Friday, April 30, 2010

Summary of Exodus, Chapters 15 - 23

It looks like I slipped a little on my attempt to post something at least every ten days. Good thing there was no money-back guarantee with that . . .

Here is my summary of Exodus chapters 15 - 23:

After the Egyptian army was destroyed in the Red Sea, Moses led the Israelites into the Desert of Shur, where they cold not find any water for three days. When they finally found some water in Marah they could not drink it because it was bitter. God showed Moses a stick, which he threw into the water and made it sweet. God then told the people if they listen to him and pay attention to his commands, he will not send any sickness on them like he sent on the Egyptians.

About 75 days after they left Egypt, the Israelites came to the Desert of Sin. They complained to Moses and Aaron about lack of food, so God told Moses he would rain down bread from heaven that the people would have to gather in the mornings. However, God said on the sixth day they had to gather twice as much as on the other days, so they could rest on the seventh day and keep the Sabbath holy. God also gave them meat (quail) to eat in the evenings. The bread they baked was called manna, and they lived on that for 40 years until they came to the land of Canaan.

The Israelites traveled from place to place, and when they camped at Rephidim there was no water to drink. Moses asked God for help, and God told Moses to take some of the elders and hit the rock at Mount Horeb with his wooden staff, which would make water flow from it. Also while at Rephidim, the Israelites were attacked by the Amalekites. Joshua and some of the men defeated the Amalekites, then God said he would completely erase the memory of Amalekites from the earth.

Moses' father-in-law Jethro came to visit Moses in the desert. After Moses told Jethro what happened to the Egyptians because God loved Israel so much, Jethro was delighted and said he now knows that the Lord is greater than all the other gods. The next day Jethro watched Moses serve as judge all day. Jethro told Moses he should choose some men to serve as judges over smaller groups of people, so they can decide the easy cases and only bring the hard cases to Moses.

Three months after they left Egypt, the Israelites camped in the Desert of Sinai, in front of the mountain. God called to Moses from the mountain and told Moses to tell the people they had seen what he did to Egypt and how he brought them out of Egypt. God said if they obeyed him and kept his covenant, they would be his holy nation. After Moses told this to the Israelites and reported back to God that they would obey, God gave Moses the Ten Commandments, which are (Exodus Chapter 20):

  1. You shall have no other gods before me.
  2. You shall not worship false idols. (God said he would punish four generations of descendents of those who hated him.)
  3. You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God.
  4. Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy (no working).
  5. Honor your father and mother.
  6. You shall not murder.
  7. You shall not commit adultery.
  8. You shall not steal.
  9. You shall not give false testimony againsty your neighbor.
  10. You shall not covet anything that belongs to your neighbor.

Over the next several chapters (21 - 23), God gave Moses some additional laws on various subjects. These laws dealt with Hebrew servants, personal injuries, protection of property, social responsibility, justice and mercy, Sabbath laws, and three annual festivals. At the end of chapter 23, God tells the Israelites he is sending an angel ahead of them to help drive out their enemies in Canaan. God tells the Israelites not to worship any of the Gods of their enemies, and in return he would bless their food and water, and take away sickness, miscarriages and infertility. God also describes the borders he will establish for their land.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Summary of Exodus, Chapters 6 - 14

My summary of Exodus continues, after Pharaoh refuese to let the Israelites go, and instead makes them work harder as slaves.

Plague, plague, everywhere a plague

Moses went back to God and asked him why he had brought so much trouble on the Israelites and hadn't saved them. God once again said he would remember his covenant and bring the Israelites out of slavery, to the promised land of Canaan. God had Aaron and Moses perform miracles for Pharaoh, but God made Pharaoh's heart stubborn so he still did not listen to them. They performed the following miracles: Aaron's wooden staff became a snake; they turned the water of the Nile river to blood; plagues of frogs, gnats and flies covered Egypt; all livestock in Egypt died, except the animals owned by the Israelites; boils broke out on people and animals all over Egypt; the worst hail storm in Egypt's history beat down everything that was growing in the fields; a plague of locusts ate everything that was left after the hail storm; complete darkness fell over Egypt for three days, except for the Israelites.


