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Sunday, January 1 2012

The House Of Laban The Syrian

Abraham was born in what is today Iraq (see The Journey From Ur Of The Chaldees). The journey that he made to what became known as the land of Israel (named after Abraham's grandson Jacob, who the LORD renamed as "Israel') was accomplished in two stages, with a stop in what is today Syria.

"11:31 And Terah took Abram his son, and Lot the son of Haran his son's son, and Sarai his daughter in law, his son Abram's wife; and they went forth with them from Ur of the Chaldees, to go into the land of Canaan; and they came unto Haran, and dwelt there. 11:32 And the days of Terah were two hundred and five years: and Terah died in Haran." (Genesis 11:31-32 KJV)

"12:1 Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will show thee: 12:2 And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: 12:3 And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed. 12:4 So Abram departed, as the LORD had spoken unto him; and Lot went with him: and Abram was seventy and five years old when he departed out of Haran." (Genesis 12:1-4 KJV)

Not all of the family group moved on from Syria; some remained and settled there as their new homeland. Years later, Abraham sent a servant back to Syria to find a wife for Abraham's son Isaac (see Who Chose Rebekah?). It was at that time that Laban was first recorded in Bible History i.e. 24:29 And Rebekah had a brother, and his name was Laban: and Laban ran out unto the man, unto the well" (Genesis 24:29 KJV).

Syria

"24:21 And the man wondering at her held his peace, to wit whether the LORD had made his journey prosperous or not.

24:22 And it came to pass, as the camels had done drinking, that the man took a golden earring of half a shekel weight, and two bracelets for her hands of ten shekels weight of gold; 24:23 And said, Whose daughter art thou? tell me, I pray thee: is there room in thy father's house for us to lodge in?

24:24 And she said unto him, I am the daughter of Bethuel the son of Milcah, which she bare unto Nahor. 24:25 She said moreover unto him, We have both straw and provender enough, and room to lodge in.

24:26 And the man bowed down his head, and worshipped the LORD. 24:27 And he said, Blessed be the LORD God of my master Abraham, who hath not left destitute my master of his mercy and his truth: I being in the way, the LORD led me to the house of my master's brethren.

24:28 And the damsel ran, and told them of her mother's house these things. 24:29 And Rebekah had a brother, and his name was Laban: and Laban ran out unto the man, unto the well. 24:30 And it came to pass, when he saw the earring and bracelets upon his sister's hands, and when he heard the words of Rebekah his sister, saying, Thus spake the man unto me; that he came unto the man; and, behold, he stood by the camels at the well. 24:31 And he said, Come in, thou blessed of the LORD; wherefore standest thou without? for I have prepared the house, and room for the camels." (Genesis 24:21-31 KJV)

Laban was then just the brother of Rebekah (both yet living in the house of their father), but by the time that all was done, Laban would be the brother-in-law of Isaac, the father of Rachel and Leah, the father-in-law and uncle of Jacob / Israel and the grandfather of most of the children of Israel from whom the Israelite tribes originated. It all began however with his sister Rebekah leaving to marry Isaac - as Laban permitted, after Rebekah agreed i.e. "And she said, I will go."

Rebekah

"24:50 Then Laban and Bethuel answered and said, The thing proceedeth from the LORD: we cannot speak unto thee bad or good. 24:51 Behold, Rebekah is before thee, take her, and go, and let her be thy master's son's wife, as the LORD hath spoken.

24:52 And it came to pass, that, when Abraham's servant heard their words, he worshipped the LORD, bowing himself to the earth. 24:53 And the servant brought forth jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and raiment, and gave them to Rebekah: he gave also to her brother and to her mother precious things. 24:54 And they did eat and drink, he and the men that were with him, and tarried all night; and they rose up in the morning, and he said, Send me away unto my master.

24:55 And her brother and her mother said, Let the damsel abide with us a few days, at the least ten; after that she shall go.

24:56 And he said unto them, Hinder me not, seeing the LORD hath prospered my way; send me away that I may go to my master.

24:57 And they said, We will call the damsel, and inquire at her mouth. 24:58 And they called Rebekah, and said unto her, Wilt thou go with this man?

And she said, I will go.

24:59 And they sent away Rebekah their sister, and her nurse, and Abraham's servant, and his men. 24:60 And they blessed Rebekah, and said unto her,

Thou art our sister, be thou the mother of thousands of millions, and let thy seed possess the gate of those which hate them.

