The Kraig Josiah Rice
Devotional Bible Commentary on Genesis

Genesis Chapter 35

Kraig J. Rice
www.7-star-admiral.com

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TABLE OF CONTENTS
(Clicking on these links will move you down this web page)
Genesis chapter thirty five
 Chapter 35- deaths of Deborah, Rachel and Isaac
 Gen. 35:1 - 15 God ordered Jacob to leave
 Jesus Christ communicated with Jacob
 Find peace at the house of God
 A large round stone is a type of Christ
 The drink offering of holiness-sanctification
 Sanctification- the old lifestyle has to go
 Deborah, an unsung hero
 Gen. 35:16 - 20 Our loved one taken in death
 Gen. 35:21 - 22 Incest is a sin against God
 3 sons of Jacob forfeited their birthright
 Gen. 35:22 - 27 Do you need to be discipled?
 Isaac lived at Hebron
 Gen. 35:28 - 29 Isaac's obituary
 The lifespan of mankind was getting shorter
 Jacob went through a long trial of his faith
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I mostly quote scriptures from the Old King James Translation of the Bible (the authorized 1611 version)
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The words of God are in red that symbolize His shed blood.
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A devotional commentary is different from an exegetical commentary. In a devotional commentary like this one I can give the application of a verse rather than just the interpretation of a verse.






Genesis Chapter 35
The deaths of Deborah, Rachel and Isaac

And God said unto Jacob:
"Arise, go up to Bethel, 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 unto 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. So Jacob came to Luz, which is in the land of Canaan, that is, Bethel, he and all the people that were with him. And he built there an altar, and called the place Elbethel: 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 Bethel under an oak: and the name of it was called Allonbachuth. And God appeared unto Jacob again, when he came out of Padanaram, and blessed him. And God said unto him:
"Thy name is Jacob: thy name shall not be called any more Jacob, but Israel shall be thy name: and He called his name Israel. And God said unto him: I am God Almighty: be 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 Abraham and Isaac, to thee I will give it, and to thy seed after thee will I give the 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, Bethel"
(Genesis 35:1-15).

God ordered Jacob to leave Shalem City (let us follow God's will):
Who else, in Genesis, did God order to leave a wicked city? Yes, it was Lot, Abraham's nephew. God even sent two Seraphim to help him leave the city on time. Here, in this passage of scripture, Jacob followed God's will for his life after he was saved. What is the relevance? Let us use him as a good example to do the same thing.


Jesus Christ communicated with Jacob:
In verse eleven, El Shaddai in the Hebrew language is a strong masculine name for God Almighty. It is one of the title names for God. Jesus Christ, God the Son, talked with Jacob. How do we know that it was Jesus (our pre-incarnate Christ) Who talked with Jacob? Moses declared: "and God went up from him in the place where he talked with Him". If we compare scripture with scripture, we observe that Jesus did the same thing some time later. He went upward in front of Manoah, Samson's father,
(Judges 13:20) and He went upward at His ascension
(Acts 1:11). Moses referred to Christ as God and that is Who He is. He is God the Son, the second Person of the Godhead (of the Holy Trinity). Jacob knew Him because he had wrestled with Christ. Christ, at the time of the wrestling match, had named him Israel. This implied ownership. Why? Because in days of old, only the master of a slave had the right to change the slave's name. Jacob was a love slave to the Lord. How about you and I- are we love slaves to our Lord? At this meeting, Christ reaffirmed Jacob's name as Israel and his entitlement to the Land of Canaan as promised in the Abrahamic covenant. Christ may communicate with you and I from time to time as we turn to Him for guidance and help. He is not limited as to what method He can choose to appear to us.


Jacob returned to Bethel (find peace at the house of God):
It was time for Jacob to leave Shalem City and journey to Bethel. He followed God's will for His life. Let's you and I do the same thing in our life. Shalem means "peace" and Beth-el means the "house of God". One could say that when one finds God, one also finds peace. Peace comes to a person with their salvation experience because God is peace
(Luke 10:6; John 14:27). Then that person will go to church (the house of God).

