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Jan 9, 2015

90 Day Challenge – Day 9

Sarah Christmyer

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Bible Time Period: Patriarchs

In the time of the Patriarchs, you called Abraham and promised his children land, a royal kingdom, and worldwide blessing: Help me to trust in your promises today.

Reflection

The events of Genesis 34 are a shocking interlude in the story.  We do not expect such behavior from God’s people.  As you read, take note of who is responsible; they will reap the consequences later on.

Today’s Reading

Genesis 33-36

Today’s Question

Jacob and his family return to Bethel in chapter 35.  What happens there?

Join the discussion below!

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  • This is a touching story and meaningful revelation about God’s saving grace.

    Jacob returns to Bethel, tossing away images of false Gods and built an altar to El, the God of Israel. This act scared many, much like how it is when we initially reject a sinful way or a false god. But, how wonderful it is. God bestows upon Jacob a blessing – he is to named Israel and a nation will stem from him. This is true for us when we turn toward God with our entire hearts, minds, and actions.

  • God speaks to Jacob telling him to go up to Bethel to settle there and build an altar to the God who appeared to him (Jacob) when he was fleeing from Esau. Jacob recognizes that the foreign gods his family has brought with them will be an affront to God, they rid themselves of these things, purify themselves and put on fresh clothes to present themselves to the Lord. Jacob builds an altar and God again appears to Jacob, blessing him, giving him the name of Israel and reiterates the promises that had been made to Abraham. God also tells them to be “fruitful and multiply”. Jacob made a libation and poured it out on the altar he had made to God. The blessing that is given then is followed by the death of Rachel, the beloved wife of Jacob.

  • In chapter 34, Jacob recognized that his sons actions of wiping out all of the men in the region would bring negative repercussions on inhabiting the Promised Land in the future. Jacob was looking at it from a global perspective, whereas his sons were only focused on their immediate family, by taking out revenge for their sister’s sake.

    Jacob is renamed Israel, quite a name and character transformation from cunning to one who prevails with God. Jacob is also reminded by God that the land given to Abraham and Isaac is handed down to him and his descendants. What a responsibility to have!

    I used to believe it was redundant when bible verses would reiterate: this is the God of Abraham, God of Isaac, ….. However, I finally realized how the people constantly needed to be reminded that there is only one God. As we read the bible we will see how quickly the people forget this simple fact, and keep going back to old habits of idolizing false gods. They quickly forget all the blessings that God has bestowed on them.

    • Excellent point, Luz! Interesting that Bethel
      was formerly known as Luz!

      I think that the deceiver made it his eternal mission to trip up humans and lead them away from lives filled with love and toward lives of self-destruction. Talk about trickery!

      Even today, people may think that they worship the one true God, but they fail to recognize the idols in their lives because they are not gods, or statues, or animals, or the other objects that the ancient peoples worshipped. We are surrounded by the even more dangerous idols of greed, wealth, material possessions, success, fame, jealousy, drugs, alcohol and other addictions, the brain-deadening lure of television, etc. etc. etc. (It was always a pet peeve of mine to see more than one “etc” but in this case, the examples are limitless!) These are the destroyers of our souls and keep us away from true union with the One True God, our Heavenly Father, in union with Jesus His Son and the Holy Spirit.

      • Marianne, people have many different idols in our lives. I never really thought of the examples you gave as idols, but people certainly treat them as such! If we spent a mere 10% of the time we do on other “idols” such as TV, and instead invest that time on interacting/praying to God. How different would our life be, how much closer can we be with God. Everything in moderation is my motto, that helps keep me in focused.

      • This Sunday, we celebrate the Baptism of the Lord. This morning I was struck by a note in the Magnificat which I think is pertinent to Day 9’s discussion:
        “No one can breceive anything except what has been given from heaven.” As we prepare for Christ’s baptism, we beg that the Bridegroom will increase in our life, for “we know that we belong to God.” It is that belonging that makes us want to put out of our life anything that smacks of idolatry. We must decrease, which is to say, we empty ourselves of our false self so as to open up a space ready to receive Christ the lavish graces of heaven.

