This week Rabbi Loren lead the Bible Study. Last week’s study was not recorded. Rabbi Loren’s notes are below:
Jacob is one of the greatest men who ever lived. The Egyptians, one of the great civilizations of that time, gave him a funeral procession worthy of a king (see Genesis 50).
He is one of the most important men who ever lived. He became a spiritual giant. His name Israel, is the name of the Chosen People. He is the father of the 12 tribes of the Chosen People. He was a prophet. God spoke to him and appeared to him on quite a few occasion. That’s very rare, very special.
Genesis 1-9: Nine chapters to describe the history of the world for close to 2,000 years. Creation, the Fall, the first civilization, the Flood, the covenant with Noah. About 10 chapters devoted to the life of Jacob. Shows how important he is.
18 Now Jacob came safely to the city of Shechem, which is in the land of Canaan, when he came from Paddan-aram, and camped before the city. 19 He bought the piece of land where he had pitched his tent from the hand of the sons of Hamor, Shechem’s father, for one hundred pieces of money.
This is a foreshadowing of the entire land being taken over by Israel – a work which is still in progress, a work that will be fulfilled when Messiah returns.
Joseph was buried there. John 4, the story of the woman at the well, takes place in this location.
20 Then he erected there an altar and called it El-Elohe-Israel.
The Mighty One, God, is very closely associated with this great man. Again, his importance.
There was danger that when Jacob left Isaac and Rebekah, and went to his relatives in the East, who worshiped many gods, that Jacob would be corrupted. He wasn’t. His faith remained intact over 20 years. Now he is back in the land, a true worshiper of the true God. He left by himself. Now he has wives and many children and wealth. God has done this for him and he is grateful. It is right to express gratitude to God for His goodness.
Now Dinah the daughter of Leah, whom she had borne to Jacob, went out to visit the daughters of the land. 2 When Shechem the son of Hamor the Hivite (descendants of Canaan. He and his descendants were under a curse), the prince of the land, saw her, he took her and lay with her by force.
Rape. Very wrong. Destructive. Can result in terrible consequences.
3 He was deeply attracted to Dinah the daughter of Jacob, and he loved the girl and spoke tenderly to her. 4 So Shechem spoke to his father Hamor, saying, “Get me this young girl for a wife.” 5 Now Jacob heard that he had defiled Dinah his daughter; but his sons were with his livestock in the field, so Jacob kept silent until they came in. 6 Then Hamor the father of Shechem went out to Jacob to speak with him. 7 Now the sons of Jacob came in from the field when they heard it; and the men were grieved, and they were very angry because he had done a disgraceful thing in Israel by lying with Jacob’s daughter, for such a thing ought not to be done.
Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and Israel’s childen had a very high sense of morality. No sex before marriage. Certainly no rape.
8 But Hamor spoke with them, saying, “The soul of my son Shechem longs for your daughter; please give her to him in marriage. 9 Intermarry with us; give your daughters to us and take our daughters for yourselves. 10 Thus you shall live with us, and the land shall be open before you; live and trade in it and acquire property in it.”
Financial gain offered.
Not good to intermarry with the Canaanites. The integrity of the nation, and its mission, was at risk.
11 Shechem also said to her father and to her brothers, “If I find favor in your sight, then I will give whatever you say to me. 12 Ask me ever so much bridal payment and gift, and I will give according as you say to me; but give me the girl in marriage.”
More financial enticement offered. Money can assuage anger – but not in this case.
13 But Jacob’s sons answered Shechem and his father Hamor with deceit, because he had defiled Dinah their sister. 14 They said to them, “We cannot do this thing, to give our sister to one who is uncircumcised, for that would be a disgrace to us. 15 Only on this condition will we consent to you: if you will become like us, in that every male of you be circumcised, 16 then we will give our daughters to you, and we will take your daughters for ourselves, and we will live with you and become one people. 17 But if you will not listen to us to be circumcised, then we will take our daughter and go.”
Using God and religion to deceive. Not good.
18 Now their words seemed reasonable to Hamor and Shechem, Hamor’s son. 19 The young man did not delay to do the thing, because he was delighted with Jacob’s daughter. Now he was more respected than all the household of his father. 20 So Hamor and his son Shechem came to the gate of their city and spoke to the men of their city, saying, 21 “These men are friendly with us; therefore let them live in the land and trade in it, for behold, the land is large enough for them. Let us take their daughters in marriage, and give our daughters to them. 22 Only on this condition will the men consent to us to live with us, to become one people: that every male among us be circumcised as they are circumcised. 23 Will not their livestock and their property and all their animals be ours? Only let us consent to them, and they will live with us.”
Again, the use of financial benefit. Good deal for you.
24 All who went out of the gate of his city listened to Hamor and to his son Shechem, and every male was circumcised, all who went out of the gate of his city. 25 Now it came about on the third day, when they were in pain, that two of Jacob’s sons, Simeon and Levi, Dinah’s brothers (same father, and mother, Leah), each took his sword and came upon the city unawares, and killed every male. 26 They killed Hamor and his son Shechem with the edge of the sword, and took Dinah from Shechem’s house, and went forth. 27 Jacob’s sons came upon the slain and looted the city, because they had defiled their sister. 28 They took their flocks and their herds and their donkeys, and that which was in the city and that which was in the field; 29 and they captured and looted all their wealth and all their little ones and their wives, even all that was in the houses.
30 Then Jacob said to Simeon and Levi, “You have brought trouble on me by making me odious among the inhabitants of the land, among the Canaanites and the Perizzites; and my men being few in number, they will gather together against me and attack me and I will be destroyed, I and my household.” 31 But they said, “Should he treat our sister as a harlot?”
