Jan. 13. Life and Death Happen in Jacob’s Family

Gen. 34:1-36:43

Hamor, prince of the country had a son, Shechem, who seeing the beauty of Jacob’s daughter, Dinah abducted and raped her. He wanted to marry her and asked his father to help get her for him.

In a meeting with Jacob and his sons, Hamor and Shechem proposed that the two extended families merge, dwell in the land together and intermarry. Jacob’s sons pointed out that they could not give their sister to anyone who was uncircumcised. Deceitfully, they agreed that Shechem could have her if all of the men of the city would be circumcised.

Hamor and Shechem agreed to the terms as set forth by the sons of Jacob. Three days later, while the men were recovering from the circumcision procedure, Simeon and Levi attacked the city with a sword and killed all of the men. They, possibly with their brothers’ help, plundered the city of its wealth and took women and children as captives.

This did not please Jacob as he feared that they would be destroyed by other inhabitants of the land. Simeon and Levi replied, “Should he treat our sister like a harlot?”

Probably for his safety, God instructed Jacob to return to Bethel about twenty-five miles to the south of Shechem. It was at this location that he had his dream of a ladder extending to heaven. God had made His promise to Jacob at this place as he was fleeing from his brother, Esau.

As an act of purification and to make a fresh start, Jacob ordered all who were with him to put all of their foreign gods away and change their clothes for the journey. God protected them as they made their move to a new location. Upon arrival, as he had done before, he built an altar to worship God.

God appeared to Jacob and stated once again that his name would be changed to Israel. The Lord reassured him of His promise that Israel would become a great nation.

Jacob continued his journey into Ephrath. It was here that Rachel went into labor with her second child. As was the case so many times before modern medical services, she died as her son was being born. She named him Ben-Oni, but Jacob called him Benjamin.

After the birth of Benjamin, Jacob moved on to Hebron, the home of his father, Isaac. It was here that Isaac died at the age of one hundred eighty years and was buried by his sons, Esau and Jacob.

Jacob and Esau continued to dwell together for a period of time in the land of Canaan after their reunion. However, sometime after Isaac’s death, their cattle and other possessions became too great for them to remain on the same land. Esau took his family and possessions and moved to Mt. Seir.

God had promised Esau a great nation. He had married at least three wives and had become known as Edom. The descendants of his five sons were known as the Edomites. Through intermarriage with other nations, they also had a great presence among them. Even though Esau left Jacob on friendly terms, his descendants later became bitter enemies of the Israelites.

The Old Testament Scriptures deal with the lineage of the Son of God and His plan for the salvation of man. Since Esau was not of that lineage, we have no other recordings of his life or death.