Genesis 38, vs. 1-10 with Betty

Judah and Tamar

1And 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.

2 And Judah saw there a daughter of a certain Canaanite, whose name was Shuah; and he took her, and went in unto her.

3 And she conceived, and bare a son; and he called his name Er.

4 And she conceived again, and bare a son; and she called his name Onan.

5 And she yet again conceived, and bare a son; and called his name Shelah: and he was at Chezib, when she bare him.

6 And Judah took a wife for Er his firstborn, whose name was Tamar.

7 And Er, Judah’s firstborn, was wicked in the sight of the Lord; and the Lord slew him.

8 And Judah said unto Onan, Go in unto thy brother’s wife, and marry her, and raise up seed to thy brother.

9 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 that he should give seed to his brother.

10 And the thing which he did displeased the Lord: wherefore he slew him also.

K.J.V. Bible Text

My Thoughts:

About the time Joseph was sold into slavery, Judah left the family and went to stay with a man named Hirah.  (Was he feeling guilty about his part in the fate of Joseph?) 

While staying with Hirah, Judah met the daughter of a Canaanite.  He married her and she gave birth to two sons. The first was Er and the second was Onan.

Judah found a wife named Tamar for Er but Er was evil and the Lord put him to death.

Then Judah wanted his son Onan to sleep with Tamar so that she could have a child as offspring for the dead brother.  Onan did not want to give Tamar a child that would not be his so he spilled his seed on the ground. This was evil in the sight of the Lord so he put Onan to death also.

As I read this, I wonder if this entire happenstance in the life of Judah is recompense for his treatment of Joseph. One reason why the sons turned out to be “evil” may be that Judah had married out of his people and had sons with a different culture. Perhaps that would not have happened if he had not taken part in the plot against Joseph because if he had not taken part in the plot, he may not have left home.  

 Betty Killebrew

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Genesis 37, vs. 23-36 with Betty

 23 And it came to pass, when Joseph was come unto his brethren, that they stript Joseph out of his coat, his coat of many colours that was on him;

24 And they took him, and cast him into a pit: and the pit was empty, there was no water in it.

25 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.

26 And Judah said unto his brethren, What profit is it if we slay our brother, and conceal his blood?

27 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.

28 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.

29 And Reuben returned unto the pit; and, behold, Joseph was not in the pit; and he rent his clothes.

30 And he returned unto his brethren, and said, The child is not; and I, whither shall I go?

31 And they took Joseph’s coat, and killed a kid of the goats, and dipped the coat in the blood;

32 And they sent the coat of many colours, and they brought it to their father; and said, This have we found: know now whether it be thy son’s coat or no.

33 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.

34 And Jacob rent his clothes, and put sackcloth upon his loins, and mourned for his son many days.

35 And all his sons and all his daughters rose up to comfort him; but he refused to be comforted; and he said, For I will go down into the grave unto my son mourning. Thus his father wept for him.

36 And the Midianites sold him into Egypt unto Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh’s, and captain of the guard.

K.J.V. Bible Text

My Thoughts:

As we read earlier in Chapter 37, when Joseph was approaching the encampment where his brothers were with their flocks, they saw him from a long way off and hatched a plan to murder him.  Because Reuben, the oldest brother interceded, they decided to toss him in a cistern—empty of water—instead.  Reuben’s plan was to return later and save Joseph.

The brothers stripped Joseph of his rich robe, which must have been a symbol to them of their father’s favoritism to Joseph, and cast him into the cistern.  Afterwards, the brothers spotted some Ishmaelites who were on the way to Egypt to sell spices.  Judah, one of the brothers, suggested that rather than have Joseph’s blood on their hands, they should sell him to the merchants and they did so, receiving twenty shekels of silver. (Joseph was taken by the merchants to Egypt and sold to the captain of Pharaoh’s guard.) 

When Reuben returned to the cistern, Joseph was gone and he was dismayed.

The brothers sought to cover up what they had done by slaughtering a goat and dipping Joseph’s robe in its blood. They took this to their father and claimed to have found it.

Jacob believed that Joseph had been attacked and killed by an animal and he began to mourn and weep for him.

How different it was in those days when people could be snatched into captivity and sold as slaves.  It will be interesting to see what becomes of Joseph with the Egyptians.  One thing is certain however, becoming a slave was a far better fate than having been murdered or left to die in a dry cistern.