Bethel was north of Jerusalem but Jerusalem was not there at that time. The city was originally called Luz but in modern times named Baytin. There was quite a bit of biblical history associated with this town. The most infamous was when it was jokenly referred to at the time as Beth-aven, the house of iniquity
(Hosea 10:5). Why? Because that is where King Jeroboam set up one of his golden calves and plunged the northern kingdom of Israel into idol worship
(1 Kings 12:32). Lets you and I be faithful and true to God lest our reputation for God be also turned into a spiritual tragedy.


A stone altar (a large round stone is a type of Christ):
Once Jacob and his family reached Bethel, Jacob made a stone altar. Does a stone have any significance in the bible? Yes. In the bible book of Daniel a stone was cut out without hands
(Daniel 2:34-45). There were no tool marks on any of the stones to prove that it was not an idol of any kind. That means that Satan never contaminated it nor received any glory from it. The large round rolling stone was symbolic for Jesus Christ, and His power rolled over all earthly powers at that time. He ruled supreme because there was no power on earth that could stop Him. He is awesome!

Also, a large round stone was rolled over the entrance way of the tomb where Jesus was laid after His death. Many think that this stone weighed about one ton (2,000 pounds) so one man could not have easily moved it. Then Jesus resurrected. Do you think that large round stone could keep Jesus inside of that tomb? It didn't. Why? Because there was no power on earth that could stop Him. He is great!

Jesus is a Cornerstone:
In typology, Christ is also a Cornerstone. This stone is the greatest and best building stone because all of the other stones are dependant on this One for (doctrinal) alignment and truthful accuracy
(Ephesians 2:20-22).

God anoints His servants today (Jacob anointed the rocks- he poured out oil)
Olive oil is a type of anointing by God the Holy Spirit
(Luke 4:18; 1 John 2:27; Isaiah 61:1). A stone is a type for a believer. Believers are referred to as stones because we make up God's stone altar- we are living stones or sacrifices to the God we love and serve
(1 Peter 2:5). Jacob anointing the stones is a type of God the Holy Spirit anointing His children. God can anoint an individual, more than one person, a church congregation, or a large group of folks gathered together in His name (like at the Upper Room)
(Acts 2:2-4).

Poured out olive oil is also a type of gladness
(Psalm 45:7). It is a wonderful experience when God's children are anointed by God and filled with joy and gladness.

The stone altar was where Jacob and his family worshipped God and had church. As already mentioned, the altar was made of stones with no tool marks on any of them lest the stones be interpreted to be idols that belonged to Satan. In a similar way, you and I make up the church. We have to be sanctified stones. The church has to be sanctified, without spot or wrinkle- it has to be holy. There can be no marks of sin from Satan on it. It has to be totally dedicated to God in His service. Then we can expect God's anointing.


The drink offering of holiness-sanctification (Jacob poured out water):
What in the world was a drink offering? It was a simple ceremony of sanctification. It appears that a person lifted up a vessel full of liquid to God. He praised God for Who He is, thanked Him for what He had done, and made a commitment to God to live for Him. Then the liquid was poured out on the stone altar. It was always poured out- never drunk. The person was saying, through this act, that "I am pouring out my life in service to You". In other words, "I am going to live for God". Jacob used water for his drink offering. Moses used wine for his drink offering
(Exodus 29:40; Leviticus 23:13; Numbers 15:5-10). Satanists offered a cup of blood as a drink offering to Satan but King David refused to offer it to God
(Psalm 16:4). Satanists offered drink offerings to their idols in worship. Some folks think that the satanists offered a cup of urine as a drink offering to God in mockery of Him to provoke Him to anger but the Prophet Jeremiah preached against them
(Jeremiah 7:18, 32:29).

