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Gen. 49:19-33

8/2/10 Gad: In 1 Chr. 5 & 12 the Gadites were always brave to fight, a valiant tribe. The chronicles of Israel don’t tell about Gad being often attacked but they clearly were always ready to help protect from any attack upon Israel.

Asher: Asher was promised rich food and the tribe did receive the most fertile area around Carmel by the Mediterranean. Solomon supplied Hiram with olive oil from this region. This would have included Lebanon, still known as the breadbasket of the Middle East.

Naphtali: We don’t know much about what happened with this tribe. Perhaps the prophecy about a doe and beautiful words refers to a gentle people who wouldn’t have made the “news” of the OT as the more in-your-face tribes. Not that they never fought. In 1 Kg 5 they fought with Barak against King Jabin. These short prophecies were sons of his concubines.

Joseph: Jacob overflowed in his blessing on Joseph for a number of reasons. One was because of the suffering he had undergone by his brothers and in Egypt. Another was because of his virtue and faithfulness throughout. He is a type of the shepherd Jesus.

Benjamin: The tribe of Benjamin became a warlike tribe, excellent archers and slingers. They were often at the forefront of battle. Ehud and Saul were of this tribe.

The account goes on to say that Jacob blessed all of his sons with a blessing appropriate to him. Then he asked that he be buried in Machpelah with Abraham and Isaac, then he lay down and died.

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Posted by on October 7, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Gen. 44

7/27/13 It was the final test. Joseph would give the brothers every easy excuse to treat Benjamin as they had treated him, and in addition they would be guiltless in the matter. Jacob treated Benjamin as he had treated Joseph, so the brothers could have easily been resentful of him as they had been with Joseph. And Joseph was determined to find out if this was so. One wonders how he would have dealt with them if they had been unchanged, but thankfully, they were changed.

Joseph ordered their money be returned and his special cup put into the sack of grain going on Benjamin’s donkey. About the time the brothers would have been feeling truly euphoric that they were out of the city and free, Joseph’s steward caught up with them and demanded to know why they would steal after all the kindness shown to them. The brothers protested their innocence and pronounced their own sentence if the cup was found with them.

The steward, in searching their sacks, would have found their money, but evidently didn’t mention it. It was only the silver cup he was interested in. When it was found in Benjamin’s sack they knew they had been set up. Dismayed, they returned together. They could have just sent Benjamin back but did not. They told Joseph that all of them would be his slaves, which he refused. This was a positive sign, but Joseph pushed the issue concerning Benjamin. Finally, Judah made a personal, heart-felt plea that for the sake of their aging father that he be allowed to substitute himself for Benjamin. At this point Joseph knew positively that his brothers were changed men.

 
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Posted by on October 7, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Gen. 43

7/26/10 Jacob procrastinated as long as he could, refusing to let Benjamin go to Egypt. He hoped the famine would end or another source of food would be found. He hoped for anything, but God had designed that all of this happen. So  eventually Jacob’s family needed food or everyone, including Benjamin, would starve.

When Jacob tried to get them to at least try to go and get food, Judah reminded his father that they could not return to Egypt without Benjamin because Joseph had told them that they would not even see him if Benjamin didn’t come. All of this time Joseph was formulating a true test of his brother’s hearts.

In the end, Judah took personal responsibility for Benjamin–a relationship that extended  until long after the two had died, in the tribes of Judah and Benjamin.

Jacob ordered them to take a special present for Joseph and to double their money to repay what had been returned to them. Then they rode back to Egypt. Joseph’s heart must have been racing with anticipation. By now he understood that God’s hand had been in all of this from the beginning. He recognized the dreams he had had and that God had planned it all. When the brothers returned he was ready.

Joseph brought them to his house, which at first terrified the brothers. They preempted what they thought woud concern the money in their sacks by telling the steward what had happened. But the steward assured them that he had received their money and credited their God with a miracle. Then they learned that they were to eat with Joseph.

When Joseph saw Benjamin he was overcome with emotion and had to flee to recompose himself. Then he ordered the meal served, which he ate separately, because it was detestable for Egyptians to eat with Hebrews–ironically. The Hebrews, thus far anyway, seemed to be free of such prejudices, though it would come in time.

Joseph began to lavish Benjamin with good things to observe the brother’s reaction. Would they be jealous? The brothers were treated well. He returned Simeon to them, washed their feet, and refreshed them from their trip. But Benjamin was obviously treated with the greatest honor.

 
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Posted by on October 6, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Gen. 42

7/25/10 It appears that the famine in Egypt had become so severe that the sons of Jacob could think of nothing to do. They sat and stared at each other. So Jacob sent them to Egypt because the story had arrived in Canaan that food could be purchased there.

Joseph recognized his brothers but they didn’t recognize him, and Joseph made the most of it. It’s not clear how emotionally Joseph met this first encounter. That something was welling up from deep within is apparent. His instant reaction was to deal with them harshly. Perhaps at least at first this wasn’t the calculated plan that it turn into.

Joseph demanded that all the brothers but one remain in prison, while one went home and brought back Benjamin. But during the three days that followed his plan evolved into a true test of their characters. If he had not already forgiven his brothers, he seems to have done so during those three days. Or at least he completed the part of forgiveness that required being reunited with them.

Joseph finally decided to release all but one of his brothers so that they could carry enough grain back to their people. so that they would not suffer for what the brothers alone should suffer for. The brothers discussed all of this in front of Joseph, thinking that he couldn’t understand them. They connected all of this with their treatment of Joseph. And Reuben points out that he had defended Joseph.

The emotional strain was so great upon Joseph that he left and wept. Likely his desire to reveal himself immediately was great, but Joseph was a disciplined man and held his ground.

He sent back with the brothers their grain and their money, which, when they discovered it, they were shaken, imagining that they would be accused of stealing on top of spying.

They told Jacob the truth about what had happened. One wonders what happened in the lives of the brothers during that 20 years to change them so. Was it simply the guilt of what they had done to Joseph that had done this work in them? Jacob refused to send Benjamin for fear of his safety.

 
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Posted by on October 5, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Gen. 34

7/16/10 This chapter begins with the ominous phrase, “Dinah…went to visit the daughters of the land.” The intermingling of God’s people with the wicked never ends well for God’s people. Dinah was seen and raped by Shechem, son of the leader of the town, Hamor. The towns of Canaan were small towns with small numbers of people. The fact that two men end up killing them and that the Shechemites would be interested in having the wealth of Jacob enough to be circumcised to gain it indicates that they were few in number.

Shechem was deeply attracted to Dinah and wanted to marry her, so he came with his father to Jacob to make the request. Jacob waits for his sons to return and when they did they were very angry about what happened. However, they veiled it enough to come up with a scheme.

Jacob, presumably, was not in on their lie. For sure not the murder part, but the intermarriage part isn’t clear. Could he have agreed to intermarry with the people? It seems unlikely, but it also seems unlikely that he left his sons to make this decision alone, although it is possible.

So Shechem and his father go back to the town and convince the men to be circumcised so that they could become one with Israel. (This seems to be the first time the word is used to denote the area and people rather than just Jacob himself). Motivated by greed, the men were circumcised. Then Simeon and Levi fell upon them and killed all the men. Afterward, all of the sons, except Joseph and Benjamin, came and looted the town taking away the valuables and even the people.

Jacob understood the implications of what his sons had done and that they were no longer secure there. He also understood the moral problem (see Gen 49). But his sons argued that the wrong done to their sister had to be put right.

 
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Posted by on September 21, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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