Chapter 26 Chapter 31 Chapter 36 Chapter 41 Chapter 46
Chapter 27 Chapter 32 Chapter 37 Chapter 42 Chapter 47
Chapter 28 Chapter 33 Chapter 38 Chapter 43 Chapter 48
Chapter 29 Chapter 34 Chapter 39 Chapter 44 Chapter 49
Chapter 30 Chapter 35 Chapter 40 Chapter 45 Chapter 50

Chapter 26

(Verses 1 through 5) And there was a famine in the land, beside the first famine that was in the days of Abraham. And Isaac went unto Abimelech king of the Philistines unto Gerar. And the LORD appeared unto him, and said, Go not down into Egypt; dwell in the land which I shall tell thee of: sojourn in this land, and I will be with thee, and will bless thee; for unto thee, and unto thy seed I will give all these countries, and I will perform the oath which I sware unto Abraham thy father; and I will make thy seed to multiply as the stars of heaven, and will give unto thy seed all these countries; and in thy seed shall all nations of the earth be blessed; because that Abraham obeyed My voice, and kept My charge, My commandments, My statutes, and My laws.


Whether or not there had been other famines in the land we cannot be sure, since none are mentioned. But there had been one in Abraham’s days before Isaac was born. Now there was another, and Isaac went to Abimelech king of the Philistines who lived at Gerar. This may have been the same Abimelech who had been Abraham’s friend. But, more likely, he was the son of that Abimelech. (The name Abimelech can actually mean, “my father the king,” and may have been the common manner of addressing the king of the Philistines, regardless of what his actual name may have been.) He may have had some idea of going down into Egypt , as had Abraham; but the LORD appeared to him, and told him to not go there, but to remain in the land in which he was. The LORD renewed to him and to his seed the promise He had made to Abraham, both that to them He would give all these countries, and that in his seed all nations of the earth would be blessed. That is, He renewed both the natural and the Spiritual promises. And notice should be taken that neither these promises nor their renewal was based upon anything that Isaac or his seed would do, but were for the sake of Abraham. Abraham had obeyed the voice of the LORD, and had kept His charge, His commandments, His statutes, and His laws.


(Verses 6 through 11) And Isaac dwelt in Gerar: and the men of the place asked him of his wife: and he said, She is my sister: for he feared to say, She is my wife; lest, said he, the men of the place should kill me for Rebekah; because she was fair to look upon. And it came to pass, when he had been there a long time, that Abimelech king of the Philistines looked out at a window, and saw, and, behold, Isaac was sporting with Rebekah his wife. And Abimelech called Isaac, and said, Behold, of a surety she is thy wife: and how sadist thou, She is my sister? And Isaac said unto him, Because I said, Lest I die for her. And Abimelech said, What is this thou hast done unto us? one of the people might lightly have lien with thy wife, and thou should have brought guiltiness upon us. And Abimelech charged all his people, He that toucheth this man or his wife shall surely be put to death. 


This is exactly the same deception that Abraham had previously practiced upon the Pharaoh of Egypt, and upon Abimelech of the Philistines many years before. Isaac had the same fear of these people that Abraham had held, which seems to give us an insight into the customs of these people in that day. They seemed to think that there was nothing wrong with having casual sex with an unmarried woman, and neither did they, apparently, think it wrong to kill a man in order to take his wife. But they were very strict against adultery with a married woman. But when Abimelech discovered that Rebekah was indeed Isaac’s wife, he charged all his people, under penalty of death, to leave them both completely alone. :”He that toucheth this man or his wife shall surely be put to death.”


(Verses 12 through 16) Then Isaac sowed in that land, and received in the same year an hundredfold: and the LORD blessed him. And the man waxed great, and went forward, and grew until He became very great; for he had possession of flocks, and possession of herds, and great store of servants: and the Philistines envied him. For all the wells which his father’s servants had digged in the days of Abraham his father, the Philistines had stopped them, and filled them with earth. And Abimelech said unto Isaac, Go from us; for thou art much mightier than we.


While Isaac remained near Gerar, the LORD blessed him so greatly that he became greater than the Philistines under Abimelech. He even reopened all the wells that the servants of Abraham had made in his day. After Abraham’s death the Philistines had filled them up with earth. Now that Isaac had opened them up again the Philistines were envious of him. And Abimelech asked him to leave from their territory.


(Verses 17 through 25) And Isaac departed thence, and pitched his tent in the valley of Gerar , and dwelt there. And Isaac digged again the wells of water, which they had digged in the days of Abraham his father; for the Philistines had stopped them after the death of Abraham: and he called their names after the names by which his father had called them. And his servants digged in the valley, and found there a well of springing water. And the herdmen of Gerar did strive with Isaac’s herdmen, saying, The water is ours: and he called the name of the well Esek; because they strove with him. And they digged another well, and strove for that also: and he called the name of it Sitnah. And he removed from thence, and digged another well; and he called the name of it Rehoboth; and he said, For now the LORD hath made room for us, and we shall be fruitful in the land. And he went up from thence to Beersheba . And the LORD appeared unto him the same night, and said, I am the God of Abraham thy father: fear not, for I am with thee, and will bless thee, and multiply thy seed for My servant Abraham’s sake. And he builded an altar there, and called upon the name of the LORD, and pitched his tent there: and there Isaac’s servants digged a well.


The valley of Gerar was some little distance from the city of Gerar where Abimelech and his people lived. So Isaac left the city of Gerar , and went to the valley of Gerar , and pitched his tent. While there he found that the Philistines had filled up all the wells that Abraham had had his servants dig in the valley while he lived there; so he opened them again, and called them by the same names that Abraham had given them. His servants also dug some new wells. The servants of the Philistines laid claim to the first one, which was one in which the underground stream of water was strong enough to fill it, and cause it to overflow and run continuously, instead of their having to draw the water from it. Since Abimelech had already admitted that Isaac (with his servants) was stronger than the Philistines, the servants of the Philistines were playing a dangerous game. But Isaac graciously let them have this well which he called Esek (contention) and had his servants dig another. Apparently emboldened by his gracious treatment of them, the Philistines claimed this one also. So he named it Sitnah (accusation or hatred) and had his servants dig another. At this point the Philistines, probably, thought they had pushed Isaac about as far as they dared, so they did not start any strife about it. So Isaac named this well Rehoboth, which means “streets or wide spaces.” He gave it this name because he felt that the LORD had made room for him, and that he would now prosper in the land. After this he moved up to Beersheba . And the very night after his arrival there, the LORD appeared to him again, told him to not be afraid, and identified Himself as the God of Abraham. He also declared to him that He was with him, and would bless him and multiply his seed. Again He makes this promise, not for Isaac’s sake, but for the sake of his father Abraham. So there Isaac built an altar, called upon the name of the LORD, and pitched his tent. He also had his servants dig another well.


(Verses 26 through 33) Then Abimelech went to him from Gerar, and Ahuzzath one of his friends, and Phichol the chief captain of his army. And Isaac said unto them, Wherefore come ye to me, seeing that ye hate me, and have sent me away from you? And they said, We saw certainly that the LORD was with thee: and we said, Let there be now an oath betwixt us and thee, and let us make a covenant with thee; that thou wilt do us no hurt, as we have not touched thee, and as we have done unto thee nothing but good, and have sent thee away in peace: thou art now blessed of the LORD. And he made them a feast, and they did eat and drink. And they rose up betimes in the morning, and sware one to another: and Isaac sent them away, and they departed from him in peace. And it came to pass the same day, that Isaac’s servants told him concerning the well which they had digged, and said unto him, We have found water. And he called it Shebah: therefore the name of the city is Beersheba unto this day.


Since God had so greatly blessed Isaac, the Philistines were afraid, and decided that their safest course of action was to get Isaac to make a covenant with them that he would do them no harm. Accordingly their king and their greatest general, together with the king’s friend went to visit him. Although the same names are given for the king and the “chief captain” that were used concerning these officers when they went to see Abraham, and made a covenant with him, it is not at all certain that they were the same men, since Abimelech, according to Cruden’s Dictionary of Proper names, means “our father the king,” and Phichol, “the mouth of all;” and the Philistines considered their king, regardless of his name, as “our father the king;” and certainly their principal general, or “chief captain” was able to speak for all, and was thus “the mouth of all.” Of course, it is possible that these were the same men with whom Abraham dealt. But it had been many years since He made the covenant with them. That treaty was made when Abraham was approximately an hundred years of age; and he was at his death one hundred and seventy five years old. So if these ware the same men, they are at a ripe old age themselves. However, they came to Isaac; and Isaac’s first question to them was, “Wherefore come ye to me, seeing ye hate me, and have sent me away from you?” One can hardly blame him for such a question. They had asked him to leave from their city; and when he left, and settled in another location, their servants continued to try to force him to go farther away, by trying to take from him the wells that his servants dug. But they soon declared that they came to get a covenant with him that he would not do them any harm: and he very graciously made a feast for them, and entertained them that night. The next morning they all took the oath of their covenant, and the Philistines went home. That same day Isaac’s servants had success in digging a well in which they found water. When they told him about it, he named the well Shebah, which means “oath.” This is at the same place where Abraham had made his covenant with the Philistines, Beersheba ; and the city that is there is still called Beersheba .


(Verses 34 and 35) And Esau was forty years old when he took to wife Judith the daughter of Beeri the Hittite, and Bashemath the daughter of Elon the Hittite: which were a grief of mind to Isaac and Rebekah.


Esau married two women of the Hittites when he was forty years old: and these wives were not at all pleasing to Isaac and Rebekah. No reason is given for their lack of harmony, so we have no reason to inquire into the matter.  

Chapter 27

(Verses 1 through 5) And it came to pass, that when Isaac was old, and his eyes were dim, so that he could not see, he called Esau his eldest son, and said unto him, My son: and he said unto him, Behold, here am I. And he said, Behold now, I am old, I know not the day of my death: now therefore take, I pray thee, thy weapons, thy quiver and thy bow, and go out to the field, and take me some venison; and make me savoury meat, such as I love, and bring it to me, that I may eat; that my soul may bless thee before I die. And Rebekah heard when Isaac spake to Esau his son. And Esau went to the field to hunt for venison, and bring it.


The last six verses of Chapter 25 and all of Chapters 27 through 33 should be sufficient to prove to anyone who believes the word of God that God does not, and is not obligated to, work according to man’s rules of what is fair, or right. This is not to say that He is not right in what He does, but simply that, He is not bound by what man considers right, or fair. All His works are right, because He is the Creator of all things, and has the right to do what He will with His own. And one must remember that God had declared before the brothers, Esau and Jacob were born, “The elder shall serve the younger.” This, in itself was not, according to man’s custom, fair. But it was right.


These first five verses set the stage for a series of events that man would not consider fair. The one who commits the deception is the one who is blessed of God, while the one who is doing what he was told to do is made to lose that which, according to man’s custom should have been his. Isaac had become old and blind. He told his son Esau to go out and kill a deer, prepare it in a manner that he especially liked, and bring it to him for him to eat, that for the joy it would give him, he might be able to bless Esau. Isaac’s wife Rebekah heard him give these instructions to Esau. Then Esau went out to do what his father had instructed him.


(Verses 6 through 13) And Rebekah spake unto Jacob her son, saying, Behold, I heard thy father speak unto Esau thy brother, saying, Bring me venison, and make me savoury meat, that I may eat, and bless thee before the LORD before my death. Now therefore, my son, obey my voice according to that which I command thee. Go now to the flock, and fetch me from thence two good kids of the goats; and I will make them savoury meat for thy father, such as he loveth: and thou shalt bring it to thy father, that he may eat, and that he may bless thee before his death. And Jacob said unto Rebekah his mother, Behold, Esau my brother is a hairy man, and I am a smooth man: my father peradventure will feel me, and I shall seem to him as a deceiver; and I shall bring a curse upon me, and not a blessing. And his mother said unto him, Upon me be thy curse, my son: only obey my voice, and go fetch me them.


There seems to be little room for explanation concerning this. In it the whole plot of the deception was laid out by Rebekah the mother of both Esau and Jacob. We were told earlier that Isaac loved Esau, and Rebekah loved Jacob. We would usually think that this only meant that Esau was Isaac’s favorite, and Jacob was Rebekah’s favorite, which is not altogether unusual in a family. But it would hardly be expected to go this far. Yet we must remember that this is actually the work of the LORD to bring about the fulfillment of His word as already spoken.


(Verses 14 through 17) And he went, and fetched, and brought them to his mother: and his mother made savoury meat, such as his father loved. And Rebekah took goodly raiment of her eldest son Esau, which were with her in the house, and put them upon Jacob her younger son: and she put the skins of the kids of the goats upon his hands, and upon the smooth of his neck: and she gave the savoury meat and the bread, which she had prepared, into the hand of her son Jacob.


Thus we have all the groundwork laid for the deception of Isaac, so that the blessing which, according to custom, should have been Esau’s, would be Jacob’s. We point out this with no intention to find fault with God or His works, but simply to remind you that He has the right to do what He will with that which He has created, and you and I have no right to question Him or what He does. Romans 9:11—24 gives us the key to the whole matter. “(For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of Him that calleth;) it was said unto her, ‘The elder shall serve the younger. As it is written, “Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated’. What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid. For He saith to Moses, ‘I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.’ So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy. For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, ‘Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew My power in thee, and that My name might be declared throughout all the earth.’ Therefore hath He mercy on whom He will have mercy, and whom He will He hardeneth. Thou wilt say then unto me, ‘Why doth He yet find fault? For who hath resisted His will?’ Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say unto Him that formed it, ‘Why hast thou made me thus?’ Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour? What if God, willing to shew His wrath, and to make His power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted for destruction: and that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which He had afore prepared unto glory, even on us, whom He hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?” God had chosen Jacob instead of Esau. And we have no right to question the matter, and certainly none to question God Who has done it.


(Verses 18 through 23) And he came unto his father, and said My father: and he said, Here am I; who art thou, my son? And Jacob said unto his father, I am Esau thy firstborn; I have done according as thou badest me: arise, I pray thee, sit and eat of my venison, that thy soul may bless me. And Isaac said unto his son, How is it that thou hast found it so quickly, my son? And he said, Because the LORD thy God brought it to me. And Isaac said unto Jacob, Come near, I pray thee, that I may feel thee, my son, whether thou be my very son Esau or not. And Jacob went near unto Isaac his father; and he felt him and said, The voice is Jacob’s voice, but the hands are the hands of Esau. And he discerned him not, because his hands were hairy, as his brother Esau’s hands: so he blessed him.


When Jacob came to Isaac, Isaac was a little suspicious that he was not Esau as he claimed. But after having him come close to him so that he could feel of him, he was convinced by the disguise Rebekah had put upon Jacob. So Isaac blessed Jacob. This was only what we might call a preliminary blessing, because as we shall soon see there was an additional blessing after Isaac had eaten of the meat Rebekah had prepared, and Jacob had brought to him.


(Verses 24 through 29) And he said, Art thou my very son Esau? And he said, I am. And he said, Bring it near to me, and I will eat of my son’s venison, that my soul may bless thee. And he brought it near to him, and he did eat; and he brought him wine, and he drank. And his father Isaac said unto him, Come near now, and kiss me, my son. And he came near, and kissed him: and he smelled the smell of his raiment, and blessed him, and said, See, the smell of my son is as the smell of a field which the LORD hath blessed: therefore God give thee of the dew of heaven, and the fatness of the earth, and plenty of corn and wine: let people serve thee, and nations bow down to thee: be thou lord over thy brethren, and let thy mother’s sons bow down to thee: cursed be everyone that curseth thee, and blessed be he that blesseth thee.


So the deception of Isaac was complete. And He blessed Jacob with the same blessing, in substance, that God had pronounced upon Abraham. In this we see the continuation of the blessing of the LORD upon the seed of Abraham was made to follow the lineage which the LORD had chosen, not that which was according to the custom of men. Throughout history, even to the present day we find that blessing fulfilled in a natural sense, as well as in the spiritual. In all history, the ones who have cursed, or abused the Jew, have received a curse; and they who have blessed, or befriended him have been blessed.


(Verses 30 through 33) And it came to pass, as soon as Isaac had made an end of blessing Jacob, and Jacob was yet scarce gone out from the presence of Isaac his father, that Esau his brother came in from hunting. And he also had prepared savoury meat, and brought it unto his father, and said unto his father, Let my father arise, and eat of his son’s venison, that thy soul may bless me. And Isaac his father said unto him, Who art thou? And he said, I am thy son, thy firstborn Esau. And Isaac trembled very exceedingly, and said, Who? Where is he that hath taken venison, and brought it me, and I have eaten of all before thou camest, and have blessed him? yea, and he shall be blessed.


Jacob had just left his father when Esau came in with the venison he had prepared for Isaac. Of course, since Isaac had already eaten of the meat Jacob had brought him, he was greatly troubled that he had been deceived. It had been his intention to bless Esau; but Jacob had deceived him. And he blessed Jacob instead. But he realized that the blessing was of God, and not of himself. So he declared that Jacob would indeed be blessed. He could not change that.


(Verses 34 through 37) And when Esau heard the words of his father, he cried with a great and exceeding bitter cry, and said unto his father, Bless me, even me also, O my father. And he said, Thy brother came with subtilty, and hath taken away thy blessing. And he said, Is not he rightly named Jacob? for he hath supplanted me these two times: he took away my birthright; and, behold, now he hath taken away my blessing. And he said, Hast thou not reserved a blessing for me? And Isaac answered and said unto Esau, Behold, I have made him thy lord, and all his brethren have I given to him for servants; and with corn and wine have I sustained him: and what shall I do now unto thee, my son?


When Esau sold his birthright to Jacob, he thought so little of it that he sold it to Jacob for one meal. He thought that, to satisfy his hunger one time was more important than his birthright. Now that he had also lost the blessing that should go with that birthright, he was terribly disappointed, and, no doubt, angry. So he blamed the whole thing on Jacob. And Jacob was to be blamed, but only in part: for Esau had agreed to sell his birthright to Jacob for what we would consider almost nothing. So part of the blame for that was upon Esau. But we have to remember that the whole matter was only the fulfilling of what God had said before the boys were even born. Esau begged his father to bless him also; but Isaac recounted to him the blessings that he had pronounced upon Jacob, and asked, “And what shall I now do for thee, my son?”


(Verses 38 through 40) And Esau said unto his father, Hast thou but one blessing, my father? Bless me, even me also, O my father. And Esau lifted up his voice, and wept. And Isaac his father answered and said unto him, Behold, thy dwelling shall be the fatness of the earth, and of the dew of heaven from above; and by thy sword shalt thou live, and shalt serve thy brother; and it shall come to pass when thou shalt have the dominion, that thou shalt break his yoke from off thy neck.


There is little here to require comment, except that, as Esau begged his father for a blessing, Isaac did indeed bless him; but only with natural blessings, “the fatness of the earth, and of the dew of heaven from above.” (The dew is a product of the atmospheric heaven.) He also foretold that he would rise up, and free himself from servitude to Jacob. But there is no promise that those who bless him shall be blessed, and those who curse him shall be cursed. Even today the Arabs are, probably, the wealthiest nations on earth; and although a few of them do believe in the Christ, by far the greater portion of them do not.


(Verses 41 through 45) And Esau hated Jacob because of the blessing wherewith his father blessed him: and Esau said in his heart, The days of mourning for my father are at hand; then will I slay my brother Jacob. And these words of Esau her elder son were told to Rebekah; and she sent and called Jacob her younger son, and said unto him, Behold, thy brother Esau, as touching thee, doth comfort himself, purposing to kill thee. Now therefore, my son, obey my voice; and arise, flee thou to Laban my brother to Haran; and tarry with him a few days, until thy brother’s anger turn away from thee, and he forget what thou hast done to him: then I will send, and fetch thee from thence: why should I be deprived also of you both in one day?


No doubt, there are those who would think Esau justified in his purpose to kill Jacob. But such was not according to God’s purpose. So the word of what he had planned was brought to Rebekah, and she immediately took steps to thwart that plan. She called Jacob and told him what Esau planned to do; and she told him to leave, go to her brother in Haran , and stay a while with him, to give Esau “a cooling off” space, after which she would send for Jacob, and he could safely return home.


(Verse 46) And Rebekah said to Isaac, I am weary of my life because of the daughters of Heth: if Jacob take a wife of the daughters of Heth, such as these which are the daughters of the land, what good shall my life do me?


We can see that Rebekah was a very wise woman. She not only told Jacob what to do, but also arranged to have Isaac tell him the same thing, that he might openly go as she had instructed him without his father’s knowing that he was running away from Esau. Earlier we were told that Esau had married wives of the daughters of the Hittites who were in the land. The Hittites are “the sons of Heth.”

Chapter 28

(Verses 1 through 5) And Isaac called Jacob, and blessed him, and charged him, and said unto him, Thou shalt not take a wife of the daughters of Canaan . Arise, go to Padan-aram, to the house of Bethuel thy mother’s father; and take thee a wife from thence of the daughters of Laban thy mother’s brother. And God Almighty bless thee, and make thee fruitful, and multiply thee, that thou mayest be a multitude of people; and give thee the blessing of Abraham, to thee, and to thy seed with thee; that thou mayest inherit the land wherein thou art a stranger, which God gave unto Abraham. And Isaac sent away Jacob: and he went to Padan-aram unto Laban, son of Bethuel the Syrian, the brother of Rebekah, Jacob’s and Esau’s mother.


