The Older Shall Serve The Younger

The Jewish people owe their existence to two miracles which took place in the first two generations of Israel’s patriarchs. Abraham’s wife, Sarah, was unable to have children. God miraculously enabled her to conceive Isaac at the age of 90! Like her mother-in-law, Isaac’s wife, Rebekah, was also barren. God intervened allowing her to conceive Esau and Jacob (Gen 25:21-22). Her two sons struggled with each other in her womb leading her to inquire of God. God said, “Two nations are in your womb, and two peoples from within you shall be divided; the one shall be stronger than the other, the older shall serve the younger” (Gen. 25:23 ESV).

Continue reading →
Posted by Eddie Lawrence in Genesis

Eastward: Away From The Land Of Blessing

Land Of Blessing
Image by Pexels from Pixabay

As Abraham’s life drew to a close, he sent his sons who were not part of the covenant away. He sent them eastward, away from the land of blessing. 

5 Abraham gave all he had to Isaac. 6 But to the sons of his concubines Abraham gave gifts, and while he was still living he sent them away from his son Isaac, eastward to the east country. 7 These are the days of the years of Abraham’s life, 175 years. 8 Abraham breathed his last and died in a good old age, an old man and full of years, and was gathered to his people. (Gen. 25:5–8 ESV)

He wisely did this while he was still alive so that there would be no disputing what his will was. Abraham didn’t want his sons who were not part of the covenant to be near Isaac. He removed them from any presumed position of privilege. 

Why east?

Genesis specifically says that Abraham sent the sons of his concubines eastward. Why is this detail included? The narrative could have just said that he sent them away without providing a direction. When Moses wrote Genesis, was there something about moving east that he wanted us to pay attention to? Indeed there was:

Continue reading →
Posted by Eddie Lawrence in Genesis

Buying A Wife?

Buying A Wife

When a modern Westerner reads about an arranged marriage in the Bible it looks to us like a man was buying a wife. For example, consider the story in Genesis 24 where Abraham sent his servant to find a wife for his son Isaac. To us, this looks more like a business transaction than a proposal.

After Abraham’s servant encountered Rebekah at the well, her family welcomed him into their home. No doubt the golden jewelry he gave her helped pave the way for him (Gen 24:22, 47). Abraham’s servant then explained how his master had made him swear to go back to his homeland to find a wife for Isaac. After Rebekah’s family agreed for her to become Isaac’s bride, the servant gave gifts of gold and other costly items. These “presents” were given to Rebekah, her brother, and her mother (Gen 24:50-53).

Continue reading →
Posted by Eddie Lawrence in Ancient Customs, Genesis, Women

“Put Your Hand Under My Thigh”

Put Your Hand Under My Thigh

2 And Abraham said to his servant, the oldest of his household, who had charge of all that he had, “Put your hand under my thigh, 3 that I may make you swear by the LORD, the God of heaven and God of the earth, that you will not take a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I dwell, 4 but will go to my country and to my kindred, and take a wife for my son Isaac.” (Gen. 24:2–4 ESV)

There are a lot of things in the Bible that are strange and outlandish to us. The traditions and cultures of people in the ancient Near East who lived thousands of years ago were, needless to say, very different from our own. For us it is common to place our right hand on a Bible to take an oath. Abraham had his servant swear by putting his hand under Abraham’s thigh. This is probably one of the most unusual customs in the Bible.

Continue reading →
Posted by Eddie Lawrence in Ancient Customs, Genesis

The Cave Of Machpelah

Cave Of Machpelah

Sarah, died at the age of 127 years and her husband, Abraham, buried her in the Cave of Machpelah near Hebron. Sarah is the only woman in the Bible whose age at the time of death is recorded. This is a reminder of her importance in God’s plan. Herod the Great memorialized the location of her tomb with one of his massive construction projects in the 1st century BC. 

Since Abraham did not own any land in Canaan, he had to purchase a burial place. He approached the sons of Heth to inquire about purchasing a cave to use as a family tomb. Abraham negotiated with Ephron to purchase a piece of land just east of Hebron for four hundred shekels of silver (Gen 23:17-18).

Continue reading →
Posted by Eddie Lawrence in Archaeology, Genesis