Chronicles of YHWH 25: Israel at Peniel

Israel at Peniel

One night, while Jacob was minding his own business at a place called Peniel, YHWH sneaked upon him, and started pinching him, provocatively. Infuriated, Jacob stood up, and gave YHWH a heavy beating for the whole night. A badly surprised YHWH dislocated Jacob’s hip joint in a bid to incapacitate him, but Jacob still managed to overpower him. Finally, at daybreak, YHWH begged for a truce:

YHWH: Please let me go, man. My body is aching all over.

Jacob: No, I will not let you go until you bless me.

YHWH: How can you ask me to bless you after beating me up like that for a whole night?

Jacob: You started it. You are the one who came and started pinching me for no reason at all.

YHWH: Yeah, but you didn’t have to beat me up like a step-son. I can hardly move. My left eye is swollen shut. My ribs are probably broken. You punch and kick like a mule.

Jacob: Look, just give me your blessings, and I’ll let you go. Otherwise, I’ll keep slapping you until you soil your loin cloth.

YHWH: No – don’t slap me again. Those slaps are too painful. My ears are ringing. I will bless you. What’s your name?

Jacob: I’m Jacob, son of Isaac.

YHWH: Fine. From today, your name will be Israel – for you have beaten God into a pulp. Now, please let me go back to heaven in peace.

And so Jacob – now Israel – let YHWH depart. And YHWH limped away, painfully. He never visited Israel again in a physical form.

 

N/B: For access to all anecdotes in this series, check out List of all “Chronicles of YHWH” notes.

Exodus 1

Israel Multiplies in Egypt

I hope you have kept it here and have not forgotten where we stopped at the end of Genesis. We close Genesis with the deaths of Jacob and Joseph with his brothers left living in Goshen.

Before we get into the book of Exodus, let us first hear what the Catholics have to say about it. Exodus, they say is from the Greek word exodos which means departure which is the main theme of the book. They continue to say, this is where they are quite honest, the church adopted the traditional Jewish view that Moses wrote the 5 books. This, they say, is not so much a statement of authorship as a religious affirmation that the book derives its authority from the work of Moses. They continue to say Moses cannot be conceived as the author of those books.

Exodus starts by listing the sons of Jacob who came to Egypt with him. You may be a little confused here;

1 Now these are the names of the sons of Israel who came to Egypt with Jacob; they came each one with his household……….

Israel here does not refer to a people but to Jacob. It gets absurd from here, at verse 6, we are told Joseph died and his brothers and all that generation but the sons of Israel were fruitful and increased greatly. How can this be? Who are these called Israel if the whole generation has passed on?

In verse 8, we are told a king arose in Egypt who did not know Joseph and feared their numbers and passed decrees to have them enslaved, treated harshly and ordered 2 midwives whom he later builds houses for to kill every male child. How could this one family give birth to threaten a whole kingdom? After being defied by two Hebrew midwives, the Pharaoh calls on all of Egypt to cast every son born to the Hebrews in the Nile River. I don’t know about you, but if I was king and my intention was to kill male babies and a midwife disobeyed that order, that would be her last day especially listening to the excuse they give!

This aside, however, why would a king be threatened by small male babies born to his slaves as we are told they were? There are better ways to deal with the population than killing male babies, don’t you think so. Why not just have all their women married by the Egyptians besides it is just one family and in a few years there would be none left who even remembers they were Hebrews to begin with. Unless there something we are missing?

 

 

 

Genesis 49

Jacob’s last will and testament

The previous chapter ends with the old man approaching expiry and giving instructions of where he wants to be buried after blessing the two sons of David, I don’t know why the daughters are not included among those to be blessed, we will come to that someday ladies! Somehow the dying old man still has energy and a few blessings left to give before he expires and so summons all the sons for a last reading of his will. I think he didn’t want it contested in future.

If you think he is going to bless them or divide his property among them you are mistaken; he reads what looks like a riot act, blessing Joseph and his brother Benjamin, cursing others such as Reuben at the same time painting a royal future for the family of Judah, judges for the family of Dan, Naphtali’s line will be poets or orators, your take, and so the reading goes.