 Apparently what Rebekah told Isaac was very effective. He called Jacob, and gave him the same instructions Rebekah had already given him, concerning where he was to go. He also blessed Jacob, and charged him to not take a wife of the daughters of Canaan , but to take a wife of the daughters of Laban, his mother’s brother. In most instances today, we frown on marriage between two parties of that near kin. But it was not so in that day, and for a long time thereafter. Isaac also called upon God to bless Jacob with “the blessing of Abraham, to thee, and to thy seed with thee, that thou mayest inherit the land wherein thou art a stranger, which God gave to Abraham. Thus he signified that he understood that God had purposed that the descendants of Jacob, and not Esau, should be the people in whom the “seed of Abraham” should be counted.


(Verses 5 through 9) When Esau saw that Isaac had blessed Jacob, and sent him away to Padan-aram, to take him a wife from thence; and that as he blessed him he gave him a charge, saying, Thou shalt not take a wife of the daughters of Canaan; and that Jacob obeyed his father and his mother, and was gone to Padan-aram; and Esau seeing that the daughters of Canaan pleased not Isaac his father; then went Esau unto Ishmael, and took unto the wives which he had Mahalath the daughter of Ishmael Abraham’s son, the sister of Nebajoth, to be his wife.


When Esau realized that the daughters of the Canaanites were not pleasing to Isaac, he, no doubt, thought that by taking the daughter of Ishmael Isaac’s brother as his wife would please his father. Whether or not it did, we cannot say; for there is no scriptural record of Isaac’s reaction to this. However, as history proves, it united him to Ishmael who is the head of the Arabic people.


(Verses 10 through 16) And Jacob went out from Beersheba , and went toward Haran . And he lighted upon a certain place, and tarried there all night, because the sun was set; and he took the stones of that place, and put them for his pillows, and lay down in that place to sleep. And he dreamed and, behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven: and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it. And, behold, the LORD stood above it, and said, I am the LORD God of Abraham thy father, and the God of Isaac: the land whereon thou liest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed; And thy seed shall be as the dust of the earth, and thou shalt spread abroad to the west, and to the east, and to the north, and to the south: and in thee and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed. And, behold, I am with thee, and will keep thee in all places whither thou goest, and will bring thee again into this land; for I will not leave thee, until I have done that which I have spoken to thee of.


This is the first account we have of God’s dealing directly with Jacob. Heretofore Isaac has been the priest of the family, and God has enabled him to bless and instruct Jacob. Now God appears to Jacob in a dream, speaking directly to him, and repeating to him the promise already made to Abraham and Isaac. He also promises that He will not leave Jacob until He has fulfilled His promise to him, and has returned him safely to the land of Canaan .


(Verses 16 through 22) And Jacob awaked out of his sleep, and he said, Surely the LORD is in this place; and I knew it not. And he was afraid, and said, How dreadful is this place! This is none other but the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven. And Jacob rose up early in the morning, and took the stone that he had set up for his pillows, and set it up for a pillar, and poured oil upon the top of it. And he called the name of that place Beth-el: but the name of that place was called Luz at the first. And Jacob vowed a vow, saying, If God will be with me, and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat, and raiment to put on, so that I come again to my father’s house in peace; then shall the LORD be my God: and this stone, which I have set for a pillar, shall be God’s house: and of all that Thou shalt give me, I will surely give the tenth unto Thee.


The dream Jacob had made such a profound effect upon him that when he awakened the next morning he was greatly afraid. He considered the place one that would strike dread into anyone, and he called it the house of God and the gate of heaven. He took the stone that he had used as a pillow, set it up as an altar (“pillar”) and poured a libation of oil upon the top of it. He named the place Beth-el, which means “the house of God.” Before he left he made a vow that if the LORD would keep him safe, give him food to eat and clothes to wear, and bring him again to his father’s house, he would claim Him as his God, and consider this stone as the house of God. Further, he would pay to God tithes of all with which the LORD would bless him. Although Abraham did give tithes to Melchizedek of all the spoils of war that he had taken , in his battle against the kings, this is the first incident recorded of any man’s vowing to pay to the LORD tithes of all with which the Lord would bless him.


Chapter 29

(Verses 1 through 8) Then Jacob went on his journey, and came into the land of the people of the east. and he looked, and behold a well in the field, and, lo, there were three flocks of sheep lying by it; for out of that well they watered the flocks: and a great stone was upon the well’s mouth. And thither were all the flocks gathered: and they rolled the stone from the well’s mouth, and watered the sheep, and put the stone again upon the well’s mouth in his place. And Jacob said unto them, My brethren, whence be ye? And they said, of Haran are we. And he said unto them, Know ye Laban the son of Nahor? And they said, We know him. And he said unto them, Is he well? And they said, He is well: and, behold, Rachel his daughter cometh with the sheep. And he said, Lo, it is yet high day, neither is it time that the cattle should be gathered together: water ye the sheep, and go and feed them. And they said, We cannot, until all the flocks be gathered together, and till they roll the stone from the well’s mouth; then we water the sheep.


Apparently Jacob’s journey from Beth-el to Padan-aram was uneventful. And when he arrived, about the first thing that caught his attention was a well that was primarily used for watering the sheep, of which there were three flocks lying nearby. Jacob struck up a conversation with the shepherds of these flocks, asking from whence they were, and finding that they were from Haran , he asked if they were acquainted with Laban the son of Nahor. They told him that they knew him, and that he was well. Then they called his attention to an approaching flock, and told him that the one keeping that flock was Laban’s daughter Rachel. While Rachel and her flock were approaching, he called their attention to the fact that it was not yet time for the sheep to be gathered together, but rather they should still be feeding. And he told them to water the sheep, and take them out to pasture. Their reply was  that, they could not do so until all the flocks were gathered at the well, and till “they roll the stone from the well’s mouth; then we water the sheep.” This seems clear enough except verse 8. We do not know whether this was just a matter of custom that all had to be watered in some special order, or just that these shepherds were afraid of those to whom they refer as “they,” and  feared what they might do if someone got ahead of them.


(Verses 9 through 14) And while he yet spake with them, Rachel came with her father’s sheep: for she kept them. And it came to pass, when Jacob saw Rachel the daughter of Laban his mother’s brother, and the sheep of Laban his mother’s brother, that Jacob went near, and rolled the stone from the well’s mouth, and watered the flock of Laban his mother’s brother. And Jacob kissed Rachel, and lifted up his voice, and wept. And Jacob told Rachel that he was her father’s brother, and that he was Rebekah’s son; and she ran and told her father. And it came to pass, when Laban heard the tidings of Jacob his sister’s son, that he ran to meet him, and kissed him, and brought him to his house. And he told Laban all these things. And Laban said unto him, Surely thou art my bone and my flesh. And he abode with him the space of a month.


When Rachel and Laban’s sheep arrived, Jacob disregarded what the other shepherds had told him about their manner of watering the sheep; and he opened up the well, and watered Rachel’s flock. Whether the other shepherds watered their flocks, or not we are not told. Some have tried to make a great thing of Jacob’s kissing Rachel when he first met her. But this was simply a common custom in that day, especially in the case of people, both men and women, who were of close kinship, as witnessed by the fact that when Laban met Jacob, he kissed him. It was not the lips to lips kiss of lovers. They simply kissed each other on the cheek; and in some cases on both cheeks. Jacob then introduced himself to Rachel as her father’s brother, and the son of her aunt. In the usage of the day, brother did not always mean exactly what we consider it today. It simply meant a near kinsman. So Rachel went quickly and told the news to her father Laban, who immediately went out to welcome his nephew Jacob. And Jacob stayed with Laban a month before anything was ever said about any future plans.


(Verses 15 through 20) And Laban said unto Jacob, Because thou art my brother, shouldest thou therefore serve me for nought? tell me, what shall thy wages be? And Laban had two daughters: the name of the elder was Leah, and the name of the younger was Rachel. Leah was tender eyed; but Rachel was beautiful and well favoured. And Jacob loved Rachel; and said, I will serve thee seven years for Rachel thy younger daughter. And Laban said, It is better that I give her to thee, than that I should give her to another man: abide with me. And Jacob served seven years for Rachel; and they seemed unto him but a few days, for the love he had for her.


After Jacob had remained with Laban for a month, Laban decided that it was not fair that Jacob should work for him for nothing, as he evidently had during that month, so he asked Jacob to name his price for continuing to remain with him and work for him. We have already seen Laban’s younger daughter Rachel at the well. But he also had another daughter, older than Rachel; and her name was Leah. We are told that Leah was “tender eyed;” and some tell us that that phrase means “near sighted;” and since, in that day they had no corrective measures for near sightedness, as we do today, such a person would, probably, develop a squint of the eyes that would take away from the beauty of the face. But Rachel was beautiful, with no blemish of the face. And Jacob had fallen in love with Rachel. So he proposed that he would serve Laban seven years if Laban would give him Rachel for a wife. To this Laban agreed, and told Jacob to abide with him. So Jacob served him seven years; and he loved Rachel so much that those years seemed only a few days to him. This may seem a little strange to us today, since Rachel was, most likely, not even yet old enough that we would consider her “of age,” and Jacob was well over forty years old.


(Verses 21 through 30) And Jacob said unto Laban, Give me my wife, for my days are fulfilled, that I may go in unto her. And Laban gathered together all the men of the place, and made a feast. And it came to pass in the evening, that he took Leah his daughter, and brought her to him; and he went in unto her. And Laban gave unto his daughter Leah Zilpah his maid for an handmaid. And it came to pass, that in the morning, behold, it was Leah: and he said to Laban, What is this thou hast done unto me? did not I serve thee for Rachel? Wherefore then hast thou beguiled me? And Laban said, It must not be so done in our country, to give the younger before the firstborn. Fulfill her week, and we will give thee this also for the service which thou shalt serve with me yet seven other years. And Jacob did so, and fulfilled her week: and he gave him Rachel his daughter to wife also. And Laban gave to Rachel his daughter Bilhah his handmaid to be her maid. And he went in also unto Rachel, and he loved also Rachel more than Leah, and served with him yet seven other years.


In our modern day of so much dating between young couples, and particularly those who are engaged, we might wonder how Laban could pull off the deception he did on Jacob. But we have to remember that customs were quite different in that day. Although Jacob was abiding with Laban, that is in his household, he may have had very little contact with any of the women. So, after the feast with all the drinking of wine that, no doubt, accompanied it, darkness had come on before Leah was brought to him. In addition to this, she, probably was covered with a veil so that he could not have seen her face if there had been light. So, in the tent, where there was no light, all he knew was that a woman had been brought to him; and he trusting Laban, believed that it was Rachel. When the light of the morning came, he discovered the deception, and was, of course, angry at Laban for tricking him. Laban’s excuse was that in his country the younger daughter could mot be married before the older daughter: and if Jacob would stay with her for a week, he could also have the wife he had all the time wanted, Rachel. Of course, he would then have to serve Laban another seven years. One wonders if this was actually the custom of that area, or if Laban, being unsuccessful in getting Leah married, had concocted this way of getting that done. At any rate, Jacob agreed to this proposition also, and after his week with Leah, he was given Rachel also. This clearly shows that in the matter of marriage the woman had little, or no, right to agree or disagree. And this seems a little strange, since, in the matter of Rebekah’s going with Abraham’s servant, to become the bride of Isaac, she was asked directly if she would go with the man; and her answer settled the matter. Jacob loved Rachel better than he did Leah. So he served the other seven years.


(Verses 31 through 35) And when the LORD saw that Leah was hated, He opened her womb: but Rachel was barren. And Leah conceived, and bare a son, and she called his name Reuben: for she said, Surely the LORD hath looked upon my affliction; now therefore my husband will love me. And she conceived again, and bare a son; and said, Because the LORD hath heard that I was hated, He hath therefore given me this son also: and she called his name Simeon. And she conceived again, and bare a son: and said, Now this time will my husband be joined unto me, because I have born him three sons: therefore was his name called Levi. And she conceived again, and bare a son: and she said, Now will I praise the LORD: therefore she called his name Judah ; and left bearing.


Although Jacob loved Rachel more than he did Leah, he had no children by Rachel, for, at this time, she was barren. But Leah bore four sons, Reuben, Simeon, Levi, and Judah. The center column notes in our bible give the meanings of the names of these four sons as: Reuben; “See a son:” Simeon; “hearing:” Levi; “joined:” and Judah ; “praise.” From this, and what Leah said as she named these sons, one may get a reasonable idea of her feelings at the times of their births.

Chapter 30

(Verses 1 through 8) And when Rachel saw that she bare Jacob no children, Rachel envied her sister; and said unto Jacob, Give me children, or else I die. And Jacob’s anger was kindled against Rachel: and he said, Am I in God’s stead, Who hath withheld from thee the fruit of the womb? And she said, Behold my maid Bilhah, go in unto her; and she shall bear upon my knees, that I may have children by her. And she gave him Bilhah her handmaid to wife: and Jacob went in unto her. And Bilhah conceived, and bare Jacob a son. And Rachel said, God hath judged me, and hath also heard my voice, and hath given me a son: therefore she called his name Dan. And Bilhah Rachel’s maid conceived again, and bare Jacob a second son. And Rachel said, With great wrestlings have I wrestled with my sister, and I have prevailed: and she called his name Naphtali.


This shows us how important it was to women of that day to have children. Of course, we have already seen Sarah and Abraham, in their effort to help God accomplish His purpose, using this same approach to their problem. We have also seen that it completely failed in their purpose, and actually caused trouble. Here, however, we find no ill effects of it insofar as the setting up of two separate peoples is concerned. Dan and Naphtali are henceforth recognized as legitimate sons of Jacob; and from them sprang two of the tribes of Israel . Rachel was well satisfied with the results of this, and felt that she had prevailed against her sister. Thus the names of these two boys were given to them because of the feelings of Rachel. She called the first one Dan, which means “judging,” or “he that judges,” because she felt that God had rendered judgment for her against her sister. The second she named Naphtali, meaning “my wrestling” or “my twisting;” for she felt that she had been wrestling with her sister, and had prevailed against her. Both she and Leah felt that only by bearing Jacob children could they be first in his affections.


(Verses 9 through 13) When Leah saw that she had left bearing, she took Zilpah her maid, and gave her to Jacob to wife. And Zilpah Leah’s maid bare Jacob a son. And Leah said, A troop cometh: and she called his name Gad. And Zilpah Leah’s maid bare Jacob a second son. And Leah said, Happy am I, for the daughters will call me blessed: and she called his name Asher.


Here we see a continuation of the rivalry between Rachel and Leah. Since Leah was having no more children, she had Jacob take her handmaid Zilpah as a wife, and she bore him two sons. The first of these sons Leah named Gad. This name can mean, “a band, or troop; happy; or armed and prepared.” Apparently, from what Leah said, her meaning of it was “troop.” The name, Asher, means “blessedness or happiness.” So Leah was very happy with the result of her plan.


(Verses 14 through 21) And Reuben went in the days of wheat harvest, and found mandrakes in the field, and brought them unto his mother Leah. Then Rachel said to Leah, Give me, I pray thee, of thy son’s mandrakes. And she said, Is it a small matter that thou hast taken my husband? And wouldest thou take away my son’s mandrakes also? And Rachel said, Therefore he shall lie with thee to night for thy son’s mandrakes. And Jacob came out of the field in the evening, and Leah went out to meet him, and said, Thou must come in unto me; for surely I have hired thee with my son’s mandrakes. And he lay with her that night. And God hearkened unto Leah, and she conceived, and bare Jacob the fifth son. And Leah said, God hath given me my hire, because I have given my maiden to my husband: and she called his name Issachar. And Leah conceived again, and bare Jacob the sixth son. And Leah said, God hath endued me with a good dowry; now will my husband dwell with me, because I have born him six sons: and she called his name Zebulun. And afterwards she bare a daughter, and called her name Dinah.


According to the dictionary, mandrake is “an herb--- having poisonous, emetic, and narcotic qualities, the root of which is shaped like a human foot, and has given rise to many superstitions.” Apparently one of those superstitions is that it would heal barrenness in a woman. That seems to be Rachel’s reason for so badly wanting it, as well as Leah’s hesitancy in letting her have it. Apparently it did Rachel no good; for Leah had two more sons and a daughter before Rachel had any children. Leah named her fifth son Issachar, which means “wages,” for she said, “God hath given me my hire, because I have given my maiden to my husband.” Zebulun means “wished for habitation;” and was so named because Leah felt that surely Jacob would now stay with her, since she had borne him six sons. The name, Dinah, means “judgment” or “who judges;” No reaction of Leah is given to show why she called her daughter Dinah.


(Verses 22 through 24) And God remembered Rachel, and God hearkened to her, and opened her womb. And she conceived, and bare a son; and said, God hath taken away my reproach: and she called his name Joseph; and said, the LORD shall add to me another son.


Apparently Rachel laid aside her trust in superstitions, and prayed to the LORD concerning her barren condition. He heard her prayer, and caused her to conceive; and she bore a son, and called his name Joseph, which means, “He shall add;” for she said “The LORD shall add to me another son.” In Rachel’s statement, “God hath taken away my reproach,” we can see the common attitude toward barrenness of a woman in that day. It was a reproach, and she was considered a little less than a woman.


(Verses 25 through 36) And it came to pass, when Rachel had born Joseph, that Jacob said unto Laban, send me away, that I may go unto mine own place, and to my country. Give me my wives and my children, for whom I have served thee, and let me go: for thou knowest my service which I have done unto thee. And Laban said unto him, I pray thee, if I have found favor in thine eyes, tarry: for I have learned by experience that the LORD hath blessed me for thy sake. And he said, Appoint me thy wages, and I will give it. And he said, Thou knowest how I have served thee, and how thy cattle was with me. For it was little which thou hadst before I came, and it is now increased into a multitude; and the LORD hath blessed thee since my coming: and now when shall I provide for mine own house also? And he said, What shall I give thee? and Jacob said, Thou shalt not give me any thing: if thou wilt do this thing for me, I will again feed and keep thy flock: I will pass through all thy flock to day, removing from thence all the speckled and spotted cattle, and all the brown among the sheep, and the spotted and speckled among the goats: and of such shall be my hire. So shall my righteousness answer for me in time to come, when it shall come for my hire before thy face: every one that is not speckled and spotted among the goats, and brown among the sheep, that shall be counted stolen with me. And Laban said, Behold, I would it might be according to thy word. And he removed that day the he goats that were ringstraked and spotted, and all the she goats that were speckled and spotted, and every one that had some white in it, and all the brown among the sheep, and gave them into the hand of his sons. And he set three days’ journey betwixt himself and Jacob: and Jacob fed the rest of Laban’s flocks.


Jacob decided that he had served Laban long enough without beginning to build up some flocks and herds for himself. So he approached Laban about the matter, and asked him to let him and his family return to Jacob’s country. Laban wanted Jacob to remain with him, because he had learned from experience that the LORD had blessed him since Jacob came to him. So, at Jacob’s suggestion they worked out an agreement, which on the surface seems very appropriate. It seems totally unnecessary to recap the details of this agreement, since they were all very clearly spelled out in the conversation between Jacob and Laban. And Jacob agreed to continue to keep Laban’s flocks, and lead them to pasture.


(Verses 37 through 43) And Jacob took him rods of green poplar, and of the hazel and chestnut tree; and pilled white strakes in them, and made the white appear which was in the rods. And set the rods which he had pilled before the flocks in the gutters in the watering troughs when the flocks came to drink, that they should conceive when they came to drink. And the flocks conceived before the rods, and brought forth cattle ringstraked, speckled, and spotted. And Jacob did separate the lambs, and set the faces of the flocks toward the ringstraked, and all the brown in the flock of Laban; and he put his own flocks by themselves, and put them not unto Laban’s cattle. And it came to pass, whensoever the stronger cattle did conceive, that Jacob laid the rods before the eyes of the cattle in the gutters, that they might conceive among the rods. But when the cattle were feeble, he put them not in: so the feebler were Laban’s, and the stronger Jacob’s> And the man increased exceedingly, and had much cattle, and maidservants, and menservants, and camels, and asses.


There is even today among some people a belief that the trick Jacob was using will actually work. But I have to feel that it was not the striped rods that caused the cattle to bring forth speckled, spotted, and ringstraked offspring, but the work of the LORD to bring about that which He had purposed; and that He did this, not because of the trick Jacob was trying to use, but because it was in keeping with His purpose. If we were trying to judge the LORD according to man’s rules of fairness, we would certainly consider this as being unfair. But He has a right to do whatever he sees fit to do without any regard to what men think. He has declared, “I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy.” So it is none of our business when He does things of this kind. Remember that He chose Jacob over Esau, which is also contrary to man’s rules. Now He has caused Jacob to become rich, though he had nothing when he came to Haran .

Chapter 31

(Verses 1 through 16) And he heard the words of Laban’s sons, saying, Jacob hath taken away all that was our father’s; and of that which was our father’s hath he gotten all this glory. And Jacob beheld the countenance of Laban, and, behold, it was not toward him as before. And the LORD said unto Jacob, Return unto the land of thy fathers, and to thy kindred; and I will be with thee. And Jacob sent and called Rachel and Leah to the field unto his flock, and said unto them, I see your father’s countenance, that it is not toward me as before; but the God of my father hath been with me. And ye know that with all my power I have served your father. And your father hath deceived me, and changed my wages ten times; but God suffered him not to hurt me. If he said thus, The speckled shall be thy wages; then all the cattle bare speckled: and if he said thus, The ringstraked shall be thy hire; then bare  all the cattle ringstraked. Thus God hath taken away the cattle of your father, and given them to me. And it came to pass at the time the cattle conceived, that I lifted up mine eyes, and saw in a dream, and, behold, the rams which leaped upon the cattle were ringstraked, speckled, and grisled. And the angel of God spake unto me in a dream, saying, Jacob, and I said, Here am I. And he said, Lift up now thine eyes, and see, all the rams that leap upon the cattle are ringstraked, speckled, and grisled: for I have seen all that Laban doeth unto thee. I am the God of Beth-el, where thou anointedst the pillar, and where thou vowedst a vow unto Me: now arise, and get thee out from this land, and return to the land of thy kindred. And Rachel and Leah answered and said unto him, Is there yet any portion or inheritance for us in our father’s house? Are we not counted of him as strangers? for he hath sold us, and hath quite devoured also our money. For all the riches which God hath taken from our father, that is ours, and our children’s: now then, whatsoever God hath said unto thee, do.


