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GENESIS Daily Bible Readings
  Commentary, Cross Reference Bible, and Bible Dictionary
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MALACHI | Romans | GENESIS | 1 Corinthians | EXODUS

Pre-Time
What scripture tells us about God before time began

DateScripturesDaily devotional commentary
Dec 26-31: Romans
Jan 1:Genesis 1-3* In The Beginning, GOD, N Sween
Jan 2:Genesis 4-7 * Rebellion and Obedience, N Sween
Jan 3:Genesis 8-11 * God Remembered Noah, N Sween
Jan 4:Genesis 12-15 * Leave...And Go, N Sween
Jan 5:Genesis 16-18 * What It's Like To Be Chosen, N Sween
Jan 6:Genesis 19-21 * Rated "X", N Sween
Jan 7:Genesis 22-23 * Faith and Sacrifice, Theophilus
Jan 8:Genesis 24-25 * Birthright, N Sween
Jan 9:Genesis 26-27 * Isaac's Life Story, N Sween
Jan 10:Genesis 28-30 * Jacob's Family, N Sween
Jan 11:Genesis 31-32* He Struggles With God, N Sween (also Reunited, G. Burnett)
Jan 12:Genesis 33-35 * Hard Times In Canaan, N Sween
Jan 13:Genesis 36-38 * Increasing In Number, N Sween
Jan 14:Genesis 39-41 * Favor and Intervention, N Sween
Jan 15:Genesis 42-43 * Testing, Testing, 1-2-3, N Sween
Jan 16:Genesis 44-46 * "That's Funny - You Don't LOOK Jewish", Alan Gilman
Jan 17:Genesis 47-49 * Shepherd At The Right Hand, Bob Mendelsohn
Jan 18:Genesis 50 * Joseph Wept, N Sween
Jan 19-23: 1 Corinthians

In the beginning GOD
Jan 1:
Genesis 1-3
Genesis Commentary
Dictionary, and Books
* The promised Messiah
Messiah Revealed
Thought to apply today: New beginnings often bring our focus back to the Lord God.
PROMISE: "I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel." (3:15)
Earlier today around the world, people switched their calendars from the last day of the last month of last year to the first day, first month of the new year, measured from near the time of the birth of Jesus of Nazareth.

New beginnings often bring us back to the Lord God. We want to know Him better, spend more time with Him, hear and understand things from His perspective.

Who are You?, we wonder.
Where did You come from?
Do you really know the names of ALL the stars?
There's so much we don't understand. Like eager children we enter chattering, full of questions. What was it like before You created the Earth? What was it like to create time, space, and matter with your word and your spirit? What will we learn reading this time that we haven't seen before? You are so organized! You are so amazing!

Silent now, we listen to His story of creation, and then to how He specifically made the first man from dust. He put the man into the Garden of Eden and taught him how to take care of it. The Lord God gave the man one rule (don't eat the fruit of what the Lord God had named the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil) and one consequence (when you eat of it, you'll die).

The first thing the Lord God saw that wasn't good was that the man had no suitable helper. So He let the man name all living creatures on Earth as He had named created things before and, still finding no suitable helper, the Lord God created the woman out of the man.

One of God's created beings, a serpent, encountered the man and woman, and spoke to the woman, questioning her about God's eating rule. The woman apparently repeated the rule as the man had told her, by location and adding a new rule of his own. But the serpent's version was more appealing, and with her husband standing right there, she decided to believe the serpent, not God. Both ate, and something changed. Not the benefit she expected, the Knowledge of Good and Evil showed they were now lacking something.

When they heard the Lord God in the Garden, they hid from Him. The man blamed the woman for giving him the fruit, and the woman blamed the serpent for deceiving her. Both had eaten. Both had disobeyed the Lord God who now cursed the serpent. He promised more than physical dislike between women and snakes. The Lord God promised that one of the serpent's offspring would strike one of the woman's offspring (yes, now she would go through the pains of childbirth) who would crush the deceiver's offspring. Because of the man's choice to obey his wife and not the Lord God, survival would now be hard work. The Lord God sacrificed an animal to make skin garments for each, then banished them from the Garden and from access to the fruit of the Tree of Life, to live forever. Oh Lord, we were wrong. Please don't leave us.

Rebellion and Obedience
Jan 2:
Genesis 4-7
Genesis Commentary
Dictionary, and Books
The Bible for the Clueless
But Curious
, Aish.com
Thought to apply today: Do right, and master sin.
PROMISE: "If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it." (4:7)
Adam and Eve brought their children up to know their history with God. First born son Cain, a farmer, and Abel, a shepherd, knew that when their parents ate a particular fruit in outright disobedience to God, He had killed an animal as a blood sacrifice and to clothe the couple. So when Cain brought a fruit offering to God and Abel brought the best portions of the firstborn of his flock, the Lord knew the connection with the past, and was pleased with the meat but not with the fruit offering. Still speaking with these humans, the Lord explained to Cain that he must do right and master sin. Rather than being sorry, Cain turned his anger toward Abel, and killed him. Just as had happened to Adam his father, the Lord cursed the ground for Cain and sent him away. Neither Cain nor his descendants were in the Lord's presence again and at least one of them was also a murderer.

When Adam was 130 years old he and Eve had another son named Seth.
Number of years after God created Adam - Event (age at event)
  130 - Adam (130) had Seth
  235 - Seth (105) had Enosh
  325 - Enosh (90) had Kenan
  395 - Kenan (70) had Mahalalel
  460 - Mahalalel (65) had Jared
  622 - Jared (162) had Enoch
  687 - Enoch (65) had Methuselah
  874 - Methuselah (187) had Lamech
  930 - Adam died (930)
  987 - Enoch (365) taken away
1042 - Seth died (912)
1056 - Lamech (182) had Noah
1140 - Enosh died (905)
1235 - Kenan died (910)
1290 - Mahalalel died (895)
1422 - Jared died (962)
1556 - Noah (500) had 3 sons
1651 - Lamech died (777)
1656 - Methuselah died (969)
1656 - Noah (600) at the flood
All this time, nothing stopped God fearing men of Seth's line from marrying beautiful daughers of Cain's ungodly line. As evil and terrorism increased, God's Spirit contended with them, and the Lord shortened life spans to 120 years. The heroic Nephilim were also on Earth at this time. Like Enoch years before, Noah walked with God, and obeyed God's instructions for building and stocking an ark with food and certain numbers of animals. During the five months of flooding, everything and everyone outside the ark who breathed air and lived or nested on dry land died. Everything God commanded Noah to do, he did.

