Day 7: Genesis 31-35
We are a week into this yearlong commitment to read the Bible everyday for 15 min. and we’re a little more than halfway through Genesis. So far I’ve been narrating what has been happening in the book, only adding personal comments here and there. Today I’m going to do this a little differently so if you prefer this or the other way feel free to comment which one and why.
Chapter 31 – Chapter 32
The first two chapters are where Jacob is told by God that it is alright for him to go home now. So he packs up his family and wealth, fleeing from Laban’s household without telling him that he is leaving. During this Exodus from their home, Rachel steals her family’s household gods. Laban is told 3 days later that they have left and he discover the theft. While going after Jacob, Laban has a dream from God telling him to be very careful in what he says to Jacob. When he does catch up with them he tells Jacob about this, but that he is still upset especially that they stole his gods. Jacob doesn’t know about the theft so he is now angry at Laban and has him search the whole camp saying that whoever they find with the gods shall die. They don’t find the gods so Laban is forced to admit that he is wrong. Finally, they make peace at the place called Mizpah allowing Jacob to return to Canaan.
Jacob gets worried as they come closer to Canaan because he knows that Esau still has every right to be mad at him. He sends many gifts on ahead to appease his brother and separates the rest of his household in two so that if one is attacked the rest will survive. Esau comes out to meet Jacob. The night before their meeting Jacob wrestles with God until the next morning when God displaces Jacob’s hip to end the struggle and changes Jacob’s name to Israel saying that he has struggled with God and men and has overcome. It turns out that Esau got over his anger at Jacob so he welcomes him home with great joy, trying to refuse his brother’s gifts. He eventually accepts them because Jacob insists then the part ways, promising to meet again later.
(this is where I’m going to differ a little in style)
Dinah is raped and her brothers avenge her.
We did not talk about this story in Sunday school or in church, in fact I didn’t even know this happened until I saw it in a movie about Joseph and went to check if it was accurate or not! That to me is a crime. We have many men and women in our country and around the world who are either victims or the perpetrators of sex crimes. It has a lasting impact through generations of people in a family and for women at least (I’m not a male so I can’t speak for them) this could ruin any chance at them having a healthy romantic relationship ever again. While clearly sex crimes have always been around, seeing as we are studying Genesis or the first few thousand years of humanity, the victims have only recently been able to seek protection in the law and some parts of society. Personally I would have responded the way her brothers did and ended anyone stupid enough to harm a member of my family. That’s probably not a great Christian attitude to have, but it is the truth. There are others in my family who would respond the way Jacob responded, by trying to make peace he eternally linked his daughter with that monster. He didn’t think about her health or well being! God doesn’t voice a direct opinion on the topic at this point in scripture. We know that He says what Shechem did was wrong. What I don’t understand is, is He on Jacob’s or her brothers’ side in this argument? Obviously, He included this story in the book of the beginnings for a reason. But, why would He if we aren’t even going to talk about it? It’s possible He has a third solution, how would we know? In our society we don’t speak up for these men, women, and children who are suffering because of these crimes. By age 10 most of our boys have been exposed to pornography. In my own area several people have been caught in the last few years running prostitution rings and kidnapping little girls to feed this sick obsession. We aren’t talking about it! We are feeding the industry with the way we portray women in popular media and that people still find it socially acceptable to look at porn at all. These are kinds of crimes that steal pieces of people’s souls that they can never get back. I challenge you all to spread awareness and stop feeding the sex trade. If you have or are being exploited against your will: Get help! Do it now! You are not alone! You are worth being loved and free, Jesus said so. There is no excuse for destroying another human being like this and there is no reason anyone should be tied to it for life.
Jacob’s family moves again. Benjamin is born. Rachel and Isaac die. The one interesting thing about Isaac’s burial is that much like his father was, he is laid to rest by both of his sons who have lived estranged from each other most of their lives because of their inheritance disagreements.