, and be allowed to do their own thinking and to make their own decisions-- Princesses Of Quite A Lot, and Queens Of Everything.

    I've heard it said that no one is truly a failure when they can always serve as a bad example. (chuckle) Sort of like ex drunks, smokers, and drug addicts. Well . . a man like Laban is a perfect example of a parent from hell. He's probably the worst case scenario there is. Hopefully most of us will never have to deal with an in-law like him.

    But there are only two ways to deal with parents and in-laws from hell: 1) stand up for your rights, and 2) get as far away as possible where their meddling tendrils can't mess up your life. Jacob and the girls did both; and Yhvh's providence was right there on hand to make sure they succeeded.

    Gen 31:30 . . but why did you steal my gods?

    Laban accused Jacob of taking the gods without even first inquiring if he actually did. In the American system of criminal justice, a person is assumed innocent until proven guilty; and the burden of proof is upon the accuser. Not only is that a very good principle of civic government, but it is also an excellent social skill and will go a long way towards nurturing friendships.

    Gen 31:31 . . Jacob answered Laban, saying: I was afraid because I thought you would take your daughters from me by force.

    Jacob was probably right about that. He worked for Laban twenty years and suspected the old boy would never let Jacob take the girls away from Paddan-aram. Laban was definitely one of those over-my-dead-body kinds of people. With them; it's not a matter of doing what's right and fair all around; it's always a matter of who's going to win. But it's doubtful Laban would've traveled all that way just to retrieve his daughters or his gods: I've no doubt that what he really wanted was Jacob's livestock.

    Gen 31:32 . . But anyone with whom you find your gods shall not remain alive! In the presence of our kinsmen, point out what I have of yours and take it. Jacob, of course, did not know that Rachel had stolen them.

    It might appear that Jacob spoke rashly. But in that day, the code of Hammurabi stipulated that the theft of temple gods was a death offense. Apparently, it was truly a very serious crime in the culture of that day to steal household gods as well.


    NOTE: The Code of Hammurabi dates back to about 1772 BC. Precisely when Jacob was born has not yet been accurately established. Some feel his birth took place sometime between 2000 and 1700 BC.

    Anyway; if Laban had been disposed to honor Hammurabi's code, then he wouldn't have been so quick to condemn Jacob. But the man was a code unto himself; which has been pretty obvious all along.

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  18. WebersHome

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    Genesis 31:33-41


    Gen 31:33-35 . . So Laban went into Jacob's tent and Leah's tent and the tents of the two maidservants; but he did not find them. Leaving Leah's tent, he entered Rachel's tent.

    . . . Rachel, meanwhile, had taken the idols and placed them in the camel cushion and sat on them; and Laban rummaged through the tent without finding them. For she said to her father: Let not my lord take it amiss that I cannot rise before you, for the period of women is upon me. Thus he searched, but could not find the household idols.


    Camel cushions were a saddle and basket assembly upon which passengers rode the beasts. Rachel feigned menstrual difficulties to throw her dad off track. (She may indeed have actually been in her period at the time. If not, then Jacob himself would have suspected she was concealing something.) You've got to hand it to Rachel. Considering the stakes, she was one cool lady under fire. Well; that was indeed one time that what some women deem "the curse" came in very handy.

    Gen 31:36-37 . . Now Jacob became incensed and took up his grievance with Laban. Jacob spoke up and said to Laban: What is my crime, what is my guilt that you should pursue me? You rummaged through all my things; what have you found of all your household objects? Set it here, before my kin and yours, and let them decide between us two.

    It's a pity Jacob didn't have a force of armed men at his disposal like grandpa Abraham did at one time. Jacob and his ranch hands were pastoral men, totally untrained for war, and certainly not prepared to deal with a bully like Laban. When people are unarmed, and unskilled in warfare, they are easy prey, and might just as well kiss their human rights good-bye. There are those who yearn for peace at any price. But freedom is not free. In this evil world; freedom is a priceless treasure retained only by those with enough mettle to defend for it.

    Jacob endured countless indignities at the hands of his father-in-law, which he suffered in silence for many years. All the pent up emotion which he restrained for so long finally poured out in an unfettered tirade. Jacob demanded, in the witness of the kin they both had in common, to justify such a hot pursuit to catch him before he reached home with what was, in every way, rightfully his own private property. Laban could only maintain an embarrassed silence as Jacob spoke.