Jake/ Israel has 12 sons, how they become to represent a whole people still passes me and I am going to need quite some help here. If they are brothers[Jake] with Esau, are Esau’s kids also Israelites and what about their relatives? Do they represent different tribes or does each family represent a distinct tribe? And why all this favoritism, who was the audience to the scribes, I don’t think it was us!

His last act is to instruct his sons on where he is to be buried and quits. What a way to quit!

 

Genesis 48

Israel’s Last Days

In the previous chapter, the family of Jacob/Israel, the Egyptian families have all been sold to slavery so they can work for their food since the cereals that had been stored at the beginning of the fine are depleted. I don’t know if the had more grain reserves but this will be a matter of another day.

This chapter starts with a dying Jake. Joseph comes to visit his father accompanied by his two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh [I will have to find out how many children he had]. This episode is quite interesting to say the least, when Joseph arrives, the old man has to be notified[I think he has lost vision] but a few verses later he sees Joseph’s sons! He then asks to bless the boys, so Joseph presents then, Manasseh to the right and Ephraim to the left, the eldest and the youngest consecutively, but he is displeased with his old man who crosses his hands such that his right hand is on Ephraim. I don’t understand this thing with right hands anyway!

Jacob blesses sons of Jose. Painting attributed to Nicolo Bambini

As it was with Cain and Abel, then Esau and Jacob, so it is here where there is preferential treatment; Jake tells Manasseh his younger brother shall be greater than he. Now apart from instilling hatred at such a young age, how did this senile old man know what would happen in future?

The chapter ends with the old man telling Joseph of his imminent death and reminds him El will be faithful and get him and his family out of Egypt to a land parcel the old man had bought earlier. Just one last remark, I don’t remember blessing his other sons or grandchildren? Why just Joseph’s children?

 

Genesis 46

Jacob Moves to Egypt

The last chapter ends with Jacob aka Israel ready to die now that he knows his son is alive just as in the NT Zechariah or someone like that will be ready to die when he sees the born messiah.

We have a total of 75 members of Jake’s aka Israel’s family c0me into Egypt. I will not repeat their names only to mention that somewhere along the road, [Beersheba, where Hagar earlier found water after being dismissed by Abe and the sacred shrine for Abe and Ike ],  the family patriarch developed cold feet and had to be encouraged by a visitation from El of his forefathers with a promise to take them out of Egypt at the right moment.

A point of note, is the patriarch’s household was doing very well and needed special land lease away from the Egyptians who saw every livestock as an abomination!  Why anyone would see livestock rearing as abominable passes me! As I have said before, you do not need much to see the folly in the biblical scribes and their source of inspiration! All you need is to objective, and critical and there you have it all staring at you.

Jacob goes to Egypt

Genesis 36

Esau Moves

This chapter I must say is not really interesting. It has genealogies of Esau and they have names that for the most part I find hard to even pronounce. We will not dwell in it much for that matter but it is important that we take note of the different names since we will meet them in future having different roles. That aside, Esau has just been baptised to Edom whichI gather from wikipedia has several meanings. Esau takes for himself 3 wives departing a little from his other relatives who had married from the family and had concubines and marries from among the people he is living in their midst.

36 Now these are the records of the generations of Esau (that is, Edom).

Esau took his wives from the daughters of Canaan: Adah the daughter of Elon the Hittite, and Oholibamah the daughter of Anah and the granddaughter of Zibeon the Hivite; also Basemath, Ishmael’s daughter, the sister of Nebaioth. Adah bore Eliphaz [in the Legend of the Jews Vol I chapter 6 we are told, Eliphaz was brought up ,under the watchful eye of the old patriarch Isaac, in the ways of god and that he later meets with Job as prophet Eliphaz]   to Esau, and Basemath bore Reuel, and Oholibamah bore Jeush and Jalam and Korah. These are the sons of Esau who were born to him in the land of Canaan.

Then Esau took his wives and his sons and his daughters and all his household, and his livestock and all his cattle and all his goods which he had acquired in the land of Canaan, and went to another land away from his brother Jacob [why does Esau have to move, in my view if anyone is to move then it is Jacob who should find his own niche. He was away for 20 years so when he comes back and the place can’t sustain them both then it is him to move besides he must now be good at being a settler!]. For their property had become too great for them to live together, and the land where they sojourned could not sustain them because of their livestock [could be a narration of one of the migration stories?]. So Esau lived in the hill country of Seir; Esau is Edom.