God Remembered Noah
Jan 3:
Genesis 8-11
Genesis Commentary
Dictionary, and Books
Genesis, the Method of Faith
Ray Stedman
Thought to apply today: How do I prioritize spiritual over physical?
PROMISE: "As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease." (8:22)
God remembered Noah and all the animals in the ark, and after a few days over a year in the ark (1657 after Adam's creation), God told Noah to bring everyone out. He did, and then built an altar to the Lord where Noah sacrificed some of all the surviving clean animals and clean birds. Noah realized what sin had cost mankind - measured in the lives of his relatives - and all the animals and birds. Human sacrifice is not God's way. Noah's choice to sacrifice burnt offerings to God was like saying , "I love these animals, but I love You more."

Noah's children were fruitful and multiplied. Sometime before his death, Noah had cursed Canaan, son of Ham, to be Shem's slave. He blessed the Lord, God of Shem. He asked God to extend the territory of Japheth, whose descendants traveled the seas. When Noah died, he was 950 (2006 years after Adam's creation.) [Also see Sons of Noah].

Japheth's sons: Gomer, Magog, Madai, Javan, Tubal, Meshech, Tiras
Descendants: Ashkenaz, Riphath, Togarmah; Elishah, Tarshish, the Kittim, the Rodanim
They apparently settled north, along the coasts of the Black and Caspian Seas
Ham's sons: Cush, Mizraim, Put, Canaan
Descendants: Seba, Havilah, Sabtah, Raamah, Sabteca; Sheba, Dedan; Nimrod (mighty hunter and warrior before the Lord). Nimrod built up cities and his kingdom included Babylon, Erech, Shinar, Assyria, and more. The Philistines descended from Mizraim. Canaan's descendants included Sidon, the Hittites, Jebusites, Amorites, Girgashites, Hivitess, Arkites, Sinites, Arvadites, Zemarites, Hamathites. They scattered from Sidon to Gaza and toward Sodom and Gomorrah as far as Lasha.
Shem's sons: Elam, Asshur, Arphaxad, Lud, Aram
Descendants: Uz, Hul, Gether, Meshech; Shelah; Eber; Peleg (lived when the earth was divided), Joktan; Almodad, Sheleph, Hazarmaveth, Jerah, Hadoram, Uzal, Diklah, Obal, Abimael, Sheba, Ophir, Havilah, Jobab. This clan lived in the eastern hill country, from Mesha toward Sephar.
Shem's and Ham's descendants came together to build a city and high tower making brick and using tar in Nimrod's area on the plain of Shinar. Their intention was to centralize there and not scatter. God intervened and confused their language. The building stopped, and the city was called "Babel" since other languages sounded like babel or babbel.

When Shem was 100 years old, he and his wife had a son named Arphaxad, 2 years after the flood, and 1658 years after Adam was created. After the flood, men matured and had children at a much younger age than before the flood.

Number of years after the flood - Event (age at event)
    2 - Shem (100) had Arphaxad
  37 - Arphaxad (35) had Shelah
  67 - Shelah (30) had Eber
101 - Eber (34) had Peleg
131 - Peleg (30) had Reu
163 - Reu (32) had Serug
193 - Serug (30) had Nahor
222 - Nahor (29) had Terah
292 - Terah (70) with 3 sons
340 - Peleg died (239)
341 - Nahor died (148)
350 - Noah died (950)
370 - Reu died (239)
393 - Serug died (230)
427 - Terah died (205)
440 - Arphaxad died (438)
470 - Shelah died (433)
502 - Shem died (600)
531 - Eber died (464)
Terah lived in the city of Ur of the Chaldeans. His sons were Abram, Nahor, and Haran. Haran, the father of Lot, died sometime before his father died 427 years after the flood. Haran's wife's name is not given, but Abram married Sarai, and Nahor married Milcah, daughter of Haran, whose other child was Iscah. Terah took Abram, Lot, and Sarai on a move from Ur of the Chaldean's to Canaan. But for some reason, Terah stopped short of his goal, and settled in the city of Haran. Aged 205, Terah died in Haran, leaving his 75 year old childless son (12:4) and daughter-in-law Abram and Sarai and younger nephew, Lot.

(Maps of the Fertile Crescent and of Babel and Abraham)

"Leave...And Go"
Today in Jerusalem: Jan 4, 2004: remembering Tevet 10: Jerusalem under seige
Jan 4:
Genesis 12-15
Genesis Commentary
Dictionary, and Books
Birth of a Covenant,
Rabbi Shai Held
Thought to apply today: Learn to make obedience to God a habit.
PROMISE: "I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse. And all the peoples on earth will be blessed through you." (12:2-3)
Whereas the Hebrew Bible doesn't show this, the NIV says, "The Lord had said to Abram..." (past tense) Scripture doesn't say why Abram waited after the Lord told him to leave and go to a land He would show him. Maybe there was a process of details to take care of. When the Lord told him to leave not just his country but also his people and his father's household, did this mean the Lord had spoken to Abram when he was still living back in Ur? Why did Abram take all the possessions and people he and his father had acquired in Haran as he left there for another country when he was told to leave his father's household? Was he only partially obedient, or maybe learning to be obedient? And why does this book of Genesis bring out at least as many new questions as it answers?

When Abram, Sarai, Lot and the rest came through the land of Canaan (Palestine), they explored the land living in tents, with Abram building altars to the Lord. Note that the Lord appeared to Abram and promised another "I will" ("To your offspring I will give this land"). No problem that he was 75 years old and had no children. Abram believed and built an altar to the Lord at Shechem (about 30 miles north of current Jerusalem). During a severe famine, Abram moved his group south to Egypt and plotted a way with Sarai to use a "half truth" to stay alive when the Pharaoh saw how beautiful she was. By the time the Pharaoh realized the truth and kicked Abram out of the country and back to Bethel, Abram was so wealthy that his herdsmen and Lot's were fighting over grazing space. Abram let Lot have first choice. He took what appeared to be the best for himself: the whole plain of Jordan.

Trouble followed. A battle ensued. Lot was rescued. Abram tithed to Melchizedek, priest of God Most High and King of Salem. Taking no share of the spoils from the King of Sodom, Abram hears again from the Lord. Abram has been courageous through all the battles, but the Lord sees Abram is afraid of remaining childless. Yes, Abram believed the Lord (and that was credited to him as righteousness), but Abram wanted some way to know he would get the land promised to his heir. The Lord provided Abram with a view of the future. No, you will not possess this land, Abram - you will die in peace, an old man. But after 400 years, your descendants will return from slavery in another country and defeat the Amorites. Your land will reach from the Nile to the Euphrates.

