Monday, January 14, 2013

Rachel and Leah

In this week's Bible study we get the story of Jacob finding his wives and starting his family.

Jacob has headed off to find his mother's brother and through him a wife.  Almost the first person he meets on his arrival is his cousin Rachel.  He negotiates with Laban to marry Rachel in exchange for seven years work.

However, on the wedding night Laban slips his older daughter, Leah, in to Jacob instead.  (side note - this story lives on in the tradition that a bride's veil is lifted before the exchange of vows - so that the groom can be sure he's got the right girl)  So Jacob works seven years more and ends up with both Rachel and Leah as his wives.

As might be expected, Jacob is much fonder of Rachel - God redresses the balance by ensuring that Leah has children - specifically 4 sons - Reuban, Simeon, Levi and Judah - you might find these names familiar.

Rachel takes a page from Sarah's book and sends her maid in to Jacob - Rachel's maid has 2 sons
Leah decides that two can play at that game, sends her own maid in to Jacob - Leah's maid also has 2 sons.

Then Leah has another two sons and a daughter.  If you are keeping track Jacob is now up to 10 sons.

Finally - as the text says - God remembered Rachel - and Rachel has a son who is named Joseph.  There is more of the domestic soap opera - but the story now takes a segue back to the relationship with Esau.  We will pick that up in two weeks - no Bible study next week because Monday is a holiday.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Welcome back to Bible Study

We pick up our study of Genesis after the holiday break.

Today we covered Chapters 27 and 28.

In these chapters we see the real beginnings of the Jacob narrative.

At the instigation of his mother, Rebecca, Jacob tricks his father, Isaac, into giving him his blessing.  His brother, Esau, is furious and decides to kill him - so Rebecca sends him off to her family to find a wife, and to get him out of range of his brother.

On his way to Rebecca's family Jacob has a dream and sees a ladder running from earth to heaven with angels ascending and descending on it.  God reiterats to Jacob the promises he made to Abraham and Jacob names the place Bethel - that is House of God.  We will return to Bethel frequently in the story.