Can a person's life be likened to a drink offering? Yes. It was that way with Jesus: "I am poured out like water, and all My bones are out of joint: My heart is like wax; it is melted in the midst of My bowels"
(Psalm 22:14).
"Therefore will I divide Him a portion with the great, and He shall divide the spoil with the strong; because He hath poured out His soul unto death: and He was numbered with the transgressors; and He bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors"
(Isaiah 53:12).

In the New Testament days, the Apostle Paul wanted his life to be poured out like a drink offering to God, sacrifically, in service to Christ: "Yea, and if I be offered upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I joy, and rejoice with you all. For the same cause also do ye joy, and rejoice with me"
(Philippians 2:17-18).


Sanctification- the old lifestyle has to go (the idols had to go):
Jacob buried the loot taken from the town of Shalem. He did not want anything in his possession that had once been dedicated to the devil. He wanted God to be first in his life. The expression "be clean and change your garments" was a call to salvation and sanctification. The blood of Christ in the salvation experience will wash away your sin and make you spiritually clean. Sanctification is a "a call to holiness to God". God is encouraging you and I to take off our old lifestyle (before we were saved), like a garment, and replace it with a newer and better lifestyle (so we can be Christ-like). In other words, once you get saved, we must put on the garment of holiness. That means that we have to make a clean break with our past and start new with God. Get rid of anything that might hinder you as you run the race for the mark of the prize of the high calling in Christ Jesus
(Philippians 3:14). Jacob had to totally renounce Satan, Satan's idols, and everything else dedicated to Satan before God blessed Jacob with Himself in the way of a personal visit. If you and I want God's blessings, we have to get rid of any idols in our life
(2 Corinthians 6:16; Colossians 3:5; 1 John 5:21).

Will you teach us a little more about sanctification? Yes.
"And He (Jesus) said to them all: "If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross (of self denial) daily, and follow Me"
(Luke 9:23).

Sanctification is the bible doctrine of holiness and it has two main parts to it:
1. A believer's holiness toward God, and
2. A believer's separation from evil.

The Hebrew word for sanctification is Qudosh. The root of this word means "to separate." What are we going to separate? We are going to separate our actions from our fallen human nature that is inclined to sin.

The Greek word for sanctification is Hagios. The root of this word means "consecration", "devotion", and "a separation to God".

So, if we put the meaning of these two words together, one could say that sanctification is "separation from sin with a consecration towards God."

¤ Click here if you want to study sanctification holiness


Deborah, Rebekah's nurse died (an unsung hero of the faith):
Deborah was Rebekah's nurse, not Rachel's nurse. Rebekah was Jacob's godly mother who had already died some years previous. The name Deborah means "bee" and it is believed that she was quite old at the time of her death. She died at Bethel and was buried under an oak tree. The word allonbachuth that means "oak of weeping". She was probably like a substitute mother to Jacob and well loved and respected. So, why does God mention her in His word? Probably because she was an unsung hero who belonged to God. What is an unsung hero? That is a hero, in God's eyes, who deserved a lot of notice, fame, and fanfare- one who God recognized but the world didn't. God always has a few individuals who belong to Him- He owns them and they are a part of His small remnant family. He is proud of each one. God can trust such a person and has received that person's love, worship, and faithful service to Him. They may have gone unnoticed by the world's perspective but will receive a great reward in Heaven for their faithfulness to God. Maybe you are one of God's unsung heroes of the faith. Like Deborah, God knows your name because each one of God's unsung heroes is special to Him
(John 10:14). Who you are is separate from what you do, but what you do for God and others does not go unnoticed by God
(Mark 12:41-44). Notice that God tells us what she did- she was a nurse. That meant that she had helped people- she was "other centered" rather than "self centered". What do you do for the Lord? You might be an encourager to others, you might witness to others to win them to Christ, you might be a literature evangelist like I am, you might be the church custodian, sing in the choir, preach or teach the gospel, be a Christian layman, or something else. Your faithfulness to God does not go unnoticed by Him and He will reward you in Heaven for it.