The tenth plague was the plague of the firstborn, when God killed the oldest son of every person and animal in Egypt. But he did not kill the firstborn of the Israelites because he gave them instructions for putting blood on their door frames so he would pass over their houses. Pharaoh finally told Moses and Aaron the Israelites could go and take their flocks and herds with them. The Israelites had lived in Egypt for 430 years when they marched out like an army. God led the Israelites toward the Red Sea. God went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud by day, and in a pillar of fire by night.

Parting of the Red Sea

Pharaoh decided to chase the Israelites after realizing they had lost all of their slaves. God told Moses to tell the Israelites to camp by the sea. When the Egyptian army approached the Israelites, God told Moses to reach his hand out over the Red Sea to part the waters. Moses parted the waters, and the Israelites went through on dry ground, with a wall of water on each side. When the Egyptian army tried to chase them through the Red Sea, God told Moses to reach his hand out over the sea so the waters would flow back. All of the Egyptians were destroyed. The Israelites then put their trust in God and his servant Moses.

Coming up: Desert Life

Monday, April 5, 2010

Summary of Exodus, Chapters 1 - 5

Rather than summarize Exodus 10 chapters at a time, I'm going to summarize one or two stories at a time. This method should flow a little better.

The descendants of Jacob (Israel) multiplied and greatly increased their numbers, spreading out all over Egypt. Long after all of Israel's children and grandchildren died, a new king came to power in Egypt. He was afraid of how many Israelites there were, and that they might join the enemies of Egypt in case of war, so he decided to enslave them. But the Israelites still increased their numbers and spread out. The king of Egypt then instructed his people to throw every Hebrew baby boy in the Nile river, but let every baby girl live.

And then along came Moses . . .

One married couple from the tribe of Levi hid their son for three months, then set him afloat on the Nile river. The baby boy was discovered by Pharaoh's daughter, who named the baby boy Moses and made him her son. When Moses grew up, he killed an Egyptian man he saw hitting a Hebrew man. When Pharaoh heard about this, he tried to kill Moses but Moses escaped and went to live in Midian.

God tells Moses to talk like an Egyptian

One day while taking care of his father-in-law's flock, God appeared to Moses in a burning bush. God told Moses he was concerned about the suffering of his people in Egypt and was going to take them out of Egypt and into a good land. God told Moses to go to Pharaoh to bring the Israelites out of Egypt. God showed Moses some miraculous signs he could use to prove he had been sent by God. Moses asked God to send someone else because he did not consider himself a good speaker, so God suggested Moses take his brother Aaron.

Moses and Aaron went to Egypt. Aaron spoke to the elders of Israel, and Moses performed miracles. The elders believed God was concerned about them. But when Moses and Aaron spoke to Pharaoh and told him God wanted Pharaoh to let his people go, Pharaoh refused. Instead of letting the Hebrews go, Pharaoh told his slave drivers to make the Hebrews work harder.

Coming up: Pharaoh is hard to convince

Friday, March 26, 2010

Summary of Genesis

Here is my summary of the book of Genesis.

Genesis begins with the story of God creating the heavens and the earth in six days. The first humans were Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. They disobeyed God and ate the fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, so God drove them out of the Garden of Eden. The descendants of Adam and Eve are listed down to Noah. God saw how much people were sinning when Noah was alive that he told Noah to build an ark to save his family and two of each type of animal, then God flooded the earth and killed all living creatures. After the flood waters receded, Noah's descendants began repopulating the earth.