Turning to the internet for more commentary, one pastor sees Abram as an example for believers in transition (M. Anders). People continue to discuss the Lord's Call and Promise and the delema of Abraham and Sarah. Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky explains more about Sarah in Egypt Genesis 12, a Long Distance Call Gen 14:13, Mission Impassable Gen 14:22, what happens if the visionary falls asleep Gen 15:1-5, attempts to count the stars and Outsiders, both on Gen 15:5.

And Greg Burnett asks in his article First Mansions: "Is it too much to hope for the thing that Abraham received: that God Himself can be our reward if we desire to walk consciously with Him day by day, (Gen. 15:1)? Here is a Bible study on Sarai

What It's Like To Be Chosen
Jan 5:
Genesis 16-18
Genesis Commentary
Dictionary, and Books
Grasping the Great Truth of God, Deffinbaugh
Sarai becomes Sarah, Sween
Thought to apply today: Learn to wait on the Lord and His timing.
PROMISE: "I have chosen him so that he will direct his children and his household after him to keep the way of the LORD by doing what is right and just, so that the LORD will bring about for Abraham what He has promised him." (18:19)
In what she thought must be the fullness of time, after waiting on the Lord's promise for 10 whole years, Sarai still had no baby and wasn't pregnant. Her husband, Abram, was 85 years old. Had she misunderstood how the Lord would give Abram a multitude of descendants? Was her being barren standing in his way? Sarai decided the solution would be for her Egyptian maidservant, Hagar, to take her place and try for a child with Abram. It worked, sort of. But the pregnant Hagar didn't want to serve Sarai in the same way as before. She was carrying the master's child, for goodness sake. And wasn't it obvious there was something wrong with Sarai, not Abram, in childbearing? With Abram's permission, Sarai mistreated Hagar, until she ran away.

The angel of the LORD found Hagar near a spring by the road to Shur. He knew her well enough to call her by name and job description, but asked where she came from and where she was going. Hagar had no plans. She could only answer that she was running away from her mistress Sarai. The one she thought was an angel let her know that He is either the Lord himself or speaking directly for Him. He told Hagai to go back and submit to Sarai, promising to increase her descendants beyond counting. She will have a son to be named Ishmael ["God hears"]. He will be a wild man, hostile to all his brothers. In response to meeting the God of Abram, Hagar names the Lord "You are the God who sees me". She obeyed Him, and the 86 year old Abram had his first child, son Ishmael, as promised.

Thirteen more years go by before the Lord speaks to Abram again. This visit overwhelms Abram. The Lord renews His covenant with Abram, changes his name to Abraham, and lets him know this is an everlasting covenant between the Lord and Abraham plus generation after generation of his descendants whose God is the Lord. Now an alien, Abraham would be father to nations and kings. But this is important - keep this covenant with the Lord. The sign of the covenant was to be circumcision of all males living among Abraham's people, Hebrew or not, 8 days old on up. The Lord gives Sarai a new name: Sarah, and promises to bless her and give Abraham a son by her. She will be mother of nations and of kings.

Abraham fell down before the Lord and laughed. A son conceived now would be born to a 100 year old father and 90 year old mother. Out loud he said, "If only Ishmael might live under Your blessing." "Yes, but" said the Lord. This covenant agreement is for Isaac who will be born within a year. Yes, 13 year old Ishmael will be blessed, will be fruitful, and the father of 12 rulers of a great nation. But the Lord's covenant will be established with Isaac, born of Sarah. Immediately obedient, that same day Abraham and all the males with him were circumcised.

Soon after that, one hot day Abraham was hospitable to 3 men who appeared by his tent. Providing water for their feet, he had Sarah, inside the tent, bake bread and had a servant prepare a calf to eat. Wanting Sarah to get the news directly about her future son, the men asked about Sarah. Within a year she would have a son. Eavesdropping from inside the tent, Sarah laughed, fully realizing her own and her husband's limitations, then lied and denied it.

Part of what it means to be chosen is that the Lord doesn't hide His plans from Abraham. The three are on their way to check out complaints of awful sin in Sodom and Gomorrah. What if there were some righteous residents (believing God), like Lot's family? Abraham felt the responsibility to plead and bargain for the cities if at least 10 believers could be found. God agreed.

Rated "X"
Jan 6:
Genesis 19-21
Genesis Commentary
Dictionary, and Books
The birth of Isaac,
David Guzik
Thought to apply today: The Lord works His promises even through families with serious relationship problems.
PROMISE: Sarah said, "That slave woman's son will never share in the inheritance with my son Isaac" (Gen 21:10b)
Remember how Lot chose what appeared to be the best grazing area for his flocks when his uncle asked him to pick? Below the surface appearance, this area had an ugly, hidden secret. Because of the men living in Lot's adopted home town of Sodom, that name came to describe same sex or animal copulation or other noncoital sex, lust, and rape - sodomy. The town was run by evil men, lawless and immoral, like stories we hear of the American west during frontier times or the terror of the Klu Klux Klan in the south. Lot's experience is an example of how the righteous do not automatically "rub off" on evil neighbors. A movie made today of the Lord's destruction of the people in the two cities plus the vegetation of the plain with burning sulphur from the sky, Lot's reluctance to leave, his wife's disobedience, and his daughters' incestuous scheme (resulting in the Moabites and the Ammonites) would be rated X. Leaving the ruined land behind him, Abraham moved his tents to Gerar in the Negev area. As was their practice, he and Sarah told the king of Gerar they were brother and sister when the king showed interest in this 89 year old woman's beauty, and king Abimelech took her as his wife. Before the king had slept with her, God warned him in a dream that she was a married woman, and got his attention by making him and his whole household temporarily infertile. The matter was cleared up with the king paying Abraham in sheep, cattle, human slaves, and silver, and Abraham asking God to heal the king and his household. Is this how Sarah came to become fertile? Unknown, but when she returned to Abraham, she became pregnant with Isaac, meaning "he laughs". In due time, he was born, circumcised, and weaned.

The teenaged Ishmael mocked Isaac at his weaning feast, and made Sarah, meaning "the princess", mad. She insisted that Abraham get rid of "that slave woman", Hagar, and her son. Upset and hesitating, Abraham was loyal to his eldest son, but God told him to listen to Sarah. "That slave woman's son will never share in the inheritance with my son Isaac," she said. [See Romans 9:6-9] So the next morning, Abraham gave Hagar food and water, and sent her and Ishmael away. After the food and water were gone, Hagar and Ishmael were both distraught, fearing death. But God intervened, hearing their crying. God was with Ishmael as he lived in the desert and became an archer. Later, his mother got him an Egyptian wife. Even later, Ishmael and Isaac came together to bury their father.