        (Me again.) I mentioned in another response to Maria Otero yesterday (on forgiveness) “I think when you are unable to forgive it blocks the graces you can receive”.
        I think in this case, the idol is our own sense of self-importance which causes the hardness in our hearts, making us incapable of forgiving. It’s very dangerous to our spiritual growth and well-being. Bottom line is, when we give up the idols in our lives (and there are so many!), that is when we are able to receive many graces and blessings.

        So, on this day, let us re-pledge our Baptismal Promises to the Lord and open our hearts to receive all that He has to offer.

    • Speaking of idols… In my bible study on Galatians which I just started, I was referred to Romans 1:18-32 which describes the “evil age”.
      “Claiming to be wise, they became fools; and they exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling a mortal human being or birds or four-footed animals or reptiles. Therefore ‘God gave them up’ in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the degrading of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever!” (Rom 1:22-24)

      There was a footnote in my study bible regarding verse 24 “God gave them up” which states, “One severe form of judgment is for God to allow recalcitrant sinners to continue in their sin… a dulled moral sense and intense, disordered desires are forms of punishment that such hardened sinners often experience when they revel in their sin.”

      I thought this was a noteworthy observation. Do we “deserve” our suffering? In a sense, if we don’t repent and turn away from sin, perhaps we do…

      (This reference to Romans came from Galatians 1:3-5, where Paul writes to the churches of Galatia) “Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to set us free from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.”

      • Very interesting note Marianne.You mentioned: “Do we deserve our suffering? In a sense, if we don’t repent and turn away from sin, perhaps we do…” I agree with that statement for the most part. We have to have repercussions for our actions, if we don’t pay now we will pay in the future. On the other hand there are people that suffer without any overt, obvious sin in their lives. Such as a young child who gets cancer. In such cases, we are asked to offer up our suffering to the Lord, just as Christ did for us. We score some brownie points with God should that befall us. The majority of sins however I believe are the former, where people choose to sin. Thanks for sharing your Galatians scripture study with us, I know you just started in that group and you already are gaining insight. I need more time with my current reading before I branch out to Galatians, maybe by next year I’ll be ready, we’ll see. Happy Sunday!

  • I found it strange that Jacob told his household to “put away the strange gods that are among you and purify yourselves, and change your garments.” Genesis 35:2
    Why would he request this? Why are there strange deities within his household? In addition, why have the household purify themselves and change their garments? Yesterday the reading mentioned in Chapter 28 verse 19; “he called the name of the place Bethel; but the name of the city was Luz at first.” Jacob also mentioned in this same chapter; verse 21; “so that I may come again to my father’s house in peace…”
    When the group came to Bethel, they experienced death, they experienced birth, they experienced two brothers that came together for a short time, who needed to part ways. The stranger that Jacob wrestled with before he met up with his brother, mentioned that his name will be Israel. God again appeared to Jacob and told him his name was no longer Jacob, but Israel. After this occurred, Jacob placed a pillar and poured oil on it and named the place Bethel, which means House of God.
    Maybe that is why he asked his household to prepare themselves properly for the coming of the Lord, Our God!

    • If you look back to Chapter 31: 19…you will see that Rachel took her father’s household idols with her when she and Leah left with Jacob. It was the beloved of Jacob that introduced the worship of idols to the family that Jacob would have…I found that interesting.

      • I was just going to write the same thing Beverly. That the beloved Rachel was the one who brought the idols along and then hid them from her father Laban when he was searching the tents. Very interesting, indeed!

        • This is how I see us carrying on our virtues and vices in our families, cities, states, country, and the world…to change things for the better, we need to stem the coarse of what we pass on to our offspring…so that cycles are changed…I am currently trying to do that with my family by making general confessions every so often to confess familial sins and offer Masses for them, which most of us do…just as we see Isaac and others do when they bring offerings before God for sacrifice.

          • I know what you are saying Beverly. I try and use those teachable moments with my children when I encounter them and keep them in my prayers always. When all else fails, prayer will sustain us. I just hope I don’t wait for things to reach the point of failing before I turn to prayer!

