Wednesday, May 28, 2014

14. Genesis 30:25-36:43 (Jacob's Departure from Haran)

A little behind. Here's Sunday's post, Genesis 30:25-36:43.
  • Divination: As an indication of how undeveloped the understanding of God is at this point, Laban seems to practice a form of "divination," which Leviticus 19:26 forbids of Israel.
  • Two Tricksters: Laban makes an agreement about cattle, but then cheats Jacob. But Jacob shows that he flunked genetics. God no doubt has a good laugh with the angels, but accommodates.
  • Angel of Elohim: God prospers Jacob, reminds him of Bethel, tells him to go home.
  • Household gods: It was customary in many parts of the ancient world (including the Romans) even to have family gods. Rachel steals her family's gods, then shows that she is a trickster too in hiding them from her father.
  • The "Fear" of Isaac: Quite a unique name for Elohim, the "Fear" of Isaac and the God of Abraham. Laban and Jacob set a marker and make a covenant not to pass it to do harm, invoking the "Fear" of Isaac.
  • More angels of Elohim: They meet Jacob on his way.
  • Facing Esau: Jacob now has to face up to his brother. What will happen? It turns out well in the end.
  • "Face of God": In the meantime, Jacob wrestles with an angel of Yahweh, who Jacob will characteristically call God in this passage. Calls the place, "Peniel," "face of God." Jacob now receives the name, "Israel." Apparently some Israelites did not eat the tendon attached to the thigh because of this story.
  • El, God of Israel: We have seen El before: "El Elyon" ("God Most High"), "El Roi" ("God Sees"), "El Shaddai" ("God Almighty"), "El Olam" ("God Forever"). El was king of the Canaanite pantheon.
  • Dinah and Circumcision: Circumcision is alive and well at Shechem! Don't mess with our sister.
  • Back to Bethel: Another naming of Bethel (with Elohim). They get rid of their foreign gods and El Shaddai appears to Jacob with the same promises of blessing he had given to Abraham and Isaac.
  • Deaths of Rachel and Isaac: Rachel dies in childbirth, giving birth to Benjamin. She is buried near Bethlehem. Isaac also dies finally. Meanwhile, Reuben sleeps with his father's concubine.
  • The generations of Esau
Previous notes:
1. Genesis 1:1-2:3 (Creation)
2. Genesis 2:4-3:24 (The Fall)
3. Genesis 4-5 (Cain and Abel)
4. Genesis 6-9 (The Flood)
5. Genesis 10-11 (The Tower of Babel)
6. Genesis 12 (The Call of Abram)
7. Genesis 13-14 (Melchizedek)
8. Genesis 15-17 (Hagar and Ishmael)
9. Genesis 18-19 (Sodom and Gomorrah)
10. Genesis 20-22 (Abraham and Isaac)
11. Genesis 23-24 (Isaac and Rebekah)
12. Genesis 25-26 (Birth of Jacob and Esau)
13. Genesis 27:1-30:24 (Jacob's Trickery, Flight, and Children)

Next post Wednesday (eh, Thursday) on Genesis 37-38 (Sibling Issues: Joseph, Tamar)

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