King Abimelech and Abraham made a treaty at Beersheba, with Abraham giving sheep and cattle to the king. Abimelech recognized that God was with this alien Abraham in all he did. They negotiated a problem of well ownership, and Abimelech and his forces commander, Phicol returned to the land of the Philistines. At Beersheba, Abraham called upon the name of the Lord, the Eternal God. And Abraham stayed in the land of the Philistines for a long time. [More on Abimelech]

Faith & Sacrifice by Theophilus
Jan 7:
Genesis 22-23
Genesis Commentary
Dictionary, and Books
Father and Son, Akaida,
Aish.com
Thought to apply today: When the Lord asks me for a great sacrifice, remember Abraham and Isaac.
PRINCIPLE (Why did Abraham pay for the burial land?) Later David used the same principle, "No, I insist on paying you for it. I will not sacrifice to the LORD my God burnt offerings that cost me nothing." (2 Sam 24:24)
A special "Thank You" to Theophilus, our guest commentator today, who blogged - in 2004 - at theophilus.lifewithchrist.org.
One of the more familiar passages in Scripture, Genesis 22 tells the tale of Abraham's testing. In it, we see a man of faith who followed God even when asked to do the impossible--kill his own. What father could face this decision easily? How many father's could even face this decision at all? Not only was Isaac his son, but the only son from his wife Sarah. This was the son promised to him by God. This was the son granted to him, miraculously, in his very old age. This was the son who was promised the inheritance of the convenant. How great a sacrifice God asked of Abraham!

Abraham knew what God had promised concerning his son Isaac. If he sacrificed Isaac, those promises would be void. That didn't stop Abraham from being obedient. He prepared for obedience -- an obedience that took days, not a brief moment -- as he traveled to the mountain, scaled it, and built the altar. The sorrow in him must have been enormous as he placed the wood for the fire that would consume his beloved son's body.

Isaac too demonstrates faith in this story. He was old enough to understand the concept of sacrifice and to question where the needed lamb was. Scholars suggest that Isaac was likely entering adolescence; regardless, he was old enough to resist his own execution. But there is no evidence of it. He too remained obedient. He even carried the wood upon his back and he approach the place he was to die.

As we learn in Hebrews 11, Abraham knew who God was, considered Him faithful, and simply trusted. Abraham didn't know God would work it out -- he understood that God could even raise Isaac from the dead. He knew his God and obeyed.

The magnitude of it the requested sacrifice underscores the worthiness of God. God deserves the absolute best there is to offer him. More imporantly, we see foreshadowed the sacrifice of our heavenly Father, who "gave his only begotten son" as a sacrifice for our sin. We see the obedience of the Son of Man who knew what was coming yet walked forward in faith and humility.

How great and merciful is the LORD who withholds nothing, not even His son. We serve the King of kings and the Lord of lords who made a way to redeem mankind and fashion for himself a beautiful and unblemished Bride, the Church.

Birthright
Jan 8:
Genesis 24-25
Genesis Commentary
Dictionary, and Books
Gen 24 and Gen 25, Stedman
Messiah, Christ - Anointed One
Thought to apply today: What am I hungrier for - food or God's word?
PROMISE: The Messiah would be a descendant of Isaac
Until the end, Genesis 24-25 reads like a normal historic account of Abraham's family after Sarah died. Abraham had told his experiences and shared his faith in God publicly with his family, with members of his household, with those he dealt with wherever he lived. The Lord blessed Abraham, his chief servant (Eliezer from 15:2?), and Isaac not just financially but with help and insight, asking and receiving God's choice of - and plan for - finding Rebekah. Abraham knew his relatives were no longer at Ur, but were north of Haran in Mesapotamia. [Note: The trade route called the "Kings Highway" stopped just south of Aram Naharaim (Assyria), at Resafa - map.] If the chief servant acted strangely in worshipping the Lord for a successful mission, perhaps he had had lots of experience in being strange among the Canaanites. Rebekah was well behaved, hospitable to strangers, and beautiful. Perhaps her brother Laban based his hospitablity upon the apparent wealth of potential guests at his house. Scripture doesn't say what Laban and his father Bethuel knew of the Lord, but they acknowledged Him and let Rebekah, her nurse, and maids go with Abraham's servant. And Isaac loved her.

Soon, Abraham took another wife, and had more 6 sons. They would not inherit anything from him, so during his life time he gave things to them (and to sons of his concubines???) and established them elsewhere -- to the land of the east (see Gen 4:16 and Job 1:3b). Thirty-eight years after Sarah died, Abraham - 175 years old - died. Seventy-five year old Isaac (his sons then 15) and 88 year old Ishmael buried him near Mamre where Sarah was buried. True to the Lord's word, Ishmael had had 12 sons who were hostile toward all their father's brothers.

When Rebekah couldn't have children, Isaac sought help praying to the Lord, and she later conceived. Hers was a hard pregnancy, and she went (it doesn't say where or to whom) to inquire of the Lord. He told her critical information about the twin boys she was carrying. The boys, Esau and Jacob were quite different, and split the affections of their parents. Esau the older, was the more robust and would have appeared to be the Lord's chosen warrior. But the Lord knew Esau's weakness even before his birth, and hated him. One day Esau was hungry and twin brother Jacob took advantage of having some stew bubbling on the fire. Jacob would not give it to him, but offered to sell it for Esau's birthright. More interested in the immediate needs of his stomach than his far off inheritance, Esau swore his oath and sold his birthright. From the Lord's point of view, Esau was godless. He had what mattered most reversed in his thinking. Perhaps he thought his oath was just words, and he could take them back later. (see Hebrews 12:16-17) The Weekly Torah Portion indicates that Esau wanted the stew because he was preoccupied with death.

Isaac's Life Story
Jan 9:
Genesis 26-27
Genesis Commentary
Dictionary, and Books
Digging Our Parents' Wells,
Dreyfus
Thought to apply today: Am I living on the Lord's promises or on visible circumstances?
PROMISE: "Stay in this land for a while, and I will be with you and will bless you. For to you and your descendants I will give all these lands and will confirm the oath I swore to your father Abraham." (Gen 26:3)
Isaac had caught the vision from the Lord of the importance of living by His promises for the future as opposed to current, more instant, gratification. Through Isaac's current life trials, like a famine in Canaan, he listened and obeyed when the Lord spoke to him. "I will be with you," the Lord promised.

