Hamor shechem’s father went to Jacob to make a deal, Jacob’s sons arrive at the camp from Genesis 34:7-13 commented by ASV and questions

Intermarry

Hamor shechem’s father went to Jacob to talk to him about the marriage, and he proposed to Jacob that they mixed; the people of Shechem and Jacobs’s family by intermarry. For Hamor, this was business to gain more wealth, he didn’t consider about what happened to Dinah, his son had the right to pick the girl he wanted and sleep with her, Hamor wanted to please him and make a deal with Jacob.

Anger

The family of Jacob had been raised with high moral and when his sons heard of the offence, they turned angry, in their mind, this was strictly forbidden and had to be punished.

More than one

Did Jacob have only one daughter, Dinah, the child of Leah? When Hamor talked to Jacob, he said, “And intermarry with us; give your daughters to us and take our daughters for yourselves” Normally there would be as many daughters as sons in the Jacob’s family, here Hamor says, daughters, plural, this could mean that Jacob had more than one daughter.

A criminal

When Jacobs sons had returned from the field Hamor came for a second time, now with Shechem his son and presented them his proposal, Jacob’s sons were bitter and angry and now they met the offender face to face, but they had learned to keep their peace and deceitfully gave Hamor their answer. Shechem offered Jacob and his sons whatever they asked of him for their sister Dinah to be his wife, but to Jacob’s 11 sons he was a criminal and could not buy them off.

Questions

  1. How does hate arise?
  2. Does God protect his people?
  3. Who does the revenge belong to?

Dinah went out and into the city of Shechem and Shechem the prince in the city took her and raped her, from Genesis 34:1-6 commented by ASV and questions

Rape

In chapter 34, many years had passed, and Jacobs’s sons were not children anymore, they were grown men. Their sister Dinah wanted company and went out into the city to be with the girls there, and Shechem, the prince in the area, son of Hamor kidnapped Dinah and raped her. Dinah was different from all the other girls in the city, she was raised differently and had another spirit, and Shechem noticed it and asked his father Hamor to marry her.

The custom

Shechem had just offended Dinah, but he didn’t feel any remorse, this was a pagan culture with low morale, he just took a girl and slept with her, no big deal, and his father didn’t rebuke and reprimand him. This was obviously the custom in this pagan society.

Responsibility

Jacob heard about it but didn’t react towards Hamor; he wanted peace with his Nabors, which was Jacobs’s personality, always seeking a peaceful solution. This was Jacobs’s responsibility; he should have looked after his young girl in her teens, now he waited for his sons to return from the field.

Questions

  1. Who are responsible for the children, how they behave and what they do?
  2. What is moral, and where does it come from?

Jacob in Succoth and then in Shechem, from Genesis 33:18-20 commented by ASV and questions

In Succoth

Jacob rested for a while in Succoth, may be a year or so for all the animals and the children to recover after the escape from Laban and all these efforts when he met Esau, the camp needed to rebuild.

A piece of land

Then Jacob crossed the river Jordan and settled in front of the city of Shechem, the same place where Abraham entered Canaan many years ago. There Jacob settled and bought a piece of land outside the city, there he built an alter to sacrifice to his awesome God, YaHaWaH. Now for the first time a child of Abraham owned a piece of the land promised to him.

Jacob presented his God to the people

Jacob entered a land of people believing in many false gods, it was not a land of friends; it was a land with pagan rituals and low morale. However, Jacob didn’t hide his belief, he showed all the inhabitants of the land that his God was Abraham’s God and his name was YaHaWaH by erecting this alter for everybody to see.

God’s enormous plan

This was a turning point in Jacob’s life when he called the alter El-Elohe-Israel, the mighty God of Israel. At that time, Israel was not a people, it was not a land, it was him, Jacob. There Jacob finally understood and accepted God’s enormous plan making him both a land and a people. By the alter Jacob said that this God of mine is the God of Israel and I am Israel.

Question

  1. Does God want you to think big?
  2. Does God want you to hide your faith?

Jacob departs from his brother Esau, from Genesis 33:8-17 commented by ASV and questions

Two lives

After that Jacob had worked 20 years for Laban, he had learned to live his two lives, the most important one with his awesome God, YaHaWaH, in the spiritual kingdom where God ruled his life and blessed him. Then Jacob also lived his life on earth where he related to Laban who tried to manipulate and cheat him.