Betty Killebrew

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Genesis 37, vs. 12-22 with Betty

Joseph Sold by His Brothers

 12 And his brethren went to feed their father’s flock in Shechem.

13 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.

14 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.

15 And a certain man found him, and, behold, he was wandering in the field: and the man asked him, saying, What seekest thou?

16 And he said, I seek my brethren: tell me, I pray thee, where they feed their flocks.

17 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.

18 And when they saw him afar off, even before he came near unto them, they conspired against him to slay him.

19 And they said one to another, Behold, this dreamer cometh.

20 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.

21 And Reuben heard it, and he delivered him out of their hands; and said, Let us not kill him.

22 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.

K.J.V. Bible Text

My Thoughts:

Although Jacob, now called Israel, surely knew how his other sons felt about Joseph, he apparently did not realize that Joseph was in danger from them; but when he sent Joseph to check on the welfare of his brothers and the flocks he sent him on a very dangerous journey.

Joseph did not find his brothers near Shechem as expected.  He heard from a passerby that they had gone on to Dothan, so he followed after them. Perhaps if they had not been farther from home than Israel expected, they would have feared to do harm to the boy; but as it was they saw him coming from afar.  (Perhaps that colorful robe that helped inspire their jealousy was the reason they recognized him.)

Although his other brothers would have killed him outright, Reuben convinced them to throw him into a cistern otherwise unharmed so they would not have his blood on their hands.  He intended to return later to save Joseph and take him back to their father.

At least in this instance, Reuben was kinder than his other brothers toward Joseph and he fought—a little—to save him.  Apparently, however, even though Reuben was the elder son, he did not have enough authority over his brothers to stop their plot outright.

 Betty Killebrew

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Genesis 37, vs. 1-11 with Betty

Joseph’s Dreams

1And Jacob dwelt in the land wherein his father was a stranger, in the land of Canaan.

2 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.

3 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.

4 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.

5 And Joseph dreamed a dream, and he told it his brethren: and they hated him yet the more.

6 And he said unto them, Hear, I pray you, this dream which I have dreamed:

7 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.

8 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.

9 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.

10 And he told it to his father, and to his brethren: 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 down ourselves to thee to the earth?

11 And his brethren envied him; but his father observed the saying.

K.J.V. Bible Text

 My Thoughts:

 In Chapter 37 of Genesis, I recognize the beginnings of a story with which most of us are familiar to one extent or another. It is the story of Joseph, his ability to interpret dreams, how he was sold into slavery and eventually became an important man in Egypt.  Today’s reading is only the beginning of the story.

 Joseph at the age of 17 had a richly ornamented robe given as a gift from his father.  (We generally hear this referred to as a “coat of many colors”.) 

Because of the coat, and most likely other signs of favoritism of Joseph by their father, his older brothers were jealous of him and “hated” him.

Then when Jacob dreamed  that the brothers were all together  in the fields binding wheat and Joseph’s sheaf stood upright as the sheaves of the others bowed down to it, the implication of the dream, that someday the other brothers might bow down before Joseph, made them hate him all the more.

Then Joseph had another dream that the sun, moon and eleven stars were bowing down to him. When he told his father of the dream, his father wondered if it meant that someday all the family—mother, father and sons would l bow down to Joseph.  He did not dismiss the idea but kept it in his mind.

Meanwhile, the other sons were more jealous than ever.

Betty Killebrew

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Genesis 36, vs. 31-43 with Betty

The Rulers of Edom

 31 And these are the kings that reigned in the land of Edom, before there reigned any king over the children of Israel.

32 And Bela the son of Beor reigned in Edom: and the name of his city was Dinhabah.

33 And Bela died, and Jobab the son of Zerah of Bozrah reigned in his stead.

34 And Jobab died, and Husham of the land of Temani reigned in his stead.

35 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.

36 And Hadad died, and Samlah of Masrekah reigned in his stead.

37 And Samlah died, and Saul of Rehoboth by the river reigned in his stead.

38 And Saul died, and Baalhanan the son of Achbor reigned in his stead.

39 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.

40 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,

41 Duke Aholibamah, duke Elah, duke Pinon,

42 Duke Kenaz, duke Teman, duke Mibzar,

 43 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.

K.J.V. Bible Text

My Thoughts:

 To say I am writing my thoughts about the complicated genealogical account which appears in Genesis 36, verses 31 through 43, is probably a misnomer.  Truthfully, I have some difficulty making sense of it all, partly because the names are so strange to modern ears and partly because there are so many of them and they are done generation by generation rather than in a single line from father to son, then to grandson and so on.  Actually, I’m not sure these listings appear in chronological order here.  It looks to me like the listings jump ahead into more generations we have not yet learned anything about. 

