Tag Archives: Genesis 36-38

January 13, 2018 Bible Study — Jacob’s Sons Start To Assimilate

I am using the daily Bible reading schedule from “The Bible.net” for my daily Bible reading.

Today, I am reading and commenting on Genesis 36-38.

    Today’s passage starts with an account of the descendants of Esau, including a list of some of the early kings of Edom. I do not know what the significance of this is for us today. From there the passage goes on to tell us about Joseph. From this passage we learn that Joseph was a naive, spoiled young man. Jacob loved Joseph more than his other sons, and Joseph loved his father more than his brothers. This combination led to Joseph’s older brothers hating him, but it does not appear that Joseph realized this. When I consider the dreams which Joseph related to his brothers and father, I go back and forth about what I think Joseph meant by telling them the dreams. Sometimes I think that Joseph thought of the dreams as really strange dreams and told his brothers about them in order to have a topic of conversation. Other times I think that he told them about the dreams as a sort of “Well, you can treat me like this now, but one day…” In either case, telling his brothers about his dreams exacerbated their anger towards him. The combination of their resentment of the special treatment Joseph received and of the fact that he told their father about the previous misdeeds of some of his brothers led his brothers to be convinced that he was coming to spy on them (which was at least partially true, although not a concern if they were not doing anything wrong). It is interesting that neither Reuben nor Judah wished to kill Joseph.

    After Joseph is sold into slavery by his brothers we have the story of Judah and Tamar. This story highlights why God sent the descendants of Jacob into Egypt. We see here that Jacob’s sons were becoming assimilated into the culture of Canaan, at least Judah, but I think we can figure that the rest of them behaved similarly. Judah married a local woman and had children with her. He arranged for his sons to marry local women. His best friend was a local and Judah practiced the local worship, at least to the extent of consorting with temple prostitutes. All of these things indicate that Judah, and probably his brothers, were gradually assimilating into the local culture. Something which both Abraham and Isaac sought to keep from happening.

January 13, 2016 Bible Study — Joseph and Why the Descendants of Jacob Needed to Go to Egypt

This year I switched from using One Year Bible Online for my daily Bible reading to the daily Bible reading schedule from “The Bible.net”.

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Today, I am reading and commenting on Genesis 36-38.

    Joseph was a spoiled young man, but probably naive. When Joseph had the two dreams recounted in this passage, I do not think he thought it meant that his father and brothers would be subservient to him. I think he thought that these were really cool, strange dreams. Nevertheless, he offended his brothers by telling them the dreams. This was just one of several things which Joseph did which irritated and angered his brothers. They were probably more angered by the fact that he acted as a spy on them for their father. I am guessing that it never occurred to Jacob that his other sons might not share his love for Joseph. For that matter, Jacob probably did not realize how much he favored Joseph over his other sons. There is a lesson here for parents about being careful about how they treat their favorite child.

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    I have long interpreted the story of Judah and Tamar as partially an example of why the Egyptian captivity was necessary for the Israelites to truly become God’s people. The method which Tamar used to seduce Judah suggests that Judah (and his brothers) were starting to adopt some of the practices of the people among whom they lived. Judah willingly slept with what he thought was a temple prostitute. Despite resisting the attempt by the people of Schechem to assimilate them, Jacob’s sons were adopting the practices of the people among whom they lived. As a side note. I want to mention that Onan’s sin was not masturbation. His sin was a selfish unwillingness to provide his dead brother with an heir.