Because Jacob was becoming rich, the sons of Laban began to talk among themselves , and say that he had taken away from Laban all this wealth; and Laban began to look less favorably upon Jacob. Jacob noticed these things, and decided that it was time for him to move on before trouble really got started. Also God spoke to Jacob, and told him to return to the land of his fathers, and He would be with him. So Jacob called Rachel and Leah to the field where he was keeping the flocks, and told them what he had decided and what the LORD had told him. He also gives us a little insight into the way in which Laban had treated him, and how the LORD had counteracted what Laban tried to do. Rachel and Leah, realizing that there was no inheritance for them in their father’s house, were ready to do as Jacob had been instructed of the LORD. They considered that since God had taken away Laban’s wealth, and given it to Jacob, it belonged to them and their children. So they were ready to go.


(Verses 17 through 21) Then Jacob rose up, and set his sons and his wives upon camels; and he carried away all his cattle, and all his goods which he had gotten, the cattle of his getting, which he had gotten in Padan-aram, for to go to Isaac his father in the land of Canaan . And Laban went to shear his sheep: and Rachel had stolen the images that were her father’s. And Jacob stole away unawares to Laban the Syrian, in that he told him not that he fled. So he fled with all that he had; and he rose up, and passed over the river, and set his face toward the mount Gilead .


So, in order to avoid trouble with Laban, Jacob took his wives, his children, and all that he had, and fled without letting Laban know anything about his going. He crossed the river, and headed toward Mt. Gilead .


(Verses 22 through 24) And it was told Laban on the third day that Jacob was fled. And he took his brethren with him, and pursued after him seven days’ journey; and they overtook him in the mount Gilead . And God came to Laban the Syrian in a dream by night, and said unto him, Take heed that thou speak not to Jacob either good or bad.


We do not know how far away Laban had had to go to shear his sheep. But he was gone for that chore when Jacob left. So it was three days later before he heard about the matter. He immediately gathered together all his brethren, (this could have included his sons and all other male kin he had available,) and went after Jacob, apparently with the intention of taking away from him all that he had, and, possibly, taking him prisoner and making a slave of him. Such was not unheard of in that day. But having pursued Jacob for seven days, Laban overtook, or approached near him in Mt Gilead. It was, likely, in the evening, and Laban decided to wait until morning to attack Jacob. But God Who told Jacob to return to his father’s land, was keeping watch over him, even now. He appeared to Laban in a dream that night, and warned him to speak neither good nor bad to Jacob.


(Verses 25 through 30) Then Laban overtook Jacob. Now Jacob had pitched his tent in the mount: and Laban with his brethren pitched in the mount of Gilead . And Laban said to Jacob, What hast thou done, that thou hast stolen away unawares to me, and carried away my daughters, as captives taken with the sword? Wherefore didst thou flee away secretly, and steal away from me; and didst not tell me, that I might have sent thee away with mirth, and with songs, and with tabret, and with harp? And hast not suffered me to kiss my sons and my daughters? Thou hast now done foolishly in so doing. It is in the power of my hand to do you hurt: but the God of your father spake unto me yesternight, saying, Take thou heed that thou speak not to Jacob either good or bad. And now, though thou wouldest be gone, because thou sore longedst after thy father’s house, yet wherefore has thou stolen my gods?


So when Laban overtook Jacob, in keeping with the warning God had given him, he did not attack. Instead he began to complain against Jacob for acting foolishly by leaving without letting him know about it. He said that if Jacob had told him that he was going, he would have, as we would say, given him a going away party, which, he probably, would not have done. And he certainly would not have done so, unless God intervened, as He had in the night before this conversation. He apparently thought that in spite of the warning God had given him, he still had the power to do hurt to Jacob; but he did refrain from attempting anything of the sort. He then clearly showed that he was an idolater, when he accused Jacob of stealing his gods. If he were not an idolater, he would not have had gods for someone to steal.


(Verses 31 through 35) And Jacob answered and said to Laban, Because I was afraid: for I said, Peradventure thou wouldest take by force thy daughters from me. With whomsoever thou findest thy gods, let him not live: before our brethren discern thou what is thine with me, and take it to thee. For Jacob knew not that Rachel had stolen them. And Laban went into Jacob’s tent, and into his two maidservants’ tents; but he found them not. Then he went out of Leah’s tent, and entered into Rachel’s tent. Now Rachel had taken the images, and put them in the camel’s furniture, and sat upon them. And Laban searched all the tent, but found them not. And she said to her father, Let it not displease my lord that I cannot rise up before thee; for the custom of women is upon me. And he searched, but found not the images.


Jacob told Laban that he was afraid that if he told Laban that he was leaving, Laban would take Rachel and Leah his wives away from him. Then he told him to search everything he had, and see if he could find the gods he said were stolen. Jacob did not know that Rachel had stolen them. So he told Laban that “with whomsoever thou findest thy gods, let him not live. Even though Laban made a search of all Jacob’s tents, he could not find his idols, because Rachel had hidden them, and sat down upon them, and would not get up.


(Verses 36 through 42) And Jacob was wroth, and chode with Laban: and Jacob answered and said to Laban, What is my trespass? what is my sin, that thou hast so hotly pursued after me? Whereas thou hast searched all my stuff, what hast thou found of all thy household stuff? Set it here before my brethren and thy brethren, that they may judge betwixt us both. This twenty years have I been with thee; thy ewes and thy she goats have not cast their young, and the rams of thy flock have I not eaten. That which was torn of beasts I brought not unto thee; I bare the loss of it; of my hand didst thou require it, whether stolen by day, or stolen by night. Thus I was; in the day the drought consumed me, and the frost by night; and my sleep departed from mine eyes. Thus have I been twenty years in thy house; I served thee fourteen years for thy two daughters, and six years for thy cattle: and thou hast changed my wages ten times. Except the God of my father, the God of Abraham, and the fear of Isaac, had been with me, surely thou hadst sent me away now empty. God hath seen my affliction and the labour of my hands, and rebuked thee yesternight.


There is little here that would be hard to understand. Jacob had become so angry that he recounted to Laban through what hardships he had served him, as well as how Laban had tried to trick him by changing his wages ten times, to say nothing of the trick Laban worked on him on the night that should have been the time of his wedding to Rachel. Then he let Laban know that he was sure that only the warning of God to Laban was his protection at the present time. He reminded Laban that God was well aware of his affliction and labor, and had for that reason rebuked Laban in that dream in the night before.


(Verses 43 through 53) And Laban answered and said unto Jacob, These daughters are my daughters , and these children are my children, and these cattle are my cattle, and all that thou seest is mine: and what can I do this day unto these my daughters, or unto their children which they have born? Now therefore come thou, let us make a covenant, I and thou; and let it be for a witness between me and thee. And Jacob took a stone, and set it for a pillar. And Jacob said unto his brethren, Gather stones; and they took stones, and made an heap: and they did eat there upon the heap. And Laban called it Jegar Sahadutha: but Jacob called it Galeed. And Laban said, this heap is a witness between me and thee this day. Therefore was the name of it called Galeed; and Mizpah; for he said, The LORD watch between me and thee, when we are absent from each other. If thou shalt afflict my daughters, or if thou shalt take other wives beside my daughters, no man is with us; see, God is witness betwixt me and thee. And Laban said to Jacob, Behold this heap, and behold this pillar, which I have cast betwixt me and thee; This heap be a witness, and this pillar be a witness, that I will not pass over this heap to thee, and that thou shalt not pass over this heap and this pillar unto, me for harm. The God of Abraham, and the God of Nahor, the God of their father judge betwixt us. And Jacob sware by the fear of his father Isaac.


Laban, although he wanted to take his daughters, his grandchildren, and all the wealth Jacob had away from Jacob,  confessed that there was nothing he could do. He was, no doubt afraid to attempt anything of that kind after God had warned him against saying anything either good or bad about the situation. So he wanted to make a covenant with Jacob. To solemnize the event, Jacob set up a stone for a pillar, and had his men gather stones and pile them in a heap. Then they climbed up on the top of that heap and ate together. Laban called the heap of stones Jegar Sahadutha, and Jacob called it Galeed. Both names mean exactly the same thing, “the heap of witness.” The difference of names is that the former is Syrian and the latter, Hebrew. This heap was also called Mizpah, which means “watch tower,” and was so called because it was to be a reminder that the LORD would watch between them when they were separated one from the other. It was also to bear witness that Jacob would neither afflict his wives nor take other wives beside them; and that he would not pass over this heap to do harm to Laban , and neither would Laban pass over this heap to harm Jacob. And Laban called upon “the God of Abraham, and the God of Nahor, the God of their father,” to be their judge in this matter. This shows us that, although Laban had idol gods of his own, he remembered that Abraham, and his own grandfather Nahor, Abraham’s brother, and their father Terah, had worshipped God. So he called upon Him as witness of this covenant. “And Jacob sware by the fear of his father Isaac,” Who was indeed the God of Abraham, Nahor, and Terah, also.


(Verses 54 and 55)Then Jacob offered sacrifice upon the mount, and called his brethren to eat bread: and they did eat bread, and tarried all night in the mount. And early in the morning Laban rose up, and kissed his sons and daughters, and blessed them: and Laban departed, and returned unto his own place.


It is not completely clear whether or not Jacob invited Laban and his party to take part in the sacrificial meal; but , Probably he did, inasmuch as they waited until the next morning to take their leave of him. After kissing and blessing his daughters and their children, Laban returned to his own place.

Chapter 32

(Verses 1 through 5) And Jacob went on his way, and the angels of God met him. And when Jacob saw them, he said This is God’s host: and he called the name of that place Mahanaim. And Jacob sent messengers before him to Esau his brother unto the land of Seir , the country of Edom . And he commanded them, saying, Thus shall ye speak unto my lord Esau; Thy servant Jacob saith thus, I have sojourned with Laban, and stayed there until now: and I have oxen, and asses, and flocks, and menservants, and womenservants: and I have sent to tell my lord, that I may find grace in thy sight.


Jacob did not remain in mount Gilead , but proceeded on his journey toward where his father dwelt. At one place the angels of God met him. And he, recognizing them as God’s host, called the name of that place, Mahanaim, which means, “twin hosts, or two hosts.” The only apparent reason for this name seems to be that he was distinguishing between his household and the host of God.. Then he sent messengers to his brother Esau to announce his arrival, to tell Esau that he had become rich enough that he would be no threat to him, and try to make reconciliation with him.


(Verses 6 through 8) And the messengers returned to Jacob, saying, We came to thy brother Esau, and also he cometh to meet thee, and four hundred men are with him. Then Jacob was greatly afraid and distressed: and he divided the people that was with him, and the flocks, and herds, and the camels, into two bands; and said, If Esau come to the one company, and smite it, then the other company which is left shall escape.


When Jacob’s messengers returned, they told him that Esau was coming to meet him, and had four hundred men with him. So he, remembering the reason for their parting in the first place, was very much afraid that Esau was coming to destroy him and all his family. He then divided all the people that were with him, as well as all his livestock into two separate bands, so that if Esau did destroy one band, the other might escape.


(Verses 9 through 12) And Jacob said, O God of my father Abraham, and God of my father Isaac, the LORD Which sadist unto me, Return unto thy country, and to thy kindred, and I will deal well with thee: I am not worthy of the least of all Thy mercies, and of all the truth, which Thou hast shewed unto Thy servant; for with my staff I passed over this Jordan: and now I am become two bands. Deliver me, I pray Thee, from my brother, from the hand of Esau: for I fear him, lest he will come and smite me, and the mother with the children. And Thou sadist, I will surely do thee good, and make thy seed as the sand of the sea, which cannot be numbered for multitude.


Here we have Jacob’s prayer for deliverance from his brother Esau. He was very much as are we. Although he well remembered what God had said to him, concerning His promise to be with him, and to bless him, yet he seemed hardly able to believe it. So he was very frightened. But as we shall see, God is always faithful to His promises. And from this incident we should receive a great lesson. First of all, in a crises, or even an imagined one, let us remember to go to the LORD in prayer, for although we may not have been aware of it, He is the One Who has always been our protector; and He is still able to deliver us from whatever danger there may be. At the same time remember all His promises, and thank Him for His mercy. As David so often said, “He is my Rock.” Therefore it is to Him we must turn when danger threatens.


(Verses 13 through 20) And he lodged there that night: and took of that which came to his hand a present for Esau his brother; two hundred she goats, and twenty he goats, two hundred ewes, and twenty rams, thirty milch camels with their colts, forty kine, and ten bulls, twenty she asses, and ten foals. And he delivered them into the hand of his servants, every drove by themselves; and said unto his servants, Pass over before me, and put a space between drove and drove. And he commanded the foremost, saying, When Esau my brother meeteth thee, and asketh thee, saying, Whose art thou? and whither goest thou? and whose are these before thee? then thou shalt say, They be thy servant Jacob’s; it is a present unto my lord Esau: and, behold, also he is behind us. And so commanded he the second, and the third, and all that followed the droves, saying, On this manner shall ye speak unto Esau, when ye find him. And say ye moreover, Behold, thy servant Jacob is behind us. For he said, I will appease him with the present that goeth before me, and afterward I will see his face; peradventure he will accept of me.


Without recounting all that he included in his offering to Esau, we would certainly admit that it was a substantial present that Jacob sent to him. He hoped, with this, to gain Esau’s good will, and have him forget his former anger. Jacob was trying to redress a grievance of long standing. And, although in this case we shall find that he and Esau were, at least for a time, reconciled, the Arabs of today still hold that same grievance against the Jews.


(Verses 21 through 23) So went the present over before him: and himself lodged that night in the company. And he rose up in that night, and took his two wives, and his two women servants, and his eleven sons, and passed over the ford Jabbok. And he took them, and sent them over the brook, and sent over that he had.


The language of these verses seems a little unclear. However the center column note in my Bible gives a different reading on the phrase, in verse 22, “and passed over the ford Jabbok.” It gives “and caused them to pass over” as the alternate reading. This seems to agree better with the remainder of the context. If he passed over with them, he must have come back. And verse 23 seems to clearly indicate that he did not go with them. It says, “And he took them, and sent them over the brook, and sent over that he had.” And as we continue on, we shall see that Jacob did remain in the place where he was.


(Verses 24 through 30) And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day. And when he saw that he prevailed not against him, he touched the hollow of his thigh; and the hollow of Jacob’s thigh was out of joint, as he wrestled with him. And he said, Let me go, for the day breaketh. And he said, I will not let thee go, except thou bless me. And he said unto him, What is thy name? and he said, Jacob. And he said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel ; for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed. And Jacob asked him, and said, Tell me, I pray thee, thy name. And he said, Wherefore is it that thou dost ask after my name? And he blessed him there. And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: for I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved.


There is only one thing in this text that has often generated arguments among men. That is the identity of the man with whom Jacob wrestled. And we have no right to argue concerning that; for the man would not even tell Jacob who he was. However Jacob was convinced that this man was God. This is signified by the fact that he named that place Peniel, which means “the face of God.” And when he named the place Peniel, he said, “I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved.” There is another name in this text that, in the past few years, has caused some discussion. That is the name “ Israel .” In all the Bibles I have used in my lifetime, the center column notes have given its meaning as, “a prince of God.” And Cruden’s dictionary of proper names gives it, “he will be prince with God.” Lately I have heard some say that its meaning is “one who wrestles.” Since I do not know the Hebrew Language, I cannot, of myself, verify its meaning. But in view of the statement of the man who wrestled with Jacob, I still believe that it has reference to his being a prince of God; for he said, ”Thy name shall be no more called Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed. Except for these two names, I find nothing in this that needs any comment.


(Verses 31 and 32) And as he passed over Penuel the sun rose upon him, and he halted upon his thigh. Therefore the children of Israel eat not of the sinew which shrank, which is upon the hollow of the thigh, unto this day; because he touched the hollow of Jacob’s thigh in the sinew that shrank.


In this we see that the name of that place can be spelled either of two ways, and yet it is the same word, whether spelled P-e-n-i-e-l, or P-e-n-u-e-l. Both have the same meaning; and both apply to the same place. Jacob did not get across the brook until sunrise, and he limped because of his thigh having been out of joint by the touch of the man with whom he wrestled.

Chapter 33

(Verses 1 through 4) And Jacob lifted up his eyes, and looked, and, behold, Esau came, and with him four hundred men. And he divided the children unto Lea, and unto Rachel, and unto the two handmaids. And he put the handmaids and their children foremost, and Leah and her children after, and Rachel and Joseph hindermost. And he passed over before them, and bowed himself to the ground seven times, until he came near to his brother. And Esau ran to meet him, and embraced him, and fell on his neck, and kissed him: and they wept.


Jacob was still somewhat apprehensive about meeting Esau. So he divided his children so that each would be with his own mother, and went ahead of them to meet his brother with these four groups following in the order he had arranged. He ceremoniously bowed himself to the ground seven times as he went to meet Esau. Then Esau ran to meet him; and they embraced and kissed each other as was the custom: and because of the joy each had for seeing the other, they wept. Some people of our modern western culture consider weeping as unbecoming to men; but it was not so in that day, and still is not in the middle eastern culture.


(Verses 5 through 11) And he lifted up his eyes, and saw the women and the children, and said, Who are those with thee? And he said, The children which God hath graciously given thy servant. Then the handmaidens came near, they and their children, and they bowed themselves. And Leah also with her children came near, and bowed themselves: and after came Joseph near and Rachel, and they bowed themselves. And he said, What meaneth thou by all this drove which I met? And he said, These are to find grace in the sight of my lord. And Esau said, I have enough, my brother; keep that thou hast unto thyself. And Jacob said, Nay, I pray thee, if now I have found grace in thy sight, then receive my present at my hand: for therefore have I seen thy face, as though I had seen the face of God, and thou wast pleased with me. Take, I pray thee, my blessing that is brought to thee; because God hath dealt graciously with me, and because I have enough. And he urged him, and he took it.


When Esau saw the women and children, he wanted to know who they were, and Jacob explained to him that these were his wives and children. Then Esau wanted to know the meaning of the droves he had met as he approached to the place where Jacob was. When Jacob told him that these were a present he was giving to him, Esau did not want to accept them; but Jacob insisted that he take the present. And he finally did accept it.


(Verses 12 through 15) And he said, Let us take our journey, and let us go, and I will go before thee. And he said unto him, My lord knoweth that the children are tender, and the flocks and herds with young are with me: and if we should overdrive them one day, all the flock will die. Let my lord, I pray thee, pass over before his servant: and I will lead on softly, according as the cattle that goeth before me and the children be able to endure, until O come unto my lord unto Seir. And Esau said, Let me now leave with thee some of the folk that are with me. And he said, What needeth it? Let me find grace in the sight of my lord.


Esau was ready to return to his home in Seir; and he suggested that his party and that of Jacob go along together. But Jacob declined, citing the danger to the flocks and the hardship to the children of trying to keep up with a band of men, no doubt mounted, at a speed that would be acceptable to them. Esau wanted to leave some of his men to help Jacob; but Jacob could not see any need of that. So Esau didn’t press the issue.


(Verses 16 and 17) So Esau returned that day on his way unto Seir. And Jacob journeyed to Succoth, and built him an house, and made booths for his cattle: therefore the name of that place is called Succoth.


So Esau and Jacob parted, Esau going on toward his home in Seir, and Jacob going to Succoth. Apparently, there was no place named Succoth before Jacob came there. For there he built himself a house, and booths for his cattle. And it was because of this that “the name of that place is called Succoth, which word actually means “booths.”


(Verses 18 through 20) And Jacob came to Shalem, a city of Shechem , which is in the land of Canaan , when he came from Padan-aram; and pitched his tent before the city. And he bought a parcel of a field, where he had spread his tent, at the hand of the children of Hamor, Shechem’s father, for an hundred pieces of money. And he erected there an altar, and called it El-elohe-Israel.


The record given here is clear enough without comment. But, as in practically all ancient names, there are meanings that might be of value to us. The name of the city to which Jacob came was Shalem, which according to the dictionary means, “peace,” was a city of Shechem , meaning “back.” thus we have Jacob back in the land of Canaan in peace. Here he bought a piece of ground from the children of Hamor. According to the dictionary, Hamor can mean, “an ass, clay, or wine.” Jacob built an altar, and called it El-elohe- Israel , which means, “God, the God of Israel. So we now have him returned to the land of Canaan , and worshipping God.

Chapter 34

(Verses 1 through 5) And Dinah the daughter of Leah, which she bare unto Jacob, went out to see the daughters of the land. And when Shechem the son of Hamor the Hivite, prince of the country, saw her, he took her, and lay with her, and defiled her. And his soul clave unto Dinah the daughter of Jacob, and he loved the damsel, and spake kindly unto the damsel. And Shechem spake unto his father Hamor, saying, get me this damsel to wife. And Jacob heard that he had defiled Dinah his daughter: now his sons were with his cattle in the field: and Jacob held his peace until they were come.


