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Genesis 29:21-30:24 #eebc2018

As we take a look at this reading, I'd take a bit of an issue with the CSB's rendering of Genesis 29:21. While the Hebrew is a euphemism for consummating the marriage and the CSB is making it clear by presenting it as "sleep with her," I think the euphemism should be left there. And, yes, I know "sleep with her" is still less blatant than "go have sex," I'm in favor of leaving euphemisms as close to literal as possible. I think it serves us to let the text speak as close to the original as possible. So, I like NASB here, or ESV. That's a personal preference, though.This passage gives us Laban's deception of Jacob. For that matter, he seems to deceive Leah and Rachel as well. All told, he comes off a little bit sketchy here. Leah is given to Jacob first as a wife, then Rachel second. The deal is that Jacob worked seven years expecting Rachel, but Laban gave him Leah instead. I don't know how you get through the whole wedding night w…
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Genesis 28:10-29:20 #eebc2018

Jacob leaves. It's time, after all, before Esau's anger turns to direct plotting. I read one commentary that suggested Esau had no intentions of acting on his anger, because later on, he does not kill Jacob. That flattens the narrative: there's around 20 years that intervene between Jacob's departure and return. In that time, Esau had the opportunity to mellow, Isaac and Rebekah had the opportunity to help build the bridges needed.Meanwhile, Jacob's on his way back to Haran. This is the land Abraham insisted Isaac not go back to--but Isaac hadn't tricked Abraham out of anything, either. The cover story is that Jacob is going in search of a bride from his mother's family, and since the principle of "If Mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy" is timeless, who could object? Esau could not have said "No, he needs to stick around so I can get revenge!"Jacob goes to Haran, meets Rachel, and finds out that he's not the only one willin…

Genesis 27:1-28:9 #eebc2018

Isaac is getting up in years and recognizes that his death may be soon. While he is accurate, he's also being a tad pessimistic. Isaac will live many more years--long enough to see many of the consequences of these chapters. A good resource for you as you study the Bible is a good timeline--Logos Bible Software has one built-in, many good study Bibles have them. You'll see that many estimates place Isaac's death well into the time after Jacob's return to the Promised Land. He passes away shortly before the family relocates to Egypt.Now, what happens here is related to inheritance. It was not uncommon for the patriarch of a family to divide the wealth of the household before his death. The expectation was that the oldest son, since he received the bulk of the material possessions, would use his blessing to provide for his father and mother until death. But, having the division beforehand ensured that any disputes about amounts or choices could be solved by the still-liv…

John 15:1-16:4 #eebc2018

Mondays!Agricultural illustrations are all over the New Testament. It's to our detriment that we are so far removed from growing things that it has become difficult for us to grasp these. It's worth your time to read up a bit on how gardening and growing plants. You can find some good ones that weave both agriculture and Biblical interpretation, though keep in mind that books like The Trellis and the Vine move beyond facts and into opinions of the meaning of Scripture.Which does not automatically make the opinions wrong. Just opinions--though well-researched opinions are very, very helpful.Now, Jesus goes on to teach about remaining in fellowship with Him. He explains to the disciples that trouble is coming to them. They will face the people who have been their family, their nation, and those old friends will attack them. 16:2 brings out that those who do this will believe they are serving God by killing those who follow Christ.Let that sink in: as a follower of Jesus, everyth…

John 13:21-14:31 #eebc2018

Well, nothing like being a day late and a dollar short.We start at the Last Supper. It's not a completely happy occasion. Jesus announces to the disciples that He is going to be betrayed...and by one of them! That's not a case for happiness.Unfortunately for the disciples, they are all clueless about who it could be. Well, except for Judas, the one it is. Either the other eleven had never noticed anything strange about Judas or they just could not fathom that any one of them would deliberately betray Jesus. I think that was some of it--they never saw it coming that any of them could betray the traditions of hospitality and the bonds of brotherhood like that.But Judas would. Why? That's a question for the ages, and the reasons will never be clear to us. It was not a surprise to Jesus, and was necessary for the situation to work out as it did. The rest of this section includes Jesus' explanation of eternity and his statement that "I am the way..."The opening of…

Genesis 26:18-35 #eebc2018

It's another short read today, opening with Isaac's troubles with the Philistines. The Philistines were a migrating people who came, it appears, from the Mediterranean regions. There are points where they attempt to settle in Egypt but are driven off, and they settle on the coastlands of what is now Israel.These folks are probably related to the ancestors of Ancient Greeks and Phoenicians, but that's beyond what we're doing here. I'd pick up Alfred Hoerth's Archaeology and the Old Testament for a starting place, although resources like The Baker Illustrated Bible Handbook will have some good information as well.The main point is that the Philistines were moving in, and there were plenty of them to go around. When you compare that to the size of Isaac's household, it's no wonder that he chose to move rather than fight over water rights. At times, surrendering a right may be better than fighting over something--I recall learning to drive and being told th…

Genesis 25:19-26:17 #eebc2018

We're back to the main line of the story at this point. Isaac marries Rebekah when he is forty years old--we do not know her age anywhere along the path of the story. Her details are absent--but we know that she was 20 years older when the boys were born. We get that from seeing that Isaac was 40 at marriage and 60 at fatherhood--given that Rebekah was adult enough for her decision to count in marrying Isaac, she's certainly going to be mid-30s at childbirth. I'd guess she's mid-40s, but that's all it is. A guess.And "guessing" isn't on the list of great ways to understand the truth of Scripture, so don't count that guess as worth much. We can be certain that it was still somewhat miraculous for her to have children, as 25:21 shows that Isaac and Rebekah definitely saw her pregnancy as a gift from God.Rebekah has twin sons, Esau and Jacob. Esau is the firstborn but Jacob is right behind him. The developments of the next few chapters revolve around…