Tag Archives: Simeon

Genesis 49 – Jacob’s Last

Well, Genesis is almost done.  It is the beginning’s end.  I really liked copying this chapter down.  It was easy to process and write as there is a solid thought on each line (or in the least a solid chunk of a solid thought).  It makes the process, oh, so much easier!

Israel has some final words to say to each of his sons.  It is here that Jacob makes changes to the natural order of his progeny.  Reuben was the firstborn, but here he officially loses that honor and privilege due to his hasty actions of sleeping with his father’s concubine.  Yeah, now that was smart, Reuben </sarcasm>!  Simeon and Levi are next in line, but they both lose that honor due to their rash decision to annihilate the Hivites  (chapter 34)  whose prince raped their sister Dinah.  In fact, Simeon ended up receiving no natural inheritance at all when the Israelites reentered the land of Canaan.

So that left Judah to become heir apparent.  He received the lion’s share of the blessing and inheritance (and gave some to Simeon because it was too much for them).  Judah also received the blessing of having the Messiah, the Christ, come through his line.

It’s interesting to note that this is probably the last time that Joseph specifically gets named in the listing of the sons/tribes of Israel.  From now on, Joseph’s place is taken by the half-tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh (Joseph’s two sons that Israel claimed as his own in chapter 48).

After charging his sons (i like the way this brings the word “charging” into a clearer understanding than the way we recognize it today) to bury him with his fathers in the cave at the end of the field bought from Ephron, Jacob finally breathes his last.

What do we do to ruin our inheritance?  Are we like Reuben, Simeon, and Levi allowing our rash, unthinking, and angry natures to destroy our blessings?  Is that even possible?  Think on these things.

Also of note, there are some interesting names of God that appear in this text: Abir Yacob (Mighty One of Jacob), Ra-ah (Shepherd), Eben Yisrael (Stone of Israel), Shaddai (Almighty), and of course El (God).

Rev. John

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Genesis 42 – Testing

Joseph is more than 37 years old at this point.  He was sold into slavery at the age of 18.  He has lived more of his life in Egypt than he ever did in Canaan.  Now, for the first time in 19 or more years he comes face to face with his brothers.  They sold him into slavery because of his dreams and their jealousy of him and their father’s love for him.

Now, here they are bowing on their faces before him.  After more than 19 years, Joseph has the opportunity to exact his revenge.  He could arrest them, imprison them, and sell them into slavery, or worse.  He could mock them, laugh at them and let them starve to death.  He could reveal himself and simply threaten their lives.  So what does he do?

Joseph decides to test them.  He wants to know if they are the same jealous, angry, bitter men that they were when he was a child.  He wants to know if there is remorse or if there is humility and love.  He wants to know if they care more about themselves, or if they care about their family.  So he accuses them of being spies, questions them, and puts them for a short stay in prison.  Then he tells them that in order to be released or to get more grain they need to bring their youngest brother Benjamin back to Egypt with them.  Meanwhile, he took Simeon and held him until the other brothers returned with Benjamin.

The brothers return home and tell Jacob, their father, what happened in Egypt.  Jacob is upset and as time goes by they begin to run out of grain again.  The brothers know that they can’t return to Egypt empty handed, so Reuben takes responsibility for Benjamin placing Benjamin’s fate on his own sons heads.

Are there situations that occurred a lifetime ago that you are still bitter and angry about?  Do you have anger and unforgiveness towards someone that did something to you, or have you forgiven and moved on.  It’s not a question of whether there is someone who hurt you.  I don’t think that there is a person over the age of 20 who does not have emotional scars from something someone said or did to them.  The question is, what are you doing about it?  Joseph tested his brothers to see if they were still angry and bitter towards him and his brother Benjamin, but at the same time, God was testing Joseph to see if he still held anger and hostility towards his brothers.

When (not if) you are tested, how will you respond?  Have you allowed anger and bitterness to take root in your life.  I know that this is something that i am struggling with, and that i am in the process of trying to deal with.  What about you?

Rev. John

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Genesis 34 – Retaliation

It is chapters like this that make the Bible that much more real.  We see the sons of Jacob as real people.  They come alive with both their good and bad features.  The story is not just told of the warriors of old who battled great serpents and monsters and creatures of the deep: who then went on to live perfect little lives playing heroes and growing prosperous as a shining light for all to see and desire to be like.

These are real men who are dealing with real problems.  Sometimes they do the right thing.  Sometimes they do the wrong thing, and sometimes they do nothing when they should be doing something.

They don’t always make the right choices, and when they don’t sometimes it can have a huge lasting impact on their lives and the lives of the people around them for generations.  Ultimately, we see all things working together for good to all according to God’s purpose.  He can take the worst, and make the best.

The impact of what happens here, the total annihilation of a city-state by the work of these two men, affects them for over a thousand years to come.  It’s amazing how in one small (or not so small) choice there are waves of repercussions spreading out throughout time.

Do we take the time to consider how our actions will affect us and those around us for the next week; for the next month; for the next year; for the next hundred years?  What kind of an example are we setting to our children / families / future generations?  Does it even matter?

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