Genesis – Chapter 38

The Bible – Old Testament

 Genesis

Index

Genesis

Chapter 38

1

1 About that time Judah parted from his brothers and pitched his tent near a certain Adullamite named Hirah.

2

There he met the daughter of a Canaanite named Shua, married her, and had relations with her.

3

She conceived and bore a son, whom she named Er.

4

Again she conceived and bore a son, whom she named Onan.

5

2 Then she bore still another son, whom she named Shelah. They were in Chezib when he was born.

6

Judah got a wife named Tamar for his first-born, Er.

7

But Er, Judah’s first-born, greatly offended the LORD; so the LORD took his life.

8

3 Then Judah said to Onan, “Unite with your brother’s widow, in fulfillment of your duty as brother-in-law, and thus preserve your brother’s line.”

9

Onan, however, knew that the descendants would not be counted as his; so whenever he had relations with his brother’s widow, he wasted his seed on the ground, to avoid contributing offspring for his brother.

10

What he did greatly offended the LORD, and the LORD took his life too.

11

Thereupon Judah said to his daughter-in-law Tamar, “Stay as a widow in your father’s house until my son Shelah grows up” – for he feared that Shelah also might die like his brothers. So Tamar went to live in her father’s house.

12

Years passed, and Judah’s wife, the daughter of Shua, died. After Judah completed the period of mourning, he went up to Timnah for the shearing of his sheep, in company with his friend Hirah the Adullamite.

13

When Tamar was told that her father-in-law was on his way up to Timnah to shear his sheep,

14

she took off her widow’s garb, veiled her face by covering herself with a shawl, and sat down at the entrance to Enaim, which is on the way to Timnah; for she was aware that, although Shelah was now grown up, she had not been given to him in marriage.

15

When Judah saw her, he mistook her for a harlot, since she had covered her face.

16

So he went over to her at the roadside, and not realizing that she was his daughter-in-law, he said, “Come, let me have intercourse with you.” She replied, “What will you pay me for letting you have intercourse with me?”

17

He answered, “I will send you a kid from the flock.” “Very well,” she said, “provided you leave a pledge until you send it.”

18

4 Judah asked, “What pledge am I to give to you?” She answered, “Your seal and cord, and the staff you carry.” So he gave them to her and had intercourse with her, and she conceived by him.

19

When she went away, she took off her shawl and put on her widow’s garb again.

20

Judah sent the kid by his friend the Adullamite to recover the pledge from the woman; but he could not find her.

21

5 So he asked the men of the place, “Where is the temple prostitute, the one by the roadside in Enaim?” But they answered, “There has never been a temple prostitute here.”

22

He went back to Judah and told him, “I could not find her; and besides, the men of the place said there was no temple prostitute there.”

23

“Let her keep the things,” Judah replied; “otherwise we shall become a laughingstock. After all, I did send her the kid, even though you were unable to find her.”

24

About three months later, Judah was told that his daughter-in-law Tamar had played the harlot and was then with child from her harlotry. “Bring her out,” cried Judah; “she shall be burned.”

25

But as they were bringing her out, she sent word to her father-in-law, “It is by the man to whom these things belong that I am with child. Please verify,” she added, “whose seal and cord and whose staff these are.”

26

Judah recognized them and said, “She is more in the right than I am, since I did not give her to my son Shelah.” But he had no further relations with her.

27

When the time of her delivery came, she was found to have twins in her womb.

28

While she was giving birth, one infant put out his hand; and the midwife, taking a crimson thread, tied it on his hand, to note that this one came out first.

29

6 But as he withdrew his hand, his brother came out; and she said, “What a breach you have made for yourself!” So he was called Perez.

30

7 Afterward his brother came out; he was called Zerah.

1 [1-30] This chapter, from the Yahwist source, has nothing to do with the Joseph story in which Judah is still living with his father and brothers. The sacred author inserted this independent account from the life of Judah at this place to mark the long lapse of time during which Joseph’s family knew nothing of his life in Egypt. This is apparently a personalized history of the early days of the tribe of Judah, which interbred with several Canaanite clans, though some of these soon became extinct.

2 [5] Chezib: a variant form of Achzib ( Joshua 15:44;  Micah 1:14), a town in the Judean Shephelah.

3 [8] Preserve your brother’s line: literally “raise up seed for your brother.” The ancient Israelites regarded as very important their law of levirate, or “brother-in-law” marriage; see notes on  Deut 25:5;  Ruth 2:20. In the present story, it is primarily Onan’s violation of this law, rather than the means he used to circumvent it, that brought on him God’s displeasure ( Genesis 38:9-10).

4 [18] Seal and cord: the cylinder seal, through which a hole was bored lengthwise so that it could be worn from the neck by a cord, was a distinctive means of identification. Apparently a man’s staff was also marked with his name ( Numbers 17:16-17) or other sign of identification.

5 [21] Temple prostitute: the Hebrew term qedesha, literally “consecrated woman,” designates a woman who had ritual intercourse with men in pagan fertility rites; cf  Deut 23:18;  Hosea 4:14, where the same Hebrew word is used. Hirah the Adullamite uses a word that refers to a higher social class than that designated by the term zona, common “harlot,” used in  Genesis 38:15-24.

6 [29] He was called Perez: the Hebrew word means “breach.”

7 [30] He was called Zerah: a name connected here by popular etymology with a Hebrew verb for the red light of dawn, alluding apparently to the crimson thread.

Genesis – Chapter 37

The Bible – Old Testament

 Genesis

Index

Genesis

Chapter 37

1

Jacob settled in the land where his father had stayed, the land of Canaan.

2

This is his family history. When Joseph was seventeen years old, he was tending the flocks with his brothers; he was an assistant to the sons of his father’s wives Bilhah and Zilpah, and he brought his father bad reports about them.

3

Israel loved Joseph best of all his sons, for he was the child of his old age; and he had made him a long tunic.

4

When his brothers saw that their father loved him best of all his sons, they hated him so much that they would not even greet him.

5

Once Joseph had a dream, which he told to his brothers:

6

“Listen to this dream I had.

7

There we were, binding sheaves in the field, when suddenly my sheaf rose to an upright position, and your sheaves formed a ring around my sheaf and bowed down to it.”

8

“Are you really going to make yourself king over us?” his brothers asked him. “Or impose your rule on us?” So they hated him all the more because of his talk about his dreams.

9

Then he had another dream, and this one, too, he told to his brothers. “I had another dream,” he said; “this time, the sun and the moon and eleven stars were bowing down to me.”

10

When he also told it to his father, his father reproved him. “What is the meaning of this dream of yours?” he asked. “Can it be that I and your mother and your brothers are to come and bow to the ground before you?”

11

So his brothers were wrought up against him but his father pondered the matter.

12

One day, when his brothers had gone to pasture their father’s flocks at Shechem,

13

Israel said to Joseph, “Your brothers, you know, are tending our flocks at Shechem. Get ready; I will send you to them.” “I am ready,” Joseph answered.

14

“Go then,” he replied; “see if all is well with your brothers and the flocks, and bring back word.” So he sent him off from the valley of Hebron. When Joseph reached Shechem,

15

a man met him as he was wandering about in the fields. “What are you looking for?” the man asked him.

16

“I am looking for my brothers,” he answered. “Could you please tell me where they are tending the flocks?”

17

The man told him, “They have moved on from here; in fact, I heard them say, ‘Let us go on to Dothan.'” So Joseph went after his brothers and caught up with them in Dothan.

18

They noticed him from a distance, and before he came up to them, they plotted to kill him.

19

They said to one another: “Here comes that master dreamer!

20

Come on, let us kill him and throw him into one of the cisterns here; we could say that a wild beast devoured him. We shall then see what comes of his dreams.”

21

1 When Reuben heard this, he tried to save him from their hands, saying: “We must not take his life.

22

Instead of shedding blood,” he continued, “just throw him into that cistern there in the desert; but don’t kill him outright.” His purpose was to rescue him from their hands and restore him to his father.

23

So when Joseph came up to them, they stripped him of the long tunic he had on;

24

then they took him and threw him into the cistern, which was empty and dry.