    Gen 31:38a . .These twenty years I have spent in your service, your ewes and she-goats never miscarried,

    That is an incredible record. A certain number of still births are to be expected in any herd. But they never occurred because Jacob was gentle: he never whipped the animals, nor drove and fatigued Laban's herds like some overly zealous, insensitive shepherds might do; especially with flocks that belong to someone else and are not their own. And plus, Laban knew very well himself from divination, that Jacob's god ever watched over the pregnant animals so Laban could prosper under Jacob's care.

    Gen 31:38b . . nor did I feast on rams from your flock.

    It was a shepherd's right to feed himself with meat from a flock he was hired to tend. But Jacob never exercised that right.

    Gen 31:39 . .That which was torn by beasts I never brought to you; I myself made good the loss; you exacted it of me, whether snatched by day or snatched by night.

    If Jacob had but brought the remains in to show Laban, it would have would cleared him of any suspicion of negligence in guarding the herds from predators. But by not bringing them in, he automatically took the blame for their loss and paid for them out of his own pocket rather than make Laban absorb the loss. Why Jacob did that I don't know because he sure didn't have to. All he had to do to prove to Laban that he was there on the job guarding the herd from predators, was to demonstrate that he drove them away before they could finish eating their prey. Only a man truly looking out for the best interests of his master would ever do what Jacob did.

    Gen 31:40 . . Often, scorching heat ravaged me by day and frost by night; and sleep fled from my eyes.

    Pastoral life takes its toll on men. Just look at some who have been ranching and farming for a number of years. They are old way before their time. The sun and the elements give them shoe leather faces lined with deep creases. Jacob, by the way, was at least 95 at this time and probably looked 150 after all those years out on the range with his father Isaac's herds, and later; his uncle Laban's.

    Gen 31:41 . . Of the twenty years that I spent in your household, I served you fourteen years for your two daughters, and six years for your flocks; and you changed my wages time and again.

    Jacob reminded Laban of his service of twenty years, fourteen of which had been simply for the privilege of marrying his daughters. He didn't mention Laban's deception (probably for Leah's sake), which had doubled the length of his service in return for a woman he didn't want in the first place.

    In spite of all the good, of all his conscientious service, and of all the charity that Jacob had lavished undeserving upon Laban, the man revised his agreement with Jacob ten times in an evil-minded attempt to garner all the gains for himself and to prevent his own nephew from prospering. The man sure knew how to repay loyalty. Yeah-- right in the teeth. And in the end, he fully intended to send his nephew away totally empty handed-- if indeed he would even spare Jacob's life.

    It would require a college degree in criminal psychology to understand what makes a man like Laban tick. He was really too messed up to comprehend. But it's obvious that Laban so hated Jacob that he couldn't stand letting him keep a single thing that once belonged to himself. You know, even if there were no hell, one would have to be constructed to quarantine people like Laban because there is nowhere else for them to go. The kingdom of God is a place of peace and kindness. If certain undesirables like Laban were allowed in the kingdom of God; in short order they'd turn it into another kingdom of men.

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  19. WebersHome

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    Genesis 31:42-49


    Gen 31:42 . . Had not the God of my father, the God of Abraham and the Fear of Isaac, been with me, you would have sent me away empty-handed. But God took notice of my plight and the toil of my hands, and He gave judgment last night.

    Anyone there that day, who had the slightest conscience at all, must have looked upon Laban as one would look upon the most crooked, and upon the most dishonest, unscrupulous, and unthankful of men with utter disgust. Jacob told it like it was, and no one objected; and no one stood up to speak in Laban's defense.

    Gen 31:43a . .Then Laban spoke up and said to Jacob: The daughters are my daughters, the children are my children, and the flocks are my flocks; all that you see is mine.

    Oh, give it up already!! Someone really needed to teach that communistic crumb some principles related to the transfer of property. The girls were no longer his daughters. They were married women: one flesh with a man who worked very hard to both earn them and deserve them. The children were fathered by Jacob, not by Laban. And the flocks were Jacob's by right, not by loan nor by theft, nor by gift, nor by fraud. They were his honest compensation; the very wages that Laban himself had agreed upon.

    Everything on that mountain pertaining to Jacob was personal property and Laban had no right to lay claim to any of it. He was just very lucky that Jacob was not of the kind to show him the business end of a shotgun and point him north, back the way he came.

    When Laban finally had an opportunity to respond to Jacob's outburst, he couldn't say anything at all by way of denial to Jacob's claims and charges. Instead; he tried to divert attention away from the embarrassing facts by changing the subject. Though even himself knew very well he was in the wrong; a conceited man like Laban just can't bring himself to make public acknowledgement of his guilt. People like him typically try whatever means they can muster to shift the blame away from themselves; or at least shift the attention away from their own culpability to whatever real or imagined grievances they can find in others.

