THE PATRIARCHS AND MATRIARCHS – Part Three – WHPC – April 2022
I. Re-cap and Introduction
II. A Look at Jacob As He Matures
A. Read Genesis 28:10-22.
10 And Jacob left Beersheba and set out for Haran. 11 And he came upon a certain place and stopped there for the night, for the sun had set, and he took one of the stones of the place and put it at his head and he lay down in that place, 12 and he dreamed, and, look, a ramp was set against the ground with its top reaching the heavens, and, look, messengers of God were going up and coming down it. 13 And, look, the LORD was poised over him and He said, “I, the LORD , am the God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac. The land on which you lie, to you I will give it and to your seed. 14 And your seed shall be like the dust of the earth and you shall burst forth to the west and the east and the north and the south, and all the clans of the earth shall be blessed through you, and through your seed. 15 And, look, I am with you and I will guard you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land, for I will not leave you until I have done that which I have spoken to you.” 16 And Jacob awoke from his sleep and he said, “Indeed, the LORD is in this place, and I did not know.” 17 And he was afraid and he said, “How fearsome is this place! This can be but the house of God, and this is the gate of the heavens.” 18 And Jacob rose early in the morning and took the stone he had put at his head, and he set it as a pillar and poured oil over its top. 19 And he called the name of that place Bethel, though the name of the town before had been Luz. 20 And Jacob made a vow, saying, “ If the LORD God be with me and guard me on this way that I am going and give me bread to eat and clothing to wear, 21 and I return safely to my father’s house, then the LORD will be my God. 22 And this stone that I set as a pillar will be a house of God, and everything that You give me I will surely tithe it to You.”
1. What do you make of the angels going up and down? Wouldn’t you have expected the reverse?
2. What do you make of Jacob’s “if-then” promise in the final verses?
3. What do these verses add to our understanding of the covenant?
B. Read Genesis 29:18-27, 31-32, 35; 30:3-4, 9, 22-24; 31:4-7, 51-54
16 And Laban had two daughters. The name of the elder was Leah and the name of the younger Rachel. 17 And Leah’s eyes were tender, but Rachel was comely in features and comely to look at, 18 and Jacob loved Rachel. And he said, “I will serve seven years for Rachel your younger daughter.” 19 And Laban said, “Better I should give her to you than give her to another man. Stay with me.” 20 And Jacob served seven years for Rachel, and they seemed in his eyes but a few days in his love for her. 21 And Jacob said to Laban, “Give me my wife, for my time is done, and let me come to bed with her.” 22 And Laban gathered all the men of the place and made a feast. 23 And when evening came, he took Leah his daughter and brought her to Jacob, and he came to bed with her. 24 And Laban gave Zilpah his slavegirl to Leah his daughter as her slavegirl. 25 And when morning came, look, she was Leah. And he said to Laban, “What is this you have done to me? Was it not for Rachel that I served you, and why have you deceived me?” 26 And Laban said, “ It is not done thus in our place, to give the younger girl before the firstborn. 27 Finish out the bridal week of this one and we shall give you the other as well for the service you render me for still another seven years.”
Genesis 29:31-32, 35
31 And the LORD saw that Leah was despised and He opened her womb, but Rachel was barren. 32 And Leah conceived and bore a son and called his name Reuben, for she said, “Yes, the LORD has seen my suffering, for now my husband will love me.”
35 And she conceived again and bore a son, and she said, “This time I sing praise to the LORD ,” therefore she called his name Judah. And she ceased bearing children.
Genesis 30:3-4, 9, 22-24;
3 And Rachel said to Jacob, “Here is my slavegirl, Bilhah. Come to bed with her, that she may give birth on my knees, so that I, too, shall be built up through her.” 4 And she gave him Bilhah her slavegirl as a wife, and Jacob came to bed with her.
9 And Leah saw that she had ceased bearing children, and she took Zilpah, her slavegirl, and gave her to Jacob as a wife.
22 And God remembered Rachel and God heard her and He opened her womb, 23 and she conceived and bore a son, and she said, “God has taken away my shame.” 24 And she called his name Joseph, which is to say, “ May the LORD add me another son.”