25

They then sat down to their meal. Looking up, they saw a caravan of Ishmaelites coming from Gilead, their camels laden with gum, balm and resin to be taken down to Egypt.

26

Judah said to his brothers: “What is to be gained by killing our brother and concealing his blood?

27

Rather, let us sell him to these Ishmaelites, instead of doing away with him ourselves. After all, he is our brother, our own flesh.” His brothers agreed.

28

2 They sold Joseph to the Ishmaelites for twenty pieces of silver. Some Midianite traders passed by, and they pulled Joseph up out of the cistern and took him to Egypt.

29

When Reuben went back to the cistern and saw that Joseph was not in it, he tore his clothes,

30

and returning to his brothers, he exclaimed: “The boy is gone! And I – where can I turn?”

31

They took Joseph’s tunic, and after slaughtering a goat, dipped the tunic in its blood.

32

Then they sent someone to bring the long tunic to their father, with the message: “We found this. See whether it is your son’s tunic or not.”

33

He recognized it and exclaimed: “My son’s tunic! A wild beast has devoured him! Joseph has been torn to pieces!”

34

Then Jacob rent his clothes, put sackcloth on his loins, and mourned his son many days.

35

Though his sons and daughters tried to console him, he refused all consolation, saying, “No, I will go down mourning to my son in the nether world.” Thus did his father lament him.

36

The Midianites, meanwhile, sold Joseph in Egypt to Potiphar, a courtier of Pharaoh and his chief steward.

1 [21-36] The chapter thus far is from the Yahwist source, as are also  Genesis 37:25-28a. But  Genesis 37:21-24 and  Genesis 37:28b-36 are from the Elohist source. In the latter, Reuben tries to rescue Joseph, who is taken in Reuben’s absence by certain Midianites; in the Yahwist source, it is Judah who saves Joseph’s life by having him sold to certain Ishmaelites. Although the two variant forms in which the story was handed down in early oral tradition differ in these minor points, they agree on the essential fact that Joseph was brought as a slave into Egypt because of the jealousy of his brothers.

2 [28] They sold Joseph . . . silver: in the Hebrew text, these words occur between out of the cistern and (they) took him to Egypt at the end of the verse.

Genesis – Chapter 36

The Bible – Old Testament

 Genesis

Index

Genesis

Chapter 36

1

These are the descendants of Esau (that is, Edom).

2

1 Esau took his wives from among the Canaanite women: Adah, daughter of Elon the Hittite; Oholibamah, granddaughter through Anah of Zibeon the Hivite;

3

and Basemath, daughter of Ishmael and sister of Nebaioth.

4

Adah bore Eliphaz to Esau; Basemath bore Reuel;

5

and Oholibamah bore Jeush, Jalam and Korah. These are the sons of Esau who were born to him in the land of Canaan.

6

Esau took his wives, his sons, his daughters, and all the members of his household, as well as his livestock comprising various animals and all the property he had acquired in the land of Canaan, and went to the land of Seir, out of the way of his brother Jacob.

7

Their possessions had become too great for them to dwell together, and the land in which they were staying could not support them because of their livestock.

8

So Esau settled in the highlands of Seir. (Esau is Edom.)

9

These are the descendants of Esau, ancestor of the Edomites, in the highlands of Seir.

10

These are the names of Esau’s sons: Eliphaz, son of Esau’s wife Adah; and Reuel, son of Esau’s wife Basemath.

11

The sons of Eliphaz were Teman, Omar, Zepho, Gatam, and Kenaz.

12

(Esau’s son Eliphaz had a concubine Timna, and she bore Amalek to Eliphaz.) These are the descendants of Esau’s wife Adah.

13

The sons of Reuel were Nahath, Zerah, Shammah, and Mizzah. These are the descendants of Esau’s wife Basemath.

14

The descendants of Esau’s wife Oholibamah – granddaughter through Anah of Zibeon – whom she bore to Esau were Jeush, Jalam, and Korah.

15

The following are the clans of Esau’s descendants. The descendants of Eliphaz, Esau’s first-born: the clans of Teman, Omar, Zepho, Kenaz,

16

Korah, Gatam, and Amalek. These are the clans of Eliphaz in the land of Edom; they are descended from Adah.

17

The descendants of Esau’s son Reuel: the clans of Nahath, Zerah, Shammah, and Mizzah. These are the clans of Reuel in the land of Edom; they are descended from Esau’s wife Basemath.

18

The descendants of Esau’s wife Oholibamah: the clans of Jeush, Jalam, and Korah. These are the clans of Esau’s wife Oholibamah, daughter of Anah.

19

Such are the descendants of Esau (that is, Edom) according to their clans.

20

2 The following are the descendants of Seir the Horite, the original settlers in the land: Lotan, Shobal, Zibeon, Anah,

21

Dishon, Ezer, and Dishan; they are the Horite clans descended from Seir, in the land of Edom.

22

Lotan’s descendants were Hori and Hemam, and Lotan’s sister was Timna.

23

Shobal’s descendants were Alvan, Mahanath, Ebal, Shepho, and Onam.

24

Zibeon’s descendants were Aiah and Anah. (He is the Anah who found water in the desert while he was pasturing the asses of his father Zibeon.)

25

The descendants of Anah were Dishon and Oholibamah, daughter of Anah.

26

The descendants of Dishon were Hemdan, Eshban, Ithran, and Cheran.

27

The descendants of Ezer were Bilhan, Zaavan, and Akan.

28

The descendants of Dishan were Uz and Aran.

29

These are the Horite clans: the clans of Lotan, Shobal, Zibeon, Anah,

30

Dishon, Ezer, and Dishan; they were the clans of the Horites, clan by clan, in the land of Seir.

31

3 The following are the kings who reigned in the land of Edom before any king reigned over the Israelites.

32

Bela, son of Beor, became king in Edom; the name of his city was Dinhabah.

33

When Bela died, Jobab, son of Zerah, from Bozrah, succeeded him as king.

34

When Jobab died, Husham, from the land of the Temanites, succeeded him as king. He defeated the Midianites in the country of Moab; the name of his city was Avith.

35

When Husham died, Hadad, son of Bedad, succeeded him as king.

36

When Hadad died, Samlah, from Masrekah, succeeded him as king.

37

When Samlah died, Shaul, from Rehoboth-on-the-River, succeeded him as king.

38

When Shaul died, Baal-hanan, son of Achbor, succeeded him as king.

39

When Baal-hanan died, Hadar succeeded him as king; the name of his city was Pau. (His wife’s name was Mehetabel; she was the daughter of Matred, son of Mezahab.)

40

The following are the names of the clans of Esau individually according to their subdivisions and localities: the clans of Timna, Alvah, Jetheth,

41

Oholibamah, Elah, Pinon,

42

Kenaz, Teman, Mibzar,

43

Magdiel, and Iram. These are the clans of the Edomites, according to their settlements in their territorial holdings. (Esau was the father of the Edomites.)

1 [2-14] The names of Esau’s wives and of their fathers given here differ considerably from their names cited from other old sources in  Genesis 26:34 and  Genesis 28:9. Zibeon the Hivite: in  Genesis 36:20 he is called a “Horite”; see note on  Genesis 34:2.

2 [20] Seir the Horite: according to  Deut 2:12, the highlands of Seir were inhabited by Horites before they were occupied by the Edomites.

3 [31] Before any king reigned over the Israelites: obviously this statement was written after the time of Saul, Israel’s first king.

Genesis – Chapter 35

The Bible – Old Testament

 Genesis

Index

Genesis

Chapter 35

1

God said to Jacob: “Go up now to Bethel. Settle there and build an altar there to the God who appeared to you while you were fleeing from your brother Esau.”

2

1 So Jacob told his family and all the others who were with him: “Get rid of the foreign gods that you have among you; then purify yourselves and put on fresh clothes.

3

We are now to go up to Bethel, and I will build an altar there to the God who answered me in my hour of distress and who has been with me wherever I have gone.”

4

2 They therefore handed over to Jacob all the foreign gods in their possession and also the rings they had in their ears.

5

Then, as they set out, a terror from God fell upon the towns round about, so that no one pursued the sons of Jacob.