One of Noah's descendants was Abraham (originally named Abram). God told Abraham that his descendants would be treated badly as slaves for 400 years, but God would punish the nation that enslaved them. He also promised a certain stretch of land to Abraham's children. When God made a covenant with Abraham to give him and his children the land of Canaan to own forever, he said the mark of the covenant would be that all males must be circumcised. God later tested Abraham by telling him to sacrifice his son Isaac. God stopped Abraham right before he killed Isaac, and said since Abraham obeyed God he would be blessed with many descendants who would take over the cities of their enemies. Abraham's son Isaac became very rich and powerful because God blessed him.

Isaac's son Jacob had 12 sons, who eventually started the 12 tribes of Israel. Joseph was Jacob's favorite son. Joseph's brothers hated him, and they sold him to some traders on their way to Egypt, where Joseph had great success because God was with him. Joseph became very successful because he helped Egypt through seven years of famine that occurred after seven years with plenty of food, which Joseph predicted by interpreting Pharaoh's dreams. Joseph reunited with his father Jacob and his brothers in Egypt before Jacob died. Before Joseph died, he told his brothers that God would help them leave Egypt and bring them to the land he had promised with an oath to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.


Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Genesis chapters 41 - 50

Here is my summary of Genesis chapters 41-50:

Chapter 41: Two years later, Pharaoh had two dreams but nobody could tell him what they meant. The wine taster told Pharaoh about Joseph interpreting his dream, so Pharaoh sent for Joseph and asked him to explain what his dreams meant. Joseph told Pharaoh he couldn't, but God could. So Pharaoh told Joseph about his dreams, and Joseph told him what they meant. Both dreams meant that Egypt would have seven years with plenty of food in all of Egypt, followed by seven years of terrible hunger in all of Egypt. Joseph said God gave Pharaoh these dreams to show Pharaoh what he was about to do. Joseph told Pharaoh he should put someone in charge of Egypt and store one fifth of the harvest during each of the seven years when there is plenty of food, so that food can be used later when there isn't enough food. Pharaoh put Joseph in charge, and Joseph did just that. People from other countries came to Egypt to buy grain from Joseph.

Chapter 42: Jacob sent ten of his sons (Joseph's brothers) to Egypt to buy grain. He did not send his son Benjamin. Joseph recognized his brothers but they did not recognize him. Joseph accused them of being spies and said he was putting them to the test. He put all but one of them in prison while one of them went back to get his youngest brother. After three days, Joseph said he would let all but one of them go, but they must bring back their youngest brother. Joseph gave orders to have their bags filled with grain, and also to have their money put back in their sacks. When the brothers got back to their father Jacob in the land of Canaan the told him the story. He would not let them take Benjamin back to Egypt.

Chapter 43: After awhile Jacob's family needed more food, so he told his sons to go back to Egypt and buy some more. Jacob's sons eventually convinced him to let them bring Benjamin, and Jacob also told them to bring gifts and twice as much money for the man who sold them the food. When they got to Egypt, Joseph arranged for them all to eat in his house.

Chapter 44: Joseph told the manager of his house to give his brothers all the food they could carry, plus their money. He also told the manager to hide Joseph's silver cup in the youngest one's (Benjamin's) sack. The manager did that, and after the men left the city, Joseph told the manager to catch up with them and ask them why they stole Joseph's cup after all he had done for them. The brothers denied taking the cup, but the manager found it in Benjamin's sack. There was some disagreement about whether the brother found with the cup would be killed and the rest become slaves, or the brother found with the cup would become a slave and the rest would be free to go. So all the brothers went back to the city and talked to Joseph about it. Joseph said only the man found with the cup would be his slave, but Judah tried to get Joseph to take Judah as his slave instead of Benjamin, for fear it would kill their father if Benjamin did not come back.

Chapter 45: Joseph then had everyone except his brothers leave, and he told his brothers who he really was. He told them not to be upset that they had sold him into Egypt, because God sent him ahead of his brothers to take care of them. They were two years into the seven year period of famine, and Joseph told them there would be another five years. When Pharaoh heard that Joseph's brothers were there, he told Joseph to tell his brothers to go back to Egypt and bring back their father, and he would give them the best land in Egypt. Joseph's brothers went back to the land of Canaan and told Jacob (Israel) about Joseph.