Every loss leaves a space that only God's presence can fill

Rachel's obituary (sometimes our loved one may be taken in death):
"And they journeyed from Bethel; 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"
(Genesis 35:16-20).

I guess that Rachel thought that Benjamin was going to be stillborn because of her extreme travail in giving him birth. "Thus saith the Lord; a voice was heard in Ramah, lamentation, and bitter weeping; Rahel (Rachel) weeping for her children refused to be comforted for her children, because they were not (they were dead)"
(Jeremiah 31:15).
But it didn't happen at that time. That is probably why Moses wrote: "...when she was in hard labour, that the midwife said unto her: fear not; thou shalt have this son also".

Jacob left Bethel, meaning "the house of God", and went to Ephrath. The name Ephrath means "the ash-heap- the place of fruitfulness." So, one could say that Jacob went from the house of God to the ash heap. That probably described how Jacob emotionally felt because the wife he loved died there in childbirth. Rachel did not die because Deborah was not with her. Why do I think that? Because Deborah was a nurse. The word for nurse in Hebrew is Yanaq
(Genesis 35:8). Deborah was not a midwife (so described) because the Hebrew word for midwife is Yalad
(Genesis 35:17).

The name Rachel means "ewe or sheep". The name Bethlehem means "house of bread". So, one might say that Rachel, one of God's sheep, went to be with the Lord to eat bread. That is what you and I are going to do (as God's sheep) when we get to Heaven- we are going to eat bread with the Lord
(Revelation 19:9). But, until then, we eat bread in remembrance of Him at holy communion
(Luke 22:19).

Rachel named her son Benoni meaning "son of my sorrow" as she was dying. But Jacob later changed his name to Benjamin meaning the "son of the right hand".

Does Rachel, being buried in Bethlehem, have any spiritual significance? I think so. Rachel left this earth (died) at Bethlehem. Later, Jesus Christ would come to this earth (His birth) at Bethlehem. He was born at "the house of bread". Jesus made the statement: "I am the Bread of Life: he that cometh to Me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on Me shall never thirst"
(John 6:35).
Rachel was buried under a mountain of rocks (a pillar of rocks) upon her grave. Later, Jesus would be buried in a mountain of rocks (a hollowed out tomb). Rachel was the mother of Joseph, a type of Christ. There would be many spiritually faithful in her family and many would follow her godly example. As well, many faithful folks would follow Christ and His example in His spiritual family. Rachel was the most beloved one (of Jacob), and God the Father made a statement about Christ at His baptism: "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased"
(Matthew 3:17).

Like Joseph, we may lose someone dear to us in death. Joseph grieved over the death of his mother. He was not very old and sometimes we do not always know why a certain tragedy may come our way. God does not always explain why, but He exhorts us to trust Him and keep moving forward spiritually in spite of it. That is what Joseph did. Here are a couple of scriptures for us to ponder:
"Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints"
(Psalm 116:15).

"For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts"
(Isaiah 55:9).

Rachel's obituary is found in the word of God:
(Jacob said): "And as for me, when I came from Padan, Rachel died by me in the land of Canaan in the way, when yet there was but a little way to come unto Ephrath: and I buried her there in the way of Ephrath; the same is Bethlehem"
(Genesis 48:7). "The Lord make the woman that is come into thine house like Rachel and like Leah, which two did build the house of Israel"
(Ruth 4:11). "...thou shalt find two men by Rachel's sepulchre in the border of Benjamin at Zelzah"
(1 Samuel 10:2).


"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"
(Genesis 35:21-22).

Reuben committed incest (sexual incest and sexual molest are sins against God):
Jacob spread his tent or lived beyond the tower of Edar (Edar or Eder refers to a flock of sheep). This place was just outside of Bethlehem in those days. What happened there? In the bible book of Genesis, we observe that Reuben and Judah were lovers rather than fighters. Why? Because they didn't fight at Shalem, and, because, unfortunately, they were each involved in family incest.

