Genesis 26-27

 

December 15, 1996

Introduction

The book of Genesis is the book of beginnings.

That's what the name "genesis" is all about.

It's the beginning of creation.

It's the beginning of man, civilization, and sin.

It's the beginning of redemption and faith.

Weíve just seen the death of Abraham, the man who brought the beginnings of Godís way of faith.

Genesis 26

:1 Abimelech

This is the title of the Philistine ruler, not his name.

Itís like "Pharaoh" with the Egyptians.

This is most likely NOT the same guy that Abraham dealt with back in Genesis 21.

:2 Go not down into Egypt;

When Abraham sent Eliezer to find a bride for Isaac, he had warned the servant that no matter what he did, he was not to take Isaac out of the promised land.

And now God is saying the same thing.

Lesson:

Stay in the place God calls you to.

Sometimes we encounter a "famine" in the land weíre in.

We perhaps arenít getting all that we used to out of life.

The answer is to stay where God puts you, wait for Godís leading.

Otherwise we may end up leaving the area of Godís promises for our lives.

It may be in your marriage, it may be in your church.

:3 Sojourn in this land,

The land of the Philistines was in the promised land.

:4 in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed

Godís covenant with Abraham has now been passed on to his son, Isaac.

God has made the same promises now to the son.

:6 Gerar

Gerar is out on the coastal plain in the south of Israel, about 17 miles northwest of Beersheba.

:7 he said, She is my sister: for he feared

Does this sound familiar?

Abraham did this two different times, one with the Egyptians, one with the Philistines, with another Abimelech.

Lesson:

Parents set an example.

Like it or not, our kids are watching.

I donít mind them picking up on my habits, as long as theyíre my good ones.

But the problem is that they pick up EVERYTHING we do, the good and the bad.

With Abraham, at least it was partially true, in that Sarah was his half-sister.

But with Isaac, thereís no reason for him to come up with this particular lie, except itís the way that Daddy handled a similar situation.

Even in a spiritual situation, those of us who might be older or more mature in the Lord are setting an example for those who are newer in the Lord.

Theyíll listen to how you pray.

Theyíll watch how you deal with problem people.

Theyíll listen to how much you actually talk about the Lord in your conversations with other people.

:8 sporting

The word in Hebrew is often translated "laugh", and can carry the idea of kidding around with a person, or even of mocking them.

Some translate this as "caressing" (as NAS, NIV), in a marriage kind of way.

Either way, it was obvious to Abimelech that Isaac was married to this woman, and that she just wasnít his sister.

:14 the Philistines envied him

Isaac had prospered so much, that the Philistines just could stand living near him.

:15 the Philistines had stopped them,

They were so envious of Isaac, that they started causing him problems, stopping up his wells.

And in this area of Israel, you depend on your wells!

Lesson:

Some of the persecution is simple envy.

Sometimes people give you a hard time because deep down inside, they wish they could know God like you.

They wish they could have the same kind of joy and peace that you do.

:20 Esek

Esek = "contention."

:21 Sitnah

Sitnah means "enmity."

:22 Rehoboth

Rehoboth = "wide places or streets", "plenty of room."

Lesson:

Keep Digging.

Isaac and his guys didn't quit after the second well and all the fighting.

They kept on digging until they got a well where nobody fought over it.

Example:

When Calvary Anaheim was looking for a new building, Ken and I found several places that seemed good.

The first place brought a lot of division among the elders.

So did the second place.

But the third place seemed just right! We named it "Rehoboth".

Perhaps you feel that God has led you in a particular direction, but you don't quite feel settled about the way things are going.

Keep going and look for your "Rehoboth".

:23 he went up from thence to Beersheba.

Keep in mind, Isaac, like Abraham, was a nomad, a wanderer, following his flocks from pasture to pasture.

:25 he builded an altar there ...

This is the only time we have it recorded that Isaac built an altar.

:25 called upon the name of the LORD,

This seems to indicate some kind of worship.

We see it starting back in Genesis 4, and then continued on with Abraham:

(Gen 4:26 KJV) And to Seth, to him also there was born a son; and he called his name Enos: then began men to call upon the name of the LORD.

(Gen 12:8 KJV) And he removed from thence unto a mountain on the east of Bethel, and pitched his tent, having Bethel on the west, and Hai on the east: and there he builded an altar unto the LORD, and called upon the name of the LORD.