Chapter 46: Jacob (Israel) headed toward Egypt with his entire family. Along the way, God spoke to Jacob in a vision one night and told him not to be afraid to go to Egypt, because God was going with him and would make him a great nation. All of Jacob's descendants at that time are then listed. Jacob's family stopped in the area of Goshen, and Joseph told them he would speak to Pharaoh and tell him they were all shepherds, and Pharaoh would then let them settle in Goshen.

Chapter 47: Joseph took some of his brothers to Pharaoh, and Pharaoh let them live in Goshen. Pharaoh also blessed Joseph's father Jacob (Israel). Joseph gave his family the best part of the land, and he provided for his family. Joseph continued to collect all the money from the people of Egypt and Canaan in exchange for food. When their money ran out, Joseph collected their livestock. After the livestock and money were both gone, Joseph bought all of the land in Egypt for Pharaoh, and Joseph made them slaves. But Joseph did not buy the land that belonged to the priests. Jacob lived 17 years in Egypt, to the age of 147. As the time of his death approached, Jacob asked Joseph not to bury him in Egypt, but to instead bury him with members of his family.

Chapter 48: Joseph took his two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim, to see Jacob. Jacob blessed them, but he placed his right hand on Ephraim's head, although Ephraim was the younger son. Joseph tried to correct him, but Jacob said the younger brother would become greater than the older one. Jacob then told Joseph he was giving him the range of hills he took from the Amorites.

Chapter 49: Jacob gathered his 12 sons around him and told them what would happen to them in the days to come. He said some would be great, some not so great. They are the 12 tribes of Israel. Just before Jacob died, he told his sons to bury him in the cave that Abraham bought from the Hittites. Then Jacob died.

Chapter 50: After Jacob's body was prepared for burial, all of Pharaoh's officials went with Joseph to bury his father, along with all of Joseph's family and his brother's families. After burying Jacob in the cave that Abraham had bought from the Hittites, they returned to Egypt. Joseph's brothers were afraid of what Joseph would do to them now that Jacob was dead, but Joseph told them not to worry. Joseph lived to be 110. Before he died, he told his brothers that God would come to help them leave this land (Egypt) and bring him to the land he promised with an oath to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

No points to ponder here, other than ending this book with another mention of God promising land to some of Abraham's descendants.


Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Genesis chapters 31 - 40

Here is my summary of Genesis Chapters 31 - 40:

Chapter 31: After Jacob became rich, God told Jacob to go back to his father's land. Jacob told Rachel and Leah that their father Laban had cheated him and adjusted his pay multiple times, so Jacob ran away with his family and all that he had. Rachel also stole the statues of family gods that belonged to Laban. Laban chased Jacob and caught up with him in Gilead. God told Laban not to say anything to Jacob, whether it is good or bad. Laban asked Jacob why he tricked him and ran away without talking first. Jacob was angry with Laban, but they made a covenant and agreed not to harm each other. Laban went home the next morning.

Chapter 32: On the way to meet his brother Esau, Jacob separated his people into two groups. He was afraid Esau would attack them, so he sent servants ahead of him to tell Esau that the animals were a gift to Esau from his servant Jacob. Jacob sent his family and servants ahead of him one night, so he was left alone. He struggled with a man until morning. The man saw that he couldn't win so he touched the inside of Jacob's hip, which was then twisted. Jacob wouldn't let the man go unless he blessed him. The man told Jacob his name would not be Jacob any more. Instead it will be Israel. Then the man blessed Jacob. Jacob was then limping because of his hip. The people of Israel still do not eat the meat attached to the inside of the hip because the inside of Jacob's hip was touched.