          • God has brought it to my attention when I have lagged behind…for I gave them to Jesus at their baptisms…They are now his, he knows what they need and when I need to catechize them…otherwise, I just trust God to assist them on their individual journeys…after all I am not the only one who will be teaching God’s lessons…God will put others in their paths as they need it to be done…that is God’s promise to us…He will always be with us…that means those we love as well.

        • Michelle, You are so right! What I wonder about is why did Jacob allow these false god statues in his household?

          • Jacob is human…he can not be expected to know everything that everyone is doing in his household…or he would be called God…also, I do pray everyday…however, that does not mean only good things have happened to me or my kin…everyone has free will, and make their own choices…I am not in charge of their behavior…that only happened for a short number of years when they were children. When they became pre-teens they started making some of their own decisions and did some things that we did not find out about until many years later…this is the way it is. Besides, even God allowed bad things to happen to Jesus…and he is the 2nd person in the Blessed Trinity…how can we expect to go through any less trouble…

          • God allowed Jesus to walk with humans… He was bound to be affected by this exposure. God knew human nature, that a beautiful soul such as our Lord Jesus would not be understood or
            accepted, except by a relative few with the wisdom and insight and depth of perception.

            I think as a parent you can just continue to pray without
            ceasing, keep the lines of communication open, and let them learn by example…
            the way you live the faith means just as much, if not more, than mere words.

            With blessings and prayers to you and your family.

      • I did, too. I strayed from the question we were asked, but I couldn’t stop because those brainwaves were in full force this morning! Seriously, I am always asking questions and through my questions come answers where I can see that God still loves us even though we are imperfect, even back then. What a super God!

    • Exile and return is a big theme repeating itself over and over, as will become much clearer moving through the timeline. Egypt and the Exodus is the perfect example of this. Idolatry is the epitome of enslavement to sin, where we set aside our faith, trust, hope in God and rely on false gods of materialism, etc., the things of this world. Idolatry, in essence, has always been a temptation, even in the garden, and always will be. We study, pray, avail ourselves of the Sacraments, that we can scrub the same disordered impulses from our own hearts – re-dedicating ourselves to God.

        • Thank you! I wonder how many of us have read the biblical fiction account of Dinah, “The Red Tent,” by Anita Diamante? I love the book; I want a red tent; it definitely embellishes the story, though!

          • I read that book years ago and I remember be very upset and angry. I can’t remember why. I think I still have it so I am going to have to read it again. Maybe my opinion will be different this time. You are the second person to say they loved the book. Someone at work loved it too.

          • There is some upsetting material in the book, certainly. I think I focused on characterization, the descriptive mess I’m fleshing out culture, etc. I kept in mind it was fiction, but felt the author did a good job making the story believable. I will be interested to hear what you think after rereading it.

          • I found my book and just finished re-reading it. I actually enjoyed it this time probably because I also kept in mind that it was fiction not a biography. The author definitely made it believable. Now that I am doing this 90 day challenge for the 3rd or 4th time I am realizing that even the heroes (Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, David, etc. etc. etc.) were human and had human frailities and made poor judgements too. I guess I am saying that I realize they were not as perfect as I have thought they were all these years.

          • So glad, Barb! I have come to understand that for myself, on my journey toward faithfulness as a Catholic, I must take most literature with a grain of salt, unless it is an approved Catholic source.

          • There was a recent broadcast of a mini series based on “The Red Tent”. I had read the book several years ago and enjoyed the historical fiction. Of course I will almost always like the book better, but it was an interesting dramatization.

          • I watched it….beautiful cinematography, nice direction…biblically inaccurate in many regards! They took some license that I do not think even the book took, but I could be wrong as it has been a while snice I read it.

          • I thought that they went a bit farther than the book with their “embroidery” too, but I wasn’t sure since it has been so long since I read it and I don’t have the book to check.

  • In Chapter 35, we see how terrible one could be towards another. Little after Jacob buried his wife Rachel, the one he loved dearly, and still very much in mourning, Reuben, his eldest son sleeps with one of his wives, Bilhal. As expected, Jacob was terribly hurt by this. This incident would resurface as one of the forbidden acts in Mosaic Law – no kidding. This occurred after the telling of the idols and Jacob’s wish to destroy all the idols taken. Perhaps, the idols came with a certain lifestyle that influenced Reuben to act so abhorrently. For certain, the idols were destroyed by Jacob because they were approaching Bethel, a holy place where Jacob dreamed of the stairway to heaven (no, not the Zeppelin song).