(Gen 13:4 KJV) Unto the place of the altar, which he had made there at the first: and there Abram called on the name of the LORD.

:28 We saw certainly that the LORD was with thee:

Lesson:

Witness follows worship.

Isaac had just built an altar to the Lord.

And now the Philistines finally see that God is with him.

Coincidence?

Example:

Look at the day of Pentecost -

The Holy Spirit fell on the believers.

They began to speak of the glories of the Lord (worship).

Acts 2:11 - ... we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God.

3,000 got saved that day.

:33 Sheba ... Beersheba

Shebah means "seven" or "oath." The meaning "oath" is emphasized here.

Beer = "well"

:34 Hittite,

From the "sons of Heth", who sold Abraham a cave to bury Sarah in.

These were people of the land, the kind of people that Abraham had NOT wanted his son Isaac to marry.

And now Esau marries a Hittite.

Genesis 27

:1 his eyes were dim,

Either near-sighted, blind, just couldn't see much at all.

:2 I am old

Isaac is 137 years old at the time, and even though he thinks he might die at any time, he actually will live another 43 more years.

NOTE:

It is possible to get the ages at this point by back tracking later on in Genesis.

We know that Esau and Jacob are 77 years old. Wow!

:4 such as I love,

Isaac is playing up to his favorite son.

Esau was Isaac's favorite.

Jacob was Rebekah's favorite.

Playing favorites with your kids is NOT a good idea!

:4 that my soul may bless thee before I die.

Isaac is ready to pass on the family blessing to the next generation.

:13 Upon me be thy curse,

Lesson:

Faith or manipulation?

Itís hard to really know how to look at this.

This is deception at itís worst.

It's certainly not any way to run a marriage, or a family.

Yet Rebekah knew that the younger son was to be the one who ruled over the older.

Some have even dared to suggest that Rebekah was acting in faith, while Isaac was out of Godís will, trying to put the blessing upon Esau.

But perhaps it would have been better for her not to have meddled into the situation so much.

Yes, Jacob got the blessing, but look at the results that are going to come from the deception:

Esau is going to want to kill his brother.

Jacob is going to end up leaving for 20 years.

Isaac isn't going to have a clue why anything's happening!

:19 I am Esau thy firstborn;

The lie has begun.

:20 Because the LORD thy God brought it to me.

I cringe at this one.

At this point, Jacob seems to have no fear of God, and what he's doing, misrepresenting God like this.

:23 he discerned him not,

It ainít always easy to tell when people are lying.

Iíve been told that nobody tells the truth to a pastor.

And sometimes I can believe it.

People seem to always talk a little more "spiritually" when theyíre around me.

Thatís kind of why I donít always like being introduced to people as "Pastor Rich".

:27 he smelled the smell of his raiment,

Esau's clothes had a distinct aroma about them.

:29 be lord over thy brethren,

Isaac is unknowingly putting Jacob in the place of the firstborn son, as the head of the house.

:29 cursed be every one that curseth thee, and blessed be he that blesseth thee.

This is a form of Abraham's blessing.

Isaac is passing on the spiritual headship of the house to Jacob.

:33 Isaac trembled very exceedingly,

Isaac is pretty shook up over what has just happened.

:33 yea, and he shall be blessed.

Some see this as Isaac realizing that he had already given an irreversible, legal blessing to Jacob.

I see this as Isaac realizing that Godís power and blessing had been in the blessing that he had given, and that there was nothing he could do about it, since God had blessed Jacob.

Lesson:

Godís grace can even bless unworthy people!

That doesnít mean that we should feel like we can get away with being con-men!

But it should make us think twice about saying that we aren't worthy of God's blessing.

God's blessings don't always come on "worthy" people.

:36 Jacob?

Jacob = "heal-catcher" or "trickster"

:40 and shalt serve thy brother;

Isaac reiterates the blessing he had already given Jacob, making Jacob rule over Esau.

:40 when thou shalt have the dominion, that thou shalt break his yoke from off thy neck.

This became known as a prophecy for the descendants of Esau, known as the "Edomites" (from his other name, "Edom").

First the Edomites had to be ruled over by the Israelites.

This happened when David became king of Israel:

2Sa 8:14 And he put garrisons in Edom; throughout all Edom put he garrisons, and all they of Edom became David's servants. And the LORD preserved David whithersoever he went. (AV)

Then, the Edomites would one day be strong enough to revolt against Israel.

