The book of Genesis, the first book of the Bible, is found in the Chumash or Pentateuch. Chapters 26 – 32 relate God’s encounters with Isaac, Abraham’s son, and his grandson Jacob; Esau’s loss of his birthright; and Jacob’s marriage and prosperity in Haran. This study is a continuation of Parts 1 and 2 of the same title.
The Medicine of the Word of God
My son, pay attention to my words; incline your ear to my sayings. Don’t lose sight of them; keep them in your heart. Because they are life for those who find them and health for the whole body – Proverbs 4:22
Genesis, part 3: chapters 26-32: test yourself
1. Name the two sons of Abraham and Sarah.
2. Name the two children of Isaac and Rebekah.
3. What great flaw in Abraham did Isaac show?
4. Why did Abimelech insist on a treaty with Isaac?[Gen 26:28].
5. Where did Jacob run after stealing his brother’s birthright? [Gen 27:43]
6. What does the name Bethel mean?
7. What was the blood relationship between Esau and his wife Mahalat, and what was the reason for the marriage?
8. Name the two wives of Jacob and their servants. Why were female servants important to the nation of Israel?
9. Why did Gd preferentially open Leah’s womb? (Genesis 29:31)
10. Name Leah’s first four children and the meaning of their names. [Gen 30:4-12]
11. Name the four sons of Bilha and Zilpah, in chronological order of their birth.
12. Name the four remaining sons of Jacob, indicating their mothers.
13. Where and when did Jacob wrestle with Gd, and what was the consequence? [Gen 31:22-32]
14. What does Peniel mean?
15. Who did Abraham marry after Sarah’s death, and how many children did they have?
Genesis Highlights, Chapters 26-32
Isaac marries two Canaanite women, which causes his mother’s displeasure. Jacob steals Isaac’s birthright and is forced to flee his home in Canaan. At dusk on the day of his flight, he stops for the night and dreams of a ladder that connects heaven and earth, carrying angels. Above her is the Lord, who promises to give the land on which he is lying to him and his many descendants. Gd tells him, “I am with you and I will take care of you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this earth. I will not leave you until I have done what I promised you.” Jacob, astonished, anoints the stone he had been using as a pillow and changes the name of the place from Luz to Bethel. He, in turn, makes a vow to worship the Lord and begin to tithe his income.
As his mother Rebekah had previously told him, Jacob heads to Haran, where he lives at his uncle Laban’s house. There, he meets and marries Rachel, the love of his life, but only after Laban tricks him into marrying Rachel’s sister Leah first. The two sisters compete for Jacob’s care in motherhood (which confers status on them), engaging their servants in the competition. 20 years later, Jacob returns to his ancestral home in Beersheba, taking with him his wives and maidens (now his concubines), his twelve children, and all the riches he had gathered beyond the Euphrates River. On his way back, he wrestles with Gd and takes on a new name: Israel.
The name Israel (Hebrew Israel) is derived from the Hebrew words Yisra (to prevail) and The (G * d). The relationship of biblical heroes and of those who follow Gd in spirit and in truth is also one of active dialogue, struggle and even confrontation with Gd, because it is written:
“The fervent and effective prayer of the righteous is worth much” (James 5:16).
Then Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him until dawn. When the man saw that he couldn’t control it, he touched the socket of his hip, dislodging Jacob’s hip as he struggled with him. Then the man said: “Let me go, because it is dawn.”
But Jacob replied, “I won’t let you go unless you bless me.”
Then the man asked him: “What’s your name?”
“Jacob,” he replied.
Then the man said: “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have fought with Gd and with men, and you have prevailed.” Genesis 32: 24-28
1. The two sons of Abraham and Sarah were Ishmael (from Hagar) and Isaac.
2. The two sons of Isaac and Rebekah were Esau and Jacob.
3. Isaac lied to Abimelech the Philistine king about his wife, claiming she was his sister.
4. Abimelech insisted on a treaty with Isaac because he saw that the Lord was with him, so he took steps to ensure his own safety in the presence of such a powerful neighbor.
5. After stealing his brother’s birthright, Jacob fled to Haran in Paddam Aram, Mesopotamia, to his uncle Laban’s home.
6. Bethel means ‘house of Gd’.
7. Mahalat, Esau’s wife, was the daughter of Ishmael, her father’s half-brother. Believing that his previous marriages with Hittite wives displeased his parents, Esau married Mahalat to appease them.
8. Jacob’s two wives were sisters Rachel and Leah. Raquel’s maid was called Bilha and Lea’s maid, Zilpa. The servants are important in the history of Israel because they gave birth to the founders of four of the 12 tribes of Israel.
9. Gd preferentially opened Leah’s womb because he saw that she was not loved.
10. The first four sons of Jacob were Reuben (see, a son); Simeon (the one who listens); Levi (attached); and Judah (praise).
11. From Bilha, Rachel’s maiden, came Dan (he has vindicated) and Naphtali (my fight). From Zilpah came his number seven, Gad (good fortune) and then Asher (happy).
12. From Leah, the next son was Issachar (reward) followed by Zebulun (honor); and finally, from Raquel, José (that he adds) and Benjamin (son of my right hand).
13. Jacob wrestled with Gd in a place he called Peniel, in the desert stream of Jabbok, while on his way to pacify Esau. The result was a blessing and a name change to Israel.
14. Peniel means Face of G * d.
15. After Sarah’s death, Abraham married Ketura and they had 6 children.