I started reading the Bible four chapter per day on July 1. I read yesterday, but did not post. So today I am catching up on posts. I am up to
1) Who acts more like God here, Jacob or Esau? Jacob expects to be treated in an eye-for-eye way by everyone, including God. In chapter 28 he made a deal with God to hand over 10% of everything if God would bless him. He sends Esau gifts expecting to buy him off from his justified wrath and vengeance. He wrestles with the man all night desperate to wring a blessing out of him. But Esau – like the prodigal’s father — rushes to him and embraces him. Jacob even says that seeing Esau is like seeing the face of God.
2) Is it wrong to talk about barnyard morals? Leah and Rachel farming out Jacob like a prize stud, even trading him back and forth for a handful of mandrakes. Then in the same chapter we read of Jacob’s tricks to get the best and strongest from Laban’s flocks. Flocks and family are the focus on Israel’s life, it seems.
3) How interesting is the argument over the response of the brothers to the rape of Dinah? Jacob is upset that the brothers are going to stir up trouble for him from the surrounding peoples. Ever playing the angles, he’s prepared — it seems — to ignore the offense. Dinah’s brothers are outraged by the rape and bring bloody revenge. They kill the men, take the flocks and families of the entire city because the son of the king raped her. What a bloody and terrible culture to live in as either man or woman.
“You shall no longer be called Jacob but Israel, for you have striven with God and with humans, and have prevailed.”