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Sunday, July 17 2011
The First Meeting Of Israel And Esau
Jacob and Esau were the fraternal-twin sons of Isaac and Rebekah. They were very different in more than appearance. It was a contrast that extended to obvious favoritism by their parents.
"25:27 And the boys grew: and Esau was a cunning hunter, a man of the field; and Jacob was a plain man, dwelling in tents. 25:28 And Isaac loved Esau, because he did eat of his venison: but Rebekah loved Jacob." (Genesis 25:27-28 KJV)
The sibling rivalry, and through them, the parental rivalry, culminated in the famous ruse by Rebekah that caused the elderly Isaac to bless Jacob, rather than the firstborn (by a few minutes) Esau. When Esau discovered what had happened, he declared "the days of mourning for my father are at hand; then will I slay my brother Jacob."
"27:41 And Esau hated Jacob because of the blessing wherewith his father blessed him: and Esau said in his heart, The days of mourning for my father are at hand; then will I slay my brother Jacob.
Whether she was thinking of Cain and Abel or not (see the Fact Finder question below), Rebekah arranged, by means of another ruse (i.e. not wanting Jacob to take a wife from the Canaanites), to have Jacob go to her own family back in Syria.
"27:46 And Rebekah said to Isaac, I am weary of my life because of the daughters of Heth: if Jacob take a wife of the daughters of Heth, such as these which are of the daughters of the land, what good shall my life do me?" (Genesis 27:46 KJV)
"Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed"
Jacob remained with his uncle Laban (his mother Rebekah's brother) for over 20 years (Genesis 31:38), during which time Jacob became very wealthy and prosperous, with great flocks and herds. As well, although he had arrived there alone, he left with two wives, two concubines, eleven sons (Benjamin was the only son of Jacob actually born in the land of Israel) and one daughter.
When the time came for Jacob to return home, he sent word ahead to make peace with his brother Esau. The messenger's response was a shock: "he cometh to meet thee, and four hundred men with him."
"32:3 And Jacob sent messengers before him to Esau his brother unto the land of Seir, the country of Edom. 32:4 And he commanded them, saying, Thus shall ye speak unto my lord Esau; Thy servant Jacob saith thus, I have sojourned with Laban, and stayed there until now: 32:5 And I have oxen, and asses, flocks, and menservants, and womenservants: and I have sent to tell my lord, that I may find grace in thy sight.
One of the most famous events of Bible History occurred that night, and into the early morning in which Jacob would meet Esau. The LORD changed Jacob's name to "Israel."
"32:22 And he rose up that night, and took his two wives, and his two womenservants, and his eleven sons, and passed over the ford Jabbok. 32:23 And he took them, and sent them over the brook, and sent over that he had. 32:24 And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day. 32:25 And when he saw that he prevailed not against him, he touched the hollow of his thigh; and the hollow of Jacob's thigh was out of joint, as he wrestled with him. 32:26 And he said, Let me go, for the day breaketh.
What followed was not only a reconciliation of Esau and Jacob; it was the first meeting of Esau and Israel.
"33:1 And Jacob lifted up his eyes, and looked, and, behold, Esau came, and with him four hundred men. And he divided the children unto Leah, and unto Rachel, and unto the two handmaids. 33:2 And he put the handmaids and their children foremost, and Leah and her children after, and Rachel and Joseph hindermost. 33:3 And he passed over before them, and bowed himself to the ground seven times, until he came near to his brother.
Fact Finder: After Esau sold his firstborn birthright to Jacob (Genesis 25:29-34), why did the LORD permit Jacob to receive the blessing too?
This Day In History, July 17
431: The Council of Ephesus adjourned. This third of the 21 ecumenical councils of the Roman Church condemned Nestorianism and Pelagianism (listen also to our Sermon Constantine's Papacy).
1203: The Fourth Crusade captured Constantinople (named after the Roman Emperor Constantine). The Byzantine emperor Alexius III Angelus fled into exile.
1453: The Battle of Castillon took place between France and England. It marked the end of the Hundred Years War between the two countries.
1505: Twenty-one-year-old Martin Luther entered the Augustinian monastic order at Erfurt, Germany. Despite his later "protest" against Rome, Luther maintained (as do the "Protestant" churches of today) nearly all of the Church of Rome's antichrist doctrines (see Antichristians).
1762: Peter III, emperor of Russia, was killed after his abdication and arrest. He was succeeded by Catherine II.
1791: The "Massacre of the Champ de Mars" during the French Revolution. French National Guardsmen under the command of General Lafayette opened fire on a crowd at the Champ de Mars in Paris.
1890: Cecil Rhodes became Prime Minister of the Cape Colony of South Africa.
1917: The British Royal Family changed its name from the German "House of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha" to "Windsor" because of anti-German feelings in Britain during the First World War.
1918: The Russian royal family was executed by rebels of the Bolshevik Party: Czar Nicholas, 50; his wife Alexandra (a granddaughter of Queen Victoria of England), 46; their son Alexei, 13; their daughters Olga, 22, Tatiana, 21, Marie, 19 and Anastasia, 17. Some historians attribute Alexandra's arrogant misrule while Nicholas was away commanding the Russian army during the First World War to the collapse of the imperial government in 1917. She had also made herself unpopular by her association with Rasputin, the infamous "mad monk," who she had hoped could treat her son Alex's hemophilia.
1918: During the First World War, the Carpathia, the ship that rescued over 700 survivors of the Titanic when it sunk in April of 1912, was sunk off the coast of Ireland by a German submarine.
1944: Napalm incendiary bombs were used by U.S. bombers for the first time, on German-occupied France during the Second World War.
1944: Nazi Field Marshall Erwin Rommel ("the Desert Fox") was severely wounded when a British fighter plane strafed his staff car after catching it out in the open in France.
1951: Prince Baudouin became the fifth king of the Belgians after his father, Leopold III, abdicated.
1998: An undersea earthquake produced a tsunami that struck Papua New Guinea, killing thousands of people and leaving thousands more missing.
1998: The International Criminal Court was established with the stated purpose to impartially prosecute individuals for "genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and crimes of aggression." The Court has remained mostly impotent because the worst war criminal nations are also usually the most militarily powerful - despite overwhelming eyewitness and video evidence against the accused, they refuse to bring their war criminals (and therefore their nation) to justice for their atrocities. Nevertheless, God's Judgment, from which no one can hide, awaits everyone in due time (see Moriah: Separating The Wheat From The Chaff).