Chapter 33: Jacob met Esau, and Esau was very happy to see him. Esau did not want to accept any livestock gifts from Jacob, but Jacob insisted. Esau suggested they head back to Seir together, but Jacob said he would need to go slowly because of the young cows and sheep. So Esau went ahead of Jacob, but Jacob went to Succoth, then to the city of Shechem in Canaan. Jacob bought some land and set up an altar there.

Chapter 34: Hamor was the ruler of that area. His son Shechem raped Jabob and Leah's daughter Dinah, and then Shechem fell in love with Dinah and told his father he wanted to marry her. Hamor and Shechem asked Jacob and his sons to let Dinah marry Shechem, and said they would give anything they asked. Jacob's sons told Hamor and Shechem that they would agree to give them their daughters as wives only if all their males were circumcised. Hamor and Shechem then convinced all the men of their city to be circumcised. Three days later they were all still in pain. Then Dinah's brothers Simeon and Levi attacked the city and killed all the males, robbed the city, and took all of the women and children. Jacob told Simeon and Levi they had brought trouble upon him and his family.

Chapter 35: God told Jacob to go to Bethel and settle there, and to build an altar. Jacob told his family to get rid of their strange gods before they went. Jacob and all of his people came to Luz, which was also called Bethel. God then told Jacob he would not be called Jacob anymore, but would be called Israel. God told him to increase his numbers, and he was giving him the land he gave to Abraham and Isaac. God said he would give the land to his children, too. They moved on from Bethel and were on the road to Ephrath when Rachel died while having another son, Benjamin. Israel (formerly Jacob) has 12 sons. Israel's father Isaac died at the age of 180.

Chapter 36: Esau married Adah, Oholibamah, and Basemath. Esau moved out of Canaan because he and his brother Jacob owned so much they could not remain together. Esau settled in the hill country of Seir. The family line of Esau, who was also called Edom, is listed in this chapter. Then the kings who ruled in Edom are listed, as are the chiefs in Esau's family line who ruled over their settlements.

Chapter 37: Joseph was Israel's (Jacob's) favorite son, and Israel made him a beautiful robe. Joseph's brothers hated Joseph because he was their father's favorite. Joseph told his brothers about two dreams he had, which made them hate him even more. Israel sent Joseph to check on the flocks his brothers were taking care of near Shechem. Joseph found them near Dothan, but they saw him coming before he reached them and they made plans to kill him. Rueben convinced his brothers to throw Joseph into an empty well at first, instead of killing him. Rueben hoped he could save Joseph. The brothers threw Joseph into the well, but then they sold him to some traders who were on their way to Egypt. Then they took Joseph's beautiful robe, dipped it into the blood from a goat, and took it back to their father, Israel. Israel mourned his son's death. The traders sold Joseph to Potiphar, who was the captain of the palace guard in Egypt.

Chapter 38: Judah left his brothers and went to Adullam, where he got married and had three sons named Er, Onan and Shelah. Er was evil in God's eyes, so God had him put to death. Judah then told Onan to make love to Er's widow (Tamar) so he would produce children. When Onan made love to her, though, he spilled his semen so he would not produce children. God put Onan to death for doing that. Judah then told Tamar to live as a widow in her father's home. After Judah's wife died, Judah went to Timnah. Tamar heard he was coming and went to Enaim, which is on the way to Timnah. She covered her face with a veil so nobody would know who she was, and Judah had sex with her because he thought she was a prostitute. Tamar became pregnant with Judah's child. Three months later, Judah was told that his daughter-in-law was guilty of being a prostitute. Judah said to burn her, but Tamar convinced Judah that he was the father, so Judah did not have her burned to death. Tamar had twin boys, Perez and Zerah.

