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Thursday, November 8 2012
A Biography Of Jacob: The Jacobites Of Syria
Abraham was born in what is today Iraq, where the ancient empires of Assyria and Babylon were centered. Part of Abraham's migrating family group remained in Syria, while Abraham continued on to the land of Canaan (see A Biography Of Abraham: From Ur To Canaan). It was from those relatives in Syria that Abraham later found a wife for Isaac - Rebekah (see Who Chose Rebekah?). When Rebekah's twin sons, Jacob and Esau, had competed themselves to a near lethal conclusion (see A Biography Of Jacob: The Second Twin, A Biography Of Jacob: The Birthright and A Biography Of Jacob: The Blessing), Rebekah arranged for Jacob to seek refuge with her brother Laban, in her home town in Syria (see A Biography Of Jacob: Stairway To Heaven).
Upon Jacob's arrival, he immediately encountered cousins, that he had never met before - including one named Rachel, a daughter of Laban.
"29:9 And while he yet spake with them, Rachel came with her father's sheep: for she kept them.
Rebekah's plan was that Jacob would remain with Laban in Syria "a few days, until thy brother's fury turn away" (Genesis 27:44 KJV), but after a month, Laban offered his nephew Jacob a job. It would result in Jacob remaining in Syria for over twenty years.
"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. 29:14 And Laban said to him, Surely thou art my bone and my flesh.
Laban and Jacob made an agreement that Jacob could marry Rachel: "I will serve thee seven years for Rachel thy younger daughter."
"29:16 And Laban had two daughters: the name of the elder was Leah, and the name of the younger was Rachel. 29:17 Leah was tender eyed; but Rachel was beautiful and well favoured. 29:18 And Jacob loved Rachel; and said, I will serve thee seven years for Rachel thy younger daughter.
When the seven years were completed, a marriage was held (the agreement of the involved persons constituted a legal marriage). When morning came however, Jacob discovered that, in the darkness, Laban had substituted Leah for Rachel - a serving of Jacob's own deception, as he had done to his blind father to obtain Esau's blessing (Laban's "It must not be so done in our country, to give the younger before the firstborn" is particularly ironic). When Jacob protested, Laban agreed to permit the marriage of both of his daughters to Jacob - for another seven years of work.
"29:21 And Jacob said unto Laban, Give me my wife, for my days are fulfilled, that I may go in unto her.
Jacob agreed to Laban's terms, but "he loved also Rachel more than Leah."
"29:28 And Jacob did so, and fulfilled her week: and he gave him Rachel his daughter to wife also. 29:29 And Laban gave to Rachel his daughter Bilhah his handmaid to be her maid. 29:30 And he went in also unto Rachel, and he loved also Rachel more than Leah, and served with him yet seven other years." (Genesis 29:28-30 KJV)
"It must not be so done in our country, to give the younger before the firstborn"
Despite her being unloved, the first children of Jacob were from Leah (pronounced in Hebrew as lay-ah). The LORD had not changed Jacob's name to Israel yet (that was still years away, on the return journey, as we will cover in a subsequent study in this series), so the children were, according to custom, "Jacobites," not Israelites. As well, if they had birth certificates, all of the future patriarchs of the tribes of Israel (except for Benjamin - the only son of Jacob/Israel who was born in what became known as the land of Israel) would have been Syrian by birth. The Israelites began as Jacobites of Syria.
"29:31 And when the LORD [see Who Is The LORD?] saw that Leah was hated, he opened her womb: but Rachel was barren. 29:32 And Leah conceived, and bare a son, and she called his name Reuben: for she said, Surely the LORD hath looked upon my affliction; now therefore my husband will love me.
Along with Rachel and Leah, their two handmaids, Bilhah and Zilpah, also had children of Jacob - who would also become Israelite patriarchs. Bilhah became the mother of Dan and Naphtali.
"30:1 And when Rachel saw that she bare Jacob no children, Rachel envied her sister; and said unto Jacob, Give me children, or else I die.