6

Thus Jacob and all the people who were with him arrived in Luz (that is, Bethel) in the land of Canaan.

7

There he built an altar and named the place Bethel, for it was there that God had revealed himself to him when he was fleeing from his brother.

8

3 Death came to Rebekah’s nurse Deborah; she was buried under the oak below Bethel, and so it was called Allonbacuth.

9

On Jacob’s arrival from Paddan-aram, God appeared to him again and blessed him.

10

God said to him: “You whose name is Jacob shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel shall be your name.” Thus he was named Israel.

11

God also said to him: “I am God Almighty; be fruitful and multiply. A nation, indeed an assembly of nations, shall stem from you, and kings shall issue from your loins.

12

The land I once gave to Abraham and Isaac I now give to you; And to your descendants after you will I give this land.”

13

Then God departed from him.

14

On the site where God had spoken with him, Jacob set up a memorial stone, and upon it he made a libation and poured out oil.

15

Jacob named the site Bethel, because God had spoken with him there.

16

Then they departed from Bethel; but while they still had some distance to go on the way to Ephrath, Rachel began to be in labor and to suffer great distress.

17

When her pangs were most severe, her midwife said to her, “Have no fear! This time, too, you have a son.”

18

4 With her last breath – for she was at the point of death-she called him Ben-oni; his father, however, named him Benjamin.

19

5 Thus Rachel died; and she was buried on the road to Ephrath (that is, Bethlehem).

20

Jacob set up a memorial stone on her grave, and the same monument marks Rachel’s grave to this day.

21

Israel moved on and pitched his tent beyond Migdal-eder.

22

While Israel was encamped in that region, Reuben went and lay with Bilhah, his father’s concubine. When Israel heard of it, he was greatly offended. The sons of Jacob were now twelve.

23

The sons of Leah: Reuben, Jacob’s first-born, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, and Zebulun;

24

6 the sons of Rachel: Joseph and Benjamin;

25

the sons of Rachel’s maid Bilhah: Dan and Naphtali;

26

the sons of Leah’s maid Zilpah: Gad and Asher. These are the sons of Jacob who were born to him in Paddan-aram.

27

Jacob went home to his father Isaac at Mamre, in Kiriath-arba (that is, Hebron), where Abraham and Isaac had stayed.

28

The lifetime of Isaac was one hundred and eighty years;

29

then he breathed his last. After a full life, he died as an old man and was taken to his kinsmen. His sons Esau and Jacob buried him.

1 [2] Foreign gods: pagan images, including household idols (see note on  Genesis 31:19), that Jacob’s people brought with them from Paddan-aram.

2 [4] Rings: Earrings were often worn as amulets connected with pagan magic.

3 [8] This verse may have stood originally in some other context. Rebekah’s nurse is spoken of without a name, in  Genesis 24:59. Allon-bacuth: the Hebrew name means “oak of weeping.”

4 [18] Ben-oni: means either “son of my vigor” or, more likely in the context, “son of affliction.” Benjamin: “son of the right hand.” This may be interpreted to signify a son who is his father’s help and support, but more likely its original meaning was “southerner.” In the Hebrew idiom, the south lies to one’s right hand, and Benjamin was the southernmost of the Rachel tribes.

5 [19] Bethlehem: the gloss comes from a later tradition that identified the site with Bethlehem, also called Ephrath or Ephratha ( Joshua 15:59;  Ruth 4:11;  Micah 5:1). But Rachel’s grave was actually near Ramah ( Jeremiah 31:15), a few miles north of Jerusalem, in the territory of Benjamin ( 1 Sam 10:2).

6 [24-26] Benjamin is here said to have been born in Paddan-aram, either because all twelve sons of Jacob are considered as a unit, or because the Priestly source, from which  Genesis 35:23-29 are taken, follows a tradition different from that of the Elohistic source found in  Genesis 35:16-20.

Genesis – Chapter 34

The Bible – Old Testament

 Genesis

Index

Genesis

Chapter 34

1

1 Dinah, the daughter whom Leah had borne to Jacob, went out to visit some of the women of the land.

2

2 When Shechem, son of Hamor the Hivite, who was chief of the region, saw her, he seized her and lay with her by force.

3

Since he was strongly attracted to Dinah, daughter of Jacob, indeed was really in love with the girl, he endeavored to win her affection.

4

Shechem also asked his father Hamor, “Get me this girl for a wife.”

5

Meanwhile, Jacob heard that Shechem had defiled his daughter Dinah; but since his sons were out in the fields with his livestock, he held his peace until they came home.

6

Now Hamor, the father of Shechem, went out to discuss the matter with Jacob,

7

just as Jacob’s sons were coming in from the fields. When they heard the news, the men were shocked and seethed with indignation. What Shechem had done was an outrage in Israel; such a thing could not be tolerated.

8

Hamor appealed to them, saying: “My son Shechem has his heart set on your daughter. Please give her to him in marriage.

9

Intermarry with us; give your daughters to us, and take our daughters for yourselves.

10

Thus you can live among us. The land is open before you; you can settle and move about freely in it, and acquire landed property here.”

11

Then Shechem, too, appealed to Dinah’s father and brothers: “Do me this favor, and I will pay whatever you demand of me.

12

No matter how high you set the bridal price, I will pay you whatever you ask; only give me the maiden in marriage.”

13

Jacob’s sons replied to Shechem and his father Hamor with guile, speaking as they did because their sister Dinah had been defiled.

14

“We could not do such a thing,” they said, “as to give our sister to an uncircumcised man; that would be a disgrace for us.

15

We will agree with you only on this condition, that you become like us by having every male among you circumcised.

16

Then we will give you our daughters and take yours in marriage; we will settle among you and become one kindred people with you.

17

But if you do not comply with our terms regarding circumcision, we will take our daughter and go away.”

18

Their proposal seemed fair to Hamor and his son Shechem.

19

The young man lost no time in acting in the matter, since he was deeply in love with Jacob’s daughter. Moreover he was more highly respected than anyone else in his clan.

20

So Hamor and his son Shechem went to their town council and thus presented the matter to their fellow townsmen:

21

“These men are friendly toward us. Let them settle in the land and move about in it freely; there is ample room in the country for them. We can marry their daughters and give our daughters to them in marriage.

22

But the men will agree to live with us and form one kindred people with us only on this condition, that every male among us be circumcised as they themselves are.

23

Would not the livestock they have acquired – all their animals – then be ours? Let us, therefore, give in to them, so that they may settle among us.”

24

3 All the able-bodied men of the town agreed with Hamor and his son Shechem, and all the males, including every able-bodied man in the community, were circumcised.

25

On the third day, while they were still in pain, Dinah’s full brothers Simeon and Levi, two of Jacob’s sons, took their swords, advanced against the city without any trouble, and massacred all the males.

26

After they had put Hamor and his son Shechem to the sword, they took Dinah from Shechem’s house and left.

27

Then the other sons of Jacob followed up the slaughter and sacked the city in reprisal for their sister Dinah’s defilement.

28

They seized their flocks, herds and asses, whatever was in the city and in the country around.

29

They carried off all their wealth, their women, and their children, and took for loot whatever was in the houses.

30

Jacob said to Simeon and Levi: “You have brought trouble upon me by making me loathsome to the inhabitants of the land, the Canaanites and the Perizzites. I have so few men that, if these people unite against me and attack me, I and my family will be wiped out.”

31

But they retorted, “Should our sister have been treated like a harlot?”

1 [1] Every able-bodied man in the community: literally “all those who go out at the gate of the city,” apparently meaning the men who go out to war. By temporarily crippling them through circumcision, Jacob’s sons deprived the city of its defenders.

2 [2] Hivite: The Greek text has “Horite”; the terms were apparently used indiscriminately to designate the Hurrian or other non-Semitic elements in Palestine.

3 [24] Behind the story of the rape of Dinah and the revenge of Jacob’s sons on the men of the city of Shechem there probably lies a dimly recollected historical event connected with an armed conflict between the earliest Israelite tribes invading central Canaan and the Hurrian inhabitants of the Shechem region.