Killing, stealing and destroying

During those 20 years with Laban, Jacob learned to relate both to the Spiritual with God and relate to the physical. In our physical world, the devil is the master and is influencing people with his doctrine of killing, stealing and destroying.

King of Seir

Now he met Esau and managed to make him accept the gifts and by this manner, he sealed the friendship between them. However, Esau wanted to be in charge and suggested that they went together to where he was king in the land of Seir. Esau wanted to rule and govern his brother and his huge camp too.

In this world

Jacob managed to slip out of the grip of Esau and his soldiers by his smart way of talking, always calling Esau lord and himself servant. Jacob accepted that he lived in this world, however, he wanted to be alone with his God and live his life according to what He told him.  

180 degrees

Jacob promised Esau to later meet him in Seir, however when Esau had left, Jacob turned 180 degrees and crossed the Jabok river for the second time, now towards north, to a place he called Succoth, meaning booths. There with his camp he rested for a while, building a house and shelters.

Questions

  1. What came first, the spiritual or the physical?
  2. In what “room” are you living?
  3. What is our problem with the spiritual “room”?
  4. In our lives, is there a fight going on between the Spiritual and the physical?

Jacob meets Esau, from Genesis 33:1-7 commented by ASV and questions

Two rooms

Jacob approached Esau in two rooms, the Spiritual and the physical. In the heavenly kingdom, in the spiritual world with God, Jacob knew that God protected him with angles, and had blessed him.

The local King

However, In the world that Jacob experienced with his five senses he saw Esau approach him with a company of 400 soldiers. Jacob felt safe and afraid at the same time. In the physical world, he accepted that Esau was the local king and Jacob honored him by his approach, bowing seven times to the ground, and the rest of his camp did the same.

God’s finger

Esau however run towards his brother and kissed him, and Jacob thought his tactics had worked. By being smart, you can influence people superficially, but you cannot touch their heart. God had turned Esau’s hate into love; Esau now loved his homecoming brother after that they were being separated for 20 years.

Poor and needed help

Esau probably was happy with the huge gift the Jacob had presented to him, but he said that he had plenty and did not need these flocks. In Esau’s thinking may be Jacob thought that his brother was poor and needed a little help, may be Esau felt that these animals given to him was an insult thinking that he had not been able to grow his own flocks and acquire servants.

Questions

  1. Do you understand that God is Spirit?
  2. Do you acknowledge that the real world is spiritual?
  3. Who is running this world?
  4. Who has blinded this world?

The camp of Jacob crosses the brook Jabok, however Jacob stays behind, Jacob meets God, from Genesis 32:22-32 commented by ASV and questions

Alone

First Jacob went to bed, but he couldn’t sleep, then he got up woke everybody, wives, servants and children, and the whole huge camp crossed the brook Jabok, a terrified group of people, probably with weeping young children, however Jacob stayed behind. He wanted to be alone and probably consider the situation and pray to God, this was a decisive point in Jacobs’s life.

Not an angel

Abraham also was alone when God met him and told him about his future, now Jacob stood on the north side of the brook Jabok and God knew that this was the time to meet him, his heart’s ears were open. Then God met him, a man came and “wrestled” with him. This man was probably the same that met Abraham and revealed to him the birth of Isaac, probably Jesus in a form of a man not an angel.

A new name

This was not a fight between God and Jacob, this was God’s presences and Jacob clinging to Him in his distress, Jacob felt helpless and needed God in his despair. Jacob didn’t let go, he kept clinging onto God until the morning and God asked him to let go, but for Jacob it was now or never and he asked God to bless him and God changed his name from Jacob, the supplanter, to Israel, ישראל , The prince of God who prevails, contending with Him. Finally, God showed Jacob that He was God by touching his thigh and Jacob let go and the Man left him alone limping however, had gained a new name of promises.

That is still His name

Jacob asked for God’s name, he wanted to be sure that this man was the real only God, from when he was a boy, Jacob knew God’s name and had used it many times. He learned it from his father and grandfather, everyone in this area knew that the name of Abraham’s God was YaHaWaH, in Hebrew, it is יהוה and that Of course is still His name and He will never change it.

Questions

  1. Does God sometimes urge us to do something?
  2. Do you think God wants us to address Him with his name?
  3. Are names important?

Jacob sends three separate herds in front of him to meet Esau, from Genesis 32:13-21 commented by ASV and questions

God is a rich God

When we think of the herd that Jacob obtained in Haran, we imagine a small group of animals; maybe he had 500 sheep, some goats and a few camels, donkeys, and cows. However, here Jacob gives away to his brother Esau, 220 goats, 220 sheep, about 60 camels, fifty cows, and thirty donkeys, about 600 animals all together which he divided into three groups a mix of male and female ready to produce. God had made Jacob a rich man.

