Jacob’s Ladder

Jacob had bargained for his brother Esau’s birthright and then deceived his father to obtain the covenant blessing. The plan that his mother, Rebekah, hatched for him to receive the blessing had worked, but it came at a big cost. Esau was furious with his brother and planned to kill him once their father, Isaac, was dead. Jacob had to leave his home and seek refuge with Rebekah’s brother. On his way there, he saw a vision of stairs leading to heaven. In this dream, he saw what we call Jacob’s Ladder.

Sending Jacob to his mother’s family was more than just a cover story to protect him from Esau. Isaac and Rebekah wanted to make sure that Jacob did not marry a Canaanite woman. The fact that Esau had married Hittite women made life bitter for his parents (Gen 26:34-35).

Then Rebekah said to Isaac, “I loathe my life because of the Hittite women. If Jacob marries one of the Hittite women like these, one of the women of the land, what good will my life be to me?” (Gen. 27:46 ESV)

So, Jacob was sent away to Rebekah’s family to find a wife (Gen 28:1). Something very strange, interesting, and special happened to him on his way to Paddan-aram.

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Posted by Eddie Lawrence in Genesis

Was Jacob Foreordained To Receive The Blessing?

The story of how Jacob came by the birthright and blessing is more complex than it may first appear. It began in the womb with a struggle between brothers. It was such an unusual circumstance that it led their mother, Rebekah, to inquire of God about the situation. God told her, “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). Was Jacob, the younger brother, foreordained by God to receive the birthright and blessing? Or, did God merely foretell how the future would unfold?

If the only Scriptures which commented on this situation were found in the Genesis passages, we might not be able to get an answer to our question. The language of Genesis 25 and 27 could reasonably infer either option. So, what Scriptures help us to find out if God foreordained Jacob to inherit the blessings?

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Posted by Eddie Lawrence in Genesis

Birthright And Blessing – Are They The Same Thing?

In Genesis 27:36, Esau laments that Jacob, “took away my birthright, and behold, now he has taken away my blessing.” The birthright usually belonged to the oldest male heir in a family. The oldest son, usually, received double the inheritance of his younger brothers. With this double portion came the responsibility of caring for the extended family which would include the widow of the deceased and any unwed sisters. Thus, the double portion of the material inheritance was to ensure that the recipient of the birthright had the means to take care of the family. 

Esau’s statement in Genesis 27:36 hints that the birthright did not necessarily confer family headship. Esau believed that Jacob had stolen both the birthright and the blessing from him. As the oldest, Esau expected to receive both.  

What this passage reveals is that the birthright and the blessing were not the same thing. Presumably they often went together, but this Old Testament passage leaves the door open to the possibility that they could go to two different brothers.

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Posted by Eddie Lawrence in Ancient Customs, Genesis

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).

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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:

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Posted by Eddie Lawrence in Genesis