Genesis – Chapter 33

The Bible – Old Testament

 Genesis

Index

Genesis

Chapter 33

1

Jacob looked up and saw Esau coming, accompanied by four hundred men. So he divided his children among Leah, Rachel and the two maidservants,

2

putting the maids and their children first, Leah and her children next, and Rachel and Joseph last.

3

He himself went on ahead of them, bowing to the ground seven times, until he reached his brother.

4

Esau ran to meet him, embraced him, and flinging himself on his neck, kissed him as he wept.

5

When Esau looked about, he saw the women and children. “Who are these with you?” he asked. Jacob answered, “They are the children whom God has graciously bestowed on your servant.”

6

Then the maidservants and their children came forward and bowed low;

7

next, Leah and her children came forward and bowed low; lastly, Rachel and her children came forward and bowed low.

8

Then Esau asked, “What did you intend with all those droves that I encountered?” Jacob answered, “It was to gain my lord’s favor.”

9

“I have plenty,” replied Esau; “you should keep what is yours, brother.”

10

“No, I beg you!” said Jacob. “If you will do me the favor, please accept this gift from me, since to come into your presence is for me like coming into the presence of God, now that you have received me so kindly.

11

Do accept the present I have brought you; God has been generous toward me, and I have an abundance.” Since he so urged him, Esau accepted.

12

Then Esau said, “Let us break camp and be on our way; I will travel alongside you.”

13

But Jacob replied: “As my lord can see, the children are frail. Besides, I am encumbered with the flocks and herds, which now have sucklings; if overdriven for a single day, the whole flock will die.

14

Let my lord, then, go on ahead of me, while I proceed more slowly at the pace of the livestock before me and at the pace of my children, until I join my lord in Seir.”

15

Esau replied, “Let me at least put at your disposal some of the men who are with me.” But Jacob said, “For what reason? Please indulge me in this, my lord.”

16

So on the same day that Esau began his journey back to Seir,

17

1 Jacob journeyed to Succoth. There he built a home for himself and made booths for his livestock. That is why the place was called Succoth.

18

Having thus come from Paddan-aram, Jacob arrived safely at the city of Shechem, which is in the land of Canaan, and he encamped in sight of the city.

19

2 The plot of ground on which he had pitched his tent he bought for a hundred pieces of bullion from the descendants of Hamor, the founder of Shechem.

20

He set up a memorial stone there and invoked “El, the God of Israel.”

1 [17] Succoth: an important town near the confluence of the Jabbok and the Jordan ( Joshua 13:27;  Judges 8:5-16;  1 Kings 7:46). Booths: in Hebrew, sukkot, of the same sound as the name of the town.

2 [19] Pieces of bullion: in Hebrew, kesita, a monetary unit of which the value is now unknown. Descendants of Hamor: Hamorites, “the men of Hamor”; cf  Judges 9:28. Hamor was regarded as the eponymous ancestor of the pre-Israelite inhabitants of Shechem.

Genesis – Chapter 32

The Bible – Old Testament

 Genesis

Index

Genesis

Chapter 32

1

Early the next morning, Laban kissed his grandchildren and his daughters goodbye; then he set out on his journey back home,

2

while Jacob continued on his own way. Then God’s messengers encountered Jacob.

3

1 When he saw them he said, “This is God’s encampment.” So he named that place Mahanaim.

4

Jacob sent messengers ahead to his brother Esau in the land of Seir, the country of Edom,

5

with this message: “Thus shall you say to my lord Esau: ‘Your servant Jacob speaks as follows: I have been staying with Laban and have been detained there until now.

6

I own cattle, asses and sheep, as well as male and female servants. I am sending my lord this information in the hope of gaining your favor.'”

7

When the messengers returned to Jacob, they said, “We reached your brother Esau. He is now coming to meet you, accompanied by four hundred men.”

8

Jacob was very much frightened. In his anxiety, he divided the people who were with him, as well as his flocks, herds and camels, into two camps.

9

“If Esau should attack and overwhelm one camp,” he reasoned, “the remaining camp may still survive.”

10

Then he prayed: “O God of my father Abraham and God of my father Isaac! You told me, O LORD, ‘Go back to the land of your birth, and I will be good to you.’

11

I am unworthy of all the acts of kindness that you have loyally performed for your servant: although I crossed the Jordan here with nothing but my staff, I have now grown into two companies.

12

Save me, I pray, from the hand of my brother Esau! Otherwise I fear that when he comes he will strike me down and slay the mothers and children.

13

You yourself said, ‘I will be very good to you, and I will make your descendants like the sands of the sea, which are too numerous to count.'”

14

After passing the night there, Jacob selected from what he had with him the following presents for his brother Esau:

15

two hundred she-goats and twenty he-goats; two hundred ewes and twenty rams;

16

thirty milch camels and their young; forty cows and ten bulls; twenty she-asses and ten he-asses.

17

He put these animals in charge of his servants, in separate droves, and he told the servants, “Go on ahead of me, but keep a space between one drove and the next.”

18

To the servant in the lead he gave this instruction: “When my brother Esau meets you, he may ask you, ‘Whose man are you? Where are you going? To whom do these animals ahead of you belong?’

19

Then you shall answer, ‘They belong to your brother Jacob, but they have been sent as a gift to my lord Esau; and Jacob himself is right behind us.'”

20

He gave similar instructions to the second servant and the third and to all the others who followed behind the droves, namely: “Thus and thus shall you say to Esau, when you reach him;

21

and be sure to add, ‘Your servant Jacob is right behind us.'” For Jacob reasoned, “If I first appease him with gifts that precede me, then later, when I face him, perhaps he will forgive me.”

22

So the gifts went on ahead of him, while he stayed that night in the camp.

23

In the course of that night, however, Jacob arose, took his two wives, with the two maidservants and his eleven children, and crossed the ford of the Jabbok.

24

After he had taken them across the stream and had brought over all his possessions,

25

2 Jacob was left there alone. Then some man wrestled with him until the break of dawn.

26

When the man saw that he could not prevail over him, he struck Jacob’s hip at its socket, so that the hip socket was wrenched as they wrestled.

27

The man then said, “Let me go, for it is daybreak.” But Jacob said, “I will not let you go until you bless me.”

28

“What is your name?” the man asked. He answered, “Jacob.”

29

3 Then the man said, “You shall no longer be spoken of as Jacob, but as Israel, because you have contended with divine and human beings and have prevailed.”

30

Jacob then asked him, “Do tell me your name, please.” He answered, “Why should you want to know my name?” With that, he bade him farewell.

31

4 Jacob named the place Peniel, “Because I have seen God face to face,” he said, “yet my life has been spared.”

32

At sunrise, as he left Penuel, Jacob limped along because of his hip.

33

That is why, to this day, the Israelites do not eat the sciatic muscle that is on the hip socket, inasmuch as Jacob’s hip socket was struck at the sciatic muscle.

1 [3] Mahanaim: a town in Gilead ( Joshua 13:26,  30;  21:38;  2 Sam 2:8; etc.). The Hebrew name means “two camps.” There are other allusions to the name in  Genesis 32:8,  11.

2 [25] Some man: a messenger of the Lord in human form, as is clear from  Genesis 32:29,-31

3 Israel: the first part of the Hebrew name Yisrael is given a popular explanation in the word sarita, “you contended”; the second part is the first syllable of elohim, “divine beings.” The present incident, with a similar allusion to the name Israel, is referred to in  Hosea 12:5, where the mysterious wrestler is explicitly called an angel.

4 [31] Peniel: a variant of the word Penuel ( Genesis 32:32), the name of a town on the north bank of the Jabbok in Gilead ( Judges 8:8-9,  17;  1 Kings 12:25). The name is explained as meaning “the face of God,” peni-el. Yet my life has been spared: see note on  Genesis 16:13.

Genesis – Chapter 31

The Bible – Old Testament

 Genesis

Index

Genesis

Chapter 31

1

Jacob learned that Laban’s sons were saying, “Jacob has taken everything that belonged to our father, and he has accumulated all this wealth of his by using our father’s property.”

2

Jacob perceived, too, that Laban’s attitude toward him was not what it had previously been.

