Thursday, December 17, 2015

40 Old Testament Stories: Joseph's Dreams

We have the introduction to the 12 men whose families will become the 12 tribes of Israel.  Jacob aka Israel, has 12 sons.  Two of them- Joseph and Benjamin - are the sons of Jacob's beloved wife Rachel.  The other 10 were the sons either of Leah or of various handmaids.

The oldest of Rachel's sons is Joseph and he is the favorite son of Israel.

Joseph, at least in this story, comes across as something of a prig.  He tattles on his brothers and lords his father's favors over them.

Joseph has some dreams in this story.  In his dreams he sees items that represent his brothers bowing down to him.

Joseph tells his brothers about these dreams - which don't endear him to them.

Two things in this story set the stage for one of the most important stories in the history of the nation of Israel.
1. Joseph and his brothers have a really bad relationship and he has pushed them too far.
2. Joseph has dreams that he can interpret and that will, eventually, come true

Thursday, December 10, 2015

40 Old Testament Stories: Jacob wrestles with God

Jacob is on his way back home with both of his wives.  He knows that he is going to come face to face with his brother.  The brother he swindled, the brother he ran away from.  The brother that the last he knew was sworn to kill him.

He has sent his wives and children and animals to the rear of his group and gathered the men who could fight around him.  He's waiting for the morning when he will face his brother.

In the midst of this, a stranger appears and Jacob wrestles with him.  It turns out that the "person" Jacob is wrestling with is either an archangel or God himself.  It's not quite clear.

The upshot of the story is that Jacob is able to face and make peace with Esau - because he had wrestled with God.