While Jacob was grieving over the loss of Rachel, Reuben, his oldest son, committed incest with Bilhah (one of Jacob's wives). Bilhah, a slave, had belonged to Rachel. Did Jacob then give Bilhah to Leah? Is that why Reuben thought he could do with her as he pleased? Bilhah had two sons of her own from Jacob: Dan and Naphtali, however, Reuben was the son of Leah. I wonder how Dan and Naphtali felt about their half-brother having sex with their mother?

Did Reuben really have sex with her? The bible states that "Reuben went and lay with Bilhah". The word "lay" in Hebrew is the word shakab that can be interpreted to mean "to be lain with sexually". So, the answer is yes, he did have sex with her. That was quite a scandal in those days. What does it mean that "Israel heard it?" I imagine that this was a secret sin that Reuben did not want his father to know about. Moses stated in another place: "...behold, ye have sinned against the Lord: and be sure your sin will find you out"
(Numbers 32:23).
Guilty folks do not like to hear that. They think they can sin secretly and keep it quiet so that even God does not know what they are doing. Paul the Apostle had to deal with an individual in the Corinthian church who was having sex with his stepmother
(1 Corinthians chapter 5). Their sin was discovered and Reuben's sin was discovered. Somehow, Jacob heard about it. How did Jacob feel? Have you ever been betrayed? How did it make you feel?

At sometime or another we may hear about a scandal in our family of origin, in our community, in our church, in our work environment, in our government, or wherever. It is not good when that happens as there are always consequences to face for the guilty individuals. But let us be like Jacob and be forgiving and not given to hatred, anger, and revenge.

Reuben probably hung around some ungodly friends in Shalem City before the massacre. Maybe that is why he did not take part in helping to kill them. They influenced him towards unholiness. It doesn't take long, does it! If you "rub shoulders" with ungodly folks, their sinful ways may rub off on you. Be careful of the company you keep and those you choose to be your friends. So, Jacob had two sons who were murderers, one who was a sex offender, and some others who were thieves. He did not have a perfect family so do not feel bad if you do not have one, either!

Why did Moses call Jacob by his name of Israel in this passage of scripture when Moses usually called him Jacob? It could be that Moses wanted us to absolutely understand the name change by God. Probably, and more likely, Moses wanted to send a strong message to the nation of Israel using this "play on words". God and Moses did not want the descendants of Israel to be engulfed in the sexual sins of the Canaanites that eventually lead to their destruction- some of which were incest and molest.

The bible is a good book, is it not! It has it's share of sex, violence and scandals that make any book popular. Plus it has so much more!

I want to say a few words about incest. During a certain period of time in the history of France, rich folks there intermarried with one another so much in incest that their children developed health problems because of it. So, history alone teaches us that incest is not good.

In my opinion, Satan is the one behind the sins of sexual incest and sexual molest. He wants to destroy every family and he does not care how he does it. The sin of incest can take many forms
(Leviticus 18:6-18, 20:7-23; Deuteronomy 22:30, 27:20-23; Ezekiel 22:11). To my way of thinking, sexual molest falls under the incest category. Sexual molest is a sin that causes a lot of emotional damage to the victim, especially with trust and love issues. Satan hopes, by this sin, that he can cause a victim not to trust and love God. That is one of Satan's strongholds that we must fight to tear down and the reason why this sin is against God's law and man's law in many places. God will punish every sexual perpetrator who commits this sin.

When I was a kid growing up, the neighbor lady who lived up the hill from us would come to our house and drink coffee with my mother. One day she told my mother that she had been sexually abused by a Roman Catholic priest when she was a little girl. I do not remember if this happened to her in church or not. How did the molest effect her? It destroyed her trust issues. Thereafter, she refused to trust God, refused to go to church, refused to accept His salvation. She did not send her kids to church and married a man who did not go to church. That priest is going to have to give account to God in Heaven for the lost souls of this woman and her family. That priest did Satan's will instead of God's will. That is why molest is such a dangerous sin and why God is against it. Let me state this again to be very clear: God hates incest and molest. Jesus warned then and warns now all individuals who hurt children in any way: "But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in Me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea. Woe unto the world because of offences! for it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh!"
(Matthew 18:6-7; Also see Mark 9:42; Luke 17:2).
The word for "offend" in
Matthew 18:6 is the Greek word skandalizo meaning "to cause to fall away". I think you can see what I mean here.


