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Monday, November 12 2012
A Biography Of Jacob: Peace With Esau
The struggle between Jacob and Esau, the fraternal twin sons of Isaac and Rebekah, began before they were born - they were even born "wrestling" for pre-eminence. Jacob, from the Hebrew word that means he grasps, was named after it (see A Biography Of Jacob: The Second Twin).
"25:21 And Isaac entreated the LORD [see Who Is The LORD?] for his wife, because she was barren: and the LORD was entreated of him, and Rebekah his wife conceived [see Who Chose Rebekah?]. 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.
In beginning the fulfillment of the prophecy "the elder shall serve the younger," Jacob obtained starving firstborn Esau's birthright (see A Biography Of Jacob: The Birthright).
"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.
With Rebekah's help, Jacob then obtained firstborn Esau's blessing (see A Biography Of Jacob: The Blessing). It was the final straw for Esau; he decided to kill his brother Jacob, either as a senseless act of murder, or by means of some provocation in which Esau would "defend" himself and thereafter legally inherit the birthright and blessing back from Jacob - which could only work for as long as Jacob was himself childless (which may have been a consideration when they met again twenty years later, when Jacob had heirs, as we will read).
"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.
The night before the meeting began with Jacob in a full panic that Esau was about to wipe out his entire family. The rest of the night was taken care of by the LORD - who "wrestled" with Jacob and renamed him as "Israel" (see A Biography Of Jacob: When Jacob Became Israel).
"32:1 And Jacob went on his way, and the angels of God met him. 32:2 And when Jacob saw them, he said, This is God's host: and he called the name of that place Mahanaim.
The next morning, Jacob made the final preparations to appease his brother, or allow himself to be slaughtered in the attempt.
"32:13 And he lodged there that same night; and took of that which came to his hand a present for Esau his brother; 32:14 Two hundred she goats, and twenty he goats, two hundred ewes, and twenty rams, 32:15 Thirty milch camels with their colts, forty kine, and ten bulls, twenty she asses, and ten foals. 32:16 And he delivered them into the hand of his servants, every drove by themselves; and said unto his servants, Pass over before me, and put a space betwixt drove and drove.
Esau was the first to meet his newly-renamed brother "Israel," who "bowed himself to the ground seven times, until he came near to his brother."
"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." (Genesis 33:1-3 KJV)
Esau had grown in the twenty years that they were parted. He had become wealthy, on his own, and powerful, with his four hundred men, but Esau, with his wealth and power, had become a civilized gentleman. "Esau ran to meet him, and embraced him, and fell on his neck, and kissed him: and they wept," and rather than taking all of the goods that Jacob was trying to give him, "Esau said, I have enough, my brother; keep that thou hast unto thyself."
"33:4 And Esau ran to meet him, and embraced him, and fell on his neck, and kissed him: and they wept. 33:5 And he lifted up his eyes, and saw the women and the children; and said, Who are those with thee?
Esau had become very different. Jacob however was still very much a schemer. Jacob gave Esau a deceptive story, and then headed off in another direction: "Jacob journeyed to Succoth, and built him an house, and made booths for his cattle: therefore the name of the place is called Succoth."
"33:12 And he said, Let us take our journey, and let us go, and I will go before thee.
It was not long afterward that Jacob made first use of his new name.
"33:18 And Jacob came to Shalem, a city of Shechem, which is in the land of Canaan, when he came from Padanaram; and pitched his tent before the city. 33:19 And he bought a parcel of a field, where he had spread his tent, at the hand of the children of Hamor, Shechem's father, for an hundred pieces of money. 33:20 And he erected there an altar, and called it Elelohe-Israel." (Genesis 33:18-20 KJV)
Fact Finder: Jacob was of the Messianic "seed," or genetic line, from Abraham. But what about the other "seed" of Abraham - physical and spiritual?
This Day In History, November 12
764: Tibetan troops occupied Chang'an, the capital of China's Tang Dynasty.
1035: King Canute of Denmark (ruled England, Norway and Denmark) died at age 40.
1439: Plymouth, England, became the first town incorporated by the English Parliament.
1812: In their retreat from Moscow, the remnants of Napoleon's "Grand Army" crossed the River Berezina; 10,000 stragglers were left behind.
1833: A meteorite deluge occurred, estimated at 1,000 per minute. Scientists believe that about 25,000,000 enter earth's atmosphere each day.
1859: In Paris, France, the first flying trapeze act was performed, by Jules Leotard at the Cirque Napoleon, without a safety net. The body-hugging costume he used was later named after him - leotards.
1867: A major eruption of Mount Vesuvius in Italy began and lasted for several months.
1912: A search party found the remains of British explorer Robert Scott and his companions after their ill-fated South Pole expedition.
1918: The day after the First World War armistice (listen to our Sermon The European World Wars), Emperor Karl of Austria-Hungary abdicated, making Austria a republic.
1923: Adolf Hitler (see Presidential Quotes On War, Terrorism, Religion) was arrested for his failed "Beer Hall Putsch" 4 days earlier.
1933: The Nazis Party and their leader Adolf Hitler received 92% of the vote in the German election.
1938: High-ranking Nazi official Hermann Goering stated that Madagascar should become a Jewish homeland.
1939: The occupying Nazi forces in Poland ordered Jews to wear yellow arm bands.
1942: The British 8th Army under General Bernard Montgomery captured Tobruk in Libya, taking over 30,000 German prisoners.
1944: The German battleship Tirpitz, sister ship of the Bismarck and Hitler's last major warship, was sunk by Lancaster bombers at Tromso Fjord in northern Norway.
1948: In the aftermath of the Second World War, Japanese Prime Minister Hikedi Tojo and 7 others were sentenced to hang by a U.S. war crimes court for "breaching laws and customs of war." Among the specified war crimes for which they were convicted and sentenced to death by U.S. judges was the waterboarding torture of prisoners (waterboarding was actually invented during the Church of Rome's "Inquisition" in which people were tortured into "conversion").
1968: The U.S. Supreme Court overturned an Arkansas law that banned the teaching of evolution in public schools (listen to our Sermon Darwin's Theory of Evolution).
1969: After the "classified" incident was made public by independent investigative journalist Seymour Hersh, the U.S. Army announced that it was investigating Lt. William Calley for his ordering the massacre of over 500 Vietnamese civilians (unarmed old men, women and babies) in their village of My Lai in March 1968. Calley was later convicted of the war crimes, but was quietly released from custody not long afterward.
1982: Yuri Andropov was elected First Secretary of the Soviet Communist Party following the death of Leonid Brezhnev.