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Tuesday, November 13 2012
A Biography Of Jacob: The Return To Canaan
After his return from twenty years with his uncle Laban in Syria (see A Biography Of Jacob: The Jacobites Of Syria), having just then been renamed as "Israel" by the LORD (see A Biography Of Jacob: When Jacob Became Israel and Who Is The LORD?), Jacob "came to Shalem, a city of Shechem, which is in the land of Canaan" where he bought a plot of land upon which to pitch his tent. There, on his property in the land of Canaan, Jacob / Israel "erected there an altar, and called it Elelohe-Israel" - which in the original Hebrew means the LORD is the Mighty One of Israel."
"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)
The term "a city of Shechem" actually meant Shechem's city. Shechem's father Hamor the Hivite was "prince of the country." When Shechem defiled Dinah, Jacob's only daughter, it put overly-passive Jacob in a difficult situation. His daughter had been assaulted, but the one who did it was a prince of the country in which Jacob was living as a foreigner.
"34:1 And Dinah the daughter of Leah [see Dinah Of Israel], which she bare unto Jacob, went out to see the daughters of the land. 34:2 And when Shechem the son of Hamor the Hivite, prince of the country, saw her, he took her, and lay with her, and defiled her. 34:3 And his soul clave unto Dinah the daughter of Jacob, and he loved the damsel, and spake kindly unto the damsel. 34:4 And Shechem spake unto his father Hamor, saying, Get me this damsel to wife.
Jacob's sons, at least two of them, had not inherited their father's excessive meekness (see also Who Has A Spirit Of Confrontation?). After a painful ruse, Simeon and Levi, Dinah's full brothers by Leah, "came upon the city boldly, and slew all the males." Then, "they slew Hamor and Shechem his son with the edge of the sword, and took Dinah out of Shechem's house."
"34:24 And unto Hamor and unto Shechem his son hearkened all that went out of the gate of his city; and every male was circumcised, all that went out of the gate of his city.
Even though he was born there, Jacob was a Canaanite by territorial citizenship, just as Abraham and Isaac had been ("11:9 By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: 11:10 For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God." Hebrews 11:9-10 KJV). Jacob wailed "Ye have troubled me to make me to stink among the inhabitants of the land, among the Canaanites and the Perizzites: and I being few in number, they shall gather themselves together against me, and slay me; and I shall be destroyed, I and my house."
"34:30 And Jacob said to Simeon and Levi, Ye have troubled me to make me to stink among the inhabitants of the land, among the Canaanites and the Perizzites: and I being few in number, they shall gather themselves together against me, and slay me; and I shall be destroyed, I and my house.
The LORD then intervened and told Jacob / Israel to move to Bethel, located about 10 miles north of Jerusalem - the same place where the LORD had appeared to Jacob at the time of his famous "stairway to heaven" dream (see A Biography Of Jacob: Stairway To Heaven). Amazingly, Jacob's family were still idol-worshipers, so Jacob told them to "Put away the strange gods that are among you."
"35:1 And God said unto Jacob, Arise, go up to Bethel, and dwell there: and make there an altar unto God, that appeared unto thee when thou fleddest from the face of Esau thy brother.
Upon their arrival at Bethel, Jacob built another altar. He "called the place Elbethel: because there God appeared unto him, when he fled from the face of his brother."
"35:6 So Jacob came to Luz, which is in the land of Canaan, that is, Bethel, he and all the people that were with him. 35:7 And he built there an altar, and called the place Elbethel: because there God appeared unto him, when he fled from the face of his brother." (Genesis 35:6-7 KJV)
There, at Bethel, "Deborah, Rebekah's nurse died, and she was buried beneath Bethel under an oak." Deborah had accompanied Rebekah when she left her father's house in Syria to become Isaac's wife (Genesis 24:59; see also Who Chose Rebekah?).
"35:8 But Deborah Rebekah's nurse died, and she was buried beneath Bethel under an oak: and the name of it was called Allonbachuth." (Genesis 35:8 KJV)
The LORD then reiterated, to Jacob, the promise that He had made to Abraham.