What this chapter does seem to say to me is that the sons of Esau and succeeding generations passed along the leadership over the people and served as chiefs over an increasing population as the generations progressed.

 Betty Killebrew

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Genesis 36, vs. 16-30 with Betty

 16 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.

17 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.

18 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.

19 These are the sons of Esau, who is Edom, and these are their dukes.

20 These are the sons of Seir the Horite, who inhabited the land; Lotan, and Shobal, and Zibeon, and Anah,

21 And Dishon, and Ezer, and Dishan: these are the dukes of the Horites, the children of Seir in the land of Edom.

22 And the children of Lotan were Hori and Hemam; and Lotan’s sister was Timna.

23 And the children of Shobal were these; Alvan, and Manahath, and Ebal, Shepho, and Onam.

24 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.

25 And the children of Anah were these; Dishon, and Aholibamah the daughter of Anah.

26 And these are the children of Dishon; Hemdan, and Eshban, and Ithran, and Cheran.

27 The children of Ezer are these; Bilhan, and Zaavan, and Akan.

28 The children of Dishan are these; Uz, and Aran.

29 These are the dukes that came of the Horites; duke Lotan, duke Shobal, duke Zibeon, duke Anah,

30 Duke Dishon, duke Ezer, duke Dishan: these are the dukes that came of Hori, among their dukes in the land of Seir.

K.J.V. Bible Text

My Thoughts:

As Genesis chapter 36 continues, the verses from 16 through 19 rename all the sons and grandsons of Esau that are mentioned earlier in the chapter.  This time we are told that the grandsons all became “chiefs” in the region.  This is another step in the promise of God to create many nations in Esau as well as in Jacob.

Beginning in Verse 20 there is a record of the sons and grandsons of Seir the Horite.  These people also lived in the same region as Esau lived in after moving away from the area where Jacob lived to find more grazing for his livestock.

Reading the scriptures straight through as we are doing, we do not yet have an indication of what we may learn about the interaction of these people as we continue our Bible reading project, but almost certainly there are many more interesting stories to come.

Betty Killebrew

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Genesis 36, vs. 9-15 with Betty

 9 And these are the generations of Esau the father of the Edomites in mount Seir:

10 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.

11 And the sons of Eliphaz were Teman, Omar, Zepho, and Gatam, and Kenaz.

12 And Timna was concubine to Eliphaz Esau’s son; and she bare to Eliphaz Amalek: these were the sons of Adah Esau’s wife.

13 And these are the sons of Reuel; Nahath, and Zerah, Shammah, and Mizzah: these were the sons of Bashemath Esau’s wife.

14 And these were the sons of Aholibamah, the daughter of Anah the daughter of Zibeon, Esau’s wife: and she bare to Esau Jeush, and Jaalam, and Korah.

15 These were dukes of the sons of Esau: the sons of Eliphaz the firstborn son of Esau; duke Teman, duke Omar, duke Zepho, duke Kenaz…

K.J.V. Bible Text

My Thoughts:

Beginning in verse 9, Genesis 36 is given over to an account of the succeeding generations of Esau.  As it consists of a long list of  unfamiliar names, it is difficult for me to form any thoughts at all about the people involved, but never-the-less, I am going to take the Chapter slowly and try to get to know these people at least a little.

Esau’s son Eliphaz was the son of his wife Adah.

His son Reuel, was the son of his wife Basemath.

His wife Oholibamah, bore him three sons, Jerus, Jalam and Korah.

Eliphaz, Adah’s son became the father of Teman, Omar, Zepho, Gatam and Kenaz and one other son, Amalek who was born to him by his concubine named Timna. 

 Reuel, the son of Basemath was the father of Nahath, Zera, Shamma and Mizzah.

At this point, the chapter has already mentioned 15 descendants of Esau’s three wives and one concubine.

Betty Killebrew

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Genesis 36, vs. 1-8 with Betty

Esau’s Descendants

1 Now these are the generations of Esau, who is Edom.

2 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;

3 And Bashemath Ishmael’s daughter, sister of Nebajoth.

4 And Adah bare to Esau Eliphaz; and Bashemath bare Reuel;

5 And Aholibamah bare Jeush, and Jaalam, and Korah: these are the sons of Esau, which were born unto him in the land of Canaan.