Diplomacy

This was a huge gift and Jacob hoped to appease Esau his brother before they met. At this point in Jacob’s life, he understood that he had done Esau wrong and by doing this, he asked Esau to forgive him. He pleaded for forgiveness three times dividing the animals into three separate groups meeting Esau with a delay between them. In this manner, Jacob showed Esau 3 times that he wanted his brother’s friendship and that he had done Esau wrong when he left for Haran.

Words we speak

Three times Esau met the flocks that Jacob sent in front of him, and three times, he heard the words, “Look, your servant Jacob is behind us”. The normal thing for this servant of Jacob to say was “our master Jacob is behind us” instead Esau heard that his brother acknowledged him as superior and master, and that Jacob wanted friendship and peace. Words we speak to people are important and are affecting those who listen, one way or another.

Questions

  1. What do the word hypocrite means?
  2. When we speak, do we express our opinion, what is in our heart?
  3. Do you think Jacob meant what he said to Esau?
  4. Had Jacob changed during the 20 years with Laban?

Jacob is afraid of meeting his brother Esau, Jacob prays to God for help in his distress, from Genesis 32:7-12 commented by ASV and questions

Go home

Jacob was afraid, he was terrified and desperate, and in his thinking, he was looking for a solution, a way out. He could have fled east when he heard that Esau had armed himself with 400 soldiers. Jacob didn’t flee, God had told him to go home to his father’s house, so Jacob thought that the way out of this must have been meeting his brother, not fleeing from him.

Dark and gloomy

Jacob was trembling afraid and his condition must have affected completely the huge camp from his wives and children down to all his servants, this was now a camp in fear, they feared death and imprisonment, everything was dark and gloomy. Wherever Jacob looked, he saw faces of desperation.

He did something

But even in this situation he didn’t panic, Jacob did two things, first he divided his huge caravan into two groups for the one to flee if the other was attacked, Jacob didn’t sit down and cry, no he did something, he acted, he believed God and tried to find the way out. Then secondly, he turned to God and prayed.

I am your friend

Jacob had been living for twenty years among people worshiping many gods also within in his camp people prayed to different gods. Jacob started with addressing the God he prayed to, “O God of my father Abraham and God of my father Isaac, the LORD” Jacob prayed to his father’s God and his grandfather’s God and it was a personal prayer, he used God’s name. Now let us change this prayer a little bit, “O God of my father Abraham and God of my father Isaac, YaHaWaH” Jacob used God’s name, it was unformal, it was personal. For instance, if you happened to be a mechanic and your name is John being my best friend, and I am asking you for help saying, “Mister Mechanic could you help me with this.” You would probably look at me, and say, what you mean with this mister mechanic; I am your friend John.

Let us look at the content of Jacob’s prayer,

  1. To whom he sent his prayer request and why, because God had said, “Return to your country and to your people, and I will make you prosper
  2. Jacob acknowledge that he was a sinner, and that all the help God gave him was not because of what Jacob did, but of God’s mercy and goodness.
  3. Then finally he presented his request, “Save me, please, from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau”
  4. Jacob ended his prayer by reminding God of what He earlier had promised him, “I will certainly make you prosper and make your descendants as the sand of the sea, which is too great to be counted

His treasure in his heart

Jacob remembered every word God had told him, they were his precious treasure and he kept them in his heart, and now in these perilous times, he recalled God’s words and presented them to Him.

Quick and on target

When we pray the word of the bible, we are making Jesus, The Word, come alive in our situation and the answer is quick and on target.

Questions

  1. Does what is inside of your heart decide what you are thinking about?
  2. Does what you are thinking about influence your speaking?
  3. Does God know you?
  4. What is a friend?

Jacob on his way to meet Esau from Genesis 32:1-6 commented by ASV and questions

Promised to kill him

Jacob with all his camp was now on the east side of the Jordan River on the hill area of Gilead in the land which we today call Jordan. He left “Jegar-sahadutha” that Laban called it or “Galeed” as Jacob called it, both names mean “a heap of witness”. Jacob was now on his way to face what he feared most, his brother Esau who had promised to kill him.