24:61 And Rebekah arose, and her damsels, and they rode upon the camels, and followed the man: and the servant took Rebekah, and went his way." (Genesis 24:50-61 KJV)

"Isaac was forty years old when he took Rebekah to wife, the daughter of Bethuel the Syrian of Padanaram, the sister to Laban the Syrian"

Isaac and Rebekah were married. They eventually had fraternal twin sons, Jacob and Esau.

Jacob and Esau

"25:20 And Isaac was forty years old when he took Rebekah to wife, the daughter of Bethuel the Syrian of Padanaram, the sister to Laban the Syrian.

25:21 And Isaac entreated the LORD for his wife, because she was barren: and the LORD was entreated of him, and Rebekah his wife conceived. 25:22 And the children struggled together within her; and she said, If it be so, why am I thus? And she went to inquire of the LORD.

25:23 And the LORD said unto her, Two nations are in thy womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels; and the one people shall be stronger than the other people; and the elder shall serve the younger.

25:24 And when her days to be delivered were fulfilled, behold, there were twins in her womb. 25:25 And the first came out red, all over like an hairy garment; and they called his name Esau. 25:26 And after that came his brother out, and his hand took hold on Esau's heel; and his name was called Jacob: and Isaac was threescore years old when she bare them." (Genesis 25:20-26 KJV)

As written in the verses above, the strife and competition between Jacob and Esau began before they were even born - with Jacob almost always winning over Esau, culminating in the famous incident of Esau selling his birthright to Jacob for a bowl of pottage (see Pottage).

"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.

25:29 And Jacob sod pottage: and Esau came from the field, and he was faint: 25:30 And Esau said to Jacob, Feed me, I pray thee, with that same red pottage; for I am faint: therefore was his name called Edom.

25:31 And Jacob said, Sell me this day thy birthright.

25:32 And Esau said, Behold, I am at the point to die: and what profit shall this birthright do to me?

25:33 And Jacob said, Swear to me this day; and he sware unto him: and he sold his birthright unto Jacob.

25:34 Then Jacob gave Esau bread and pottage of lentiles; and he did eat and drink, and rose up, and went his way: thus Esau despised his birthright." (Genesis 25:27-34 KJV)

It was the same spirit of jealousy and rage that caused Cain to murder Abel (see The Sins Of The World's Oldest Profession), but the difference was that, apparently unlike Adam and Eve, Rebekah heard of Esau's plan to murder Jacob and did something to prevent it - she had Jacob return to her home town and live with her brother Laban "a few days, until thy brother's fury turn away" (that part was not known to her; as it turned out, Jacob didn't return until over twenty years had passed). That time began however in the same way that his mother Rebekah's time there ended - a meeting at the family well.

Jacob and Rachel at the Well

"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.

27:42 And these words of Esau her elder son were told to Rebekah: and she sent and called Jacob her younger son, and said unto him, Behold, thy brother Esau, as touching thee, doth comfort himself, purposing to kill thee. 27:43 Now therefore, my son, obey my voice; and arise, flee thou to Laban my brother to Haran; 27:44 And tarry with him a few days, until thy brother's fury turn away; 27:45 Until thy brother's anger turn away from thee, and he forget that which thou hast done to him: then I will send, and fetch thee from thence: why should I be deprived also of you both in one day?" (Genesis 27:41-45 KJV)

"29:1 Then Jacob went on his journey, and came into the land of the people of the east. 29:2 And he looked, and behold a well in the field, and, lo, there were three flocks of sheep lying by it; for out of that well they watered the flocks: and a great stone was upon the well's mouth. 29:3 And thither were all the flocks gathered: and they rolled the stone from the well's mouth, and watered the sheep, and put the stone again upon the well's mouth in his place.

29:4 And Jacob said unto them, My brethren, whence be ye?

And they said, Of Haran are we.

29:5 And he said unto them, Know ye Laban the son of Nahor?

And they said, We know him.

29:6 And he said unto them, Is he well?

And they said, He is well: and, behold, Rachel his daughter cometh with the sheep.

29:7 And he said, Lo, it is yet high day, neither is it time that the cattle should be gathered together: water ye the sheep, and go and feed them.

29:8 And they said, We cannot, until all the flocks be gathered together, and till they roll the stone from the well's mouth; then we water the sheep.

29:9 And while he yet spake with them, Rachel came with her father's sheep: for she kept them. 29:10 And it came to pass, when Jacob saw Rachel the daughter of Laban his mother's brother, and the sheep of Laban his mother's brother, that Jacob went near, and rolled the stone from the well's mouth, and watered the flock of Laban his mother's brother. 29:11 And Jacob kissed Rachel, and lifted up his voice, and wept. 29:12 And Jacob told Rachel that he was her father's brother, and that he was Rebekah's son: and she ran and told her father.