Isaac and his family were still living among the Philistines near the coast of the Mediterranean a little south of Gaza. The Philistines had a sense of right and wrong that included guilt for sleeping with another man's wife, but perhaps not for killing the husband of a beautiful woman. As Isaac's wealth increased through crops, flocks, herds, and servants, the Philistines started filling up wells Abraham's servants had dug years before. Controversy followed, and Philistine king Abimelech told Isaac to put more space between them. As Isaac and his people moved their tents further inland, they opened and dug more wells until finally, no Philistines contested them over a new well at Rehoboth. From here, Isaac moved on to Beersheba, and that night the Lord appeared to him, confirming the promises again. Like a husband who doesn't just tell his wife he loves her once, the Lord confirmed His relationship with Abraham's son Isaac regularly, at important times in Isaac's life. This time it was that Abimelech, his personal adviser, and the commander of his forces had come to Isaac's camp. Abimelech asked for - and got - a treaty for peace with this people living in his land. The same day after the Philistines had left in peace, Isaac's men reported they had found and dug another well at what is now Beersheba.

By the time Isaac was 100, he was blind and had a situation at home. Forty year old Esau had just married not one but two Hittite women, who antagonized their in-laws. But Esau was Isaac's first born and still his favorite son. Wanting to get his affairs in order, Isaac prepared to bless Esau. His mother, whose favorite son was Jacob, intervened. Not above deceipt himself (telling Abimelech his wife was his sister), Isaac was deceived and gave Jacob the blessing. When Esau found out, he was devestated. Isaac expected the Lord's promises to go through Esau, but deceived is deceived. There was no taking back the blessing that had become Jacob's. Esau was furious, and planned to kill Jacob after their father died. Rachel used the awful Hittite daughters-in-law situation to get Isaac to send Jacob away to her father's house for a wife among the cousins.

Jacob's Family
Jan 10:
Genesis 28-30
Genesis Commentary
Dictionary, and Books
Matthew Henry commentary: 29
and 30 * History in a Nutshell
PROMISE: "I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you." (28:15)
Jacob's Children

  1. Reuben (by Leah)
  2. Simeon (by Leah)
  3. Levi (by Leah)
  4. Judah (by Leah)
  5. Dan (by Bilhah)
  6. Naphtali (by Bilhah)
  7. Gad (by Zilpah)
  8. Ashur (by Zilpah)
  9. Issachar (by Leah)
10. Zebulun (by Leah)
11. Dinah (by Leah)
12. Joseph (by Rachel)
(several years later)
13. Benjamin (by Rachel)

On this Isaac and Rachel agreed - Jacob was not to marry a local Canaanite woman. He was to go to Paddan Aram, to the house of Rachel's father, Bethuel, and take a wife from the daughters of her brother, Laban. By the time Esau heard anything, Jacob was gone, perhaps following a trade route. Not quite getting it, Esau reasoned that if his parents wanted family in-laws, he would marry one of Ishmael's daughters along with his other wives. On the other hand, the Lord contacted Jacob on his first night out, through a dream. The Lord introduced Himself personally to Jacob and reconfirmed His promises of land, descendants, and blessings to Abraham and Isaac through Jacob. With all his faults, this experience overwhelmed Jacob. He marked the location with the stone he'd slept on, anointed it with oil, and renamed the town of Luz, Bethel (house of God). Jacob vowed, "If God will be with me and will watch over me on this journey I am taking and will give me food to eat and clothes to wear so that I return safely to my father's house, then the LORD will be my God and this stone that I have set up as a pillar will be God's house, and of all that You give me I will give You a tenth."

Genesis 25:27 described Jacob as "a quiet man, staying among the tents". Genesis 27 describes him as a deceiver and liar. Today's reading shows him as a strong man using a stone as a pillow and single-handedly moving a heavy stone when he meets Laban's shepherdess daughter Rachel, his cousin. So much for the "mama's boy" concept. It's love at first sight with Rachel and, by contract, to marry her Jacob offers to work seven years for his uncle. But after seven years, Laban adds "fine print" common law to the contract, and deceives Jacob into marrying older daughter Leah who apparently had no prospects for marriage. For working seven more years, Jacob gets to marry Rachel the next week.

Over the next years, Leah has 4 sons and Rachel has none. Leah hopes with each son that her husband will love her because of them, but praises God for her fourth son and stops trying. Rachel fights with Jacob for her being barren, and rather than either of them asking the Lord, she gives him her maidservant Bilhah for getting children. (She likely hadn't heard of how this plan backfired for Sarah.) Now in heated competition between sisters, Rachel has 2 sons by proxie through Bilhah, then Leah's maidservant Zilpah has 2 more. Over mandrakes, Leah is rewarded with a night with Jacob and has a fifth son, then a sixth, and then a daughter. Finally, God listens to Rachel's pleas, and she has a son.

Now Jacob asks Laban to let him take his wives and children back to his homeland. Noting how much he has prospered since Jacob began working for him, Laban requests that he stay. "Name your wages," Laban says again. Claiming honesty (30:33), Jacob requests certain animals from Laban's flocks, and uses a way to make them particularly plentiful and strong. More details on this agreement tomorrow...

He Struggles With GOD
Jan 11:
Genesis 31-32
Genesis Commentary
Dictionary, and Books
Reunited, Greg Burnett
Jacob, Sandton Bible Church, SA
Thought to apply today: What hope is there for me with the Lord when I'm so far from perfect?
PROMISE: "Train yourself to be godly. For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come." (1 Tim 4:7b-8)
So far, all we have heard about are Laban's daughters. His sons are getting upset with how prosperous their brother-in-law, Jacob, is growing on his wages from their father. And no matter how many changes Laban made to his agreement for paying Jacob with streaked or speckled or spotted animals, whichever group au jour was Jacob's for some reason just keeps increasing, stronger and stronger.

Jacob knew the reason. The God he had dreamed of and met at Bethel kept in touch with him occasionally through dreams. What Laban had done to benefit his own estate, the Lord had used to benefit Jacob's flocks. Jacob calls Rachel and Leah out to the fields with his flocks, and talks to them about the situation with their father and that the Lord had told him to go back to his homeland. Leaving without letting Laban know, Jacob's people and flocks have reached hilly Gilead before Laban's party catches up. The Lord has cautioned Laban the Aramean about what he says to Jacob. We learn that not only Laban hears from God, but the Lord was God of Abraham's brother Nahor and their father Terah, and that He sometimes is referred to as the Fear of Isaac. "The LORD watch between me and thee, while we are absent one from the other" is a covenant - a family peace treaty between Jacob and Laban, watched over by the Lord.

