January 10th, Genesis 32-34

The Misadventures of Jacob, continued! Actually, Jacob makes mostly good choices today. Despite his terror at learning that his brother is nearby, Jacob not only takes his family to meet Esau, he sends lavish gifts ahead of him because he assumes that Esau is still angry, and hopes the gifts might calm him down. I imagine that Esau’s warm welcome and total forgiveness probably make Jacob feel even worse about himself, but this story marks a turning point for Jacob- he seems to mature into a respectable man in this story.

  • 32:6-7; Jacob had every reason to be afraid. He had stolen Esau’s blessing and tricked him out of his birth right. The last time Jacob heard anything about Esau it was that Esau wanted to kill him and that’s why Jacob had to go to Laban in the first place.
  • 32:12; Jacob reminds God of the covenant he made with the Israelites that was now extended through Jacob.
  • 32:24-32; It is uncertain who exactly Jacob wrestled with. Some say it was actually God and others say it was an angel of God.
  • 32:28; Jacob, though he currently has 11, eventually has 12 sons. These 12 sons each eventually become a tribe. This name change solidifies why we call them the 12 Tribes of Israel.
  • 33:1-4; Jacob’s reticence to encounter Esau and Esau’s joy to see Jacob closely mirror the reactions of the Prodigal Son and his father in Luke.
  • 34:2; Shechem raped Dinah. In ancient Israel any type of sex before marriage, whether your choice or not, was a great disgrace on women.
  • 34:21-22; The Israelites were not supposed to inter-marry with Canaanites.
  • 34:25-29; Jacob’s sons never had any intention of giving Dinah to Shechem as his wife. Instead, they planned to kill and plunder them as revenge.

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