Genesis 31:4-7, 51-54
4 And Jacob sent and called Rachel and Leah out to the field, to his flocks, 5 and he said to them, “I see your father’s face, that it is not disposed toward me as in time past, but the God of my father has been with me. 6 And you know that with all my strength I have served your father. 7 But your father has tricked me and has switched my wages ten times over, yet God has not let him do me harm.
51 And Laban said to Jacob, “ Look, this mound, and, look, the pillar that I cast up between you and me, 52 witness be the mound and witness the pillar, that I will not cross over to you past this mound and you will not cross over to me past this mound, and past this pillar, for harm. 53 May the god of Abraham and the god of Nahor”—the gods of their fathers—“judge between us.” And Jacob swore by the Terror of his father Isaac. 54 And Jacob offered sacrifice on the height and called to his kinsmen to eat bread, and they ate bread and passed the night on the height.
1. What do you make of Laban’s “trickery,” subsequent events, and their place in the plot?
2. What do you make of the “rivalry” between Rachel and Leah and its impacts, including all this child-bearing?
3. What does Laban’s and Jacob’s making peace teach us?
II. Jacob on His Own
A. Read Genesis 32, and ponder the following questions.
1 And Laban rose early in the morning and kissed his sons and his daughters and blessed them, and Laban went off and returned to his place. 2 And Jacob had gone on his way, and messengers of God accosted him. 3 And Jacob said when he saw them, “This is God’s camp,” and he called the name of that place Mahanaim. 4 And Jacob sent messengers before him to Esau his brother in the land of Seir, the steppe of Edom. 5 And he charged them, saying, “ Thus shall you say—‘To my lord Esau, thus says your servant Jacob: With Laban I have sojourned and I tarried till now. 6 And I have gotten oxen and donkeys and sheep and male and female slaves, and I send ahead to tell my lord, to find favor in your eyes.’” 7 And the messengers returned to Jacob, saying, “We came to your brother, to Esau, and he is actually coming to meet you, and four hundred men are with him.” 8 And Jacob was greatly afraid, and he was distressed, and he divided the people that were with him, and the sheep and the cattle and the camels, into two camps. 9 And he thought, “Should Esau come to the one camp and strike it, the remaining camp will escape.” 10 And Jacob said: “God of my father Abraham and God of my father Isaac! L ORD who has said to me, ‘Return to your land and your birthplace, and I will deal well with you.’ 11 I am unworthy of all the kindness that you have steadfastly done for your servant. For with my staff I crossed this Jordan, and now I have become two camps. 12 O save me from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau, for I fear him, lest he come and strike me, mother with sons. 13 And You Yourself said, ‘I will surely deal well with you and I will set your seed like the sand of the sea multitudinous beyond all count.’” 14 And he passed that same night there, and he took from what he had in hand a tribute to Esau his brother: 15 two hundred she-goats and twenty he-goats, two hundred ewes and twenty rams; 16 thirty milch camels with their young, forty cows and ten bulls, twenty she-asses and ten he-asses. 17 And he put them in the hands of his servants, each herd by itself, and he said to his servants, “Pass on before me, and put distance between one herd and the next.” 18 And he charged the first one, saying, “When Esau my brother meets you and asks you, saying, ‘Whose man are you, and where are you going, and whose are these herds before you?,’ 19 you shall say, ‘They are your servant Jacob’s, a tribute sent to my lord Esau, and, look, he is actually behind us.’” 20 And he charged the second one as well, and also the third, indeed, all those who went after the herds, saying, “In this fashion you shall speak to Esau when you find him. And you shall say, ‘Look, your servant Jacob is actually behind us.’” 21 For he thought, “ Let me placate him with the tribute that goes before me, and after I shall look on his face, perhaps he will show me a kindly face.” 22 And the tribute passed on before him, and he spent that night in the camp. 23 And he rose on that night and took his two wives and his two slavegirls and his eleven boys and he crossed over the Jabbok ford. 24 And he took them and brought them across the stream, and he brought across all that he had. 25 And Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him until the break of dawn. 26 And he saw that he had not won out against him and he touched his hip socket and Jacob’s hip socket was wrenched as he wrestled with him. 27 And he said, “ Let me go, for dawn is breaking.” And he said, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” 28 And he said to him, “ What is your name?” And he said, “Jacob.” 29 And he said, “ Not Jacob shall your name hence be said, but Israel, for you have striven with God and men, and won out.” 30 And Jacob asked and said, “Tell your name, pray.” And he said, “Why should you ask my name?” and there he blessed him. 31 And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel, meaning, “I have seen God face-to-face and I came out alive.” 32 And the sun rose upon him as he passed Penuel and he was limping on his hip. 33 Therefore the children of Israel do not eat the sinew of the thigh which is by the hip socket to this day, for he had touched Jacob’s hip socket at the sinew of the thigh.