3

Then the LORD said to Jacob, “Return to the land of your fathers, where you were born, and I will be with you.”

4

So Jacob sent for Rachel and Leah to meet him where he was in the field with his flock.

5

There he said to them: “I have noticed that your father’s attitude toward me is not as it was in the past; but the God of my father has been with me.

6

You well know what effort I put into serving your father;

7

yet your father cheated me and changed my wages time after time. God, however, did not let him do me any harm.

8

1 Whenever your father said, ‘The speckled animals shall be your wages,’ the entire flock would bear speckled young; whenever he said, ‘The streaked animals shall be your wages,’ the entire flock would bear streaked young.

9

Thus God reclaimed your father’s livestock and gave it to me.

10

Once, in the breeding season, I had a dream in which I saw mating he-goats that were streaked, speckled and mottled.

11

In the dream God’s messenger called to me, ‘Jacob!’ ‘Here!’ I replied.

12

Then he said: ‘Note well. All the he-goats in the flock, as they mate, are streaked, speckled and mottled, for I have seen all the things that Laban has been doing to you.

13

I am the God who appeared to you in Bethel, where you anointed a memorial stone and made a vow to me. Up, then! Leave this land and return to the land of your birth.'”

14

Rachel and Leah answered him: “Have we still an heir’s portion in our father’s house?

15

2 Are we not regarded by him as outsiders? He not only sold us; he has even used up the money that he got for us!

16

All the wealth that God reclaimed from our father really belongs to us and our children. Therefore, do just as God has told you.”

17

Jacob proceeded to put his children and wives on camels,

18

and he drove off with all his livestock and all the property he had acquired in Paddan-aram, to go to his father Isaac in the land of Canaan.

19

3 Now Laban had gone away to shear his sheep, and Rachel had meanwhile appropriated her father’s household idols.

20

4 Jacob had hoodwinked Laban the Aramean by not telling him of his intended flight.

21

Thus he made his escape with all that he had. Once he was across the Euphrates, he headed for the highlands of Gilead.

22

On the third day, word came to Laban that Jacob had fled.

23

5 Taking his kinsmen with him, he pursued him for seven days until he caught up with him in the hill country of Gilead.

24

But that night God appeared to Laban the Aramean in a dream and warned him, “Take care not to threaten Jacob with any harm!”

25

When Laban overtook Jacob, Jacob’s tents were pitched in the highlands; Laban also pitched his tents there, on Mount Gilead.

26

6 “What do you mean,” Laban demanded of Jacob, “by hoodwinking me and carrying off my daughters like war captives?

27

Why did you dupe me by stealing away secretly? You should have told me, and I would have sent you off with merry singing to the sound of tambourines and harps.

28

You did not even allow me a parting kiss to my daughters and grandchildren! What you have now done is a senseless thing.

29

I have it in my power to harm all of you; but last night the God of your father said to me, ‘Take care not to threaten Jacob with any harm!’

30

Granted that you had to leave because you were desperately homesick for your father’s house, why did you steal my gods?”

31

“I was frightened,” Jacob replied to Laban, “at the thought that you might take your daughters away from me by force.

32

But as for your gods, the one you find them with shall not remain alive! If, with my kinsmen looking on, you identify anything here as belonging to you, take it.” Jacob, of course, had no idea that Rachel had stolen the idols.

33

Laban then went in and searched Jacob’s tent and Leah’s tent, as well as the tents of the two maidservants; but he did not find the idols. Leaving Leah’s tent, he went into Rachel’s.

34

Now Rachel had taken the idols, put them inside a camel cushion, and seated herself upon them. When Laban had rummaged through the rest of her tent without finding them,

35

Rachel said to her father, “Let not my lord feel offended that I cannot rise in your presence; a woman’s period is upon me.” So, despite his search, he did not find his idols.

36

Jacob, now enraged, upbraided Laban. “What crime or offense have I committed,” he demanded, “that you should hound me so fiercely?

37

Now that you have ransacked all my things, have you found a single object taken from your belongings? If so, produce it here before your kinsmen and mine, and let them decide between us two.

38

“In the twenty years that I was under you, no ewe or she-goat of yours ever miscarried, and I have never feasted on a ram of your flock.

39

7 I never brought you an animal torn by wild beasts; I made good the loss myself. You held me responsible for anything stolen by day or night.

40

How often the scorching heat ravaged me by day, and the frost by night, while sleep fled from my eyes!

41

Of the twenty years that I have now spent in your household, I slaved fourteen years for your two daughters and six years for your flock, while you changed my wages time after time.

42

If my ancestral God, the God of Abraham and the Awesome One of Isaac, had not been on my side, you would now have sent me away empty-handed. But God saw my plight and the fruits of my toil, and last night he gave judgment.”

43

8 Laban replied to Jacob: “The women are mine, their children are mine, and the flocks are mine; everything you see belongs to me. But since these women are my daughters, I will now do something for them and for the children they have borne.

44

Come, then, we will make a pact, you and I; the LORD shall be a witness between us.”

45

Then Jacob took a stone and set it up as a memorial stone.

46

Jacob said to his kinsmen, “Gather some stones.” So they got some stones and made a mound; and they had a meal there at the mound.

47

9 Laban called it Jegar-sahadutha, but Jacob named it Galeed.

48

“This mound,” said Laban, “shall be a witness from now on between you and me.” That is why it was named Galeed – 

49

10 and also Mizpah, for he said: “May the LORD keep watch between you and me when we are out of each other’s sight.

50

If you mistreat my daughters, or take other wives besides my daughters, remember that even though no one else is about, God will be witness between you and me.”

51

Laban said further to Jacob: “Here is this mound, and here is the memorial stone that I have set up between you and me.

52

This mound shall be witness, and this memorial stone shall be witness, that, with hostile intent, neither may I pass beyond this mound into your territory, nor may you pass beyond it into mine.

53

May the God of Abraham and the god of Nahor (their ancestral deities) maintain justice between us!” Jacob took the oath by the Awesome One of Isaac.

54

He then offered a sacrifice on the mountain and invited his kinsmen to share in the meal. When they had eaten, they passed the night on the mountain.

1 [8-12] This Elohist account of the miraculous increase in Jacob’s flock differs somewhat from the Yahwist account given in  Genesis 30:32-42.

2 [15] Outsiders: literally “foreign women”; they lacked the favored legal status of native women. Used up: literally “eaten, consumed”; the bridal price that a man received for giving his daughter in marriage was legally reserved as her inalienable dowry.

3 [19] Household idols: in Hebrew, teraphim, figurines used in divination ( Ezekiel 21:26;  Zechariah 10:2). Laban calls them his “gods” ?( Genesis 31:30).

4 [20] Hoodwinked: literally “stolen the heart of,” i.e., lulled the mind of. Aramean: The earliest extra-biblical references to the Arameans date from several centuries after the time of Jacob; to call Laban an Aramean and to have him speak Aramaic ( Genesis 31:47) would seem to be an anachronism.

5 [23] For seven days: literally “a way of seven days,” a general term to designate a long distance; it would have taken a camel caravan many more days to travel from Haran to Gilead, the region east of the northern half of the Jordan.

6 [26] War captives: literally “women captured by the sword”; the women of a conquered people were treated as part of the victor’s booty; cf  1 Sam 30:2;  2 Kings 5:2.

7 [39] Laban’s actions were contrary to the customs of the ancient Near East, as recorded in the Code of Hammurabi: “If in a sheepfold an act of god has occurred, or a lion has made a kill, the shepherd shall clear himself before the deity, and the owner of the fold must accept the loss” (par. 266); cf  Exodus 22:12.

8 [43-54] In this account of the treaty between Laban and Jacob, the Yahwist and Elohist sources are closely interwoven. The mound or cairn of stones comes from the Yahwist source, the memorial stone or stele comes from the Elohist one.

9 [47] Jegar-sahadutha: an Aramaic term meaning “mound of witness.” Galeed: in Hebrew, galed, with the same meaning; also offers an explanation of the regional name Gilead.

