A Daily Genesis

Genesis 28:8-12a

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[B][COLOR=#ff0000]†.[/COLOR] Gen 28:8 . . Esau realized that the Canaanite women displeased his father Isaac.[/B]

Now that Esau no longer enjoyed the status of a pampered athlete, he's a little more attuned to the opinions of others around him; most especially to the dad who at one time gave the impression his eldest was so wonderful.

[B][COLOR=#ff0000]†.[/COLOR] Gen 28:9a . . So Esau went to Ishmael and took to wife, in addition to the wives he had,[/B]

Some feel that Esau did that to create an alliance with Ishmael; since he too was a disfavored son. But Ishmael was already deceased by this time. He was at least fourteen years older than Isaac, who was by this time around 135. Ishmael died at 137; twelve years prior to this chapter. It is much more likely that Esau betrothed a woman from Ishmael's family in an attempt to redeem his marriages to the Hittite girls. Ishmael's girls, at least, were kin.

[B][COLOR=#ff0000]†.[/COLOR] Gen 28:9b . . Mahalath the daughter of Ishmael son of Abraham, sister of Nebaioth.[/B]

Ishmael being long dead; his son Nebaioth made the arrangements for marriage.

You know, life sometimes dealt cruelly with girls in that day. Romance was out of the question. Even if there was a boy in the neighborhood that took their breath away, the girls weren't allowed to even date, let alone marry him. They had to marry a man their dads or their brothers selected-- oftentimes a total stranger and often someone quite a bit older than themselves. You'll often see it said in the Bible that so and so loved a particular girl; but hardly ever will you see where she loved him back.

I believe that Abraham was a conscientious parent and made certain Ishmael received religious training. By the time Ishmael was evicted at fifteen or so, he had a pretty good basic knowledge regarding Abraham's god. And his mom Hagar was familiar with Him too. So it would not surprise me if Mahalath was pretty sound in the correct beliefs. She was a much better choice than the Hittite girls, and she is never once said to be a heartbreak to either Isaac or Rebecca. I would like to think Mahalath was very good company for Rebecca; which would have been a real comfort to her now that Jacob was gone.

Unfortunately, Mahalath was too little too late. It was like closing the gate after the horses have run out of the corral. I'm sure Mahalath was okay; but Esau's new wife could never change God's decree concerning Jacob. Esau lost out: and he lost out big.
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[/COLOR][B][COLOR=#ff0000]†.[/COLOR] Gen 28:10 . . Jacob left Beer-sheba, and set out for Haran.[/B]

It's difficult for me to believe that Jacob made the 450 mile trip to Haran all by himself. He may have, I don't know. I'm not saying he didn't. After all, Hagar was apparently traveling alone when she ran away from Sarah back in chapter 16. But that was a very dangerous, foolish thing to do. A lone person in wild country is just asking for trouble. What if they were to fall and break a leg? Or were attacked by brigands and wild animals?

The route to Haran was used by caravans so Jacob may have traveled along with one for safety's sake; and if not then maybe with travelers on foot like himself sort of like the pilgrims who trek the El Camino de Santiago de Compostela in Spain.

[B][COLOR=#ff0000]†.[/COLOR] Gen 28:11a . . He came upon a certain place[/B]

According to Gen 28:19, the "certain place" was Bethel. The site started out as Luz; but later came to be known by the name Jacob gave it. Today it's commonly believed Bethel was somewhere around Beitin, about twelve miles north of Jerusalem and maybe two and a half miles northeast of Ramallah. At this point, Jacob was maybe sixty miles from Beer-sheba-- probably the second or third day of his journey.

[B][COLOR=#ff0000]†.[/COLOR] Gen 28:11b . . and stopped there for the night, for the sun had set.[/B]

Travel at night without a car with good electric headlights was not a good idea in those days. Palestine was once the habitat of bears and lions; and the odds were against you of getting lost and losing your way in the dark.

[B][COLOR=#ff0000]†.[/COLOR] Gen 28:11c . .Taking one of the stones of that place, he put it under his head and lay down in that place.[/B]

I doubt the stone was very large. Probably just enough to elevate his head a little so he wouldn't lie with his cheek right down on flat dirt. That is so uncomfortable. Try it. Put a towel or something down on the floor and lie down on the side of your head. It's much more comfortable to stack a few books first and then put the towel down. He probably did it like that and cushioned the stone with a bag or a coat.

[B][COLOR=#ff0000]†. [/COLOR]Gen 28:12a . . He had a dream;[/B]

In the book of Genesis, dreams are a common means of communication between God and human beings. Is that still going on? I really don't know. But if it ever happened to me, I would consider it a nightmare.

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