    Immediately after this incident, the list of the 12 sons of Jacob/Israel are listed and a beautiful summation to Jacob and Esau’s reconciliation as they both bury their father Isaac together at peace. In everything that is ugly, there is also much beauty around us if we open our eyes to see it.

    • Absolutely, there is the potential for beauty in all things ugly, but you must want to find that beauty. If you only see ugly, beauty will never be found. Sometimes you have to search for that silver lining and God is a great “resource” in helping with this.

    • I also noticed that Isaac and Ishmael came together to bury Abraham (Gen 25:9). There must have been some peace between those two brothers.

  • The horrible incident with Dinah speaks to me of the greater defilement of the faith of God’s chosen. Had Jacob ‘ s covenant with Hamor and Shechem stood, their identity would have been in peril, a danger they will face over and over beginning with their enslavement in Egypt. That being said, the brothers taking matters into their own hands is inexcusable – another example of God’s people failing to seek His intercession.
    Chapter 35 is when God steps in to re – establish his covenant, and we read how idolatry had already begun to seep in. Irael’s tribe re – dedicates itsel to the Lord; setting aside their false gods, purifying themselves and praising God. God protected them, settled them and the stage is set for the next period of Salvation History while the tribes of Esau/Edom and Israel grow.

  • There is such beauty and such sadness in Chapter 35! We see that God comes to Jacob telling him where to go and I believe that Jacob completes his metamorphosis as a true follower of God. It is no longer the God of his Father Isaac but his God, the God of Jacob! We see this when he tells his people to get rid of their foreign gods, purify yourselves and change clothes. I believe Jacob wants his people to be ready to accept his God in Bethel. Jacob openly admits and knows that his God “has been with me whenever I have gone.” This is quite a change from the younger Jacob who stole his brother’s birthright and blessing. At this, God changes his name to Israel and blesses him the same as He blessed his Father Isaac and Grandfather Abraham. What a beautiful moment. After Rachel’s death, we see Israel in mourning only to be further hurt when his oldest son Reuban sleeps with his concubine Bilbah. Talk about a sucker punch to Israel. This act shows defiance towards his father and that all is not a perfect Shang-ri-la in Bethel. The chapter closes, however, with Isaac’s death. Again, we see the beauty as the two brothers, Israel and Esau, in harmony, bury their father. Isn’t this how life is for each of us? We have periods of happiness and sadness. As Jacob now fully recognizes, and hopefully we do, as well, God is with us always. As long as we remain faithful servants to God he will never leave us alone we need only ask of him. I tell the youth in our parish youth group that God only wants you to invite him into your day to share the good, the bad and the ugly!

    • I wonder why Reuben felt he need to sleep with his father’s concubine. As the oldest, he would have received the inheritance from his father.

      • I thought it interesting the order he lined his family up as they were going to meet Esau. Concubines and children, Leah and Children and then Rachel and children. There was an order of expendability and his family was not last! I am not making an excuse for the inexcusable but that must have been very painful for Reuben knowing his mother was not the favored wife and therefore he was not the “favored” son. This just shows us what depths pain and bitterness can cause a human to sink to. Being able to give and accept true forgiveness is truly a thing of beauty!

        • I want to say that I really appreciate all of your comments and insight. I am reading these chapters with a bit of disgust actually. Although I’ve heard or read some of this years ago, I find the promiscuity and raping and concubines and “offering of daughters”, deception, etc. so disturbing. I was thinking that the times we currently live in are the most “self-indulgent and promiscuous” of all time, but maybe not. Then I rethink, after reading all of your comments, that maybe those details are really not the focus, but more the story of mankind and God’s covenants with his people. It’s just difficult for me not to get caught up in all the “ugly”. I just feel that I will prefer the New Testament. But maybe it’s just my “Bible ignorance”.

          • Wow, Sharon, I agree with you 110 percent! I too cannot stomach the horrific deeds of these people. I can’t even comment on it.