Jacob’s daughter Dinah went out to visit with the girls of the land. Shechem, whose father was the king of that area, saw her, and raped her. For some reason, however, he fell so in love with her that he asked his father to get her for him that she might be his wife. Jacob heard of it; but his sons were with the cattle in the field. So he waited until they came to the tent to say anything about the matter.


(Verses 6 through 12) And Hamor the father of Shechem went out unto Jacob to commune with him. And the sons of Jacob came out of the field when they heard it: and the men were grieved, and they were very wroth, because he had wrought folly in Israel in lying with Jacob’s daughter; which thing ought not to be done. And Hamor communed with them, saying, The soul of my son Shechem longeth for your daughter: I pray you give her him to wife. And make ye marriages with us, and give your daughters unto us, and take our daughters unto you. And ye shall dwell with us: and the land shall be before you; dwell and trade ye therein, and get you possessions therein. And Shechem said unto her father and her brethren, Let me find grace in your eyes, and what ye shall say unto me I will do. Ask me never so much dowry and gift, and I will give according as ye shall say unto me: but give me the damsel to wife.


So Shechem and his father went out to Jacob’s tent to talk with him about the situation, and Jacob’s sons came in from the field to be in the conference. The sons were very angry at Shechem for having raped their sister. But he and his father tried to alleviate their anger, and persuade them to give Dinah to Shechem as wife. Shechem promised that they could name any dowry and gift that they might require, and he would give it. He was willing to pay any price that Dinah might be his wife.


(Verses 13 through 19) And the sons of Jacob answered Shechem and Hamor his father deceitfully, and said, because he had defiled Dinah their sister: and they said unto them, We cannot do this thing, to give our sister to one that is uncircumcised: for that were a reproach unto us; but in this will we consent unto you: if ye will be as we be, that every male of you be circumcised; then will we give our daughters unto you, and we will take your daughters to us, and we will dwell with you, and we will become one people. But if ye will not hearken unto us, to be circumcised; then will we take our daughter, and we will be gone. And their words pleased Hamor, and Shechem Hamor’s son. And the young man deferred not to do this thing, because he had delight in Jacob’s daughter: and he was more honorable than all the house of his father.


There is nothing in this that needs any explanation. We are clearly told that the sons of Jacob spoke deceitfully to Hamor and Shechem. So we need not go into the details of what they said, since it was all in pretence. What they said is clearly set forth; but they had no intention of doing it. Nevertheless, what they said pleased both Hamor and Shechem. So Shechem, in particular, was ready to do as they had told him. And he was more honorable than all the rest of his father’s household. Although it is not at this point mentioned, they, evidently, let Dinah go with Shechem and Hamor.


(Verses 20 through 24) And Hamor and Shechem his son came unto the gate of their city, and communed with the men of their city, saying, These men are peaceable with us; therefore let them dwell in the land, and trade therein; for the land, behold, it is large enough for them; let us take their daughters to us for wives, and let us give them our daughters. Only in this will the men consent unto us for to dwell with us, and to be one people, if every male among us is circumcised, as they are circumcised. Shall not their cattle and their substance and every beast of theirs be ours? Only let us consent with them, and they will dwell with us. And unto Hamor and unto Shechem his son hearkened all that went out of the gate of his city; and every male was circumcised, all that went out of the gate of his city.


Hamor and Shechem, being convinced of the sincerity of Jacob’s sons, not only agreed to what they had said, but immediately called a council of the men of their city. The common practice of ruling a city in that time was that all the men of the city were called together at the gate of the city, and there heard whatever proclamation was made, discussed it, and voted on it. In this case, although Hamor and Shechem were the only ones immediately concerned in the matter, it also affected all in the city. So Hamor and Shechem set the proposition the sons of Jacob had given them before the whole council. As we can see, they not only wanted Dinah to be Shechem’s wife, but they also hoped that by doing this, they would eventually be able to get all of Jacob’s wealth for themselves. This latter idea is, likely what caused all the people to give their consent to the proposition. But, in any event, it was unanimously approved.


(Verses 25 through 29) And it came to pass on the third day, when they were sore, that two of the sons of Jacob, Simeon and Levi, Dinah’s brethren, took each man his sword, and came upon the city boldly, and slew all the males. And they slew Hamor and Shechem his son with the edge of the sword, and took Dinah out of Shechem’s house, and went out. The sons of Jacob came upon the slain, and spoiled the city, because they had defiled their sister. They took their sheep, and their oxen, and their asses, and that which was in the city, and that which was in the field, and all their wealth, and their little ones, and their wives took they captive, and spoiled even all that was in the house.


Here we see the deceitfulness of the sons of Jacob in their talking with Hamor and Shechem. After Hamor and Shechem , and indeed all the people of their city had, not only agreed to, but had also done, what they had required them to do, two of them, Simeon and Levi, took their swords, went to the city, and killed every male in the city, including Hamor and Shechem, and brought Dinah out of Shechem’s house. Then the remainder of Jacob’s sons took away all the wealth of the city, “that which was in the city, and that which was in the field.” And they also took all the women and children as captives. They left nothing of value in the city.


(Verses 30 and 31) And Jacob said to Simeon and Levi, Ye have troubled me to make me stink among the inhabitants of the land, among the Canaanites and the Perizzites: and I being few in number, they shall gather themselves together against me, and slay me; and I shall be destroyed, I and my house. And they said, Should he deal with our sister as with an harlot?


Jacob always seemed to be a very fearful man, although the LORD had promised that He would be with him, and would make him great and multiply his descendants. So he remonstrated against what his sons, Simeon and Levi had done. But their reply was that they were only avenging the defilement of their sister.

Chapter 35

(Verses 1 through 5) And God said unto Jacob, Arise, go up to Beth-el, and dwell there; and make there an altar unto God, that appeared unto thee when thou fleddest from the face of Esau thy brother. Then Jacob said unto his household, and to all that were with him, Put away the strange gods that are among you, and be clean, and change your garments: and let us arise, and go up to Bethel; and I will make there an altar unto God, Who answered me in the day of my distress, and was with me in the way which I went. And they gave Jacob all the strange gods which were in their hand, and all their earrings which were in their ears; and Jacob hid them under the oak which was by Shechem. And they journeyed: and the terror of God was upon the cities that were round about them, and they did not pursue after the sons of Jacob.


Again God called Jacob. This time He told him to leave the place where he was, and go up to Beth-el, the place where He had appeared to him when he was running away from Esau. Also, when he arrived there, he was to build an altar unto God. This must have moved him to call upon all his family and those who were with him to put away all their strange gods. In the event one might wonder why, or how there would be any strange gods among them, we must remember that Rachel had stolen her father’s gods when leaving Haran , and, no doubt the Hivite women who were taken captive at the city of Shechem , had idols with them. And among the items of the wealth of the Hivites there may have been many idols. They not only gave to him all their idols, but also their jewelry, which could have been melted down, and cast into idol images. After receiving all these things, Jacob hid them under the oak that that was at Shechem. Likely, he buried them there. And God placed such terror upon the people of the cities all around that they made no effort to pursue Jacob and his household as they journeyed.


(Verses 6 through 8) So Jacob came to Luz, which is in the land of Canaan , that is, Beth-el, he and all the people that were with him. And he built there an altar, and called the place El-beth-el: because there God appeared unto him, when he fled from the face of his brother. But Deborah Rebekah’s nurse died, and she was buried beneath Beth-el under an oak: and the name of it was called Allon-Bachuth.


So, without noticeable event, Jacob arrived at Beth-el. (We have before seen that its former name was Luz.) In keeping with the commandment of God, he built there an altar to God. He called it El-beth-el (God the house of God) because it was there that God appeared to him when he fled from Esau. While at this place, Rachel’s nurse Deborah died, and was buried. The expression, “she was buried beneath Beth-el,” since altars were usually built on the top of a hill, could very well mean that the oak under which she was buried was just down the hill from Beth-el. The place was then called Allon-Bachuth (the oak of weeping.)


(Verses 9 through 15) And God appeared unto Jacob again, when he came out of Padan-aram, and blessed him. And God said unto him Thy name is Jacob: thy name shall not be called anymore Jacob, but Israel shall be thy name: and He called his name Israel . And God said unto him, I am God Almighty: be thou fruitful and multiply; a nation and a company of nations shall be of thee, and kings shall come out of thy loins; and the land which I gave unto Abraham and Isaac, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed after thee will I give this land. And God went up from him in the place where He talked with him. And Jacob set up a pillar in the place where He talked with him, even a pillar of stone: and he poured a drink offering thereon, and he poured oil thereon.. And Jacob called the name of the place where God spake with him, Beth-el.


This entire text is in retrospect. And it contains some of Jacob’s experience when he was fleeing from Esau and some of what he experienced at Penuel, on his return from Padan-aram. Chapters 28, verses 10 through 22 and Chapter 32, verses 24 through 30, should be reviewed in connection with this. In addition to what had taken place in these two experiences, he probably poured a drink offering upon this stone, and anointed it with oil.


(Verses 16 through 20) And they journeyed from Beth-el; and there was but a little way to come to Ephrath: and Rachel travailed, and she had hard labour. And it came to pass, when she was in hard labour, that the midwife said unto her, Fear not; thou shalt have this son also. And it came to pass, as her soul was in departing, (for she died) that she called his name Benoni: but his father called him Benjamin. And Rachel died, and was buried in the way to Ephrath, which is Bethlehem . And Jacob set a pillar upon her grave: that is the pillar of Rachel’s grave unto this day.


Jacob and his company left Beth-el, and traveled toward Ephrath, or Bethlehem . They were almost at Bethlehem when Rachel went into labor. She lived only long enough to name her baby Benoni, which means, “son of my sorrow.” But Jacob named him Benjamin, which means, “the son of the right hand.” When Rachel died, Jacob buried her, and set up a stone pillar on her grave. Whether or not it is still there, I do not know. But it stood for many centuries, and was recognized as the pillar of Rachel’s grave.


(Verses 21 through 26) And Israel journeyed, and spread his tent beyond the tower of Edar . And it came to pass, when Israel dwelt in that land, that Reuben went and lay with Bilhah his father’s concubine: and Israel heard it. Now the sons of Jacob were twelve; the sons of Leah; Reuben, Jacob’s firstborn, and Simeon, and Levi, and Judah, and Issachar, and Zebulun: the sons of Rachel; Joseph, and Benjamin: and the sons of Bilhah, Rachel’s handmaid; Dan, and Naphtali: and the sons of Leah’s handmaid; Gad and Asher: these are the sons of Jacob which were born unto him in Padan-aram.


Reuben committed adultery with one of his father’s wives, Bilhah. She is here called a concubine, but earlier we were told that she was given by Rachel to Jacob as a wife. And, although the dictionary gives the meaning of concubine, as a woman who lives with a man as a wife, but is not his wife, since the sons of Bilhah are always reckoned among the sons of Jacob, and as heads of tribes in Israel , it seems that Bilhah’s real status should be that of a wife. Then we are given the names of all the sons of Israel . All of them except Benjamin were born in Padan-aram. He, as we have just been told was born near to Bethlehem .


(Verses 27 through 29) And Jacob came unto Isaac his father unto Mamre, unto the city Arbah, which is Hebron , where Abraham and Isaac sojourned. And the days of Isaac were an hundred and fourscore years. And Isaac gave up the ghost, and died, and was gathered unto his people, being old and full of days: and his sons Esau and Jacob buried him.


Finally Jacob came back home to his father, at the same place where both Isaac and Abraham had lived, the plain of Mamre, and the city of Hebron .. When Isaac was a hundred and eighty years of age, he died; and Esau and Jacob came together to bury him.

Chapter 36

(Verses 1 through 8) Now these are the generations of Esau, who is Edom . Esau took his wives of the daughters of Canaan ; Adah the daughter of Elon the Hittite, and Aholibamah the daughter of Anah the daughter of Zibeon the Hivite; and Bashemath Ishmael’s daughter, sister of Nebajoth. And Adah bare to Esau Eliphaz; and Bashemath bare Reuel; and Aholibamah bare Jeush, and Jaalam, and Korah: these are the sons of Esau, which were born unto him in the land of Canaan . And Esau took his wives, and his sons, and his daughters, and all the persons of his house, and his cattle, and all his beasts, and all his substance, which he had got in the land of Canaan ; and went into the country from the face of his brother Jacob. For their riches were more than that they might dwell together; and the land wherein they were strangers could not bear them because of their cattle. Thus dwelt Esau in mount Seir : Esau is Edom .


The principal value of this list of names, as well as those that will be found in the remainder of this chapter is for those who study genealogies, and those interested in the history of the Arab nations. The Jews, who are God’s chosen people for the giving of the law and for the lineage of Our Lord Jesus according to the flesh, are the descendants of Israel , not Esau. Remember that God said, “Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.” The land of Canaan was not able to feed all the flocks and herds that Jacob and Esau had. So Esau left it, and went, with all that pertained to him, to mount Seir , to give room for the cattle of both Jacob and himself.


(Verses 9 through 14) And these are the generations of Esau the father of the Edomites in mount Seir : these are the names of Esau’s sons; Eliphaz the son of Adah the wife of Esau, Reuel the son of Bashemath the wife of Esau. And the sons of Eliphaz were Teman, Omar, Zepho, and Gatam, and Kenaz. And Timna was concubine to Eliphaz Esau’s son; and she bare to Eliphaz Amalek: these were the sons of Adah Esau’s wife. And these are the sons of Reuel; Nahath, and Zerah, Shammah, and Mizzah: these were the sons of Bashemath Esau’s wife. And these were the sons of Aholibamah, the daughter of Zibeon, Esau’s wife: and she bare to Esau Jeush, and Jaalam, and Korah,


These are the names of the sons of Esau, together with the names of his wives, and grouped as they were the children of his various wives. We may find one or another of them mentioned at some later times during our study of the Bible. But, for the greater part, after verse 19 we shall find little said about them.


(Verses 15 through 19) These were the dukes of the sons of Esau: the sons of Eliphaz the firstborn son of Esau; duke Teman, duke Omar, duke Zepho, duke Kenaz, duke Korah, duke Gatam, and duke Amalek: these are the dukes that came of Eliphaz in the land of Edom; these were the sons of Adah. And these are the sons of Reuel Esau’s son: duke Nahath, duke Zerah, duke Shammah, duke Mizzah: these are the dukes that came of Reuel in the land of Edom ; these are the sons of Bashemath Esau’s wife. And these are the sons of Aholibamah Esau’s wife; duke Jeush, duke Jaalam, duke Korah: these were the dukes that came of Aholibamah the daughter of Anah, Esau’s wife. These are the sons of Esau who is Edom , and these are their dukes.


In addition to having been given the names of the sons of Esau and the next generation of their lineage in verses 9 through 14, we are now told that they were all dukes, or leaders, of their tribes, thus showing that Esau’s descendants were also blessed with natural blessings, although nothing is ever said about any spiritual blessings being promised them, as a people, although God may, indeed, have some among them, even today, whom he has blessed with spiritual blessings, The spiritual blessings were promised through the lineage of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel.


(Verses 20 through 30) These are the sons of Seir the Horite, who inhabited the land; Lotan, and Shobal, and Zibeon, and Anah, and Dishon, and Ezer, and Dishan: these are the dukes of the Horites, the children of Seir in the land of Edom . And the children of Lotan were Hori and Hemam; and Lotan’s sister was Timna. And the children of Shobal were these; Alvan, and Manahath, and Ebal, Shepho, and Onam. And these are the children of Zibeon; both Ajah and Anah: this was that Anah that found the mules in the wilderness, as he fed the asses of Zibeon his father. And the children of Anah were these; Dishon, and Aholibamah the daughter of Anah. And these are the children of Dishon; Hemdan, and Eshban, and Ithran, and Cheran. The children of Ezer are these; Bilhan, and Zaavan, and Akan. The children of Dishan are these; Uz, and Aran. These are the dukes that came of the Horites; duke Lotan, duke Shobal, duke Zibeon, duke Anah, duke Dishon, duke Ezer, duke Dishan: these are the dukes that came of Hori, among their dukes in the land of Seir .


This list of names seems to have little value to anyone except a genealogist. He might be interested in tracing their lineage. But they seem to add little, if anything at all to the central theme of this part of the Bible, which is to trace the development of the nation of Israel, that we might, even in our day, be able to trace the genealogy of our Lord Jesus according to the flesh, although our Lord has told us, “It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profitieth nothing.” (John 6:63)


(Verses 31 through 39) And these are the kings that reigned in the land of Edom , before there reigned any king over the children of Israel . And Bela the son of Beor reigned in Edom : and the name of the city was Dinhabah. And Bela died, and Jobab the son of Zerah of Bozrah reigned in his stead. And Jobab died, and Husham of the land of Temani reigned in his stead. And Husham died, and Hadad the son of Bedad, who smote Midian in the field of Moab , reigned in his stead: and the name of his city was Avith. And Hadad died, and Samlah of Masrekah reigned in his stead. And Samlah died, and Saul of Rehoboth by the river reigned in his stead. And  Saul died, and Baalhanan the son of Achbor reigned in his stead. And Baalhanan the son of Achbor died, and Hadar reigned in his stead: and the name of his city was Pau ; and his wife’s name was Mehetabel, the daughter of Matred, the daughter of Mezahab.


This tells us that there were kings over the Edomites long before there was any king over the children of Israel . And it gives us a list of eight of them, identifying them by name, and some by their royal cities.


(Verses 40 through 43) And these are the names of the dukes that came of Esau, according to their families, after their places, by their names; duke Timnah, duke Alvah, duke Jetheth, duke Aholibamah, duke Elah, duke Pinon, duke Kenaz, duke Teman, duke Mibzar, duke Magdiel, duke Iram: these be the dukes of Edom, according to their habitations in the land of their possession: he is Esau the father of the Edomites.


This chapter has given us the names of the dukes and kings of the Edomites in mount Seir , and their possessions surrounding the mount. This has through the centuries been the center of the Arab nations. And, although Ishmael and Esau were cut off from inheritance according to the line of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, they became a great multitude of people, and have continued to this day. They are, even now, the greatest enemies that the Jews have, in spite of the fact that Abraham is their common ancestor.

Chapter 37

(Verses 1 through 4) And Jacob dwelt in the land wherein his father was a stranger, in the land of Canaan . These are the generations of Jacob. Joseph, being seventeen years old, was feeding the flock with his brethren; and the lad was with the sons of Bilhah, and with the sons of Zilpah, his father’s wives: and Joseph brought unto his father their evil report. Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his children, because he was the son of his old age: and he made him a coat of many colours. And when his brethren saw that their father loved him more than all his brethren, they hated him, and could not speak peaceably unto him.


After Esau left, and went to mount Seir , Jacob stayed in the land of Canaan where his father Isaac had sojourned. Although Isaac had lived in the land of Canaan all his life, he was still called a stranger. He worshipped a different God from the gods of the Canaanites of the land, and, no doubt had many customs different from those of the people of the land. This might be considered as a type of the Christian in this world; for the Christian does worship a different God from the gods of the people of the world. And he also has many different customs from the people of the world. The life of an active Christian is much different from that of worldly people. Our Lord said, “By their fruits ye shall know them.” So if we are not bringing forth different fruit from the people of the world, we have no claim to being a Christian; and if we are, we will certainly be considered strangers.


Joseph was only seventeen years of age. But he spent his time in the fields feeding the flock, along with his older brothers. They, evidently, were not following the instructions of their father. And Joseph brought to his father a report of their undesirable activities. This was the occasion for part of their hatred of Joseph. Another thing that fueled that hate was that because Joseph was the son of Jacob’s old age, his father loved him more than he did his other sons. He then gave Joseph a coat of many colors, which also enraged them more. So they hated him so violently that they could not even speak civilly to him.


(Verses 5 through 8) And Joseph dreamed a dream, and told it his brethren: and they hated him yet the more. And he said unto them, Hear, I pray you, this dream which I have dreamed: for, behold, we were binding sheaves in the field, and, lo, my sheaf arose, and also stood upright; and, behold, your sheaves stood round about, and made obeisance to my sheaf. And his brethren said to him, Shalt thou indeed reign over us? or shalt thou indeed have dominion over us? And they hated him yet the more for his dreams, and for his words.


This dream that Joseph dreamed was not just some dream brought about by hyperactivity of the mind, as so many of ours are; but it was of the LORD, to show a future event, which we shall find did indeed take place several years later. Joseph, apparently did not understand its meaning. If he had, he, probably, would not have told it to his brothers. When he did tell it to them, they understood what it meant, but they were not at all pleased with it. Since they already hated him, the idea of having him rule over them only added fuel to their hatred for him.


(Verses 9 through 11) And he dreamed yet another dream, and told it his brethren, and said, Behold, I have dreamed a dream more; and, behold, the sun and the moon and the eleven stars made obeisance to me. And his father rebuked him, and said unto him, What is this dream that thou hast dreamed? Shall I and thy mother and thy brethren indeed come to bow ourselves to thee to the earth? And his brethren envied him; but his father observed the saying.


Here we have Joseph’s second dream. In it the sun, the moon, and eleven stars bowed down to him. According to Jacob’s interpretation of the dream, he and Joseph’s mother, as well as all his brothers would come and bow down before him. Of course, literally, his mother could not do this, because she was already dead; but it was so shown that it would include his whole family. And indeed this was the true interpretation of it. His brethren did not like this dream any more than they had the first. So they envied him. But his father Jacob kept these things in mind.