Descendants of Esau

These then are the records of the generations of Esau the father of the Edomites in the hill country of Seir [I hope you are still with me here, the Edomites are the sons of Esau since his name has been changed to Edom]. 10 These are the names of Esau’s sons: Eliphaz the son of Esau’s wife Adah, Reuel the son of Esau’s wife Basemath. 11 The sons of Eliphaz were Teman, Omar, Zepho and Gatam and Kenaz. 12 Timna was a concubine of Esau’s son Eliphaz and she bore Amalek to Eliphaz. These are the sons of Esau’s wife Adah [Adah has one son, Eliphaz] . 13 These are the sons of Reuel: Nahath and Zerah, Shammah and Mizzah. These were the sons of Esau’s wife Basemath [Basemath has one son, Reuel]. 14 These were the sons of Esau’s wife Oholibamah , the daughter of Anah and the granddaughter of Zibeon: she bore to Esau, Jeush and Jalam and Korah.

15 These are the chiefs of the sons of Esau. The sons of Eliphaz, the firstborn of Esau, are chief Teman, chief Omar, chief Zepho, chief Kenaz, 16 chief Korah, chief Gatam, chief Amalek. These are the chiefs descended from Eliphaz in the land of Edom; these are the sons of Adah. 17 These are the sons of Reuel, Esau’s son: chief Nahath, chief Zerah, chief Shammah, chief Mizzah. These are the chiefs descended from Reuel in the land of Edom; these are the sons of Esau’s wife Basemath. 18 These are the sons of Esau’s wife Oholibamah: chief Jeush, chief Jalam, chief Korah. These are the chiefs descended from Esau’s wife Oholibamah, the daughter of Anah. 19 These are the sons of Esau (that is, Edom), and these are their chiefs [I don’t know how the sons transform to become chiefs and who are they lording it over?].

20 These are the sons of Seir the Horite, the inhabitants of the land: Lotan and Shobal and Zibeon and Anah, 21 and Dishon and Ezer and Dishan. These are the chiefs descended from the Horites, the sons of Seir in the land of Edom. 22 The sons of Lotan were Hori and Hemam; and Lotan’s sister was Timna. 23 These are the sons of Shobal: Alvan and Manahath and Ebal, Shepho and Onam. 24 These are the sons of Zibeon: Aiah and Anah—he is the Anah who found the hot springs in the wilderness when he was pasturing the donkeys of his father Zibeon. 25 These are the children of Anah: Dishon, and Oholibamah, the daughter of Anah. 26 These are the sons of Dishon: Hemdan and Eshban and Ithran and Cheran. 27 These are the sons of Ezer: Bilhan and Zaavan and Akan. 28 These are the sons of Dishan: Uz and Aran. 29 These are the chiefs [descended from the Horites: chief Lotan, chief Shobal, chief Zibeon, chief Anah, 30 chief Dishon, chief Ezer, chief Dishan. These are the chiefs descended from the Horites, according to their various chiefs in the land of Seir [don’t worry, I know these names are kinda confusing, we will identify each when we meet them in future, I promise].

31 Now these are the kings who reigned in the land of Edom before any king reigned over the sons of Israel. 32 Bela the son of Beor reigned in Edom, and the name of his city was Dinhabah. 33 Then Bela died, and Jobab the son of Zerah of Bozrah became king in his place. 34 Then Jobab died, and Husham of the land of the Temanites became king in his place. 35 Then Husham died, and Hadad the son of Bedad, who defeated Midian in the field of Moab, became king in his place; and the name of his city was Avith. 36 Then Hadad died, and Samlah of Masrekah became king in his place. 37 Then Samlah died, and Shaul of Rehoboth on the Euphrates River became king in his place. 38 Then Shaul died, and Baal-hanan the son of Achbor became king in his place. 39 Then Baal-hanan the son of Achbor died, and Hadar became king in his place; and the name of his city was Pau; and his wife’s name was Mehetabel, the daughter of Matred, daughter of Mezahab.