This happened under King Joram:

2Ki 8:20 In his days Edom revolted from under the hand of Judah, and made a king over themselves. (AV)

:41 Esau hated Jacob

Esau goes from "despising his birthright" (Gen.25:34) to now outright hating his brother.

Lesson:

Bitterness prolongs carnality

Hebrews says:

(Heb 12:14-17 KJV) Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord: {15} Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled; {16} Lest there be any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright. {17} For ye know how that afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected: for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears.

Esau was a carnal man who was more interested in taking care of his flesh than he was in the spiritual heritage that came with his birthright.

And that's when he sold his "birthright" to Jacob for a bowl of stew.

It was at that time that Esau "despised" his birthright, and apparently became a bitter man.

It almost seems as if God took this bitterness and the act of rejection of the birthright as an indication of his character, and kept him from receiving the blessing.

When Esau cried, it was because he didn't get the blessing, not because he was repentant over his past failure.

Tears don't prove repentance.

We can be crying for the wrong reasons.

:44 tarry with him a few days,

What Rebekah doesn't realize is that even though she "won", even though "her son" got the blessing, she's going to lose him for more than just a few days.

She's going to lose him for twenty years.

In fact, we don't ever see Rebekah again.

This might have been the last time she saw him.

:45 why should I be deprived also of you both

If Esau killed Jacob, then Esau would be liable for murder, and possibly be executed himself.

:46 I am weary of my life because of the daughters of Heth:

Rather than tell Isaac the truth, Rebekah continues in the deception, and cooks up a good reason for Jacob to leave and visit her brother Laban.

Genesis 28

:1 and blessed him,

Isaac seems to feel right about what he's done in blessing Jacob, and sends him off with a blessing.

:2 Padanaram,

This is a 400 mile trip north and east, where the city of Haran is.

:4 the blessing of Abraham,

Isaac wishes for the same blessing that has been on him, to now be on his son.

:9 Esau unto Ishmael,

Esau takes another wife, now one from the "family" (???)

Hopefully this will make daddy happy.

:11 pillows,

Hard ones, that is.

:12 a ladder set up on the earth,

We refer to this as "Jacob's ladder".

I believe this is a picture of Jesus Christ, as the only mediator between heaven and earth.

Jesus said to Nathanael,

(John 1:51 KJV) And he saith unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Hereafter ye shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man.

:15 I am with thee,

God just unconditionally promises to be with Jacob.

:16 Surely the LORD is in this place; and I knew it not.

This is certainly one of the characteristics of Jacobís life up to this point, and for a few more years.

Heís really very much unaware of Godís work in his life.

Lesson:

Being aware of Godís presence.

Sometimes it takes something special like this to open our eyes.

But God is there all the time.

:17 the house of God,

or, in Hebrew, Beth-el (House of God)

:18 a pillar, and poured oil upon the top of it.

An act of consecration.

When the priests were ordained, and when the tabernacle was set up, everything had oil poured on it.

:19 Luz

Luz = "almond tree"

Bethel = "house of God"

:20 If God will be with me ...

Jacob doesnít really believe in Yahweh yet.

Heís still a little skeptical.

He kind of wants to make a deal with God.

:22 I will surely give the tenth unto thee.

I have to admit that I'm a little skeptical of Jacob at this point.

I kind of get the idea that he think's that God is really going to take good care of him, so God can be sure to get a tenth of all the loot that Jacob brings back.

But I don't think God is impressed.

Lesson:

You don't need to make deals with God.

He just wants to love you.

Just let Him.

Genesis 29

:2 behold a well in the field,

Contrast this event with that of Eliezer in Genesis 24, when he went on a mission for Abraham to find a bride for Isaac.

Eliezer was constantly praying and asking God for help, then worshipping God when he got the response.

Jacob doesn't seem to think twice about God.

:10 when Jacob saw Rachel

Is this one of those moments when the background music begins to swell with violins??? Everything going into slow motion???

:10 rolled the stone from the well's mouth,

Keep in mind, this is a 77 year old man, rolling away a stone from a well singlehandedly, a stone that all the other shepherds couldn't roll away until they got enough help to do it!

:11 Jacob kissed Rachel,

Don't think this is necessarily a big romantic smooch.