"35:9 And God appeared unto Jacob again, when he came out of Padanaram, and blessed him. 35:10 And God said unto him, Thy name is Jacob: thy name shall not be called any more Jacob, but Israel shall be thy name: and he called his name Israel.
The family group then journeyed back southward. When they arrived in the area of Bethlehem, which is located south of Jerusalem, Rachel died, while giving birth to Benjamin - the only Israel patriarch born in what became the land of Israel. Rachel was buried there. Her tomb became one of the most famous landmarks of Israel.
"35:16 And they journeyed from Bethel; and there was but a little way to come to Ephrath: and Rachel travailed, and she had hard labour. 35:17 And it came to pass, when she was in hard labour, that the midwife said unto her, Fear not; thou shalt have this son also. 35:18 And it came to pass, as her soul was in departing, (for she died) that she called his name Benoni: but his father called him Benjamin.
There was a substantial age span between Jacob's oldest son, Reuben, and the youngest, Benjamin. "When Israel dwelt in that land, Reuben went and lay with Bilhah his father's concubine." Bilhah was the mother of Reuben's half-brothers Dan, and Naphtali. Jacob would deal with that incident later, in Egypt, at the time of the blessing of his children before he died i.e. "49:3 Reuben, thou art my firstborn, my might, and the beginning of my strength, the excellency of dignity, and the excellency of power: 49:4 Unstable as water, thou shalt not excel; because thou wentest up to thy father's bed; then defiledst thou it: he went up to my couch." (Genesis 49:3-4 KJV).
"35:21 And Israel journeyed, and spread his tent beyond the tower of Edar. 35:22 And it came to pass, when Israel dwelt in that land, that Reuben went and lay with Bilhah his father's concubine: and Israel heard it.
Jacob then returned to Hebron when Isaac died. There, "his sons Esau and Jacob buried him." With his father Isaac dead, and his competing brother happily living in peaceful prosperity in his own territory, Jacob was then free and clear in his role as the patriarch of the family of "Israel," as they dwelt in the land of Canaan.
"35:27 And Jacob came unto Isaac his father unto Mamre, unto the city of Arbah, which is Hebron, where Abraham and Isaac sojourned. 35:28 And the days of Isaac were an hundred and fourscore years. 35:29 And Isaac gave up the ghost, and died, and was gathered unto his people, being old and full of days: and his sons Esau and Jacob buried him." (Genesis 35:27-29 KJV)
Fact Finder: What prophecies were written about Rachel? Which one was fulfilled after the Messiah was born at Bethlehem?
This Day In History, November 13
1002: English king Ethelred II launched a massacre of Danish settlers.
1093: Malcolm III of Scotland, son of King Duncan, died during his fifth attempt to invade England.
1460: Portuguese explorer Henry the Navigator died at age 66.
1474: During the Swiss-Burgundian Wars, Swiss forces defeated the army of Charles the Bold at Hericourt.
1715: The Battle of Sheriffmuir in Scotland.
1833: One of the greatest Leonid meteor storms dazzled people in eastern North America from midnight to dawn.
1843: Mount Rainier in Washington State erupted.
1851: A telegraph link was established between London and Paris.
1907: The first helicopter to achieve free flight carrying a man, designed by Paul Cornu, rose 6 feet above the ground at Lisieux, France.
1942: During the Second World War (listen to our Sermon The European World Wars; see also Presidential Quotes On War, Terrorism, Religion), the British aircraft carrier Ark Royal was hit by a German torpedo off Gibraltar and sank the following day.
1945: Charles de Gaulle became the President of the French provisional government at the end of the Second World War.
1970: Hafez al-Assad seized power in Syria in a bloodless military coup.
1985: In Colombia, the Neva del Ruiz volcano erupted; an estimated 25,000 people died.
1994: Swedes voted by 52.2 percent in a referendum to join the European Union.
1998: U.S. President Bill Clinton agreed to pay Paula Jones $850,000.00 to drop her sexual harassment lawsuit against him. A New York businessman had earlier paid the woman another $1,000,000.00
1998: Michel Trudeau, 23, son of former Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, drowned during a ski trip in British Columbia after being swept into a lake by an avalanche. The body was never recovered.