Having made peace with his immediate past, Jacob prepares to face his twin brother Esau, the reason for his fleeing Canaan twenty years before. Jacob sees angels, and camps there. Messengers sent to find Esau return, saying he is coming to meet Jacob with 400 men. Jacob sees no way but with God to survive an army that size. Again addressing God in threes (God of my father Abraham, God of my father Isaac, Lord who made promises to me), Jacob uses God's promises to pray to Him. I urgently need You to do what you've promised. Jacob spends the night, splitting his group, strategically sending ahead gifts to Esau, and struggling alone with God. They wrestled to a draw and, asking for a blessing, Jacob gets a limp and a new name. The limp is to remind him, according to Donald Stamps' Full Life Study Bible, that he "must no longer walk in his own strength but must rely entirely on God and walk in dependence on him." The new name changes him from Jacob the crafty deceiver to Israel, the God-struggler, for earnestly seeking the Lord. (May it also be so for you and for me.)
Greg Burnett wrote more about Jacob's reunion with Esau. This was originally posted for 12 Jan 2004.

Hard Times In Canaan
Jan 12:
Genesis 33-35
Genesis Commentary
Dictionary, and Books
Why Does Esau Hate Jacob?
Chabad.org
Thought to apply today: Bad habits have serious consequences.
PROMISE: "A nation and a community of nations will come from you, and kings will come from your body." (Gen 35:11b)
NOTE: The original post for this date by Greg Burnett is now further reading for January 11
Jacob's reunion with his slightly older twin brother is so well planned and structured that when Jacob finally encounters Esau, Jacob has demonstrated great respect and offered many gifts to his brother. Esau seems genuinely gracious to Jacob, ready to reconcile with him. Esau invites Jacob to come live near him in Seir, or at least to let his men go with Jacob's livestock and people. But Jacob says that all he wants is favor from his brother. Actually, Jacob has other plans - to settle at Succoth, not Seir. Jacob buys some land near the city belonging to Shechem in Canaan, and builds shelters for his people and his livestock.

The rest of today's reading is one of those sections that we probably never heard about in Sunday School. First, Jacob's only daughter Dinah started leaving her father's household and getting to know some of the local women. Was she lonely? Was she bored? Was she getting impatient for a husband? Whatever the reason, Dinah's trips into town led to the son (Shechem) of the area ruler (Hamor) seeing, wanting, and seducing her. This violation lacked the respect for any plans of marriage Jacob may have had for his only daughter. When Jacob heard that Dinah was with Shechem, he was deceitfully calm. Jacob figured that if he didn't call his older sons in from the fields, he could at least be the one to tell them what Shechem had done to their sister. But apparently this was a small group of people where news traveled fast, and Jacob's sons came home from work already knowing what had happened.

The fathers, Hamor and Jacob met. Hamor's goal was to come to some solution so that the "kids" could be married. Jacob's sons saw defilement as just cause to deceive Hamor and Shechem into thinking they would consider such a solution. Jacob was very skilled at deceit, and apparently had passed the trait on to his sons by example. For his part, Hamor thought that having his son, himself, and all of his men circumcised was small enough price to merge Jacob's property, livestock, and women into his own. But a few days after the Hivite men were circumcised, while they were still incapacitated, two of Jacob's sons took it upon themselves to kill Hamor, Shechem, and all of the other males. They took Dinah back from Shechem's house, and looted everything of the Hivite's - even their women and children. Jacob was alarmed and knew they couldn't stay in that area in case the other Canaanites didn't understand this was revenge.

If the Lord criticized Jacob's sons behavior, it isn't mentioned here. The Lord told Jacob to move and settle in Bethel. Jacob knew that some in his household were holding on to idols (foreign gods), and he commanded them to get rid of them, purify themselves, and change their clothes in preparation for the move. So everyone obeyed him, even to giving him the rings from their ears. Jacob buried all these things under the oak at Shechem. Of course other nearby communities heard about all this, but the terror of God prevented them from persuing Jacob's family. So they settled for awhile at Bethel (also called Luz) in Canaan. Apparently Rebekah's nurse was traveling with them, as she died near Bethel. The Lord changed Jacob's name to Israel - from "Deciever" to "he struggles with God". The Lord commanded Jacob to be fruitful and multiply.

Jacob was moving his group to Ephrath (also called Bethlehem) when his wife Rachel went into a difficult childbirth that she didn't survive. She named the baby "Son of my trouble" but his father renamed him Benjamin, "Son of my right hand". Jacob moved on to Mamre near Hebron where his father, Isaac, was still living. When Isaac died (aged 180), both Esau and Jacob buried him.

Increasing In Number
Jan 13:
Genesis 36-38
Genesis Commentary
Dictionary, and Books
"Open book"
Genesis Quiz
Thought to apply today: The Lord's plan for my life isn't determined by what my parents or siblings think of me.
PROMISE: "I had another dream, and this time the sun and moon and eleven stars were bowing down to me." (37:9b - from a dream Joseph had)
At least one of the questions the previous chapters brought up is answered in chapter 36. Yes, Esau probably DID notice that Jacob never followed him to Seir in Edom, and that was ok so they could keep their herds separated.
Esau's Sons
Esau's Grandsons became tribal chiefs
1. Eliphaz (by Adah, Hittite) Eliphaz's wife had Teman, Omar, Zepho, Gatam, Kenaz (and Korah?)
Eliphaz's concubine Timna (the Horite) had Amalek
2. Reuel (by Basemath, Ishmaelite)
Reuel's wife had Nahath, Zerah, Shammah, Mizzah
3. Jeush (by Oholibamah, Hivite)
4. Jalam (by Oholibamah, Hivite)
5. Korah (by Oholibamah, Hivite)
The names of any sons of Jeush, Jalam, and Korah aren't listed. These three became tribal chiefs.
Living among the sons of Seir the Horite, Esau (father of the Edomites) and his sons continue to inter-marry with surrounding family groups, further mixing themselves into the local population. Eliphaz's concubine Timna is Seir the Horite's daugther. At this time in Edom, sons of kings did not inherit any throne, but it looks like whoever could rule, did.

Feeling old at least in his 70s, and still fluctuating between names, Jacob aka Israel lives in Canaan where his sons shepherd his flocks with varying degrees of dedication. Next to youngest and favored son, Joseph, has Jacob's early preference for staying among the tents (Gen 25:27). There are Jewish stories of Esau's hunting coat from Adam, but Scripture says Israel made a richly ornamented robe for Joseph and his brothers hated him for it. Joseph is 17 when he tells his brothers about his dreams. They will bow to him!

"In your dreams," they say.

No one but perhaps Israel sees this as contact from the Lord. During this period, if there is any contact from Him, except as cause of death, it isn't mentioned here. Eventually, the brothers find the opportunity to get rid of Joseph. Selling rather than killing him, they let their father think Joseph is dead. Sold again, he is purchased by Potiphar, captain of the Egyptian Pharaoh's guard.