1. As Jacob leaves Laban and begins his journey of life, what’s the first thing we note?
2. What’s the first “piece of business” he encounters?
3. What’s Esau’s response, how does Jacob respond, and what does this tell us about Jacob?
4. Jacob makes it so that he is alone that night. What does that mean? And he wrestles with a man. Or is it an angel? Or actually God? What happens, and what evidence do you see that it’s all of the above in the wrestling, and what does it all mean?
5. Jacob had a spiritual struggle to wage, to stretch, to grow, to change, and with pain. What happened as a result of the wrestling match?
6. Jacob prevails but is wounded and marked by it forever. Yet, he wants to be blessed. For what?
7. The other wrestler says Jacob is not to be called Jacob but rather to be called Israel, one who struggles with God.
But it also says he has struggled with men and prevailed. What does this mean?
8. Jacob’s name is changed to Israel. Yet, this man is sometimes called Jacob and sometimes Israel later in the Bible. So, what is his name, and why might it change from time to time?
9. Jacob calls the place there Peniel because it was there where he saw God face to face and his life was preserved. And as Jacob limped away from the place, we see in the first verse of Chapter 33 that he lifted his eyes upon whom? Any further thoughts about the encounter and its aftermath?
B. Let’s see the resolution. Read Genesis 33:1-11.
1 And Jacob raised his eyes and saw and, look, Esau was coming, and with him were four hundred men. And he divided the children between Leah and Rachel, and between the two slavegirls. 2 And he placed the slavegirls and their children first, and Leah and her children after them, and Rachel and Joseph last. 3 And he passed before them and bowed to the ground seven times until he drew near his brother. 4 And Esau ran to meet him and embraced him and fell upon his neck and kissed him, and they wept. 5 And he raised his eyes and saw the women and the children and he said, “Who are these with you?” And he said, “The children with whom God has favored your servant.” 6 And the slavegirls drew near, they and their children, and they bowed down. 7 And Leah, too, and her children drew near, and they bowed down, and then Joseph and Rachel drew near and bowed down. 8 And he said, “ What do you mean by all this camp I have met?” And he said, “To find favor in the eyes of my lord.” 9 And Esau said, “ I have much, my brother. Keep what you have.” 10 And Jacob said, “O, no, pray, if I have found favor in your eyes, take this tribute from my hand, for have I not seen your face as one might see God’s face, and you received me in kindness? 11 Pray, take my blessing that has been brought you, for God has favored me and I have everything.” And he pressed him, and he took it.
Question: What do we find in these verses, and what does this mean?
III. Rachel (for your consideration on your own)
She was known for her wailing. “A voice is heard in Ramah – wailing, bitter weeping. It is Rachel weeping for her children.” Jeremiah 31:14
Yet, how did a woman who was “beautiful in form and beautiful in appearance” (Genesis 29:17) end up bearing such a bitter burden?
A. Read Genesis 29:11 and 17.
11 And Jacob kissed Rachel and lifted his voice and wept.
17 And Leah’s eyes were tender, but Rachel was comely in features and comely to look at,
1.. Do we get a clue here?