            Though I also prefer the NT, I wanted to learn more about
            the history found in the OT, especially in light of salvation history. I wanted to learn more about all the references to “as it is written” or “fulfilling scripture”. So I just focus on what stands out to me. As for all the negative stuff, I feel that all I need to know is that man has been engulfed in sin since the beginning of
            creation; history repeats itself and humans don’t seem to learn from past mistakes; even the people who are most loyal to God have sinned (sometimes big
            time); and most important of all, that God loves each one of us. And He forgives us when we sin. In spite of it all, He still invites us to spend eternity with Him in heaven.

            Many people see an angry God in the OT. I see a loving and very patient God.

            I think the lesson we can focus on here is to love and
            forgive others, because that is what God expects us to do.

            May God bless you Sharon.
            May you always stay as pure at heart as you are now.

          • When I read how God forgave those in the OT time and time again it gives me hope for our time.

          • Thank you, Sharon. What some of these people did was beyond disturbing, I have to believe that there is a bigger purpose behind these events then just the acts, this is why I see the goodness at the end of the tunnel. I have gone through a bit of a transformation this year and it has helped me to tackle some of my own failings. Most importantly, true forgiveness of others. Just as I know God truly forgives me for my failings I need to do the same towards others that I feel have wronged me, otherwise my path to eternal salvation is muddied and I become mired down in negativity. Blessings to you, Sharon.

          • I think forgiveness is one of the hardest things we are called to do. It took me decades to get over the hurt with its poisonous effects and extend the olive branch. Though I’ll probably never forget, I had to let it go. Reconciliation is so sweet. It has led to transformation and healing. Michelle, I wish you peace and healing in your transformation.

          • If we all knew the Joy forgiveness brings even if it is not accompanied by reconciliation, we would forgive immediately. I was once that person who “did not get angry but who got even” Then I found that forgiveness is the best way to get even. One might say forgiving is the best revenge

          • Forgiveness is easier than forgetting! Thank God that time, and trust in Him, heals all wounds.

            As far as your theory on revenge, in my experience, the perpetrator is blissfully unaware of the hurt that they have caused and indifferent to the need for forgiveness. It’s unfortunate. We have to forgive, not just because that is what Jesus has taught us, but for our own inner peace.

          • To forgive someone take so much strenght you have to look into your heart and try to see yourself from the inside out as the one sufering with all that hatre inside is only you forget we don’t forget but at least we have peace and that is the best feeling be at peace within yourself is amazing

          • Yes, I think when you are unable to forgive it blocks the graces you can receive. Once you take that step, it’s as you say, Maria, you are filled with peace. And it releases unexpected blessings.

          • I’m with you, Sharon! I, too, have a hard time not getting caught up in the “ugly.” But it says to me that our current world is not without hope.

        • Very good insight, Michelle. We often don’t know what the motives behind someone’s actions, especially cruelty, might be, but you can bet that pain and bitterness are behind many of them.

          I was raised with cruelty by my father and it left me seeing the world through a lens very different from someone who had a happy childhood. I wasn’t aware of the reasons behind much of my cruelty toward my husband and others until I sought help to figure it all out. By the grace of God I did figure it out and was able to forgive and let it all go. I haven’t forgotten, but have to accept that my father was a product of his experiences growing up (he had an abusive father, as well) — generational sin. Not making excuses for him, but I’ve tried to understand the “why” behind all the cruelty.

          The times written about in Genesis are very different times and customs (some very disturbing!), but through it all I can see the generational sin coming through as each generation repeats the same sins of their fathers. It takes the grace of God for these sins to be broken and no longer passed down to the next generation. I’m attempting to correct my own generational sins by asking and trusting that God will give me mercy, grace and wisdom when I need it.

      • I remember reading, hearing (probably in the Great Adventure Bible Study) that Reuben sleeping with his father’s concubine was equivalent to wresting the leadership from the father. I am thinking of David’s son, Adonijah. After David’s death, Adonijah petitioned the Queen Mother Bathsheba for Abishag the Shunamite. So Bathsheba goes to King Solomon to make this request. King Solomon truly was wise and responds “Ask the kingdom for him as well, for he is my elder brother and has with him Abiathar the priest and Joab.” In First Kings Chapter 1:1-4 Abishag the Shunamite was the young beautiful woman who nursed King David in his final days. Although he did not have relations with her, she was very close to him; perhaps Adonijah thought that made his case for being KIng instead of Solomon strong enough to usurp power from Solomon. Anyone else have an idea, or am I just making up a good story for a soap opera here?