Three sons of Jacob forfeited their birthright:
This scandal hit Jacob hard emotionally and spiritually. Did Reuben get away with this sin? No. Reuben was stripped of his birthright privelege because of it
(1 Chronicles 5:1, Genesis 49:4). The birthright was to pass on to Levi and Simeon but they were also stripped of their birthright privelege because of their massacre of the men at Shalem City
(Genesis 49:5-7). Judah was the next in line to receive the birthright, however, he had a contender for it by the name of Joseph, Jacob's favorite son.

Would a person commit murder in order to receive the birthright? Remember that Esau wanted to murder Jacob at one point in time. Did Judah want to murder Joseph to make sure he got the birthright? Possibly. Why? Because some time later he got his chance to murder Joseph and he took it. So, did Judah eventually get the birthright blessing? No. Joseph got it
(Genesis 49:22-26).


Do you need to be discipled? (Jacob had 12 sons that needed to be discipled):
"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 Zilpah, Leah's handmaid; Gad, and Asher: these are the sons of Jacob, which were born to him in Padanaram. And Jacob came unto Isaac his father unto Mamre, unto the city of Arbah, which is Hebron, where Abraham and Isaac sojourned"
(Genesis 35:22-27).

Joseph learned from Isaac (he was discipled):
God kept Isaac alive long enough for Joseph to get to know him. Sometimes, a godly grandfather can pass along a lot of good information about the Lord. Isaac was a godly man passing along a godly heritage to his godly grandson. What do you think they talked about? They probably talked about their personal relationship with the Lord- God's anointing, blessings, and protection. They probably talked about how to live a holy life, the Abrahamic covenant and how Joseph was a part of it. It is good for someone to disciple a young believer in the Lord. Did the other sons of Jacob have a chance to pick up Isaac's mantle? They probably did but I suspect they were not too interested, just did not care, or did not understand how the old man's teachings were relevant to them. However, sometimes a spiritual seed may be planted in a person that will not germinate until some time later
(Proverbs 22:6).

As Paul the Apostle, when young, sat at the feet of Gamaliel to learn the Jewish religion
(Acts 5:34 & 22:3), so also, Joseph sat at the feet of Isaac and received instruction. Joseph was young but he got it- he had spiritual discernment and understood exactly the godly legacy that he was inheriting. He was the grandson who picked up Isaac's mantle
(2 Kings 2:13-14). As Joseph had Isaac as his teacher, so you and I may need to be taught about God and the bible. God has many good faithful teachers who one can learn from. Let us "study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth"
(2 Timothy 2:15).


Isaac lived at Hebron:
Apparently, Abraham had an Amorite friend named Mamre who owned a large ranch in the southern part of the Land of Canaan. The name of this ranch was named after it's owner. The name Mamre has several meanings. One meaning is "strength". Evidenly, he was a strong baby when he was born and that is why his parents gave him that name. Abraham lived at an oak grove on Mamre's land. Later, a city was started there and named Kirjath-arba or the "City of Arbah". The name arba means "four"- so it was the City of Four. If one puts these names together, one could say that it was "a strong City of Four". Four what? There could have been four individuals who started the city. As well, it could also have been called the City of Four because, in those days, there were four cities joined together, militarily, for mutual protection, or for the fact that the town was built on four hills.