2. Things begin to change as Jacob marries Leah instead of Rachel, and Leah conceives most of the 12 tribes. (Genesis 29:32-35, 30:9-13, 16-20).
32 And Leah conceived and bore a son and called his name Reuben, for she said, “Yes, the LORD has seen my suffering, for now my husband will love me.” 33 And she conceived again and bore a son, and she said, “Yes, the LORD has heard I was despised and He has given me this one, too,” and she called his name Simeon. 34 And she conceived again and bore a son, and she said, “This time at last my husband will join me, for I have borne him three sons.” Therefore is his name called Levi. 35 And she conceived again and bore a son, and she said, “This time I sing praise to the LORD ,” therefore she called his name Judah. And she ceased bearing children.
9 And Leah saw that she had ceased bearing children, and she took Zilpah, her slavegirl, and gave her to Jacob as a wife. 10 And Zilpah, Leah’s slavegirl, bore Jacob a son. 11 And Leah said, “ Good luck has come.” And she called his name Gad. 12 And Zilpah, Leah’s slavegirl, bore a second son to Jacob. 13 And Leah said, “ What good fortune! For the girls have acclaimed me fortunate.” And she called his name Asher.
Genesis 30: 16-20
16 And Jacob came from the field in the evening and Leah went out to meet him and said, “ With me you will come to bed, for I have clearly hired you with the mandrakes of my son.” And he lay with her that night. 17 And God heard Leah and she conceived and bore Jacob a fifth son. 18 And Leah said, “ God has given my wages because I gave my slavegirl to my husband,” and she called his name Issachar. 19 And Leah conceived again and bore a sixth son to Jacob. 20 And Leah said, “God has granted me a goodly gift. This time my husband will exalt me, for I have borne him six sons.” And she called his name Zebulun. 21 And afterward she bore a daughter and she called her name Dinah.
What effect would this have on Rachel?
3. She had a choice when her cunning father, Laban, tricked Jacob into marrying Leah: would she have disrupted their relationship or promoted it by love and kindness?
B. Read Genesis 29:18-27, 30:1-2.
29: 18 and Jacob loved Rachel. And he said, “I will serve seven years for Rachel your younger daughter.” 19 And Laban said, “Better I should give her to you than give her to another man. Stay with me.” 20 And Jacob served seven years for Rachel, and they seemed in his eyes but a few days in his love for her. 21 And Jacob said to Laban, “Give me my wife, for my time is done, and let me come to bed with her.” 22 And Laban gathered all the men of the place and made a feast. 23 And when evening came, he took Leah his daughter and brought her to Jacob, and he came to bed with her. 24 And Laban gave Zilpah his slavegirl to Leah his daughter as her slavegirl. 25 And when morning came, look, she was Leah. And he said to Laban, “What is this you have done to me? Was it not for Rachel that I served you, and why have you deceived me?” 26 And Laban said, “ It is not done thus in our place, to give the younger girl before the firstborn. 27 Finish out the bridal week of this one and we shall give you the other as well for the service you render me for still another seven years.”
30: 1 And Rachel saw that she had born no children to Jacob, and Rachel was jealous of her sister, and she said to Jacob, “ Give me sons, for if you don’t, I’m a dead woman!” 2 And Jacob was incensed with Rachel, and he said, “ Am I instead of God, Who has denied you fruit of the womb?”
1. What do we see here?
2. What do we make of Rachel’s life in the end?
IV. Leah (for your consideration on your own)
If Rachel was the spiritual mother of the people, Leah was the physical mother. Through hope and gratitude, Leah established them; she mothered them.
Rachel wept for children she never had; Leah pined for love she never had. Rachel’s sensitivity to Leah made her contribution possible. Leah’s duty and love of God brought the people to the possibility of fulfillment.
A. Read Genesis 29:35
Genesis 29: 35 And she conceived again and bore a son, and she said, “This time I sing praise to the LORD ,” therefore she called his name Judah. And she ceased bearing children.
Question: What do you make of this verse? What does it teach us about Leah?
IV. Conclusion – What are our takeaways from our study over the past three sessions?