40 Now these are the names of the chiefs descended from Esau, according to their families and their localities, by their names: chief Timna, chief Alvah, chief Jetheth, 41 chief Oholibamah, chief Elah, chief Pinon, 42 chief Kenaz, chief Teman, chief Mibzar, 43 chief Magdiel, chief Iram. These are the chiefs of Edom (that is, Esau, the father of the Edomites), according to their habitations in the land of their possession [Since this are just stories of who fathered who, we will continue later and refer to this chapter whenever we meet a character already mentioned here].

Genesis 35

Jacob Moves to Bethel

35 Then God said to Jacob, “Arise, go up to Bethel and live there, and make an altar there to God, who appeared to you when you fled from your brother Esau [There must be several gods because the one issuing instructions here is not the one who appeared to him when he was fleeing from his brother].” So Jacob said to his household and to all who were with him, “Put away the foreign gods which are among you, and purify yourselves and change your garments; and let us arise and go up to Bethel [you remember Genesis 13 and 28 we were introduced to a place by the same name. I don’t know whether we are still at the same place or there are several Bethel], and I will make an altar there to God, who answered me in the day of my distress and has been with me wherever I have gone.” So they gave to Jacob all the foreign gods [my question still is, why had this god to appear to selectively? Wouldn’t be better if he appeared to everyone at once so no one would keep other gods?] which they had and the rings which were in their ears, and Jacob hid them under the oak which was near Shechem [in the last chapter, Shechem was a young man who violated Dinah and got the whole city killed, when did the transformation from person to a place occur? ].

As they journeyed, there was a great terror upon the cities which were around them, and they did not pursue the sons of Jacob [did Jake still anything or why would someone want to pursue them?]. So Jacob came to Luz (that is, Bethel), which is in the land of Canaan, he and all the people who were with him. He built an altar there, and called the place El-bethel [why rename a place that already has a name? Is he going to be renaming every place a god appears to him?], because there God had revealed Himself to him when he fled from his brother. Now Deborah, Rebekah’s[just in case you forgot, Rebekah is Isaac’s wife] nurse, died, and she was buried below Bethel under the oak; it was named Allon-bacuth [oak of weeping].

Jacob Is Named Israel

Then God appeared to Jacob again when he came from Paddan-aram, and He blessed him. 10 God said to him,

“Your name is Jacob;
You shall no longer be called Jacob,
But Israel shall be your name.”

Thus He called him Israel [if he has just been named thus, then to what or whom does Israel refer in the previous chapter?]. 11 God also said to him,

“I am God Almighty;
Be fruitful and multiply;
A nation and a company of nations shall come from you,
And kings shall come forth from you.

12 “The land which I gave to Abraham and Isaac,
I will give it to you,
And I will give the land to your descendants after you [has the land fallen to possession of others not of Abraham and Isaac?].”

13 Then God went up from him in the place where He had spoken with him [I hope we are all agreed that this god at least ain’t omnipresent, since if he goes from place to place then where he leaves is basically without god]. 14 Jacob set up a pillar in the place where He had spoken with him, a pillar of stone, and he poured out a drink offering on it; he also poured oil on it. 15 So Jacob named the place where God had spoken with him, Bethel [Please tell me, I thought we have a place called Bethel? Why keep renaming places with the same name? This reminds me of  a fun mail I read a while ago about an Indian family living in the US of A writing to their son in India and telling him they moved 10 miles closer to the city and have moved with their old address & are waiting for the previous owners to remove their address so they can put theirs! How will he even trace their new home? ].

16 Then they journeyed from Bethel; and when there was still some distance to go to Ephrath, Rachel began to give birth and she suffered severe labor. 17 When she was in severe labor the midwife said to her, “Do not fear, for now you have another son.” 18 It came about as her soul was departing (for she died),[I don’t know the pains of child-birth nor how it feels to die since these are two things I haven’t experienced, but tell me who when they are in pain and dying would think about naming a child?] that she named him Ben-oni[ son of my sorrow]; but his father called him Benjamin[son of my strength]. 19 So Rachel died and was buried on the way to Ephrath (that is, Bethlehem). 20 Jacob set up a pillar over her grave; that is the pillar of Rachel’s grave to this day [if you should see this pillar in your travels, please be kind to share the photos with me!] . 21 Then Israel journeyed on and pitched his tent beyond the tower of Eder.