He sent angles

Jacob was in great distress and felt small and helpless, he within a few moments could lose all his family and all what he had obtained with Laban the last 20 years. Jacob considered all this, and it terrified him. The reason he didn’t return to Haran was that God had told him to go home. However, God watched Jacobs’s heart and knew he needed help and sent angles to comfort him.

Two groups

How many angles that met Jacob it is not said, could have been many and Jacob knew that God was there with him and called the place Mahanaim and said this is Gods camp. Mahanaim means two hosts, Jacob divided his camp into two groups, and he might have thought that each group could host the angles that were with him. Now with God’s angles to help him Jacob was ready to influence his brother. Jacob was after his father Isaac had blessed him, the legitimate heir of all that Isaac had, however, now Esau owned everything and was the chief in the area.

Convince Esau

What Jacob wanted to do was to convince Esau that he had enough of all, and all that Esau had was his, with no claim from his brother Jacob. Therefore, he sent messengers to Esau saying, “Your servant Jacob says this, “I have been living temporarily with Laban, and have stayed there until now; I have oxen, donkeys, flocks, male servants, and female servants; and I have sent to tell my lord, so that I may find grace and kindness in your sight”. Jacob called Esau lord and himself servant to tell him that in the mind of Jacob he was the leader and Jacob the inferior.

Love is giving

Now Jacob had influenced Esau’s mind and then he wanted to show him his love by giving him gifts to assure him that Jacob wanted a peaceful relationship with him. Jacob had learned that the love of God is giving; God showed Jacob His love and gave him everything he now had.

John 3:16

We also should know that the love of God is giving, John 3:16, For God so loved and dearly prized the world, that He gave His only begotten Son

Yes, you can

If you love someone, you should give, not only on big occasions, but also in your daily life, every day. Make it your lifestyle to be like Jesus who gave his life for you. Are you serious? I cannot find something to give to everybody all the time. Yes, you can, you can give of your time showing interest, show that you care, and you can give a helping hand when you are busy with your own thing. Giving is putting someone else first and yourself behind. Giving is also giving God your time, consider and thank Him for what He is doing for you every day.

In big trouble?

And how did Jacob’s tactic work out, humanly it didn’t work at all, “The messengers returned to Jacob, saying, “We went to your brother Esau, and now he is coming to meet you, and there are four hundred men with him” Jacob was definitely in big trouble. He knew what God had told him to return home and that God’s angles were with him, however Jacob feared Esau, nevertheless, at the same time, He trusted God. Jacob as we, was swaying between God’s promise and what we can experience with our five senses, God is spirit and we are flesh, He is strong and steady, but we are weak and fickle.  

Questions

  1. Have you been in big trouble?
  2. How did Jacob trust God?
  3. Does God tell you to do something?

The deal between Laban and Jacob, a mound of stones from Genesis 31:43-55 and questions

The peace of God

In verse 43, the anger of Laban had faded, and I think that the peace of YaHaWaH had dawned on Laban, Jacob and all the people gathered around them. Laban said that everything was his, he didn’t mean that he owed everything, he just wanted to express that he was the source, that they all were his dear family. That Jacobs’s sons and daughter came from his daughters and their maids, former the maids of Laban, and that all the flocks of Jacob came from his flocks. I think at this moment the love of God governed Laban and he included Jacob and all his in his family, Laban wanted friendship.

To climb up and watch from there

Both Laban and Jacob wanted peace between them and made a deal not to harm each other, however, they didn’t trust one another to mutually keep the deal, they needed gods to vindicate it and protect it in the future. Therefor they heaped up a huge mound of stones for the gods to climb up there and from the top of the mound be able to watch over the covenant to be kept by both parties.

Three different gods

Laban trusted in several gods, but he also respected the God of Abraham, Jacob’s God as we can see in verse 49 were Laban calls God by his name YaHaWaH and asked Him to watch over both. In verse 53 however Laban calls on three different gods, first the God of Abraham, the god of Nahor, his grandfather and then on the god of Terah his great grandfather.

The Fear of Isaac

Nevertheless, Jacob didn’t accept these false gods, swore only by one God, the real God, and called Him “The Fear of Isaac”. Jacob knew his God by the way his father Isaac feared Him and now by the way God had vindicated him for 20 years in Haran and here protected him in the hill country of Gilead. Jacob knew that this God was holy, mighty and reliable. Wither he thought YaHaWaH was the only god I cannot say; however, Jacob had experienced that his God was superior to all the other gods if any.  

Questions

  1. How many gods do we have?
  2. How do you know, which god is your god?
  3. How can we know God?