10 [49] Mizpah: a town in Gilead; cf  Judges 10:17;  11:11,  34;  Hosea 5:1. The Hebrew name mispa (“lookout”) is allied to yisep yhwh (“may the Lord keep watch”), and also echoes the word masseba (“memorial pillar”).

Genesis – Chapter 30

The Bible – Old Testament

 Genesis

Index

Genesis

Chapter 30

1

When Rachel saw that she failed to bear children to Jacob, she became envious of her sister. She said to Jacob, “Give me children or I shall die!”

2

In anger Jacob retorted, “Can I take the place of God, who has denied you the fruit of the womb?”

3

1 She replied, “Here is my maidservant Bilhah. Have intercourse with her, and let her give birth on my knees, so that I too may have offspring, at least through her.”

4

2 So she gave him her maidservant Bilhah as a consort, and Jacob had intercourse with her.

5

When Bilhah conceived and bore a son,

6

3 Rachel said, “God has vindicated me; indeed he has heeded my plea and given me a son.” Therefore she named him Dan.

7

Rachel’s maidservant Bilhah conceived again and bore a second son,

8

4 and Rachel said, “I engaged in a fateful struggle with my sister, and I prevailed.” So she named him Naphtali.

9

When Leah saw that she had ceased to bear children, she gave her maidservant Zilpah to Jacob as a consort.

10

So Jacob had intercourse with Zilpah, and she conceived and bore a son.

11

5 Leah then said, “What good luck!” So she named him Gad.

12

Then Leah’s maidservant Zilpah bore a second son to Jacob;

13

6 and Leah said, “What good fortune!” – meaning, “Women call me fortunate.” So she named him Asher.

14

7 One day, during the wheat harvest, when Reuben was out in the field, he came upon some mandrakes which he brought home to his mother Leah. Rachel asked Leah, “Please let me have some of your son’s mandrakes.”

15

Leah replied, “Was it not enough for you to take away my husband, that you must now take my son’s mandrakes too?” “Very well, then!” Rachel answered. “In exchange for your son’s mandrakes, Jacob may lie with you tonight.”

16

That evening, when Jacob came home from the fields, Leah went out to meet him. “You are now to come in with me,” she told him, “because I have paid for you with my son’s mandrakes.” So that night he slept with her,

17

and God heard her prayer; she conceived and bore a fifth son to Jacob.

18

8 Leah then said, “God has given me my reward for having let my husband have my maidservant”; so she named him Issachar.

19

Leah conceived again and bore a sixth son to Jacob;

20

9 and she said, “God has brought me a precious gift. This time my husband will offer me presents, now that I have borne him six sons”; so she named him Zebulun.

21

Finally, she gave birth to a daughter, and she named her Dinah.

22

Then God remembered Rachel; he heard her prayer and made her fruitful.

23

She conceived and bore a son, and she said, “God has removed my disgrace.”

24

10 So she named him Joseph, meaning, “May the LORD add another son to this one for me!”

25

After Rachel gave birth to Joseph, Jacob said to Laban: “Give me leave to go to my homeland.

26

Let me have my wives, for whom I served you, and my children, too, that I may depart. You know very well the service that I have rendered you.”

27

Laban answered him: “If you will please…”I have learned through divination that it is because of you that God has blessed me.

28

So,” he continued, “state what wages you want from me, and I will pay them.”

29

Jacob replied: “You know what work I did for you and how well your livestock fared under my care;

30

the little you had before I came has grown into very much, since the LORD’S blessings came upon you in my company. Therefore I should now do something for my own household as well.”

31

“What should I pay you?” Laban asked. Jacob answered: “You do not have to pay me anything outright. I will again pasture and tend your flock, if you do this one thing for me:

32

11 go through your whole flock today and remove from it every dark animal among the sheep and every spotted or speckled one among the goats. Only such animals shall be my wages.

33

In the future, whenever you check on these wages of mine, let my honesty testify against me: any animal in my possession that is not a speckled or spotted goat, or a dark sheep, got there by theft!”

34

“Very well,” agreed Laban. “Let it be as you say.”

35

12 That same day Laban removed the streaked and spotted he-goats and all the speckled and spotted she-goats, all those with some white on them, as well as the fully dark-colored sheep; these he left. . . in charge of his sons.

36

Then he put a three days’ journey between himself and Jacob, while Jacob continued to pasture the rest of Laban’s flock.

37

Jacob, however, got some fresh shoots of poplar, almond and plane trees, and he made white stripes in them by peeling off the bark down to the white core of the shoots.

38

The rods that he had thus peeled he then set upright in the watering troughs, so that they would be in front of the animals that drank from the troughs. When the animals were in heat as they came to drink,

39

13 the goats mated by the rods, and so they brought forth streaked, speckled and spotted kids.

40

The sheep, on the other hand, Jacob kept apart, and he set these animals to face the streaked or fully dark-colored animals of Laban. Thus he produced special flocks of his own, which he did not put with Laban’s flock.

41

Moreover, whenever the hardier animals were in heat, Jacob would set the rods in the troughs in full view of these animals, so that they mated by the rods;

42

but with the weaker animals he would not put the rods there. So the feeble animals would go to Laban, but the sturdy ones to Jacob.

43

Thus the man grew increasingly prosperous, and he came to own not only large flocks but also male and female servants and camels and asses.

1 [3] On my knees: in the ancient Near East, a father would take a newborn child in his lap to signify that he acknowledged it as his own; Rachel uses the ceremony in order to adopt the child and establish her legal rights to it.

2 [4] Consort: The Hebrew word normally means “wife,” but here it refers to a wife of secondary rank, who did not have the full legal rights of an ordinary wife.

3 [6] Dan: explained by the term dannanni, “he has vindicated me.”

4 [8] Naphtali: explained by the phrase “naptule elohim niptalti,” literally, “in a divine wrestling match I have wrestled,” perhaps implying the concept of an ordeal; hence the above rendering, I engaged in a fateful struggle.

5 [11] Gad: explained by the Hebrew term begad, literally “in luck,” i.e., what good luck!

6 [13] Asher: explained by the term beoshri, literally “in my good fortune.” i.e., what good fortune, and by the term ishsheruni “they call me fortunate.”

7 [14] Mandrakes: an herb whose root was anciently thought to promote conception. The Hebrew word for mandrakes, dudaim, has erotic connotations, since it sounds like the words daddayim (“breasts”) and dodim (“sexual pleasure”).

8 [18] Issachar: explained by the terms, sekari, “my reward,” and in  Genesis 30:16, sakor sekartika, literally “I have hired you,” i.e., I have paid for you.

9 [20] Zebulun: related to the Akkadian word zubullum, “bridegroom’s gift,” is explained by the terms, zebadani . . . zebed tob, “he has brought me a precious gift,” and yizbeleni, “he will offer me presents.”

10 [24] Joseph: explained by the words yosep, “may he add,” and in  Genesis 30:23, asap, “he has removed.”

11 [32] Dark . . . sheep . . . spotted or speckled goats: In the Near East the normal color of sheep is light gray, whereas that of goats is uniform dark brown or black. Ordinarily, therefore, Jacob would have received but few animals.

12 [35] By giving the abnormally colored animals to his sons, Laban not only deprived Jacob of his first small wages, but he also designed to prevent in this way the future breeding of such animals in the part of his flock entrusted to Jacob.

13 [39-42] Jacob’s stratagem was based on the widespread notion among simple people that visual stimuli can have prenatal effects on the offspring of breeding animals. Thus, the rods on which Jacob had whittled stripes or bands or chevron marks were thought to cause the female goats that looked at them to bear kids with lighter-colored marks on their dark hair, while the gray ewes were thought to bear lambs with dark marks on them simply by visual cross-breeding with the dark goats.

Genesis – Chapter 29

The Bible – Old Testament

 Genesis

Index

Genesis

Chapter 29

1

1 After Jacob resumed his journey, he came to the land of the Easterners.

2

Looking about, he saw a well in the open country, with three droves of sheep huddled near it, for droves were watered from that well. A large stone covered the mouth of the well.

3

Only when all the shepherds were assembled there could they roll the stone away from the mouth of the well and water the flocks. Then they would put the stone back again over the mouth of the well.

4

Jacob said to them, “Friends, where are you from?” “We are from Haran,” they replied.