Chapter 39: Joseph lived in Potiphar's house and had great success because God was with him. Potiphar was pleased with Joseph and put him in charge of everything he owned. Potiphar's wife told Joseph to make love to her, but Joseph refused day after day. She asked again one day when they were alone, and Joseph ran out of the house, leaving his coat in her hand. She told Potiphar that Joseph tried to force her to have sex with him, but she screamed and he ran away, leaving his coat. Potiphar believed his wife, so he put Joseph in prison. God was with Joseph in prison, so Joseph was successful in prison, too.

Chapter 40: After Joseph had been in prison for awhile, Pharaoh became angry with his wine taster and chief baker, so he put them in prison. Some time later, they each had dreams the same night but they didn't know what they meant. Joseph told them only God knows what dreams mean, then they told Joseph their dreams, and Joseph told them what their dreams meant. Joseph told the wine taster his dream meant Pharaoh would release him from prison in three days and give him his position back. Joseph asked the wint taster to speak to Pharaoh about him and try to get him out of prison. Joseph told the chief baker his dream meant Pharaoh would cut off his head in three days, stick a pole through his body and set the pole up so birds would eat his body. Three days later, on Pharaoh's birthday, everything happened as Joseph said it would. But the wine taster forgot all about Joseph.

Points to ponder after reading these chapters of Genesis:

  • Isaac died at the age of 180, but didn't God declare in Genesis Chapter 6, around the time of Noah, that people would only live to be 120?

  • If God killed Onan for not wanting to father children with his sister-in-law, I wonder what Er did that made God put him to death?

  • How successful would Joseph have been if God had not been with him? How do we know God had anything to do with Joseph's success? Was anybody at this time successful without God's assistance?


Monday, February 22, 2010

Genesis Chapters 21-30

I think Blogger will give this post a date of February 22, which is the date it was created in draft mode. It was actually posted February 28. I'll create a new post from older draft posts in the future to avoid this discrepancy.

Here is my summary of Genesis chapters 21-30:

Chapter 21: Sarah gave birth to Isaac, and after Isaac grew a little, Sarah told Abraham to get rid of Hagar and Ishmael, Abraham's son by Hagar. Abraham sent them away, and they wandered the desert of Beersheba. Hagar got Ishmael a wife from Egypt. Abraham and Abimelech made a peace treaty in Beersheba, and Abraham stayed in the land of the Philistines for a long time.

Chapter 22: God tested Abraham by telling him to sacrifice his son Isaac as a burnt offering. Just as Abraham was about to kill Isaac with his knife, God told Abraham not to kill him. Instead, God provided a ram for sacrifice that was caught in the bushes. Since Abraham obeyed God, God told Abraham he would be blessed with many descendants, who would take over the cities of their enemies. God said all nations on earth would be blessed because of Abraham's children. Descendants of Abraham's brother Nahor are then listed.

Chapter 23: Abraham's wife Sarah died at the age of 127. Abraham asked the Hittites if he could buy some land for a family tomb, since he was a stranger there. Abraham bought a field with a cave in Machpelah near Mamre in the land of Canaan. Abraham buried his wife Sarah in the tomb.

Chapter 24: Abraham asked his best servant to get a wife for his son Isaac not from Canaan, where Abraham was living, but from his country, from among his own relatives. The servant set out for Aram Naharaim, and stopped at a well outside the town of Nahor. Rebekah came out to the well, and the servant knew she was chosen by God for Isaac because she offered water for his camels, too. The servant told Rebekah's father and brother the story, then he took Rebekah back to Isaac, and Isaac married Rebekah.

Chapter 25: Abraham married a woman named Keturah, and they had some more children before Abraham died at the age of 175. His sons Isaac and Ishmael buried him in the cave of Machpelah with his wife Sarah. Ishmael had 12 sons who became rulers of 12 tribes which settled near the eastern border of Egypt and were not friendly toward each other. Rebekah and Isaac had two sons, Jacob and Esau. Esau, the oldest, was Isaac's favorite, but Jacob was Rebekah's favorite. One day Jacob was cooking some stew when Esau came in from the open country and was very hungry. Jacob made Esau promise to sell him his rights as the oldest child before he would feed him.