        • In looking at the notes referenced in chapter 35:22, you look to be correct indeed, Gig. The footnotes say, “Such an act is a serious challenge to the authority of the father.” Sadly enough, however, it does sound a little soap opera-esque, doesn’t it?

  • I noticed in Chapter 35 that once God changes Jacob’s name, he renews the covenant he made with Abraham. In the first covenant in the creation story with Adam and Eve (the holy couple), God tells them to be fruitful and multiple. Then in the second covenant with Noah (the holy family) God tells them the same, and now in the third covenant that was forged with Abraham and now renewed with Jacob/Israel God also says to be fruitful and multiply and tells Israel he will bring forth the holy nation, the 12 tribes of Israel. As we can see, each covenant is encompassing an even larger population.

    • I had not made that connection between the “be fruitful and multiply” and the covenant, wonderful insight. I know that there is much repetition in the Old Testament, it’s good we have this opportunity to share insight! Thanks Karen!

  • It seems to me that Jacob did not manage to pass his faith to his family, which remains a problem even today. Maybe he thought that setting an example was enough and neglected to teach them? I was struck at how cunning and violent Jacob’s sons had become and how cruel. Dinah had been sinned against yet her brothers were not interested in the sorrow, remorse and open recompense, just in cheating the whole tribe, murder, looting and slavery. Without the 10 commandments, all Jacob could do is point out the consequences of their actions, remove the idols and move. Seems that in many ways, this is generically repeated throughout history by people who are without God whether through lack of faith or not growing in faith. At least we have the choice to be like Jacobs sons at this point in the Bible, or to move and growth in faith.

  • These passages give me strange comfort. The meeting of the twins–long separated by betrayal-becomes a healing, peaceful reconciliation. The rash vengeance of Dinah’s brothers puts them all at risk, and the haste in which they had to leave may have contributed to Rachel dying during delivery. And then Reuben, the eldest son, greatly disrespected his father perhaps because he perceived that his mother had been treated badly. We wonder how can deception, betrayal, murder be in any way rewarded by our God? And here is, for me, where I find comfort: God has always had us frail, flawed, imperfect humans to work through and with to accomplish His plan. There may yet be hope for me to become the person He want me to be!!

  • In chapter 34 on the case of rape of Dinah by Shechem and the revenge of Jacob’s sons in the killing of all the males of Harom signify the anger in the eyes of Jacob’s sons. Don’t forget Jacob fail to action upon immediately when he heard it, but wait for his sons returned from work How can Dinah be raped and to marry the man who raped her? How much pain will she be carried in her life if they allow marriage to go through it. That incident remind me a rape case in India cause the death of that physiotheraphy intern, and a national demonstration demanded the government for the protection on women in India.

  • Jacob is fully ready to carry the mantel of his father Isaac and grandfather Abraham forward. He is a more transformed person now clearly focused on doing away with idolatry from his family and reemphasizing the focus on the LORD. Reuben’s act with his father’s concubine is certainly not liked by this father and may be this is one of the strong reasons for him to loose his birthright as a firstborn. Jacob’s union with Esau and the way the brothers join to bury Isaac is joy to read.

  • Desire, greed, anger, deceit, and lies destroyed the lives of many again. There was no honor brought to their sister Dianah by destroying so many lives. Shechem was wrong to have taken Dianah in the way he did. I think he realized this and tried to make an amends. Scripture says he truly loved her. For being people of God, there was no understanding, compasion, or forgiving. You can almost feel the stress in Jacob when he realizes what his sons have done and knows there is not much he can do and leaves it up to God. Funny how things in life do not change much. Centuries have gone by and things like this still occur today.

  • It seems that so much happened in Chapter 35!
    I now understand how important it was to purge one’s self of pagan images and clothes in order to be presentable to the Lord. With the images that Jacob was talking about were different from what we have today as pagan images. But are they really that different? There was a sense of ‘renewal of faith’ with this request. Put away your false images and concentrate on the Lord’s teachings!