(Verses 12 through 18) And his brethren went to feed their father’s flock in Shechem. And Israel said unto Joseph, Do not thy brethren feed the flock in Shechem? Come, and I will send thee unto them. And he said to him, Here am I. And he said to him, Go, I pray thee, see whether it be well with thy brethren, and well with the flocks; and bring me word again. So he sent him out of the vale of Hebron , and he came to Shechem. And a certain man found him, and he was wandering in the field: and the man asked him, saying, What seekest thou? And he said, I seek my brethren: tell me, I pray thee, where they feed their flocks. And the man said, They are departed hence; for I heard them say, Let us go to Dothan . And Joseph went after his brethren , and found them in Dothan . And when they saw him afar off, even before he came near unto them, they conspired against him to slay him.


This time, when his brethren went out to pasture the flocks, Joseph remained with his father. It is to be remembered that in that day shepherds did not take their flocks out to pasture every morning, and bring them to the fold every night, but would stay in the field with the flock many days, and even months at the time. So after Joseph’s brothers had been out with the flocks for some time, Jacob decided to send Joseph to them to find out if all was well with them and the flocks.. They had originally gone to Shechem, but had since moved on to Dothan . A man whom Joseph met at Shechem told him that his brothers had gone to Dothan . So he went there and found them. They saw him coming, and conspired to kill him, because of their hatred and envy toward him.


(Verses 19 through 22) And they said one to another, Behold, this dreamer cometh. Come now therefore, and let us slay him, and cast him into some pit, and we will say, Some evil beast hath devoured him: and we shall see what will become of his dreams. And Reuben heard it, and he delivered him out of their hands; and said, Let us not kill him. And Reuben said unto them, Shed no blood, but cast him into this pit that is in the wilderness, and lay no hand upon him; that he might rid him out of their hands, to deliver him to his father again.


By this we can see just how deep was the hatred Joseph’s brothers had for him. They were not just making idle talk, when they talked about killing him. There was only one of them, Reuben, who did not want him slain. It was his intention to take him back to their father. So he talked them into throwing Joseph into a pit in the wilderness, and leaving him there. In his own mind he planned to later take him out of the pit, and either take him, or send him home.

(Verses 23 through 28) And it came to pass, when Joseph was come to his brethren, that they stript Joseph out of his coat, his coat of many colours that was on him; and they took him, and cast him into a pit: and the pit was empty, there was no water in it. And they sat down to eat bread: and they lifted up their eyes and looked, and, behold, a company of Ishmeelites came from Gilead with their camels bearing spicery and balm and myrrh, going to carry it down to Egypt. And Judah said unto his brethren, What profit is it if we slay our brother, and conceal his blood? Come, and let us sell him to the Ishmeelites, and let not our hand be upon him; for he is our brother and our flesh. And his brethren were content. Then there passed by Midianites merchantmen; and they drew and lifted up Joseph out of the pit, and sold Joseph to the Ishmeelites for twenty pieces of silver: and they brought Joseph into Egypt .


As we shall later see, it was God’s plan that Joseph be sent to Egypt . His brethren thought they were only getting rid of one they hated; but, in reality, they were only sending one ahead of them to be their preserver in the time of great famine. Although they had agreed with Reuben that they should not kill Joseph, but only throw him in a pit from which he could not get out, Judah saw a way of making some money out of the deal, and at the same time getting rid of Joseph. As a company of Midianite merchants came by, Joseph’s brothers drew him up out of the pit, and sold him to the merchants for twenty pieces of silver. The merchants were going to take him to Egypt , and sell him as a slave. This was not at all uncommon in that day. In this we can see a type of the betrayal of our lord Jesus by Judas. (Strangely enough the names Judah and Judas are only variants of the same name.) Although our Lord was not sold into slavery, He was betrayed into the hands of his enemies for money. Yet, in spite of the evil intent of both Judah and Judas, this parallel runs through both cases: both were “sold” to get rid of them, but it was the purpose of God in both cases that this be done. Joseph was ordained of God to be the saviour, in a natural way, of the chosen family of God, the children of Israel ; and our LORD was anointed to be the Saviour of all the elect family of God, in both a natural and a spiritual way. Had Joseph not been sold into slavery in Egypt there would not have been any deliverance for his father, his brethren, and their families. Had not our Lord Jesus been crucified, we would still be in our sins, with no hope of deliverance. Indeed “The Lord works in mysterious ways, His wonders to perform.” But we can always be sure that whatever He purposes will surely come to pass.


(Verses 29 through 34) And Reuben returned unto the pit; and, behold, Joseph was not in the pit; and he rent his clothes. And he returned unto his brethren, and said, The child is not; and I, whither shall I go? And they took Joseph’s coat, and killed a kid of the goats, and dipped the coat in the blood; and they sent the coat of many colours, and they brought it to their father; and said, This we have found: know now whether it be thy son’s coat or no. And he knew it, and said, It is my son’s coat; an evil beast hath devoured him; Joseph is without doubt rent in pieces. And Jacob rent his clothes, and put sackcloth upon his loins, and mourned for his son many days.


Apparently Reuben was not with his brothers when the Midianites came along, and did not know that his brothers had sold Joseph. So when he went to the pit to deliver Joseph, and found him gone, he was greatly troubled. At this point, he may have agreed with his brothers in the deception they worked upon Jacob. They killed a young goat,  dipped Joseph’s coat in its blood, and took the coat to their father, telling him that they found the coat. With this as evidence, he believed Joseph to be dead. And His mourning for Joseph lasted for many days.


(Verses 35 and 36) And all his sons and all his daughters rose up to comfort him; but he refused to be comforted; and said, For I will go down into the grave unto my son mourning. Thus his father wept for him. And the Midianites sold him into Egypt unto Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh’s, and captain of the guard.


These hypocritical sons of Jacob and the daughters of Jacob tried to comfort him, but he had loved Joseph so deeply that he could not be comforted. He declared that as long as he lived he would mourn for Joseph. Of course the merchants that bought Joseph knew nothing about Jacob’s sorrow, and cared less about it; but they went on their way, and sold Joseph in Egypt just as they had planned. They sold him to Potiphar, the captain of Pharaoh’s guard.


Chapter 38

This chapter leaves the story of Joseph for a while, and tells us of a great sin of Judah, the brother who proposed selling Jacob to the Midianites.


(Verses 1 through 11) And it came to pass at that time, that Judah went down from his brethren, and turned in to a certain Adullamite, whose name was Hirah. And Judah saw there a daughter of a certain Canaanite, whose name was Shuah; and he took her, and went in unto her. And she conceived, and bare a son, and called his name Er. And she conceived again, and bare a son; and she called his name Onan. And she yet again conceived, and bare a son; and called his name Shelah: and he was at Chezib when she bare him. And Judah took a wife for Er his firstborn, whose name was Tamar. And Er, Judah ’s firstborn was wicked in the sight of the LORD; and the LORD slew him. And Judah said unto Onan, Go in unto thy brother’s wife, and marry her, and raise up seed to thy brother. And Onan knew that the seed should not be his: and it came to pass, when he went in unto his brother’s wife, that he spilled it on the ground, lest he should give seed to his brother. And the thing which he did displeased the LORD: wherefore He slew him also. Then said Judah to Tamar his daughter in law, Remain a widow at thy father’s house, till Shelah my son be grown: for he said, Lest peradventure he die also, as his brethren did. And Tamar went and dwelt in her father’s house.


Here we have a record of the births of Judah ’s three sons, and the deaths of two of them. Because of their wickedness the LORD killed them. We do not surely know whether what Judah told his son Onan, in verse 8, and what he told Tamar, in verse 11, stemmed from a custom among the people of that country at that time, or whether he just thought this to be the proper way to follow; but later God included it in His laws to Israel. If a man married a wife, and died without having begotten a child, his brother was to marry his widow, and raise up a child in the name of, and as an heir to, his brother. Since Judah ’s son Shelah was too young to be married, Judah instructed Tamar to remain a widow in her father’s house until he was old enough to marry. As can readily be seen, this account, though short, covers several years, time enough for Judah to marry, and rear two sons up to what was considered marriageable age.


(Verses 12 through 23) And in process of time the daughter of Shuah Judah’s wife died; and Judah was comforted, and went up unto his sheepshearers to Timnath, he and his friend Hirah the Adullamite. And it was told Tamar, saying, Behold, thy father in law goeth up to Timnath to shear his sheep. And she put her widow’s garments off from her, and covered her with a vail, and wrapped herself, and sat in an open place, which is by the way to Timnath; for she saw that Shelah was grown, and she was not given him to wife. When Judah saw her, he thought her to be an harlot; because she had covered her face. And he turned unto her by the way, and said, Go to, I pray thee, let me come in unto thee; (for he knew not that she was his daughter in law.) And she said, What wilt thou give me, that thou mayest come in unto me? And he said, I will send thee a kid from the flock. And she said, Wilt thou give me a pledge, till thou send it? And he said, What shall I give thee? And she said, Thy signet, and thy bracelets, and thy staff that is in thine hand. And he gave it her, and came in unto her, and she conceived by him. And she arose, and went away, and laid aside her vail from her, and put on the garments of her widowhood. And Judah sent the kid by the hand of his friend the Adullamite to receive his pledge from the woman’s hand: but he found her not. Then he asked the men of that place, saying, Where is the harlot, that was openly by the way side? And they said, There was no harlot in this place. And he returned to Judah , and said, I cannot find her; and also the men of the place said, that there was no harlot in this place. And Judah said, Let her take it to her, lest we be shamed: I sent this kid, and thou hast not found her.


This account is clear enough to need no explanation. Judah ’s wife died, and after his time of mourning was over, he went with his friend Hirah to Timnath to shear his sheep. On this trip he passed through the place where his daughter in law lived; and she seeing that he had not kept his word to have his son Shelah marry her, decided to entrap him so that his sin would be brought before the public. So she exchanged her widow’s garments for those of a harlot, and sat openly by the way he would travel on his journey. When Judah saw her, he did not recognize her, but thought she was a prostitute, and wanted her services. In his negotiating with her, he promised to send her a kid of the goats, and gave her his signet, his bracelets, and his staff to keep until she received the kid. After spending what time he wanted to with her, he went on his way, and she also left that place, went home, and dressed in her widow’s garments again. When Judah’s friend brought the kid to exchange for the pledges Judah had given her, he could not find her, and also the men of the place said that there was never a prostitute in that place. Apparently Judah was not ashamed of what he had done, but was afraid that since the woman still had the items he had given her as pledges, she might make trouble for him, and put him to shame.


(Verses 24 through 26) And it came to pass about three months after, that it was told Judah , saying, Tamar thy daughter in law hath played the harlot; and also, behold, she is with child by whoredom. And Judah said, Bring her forth, and let her be burnt. When she was brought forth, she sent to her father in law, saying, By the man, whose these are, am I with child: and she said, Discern, I pray thee, whose are these, the signet, and bracelets, and staff. And Judah acknowledged them, and said, She hath been more righteous than I; because that I gave her not to Shelah my son. And he knew her again no more.


Thus Judah brought upon himself the very thing he had feared. He was brought to shame, and had to confess that his was the greater sin of the two. As long as his sin was not publicly known, he thought he was righteous in calling for Tamar to be executed by fire. But when she presented her evidence of his sin, he could not deny it, but had to confess that she had been more righteous than he; for he had failed to keep his word, and did not live up to what must already have been an established custom among the people. He did not have his son Shelah marry Tamar. So the execution was cancelled.


(Verses 27 through 30) And it came to pass in the time of her travail, that, behold, twins were in her womb. And it came to pass, when she travailed, that the one put out his hand: and the midwife took and bound upon his hand a scarlet thread, saying, This came out first. And it came to pass, as he drew back his hand, that, behold, his brother came out: and she said, How hast thou broken forth? this breach be upon thee: therefore his name was called Pharez. And afterward came out his brother, and had the scarlet thread upon his hand: and his name was called Zerah.


The fact that things that seem so trivial concerning the birth of these two boys are included in the account of  such an important history as this seems to be added evidence of the truth of the word of God. The name Pharez means “a breach,’ and Zerah means “rising of light,” and, so far as we can tell, there is never any great event to follow that would have any connection to these names. Certainly Pharez was so named because of what the midwife said to him.



Chapter 39

(Verses 1 through 6) And Joseph was brought down to Egypt; and Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, captain of the guard, an Egyptian, bought him of the hands of the Ishmeelites, which had brought him down thither. And the LORD was with Joseph, and he was a prosperous man; and he was in the house of his master the Egyptian. And his master saw that the LORD was with him, and that the LORD made all that he did to prosper in his hand. And Joseph found grace in his sight, and he served him; and he made him overseer over his house, and all that he had he put into his hand. And it came to pass from the time that he made him overseer in his house, and over all that he had, that the LORD blessed the Egyptian’s house for Joseph’s sake; and the blessing of the LORD was upon all that he had in the house, and in the field. And he left all that he had in Joseph’s hand; and he knew not aught he had, save the bread which he did eat. And Joseph was a goodly person, and well favoured.


Thus we return to the story of Joseph. Without again quoting all of this, we can see that he was blessed of the LORD to be placed in the household of a man who, as he watched Joseph’s manner of conducting himself, and as he observed that the LORD was blessing him for Joseph’s sake, He turned over to Joseph the entire management of his business and his household. The LORD continued to bless Joseph, and Joseph was also a man of beauty in both his body and face. As we shall see shortly, his good looks are what caused him trouble. But through it all, we must remember that, in spite of the unpleasant things that he had to endure, the overall course of events was designed of the LORD to place him exactly where He had purposed him to be for the preservation of his father and his brethren.


(Verses 7 through 12) And it came to pass after these things, that his master’s wife cast her eyes upon Joseph; and she said, Lie with me. But he refused, and said unto his master’s wife, Behold, my master wotteth not what is with me in the house, and he hath committed all that he hath to my hand; there is none greater in this house than I; neither hath he kept back any thing from me but thee, because thou art his wife: how can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God? And it came to pass, as she spake to Joseph day by day, that he hearkened not unto her, to lie by her, or to be with her. And it came to pass about this time, that Joseph went into the house to do his business; and there was none of the men of the house there within. And she caught him by his garment, saying, Lie with me: and he left his garment in her hand, and fled, and got him out.


Joseph’s master’s wife must not have been the very height of virtue. And since Joseph was a very handsome man, she wanted him to sleep with her. But he, being a man of virtue, would not do so. But still she kept on trying to seduce him. Then one day when Joseph was the only man in the house, she took hold of his garment, and tried to force him to go to bed with her. But He slipped out of his garment and ran away from her, leaving his garment in her hand.


(Verses 13 through 20) And it came to pass, when she saw that he had left his garment in her hand, and was fled forth, that she called unto the men of her house, and spake unto them, saying, See, he hath brought in an Hebrew unto us to mock us; he came in unto me to lie with me, and I cried with a loud voice: and it came to pass, when he heard that I lifted up my voice and cried, that he left this garment with me, and fled, and got him out. And she laid up his garment by her, until his lord came home. And she spake unto him according to these words, saying, The Hebrew servant, which thou hast brought unto us, came in unto me to mock me: and when I lifted up my voice and cried, that he left his garment with me, and fled out. And it came to pass, when his master heard the words of his wife, which she spake unto him, saying, After this manner did thy servant to me; that his wrath was kindled. And Joseph’s master took him, and put him into the prison, a place where the king’s prisoners were bound: and he was there in the prison.


Having failed to seduce Joseph, his master’s wife proved the old saying, “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.” She called the men of the house, (the menservants of the household) and told them exactly the opposite of what actually happened. Then she laid up Joseph’s garment to show to her husband when he came home. And she told him the same tale she had told the menservants. Of course, he was greatly angry at Joseph, because of what his wife had told him. And Joseph could not defend himself, because servants had no rights; they could not deny anything said by their master or his wife. So to Potiphar, Joseph was guilty. Therefore he took him to prison, and locked him in


(Verses 21 through 23) But the LORD was with Joseph, and shewed him mercy, and gave him favour in the sight of the keeper of the prison. And the keeper of the prison committed to Joseph’s hand all the prisoners that were in the prison; and whatsoever they did there, he was the doer of it. The keeper of the prison looked not to any thing that was under his hand; because the LORD was with him, and that which he did, the LORD made it to prosper.


Although this evil woman had brought a prison sentence upon Joseph, the LORD was still with him in everything he did, and gave him great favor even in the eyes of the keeper of the prison. The LORD was only bringing him to the place He had purposed to use him. When troubles come upon us, not for our sins, but because of the hatred of others, we should take courage; for the LORD may only be preparing us for the place in which He will have us to serve Him.



Chapter 40

(Verses 1 through 4) And it came to pass after these things, that the butler of the king of Egypt and his baker had offended their lord the king of Egypt . And Pharaoh was wroth against two of his officers, against the chief of the butlers, and against the chief of the bakers. And he put them in ward in the house of the captain of the guard, into the prison, the place where Joseph was bound. And the captain of the guard charged Joseph with them, and he served them: and they continued a season in ward.


This is one more event that came about to elevate Joseph to the position in which the LORD purposed that He should serve Him. At first, it appeared to be unrelated to the work of the LORD. Pharaoh’s chief butler and his chief baker did something that angered him, and he cast them into prison, in the very same prison in which Joseph was incarcerated, and accordingly, they came under his supervision while they were there.


(Verses 5 through 15) And they dreamed a dream both of them, each man his dream in one night, each man according to the interpretation of his dream, the butler and the baker of the king of Egypt , which were bound in the prison. And Joseph came in unto them in the morning, and looked upon them, and behold, they were sad. And he asked Pharaoh’s officers that were with him in the ward of his lord’s house, saying, Wherefore look ye so sadly to day? And they said unto him, We have dreamed a dream, and there is no interpreter of it. And Joseph said unto them, Do not interpretations belong to God? tell me them, I pray you. And the chief butler told his dream to Joseph, and said to him, In my dream, behold, a vine was before me; and in the vine were three branches: and it budded, and her blossoms shot forth; and the clusters thereof brought forth ripe grapes: and Pharaoh’s cup was in my hand: and I took the grapes, and pressed them into Pharaoh’s cup, and I gave the cup into Pharaoh’s hand. And Joseph said unto him, This is the interpretation of it: The three branches are three days: yet within three days shall Pharaoh lift up thine head, and restore thee unto thy place: and thou shalt deliver Pharaoh’s cup into his hand, after the former manner when thou wast his butler. But think on me when it shall be well with thee, and shew kindness, I pray thee, unto me, and make mention of me unto Pharaoh, and bring me out of this house: for I was stolen away out of the land of the Hebrews: and here also have I done nothing that they should put me into the dungeon.


This is certainly easily understood. It is a simple narrative of a matter of two of Pharaoh’s officers, who, for some reason not even given, came under his displeasure, and were put in prison, and under Joseph’s supervision. They each had a dream in the same night, and were very sad the next morning when Joseph came to check on them. Finding that their sadness was caused by the lack of an interpreter for their dreams, Joseph asked them to tell him their dreams. This the chief butler did. And the interpretation God, through Joseph, gave him was favorable to him. And Joseph requested that when he was restored to his position he remember him, and speak of him to Pharaoh, that he might be released from prison.


(Verses 16 through 19) When the chief baker saw that the interpretation was good, he said unto Joseph, I also was in my dream, and, behold, I had three white baskets on my head: and in the uppermost basket there was all manner of bakemeats for Pharaoh; and the birds did eat them out of the basket upon my head. And Joseph answered and said, This is the interpretation thereof: The three baskets are three days: yet within three days shall Pharaoh lift up thy head from off thee, and shall hang thee on a tree; and the birds shall eat thy flesh from off thee.


The baker, being emboldened by the interpretation of the butler’s dream, told his dream to Joseph. But the interpretation of his dream was not so pleasant as was that of the dream of the butler. Joseph was giving the interpretations to the men; but they were not of his making. God was showing them to him. So, instead of trying to give interpretations that would please the dreamers, Joseph was only speaking the truth as the LORD gave it to him.


(Verses 20 through 23) And it came to pass the third day, which was Pharaoh’s birthday, that he made a feast unto all his servants: and he lifted up the head of the chief butler and of the chief baker among his servants. And he restored the chief butler unto his butlership again; and he gave the cup into Pharaoh’s hand: but he hanged the chief baker: as Joseph had interpreted to them. Yet did not the chief butler remember Joseph, but forgat him.


So within the three days Joseph told the butler and the baker their dreams represented, the fulfilling of both took place, just as he had told them. One might note that only two birthday celebrations are recorded in the Bible; and murder was committed on both. On this one, the chief baker was hanged, and on the other, that of Herod, John the Baptist was murdered--- not a very great recommendation for birthday celebrations.

Chapter 41

(Verses 1 through 8) And it came to pass at the end of two full years, that Pharaoh dreamed: and behold, he stood by the river. And, behold, there came up out of the river seven well favoured kine and fatfleshed; and they fed in a meadow. And, behold, seven other kine came up after them out of the river, ill favoured and leanfleshed; and stood by the other kine upon the brink of the river. And the ill favoured and leanfleshed kine did eat up the seven well favoured and fatfleshed kine. So Pharaoh awoke. And he slept and dreamed the second time: and behold, seven ears of corn came up upon one stalk, rank and good. And, behold, seven thin ears and blasted with the east wind sprung up after them. And the seven thin ears devoured the seven rank and full ears. And Pharaoh awoke, and, behold, it was a dream. And it came to pass in the morning that his spirit was troubled; and he sent and called for all the magicians of Egypt , and all the wise men thereof: and Pharaoh told them his dream; but there was none that could interpret them unto Pharaoh.


Joseph had to stay in prison for another full two years before God brought the situation to the point that He was ready for Joseph to come into the position in which He purposed him to be. The chief butler had forgotten him. But the LORD set the stage for him by causing Pharaoh to dream a dream that none of his wise men and magicians could interpret. Although it seemed to be two different dreams, we shall see that both were the same, albeit by the use of different symbols to show them. The dream is well enough recorded without our trying to comment upon it before the interpretation is given.