22 It came about while Israel was dwelling in that land, that Reuben went and lay with Bilhah his father’s concubine, and Israel heard of it [Seriously! He heard it and that’s it?].

The Sons of Israel

Now there were twelve sons of Jacob— 23 the sons of Leah: Reuben, Jacob’s firstborn, then Simeon and Levi and Judah and Issachar and Zebulun; 24 the sons of Rachel: Joseph and Benjamin; 25 and the sons of Bilhah, Rachel’s maid: Dan and Naphtali; 26 and the sons of Zilpah, Leah’s maid: Gad and Asher. These are the sons of Jacob who were born to him in Paddan-aram [Benjamin wasn’t born in Paddan-aram, unless the sribe here has not read the preceding verses!].

27 Jacob came to his father Isaac at Mamre of Kiriath-arba (that is, Hebron), where Abraham and Isaac had sojourned.

28 Now the days of Isaac were one hundred and eighty years. 29 Isaac breathed his last and died and was gathered to his people, an old man of ripe age; and his sons Esau and Jacob buried him [Our cardboard character, Isaac, finally takes his last at 180 years. There is a problem here though, many chapters earlier, the limit for a man’s life had been put at 120 years and as have said in many places, the many scribes involved in compiling this document didn’t care for consistency or accuracy. Where does Esau come into the picture? The brothers are living apart from each other!].

Genesis 33

Jacob Meets Esau

The last few days I had taken a short break from our bible study to  read what others have been up to, visit the museum and just bum. Louis Ginzberg, in the Legends of the Jews, narrates the events prior to the meeting of the brothers, their actions, Rebekah’s involvement and god’s or his proxies participation in the whole drama.

That out-of-the-way lets hear the story of Jacob and brother, shall we;

33 Then Jacob lifted his eyes and looked, and behold, Esau was coming, and four hundred men with him. So he divided the children among Leah and Rachel and the two maids. He put the maids and their children in front, and Leah and her children next, and Rachel and Joseph last. But he himself passed on ahead of them and bowed down to the ground seven times, until he came near to his brother [what does he think of his brother? is he using the members of his family as human shields against 400 men?].

Jacob meets Esau

Then Esau ran to meet him and embraced him, and fell on his neck and kissed him, and they wept. He lifted his eyes and saw the women and the children, and said, “Who are these with you?” So he said, “The children whom God has graciously given your servant.” Then the maids came near with their children, and they bowed down. Leah likewise came near with her children, and they bowed down; and afterward Joseph came near with Rachel, and they bowed down. And he said, “What do you mean by all this company which I have met?” And he said, “To find favor in the sight of my lord.” But Esau said, “I have plenty, my brother; let what you have be your own[ this could be one of the few honest members of Abe’s household or is he wary of his brother a great supplanter?].” 10 Jacob said, “No, please, if now I have found favor in your sight, then take my present from my hand, for I see your face as one sees the face of God, and you have received me favorably. 11 Please take my gift which has been brought to you, because God has dealt graciously with me and because I have plenty.” Thus he urged him and he took it.[ I hardly meet 97 year olds running to meet each other. Jake has an elaborate greeting prepared for Esau just incase he still remembers the deceit his brother is capable of]

12 Then Esau said, “Let us take our journey and go, and I will go before you.” 13 But he said to him, “My lord knows that the children are frail and that the flocks and herds which are nursing are a care to me. And if they are driven hard one day, all the flocks will die. 14 Please let my lord pass on before his servant, and I will proceed at my leisure, according to the pace of the cattle that are before me and according to the pace of the children, until I come to my lord at Seir.”

15 Esau said, “Please let me leave with you some of the people who are with me.” But he said, “What need is there? Let me find favor in the sight of my lord.” 16 So Esau returned that day on his way to Seir. 17 Jacob journeyed to Succoth, and built for himself a house and made booths for his livestock; therefore the place is named Succoth[ I thought he was going to follow the brother to Seir].