There was a lot of history connected with this town. This city was (south of Jerusalem) near Abraham's burial place and, later, renamed Hebron after the conquest of the Land of Canaan by General Joshua. Isaac lived in Arbah in his later years. Jacob probably came to live with him there because he had gotten word that his father was in poor health and not expected to live much longer. My guess is that Jacob took care of him for some time before the end came. In the oriental culture, the elderly were given great respect and the social rule was that "family took care of family".

You can visit Hebron today if you want to, especially the Cave of Machpelah and Abraham's Oak.

Jacob was heir to the birthright blessing and Abrahamic covenant. So, Jacob was there when his father passed away. He inherited most of his father's wealth. Esau also came to get a blessing:
"By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau concerning things to come"
(Hebrews 11:20).


Isaac died (Isaac's obituary):
"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"
(Genesis 35:28-29).

It appears that God, through the writer of the bible book of Hebrews, wrote Isaac's obituary:
"By faith he (Abraham) sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: for he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God
(Hebrews 11:9-10). These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country. And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned. But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city"
(Hebrews 11:13-16).

Like the patriarchs of the old testament, we are on our way to Heaven. That is our goal. We are on our way to the same city there that they went to- the heavenly Jerusalem
(Revelation 3:12, 21:2 & 10).


The lifespan of modern mankind was getting shorter:
Isaac lived to be 180 years old. Do you know what you do with a fruit tree that keeps on yielding good fruit? Yep. You take care of it so that it lives a long time. Since the Lord always deals with a remnant of folks (true believers are numerically outnumbered by non believers), He has fewer servants than Satan does. So, sometimes, He keeps those good trees producing for Him year after year for as long as He wishes. One of God's ten commandments states:
"Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee"
(Exodus 20:12).

The lifespan of mankind appeared to be shortening since the days of Noah. This is what Jacob later said to the Pharaoh of Egypt: "...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"
(Genesis 47:9).

According to the prayer of Moses, it appears that the lifespan of modern mankind has been shortened to be around 70 years old: "The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away"
(Psalm 90:10).

Isaac died at Mamre and was buried in the cave of Machpelah by his two sons, Jacob and Esau. They got together during this solemn occasion to bury their father
(Genesis 25:9).


Jacob went through a long trial of his faith:
Jacob went through a horrible trial of deaths in his family. First, his substitute mother (Deborah) died. Second, his beloved wife (Rachel) died. Third, his father (Isaac) died. He loved all of those individuals. In other words, he lost many of those he loved. Who does that remind you of? If you answered- the patriarch, Job, you are correct. Job had a beloved family- he lost them all, except his wife, during his long period of trial also
(Job 1:18-19) but he was an overcomer. Who else does that remind you of? If you answered- Naomi in the bible book of Ruth, you are correct. Naomi lost her husband and two sons. She suffered but was an overcomer in her long period of trial also
(Ruth 1:1-5). During my long period of trial, I lost my earthly father, but I also was an overcomer.

The death of a loved one is always a gut wrenching experience. Do you know who went through that trial with Jacob? Yep. It was Joseph. He watched his father stand firm in his faith, never waivering, through all of his suffering and grief. He watched his father pray and trust God when things seemed the darkest. He saw his father going to spiritual warfare against Satan and his demons when they came around to torment him. He saw his father as an overcomer for God
(Revelation 2:7, 11, 17, 26; 3:5, 12, 21; 21:7). Joseph saw what it could cost him if he decided to follow Christ and be an overcomer himself. He made a decision, a choice, to follow Christ no matter what the cost. That is what you and I have to do. We have to make a choice to follow Christ, no matter what the cost. We cannot ride the fence and be on neither side- we have to choose.

So, Joseph learned about God from Isaac and Jacob. Why did God allow Joseph to experience these lessons? What was God teaching Joseph through these circumstances? There may be several reasons, however, it could be that Joseph did not know what life was until he understood what death was. That lesson had to be learned if he were to save the world from starvation in his future. He had to learn how precious life was to God if he was going to be instrumental in saving it.


Genesis chapter 36






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As of June 12, 2013