(Verses 9 through 13) Then spake the chief butler unto Pharaoh, saying, I do remember my faults this day: Pharaoh was wroth with his servants, and put me in ward in the captain of the guard’s house, both me and the chief baker: and we dreamed a dream in one night, I and he; we dreamed each man according to the interpretation of his dream. And there was with us a young man, an Hebrew, servant to the captain of the guard; and we told him, and he interpreted to us our dreams; to each man according to his dream did he interpret. And it came to pass, as he interpreted to us, so it was; me he restored unto mine office, and him he hanged.


By all the confusion concerning Pharaoh’s dream, the chief butler was made to remember the dream he had had while in prison, and the interpretation Joseph had given him of it. He also remembered the dream of the chief baker, and its interpretation. The interpretations of both dreams had been absolutely truthful in what they foretold. So He finally told Pharaoh about Joseph and his interpretation of those dreams.


(Verses 14 through 24) Then Pharaoh sent and called Joseph, and they brought him hastily out of the dungeon: and he shaved himself, and changed his raiment, and came unto Pharaoh. And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, I have dreamed a dream, and there is none that can interpret it: and I have heard say of thee, that thou canst understand a dream to interpret it. And Joseph answered Pharaoh, saying, It is not in me: God shall give Pharaoh an answer of peace. And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, In my dream, behold, I stood upon the bank of the river: and, behold, there came up out of the river seven kine, fatfleshed and well favoured; and they fed in a meadow: and, behold, seven other kine came up after them, poor and very ill favoured and leanfleshed, such as I never saw in Egypt for badness: and the lean and the ill favoured kine did eat up the first seven fat kine: and when they had eaten them up, it could not be known that they had eaten them: but they were still ill favoured, as at the beginning. So I awoke. And I saw in my dream, and behold, seven ears came up on one stalk, full and good: and, behold seven ears, withered, thin, and blasted with the east wind, sprung up after them: and the thin ears devoured the seven good ears: and I told it unto the magicians; but there was none that could declare it to me.


When the chief butler told Pharaoh his experience with Joseph’s interpretation of dreams, Pharaoh immediately sent for Joseph that he might come before him, and interpret his dream. When Joseph arrived, Pharaoh told him of his dream, and informed him that none of the wise men and magicians of Egypt had been able to interpret it. So Joseph told him that he did not have the power to interpret dreams, since that belonged to the LORD only; but he also told him that God would give him an answer, or interpretation, of peace. Now Pharaoh told Joseph the details of the dream, which are clearly set forth in the text. Pharaoh recited both dreams, and repeated that he had consulted the magicians; but they could not interpret the dream.


(Verses 25 through 36) And Joseph said unto Pharaoh, The dream of Pharaoh is one: God hath shewed Pharaoh what he is about to do. The seven good kine are seven years; and the seven good ears are seven years: the dream is one. And the seven thin and ill favoured kine that came up after them are seven years; and the seven empty ears blasted with the east wind shall be seven years of famine. This is the thing which I have spoken unto Pharaoh: what God is about to do He sheweth unto Pharaoh. Behold, there come seven years of great plenty throughout all the land of Egypt: and there shall arise after them seven years of famine; and all the plenty shall be forgotten in the land of Egypt; and the famine shall consume the land; and the plenty shall not be known in the land by reason of the famine following; for it shall be very grievous. And for that the dream was doubled unto Pharaoh twice; it is because the thing is established by God, and God will shortly bring it to pass. Now therefore let Pharaoh look out a man discreet and wise, and set him over the land of Egypt . Let Pharaoh do this, and let him appoint officers over the land, and take up a fifth part of the land of Egypt in the seven plenteous years. And let them gather all the food of those good years that come, and lay up corn under the hand of Pharaoh, and let them keep food in the cities.  And that food shall be for store to the land against the seven years of famine, which shall be in the land of Egypt ; that the land perish not through the famine.


There is little here that is in need of any explanation. But we can see in all of it the working of the hand of God, as He brought the situation to the point that He might fulfill the dreams He had given Joseph while he was in the land of Canaan . Since Joseph has been enabled of God to give Pharaoh, not only the interpretation of his dream, but even good counsel concerning what he should do to be able to survive the famine, he has suddenly become a great man in the eyes of Pharaoh; as we shall shortly see.


(Verses 37 through 45) And the thing was good in the eyes of Pharaoh, and in the eyes of all his servants. And Pharaoh said unto his servants, Can we find such a one as this is, a man in whom the Spirit of God is? And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, Forasmuch as God hath shewed thee all this, there is none so discreet and wise as thou art: thou shalt be over all my house, and according unto thy word shall all my people be ruled: only in the throne will I be greater than thou. And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, See, I have set thee over all the land of Egypt . And Pharaoh took off his ring from his hand, and put it upon Joseph’s hand, and arrayed him in vestures of fine linen, and put a gold chain about his neck; and he made him to ride in the second chariot which he had; and they cried before him, Bow the knee: and he made him ruler over all the land of Egypt. And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, I am Pharaoh, and without thee shall no man lift up his hand or foot in all the land of Egypt . And Pharaoh called Joseph’s name Zaphnath-paaneah; and he gave him to wife Asenath the daughter of Potipherah priest of On. And Joseph went out over all the land of Egypt .


Because of God’s giving Joseph the interpretation of the dream, Pharaoh made him the ruler over all Egypt , second only to him in the throne. This was a great promotion , from prisoner to second ruler in the kingdom. Apparently. Pharaoh thought it necessary that Joseph be a married man to hold such a high office, so he gave Joseph the daughter of the priest On as his wife. The priest’s name was Potipherah, which means “priest of the sun.” the Egyptians worshipped the sun as their god. Wherever Joseph went, a crier went before him, and called upon all the people to bow before him. And he went out over all the land, no doubt, for the purpose of surveying the situation so that he could better fulfill his position.


(Verses 46 through 52) And Joseph was thirty years old when he stood before Pharaoh king of Egypt . And Joseph went out from the presence of Pharaoh, and went throughout all the land of Egypt . And in the seven plenteous years the earth brought forth by handfuls. And he gathered up all the food of the seven years, which were in the land of Egypt , and laid up the food in the cities: the food of the field, which was round about every city, laid he up in the same. And Joseph gathered corn as the sand of the sea, very much, until he left numbering; for it was without number. And unto Joseph were born two sons before the years of famine came, which Asenath the daughter of Potipherah priest of On bare unto him. And Joseph called the name of the firstborn Manasseh: For God, said he, hath made me forget all my toil, and all my father’s house. And the name of the second called he Ephraim: For God hath caused me to be fruitful in the land of my affliction.


In Chapter 37, verse 2, we are told that Joseph was seventeen. Now we find that when he was brought before Pharaoh he was thirty years of age. And Pharaoh set him over all the land of Egypt to rule over the gathering and storing of all surplus food during the seven plenteous years. He immediately set to work on that project. What food was produced near a city was stored in that city, which saved a great deal of labor and expense that would have been incurred had he tried to use a central storage system. He gathered so much grain (“corn”) that he quit trying to count it, because there was such a great lot of it.


Before the years of famine began there were two sons born unto Joseph. The firstborn he named Manasseh, which means “forgetfulness;” and the second he named Ephraim, which means “twofold increase.” The text itself tells us why he gave them the names he did.


(Verses 53 through 57) And the seven years of dearth began to come, according as Joseph had said: and the dearth was in all lands; but in all the land of Egypt there was bread. And when all the land of Egypt was famished, the people cried to Pharaoh for bread: and Pharaoh said unto all the Egyptians, Go unto Joseph; what he saith to you, do. And the famine was over all the face of the earth: and Joseph opened all the storehouses, and sold unto the Egyptians; and the famine waxed sore in the land of Egypt . And all countries came into Egypt to Joseph for to buy corn; because the famine was so sore in all lands.



As time passed on, not only Joseph’s prophecy of seven years of plenty came to pass, but, as he had said, they were followed by a terrible famine. So when the people of Egypt began to suffer from it, they called on Pharaoh to do something about it. This is very much as our nation has become. If there is any kind of trouble, we want the government to do something about the matter. And if we are not careful, we will find ourselves in the same condition as did the Egyptians by the end of their famine. This famine was not only in Egypt , but in all the surrounding countries as well. It covered all of what they knew as the world. So people from the surrounding countries also came to Joseph to buy grain.


Chapter 42

(Verses 1 through 5) Now when Jacob saw that  there was corn in Egypt ,  Jacob said unto his sons, Why do ye look one upon another? And he said, Behold, I have heard that there is corn in Egypt : get you down thither, and buy for us from hence; that we may live, and not die. And Joseph’s ten brethren went down to buy corn in Egypt . But Benjamin, Joseph’s brother, Jacob sent not with his brethren; for he said, Lest peradventure mischief befall him. And the sons of Israel came to buy corn among those that came: for the famine was in the land of Canaan .


As we have noted, the famine was not confined to Egypt , but was very sore in all the neighboring countries. And it began to press greatly Joseph’s father and brethren in the land of Canaan . So Jacob called his sons together, and sent them into Egypt to buy grain. However he would not send Joseph’s brother Benjamin, because he was afraid something would happen to him, as it had to Joseph. We must remember that Jacob still thought Joseph had been killed. So the ten older sons went into Egypt to buy the grain they needed.


(Verses 6 through 13)And Joseph was the governor over the land, and he it was that sold to all the people of the land: and Joseph’s brethren came, and bowed down themselves before him with their faces to the earth. And Joseph saw his brethren, and he knew them, but made himself strange unto them, and spake roughly unto them; and he said unto them, Whence come ye? And they said, From the land of Canaan to buy food. And Joseph knew his brethren, but they knew not him. And Joseph remembered the dreams which he dreamed of them, and said unto them, Ye are spies; to see the nakedness of the land ye are come. And they said unto him, Nay, my lord, but to buy food are thy servants come. We are all one man’s sons; we are true men, thy servants are no spies. And he said unto them, Nay, but to see the nakedness of the land ye are come. And they said, Thy servants are twelve brethren, the sons of one man in the land of Canaan ; and, behold, the youngest is this day with our father, and one is not.


Thus when his brothers came to him to buy corn, Joseph, without even mentioning their father, or his brother Benjamin, learned that both his father and his brother were still alive. One might think Joseph was a little too hard on his brothers; but he thought it necessary to try them, and find out what kind of men they had become. So he accused them of being spies. In that day, a man could be accused of being a spy, and, without any proof, killed on the spot. But Joseph was more merciful than that toward his brothers, He continued his conversation with them.


(Verses 14 through 20) And Joseph said unto them, That is it which I spake unto you, saying, Ye are spies: hereby  ye shall be proved: By the life of Pharaoh ye shall not go forth hence, except your youngest brother come hither. Send one of you, and let him fetch your brother, and ye shall be kept in prison, that your words may be proved, whether there be any truth in you: or else by the life of Pharaoh surely you are spies. And he put them all together in ward three days. And Joseph said unto them the third day, This do and live; for I fear God. If ye be true men, let one of your brethren be bound in the house of your prison: go ye, carry corn for the famine for your houses: but bring your youngest brother unto me; so shall your words be verified, and ye shall not die. And they did so.


This is the test that Joseph designed for his brothers, ostensibly to prove whether or not they were spies, but, actually, to see how much they loved their father and their youngest brother Benjamin. As we shall shortly see, he also provided a test for their honesty. They agreed to what he had proposed to them, although it did bring up some serious thoughts concerning what they had done to Joseph when he was just a lad.


(Verses 21 through 24) And they said one to another, We are verily guilty concerning our brother, in that we saw the anguish of his soul, when he besought us, and we would not hear; therefore is this distress come upon us. And Reuben answered them, saying, Spake I not unto you, saying, Do not sin against the child; and ye would not hear? Therefore, behold, also his blood is required. And they knew not that Joseph understood them; for he spake unto them by an interpreter. And he turned himself about from them, and wept; and returned to them again, and communed with them, and took from them Simeon, and bound him before their eyes.


Here we have these brethren confessing to each other their guilt in what they had done to Joseph when he was just a lad. They were sure that God had brought this upon them because of that very sin. And they were certainly partly right about that, although God also had a greater purpose in it. No doubt, since Joseph understood all that they said, this gave him a much greater insight into the kind of men his brethren had become. Their sorrow also affected him so much that he left them for a little while that he might weep without their knowing it. Then he returned to them and talked more with them; but none of that conversation is recorded. He then took Simeon and bound him while they looked on.


(Verses 25 through 28) Then Joseph commanded to fill their sacks with corn, and to restore every man’s money into his sack, and to give them provision for the way: and thus did he unto them. And they laded their asses with corn, and departed thence. And as one of them opened his sack to give his ass provender in the inn, he espied his money; for, behold, it was in his sack’s mouth. And he said unto his brethren, My money is restored; and, lo, it is even in my sack: and their heart failed them, and they were afraid, saying one to another, What is this that God hath done unto us?


Certainly this is in no need of explanation; but it certainly illustrates what our Lord Jesus has told us to do; that is, to return good for evil. Surely Joseph’s brothers had treated him as badly as one can treat another. The only thing that kept them from killing him was the hope of profit from selling him into slavery. Yet, when opportunity came for him to return the evil upon them, although he did speak a little roughly to them, and placed them in prison for a little while, when the time came to send them home, he not only sold them the food they needed, but even returned to them the money he had charged them for it. Thus we see how that doing good to them who do us evil will “heap coals of fire upon their heads.”


(Verses 29 through 34) And they came unto Jacob their father unto the land of Canaan , and told him all that befell unto them; saying, The man, who is lord of the land, spake roughly to us, and took us for spies of the country. And we said unto him, We are true men; we are no spies: we be twelve brethren, sons of our father; one is not, and the youngest is this day with our father in the land of Canaan . And the man, the lord of the country, said unto us, Hereby shall I know that ye are true men; leave one of your brethren here with me, and take food for the famine of your households, and be gone: and bring your youngest brother unto me: then shall I know that ye are no spies, but that ye are true men: so will I deliver your brother, and ye shall traffick in the land.


When Jacob’s sons returned to their father, they reported the entire episode to Jacob. They told him of the accusation that they were spies, and Joseph’s proposal of how they could prove their innocence. And, of course, the fact that Simeon was not with them showed that their report was true. They also told Jacob that the lord of the land had told them that only by their bringing Benjamin to him would he consider them true men, and not spies. Thus only could they buy food in Egypt . And thus only could they deliver Simeon from prison.


(Verses 35 through 38) And it came to pass as they emptied their sacks, that, behold, every man’s bundle of money was in his sack: and when both they and their father saw the bundles of money, they were afraid. And Jacob their father said unto them, Me ye have bereaved of my children: Joseph is not, and Simeon is not, and ye will take Benjamin away: all these things are against me. And Reuben spake unto his father, saying, Slay my two sons, if I bring him not to thee: deliver him into my hand, and I will bring him to thee again. And he said, My son shall not go down with you: for his brother is dead, and he is left alone: if mischief befall him by the way in the which ye go, then shall ye bring down my gray hairs with sorrow to the grave.


When the sons of Jacob unloaded their beasts , and emptied their sacks, every man of them found his money in his sack. And this brought great fear upon both them and their father. As they considered going back to buy more food, Jacob complained that they were bereaving him of his children. He reminded them that, as they all thought, Joseph was dead, and Simeon was now in prison in Egypt , and they wanted to take Benjamin into Egypt with them. And this was just too much for him. Reuben declared that he would be surety for Benjamin, and even told his father to slay his two sons if he did not bring Benjamin back home. To us this proposal seems totally out of place; but, in that day, such would, probably, have been acceptable to society. Nevertheless Jacob would not agree for Benjamin to go. He declared that if he should allow such, and something happened to Benjamin, it would be the death of him, “then shall ye bring down my gray hairs with sorrow to the grave.”


Chapter 43

(Verses 1 through 10) And the famine was sore in the land. And it came to pass, when they had eaten up the corn which they brought out of Egypt , their father said unto them, Go again, buy us a little food. And Judah spake unto him, saying, The man did solemnly protest unto us, saying, Ye shall not see my face, except your brother be with you. And if thou wilt send our brother with us, we will go down and buy thee food: but if thou wilt not send him, we will not go down: for he said unto us, Ye shall not see my face, except your brother be with you. And Israel said, Wherefore dealt ye so ill with me, as to tell the man whether ye had a brother? And they said, The man asked us straitly of our state, and of our kindred, saying, Is your father yet alive? have ye another brother? and we told him according to the tenor of these words: could we certainly know that he would say, Bring your brother down? And Judah said unto Israel his father, Send the lad with me, and we will arise and go; that we may live, and not die, both we, and thou, and also our little ones. I will be surety for him; of my hand shalt thou require him: if I bring him not unto thee, and set him before thee, let me bear the blame for ever: for except we had lingered, surely now we had returned this second time.


Instead of growing lighter, the famine grew worse and worse. So Jacob’s household ate all the food they had brought from Egypt . Then he told his sons to go again to Egypt to buy a little more food. But since Joseph had told them that they could not even see him, unless they brought their youngest brother with them, they refused to go, unless Benjamin could go with them. This, Jacob refused, until they were so hard pressed by the famine that he had to relent.


(Verses 11 through 14) And their father Israel said unto them, If it must be so now, do this; take of the best fruits in the land in your vessels, and carry down the man a present, a little balm, and a little honey, spices, and myrrh, nuts, and almonds: and take double money in your hand: and the money that was brought again in the mouth of your sacks, carry it again in your hand; peradventure it was an oversight: Take also your brother, and arise, go again unto the man: and God Almighty give you mercy before the man, that he may send you away with your other brother, and Benjamin. If I be bereaved of my children, I am bereaved.


Israel was in a very pitiful situation. He thought Joseph to be dead, and he was still grieving for him; Benjamin was the only son he had by the same wife who was mother to Joseph, and she was dead: and now he faced a strong possibility of starvation, unless he let Benjamin go with his brothers into Egypt . This was almost more than he could endure. Finally, however, he consented for Benjamin to go with them. So he gave them instructions for what to take with them as a present to the governor, and prayed that God would grant them mercy before the man that they might bring both Simeon and Benjamin back with them.


(Verses 15 through 25) And the men took that present, and they took double money in their hand, and Benjamin; and rose up, and went down to Egypt , and stood before Joseph. And when Joseph saw Benjamin with them, he said to the ruler of his house, Bring these men home, and slay, and make ready; for these men shall dine with me at noon . And the man did as Joseph bade; and the man brought the men into Joseph’s house; and the men were afraid, because they were brought into Joseph’s house; and they said, Because of the money that was returned in our sacks at the first time are we brought in; that he may seek occasion against us, and fall upon us, and take us for bondmen, and our asses. And they came near to the steward of Joseph’s house, and they communed with him at the door of the house, and said, O sir, we came indeed down at the first time to buy food: and it came to pass, when we came to the inn, that we opened our sacks, and, behold, every man’s money was in the mouth of his sack, our money in full weight: and we have brought it again in our hand. And other money have we brought down in our hands to buy food: we cannot tell who put our money in our sacks. And he said, Peace be to you, fear not: your God, and the God of your father, hath given you treasure in your sacks: I had your money. And he brought Simeon out unto them. And the man brought the men into Joseph’s house, and gave them water, and they washed their feet; and he gave their asses provender. And they made ready the present against Joseph came at noon : for they had heard that they should eat bread there.


This is certainly clear enough to need no explanation. But, if we look closely, we can see a beautiful picture in it of the work of our Lord in bringing us to repentance, before He brings us unto fellowship with Him. At their earlier appearance before him, these brethren were made to feel that they were being punished for their sin against their brother. Then his mercy to them, in giving back all their money, brought more fear upon them; and now he has ordered that they will dine with him, which is also a great mercy, but they are almost thrown into a panic by it. As the story continues, follow in your mind how the picture unfolds, just as our Lord’s mercies often cause us greater fear, as we approach nearer to the time in which He will give us the full assurance that He is our Brother, and we rejoice in full fellowship with Him. This, in a measure will apply to regeneration, as well as to restoration of the joy of salvation after we have strayed from His way.


(Verses 26 through 31) And when Joseph came home, they brought him the present which was in their hand into the house, and bowed themselves to him to the earth. And he asked them of their welfare, and said, Is your father well, the old man of whom ye spake? Is he yet alive? And they answered, Thy servant our father is in good health, he is yet alive. And they bowed down their heads, and made obeisance. And he lifted up his eyes, and saw his brother Benjamin, his mother’s son, and said, Is this your younger brother, of whom ye spake unto me? And he said, God be gracious unto thee, my son. And Joseph made haste; for his bowels did yearn upon his brother: and he sought where to weep; and he entered into his chamber, and wept there, And he washed his face, and went out, and refrained himself, and said, Set on bread.


When Joseph came home, his brothers presented to him the gift their father had sent. And after a little conversation with them, and especially after seeing Benjamin, he was so overcome with emotion that he had to go aside from them and weep. Afterward he washed his face, returned to them, and gave orders that the meal should be served.


(Verses 32 through 34) And they set on for him by himself, and for them by themselves, and for the Egyptians, which did eat with him, by themselves: because the Egyptians might not eat with the Hebrews; for that is an abomination unto the Egyptians. And they sat down before him, the firstborn according to his birthright, and the youngest according to his youth: and the men marvelled one at another. And He took and sent messes unto them from before him: but Benjamin’s mess was five times so much as any of theirs. And they drank, and were merry with him.