This is most likely just a warm greeting (we're going to see Laban kiss Jacob in a minute)

:14 my bone and my flesh

Ryrie: May indicate that Laban adopted Jacob as a son. The phrase is found in ancient adoption rituals. However, Laban reduced Jacob to the status of a servant.

:17 Leah was tender eyed;

Either she had bad eyesight, or else her eyes lacked a certain "luster".

:17 Rachel was beautiful and well favoured.

A nice looking gal.

:18 Jacob loved Rachel;

A love story!

:18 seven years

That's a lot of love!

:20 they seemed unto him but a few days, for the love he had to her.

Lesson:

True love waits.

We tend to think it's a long time if a couple waits seven weeks to get married.

But what's the hurry?

If you want to do it right, take your time and find out who you're really marrying!

In the end, you're better off knowing for sure you're marrying the right person, than to marry them, and find out that they're not the person you thought they were.

:21 that I may go in unto her.

The physical union.

:25 in the morning, behold, it was Leah:

How can you make a mistake like that?

Was Jacob drunk on his wedding night?

Didn't they talk at all?

It obviously must have been dark!

Lesson:

Reaping and sowing.

Jacob had spent much of his life learning how to be really good at deceiving others.

And now he gets a taste of it himself.

:27 Fulfil her week,

Spend one week with Leah, and I'll give you the other daughter as well, as long as you pay for her as well!

:30 he loved also Rachel more than Leah,

The Levitical Law has a prohibition against marrying sisters.

LEV 18:18 And you shall not marry a woman in addition to her sister as a rival while she is alive, to uncover her nakedness.


Is it possible that the problems from this marriage had anything to do with it???

:30 served with him yet seven other years.

Jacob now has to spend seven more years paying for the second wife.

:31 the LORD saw that Leah was hated, he opened her womb:

Let the baby-games begin!


:32 Reuben = "behold a son"


:33 Simeon = "heard"


:34 Levi = "joined to"


:35 Judah = "praised"


It's interesting that in her reasons for naming the boys, Leah stops worrying about her husband's love, and turns to the Lord this time.

Genesis 30

:1 Give me children, or else I die.

A little dramatic, don't you think?

:3 Behold my maid Bilhah,

Jacob, still being the fleshly guy he was, went ahead, and ended up following his grandfather Abrahamís example with Hagar, which caused many problems.

He should have paid attention to his own fatherís example:

(Gen 25:21 KJV) And Isaac entreated the LORD for his wife, because she was barren: and the LORD was entreated of him, and Rebekah his wife conceived.

:6 Dan

= "a judge"

The score is now 4 to 1.

:8 Naphtali = "wrestling" (4 to 2)

:11 Gad = "fortune(NASB)" or "troop(KJV)" ??? (5 to 2)

:13 Asher = "happy" (6 to 2)

:14 mandrakes

- thought by some eastern cultures to be a sort of aphrodisiac, or fertility potion. Also called the "love apple" (though not related to the tomato which is also called that). Called atropa mandragora, it is thought to be related to a poisonous plant called "nightshade". It has yellow plum-like fruits, smaller than the tomato.

Note: Reuben must have been around 4 years old at the time.

:18 Issachar = "there is recompense" (7 to 2)

:20 Zebulun = "exalted" (8 to 2)

:21 Dinah = "judgment" (finally, a daughter!)

:24 Joseph = "Yahweh has added" (8 to 3)

:25 Now it came about when Rachel had borne Joseph...

According to the chronology, the first 11 sons were born during the seven year period that Jacob served for Rachel.

See also 31:41

Jacob has now been in Haran for 14 years, he is 91 years old.

:18 Issachar

Issachar means "reward," apparently indicating some faith on Leah's part.

:27-43 Jacob earns his wages.

He gets to keep the speckled, spotted, and black sheep.

Lessons in animal husbandry: He does these little tricks with rods, and somehow the strong sheep mate and give birth to speckled, spotted, and black sheep, just by looking at these peeled branches when they mate.

How does the trick with the sticks work?

Science doesn't know of anything yet.

God just blessed his efforts. (see 31:7-12)

He grows prosperous, Laban's flock grows weaker.

:43 And the man increased exceedingly,

Itís not that this was some scientific thing happening here.

Jacob, the conniver that he was, may have thought so.

But in truth, it was simply God at work, making Jacobís experiment to cause Jacobís flock to prosper.

(Gen 31:9 KJV) Thus God hath taken away the cattle of your father, and given them to me.