5

Then he asked them, “Do you know Laban, son of Nahor?” “We do,” they answered.

6

He inquired further, “Is he well?” “He is,” they answered; “and here comes his daughter Rachel with his flock.”

7

Then he said: “There is still much daylight left; it is hardly the time to bring the animals home. Why don’t you water the flocks now, and then continue pasturing them?”

8

“We cannot,” they replied, “until all the shepherds are here to roll the stone away from the mouth of the well; only then can we water the flocks.”

9

While he was still talking with them, Rachel arrived with her father’s sheep; she was the one who tended them.

10

As soon as Jacob saw Rachel, the daughter of his uncle Laban, with the sheep of his uncle Laban, he went up, rolled the stone away from the mouth of the well, and watered his uncle’s sheep.

11

2 Then Jacob kissed Rachel and burst into tears.

12

He told her that he was her father’s relative, Rebekah’s son, and she ran to tell her father.

13

When Laban heard the news about his sister’s son Jacob, he hurried out to meet him. After embracing and kissing him, he brought him to his house. Jacob then recounted to Laban all that had happened,

14

3 and Laban said to him, “You are indeed my flesh and blood.” After Jacob had stayed with him a full month,

15

Laban said to him: “Should you serve me for nothing just because you are a relative of mine? Tell me what your wages should be.”

16

Now Laban had two daughters; the older was called Leah, the younger Rachel.

17

4 Leah had lovely eyes, but Rachel was well formed and beautiful.

18

5 Since Jacob had fallen in love with Rachel, he answered Laban, “I will serve you seven years for your younger daughter Rachel.”

19

Laban replied, “I prefer to give her to you rather than to an outsider. Stay with me.”

20

So Jacob served seven years for Rachel, yet they seemed to him but a few days because of his love for her.

21

Then Jacob said to Laban, “Give me my wife, that I may consummate my marriage with her, for my term is now completed.”

22

So Laban invited all the local inhabitants and gave a feast.

23

At nightfall he took his daughter Leah and brought her to Jacob, and Jacob consummated the marriage with her.

24

(Laban assigned his slave girl Zilpah to his daughter Leah as her maidservant.)

25

6 In the morning Jacob was amazed: it was Leah! So he cried out to Laban: “How could you do this to me! Was it not for Rachel that I served you? Why did you dupe me?”

26

“It is not the custom in our country,” Laban replied, “to marry off a younger daughter before an older one.

27

7 Finish the bridal week for this one, and then I will give you the other too, in return for another seven years of service with me.”

28

Jacob agreed. He finished the bridal week for Leah, and then Laban gave him his daughter Rachel in marriage.

29

(Laban assigned his slave girl Bilhah to his daughter Rachel as her maidservant.)

30

Jacob then consummated his marriage with Rachel also, and he loved her more than Leah. Thus he remained in Laban’s service another seven years.

31

When the LORD saw that Leah was unloved, he made her fruitful, while Rachel remained barren.

32

8 Leah conceived and bore a son, and she named him Reuben; for she said, “It means, ‘The LORD saw my misery; now my husband will love me.'”

33

9 She conceived again and bore a son, and said, “It means, ‘The LORD heard that I was unloved,’ and therefore he has given me this one also”; so she named him Simeon.

34

10 Again she conceived and bore a son, and she said, “Now at last my husband will become attached to me, since I have now borne him three sons”; that is why she named him Levi.

35

11 Once more she conceived and bore a son, and she said, “This time I will give grateful praise to the LORD”; therefore she named him Judah. Then she stopped bearing children.

1 [1] Easterners: see note on  Genesis 25:6.

2 [11] Burst into tears: literally “raised his voice and wept,” i.e., for joy.

3 [14] Flesh and blood: literally “bone and flesh,” i.e., a close relative; on the Hebrew idiom, see  Genesis 2:23.

4 [17] Lovely eyes: the adjective modifying eyes is often translated as “weak,” but “lovely” is the more probable word.

5 [18] Jacob offers to render service ( Joshua 15:16,  17;  1 Sam 17:25; 18;17) in lieu of the customary bridal price ( Exodus 22:16,  17;  Deut 22:29).

6 [25] Jacob was amazed: he had not recognized Leah because a bride was veiled when she was brought to her bridegroom; cf  Genesis 24:65

7 [27] The bridal week: an ancient wedding lasted for seven days of festivities; cf  Judges 14:12.

8 [32] Reuben: the literal meaning of the Hebrew name is “look, a son!” But in this case, as also with the names of all the other sons of Jacob, a symbolic rather than an etymological interpretation of the name is given, because the name and the persons were regarded as closely interrelated. The symbolic interpretation of Reuben’s name, according to the Yahwist source, is based on the similar-sounding raa beonyi, “he saw my misery.” In the Elohist source, the name is explained by the similar-sounding yeehabani, “he will love me.”

9 [33] Simeon: in popular etymology, related to shama, “he heard.”

10 [34] Levi: related to yillaweh, “he will become attached.”

11 [35] Judah: related to odeh, “I will give grateful praise.”

Genesis – Chapter 28

The Bible – Old Testament

 Genesis

Index

Genesis

Chapter 28

1

Isaac therefore called Jacob, greeted him with a blessing, and charged him: “You shall not marry a Canaanite woman!

2

Go now to Paddan-aram, to the home of your mother’s father Bethuel, and there choose a wife for yourself from among the daughters of your uncle Laban.

3

May God Almighty bless you and make you fertile, multiply you that you may become an assembly of peoples.

4

May he extend to you and your descendants the blessing he gave to Abraham, so that you may gain possession of the land where you are staying, which he assigned to Abraham.”

5

Then Isaac sent Jacob on his way; he went to Paddan-aram, to Laban, son of Bethuel the Aramean, and brother of Rebekah, the mother of Jacob and Esau.

6

Esau noted that Isaac had blessed Jacob when he sent him to Paddan-aram to get himself a wife there, charging him, as he gave him his blessing, not to marry a Canaanite woman,

7

and that Jacob had obeyed his father and mother and gone to Paddan-aram.

8

Esau realized how displeasing the Canaanite women were to his father Isaac,

9

so he went to Ishmael, and in addition to the wives he had, married Mahalath, the daughter of Abraham’s son Ishmael and sister of Nebaioth.

10

Jacob departed from Beer-sheba and proceeded toward Haran.

11

1 When he came upon a certain shrine, as the sun had already set, he stopped there for the night. Taking one of the stones at the shrine, he put it under his head and lay down to sleep at that spot.

12

2 Then he had a dream: a stairway rested on the ground, with its top reaching to the heavens; and God’s messengers were going up and down on it.

13

And there was the LORD standing beside him and saying: “I, the LORD, am the God of your forefather Abraham and the God of Isaac; the land on which you are lying I will give to you and your descendants.

14

These shall be as plentiful as the dust of the earth, and through them you shall spread out east and west, north and south. In you and your descendants all the nations of the earth shall find blessing.

15

Know that I am with you; I will protect you wherever you go, and bring you back to this land. I will never leave you until I have done what I promised you.”

16

When Jacob awoke from his sleep, he exclaimed, “Truly, the LORD is in this spot, although I did not know it!”

17

3 In solemn wonder he cried out: “How awesome is this shrine! This is nothing else but an abode of God, and that is the gateway to heaven!”

18

4 Early the next morning Jacob took the stone that he had put under his head, set it up as a memorial stone, and poured oil on top of it.

19

5 He called that site Bethel, whereas the former name of the town had been Luz.

20

Jacob then made this vow: “If God remains with me, to protect me on this journey I am making and to give me enough bread to eat and clothing to wear,

21

and I come back safe to my father’s house, the LORD shall be my God.

22

This stone that I have set up as a memorial stone shall be God’s abode. Of everything you give me, I will faithfully return a tenth part to you.”

1 [11] Shrine: literally “place,” often used specifically of a sacred site. Here the place was Bethel ( Genesis 28:19), a sacred site as early as the time of Abraham ( Genesis 12:8).