We notice here a custom of the Egyptians of that day that brings up a question concerning Joseph’s relation with his wife. If an Egyptian could not eat with a Hebrew, how could Joseph’s wife eat with him? Or, was it also a custom that men and women never ate together? Of course, this feast was a special occasion, and there is no mention of any women partaking of it. There seems to be little in this text that needs any explanation. In this, however, Joseph showed his special feelings for his brother Benjamin in that he sent much greater portions of food to him than to his brethren. But they all drank, and were merry together.


Chapter 44

(Verses 1 through 5) And he commanded the steward of his house, saying, Fill the men’s sacks with food, as much as they can carry, and put every man’s money in his sack’s mouth. And my cup, the silver cup, in the sack’s mouth of the youngest, and his corn money. And he did according to the word that Joseph had spoken. As soon as the morning was light, the men were sent away, they and their asses. And when they were gone out of the city, and not yet far off, Joseph said unto his steward, Up, follow after the men; and when thou dost overtake them, say unto them, Wherefore have ye rewarded evil for good? Is it not this in which my lord drinketh, and whereby indeed he divineth? ye have done evil in so doing.


This seems, on the surface, to be a shabby trick to work on his brethren; but Joseph was only trying them to see if they loved Benjamin enough to protect him, or if they would be as callous toward Benjamin as they formerly had toward him. He had Benjamin set up as the target of this trick, by having his silver cup put in his sack. Of course, none of the brethren knew anything about it.


(Verses 6 through 13) And he overtook them, and he spake unto them these same words. And they said unto him, Wherefore saith my lord these words? God forbid that thy servants should do according  to this thing. Behold, the money, which we found in our sacks’ mouths, we brought again unto thee out of the land of Canaan : how then should we steal out of thy lord’s house silver or gold? With whomsoever of thy servants it shall be found, both let him die, and we also will be my lord’s bondmen. And he said, Now also let it be according to your words: he with whom it is found shall be my servant; and ye shall be blameless. Then they speedily took down every man his sack to the ground, and opened every man his sack. And he searched, and began at the eldest, and left at the youngest: and the cup was found in Benjamin’s sack. Then they rent their clothes, and laded every man his ass, and returned to the city.


We have always heard, “The darkest hour is just before dawn.” And surely this was a dark hour to Joseph’s brethren. The very thing that both Reuben and Judah had solemnly promised their father they would not let happen had taken place. They were free to return to the land of Canaan . But Benjamin could not return with them: he would remain a slave in Egypt . However, instead of accepting their freedom, they immediately reloaded their donkeys, and returned to the city to try to do something to get Benjamin released.


(Verses 14 through 17) And Judah and his brethren came to Joseph’s house; for he was yet there: and they fell before him on the ground. And Joseph said unto them, What deed is this that ye have done? wot ye not that such a man as I can certainly divine? And Judah said, What shall we say unto my lord? what shall we speak? or how shall we clear ourselves? God hath found out the iniquity of thy servants: behold, we are my lord’s servants, both we and he also with whom the cup is found. And he said, God forbid that I should do so: but the man in whose hand the cup is found, he shall be my servant; and as for you, get you up in peace unto your father.


Judah may not have been aware that God always knows what, not only we have done, but what we are doing and what we will do as well. Or his meaning may be that God has only now taken the matter up for judgment, and is punishing us for our sins. He made the offer to Joseph that he and all his brethren would be his servants. But Joseph told him the same thing his steward had before they returned to the city. Only the man in whose possession the cup was found would remain as a servant, and the rest would go free.


(Verses 18 through 29) Then Judah came near unto him, and said, Oh my lord, let thy servant, I pray thee, speak a word in my lord’s ears, and let not thine anger burn against thy servant: for thou art even as Pharaoh. My lord asked his servants, saying, Have ye a father, or a brother? And we said unto my lord, We have a father, an old man, and a child of his old age, a little one; and his brother is dead, and he is left alone of his mother, and his father loveth him. And thou sadist unto thy servants, Bring him down unto me, that I may set mine eyes upon him. And we said unto my lord, the lad cannot leave his father: for if he should leave his father, his father would die. And thou sadist unto thy servants, Except your youngest brother come down with you, ye shall see my face no more. And it came to pass when we came up to thy servant my father, we told him the words of my lord. And our father said, Go again, and buy us a little food. And we said, we cannot go down: if our youngest brother be with us, then will we go down: for we may not see the man’s face, except our youngest brother be with us. And thy servant my father said unto us, Ye know that my wife bare me two sons: the one went out from me, and I said, Surely he is torn in pieces; and I saw him not since: and if ye take this also from me, and mischief befall him, ye shall bring down my gray hairs with sorrow to the grave.


Judah, the very brother that proposed that they sell Joseph to the Ishmeelite merchants, is the one who comes to speak privately with Joseph. We must also remember that he is the one who declared himself surety to his father for Benjamin’s safety. So he tells Joseph the sad story of how Jacob would not permit Benjamin to go to Egypt with the other brothers until they were almost on starvation. Then he finally consented that Benjamin could go, but only over his protest that if anything happened to him it would bring him to the grave in sorrow.


(Verses 30 through 34) Now therefore when I come to thy servant my father, and the lad be not with us; seeing that his life is bound up in the lad’s life; it shall come to pass, when he seeth that the lad is not with us, that he will die; and thy servants shall bring down the gray hairs of thy servant our father with sorrow to the grave. For thy servant became surety for the lad unto my father, saying, If I bring him not unto thee, then I shall bear the blame to my father for ever. Now therefore, I pray thee, let thy servant abide instead of the lad a bondman to my lord; and let the lad go up with his brethren. For how shall I go up to my father, and the lad be not with me? lest peradventure I see the evil that shall come on my father.


Since he had given himself as surety for the safe return of Benjamin to his father, Judah proposed that Joseph set Benjamin free, and retain him as bondman instead. Thus would be prevented the evil that Benjamin’s failure to return would bring upon Jacob. No doubt, this is what Joseph wanted to hear; not that he would have Judah for his servant, but that Judah loved his father and his brother Benjamin enough that he would sacrifice himself for them. As we shall shortly see, this plea of Judah was almost more than Joseph could bear.


Chapter 45

(Verses 1 through 7) Then Joseph could not refrain himself before all them that stood by him; and he cried, Cause every man to go out from me. And there stood no man with him, while Joseph made himself known unto his brethren. And he wept aloud: and the Egyptians and the house of Pharaoh heard. And Joseph said unto his brethren, I am Joseph; doth my father yet live? And his brethren could not answer him; for they were troubled at his presence. And Joseph said unto his brethren, Come near to me, I pray you. And they came near. And he said, I am Joseph your brother, whom ye sold into Egypt . Now therefore be not grieved, nor angry with yourselves, that ye sold me hither: for God did send me before you to preserve life. For these two years hath famine been in the land: and yet there are five years, in the which there shall neither be earing nor harvest. And God sent me before you to preserve you a posterity in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance.


After Judah ’s talk with him, Joseph was completely overcome by emotion. So he sent everyone except his brothers away from where they were, while he made himself known to his brothers. His emotions were so stirred that he wept aloud, in fact, so loudly that the Egyptians whom he had sent away, and even those in the house of Pharaoh heard him. When he introduced himself to his brothers, they were so overcome with fear that they could not answer him. But he called them near to himself, and tried to comfort them. He told them that, although they had sold him into slavery , the whole matter was the work of God, Who was sending him to Egypt for the purpose of saving their lives and that of their posterity. Then he told them that this famine had only started. It had only been upon them for two years, and there were five more years to go.


(Verses 8 through 15) So now it was not you that sent me hither, but God: and He hath made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house, and a ruler throughout all the land of Egypt . Haste ye, and go up to my father, and say unto him, Thus saith thy son Joseph, God hath made me lord of all Egypt: come down unto me, tarry not: and thou shalt dwell in the land of Goshen, and thou shalt be near unto me, thou and thy children, and thy children’s children, and thy flocks, and thy herds, and all that thou hast: and there will I nourish thee; for yet there are five years of famine; lest thou and thy household come to poverty. And, behold, your eyes see, and the eyes of my brother Benjamin , that it is my mouth that speaketh unto you. And ye shall tell my father of all my glory in Egypt , and of all that ye have seen; and ye shall haste and bring down my father hither. And he fell upon his brother Benjamin’s neck, and wept; and Benjamin wept upon his neck. Moreover he kissed all his brethren, and wept upon them: and after that his brethren talked with him.


Joseph continued to tell his brethren that it was God, and not they, that sent him to Egypt . And not only so, but God had raised him up to be lord of Egypt , and a father to Pharaoh. Then he instructed them what they were to do. They were to go back to the land of Canaan , get their father and all that he and they had, and come back to Egypt . He already knew of a place suited for them to dwell. That was in the land of Goshen , which was very well suited for their style of life. Then he and his brothers had a very emotional reunion, and talked together for a while. One thing that we should keep in mind is that which Joseph continued to stress to his brethren: they did not send him to Egypt ; but he was sent by the LORD, to fulfill His purpose. And thus it often is with us. Some very unpleasant thing may take place with us, and cause us much trouble; but when the matter is finished, we find that God has only prepared us for something that He will have us do. So we should be careful to refrain from complaining about our lot in life. It may yet turn out for good.


(Verses 16 through 24) And the fame thereof was heard in Pharaoh’s house, saying, Joseph’s brethren are come: and it pleased Pharaoh well, and his servants. And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, Say unto thy brethren, This do ye; lade your beasts, and go, get you into the land of Canaan ; and take your father and your households, and come unto me: and I will give you the good of the land of Egypt , and ye shall eat the fat of the land. Now thou art commanded, this do ye; take you wagons out of the land of Egypt for your little ones, and for your wives, and bring your father, and come. Also regard not your stuff; for the good of all the land of Egypt is yours. And the children of Israel did so: and Joseph gave them wagons, according to the commandment of Pharaoh, and gave them provision for the way. To all of them he gave each man changes of raiment; but to Benjamin he gave three hundred pieces of silver, and five changes of raiment. And to his father he sent after this manner; ten asses laden with the good things of Egypt , and ten she asses laden with corn and bread and meat for his father by the way. So he sent his brethren away, and they departed: and he said unto them, See that ye fall not out by the way.


When Pharaoh and his servants heard that Joseph’s brethren had come, they were well pleased. And Pharaoh told Joseph to not only give them provisions for the trip, but wagons also to go back to the land of Canaan , get their families and all their substance, and bring all to Egypt , where he promised to give them “the good of the land of Egypt .” So Joseph gave them all they needed. And in addition, he gave each of them changes of clothing, giving to Benjamin five changes of garments, and three hundred pieces of silver. He also sent his father a great present. And as they left, Joseph wished them well on their journey.


(Verses 25 through 28) And they went up out of Egypt , and came to the land of Canaan unto Jacob their father, and told him, saying, Joseph is yet alive, and he is governor over all the land of Egypt . And Jacob’s heart fainted, for he believed them not. And they told him all the words of Joseph, which he had said unto them: and when he saw the wagons which Joseph had sent to carry him, the spirit of Jacob their father revived: and Israel said, It is enough; Joseph my son is yet alive: I will go and see him before I die.


After having for so long believed that Joseph was dead, surely the report that he was alive was almost unbelievable to Jacob. It so overwhelmed him that he almost had heart failure. But after seeing the wagons Joseph had sent to take him and his family to Egypt , he did believe his sons’ report. So he made up his mind that he would go and see Joseph before he died.

Chapter 46

(Verses 1 through 7) And Israel took his journey with all that he had, and came to Beersheba , and offered sacrifices unto the God of his father Isaac. And God spake unto Israel in visions of the night, and said, Jacob, Jacob. And he said, Here am I. And He said, I am God, the God of thy father: fear not to go down into Egypt ; for I will there make thee a great nation: I will go down with thee into Egypt ; and I will also surely bring thee up again: and Joseph shall put his hand upon thine eyes. And Jacob rose up from Beersheba : and the sons of Israel carried Jacob their father, and their little ones, and their wives, in the wagons which Pharaoh had sent to carry him. And they took their cattle, and their goods, which they had gotten in the land of Canaan , and came to Egypt , Jacob, and all his seed with him: his sons, and his sons’ sons with him, his daughters, and his sons’ daughters, and all his seed brought he with him into Egypt .


Israel began his journey to Egypt , carrying all his family, and all their belongings. As he came to Beersheba , where he had previously built an altar to God, he stopped, and offered sacrifices to the Lord, “the God of his father Isaac.” In the night, God spoke to him in a dream, telling him to have no fear about going down into Egypt . He promised to be with him, and also bring him back again to the land of Canaan , after making him a great nation while in Egypt . Although He did cause the children of Israel to bring him back to Canaan to bury him, the real fulfillment of this promise was that He brought the nation of Israel back to Canaan after they had become a great multitude. God also promised that Joseph would put his hands upon Jacob’s eyes. That is, he would live to see Joseph again, and that they would rejoice together. So, after this Jacob and his family left Beersheba , and continued on to Egypt , taking everything they owned with them. We should take a lesson from this, and follow it. The first thing to do before going very far on any journey, or work of any kind, we should go to God with the matter. Certainly, we do not follow the old system of offering sacrifices that was used in that day; but we should honor God by approaching His great throne of grace, thanking Him for His blessings, and seeking His guidance in all that we do. If we do this, He will comfort us as He did Jacob.


In verses 8 through 27 we have a list of all the sons of Jacob, and all of their sons, both those born in the land of Canaan and Joseph’s sons who were born in Egypt . They are all grouped in such a way that there is no need of becoming confused as to their lineage. It is to be noticed that the list even includes Judah ’s two sons that the LORD slew in the land of Canaan . We sometimes consider that there is a difference between soul, spirit, and body. But as we read this list, we find “soul” used to mean the whole person. It is in this light that we are to consider the word in verses 26 and 27. “All the souls that came with Jacob into Egypt , which came out of his loins, besides Jacob’s sons’ wives, all the souls were threescore and six; and the sons of Joseph, which were born him in Egypt , were two souls: all the souls of the house of Jacob, which came into Egypt , were threescore and ten.” Although mention is made of Dinah the daughter of Jacob, and Serah the daughter of Asher, they are not counted in the “number of souls” that are tallied at the end of verse 27. This, of course, was not uncommon in that day


(Verses 28 through 34) And he sent Judah before him unto Joseph, to direct his face to Goshen ; and they came into the land of Goshen . And Joseph made ready his chariot, and went up to meet Israel his father, to Goshen, and presented himself unto him; and fell on his neck, and wept on his neck a good while. And Israel said unto Joseph, Now let me die, since I have seen thy face, because thou art yet alive. And Joseph said unto his brethren, and unto his father’s house, I will go up, and shew Pharaoh, and say unto him, My brethren, and my father’s house, which were in the land of Canaan, are come unto me; and the men are shepherds, for their trade hath been to feed cattle; and they have brought their flocks, and their herds, and all that they have. And it shall come to pass, when Pharaoh shall call you, and shall say, What is your occupation? That ye shall say, Thy servants’ trade hath been about cattle from our youth even until now, both we, and also our fathers: that ye may dwell in the land of Goshen ; for every shepherd is an abomination to the Egyptians.


Jacob sent Judah ahead of his company to Joseph to get directions for getting to the land of Goshen . Then Joseph came out to see his father, and after a very emotional time of reunion, Joseph gave instructions to his father and his brethren as to how they should answer Pharaoh when he should ask about what sort of work they did. Since the Egyptians had no use for shepherds, they were to tell them that that had been their occupation, as well as that of their forefathers, thus insuring that they could remain in the land of Goshen , as that was the ideal place for raising cattle.

Chapter 47

(Verses 1 through 10) Then Joseph came and told Pharaoh, saying, My father and my brethren, and their flocks, and their herds, and all that they have, are come out of the land of Canaan ; and, behold, they are in the land of Goshen . And he took some of his brethren, even five men, and presented them unto Pharaoh. And Pharaoh said unto his brethren, What is your occupation? And they said unto Pharaoh, Thy servants are shepherds, both we, and also our fathers. They said moreover unto Pharaoh, For to sojourn in the land are we come; for thy servants have no pasture for their flocks; for the famine is sore in the land of Canaan: now therefore, we pray thee, let thy servants dwell in the land of Goshen. And Pharaoh spake unto Joseph, saying, Thy father and thy brethren are come unto thee; in the best of the land make thy father and thy brethren to dwell; in the land of Goshen let them dwell: and if thou knowest any men of activity among them, make them rulers over my cattle. And Joseph brought in Jacob his father, and set him before Pharaoh: and Jacob blessed Pharaoh. And Pharaoh said unto Jacob, How old art thou? And Jacob said unto Pharaoh, The days of the years of my pilgrimage are an hundred and thirty years: few and evil have the days of the years of my life been, and have not attained unto the days of the years of the life of my fathers in the days of their pilgrimage. And Jacob blessed Pharaoh, and went out from before Pharaoh.


When Joseph went to tell Pharaoh of the arrival of his father and his brethren, he carried five of his brothers with him, and presented them to Pharaoh. When Pharaoh asked them their occupation, they answered as Joseph had instructed them. And Pharaoh not only gave them leave to dwell in the land of Goshen as they desired, but he also told Joseph to select active men from among them, and make them rulers over all his cattle. Then Joseph brought in his father, and introduced him to Pharaoh. Pharaoh asked Jacob how old he was. He replied that he was one hundred and thirty years of age, and complained that his days had been few and evil, and that he had not lived as long as his fathers had. Jacob had blessed Pharaoh when he came before him, and now in departing, he blessed him again.


(Verses 11 and 12) And Joseph placed his father and his brethren, and gave them a possession in the land of Egypt , in the best of the land, in the land of Rameses , as Pharaoh had commanded. And Joseph nourished his father and his brethren, and all his father’s household, with bread according to their families. 


Just as Pharaoh had ordered, Joseph settled his father and his brethren in the land of Goshen , and provided food for them through the times of the famine


(Verses 12 through 17) And there was no bread in all the land; for the famine was very sore, so that the land of Egypt , and all the land of Canaan fainted by reason of the famine. And Joseph gathered up all the money that was found in the land of Egypt , and in the land of Canaan , for the corn which they bought: and Joseph brought the money into Pharaoh’s house. And when money failed in the land of Egypt , and in the land of Canaan , all the Egyptians came unto Joseph, and said, Give us bread: for why should we die in thy presence? for the money faileth. And Joseph said, Give your cattle; and I will give you for your cattle, if money fail. And they brought their cattle unto Joseph: and Joseph gave them bread in exchange for horses, and for flocks, and for cattle of the herds, and for asses: and he fed them with bread for all their cattle for that year.


The famine continued to be very sore in Egypt and the land of Canaan , so much so that all the money in both lands was spent for food. And Joseph took all that money to Pharaoh’s house, and there stored it. Still the famine continued. So the Egyptians came to Joseph, and told him that all their money had been used up, but they still had to have something to eat. So he agreed to furnish them bread in exchange for all their livestock, and this was enough to support them for another year.


(Verses 18 through 26) When that year was ended, they came unto him the second year, and said unto him, We will not hide it from my lord, how that our money is spent; my lord also hath our herds of cattle; there is not aught left in the sight of my lord, but our bodies and our lands: wherefore shall we die before thine eyes, both we and our land? buy us and our land for bread, and we and our land will be servants to Pharaoh: and give us seed, that we may live, and not die, that the land be not desolate. And Joseph bought all the land of Egypt for Pharaoh; for the Egyptians sold every man his field, because the famine prevailed over them: so the land became Pharaoh’s. And as for the people, he removed them to cities from one end of the borders of Egypt even to the other end thereof. Only the land of the priests bought he not; for the priests had a portion assigned them of Pharaoh, and did eat their portion which Pharaoh gave them: wherefore they sold not their lands. Then Joseph said unto the people, Behold, I have bought you this day and your land for Pharaoh: lo, here is seed for you, and ye shall sow the land. And it shall come to pass in the increase, that ye shall give the fifth part unto Pharaoh, and four parts shall be your own, for seed of the field, and for your food, and for them of your households, and for food for your little ones. And they said, Thou hast saved our lives: let us find grace in the sight of my lord, and we will be Pharaoh’s servants. And Joseph made it a law over the land of Egypt unto this day, that Pharaoh should have the fifth part; except the land of the priests only, which became not Pharaoh’s.


As the famine continued on through the seven years, the people of Egypt ran out of money, then they traded all their livestock to Joseph for food, and finally their lands, and themselves as servants to Pharaoh, to him for more food. By the end of the famine, Pharaoh owned all the land of Egypt , except that of the priests, and that of the children of Israel . And Joseph established a law for the Egyptians. That law was that the people must pay to Pharaoh one fifth of all the increase from the land each year, as rent. They could keep the other four fifths for their own use. But the land belonged to Pharaoh. This may seem to us a very hard situation for the people. But they were glad to have such an arrangement; for had Joseph not followed the LORD’S warning of the famine, and gathered up all the excess food of the seven plenteous years to hold in store for them, they, no doubt, would have squandered it before the famine set in; and they would have died in the famine. We have never, in this country, experienced anything like the seven year famine of Egypt . But those of us who lived through the great depression, and the “dust bowl” days, can certainly understand such a situation.


(Verses 27 through 31) And Israel dwelt in the land of Egypt , in the country of Goshen ; and they had possessions therein, and grew, and multiplied exceedingly. And Jacob lived in the land of Egypt seventeen years: so the whole age of Jacob was an hundred forty and seven years. And the time drew near that Israel must die: and he called his son Joseph , and said unto him, If now I have found grace in thy sight, put, I pray thee, thy hand under my thigh, and deal kindly with me: bury me not, I pray thee, in Egypt: but I will lie with my fathers, and thou shalt carry me out of Egypt, and bury me in their buryingplace. And he said, I will do as thou hast said. And he said, Swear unto me. And he sware unto him. And Israel bowed himself upon the bed’s head.