    Gen 31:43b . .Yet what can I do now about my daughters or the children they have borne?

    His question was just a smoke screen. Laban as much as said: It would be contrary to all human sensibilities to do anything to bring grief to my own flesh and blood. How could you possibly think I am capable of such a thing?

    Laban's lack of integrity is almost beyond belief. He followed Jacob for seven days and at least three hundred miles for the specific purpose of murdering him and taking all the herds and all the people back to Paddan-aram. That wouldn't have caused his kin grief? --to murder his grandkids' dad, and to murder Leah's and Rachel's husband?

    Gen 31:44 . . Come, then, let us make a pact, you and I, that there may be a witness between you and me.

    Instead of ending Jacob's life, which was no doubt his original intent, Laban now proposes a very noble settlement-- a gentleman's non-aggression pact between himself and Jacob.

    Gen 31:45-46 . .Thereupon Jacob took a stone and set it up as a pillar. And Jacob said to his kinsmen: Gather stones. So they took stones and made a mound; and they partook of a meal there by the mound.

    Pillars were common in those days as watchers --gods who intervene in the affairs of men. (cf. Gen 28:22, Dan 4:17)

    Gen 31:47a . . Laban named it Yegar-sahadutha,

    Yegar-sahadutha is Aramaic, Laban's tongue, and means: heap of the testimony, or cairn of witness.

    Gen 31:47b . . but Jacob named it Gal-ed.

    Gal-ed is Hebrew and means pretty much the same thing.

    Gen 31:48-49 . . And Laban declared: This mound is a witness between you and me this day. That is why it was named Gal-ed; And [it was called] Mizpah, because he said: May the Lord watch between you and me, when we are out of sight of each other.

    Mizpah means watchtower. Laban wasn't the one who called it Mizpah. It went on to become known as that because of his pronouncement.

    Did Laban mean to imply that Jacob needed watching? For those twenty years in Laban's employ, what had Jacob ever done on the sly to harm Laban? Doesn't Jacob's sterling twenty-year employment record count for anything? But Laban just can't stop himself from denigrating his son-in-law right up to the bitter end of their association.

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  20. WebersHome

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    Genesis 31:50


    Gen 31:50 . . If you ill-treat my daughters or take other wives besides my daughters-- though no one else be about, remember, God Himself will be witness between you and me.

    Had Jacob ever ill treated Rachel and Leah all those years in Laban's employ? When had the girls ever complained to their dad about Jacob's behavior? Was it really reasonable to assume he would ever abuse them some day? No it wasn't. Jacob had always treated the girls with kindness and consideration, and Laban had neither cause nor reason to think Jacob would ever do otherwise. And since when did Laban really care about Rachel and Leah anyway? He sold them like livestock, and spent their dowry on himself.

    Marry other women? Jacob wasn't a womanizer; nor had he ever been a womanizer. He had only wanted just one in the first place; but was tricked by Laban himself into a bigamous marriage with two sisters that Israel's covenanted law would later forbid. But still, as a grown man, in the culture of that day, Jacob had every right to a harem while Laban had no right whatsoever to impose limits on the size and/or the nature of Jacob's family relations.

    Laban intended for the stone pile to be a boundary between himself and Jacob so that Jacob would not come past it later on for revenge after God made him strong enough to whup Laban. But that was another evidence of his poor judgment of Jacob's character.

    Jacob was definitely not a war-faring man; anybody could see that. He was just like his dad Isaac; who was also a peaceable man, satisfied to simply stop the strife between himself and his enemies. No way would Jacob ever seek revenge. It just wasn't in his nature to do that. But Laban had a wicked conscience. It wasn't beyond him to project his own base motives upon others and assume they would do the very same things he himself would do in their place.

    In return, Laban would promise to not come past the monument to cause Jacob any harm; which he no doubt would if God hadn't intervened to prevent it. What a hollow covenant. All Laban did that day was put up an appearance of nobility and try his best to save face in an otherwise very embarrassing situation. And the meanwhile heaping additional indignities upon Jacob, and slurring the reputation of a very decent man.


    NOTE: Bethuel's blood produced three really good women: Rebecca, Leah, and Rachel. You gotta wonder what happened to the men. Why were they all such misfires? Families like that are a genetic mystery. Just look at Cain and Abel-- two brothers from the very same parents; yet one was a good man and the other not. Go figure.

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