2 [12] Stairway: in Hebrew, sullam, traditionally but inaccurately translated as “ladder.” The corresponding verb, salal, means “to heap up” something, such as dirt for a highway or ramp. The imagery in Jacob’s dream is derived from the Babylonian ziggurat or temple tower, “with its top in the sky” ( Genesis 11:4), and with brick steps leading up to a small temple at the top.

3 [17] This: the stone Jacob used as a headrest; cf  Genesis 28:22. That: the stairway Jacob saw in his dream.

4 [18] Memorial stone: in Hebrew, masseba, a stone which might vary in shape and size, set upright and usually intended for some religious purpose. Since the custom of erecting such “sacred pillars” in Palestine went back to its pre-Israelite period, their pagan associations were often retained; therefore, later Israelite religion forbade their erection ( Lev 26:1;  Deut 16:22) and ordered the destruction of those that were associated with paganism ( Exodus 34:31;  Deut 12:3).

5 [19] Bethel: i.e., “house of God”; the reference is to the abode of God in  Genesis 28:17.

Genesis – Chapter 27

The Bible – Old Testament

 Genesis

Index

Genesis

Chapter 27

1

1 When Isaac was so old that his eyesight had failed him, he called his older son Esau and said to him, “Son!” “Yes, father!” he replied.

2

Isaac then said, “As you can see, I am so old that I may now die at any time.

3

Take your gear, therefore – your quiver and bow – and go out into the country to hunt some game for me.

4

2 With your catch prepare an appetizing dish for me, such as I like, and bring it to me to eat, so that I may give you my special blessing before I die.”

5

Rebekah had been listening while Isaac was speaking to his son Esau. So when Esau went out into the country to hunt some game for his father,

6

Rebekah said to her son Jacob, “Listen! I overheard your father tell your brother Esau,

7

‘Bring me some game and with it prepare an appetizing dish for me to eat, that I may give you my blessing with the LORD’S approval before I die.’

8

Now, son, listen carefully to what I tell you.

9

Go to the flock and get me two choice kids. With these I will prepare an appetizing dish for your father, such as he likes.

10

Then bring it to your father to eat, that he may bless you before he dies.”

11

“But my brother Esau is a hairy man,” said Jacob to his mother Rebekah, “and I am smooth-skinned!

12

Suppose my father feels me? He will think I am making sport of him, and I shall bring on myself a curse instead of a blessing.”

13

His mother, however, replied: “Let any curse against you, son, fall on me! Just do as I say. Go and get me the kids.”

14

So Jacob went and got them and brought them to his mother; and with them she prepared an appetizing dish, such as his father liked.

15

Rebekah then took the best clothes of her older son Esau that she had in the house, and gave them to her younger son Jacob to wear;

16

and with the skins of the kids she covered up his hands and the hairless parts of his neck.

17

Then she handed her son Jacob the appetizing dish and the bread she had prepared.

18

Bringing them to his father, Jacob said, “Father!” “Yes?” replied Isaac. “Which of my sons are you?”

19

Jacob answered his father: “I am Esau, your first-born. I did as you told me. Please sit up and eat some of my game, so that you may give me your special blessing.”

20

But Isaac asked, “How did you succeed so quickly, son?” He answered, “The LORD, your God, let things turn out well with me.”

21

Isaac then said to Jacob, “Come closer, son, that I may feel you, to learn whether you really are my son Esau or not.”

22

So Jacob moved up closer to his father. When Isaac felt him, he said, “Although the voice is Jacob’s, the hands are Esau’s.”

23

(He failed to identify him because his hands were hairy, like those of his brother Esau; so in the end he gave him his blessing.)

24

Again he asked him, “Are you really my son Esau?” “Certainly,” he replied.

25

Then Isaac said, “Serve me your game, son, that I may eat of it and then give you my blessing.” Jacob served it to him, and Isaac ate; he brought him wine, and he drank.

26

Finally his father Isaac said to him, “Come closer, son, and kiss me.”

27

As Jacob went up and kissed him, Isaac smelled the fragrance of his clothes. With that, he blessed him, saying, “Ah, the fragrance of my son is like the fragrance of a field that the LORD has blessed!

28

“May God give to you of the dew of the heavens And of the fertility of the earth abundance of grain and wine.

29

“Let peoples serve you, and nations pay you homage; Be master of your brothers, and may your mother’s sons bow down to you. Cursed be those who curse you, and blessed be those who bless you.”

30

Jacob had scarcely left his father, just after Isaac had finished blessing him, when his brother Esau came back from his hunt.

31

Then he too prepared an appetizing dish with his game, and bringing it to his father, he said, “Please, father, eat some of your son’s game, that you may then give me your special blessing.”

32

“Who are you?” his father Isaac asked him. “I am Esau,” he replied, “your first-born son.”

33

With that, Isaac was seized with a fit of uncontrollable trembling. “Who was it, then,” he asked, “that hunted game and brought it to me? I finished eating it just before you came, and I blessed him. Now he must remain blessed!”

34

On hearing his father’s words, Esau burst into loud, bitter sobbing. “Father, bless me too!” he begged.

35

When Isaac explained, “Your brother came here by a ruse and carried off your blessing,”

36

3 Esau exclaimed, “He has been well named Jacob! He has now supplanted me twice! First he took away my birthright, and now he has taken away my blessing.” Then he pleaded, “Haven’t you saved a blessing for me?”

37

Isaac replied: “I have already appointed him your master, and I have assigned to him all his kinsmen as his slaves; besides, I have enriched him with grain and wine. What then can I do for you, son?”

38

But Esau urged his father, “Have you only that one blessing, father? Bless me too!” Isaac, however, made no reply; and Esau wept aloud.

39

Finally Isaac spoke again and said to him: “Ah, far from the fertile earth shall be your dwelling; far from the dew of the heavens above!

40

“By your sword you shall live, and your brother you shall serve; But when you become restive, you shall throw off his yoke from your neck.”

41

Esau bore Jacob a grudge because of the blessing his father had given him. He said to himself, “When the time of mourning for my father comes, I will kill my brother Jacob.”

42

When Rebekah got news of what her older son Esau had in mind, she called her younger son Jacob and said to him: “Listen! Your brother Esau intends to settle accounts with you by killing you.

43

Therefore, son, do what I tell you: flee at once to my brother Laban in Haran,

44

and stay with him a while until your brother’s fury subsides

45

(until your brother’s anger against you subsides) and he forgets what you did to him. Then I will send for you and bring you back. Must I lose both of you in a single day?”

46

4 Rebekah said to Isaac: “I am disgusted with life because of the Hittite women. If Jacob also should marry a Hittite woman, a native of the land, like these women, what good would life be to me?”

1 [1-45] What Jacob did in deceiving his father and thereby cheating Esau out of Isaac’s deathbed blessing is condemned as blameworthy, not only by Hosea ( Hosea 12:4) and Jeremiah ( Jeremiah 9:3), but also, indirectly, by the Yahwist narrator of the present story, who makes the reader sympathize with Esau as the innocent victim of a cruel plot, and shows that Jacob and his mother, the instigator of the plot, paid for it by a lifelong separation from each other. The story was told because it was part of the mystery of God’s ways in salvation history – his use of weak, sinful men to achieve his own ultimate purpose.

2 [4] My special blessing: “the blessing of my soul.” The same expression is used also in  Genesis 27:19,  25,  31. In the context it must mean something like a solemn deathbed blessing, believed to be especially efficacious.

3 [36] He has now supplanted me: in Hebrew, wayyaqebeni, a wordplay on the name Jacob, yaaqob; see  Jeremiah 9:3 and note, as well as  Genesis 25:26. There is also a play between the Hebrew words bekora (“birthright”) and beraka (“blessing”).

4 [ 27:46- 28:9] This section, which is from the Priestly source and a direct sequel of  Genesis 26:34-35, presents a different, though not contradictory, reason for Jacob’s going to Paddan-aram: namely, to preserve racial purity among the chosen people. The account of Esau’s marriages is given for the purpose of explaining the racial mixture of the Edomites, who were descended in part from tribes related to Israel, in part from older peoples in Edom called Hittites, Horites or Hivites, and in part from the Ishmaelite (Arabian) tribes who later invaded the region.