29:13 And it came to pass, when Laban heard the tidings of Jacob his sister's son, that he ran to meet him, and embraced him, and kissed him, and brought him to his house. And he told Laban all these things." (Genesis 29:1-13 KJV)

Fact Finder: When Jacob returned from the house of Laban in Syria, after twenty years, during which all but one of his children was born (only Benjamin was born in the land of Israel; see Bethlehem In History And Prophecy), what happened when he met Esau?
See The First Meeting Of Israel And Esau

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This Day In History, January 1

42 BC: The Roman Senate posthumously deified Julius Caesar - an irony and/or a hypocrisy, considering that he had been assassinated by Roman Senators in the Senate itself (see The Politics Of Rome).

69: Roman legions (see Legions Of Men And Angels) in Germania Superior rejected loyalty to Galba and proclaimed Aulus Vitellius Germanicus as emperor (see Pax Romana: The Birth Of The Roman Empire).

193: The accession of Pertinax, the 19th Roman emperor (see New Testament Roman Emperors).

990: Russia adopted Rome's "Julian" Calendar (named after Julius Caesar; see Caesar).

1500: Portuguese explorers landed on the coast of South America; they named the place Rio de Janeiro ("River of January").

1502: Portuguese explorers landed on the coast of South America and named it Rio de Janeiro (River of January).

1515: King Louis XII of France (1498-1515) died at age 52. Francis, Duke of Angouleme, succeeded Louis as Francis I.

1583: Rome's Gregorian Calendar was adopted in Belgium (see Pope Gregory's Calendar).

1651: Charles II, son of Charles I, was crowned king of Scotland.

1773: In Olney, England, the hymn "Amazing Grace" was first played, by John Newton.

1785: London's oldest newspaper, The Times, began publishing as the Daily Universal Register.

1801: The Act of Union of England, Scotland and Ireland formed the United Kingdom.

1804: After leading a rebellion against the French colonial forces, Jean-Jacques Dessalines declared Haiti independent of France.

1833: Britain claimed sovereignty over the Falkland Islands.

1863: Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation that formally freed all slaves in the U.S.

1871: While German armies besieged Paris, a new German Reich, with the king of Prussia, Wilhelm, as its inaugural emperor, was proclaimed in the Hall of Mirrors in the Palace of Versailles.

1877: Queen Victoria of England was proclaimed empress of India.

1894: The Manchester Ship Canal in England began operation.

1901: The Commonwealth of Australia began with Edmond Barton as its first Prime Minister.

1912: China became a republic following the Wuchang Uprising.

1915: During the First World War (listen to our Sermon The European World Wars), the German submarine U-24 sank the British battleship Formidable in the English Channel, near Plymouth.

1925: The capital city of Norway, known as Christiana since 1674, resumed its name of Oslo.

1934: Alcatraz became a U.S. Federal prison. The U.S. today has the highest civilian incarceration rate in the world, with 737 U.S. citizens in every 100,000 behind bars; the U.S. has only 5% of the world population, but its citizens compose 25% of the world's incarcerated (apart from the many military and "secret" political prisons that are operated by the U.S. military and CIA around the world).

1946: Emperor Hirohito of Japan announced that he was not a god.

1947: The Canadian Citizenship Act 1946 came into effect, thereby converting British subjects into Canadian citizens. Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King became the first Canadian citizen.

1950: In sovereign defiance to United Nations and Vatican pressure to make Jerusalem an "international city," nearly the entire Israeli government was transferred from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem (listen to our Sermon The Balfour Declaration).

1956: Sudan gained independence from Britain and Egypt.

1958: The 1957 Treaty of Rome took effect, establishing a six-nation European Economic Community among West Germany, France, Italy, Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxembourg.

1959: Cuban communist forces under Fidel Castro overthrew the CIA and Mafia-backed regime of Fulgencio Batista and took control of the government of Cuba. The people of Cuba went from being ruled by a fascist dictator to being ruled by a communist dictator.

1973: Britain, Ireland and Denmark entered the European Economic Community, now called the European Union.

1975: During the "Watergate" criminal investigations, John Ehrlichman (Counsel and Assistant to the President), John Mitchell (United States Attorney General) and H.R. Haldeman (White House Chief of Staff) were found guilty of conspiracy, obstruction of justice and perjury.

1981: Greece was admitted as the 10th member of the European Economic Community.

1992: Boutros Boutros Ghali of Egypt succeeded Javier Perez de Cuellar of Peru as United Nations Secretary General.

1993: Independent Czech and Slovak Republics were established from the former Czechoslovakia.

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