Zilpah became the mother of Gad and Asher.
"30:9 When Leah saw that she had left bearing, she took Zilpah her maid, and gave her Jacob to wife. 30:10 And Zilpah Leah's maid bare Jacob a son. 30:11 And Leah said, A troop cometh: and she called his name Gad. 30:12 And Zilpah Leah's maid bare Jacob a second son. 30:13 And Leah said, Happy am I, for the daughters will call me blessed: and she called his name Asher." (Genesis 30:9-13 KJV)
There has been much debate about how, or by what means, the mandrakes were used to resume Leah's childbearing, but it did - Leah thereafter became the mother of Issachar, Zebulun and Dinah (see Dinah Of Israel).
"30:14 And Reuben went in the days of wheat harvest, and found mandrakes in the field, and brought them unto his mother Leah. Then Rachel said to Leah, Give me, I pray thee, of thy son's mandrakes.
The last-born child of Jacob, in Syria, was Joseph - the first child of Rachel, after "God hearkened to her, and opened her womb."
"30:22 And God remembered Rachel, and God hearkened to her, and opened her womb. 30:23 And she conceived, and bare a son; and said, God hath taken away my reproach: 30:24 And she called his name Joseph; and said, The LORD shall add to me another son." (Genesis 30:22-24 KJV)
Fact Finder: What does the Bible tell us about Damascus, Syria's capital city?
This Day In History, November 8
1226: Louis IX succeeded Louis VIII as the French king.
1519: Following the voyages of Christopher Columbus to the same area, for the same reason (to claim the New World for Spain; see also Thanksgiving In History and Prophecy), Spanish Conquistador ("conqueror") Hernan Cortes entered Tenochtitlan, where Aztec ruler Moctezuma (also rendered as "Montezuma") welcomed him. Cortes took Moctezuma prisoner and thereafter began to make himself the ruler of the Aztec people.
1576: The Netherlands' 17 provinces formed a national federation.
1602: The Bodleian Library at Oxford University was opened to the public.
1619: The Battle of White Mountain, near Prague. Czech Protestants under Frederick "The Winter King" were routed by Ferdinand's (Hapsburg) Catholic imperialists under Johannes Tilly (a Netherlander). The first major battle of The Thirty Years War.
1620: The King of Bohemia was defeated at the Battle of Prague.
1630: Great flocks of passenger pigeons reportedly darkened the sky over Boston. They were hunted and shot (mostly for "sport") into extinction.
1656: English astronomer Edmond Halley was born. He became the first to accurately predict the date of the return of a comet. The comet, which has returned every 76 years is named after him - Halley's Comet.
1685: The Edict of Potsdam was proclaimed by Frederick William of Brandenburg to give the Huguenots refuge from religious persecution.
1793: The Louvre, the principal art museum of France, opened in Paris.
1895: German physicist Wilhelm Roentgen discovered x-rays.
1917: The Canadian Press was founded by daily newspapers across the country. Before 1917, newspapers exchanged news regionally and received international news from the Associated Press, but they had no established means of sending news east and west across the vast country.
1923: Adolf Hitler's failed "Beer Hall Putsch" in Munich (see Presidential Quotes On War, Terrorism, Religion).
1942: During the Second World War (listen to our Sermon The European World Wars), British, Canadian and U.S. forces landed in North Africa in "Operation Torch."
1944: 25,000 Hungarian Jews were "loaned" to the Nazis for forced labor.
1980: Voyager 1 discovered the 15th moon of Saturn (while many scientists reject the existence of the Creator and the truth of His Holy Bible, they ironically, and hypocritically, very often name scientific "discoveries" and exploration programs after non-existent pagan gods e.g. saturn, neptune, apollo; see also No 'Flat Earth' In The Bible).
1987: 11 people were killed by a terrorist IRA ("Irish Republican Army") bomb at an Ulster Remembrance Day service.
1988: 900 people were killed by an earthquake in China.
2004: During the invasion of Iraq, the siege of Fallujah began.