6 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.

7 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.

8 Thus dwelt Esau in mount Seir: Esau is Edom.

K.J.V. Bible Text

My Thoughts:

Genesis Chapter 36 begins the account of the family line of Esau, who you will of course recall was the Jacob’s elder brother, his twin, born just ahead of Jacob.

The scripture lists three wives for Esau.  They were women of Canaan and the mothers of five sons born to Esau in the land of Canaan. These were of course the Canaanite wives who vexed his mother and father during their lifetimes.

When Jacob returned to the area, the families had so much livestock that the land could not support all of them.  At that time, Esau moved to the hill country of Seir.

It seems that Jacob and Esau, indeed most of those people we have thus far studied in the history recorded in Genesis, have often been wanderers.  Perhaps, the people of the time, engaged in the occupation of herdsmen, had grown used to the need to relocate on a regular basis, but surely Esau must have had some ill feeling because he was forced to leave the land of his youth after Jacob’s return.

Betty Killebrew

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Genesis 35, vs.16-29 with Betty

 The Deaths of Rachel and Isaac

 16 And they journeyed from Bethel; and there was but a little way to come to Ephrath: and Rachel travailed, and she had hard labour.

17 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.

18 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.

19 And Rachel died, and was buried in the way to Ephrath, which is Bethlehem.

20 And Jacob set a pillar upon her grave: that is the pillar of Rachel’s grave unto this day.

21 And Israel journeyed, and spread his tent beyond the tower of Edar.

22 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:

23 The sons of Leah; Reuben, Jacob’s firstborn, and Simeon, and Levi, and Judah, and Issachar, and Zebulun:

24 The sons of Rachel; Joseph, and Benjamin:

25 And the sons of Bilhah, Rachel’s handmaid; Dan, and Naphtali:

26 And the sons of Zilpah, Leah’s handmaid: Gad, and Asher: these are the sons of Jacob, which were born to him in Padanaram.

27 And Jacob came unto Isaac his father unto Mamre, unto the city of Arbah, which is Hebron, where Abraham and Isaac sojourned.

28 And the days of Isaac were an hundred and fourscore years.

29 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.

K.J.V. Bible Text

 My Thoughts:

When Jacob moved his people on from Bethel, his wife Rachel began to give birth. She had great difficulty but she delivered a son and named her son Ben-Oni as she was dying. However, Jacob, now called Isaac, named him Benjamin.

Rachel died and was buried in what is now called Bethlehem.  Jacob set up a pillar to mark her tomb.

The group moved on again.  In a place beyond Migdal Eder, Jacob’s son Reuben went in and slept with his father’s concubine Bilhah.  Jacob heard of it.  Although the scripture does not elaborate on this happening at this point, one can easily imagine how distressful this would have been to Isaac.

The balance of the chapter gives a list of all Jacob’s twelve sons, from the firstborn, Reuben to the youngest one, Benjamin.  I won’t name each one of them here because if you wish to review them, they are plainly listed in the text above. I will say though, that these sons and all their progeny made a good beginning of God’s prophecy regarding the many nations that would spring from Jacob’s loins.

Betty Killebrew

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Genesis 35, vs. 6-15 with Betty

 6 So Jacob came to Luz, which is in the land of Canaan, that is, Bethel, he and all the people that were with him.

7 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.

8 But Deborah, Rebekah’s nurse died, and she was buried beneath Bethel under an oak: and the name of it was called Allonbachuth.

9 And God appeared unto Jacob again, when he came out of Padanaram, and blessed him.

10 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.

11 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;

12 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.

13 And God went up from him in the place where he talked with him.

14 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.

15 And Jacob called the name of the place where God spake with him, Bethel.

K.J.V. Boble Text

 My Thoughts:

 Jacob and his people went to Luz, the place where God came to Jacob at the time he fled from his brother.  There he built an altar to God.

When Jacob had come there again. God appeared to him once more and told him that his name would no longer be Jacob, but Israel.

God told Jacob to be fruitful and multiply and from him would come to be a nation and a community of nations.  He promised him the land he had given to Abraham and Isaac.

Then, the scripture says, “God went up from him…” 

I can only assume that this means that after talking with Jacob God rose up into the heavens. What an amazing thing that would be for Isaac or for anybody to see. No wonder each time Isaac saw God he was moved to build an altar to him just as he did this time when he set up the “stone pillar” and poured the drink offering upon it.

 Betty Killebrew

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