  • Jacob purges his family of their pagan gods and builds an altar to the God of Israel. God then appears to Jacob and gives him a new name. After naming him Israel God renews the Covenant made with Abraham. Although this is the most important event there are two more events that my intuition see as important. Rachael dies here. She was the one who stole the pagan gods. Reuben betrayed Jacob by laying with his concubine. Reuben has also been involved with the trickery involving Dinah . It seems to me that Reuben had inherited some of Jacob’s manuplitive traits

  • Well 1st we notice that God reiterate’s the promises to Jacob (35:1–15)? I suggest it is to remind us that Jacob, in spite of all that has been wrong, was still the child of God’s promise. God would do what he said he would do, and God’s calling of him was gracious and irreversible.

    I also suggest that the long list of Genealogies was to illustrate the same point—that God would do what he said he would do. How does a genealogy enlighten us to that? Well, when I read the list of names, one thing strikes me: I barely recognize any of the names in the generations of Esau (ch. 36). Their names do not roll off my tongue like the names of Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Zebulun, Joseph, Benjamin, Dan, Naphtali, Gad, and Asher (ch. 35). I don’t know near as much about Esau’s sons as I do Jacob’s. Why? Because it was Jacob’s sons, not Esau’s, who were God’s chosen ones. Jacob’s sons were the children of promise. And therefore it is Jacob’s sons, not Esau’s, whose stories are recorded in the Bible and are familiar to me.

    My familiarity (or lack thereof) with these names is indicative of the fact that God specifically blessed the family of Jacob and not the family of Esau—just as he said he would do! What a reminder of God’s faithfulness! And he is just as faithful to all who are his own.

    • One thing I did notice about the family of Esau, is that Esau married Ishmael so now Esau’s line is linked to Ishmael not Issac. Also the names of the Esau’s sons are linked with the tribes inhabiting Caanan when the Israelites return after the Exodus

  • Chapter 35 is well covered by very insightful comments that were very helpful for me to read. Thank you all! What happened in Chapter 34 was striking to me. It is clear to me that Jacob’s sons actually planned the massacre by getting all of Hamor’s men to circumcise themselves thus making themselves defenseless during the painful healing process. I also thoroughly agree with other posts that it would have been Horrible for Dinah to be given as wife to the man who raped her… for ANY reason!!! I found it odd that God never mentioned the Massacre to Jacob since in Gen 9-6 he forbid the shedding of man’s blood by another. Maybe this “genocide” was needed and guided by god?, because in Gen 34-23 it appears that Hamor was planning on using the contract for treachery to confiscate everything from Jacob & family.

  • I noticed that although God said Jacob would be known as Israel, he is then referred to as both Israel and Jacob. As a name was more than simply a label, I wonder whether the interchange of names indicates that Jacob had to grow into his new identity? The other thing that struck me was that notwithstanding the purification, it wasn’t long before the sinning began with Reuben. It seems that since Adam and Eve there have been continual cycles of sinning, repentance, penance and reconciliation. Hum, sounds a bit like my life.

    • It sounds as everrybody life we sin we repent. We do penance and then reconciliation to start the cicle again and again God is good and doesn’t get tired of give His pardon to us

  • I saw the Red Tent, and found myself trying to fit the TV movie with the readings, which I now see wasn’t a good idea. I appreciated the fiction for entertainment, though it helped me understand the Bible readings as far as identifying and believing the humanness of real people in the Bible.

  • Jacob, receives two visits from God. The first visit let’s him know he is to go to Bethel. Once he arrived his first priority was to built an altar to honor God. The second visit was from God was upon the arrival to Paddanaram where God blessed him just as he had done so with Abraham and Isaac. Awww, amazing!

    I believe this came about when he was stricken by the trickery of his sins Simeon and Levi did to the Hivites. He did similar to his brother, knew is was wrong, asked forgiveness that which his brother Esua did forgive him for. Now this far greater sin that his own sons were leading in he did not like NAND wanted nothing to do with it. So what does he do seek God…and, God is there waiting to take him under his wing.

    Jacob and his descendants go on and serve God the Almighty! Amen.

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