From what was said about Jacob in the last three verses of Chapter 45, and what he said to Pharaoh  in Chapter 47, verse 9, one would have thought that he was very near death then. But he lived seventeen years in the land of Egypt . And his whole family prospered, and grew exceedingly. But as comes to all, the time of his death did approach; and he, being aware of it, called Joseph, and gave him a charge, that he should not bury him in Egypt, but take his body back to the land of Canaan, and bury it in the place where his fathers were buried. We have already seen the manner of the oath Jacob required of Joseph concerning this matter. Joseph had to put his hand under the thigh of his father and swear that he would do as Jacob had instructed him. This is the same oath that Abraham required of his servant when he sent him to Haran to obtain a wife for Isaac. We do not know whether this was an established manner of taking a very solemn oath, or whether it originated with Abraham. But Jacob required it of Joseph concerning his burial arrangements.


Chapter 48

(Verses 1 through 9) And it came to pass after these things, that one told Joseph, Behold, thy father is sick: and he took with him his two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim. And one told Jacob, and said, Behold, thy son Joseph cometh unto thee: and Jacob strengthened himself, and sat upon the bed. And Jacob said unto Joseph, God Almighty appeared unto me at Luz in the land of Canaan , and blessed me, and said unto me, Behold, I will make thee fruitful, and multiply thee, and I will make of thee a multitude of people; and will give this land to thy seed after thee for an everlasting possession. And now thy two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, which were born unto thee in the land of Egypt before I came unto thee into Egypt , are mine; as Reuben and Simeon, they shall be mine. And thy issue which thou begettest after them, shall be thine, and shall be called after the name of their brethren in their inheritance. And as for me, when I came from Padan, Rachel died by me in the land of Canaan in the way, when there was but a little way to come unto Ephrath: and I buried her there in the way of Ephrath; the same is Beth-lehem. And Israel beheld Joseph’s sons, and said, Who are these? And Joseph said unto his father, They are my sons, whom God hath given me in this place. And he said, Bring them, I pray thee, unto me, and I will bless them.


When someone told Joseph that Jacob was sick, he took his two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim with him to see his father. And when Jacob was told that Joseph had come, he summoned all his strength, and sat up on the bed. When Joseph arrived, Jacob began to tell him some of his experiences. The first thing he mentioned was the occasion when the LORD appeared to him at Luz in the land of Canaan , and blessed him. Ha told Joseph what God had said to him in that appearance, the promise of making of him a great people, and giving to them the land of Canaan for an everlasting possession. Then he laid claim to the two sons of Joseph, as his own sons, that is to be elevated to the status of his own sons, instead of the sons of Joseph. Any children born to Joseph after these would be counted as Joseph’s sons. One today might wonder how he could cause this to be; but in that day and place, the word of the patriarch of the family was the law of the family. So there was no appeal. Then Jacob told Joseph about Rachel’s death and burial, all of which Joseph, no doubt, remembered himself. At this time Jacob noticed Joseph’s sons, and asked who they were. Then Joseph introduced them; and Jacob asked that they be brought closer to him that he might bless them.


(Verses 10 through 16) Now the eyes of Israel were dim for age, so that he could not see. And he brought them near unto him; and he kissed them, and embraced them. And Israel said unto Joseph, I had not thought to see thy face: and, lo, God hath shewed me also thy seed. And Joseph brought them out from between his knees, and he bowed himself with his face to the earth. And Joseph took them both, Ephraim in his right hand toward Israel ’s left hand, and Manasseh in his left hand toward Israel ’s right hand, and brought them near unto him. And Israel stretched out his right hand, and laid it upon Ephraim’s head, who was the younger, and his left hand upon Manasseh’s head, guiding his hands wittingly; for Manasseh was the firstborn. And he blessed Joseph, and said, God, before Whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac did walk, the God Which fed me all my life long unto this day, the Angel Which redeemed me from all evil, bless the lads; and let my name be upon them, and the name of my fathers Abraham and Isaac; and let them grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth.


Although Jacob was old, and his eyes were dim from age, he could see well enough to know which of the boys was which, as is proved by the remainder of this text. (There is one thing that may seem strange to us, as we read this account. Joseph’s sons are spoken of in such a manner that we might think they were only small boys. But they were both born during the seven years of plenty in Egypt . The famine had been going on for over two years before Israel came down into Egypt . And he had lived in Egypt for seventeen years. By this count, even Ephraim must have been close to twenty tears of age. So they were not the little boys we might be tempted to think them, as we read this account.) When Joseph brought his sons close to Jacob to receive his blessing, he presented them according to the custom, with Manasseh at Israel ’s right hand, and Ephraim at his left. Since Manasseh was the older of the two. But Israel deliberately crossed his arms, putting his right hand upon Ephraim’s head, and his left hand upon Manasseh’s, as he blessed them. He blessed Joseph and the two boys in the name of the God of his fathers Abraham and Isaac, the God Who had also fed him all his life, and the Angel Who redeemed him from all evil; and he prayed that they might be called after his name and the names of his fathers Abraham and Isaac, and that they might “grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth.” At this point there seems to have been little thought of a life after death, as we consider the greatest blessing of all.


(Verses 17 through 22) And when Joseph saw that his father laid his right hand upon the head of Ephraim, it displeased him: and he held up his father’s hand, to remove it from Ephraim’s head unto Manasseh’s head. And Joseph said unto his father, Not so, my father: for this is the firstborn; put thy right hand upon his head. And his father refused, and said, I know it, my son, I know it: he also shall become a people, and he also shall be great: but truly his younger brother shall be greater than he, and his seed shall become a multitude of nations. And he blessed them that day, saying, In thee shall Israel bless, saying, God make thee as Ephraim and as Manasseh: and he set Ephraim before Manasseh. And Israel said unto Joseph, Behold, I die: but God shall be with you, and bring you again unto the land of your fathers. Moreover I have given to thee one portion more above thy brethren, which I took out of the hand of the Amorite with my sword and my bow.


Joseph may have thought that Jacob was confused about which was his elder son. But when he tried to correct him Israel told him that he was well aware of what he was doing, and insisted that this was another case where the elder was of less importance than the younger. This had already been the case in two generations; Isaac was greater than Ishmael, and Jacob was greater than Esau, in the eyes of the LORD. In this case also the younger would be greater than the elder. Israel pronounced a blessing upon both Ephraim and Manasseh. Then he told Joseph that the LORD would be with him, and bring him again into the land of his fathers. Although this prophecy was principally to be fulfilled by God’s bringing the nation of Israel out of the land of Egypt , it was also fulfilled to Joseph in that when the Israelites went out of Egypt , they also carried the bones of Joseph with them. Then Jacob told Joseph that he had given him a portion above his brothers of that which he took out of the hand of the Amorite in battle.

Chapter 49

(Verses 1 and 2) And Jacob called unto his sons, and said, Gather yourselves together, that I may tell you that which shall befall you in the last days. Gather yourselves together, and hear, ye sons of Jacob; and hearken unto Israel your father.


Jacob knew that he was about to die, and he was blessed of the LORD to be able to see into the future of his descendants. So he called all his sons together that he might tell them what would take place with their descendants. So he is about to tell them what is to be the future of each tribe of their posterity.


(Verses 3 and 4) Reuben, thou art my firstborn, my might, and the beginning of my strength, the excellency of dignity, and the excellency of power: unstable as water, thou shalt not excel; because thou wentest up to thy father’s bed; then defiledst thou it: he went up to my couch.


In that day it was the custom that the eldest son should receive a greater portion of whatever his father left at his death, than of the other sons. (Daughters were usually not considered at all.) So Rueben, being the firstborn of Jacob was considered the beginning of his strength, and the “excellency of dignity, and the excellency of power.” But no dependency could be placed in him; for he was “unstable as water.” He could not even control his own lusts, but committed adultery with his own father’s wife. Therefore he would not be considered as worthy of what should have been his birthright. He would not excel. And this passed on to his descendants. They were never mentioned as much in the history of Israel as were some of the other tribes.


(Verses 5 through 7) Simeon and Levi are brethren: instruments of cruelty are in their habitations. O my soul, come not thou into their secret; unto their assembly, mine honour, be not thou united: for in their anger they slew a man, and in their selfwill they digged down a wall. Cursed be their anger, for it was fierce; and their wrath, for it was cruel: I will divide them in Jacob, and scatter them in Israel .


Remember that it was Simeon and Levi who killed Hamor and Shechem, and destroyed their city and all the men of it after having told Hamor and Shechem that if they would have all the males of the city circumcised, they would dwell with them, and let their people intermarry with them. The sons of Jacob had not lived up to their agreement. This is the anger and wrath upon which Jacob pronounced a curse, and declared that he did not want his honor to be united with their assembly. Therefore they would be divided and scattered in Israel . When the land of Canaan was divided to the children of Israel by lot, Simeon’s inheritance was within the inheritance of Judah , and the descendants of Levi received no inheritance of land, except cities with a little land surrounding them; and these were scattered throughout the inheritance of the other tribes of Israel . The priesthood was of the tribe of Levi, and the LORD would not allot to them a territory, as he did to the other tribes.


(Verses 8 through 12) Judah , thou art he whom thy brethren shall praise: thy hand shall be in the neck of thine enemies; thy father’s children shall bow down before thee. Judah is a lion’s whelp: from the prey, my son, thou art gone up: he stooped down, he couched as a lion, and as an old lion; who shall rouse him up? The scepter shall not depart from Judah , nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be. Binding his foal unto the vine, and his ass’s colt unto the choice vine; he washed his garments in wine, and his clothes in the blood of the grapes: his eyes shall be red with wine, and his teeth white with milk.


This is, probably, the most important prophecy Jacob delivered to any one of his sons. The blessings in store for the tribe of Judah were greater than any of the others. The name Judah means “praise.” And Judah was the son of Jacob whom his brethren would praise. The tribe of Judah was always great among the children of Israel . Although the first king of Israel was of the tribe of Benjamin, The LORD also took the kingdom away from him, and gave it to David who was of the tribe of Judah, without letting it even be passed on to Saul’s son. And the prophecy is that Judah would remain the ruling tribe, until the coming of Shiloh . Shiloh means “Pacificator, or Peacemaker,” and is none other than our Lord Jesus the Christ. He has already come, has been crucified, has risen from the grave, and has ascended back to the Father in Heaven. And what is now of even greater moment, He has promised to return to gather up all those whom He redeemed, and bring judgment upon this world. We might add that there seems to be some evidence that His second coming may be much sooner than most people think. The remainder of this prophecy seems to refer to Him, instead of to the tribe of Judah, or Judah himself. Although the statement concerning the ass’s colt may not be quite as clear as it is prophesied in other places, it surely must refer to his approach into Jerusalem just before His crucifixion. Some may think that, “He washed His garments in wine, and His clothes in the blood of grapes,” refer to His crucifixion. But It seems, rather to refer to His coming in Judgment upon this world, since it is He who will tread the winepress of the wrath of God, as set forth in Revelation 14: 19-20, and Isaiah 63:1—4. “His eyes shall be red with wine, and His teeth white with milk,” is a prophecy that when He does this He shall be rejoicing as one who has attended a feast wherein he has enjoyed both wine and milk, two items that are often mentioned in the scriptures as being greatly desired. Canaan has sometimes been spoken of as “the land that flows with milk and honey,” but wine was always considered  as something to promote happiness. So, at the time of His treading the winepress of the wrath of God, He will be rejoicing in the destruction of His enemies.


(Verse 13) Zebulun shall dwell at the haven of the sea; and he shall be for an haven of ships; and his border shall be unto Zidon.


Notice that nothing is said concerning any special greatness, or any special defect of Zebulun. His tribe shall dwell along the sea coast, and he shall provide a haven for ships. Apparently his tribe was to be active in commerce.


(Verses 14 and 15) Issachar is a strong ass couching down between two burdens: and he saw that rest was good, and that the land was pleasant; and bowed his shoulder to bear, and became a servant unto tribute.


Apparently the tribe of Issachar would not be willing to put forth the effort necessary to prosper to any great extent, but though they would have great strength, they would not make use of it to prevail, but would even become servants unto tribute.


(Verses 16 through 18) Dan shall judge his people, as one of the tribes of Israel . Dan shall be a serpent by the way, an adder in the path, that biteth the horse heels, so that his rider shall fall backward. I have waited for thy salvation, O LORD.


The tribe of Dan was to be noted, not for kings, or lawgivers, but as judges among the tribes of Israel . Just what is meant by the metaphor of Dan’s being an adder in the path seems a little unclear. Possibly, since it is followed by the statement, “I have waited for thy salvation, O LORD,” it might have some reference to such an incident as one having been oppressed, or overridden by one greater than he; in which case the injured party might have to wait until some punishment was meted out to his oppressor. Dan, being the judge, might be overlooked by the oppressor until he pronounces sentence upon the wrongdoer, as the adder by the way would bite the horse, and cause him to throw his rider. Thus the one who had been wronged had waited for the salvation of the LORD.


(Verse 19) Gad, a troop shall overcome him: but he shall overcome at last.


This is a very short prophecy, and certainly should present no difficulty to the understanding. The name Gad means “a troop.” So there is a little play upon the word. A troop shall overcome him; but he shall finally overcome those who have overcome him. He will not be fully conquered.


(Verse 20) Out of Asher his bread shall be fat, and he shall yield royal dainties.


This is another very short prophecy. Apparently the tribe of Asher shall be noted more for its wealth than for anything else.


(Verse 21) Naphtali is a hind let loose: he giveth goodly words.


Just as a hind, when let loose, will, without making any plans about where to go, head for the nearest woods to lose herself in the forest. So it is with the tribe of Naphtali. They are not very dependable for long range planning. They are good at talking: they give a lot of good words, but they do not put them together into a good plan.


(Verses 22 through 26) Joseph is a fruitful bough, even a fruitful bough by a well; whose branches run over the wall: the archers have sorely grieved him, and shot at him, and hated him: but his bow abode in strength, and the arms of his hands were made strong by the hands of the mighty God of Jacob; (from thence is the shepherd, the stone of Israel:) even by the God of thy father, Who shall help thee; and by the Almighty, Who shall bless thee with blessings of heaven above, blessings of the deep that lieth under, blessings of the breasts, and of the womb: the blessings of thy father have prevailed above the blessings of my progenitors unto the utmost bound of the everlasting hills: they shall be on the head of Joseph, and on the crown of the head of him that was separate from his brethren.


Joseph had suffered much from his brethren who had hated him when he was a child. Nevertheless God had blessed him, and made him fruitful, even in the land of Egypt where he had been a slave. From this experience in Egypt the LORD had raised him up to be a shepherd unto the children of Israel . And upon Him his father pronounced blessings of every kind, and declared that his blessings had prevailed even over those of his fathers, and reached to the utmost bound of the everlasting hills; and they were to be upon the head of Joseph, who had been separate from his brethren.


(Verse 27) Benjamin shall ravin as the wolf: in the morning he shall devour the prey, and at night he shall divide the spoil.


Thus he declared success upon the tribe of Benjamin, signifying that they would be mighty in battle. There are many of the Benjamites mentioned in the scriptures for their prowess in war.


(Verses 28 through 33) All these are the twelve tribes of Israel : and this is it that their father spake unto them, and blessed them; every one according to his blessing he blessed them. And he charged them, and said unto them, I am to be gathered unto my people: bury me with my fathers in the cave that is in the field of Ephron the Hittite, in the cave that is in the field of Machpelah, which is before Mamre, in the land of Canaan, which Abraham bought with the field of Ephron the Hittite for a possession of a buryingplace. There they buried Abraham and Sarah his wife; there they buried Isaac and Rebekah his wife; and there I buried Leah. The purchase of the field and the cave that is therein was from the children of Heth. And when Jacob had made an end of commanding his sons, he gathered his feet into the bed, and yielded up the ghost, and was gathered unto his people.


Thus we have the charge that Jacob gave his sons about his burial. And when he finished this, he drew his feet up into the bed, and died.

Chapter 50

(Verses 1 through 6) And Joseph fell upon his father’s face, and wept upon him, and kissed him. And Joseph commanded his servants the physicians to embalm his father: and the physicians embalmed Israel . And forty days were fulfilled for him; for so are fulfilled the days of those which are embalmed: and the Egyptians mourned for him threescore and ten days. And when the days of his mourning were past, Joseph spake unto the house of Pharaoh, saying, If now I have found grace in your eyes, speak, I pray you, in the ears of Pharaoh, saying, My father made me swear, saying, Lo, I die: in my grave which I have digged for me in the land of Canaan, there shalt thou bury me. Now therefore let me go up, I pray thee, and bury my father, and I will come again. And Pharaoh said, Go up, and bury thy father, according as he made thee swear.


Israel died, and Joseph had him embalmed by the Egyptian physicians, according to their custom. Also the mourning of the Egyptians for the dead, according to their custom continued for seventy days. Then Joseph asked for, and received Pharaoh’s permission to take his father back to the land of Canaan , and bury him in the same cave where Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Rebekah, and Leah had been buried


(Verses 7 through 13) And Joseph went up to bury his father: and with him went up all the servants of Pharaoh, the elders of his house, and all the elders of the land of Egypt, and all the house of Joseph, and his brethren, and his father’s house: only their little ones, and their flocks, and their herds, they left in the land of Goshen. And there went up with him both chariots and horsemen: and it was a very great company. And they came to the threshingfloor of Atad, which is beyond Jordan , and there they mourned with a great and very sore lamentation: and he made a mourning for his father seven days. And when the inhabitants of the land saw the mourning in the floor of Atad, they said, This is a grievous mourning to the Egyptians: wherefore the name of it is called  Abel-Mizraim, which is beyond Jordan . And his sons did unto him as he had commanded them: for his sons carried him into the land of Canaan , and buried him in the cave of the field of Machpelah, which Abraham bought with the field for a possession of a buryingplace of Ephron the Hittite before Mamre.


This is quite a lengthy account of the principal things that took place on the journey to carry Jacob back to the land of Canaan for burial. It was a very long funeral procession, and there was quite a large crowd of dignitaries in the procession. Although all the Egyptians in the procession were servants of Pharaoh, it is to be remembered that all the Egyptians, except their priests, were Pharaoh’s servants, regardless of how high an office they might have held; because Joseph had bought them for Pharaoh during the seven years famine. Nevertheless, that does not mean that all the elders of Egypt that were in the company were not high ranking officials. Attended by all these officials, the sons of Jacob buried him, as he had commanded them, in the cave of Machpelah .


(Verses 14 through 21) And Joseph returned into Egypt , he and his brethren, and all that went up with him to bury his father, after he had buried his father. And when Joseph’s brethren saw that their father was dead, they said, Joseph will peradventure hate us, and will certainly requite us all the evil which we did unto him. And they sent a messenger unto Joseph, saying, Thy father did command before he died, saying, So shall ye say unto Joseph, Forgive, I pray thee now, the trespass of thy brethren, and their sin; for they did unto thee evil: and now, we pray thee, forgive the trespass of the servants of the God of thy father. And Joseph wept when they spake unto him. And his brethren also went and fell down before his face; and they said, Behold, we be thy servants. And Joseph said unto them, Fear not: for am I in the place of God? But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it for good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive. Now therefore fear ye not: I will nourish you, and your little ones. And he comforted them, and spake kindly unto them.


After the funeral was over, and everyone had returned to Egypt , Joseph’s brothers began to be afraid that Joseph might avenge the wrong they had done him. So they sent a messenger to him with what was, likely, a false message, telling him that before their father died he commanded them to tell Joseph that it was his command that He forgive his brethren for the wrong they had done to him. It is likely that they had never told Jacob what they had done to Joseph. If they did, there is no record of it. They also went to Joseph, fell down before him, and declared themselves his servants. But Joseph was blessed of the LORD with a forgiving heart, and great knowledge of the Lord, and therefore he told them they had nothing to fear, because, although they had thought evil against him when they had sold him into slavery, the whole matter was not of them, but of God, Who had sent him to Egypt for the very purpose of saving the lives of many people, as he had done in the time of the famine. He further promised that he would take care of his brethren and their families, just as he had been doing. This is one of the most outstanding scriptures we have for comforting the soul that is passing through a time of persecution and suffering. It tells us that the one who has done us wrong may not be the author of this event. But God may have some purpose of good in it that will affect more than us, and the ones who have done us the wrong. So we can with patience wait upon Him.


(Verses 22 through 26) And Joseph dwelt in Egypt , he and his father’s house: And Joseph lived an hundred and ten years. And Joseph saw Ephraim’s children of the third generation: the children also of Machir the son of Manasseh were brought up upon Joseph’s knees. And Joseph said unto his brethren, I die; and God will surely visit you, and bring you out of this land unto the land which He sware to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob. And Joseph took an oath of the children of Israel , saying, God will surely visit you, and ye shall carry up my bones from hence. So Joseph died, being an hundred and ten years old; and they embalmed him, and he was put in a coffin in Egypt .


No doubt, Joseph continued on as a very important man in Egypt ; but nothing more of his works are recorded here. He lived to be a hundred and ten years old. No mention is made of how many children were born to Ephraim, and only one of Manasseh’s is mentioned. Before he died Joseph charged the children of Israel to take his bones with them, when the LORD would deliver them from the land of Egypt ; And this He would surely do. So when Joseph died, he was embalmed, and his body was put in a coffin, but apparently, it was not buried. And thus his bones were kept to be taken when the Israelites would return to Canaan . Nothing is said about his brothers, concerning when, or how they died, or what was done with their bodies.


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