There is no more going back north to find cousins to marry. With Joseph gone, Judah goes off from his brothers and marries a Canaanite woman. Over the course of time they had three sons, Er, Onan, and Shelah. When Er is old enough to father children, Judah arranges a marriage between Er and a girl named Tamar. Wicked Er dies, so next son Onan is to get Tamar pregnant in his dead brother's place. He makes sure this didn't happen, the Lord finds this wicked, and Onan dies. Third son Shelah is still a pre-teen, so Judah sends Tamar back to her father's house as a widow. Shelah grows up and his mother dies, but still Judah doesn't call her back. Posing as a prostitute, Tamar gets certain valued possessions of Judah's in exchange for his wanting to sleep with her. When Judah hears Tamar is shamefully pregnant, that prostitute, he demands her death. She exposes him as the father. Their twin boys are Perez and Zerah.

Favor and Intervention
Jan 14:
Genesis 39-41
Genesis Commentary
Dictionary, and Books
God's favor: Jacob & Joseph, TorahBytes
Favor, Bible Dictionary
Thought to apply today: With favor comes tests.
PROMISE: "Do not interpretations belong to God?" (Gen 40:8)
One of the intriguing things about Joseph's life is how God intervenes in individual lives. God revealed His plans for Sodom to Joseph's great-grandfather Abraham, and now He shows things to Joseph. But not everything. The dream of his brothers' bowing down to him doesn't indicate it happening outside of Canaan. And coming so far in advance of it happening, it makes him sound arrogant and presumptuous. But here is Joseph, after the worst day of his young life, stripped of family in a strange country, with a strange language and strange customs. Betrayed? Alone? That's how it felt. The tents, flocks, and brothers are gone. So is time spent with his father, talking and getting lessons in property and people management. The favor Joseph's father had shown him now comes from their God. What's the evidence? Over time, Joseph succeeds and prospers in all he does, and his boss, the Captain of Pharoah's guard, notices as he also prospers.

Being well built and handsome, Joseph finds unwanted favor with his boss' wife. Knowing the difference between God's favor and the woman's lust, Joseph rightfully resists - and is imprisoned for her lies. There is no appeal. But what she meant for evil, again God uses as the opportunity to show Joseph kindness. The prison warden sees Joseph's potential. Jacob had put him in charge of checking on his brothers; the warden puts him in charge of serving the prisoners. God builds on past experience, training Joseph in the methods of testing. With favor come tests. What will Joseph do with this problem ... or this? How will he do with waiting, waiting on the Lord's pleasure? Joseph continues honoring God, asking God for dream interpretations, and using his management skills, wherever he is.

And as it turns out, how Joseph is recognized by, and his qualifications to serve, Pharoah initially don't come out of his own skills. No, Egyptian leadership recognizes the spirit of God in Joseph. He isn't the one who can interprete dreams, but God will use him to give Pharoah an answer. God's intervention has saved Joseph, furthered His promises to Abraham, and kept Joseph - and salvation for Israel - available. A servant for 13 years (at least 3 in prison), the 30 year old Joseph is given a wife, and they have two sons during the 7 years of plenty. Contrast this with Judah's life story (Gen 38). There was a place for both in God's plan.

One example of having God's favor is the life of Joseph, where favor could be explained as "what's wrong, works out right" or "in trouble, God turns situations". (John 16:33, Romans 8:28)

Joseph was his father's favorite, but his mother had died young, his older brothers hated him for his attitude and dreams enough to kill or sell him into slavery, he was separated from his father. God was with Joseph so that he prospered, and Joseph found favor with his Egyptian boss. But the boss's wife gave inappropriate favor and lied about Joseph so that he was sent to jail and forgotten for years. But Joseph found favor with the keeper of the prison, and gave God's interpretation of some dreams. Released from prison two years later, he was needed to interprete Pharaoh's dream. Again favor preceded trouble; 7 years of plenty came before 7 years of regional famine. The famine extended to Canaan where his family lived, and Joseph, his father, and family were reunited before the father Jacob, called Israel by God, eventually died of old age.

Testing, Testing, 1-2-3
Jan 15:
Genesis 42-43
Genesis Commentary
Dictionary, and Books
"Testing and Tensions",
Bob Mendelsohn
Thought to apply today: Testing lets me learn to use what the Lord has been teaching me.
PROMISE: "You will not leave this place unless your youngest brother comes here." (Gen 42:15)
Remember the bowing down dream the Lord gave teenaged Joseph over 20 years before? Joseph remembers it when he recognizes 10 of his brothers in the throngs of people coming to Egypt for food in the famine. As the Governor of the Land in charge of grain, Joseph looks Egyptian to them; they don't recognize him. So how will Joseph respond?

During Joseph's years in Egypt, the Lord has been teaching him the value of testing. Good students pass tests. Favor brings challenges. What have you learned? How will you apply what you know? What will you do with what you saw in the dream? This is how Joseph's Lord dealt with him, and this is how Joseph dealt with his brothers. "You are spies!" he accused, when they thought their real guilt was having murdered their brother, ignoring his distress. How could a spoiled son survive that? They didn't know that what they found obnoxious in Joseph, his bosses found profitable. "Your words will be tested to see if you are telling the truth," said Joseph. And Simeon is jailed until they return with Benjamin.

Back home in Canaan, when the brothers finally have to return for more grain or see their families starve to death, Jacob instructs them and prays to God Almighty for mercy. After all, the silver they paid for grain had shown up in their sacks, so add thieves to the accusation of spies. Take Benjamin, return the silver, take gifts, buy grain, and get Simeon back if you can.

In Egypt, when Joseph sees Benjamin, he orders a feast at his house. The brothers don't understand their invitation, thinking it may be their last meal. They talk with Joseph's steward, who knows the Lord and tells them not to worry. "Your God, the God of your father, has given you treasure in your sacks." He brings out Simeon, and the brothers get out their gifts: balm, honey, spices, myrrh, pistachio nuts and almonds. But when Joseph gets home at noon, it's the sight of Benjamin that overcomes him. When they eat, the Egyptians are separated at a table by themselves, Joseph eats by himself, and the brothers (surprisingly seated in order of age!) eat at another table with food from Jacob's table. (Eating with Hebrews was detestable to Egyptians. Did the brothers notice?) Benjamin gets 5 times as much food as anyone else, and they all feast and drink freely.

