Story Notes on Genesis 26-30: Isaac & Jacob
Notes to the Reader: After starting a book called The Blue Parakeet: Rethinking How You Read the Bible by Scot McKnight (yes, that is an affiliate link as is everything else I can possibly get one for. Please buy it!!), which talks about how there is a reason that the Bible is a a collection of books written by different authors in different times to different peoples in different places, I began re-reading the Bible straight through specifically to appreciate the story and see what pops out at me when I’m reading it.
I’ve been reading through using the ESV Readers’s Bible, which is designed with no verse notations or section headings or footnotes and which is laid out like an actual hardback book (I highly recommend this! It’s much less distracting to read). I’m reading in five-chapter blocks (for the most part) and writing down what sticks out at me here. Feel free to follow along
- Ch. 26 – Isaac does the same “She’s my sister” trick with Rebekah as Abraham did with Sarah! And it’s Abimelech again who is like “Hey, she’s not you sister she’s your wife!” I feel kind of bad for Abimelech here. Why would he believe anything the men of this family say about how they are related to the women with them??
- Ch. 27 – Rebekah says to Jacob, “Let your curse be on me.” Only two other people in the Bible take another’s curse upon themselves: Paul and Jesus.
- Ch. 27 – All the blessing stuff is wrapped up with offspring and inheritance and birthrights and all that. It’s so foreign to how we think about it today! Now we’d just change the name on the will, and poof! problem solved. When Isaac blesses Jacob instead of Esau, though, that’s irrevocable. Esau’s reaction is immediate despair followed by plans for revenge, and Isaac is equally horrified at what he’s unknowingly done.
- Ch. 28 – When Rebekah complains that Esau’s Hittite wives are driving her nuts and sends Jacob away to her brother to go find himself a wife, Esau tries to solve the problem by going to Isaac’s brother Ishmael and taking one of his daughters as a new wife for himself.
- Ch. 28 – Jacob marks the place where he dreams of the ladder with the angels on it and calls it Bethel, the house of the Lord, the gate of heaven. This place eventually becomes Bethlehem (right? I think so). Appropriate imagery to associate with the birthplace of Christ.
- Ch. 29 – Jacob kisses Rachel and cries the very first time he meets her. I love how emotional these guys are. Laban calls Jacob his bone and his flesh.
- Ch. 29 – Did Jacob and Leah not talk at all that first night? How do you spend your entire wedding night with someone and then wake up in the morning and discover she’s the wrong girl? Was he blindfolded all night and was she not allowed to speak to him during that time??
- Ch. 29 – When Leah deliver her first three children, her reaction is “Now my husband will love me,” but after the last one she says, “This time I will praise the Lord.”
- Ch. 30 – “You must come in to me, for I have hired you with my son’s mandrakes.” – Wow!
- Ch. 30 – Laban learns by divination that the Lord has blessed him because of Jacob.
- So far, God seems to favor those who are not the firstborn less frequently than he does the firstborn: Abel (2nd), Seth (3rd), Noah (1st), Shem (1st), Abraham (1st), Isaac (2nd), Jacob (2nd), Judah (4th), Joseph (11th). Kind of makes that argument about men being in authority over their wives because they were created first seem a little suspect. Birth order doesn’t really seem to be of prime interest to God. Also, this must’ve been very encouraging to those who were not born first in a time where your placement in that order determined nearly everything.
Today I am Thankful For:
- Health and a sound bodythat usually works how it’s supposed to.
2 comments found
Love these! Only just stumbled across it. To be fair, Jacob was probably fairly drunk.
Also, the fourth child for which Leah turns her eyes to God rather than her husband – Judah! The son of the promise. Pretty dang cool.
Thank you! I really enjoyed doing these; it was just the time commitment. Yes, Jacob was probably fairly drunk. I don’t know that that makes the story much better, but it might account better for him not recognizing the “prostitute” he was drunkenly sleeping with. I’m going to assume she was wearing a veil or something, too, because otherwise the story still doesn’t make tons of sense. He clearly remembers sleeping with someone since he sent his guy back out to go find her and pay her. Also, yes to Leah here!