Archive for the ‘Daily Bible Study & Questions’ Category

Genesis 30:25-43 Selective Breeding

Jacob didn’t need to get even for Laban’s trick with his “wages.” God took care of the problem.

Jacob has paid his debt for both his wives and has fathered at least eleven children, ten of which were boys. He wants to go home now. But Laban wants to keep getting rich off of Jacob’s work.

The first thing that has me scratching my head here is that Jacob asks Laban to give him his wives and his children. Jacob’s debt has already been paid through his service. Laban sold his daughters and therefore should have no claim to them. And any children born to Jacob are HIS, not Laban’s. Why is he asking Laban for them? In MY mind Laban has no claim to any one of these members of Jacob’s family. Maybe it is a custom that I’m not familiar with. Read more »

Genesis 30:1-24 Baby Wars

The mandrake was supposed to ensure fertility. It didn’t help Rachel but Leah conceived that night.

Jacob’s family continues to grow through the pushing and pulling of his two wives. He goes from two wives to four in the baby wars.

Leah has one thing Rachel doesn’t; the ability to give Jacob children. We have already met Jacob’s first four sons that were born by her. Rachel is green with envy by now. She wants a baby so bad she can taste it! “Give me children, or I shall die!” (verse 1b).

It is pretty obvious here who the one is that is infertile in this couple. Jacob is quite capable of fathering children, as evidence around the camp plainly shows. I don’t blame him one bit for become angry with Rachel. “What do you think I have been doing all these years? We have tried everything. I’m not God. I can’t fix this for you. HE is the one who closed your womb, not me!”

Rachel can’t be outdone by her sister. There has to be something else she can do. She resorts to the same customs that Sarah did; giving Jacob her servant to stand in her place. This was apparently an acceptable custom in this region. But there were a few restrictions to this arrangement. First was that the servant had to be a personal servant of the rightful wife. Second, the servant had to be given “as a wife” before legitimate children could be conceived. The children born by the servant then became the children of the original wife. Read more »

Genesis 29:31-35 El-Roi Hears

The camp must have been running with rivers from the tears of the two sisters.

We see the beginnings of Jacob’s large family. God gives Leah sons while Rachel has none. We are told right up front why this is. Because God sees and hears her heart’s cry.

For Leah this was a loveless marriage. I don’t know if she expected this when she was snuck in the place of her sister on her wedding night but by that morning things began to be clear. It wasn’t even 24 hours before her husband was looking for his other wife; his “true love.” I wonder how tense things were for her during her “bridal week.” Did Jacob seek her company or shun it? Was she simply someone to keep the bed warm at night or a companion?

We are not told how long it was before Leah started having children by Jacob or how long it was between them. If you were with me when Jacob arrived in Paddan-aram you were aware of my attempt to find out how long Jacob stayed there before returning to the Promised Land. We know for a fact that his stay was a LEAST 20 years. This includes seven years working for his “first bride”, seven years working for his “desired bride” and six years working for his livestock. With the number of children born to Leah in our reading today, we account for a minimum of four of those years. But if my reasoning is right, which I will share in a minute, more than that passes with Leah’s fruitfulness. Read more »

Genesis 29:1-30 Double Wedding

The start of a not so happy relationship.

Jacob reaches his kinsmen after his long journey and finds exactly the bride he was seeking. But instead of one bride he ends up with two.

When Jacob finally arrives in the area of his relatives he happens upon a group of shepherds. This was his profession while at home. He is intimately familiar with the demands of this job. These shepherds had their sheep lying down in groups waiting for water.

Before doing anything else, Jacob established where these shepherds were from and if his uncle was doing well. He had to make sure he had come to the right place. He didn’t have GPS and he had never visited this part of the world before. Read more »

Genesis 28:10-22 Sweet Dreams

Jacob is on the run but also on a mission from his father. While on his way to Haran he had a special encounter with God. He received promises and made vows on the spot where he slept.

I was trying to get an exact number of miles between Beersheba and Bethel but Google was giving me distances from some point in the United States to a point in Israel. NOT what I was looking for. So I pulled up a bible map and found it to be about 50 miles between them. So it would have taken Jacob several days to reach this spot; I would say three at the least. That also depends on how quickly he was traveling to get away from Esau.

The first thing I noticed about this journey of Jacob’s was that he wasn’t making it in comfort. He didn’t have camels or bedding or even a pillow for his head. He probably had his robe, staff, water skin, food, and a money pouch. He was the son of a rich man but he wasn’t traveling in style. He also appears to be traveling alone. Nowhere on this journey do we see references to servants or companions helping him along the way. This was a dangerous thing to do. Did his family really send him out alone on this LONG journey? Maybe Isaac was putting it as a test for God in the form of protecting Jacob if he really was the chosen one of his boys. Read more »