"That's Funny - You Don't LOOK Jewish"
Jan 16:
Genesis 44-46
Genesis Commentary
Dictionary, and Books
"Arguing the Case", Bob Mendelsohn
Joseph, Aslan, and Hidden Messages, TorahBytes
Thought to apply today: God can work His plans for us through tragedies in our lives.
PROMISE: "GOD sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance. So then, it was not you who sent me here, but GOD." (Gen 45:7-8a)
Special thanks to Alan Gilman of TorahBytes.org for today's commentary.

Joseph said to his brothers, "I am Joseph! Is my father still living?" But his brothers were not able to answer him, because they were terrified at his presence (Bereshit / Genesis 45:3).

When Joseph's brothers appeared before him in Egypt, they didn't know who he was. So much had occurred from the time they sold him into slavery. Now he was second to Pharaoh and chief administrator of Egypt's storehouse of food. The famine had hit Canaan severely, which is what brought Joseph's brothers to Egypt. They came and spoke with Joseph twice, and both times they had no idea at all who he was. Their own brother - and they didn't recognize him. They had no idea that he was about to become their source of care and provision. He was going to save them from death by starvation and provide them with the place where they would prosper as a nation. Joseph was their savior and they didn't know it.

They didn't recognize him for a couple of reasons. First, they never would have expected to see him in that place. They sold him as a slave, but now he was a top official in Egypt. Sometimes when we see someone we know in an unusual place or situation, we have difficulty recognizing them. Second, Joseph both looked and sounded Egyptian. There was no way they would have figured out on their own that he was their own flesh and blood. If he would not have revealed himself to them, they never would have even guessed that he was their brother.

But he was. Their lack of recognition didn't change that. Whatever they did to him in the past didn't change the fact that he was currently in the position he was. Little did they know that their sin was what began the chain of events that led Joseph to this high position that in the end would be the source of their own salvation. It was God's will that Joseph become as an Egyptian so that he would come to the help of his own family one day - and not just his own family, but the source of salvation of many peoples. The process that God put Joseph through made him unrecognizable to those who were closest to him. But this process was necessary.

And so too it was necessary for the Messiah to go through a similar process. It was God's plan to bring his salvation to not Israel only, but to all nations. And so through the transgression of his own people, he has become the Savior of all who trust in him. But as a result of this process, Yeshua has become unrecognizable to his own people, seemingly to have become a god of the Gentiles. But one day, he will again speak to the people of Israel, just like Joseph did to his brothers, and say, "I am your Messiah." The reaction of his people will be similar to that of Joseph's brothers - terror and bewilderment. As said through the prophet Zechariah:

And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication. They will look on me, the one they have pierced, and they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for him as one grieves for a firstborn son. (Zechariah 12:10).

What a shock it will be, but like Joseph and his brothers, a wonderful reconciliation.

"Shepherd at the Right Hand"
Jan 17:
Genesis 47-49
Genesis Commentary
Dictionary, and Books
"Aliens in a Foreign Land",
Bob Mendelsohn
Thought to apply today: God has been my shepherd all my life.
PROMISE: "The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be." (Gen 49:10) - see MessiahRevealed.org
Special thanks to Bob Mendelsohn, Jews for Jesus Australia, for today's commentary, shown here in part.

Jacob began his memoirs in the last chapter, planning his funeral and then this week, continues with his reflections and memory lane visit. He retraces his steps and God's power and leading.
Gen. 48:15 And he blessed Joseph, and said, "The God before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac walked, The God who has been my shepherd all my life to this day,
What a thought! God has been my shepherd all my life. That includes the times when Jacob was wandering in fear. That includes the times when he was finegling to land more cattle from his uncle Laban. That includes the times of 22 years without his favourite son Joseph. All my life. Can you say that?

Chapter 47.27 says, "And Jacob lived". We might miss this in the English. The Hebrew says he lived. Not as in other places "he dwelled" or "he sojourned." But "he lived." Vayechi. This is a point of much Talmudic conversation. Most say and I agree that Jacob finally had a good ending to his otherwise ordinary life. The expression of Chizkuni "If one's end is good, all is good" makes good sense here. And what made it so good? He was reunited with his entire family. And in that reunion he could say "God has been my shepherd".

King David sang this also. Remember the most famous psalm in the Bible is Psalm 23. How does it begin? Adonai roi. The Lord is my shepherd. He didn't begin being our shepherd when we recognized him. He doesn't become the shepherd when we realize we are his sheep. He is who He is from the beginning. We only enter into the relationship and figure this out when we repent of our sins, accept Jesus as our Messiah and Saviour, and learn that we are sheep, and in fact, we are His sheep!

So Jacob is smiling there in Egypt and shares with his family this pleasure. He wants to end well and teaches them yet again of the Lord and His plans for them. The shepherd has found his 147 year old sheep, and life is good for them both.

(This message continues - click here...)

Joseph Wept
Jan 18:
Genesis 50
Genesis Commentary
Dictionary, and Books
"Meant for Good",
Bob Mendelsohn
Thought to apply today: Tragedies and hardships can show us the Lord's wisdom, timing, and loyalty.
PROMISE: "God will surely come to your aid and take you up out of this and to the land he promised on oath to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob." (Gen 50:24b)
Jacob (Israel) lived in Egypt 17 years. By the time he died, aged 147, he had put his affairs in order. He had blessed his sons and grandsons. He had instructed his sons on his burial wishes. He had gotten Joseph's promise to bury his body back in the cave in Canaan where his first wife Leah, parents Isaac and Rebecca, and grandparents Abraham and Sarah were buried. Grief stricken and obedient, Joseph and his brothers got to see the promised home land one more time.

Their family life had been strained with betrayal, guilt, lust, and other things so different from what they had expected. "My years have been short and difficult," Jacob had told the Pharaoh (47:9). For the past two generations in Hebrew life, there had been one son to receive and carry on God's promise, and neither time had it been the oldest son. With Israel's sons (his daughter Dinah may have married one of her half-brothers), all twelve were separated together from most Egyptians by being aliens and shepherds in Goshen. Who would have thought that in his last years, Jacob would the father of a powerful man in Egypt? Such fame, power, wealth, and responsibility were not what Joseph had expected from his life either, and all his success actually did not bring happiness. After their father's death, it was even more apparent that Joseph's brothers neither knew him well nor understood his explanation and forgiveness of their betrayal (50:15-21). Joseph understood that God, not man, is judge. But how could he convince his brothers? How could anyone else know the loyalty of God who hadn't experienced and endured human disloyalty? Joseph wept.

At the end of Joseph's life, with at least some of his brothers outliving this relatively young 110 year old man, he didn't need to know exactly what would happen and was to come, because he knew the One who did. Joseph's blessing was this: "God will surely come to your aid, and then you must carry my bones up from this place." (50:25)

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