War crime. Killed a whole city because of one man’s sin.
Retaliation was to be expected.
Put the fledgling Chosen Nation at extreme risk.
Disqualification of Simeon and Levi as the spiritual heir of Jacob
35 Then God said to Jacob, “Arise, go up to Bethel and live there, and make an altar there to God, who appeared to you when you fled from your brother Esau.”
Another supernatural encounter between God and Jacob.
Another one, Genesis 31 – time to return home.
Another one with angels at Machanaim.
Another one with the Mysterious Stranger at Peniel.
Up to Bethel – 20 miles south, and about 1000 feet higher in elevation.
2 So Jacob said to his household and to all who were with him, “Put away the foreign gods which are among you, and purify yourselves and change your garments; 3 and let us arise and go up to Bethel, and I will make an altar there to God, who answered me in the day of my distress and has been with me wherever I have gone.” 4 So they gave to Jacob all the foreign gods which they had and the rings which were in their ears, and Jacob hid them under the oak which was near Shechem.
Repentance, devotion loyalty to only the God of Israel. Rings – maybe charms or amulets.
We need to be only devoted to God. We need to bury our idols – anything that completes with God for our devotion.
5 As they journeyed, there was a great terror upon the cities which were around them, and they did not pursue the sons of Jacob.
God supernaturally protected them with fear.
6 So Jacob came to Luz (that is, Bethel), which is in the land of Canaan, he and all the people who were with him. 7 He built an altar there, and called the place El-bethel, because there God had revealed Himself to him when he fled from his brother.
Jacob’s third altar. This was a true worshiper of the living God. That was a man who was devoted to God and the mission God gave him.
Bethel will become a future false worship center for northern Israel – not good. Twisted.
8 Now Deborah, Rebekah’s nurse, died, and she was buried below Bethel under the oak; it was named Allon-bacuth. Oak of weeping.
9 Then God appeared to Jacob again when he came from Paddan-aram, and He blessed him.
The first appearance being the Mysterious Stranger.
10 God said to him, “Your name is Jacob; You shall no longer be called Jacob, But Israel shall be your name.” Thus He called him Israel.
Jacob, heel, one who walks at the heel of God, walks close to God. Not supplanter. Not deceiver. Christian anti-Semitism. Isaac and Rebekah would have given their child, of whom God had told them that he would be the leader, a name that meant supplanter.
Israel, from Sar. Someone who is a God-ordained ruler. Worthy to rule.
11 God also said to him, “I am God Almighty (El Shaddai – strong, all-sufficient provider); be fruitful and multiply; a nation and a company of nations shall come from you, and kings shall come forth from you.
And Israel was blessed with amazing fruitfulness. Hundreds of millions have come from him. Two nations (northern and southern kingdoms, and tribes (nations) came from him, plus the most royal line of all royal lines.
12 “The land which I gave to Abraham and Isaac, I will give it to you, and I will give the land to your descendants after you.”
Still in effect.
13 Then God went up from him in the place where He had spoken with him. 14 Jacob set up a pillar in the place where He had spoken with him, a pillar of stone, and he poured out a drink offering on it; he also poured oil on it.
Drink offering: water or wine: acknowledging gratitude for the God who makes water or wine; and is to be thanked for it.
Oil, valuable, beneficial thing – pour out to acknowledge that God makes oil, and is to be thanks for it.
15 So Jacob named the place where God had spoken with him, Bethel. House of God.
16 Then they journeyed from Bethel; and when there was still some distance to go to Ephrath, Rachel began to give birth and she suffered severe labor. 17 When she was in severe labor the midwife said to her, “Do not fear, for now you have another son.” 18 It came about as her soul was departing (for she died), that she named him Ben-oni; but his father called him Benjamin.
Ben-oni: son of my sorrow, my catastrophe.
Ben-yamin. of my right hand. Right hand man. Name of honor.
The fathers didn’t want to name their children with negative names, which is why Jacob probably means one who walks at the heel of God, not supplanter or deceiver.
19 So Rachel died and was buried on the way to Ephrath (that is, Bethlehem). 20 Jacob set up a pillar over her grave; that is the pillar of Rachel’s grave to this day. 21 Then Israel journeyed on and pitched his tent beyond the tower of Eder.
22 It came about while Israel was dwelling in that land, that Reuben went and lay with Bilhah his father’s concubine, and Israel heard of it.
He was the firstborn. The heir. He forfeited that position because of his adultery. Now Judah is the eldest son who is in line to be the heir.
Now there were twelve sons of Jacob – 23 the sons of Leah: Reuben, Jacob’s firstborn, then Simeon and Levi and Judah and Issachar and Zebulun; 24 the sons of Rachel: Joseph and Benjamin; 25 and the sons of Bilhah, Rachel’s maid: Dan and Naphtali; 26 and the sons of Zilpah, Leah’s maid: Gad and Asher. These are the sons of Jacob who were born to him in Paddan-aram.
27 Jacob came to his father Isaac at Mamre of Kiriath-arba (that is, Hebron), where Abraham and Isaac had sojourned. 28 Now the days of Isaac were one hundred and eighty years. 29 Isaac breathed his last and died and was gathered to his people, an old man of ripe age; and his sons Esau and Jacob buried him.
Gathered to his people: reveals a belief that there is life after death for the righteous.
Isaac also was one of the greatest men who ever lived. Close to God. Fewer events happened to him than to Abraham or Jacob. But, he faithfully transmitted the faith from generation to generation.
Death can bring a family closer, or tear it apart. Isaac’s death brought the family closer together.