Chapter 26: There was very little food available, so Isaac moved to Gerar. God told Isaac not to go to Egypt, but to stay where he was and that he would bless Isaac and his children by giving them all of these lands. God said he would do these things because Abraham had obeyed God and kept his commands, rules, and laws. Isaac became very rich and powerful in Gerar because God blessed him. The Philistines became jealous of him so they stopped up all of his wells. Abimelech, king of the Philistines, told Isaac to move away because he had become too powerful. Isaac moved away and settled in the Valley of Gerar, and had several disputes with the local Philistines over wells. Eventually Abimelech made a peace treaty with Isaac. Isaac's son Esau married two Hittite women, which upset Isaac and Rebekah.

Chapter 27: When Isaac became old and blind he told his son Esau to hunt some wild animals and prepare a meal so Isaac could give him his blessing. Rebekah heard this and told her son Jacob, then she helped him trick Isaac into blessing Jacob. The blessing included ruling over his brothers. Esau was upset when he learned Isaac had blessed Jacob. Isaac told Esau he would live by the sword, far away from the richness of the earth. Rebekah was told that Esau said he would kill Jacob after Isaac died, so she told Jacob to say with her brother Laban in Haran until Esau calms down. Rebekah told Isaac she was sick because of Esau's Hittite wives, and did not want Jacob to marry a Hittite woman.

Chapter 28: Isaac blessed Jacob and told him not to marry a woman from Canaan, but instead to go to Paddan Aram to find a wife among the daughters of Rebekah's brother Laban. Esau learned Isaac had sent Jacob to Paddan Aram because he disliked the women of Canaan so much, so he married Mahalath, the daughter of Abraham's son Ishmael. On the way to Haran, Jacob had a dream while sleeping one night, in which God told him he would give him and his children the land on which he was lying, and all nations on earth would be blessed because of Jacob and his descendants. The next morning Jacob set up the stone he had slept on as a pillar, and poured oil on top of it. He named the place Bethel (formerly Luz), and promised to give God a tenth of everything God gives him.

Chapter 29: Jacob continued his journey to where Rebekah's brother Laban lived. He had two daughers, Rachel and Leah. Jacob stayed with Laban for a month, then Laban asked him what his pay should be. Jacob was in love with Rachel, Laban's younger daughter, so he told Laban he would work for seven years to get Rachel. After seven years passed, Laban gave his older daughter Leah to Jacob instead. Jacob asked Laban why, and Laban said it is not their practice to give the younger daughter before the older one. Laban said after Jacob completed the wedding week with Leah, he would be given Rachel, but he had to work another seven years for Laban. Jacob agreed. God saw that Jacob did not love Leah as much as he loved Rachel, so he let Leah have children but Rachel could not. Leah had four sons.

Chapter 30: Rachel was upset that she was not having children, so she gave Jacob her servant Bilhah as a wife. Bilhah had two sons by Jacob. Leah saw that she was not having children, so she gave Jacob her servant Zilpah as a wife. Zilpah also had two sons by Jacob. Leah's son Reuben brought her some mandrake plants, and Rachel wanted them, so she told Leah she could make love to Jacob that night if Leah gave her the mandrake plants. Leah then became pregnant and had two more sons and a daughter. Then God made it possible for Rachel to have children, which she did. Jacob then told Laban to send him back to his own home and country. Instead of leaving, Jacob and Laban agreed to divide Laban's livestock, with Jacob taking care of some and Laban's sons taking care of the rest.

Points to ponder from Genesis chapters 21-30:

  • There seems to be a lot of emphasis in these chapters on God promising land to people, and triumph over their enemies, in exchange for obeying him.

  • If Esau gave up his rights as the oldest child just for a meal, does that mean both of his parents would have let Esau starve if Jacob had refused to share the meal? Was Esau tricked by Jacob, or was Esau just stupid?