Jacob Settles in Shechem

18 Now Jacob came safely to the city of Shechem, which is in the land of Canaan, when he came from Paddan-aram, and camped before the city. 19 He bought the piece of land where he had pitched his tent from the hand of the sons of Hamor, Shechem’s father, for one hundred pieces of money. 20 Then he erected there an altar and called it El-Elohe-Israel.[ last time a member of the first family bought land they were burying one of the beloved and laying legitimate claim to own the lot. I thought he was coming to live with his brother, why deceive him to go first if the intention is to go his separate way? ]

Genesis 32

Jacob’s Fear of Esau

In the complete Jewish Bible, this verse begins with Laban kissing his family by, while the NASB has it start with Jacob going his way, which is the right one I’ll let you to judge. In this chapter, we have a member of Abe’s family, Jacob, planning an elaborate deception scheme comparable to Abe’s pimping episodes except this time he is bribing his brother who cheated of his blessings and birthright. The scribes have also murdered one of Jake’s children because instead of counting twelve, they have eleven. Of note as well, is the circumstances under which Jake’s name changes to Israel of an episode of either WWE or kickboxing.

32 Now as Jacob went on his way, the angels of God met him. Jacob said when he saw them, “This is God’s camp.” So he named that place Mahanaim[this word translates to two camps. Why a person would name a place as such still passes me].

Then Jacob sent messengers before him to his brother Esau in the land of Seir, the country of Edom. He also commanded them saying, “Thus you shall say to my lord Esau [why would his brother be his master? If I remember correctly, he already purchased the birthright, supplanted the brother during the blessings. By any means, we can say he is legitimately the first born!]: ‘Thus says your servant Jacob, “I have sojourned with Laban, and stayed until now; I have oxen and donkeys and flocks and male and female servants; and I have sent to tell my lord, that I may find favor in your sight [ is old Jake feeling remorse and at the same time apprehensive about meeting his brother whom, at their last encounter was overheard planning to kill him. It’s been 20years since he supplanted the brother, why would he think the brother has not forgiven him or is this an admission of guilt on his part but the scribe is intent on portraying Esau in bad light? ].”

The messengers returned[ how far is Esau from Jake’s location or are we being set up for something as I suspect?] to Jacob, saying, “We came to your brother Esau, and furthermore he is coming to meet you, and four hundred men are with him [are these his, Esau’s, slaves, friends, or soldiers? and why 400? Did the messengers of Jake have time to count or did Esau pass on this important information?].” Then Jacob was greatly afraid and distressed; and he divided the people who were with him, and the flocks and the herds and the camels, into two companies; for he said, “If Esau comes to the one company and attacks it, then the company which is left will escape [given this family’s love with deception, you can guess where Jake would want to be if he stayed to wait for the 400 strange men and his brother!].”

Jacob said, “O God of my father Abraham and God of my father Isaac, O Lord, who said to me, ‘Return to your country and to your relatives, and I will prosper you,’ 10 I am unworthy of all the loving kindness and of all the faithfulness which You have shown to Your servant; for with my staff only I crossed this Jordan, and now I have become two companies [the becoming two companies is deliberate on Jake’s part, why is he appealing to Abe’s god with it?]. 11 Deliver me, I pray, from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau; for I fear him [you have every reason to fear], that he will come and attack me and the mothers with the children. 12 For You said, ‘I will surely prosper you and make your descendants as the sand of the sea, which is too great to be numbered.’

13 So he spent the night there. Then he selected from what he had with him a present for his brother Esau: 14 two hundred female goats and twenty male goats, two hundred ewes and twenty rams, 15 thirty milking camels and their colts, forty cows and ten bulls, twenty female donkeys and ten male donkeys[ by any standard, Jake was a wealthy man, he could easily have had a small retinue of guards]. 16 He delivered them into the hand of his servants, every drove by itself, and said to his servants, “Pass on before me, and put a space between droves.” 17 He commanded the one in front, saying, “When my brother Esau meets you and asks you, saying, ‘To whom do you belong, and where are you going, and to whom do these animals in front of you belong [just asking, was this the normative greeting of the time? Why would Esau be interested in knowing who they were?] ?’ 18 then you shall say, ‘These belong to your servant Jacob; it is a present sent to my lord Esau. And behold, he also is behind us.’” 19 Then he commanded also the second and the third, and all those who followed the droves, saying, “After this manner you shall speak to Esau when you find him; 20 and you shall say, ‘Behold, your servant Jacob also is behind us.’” For he said, “I will appease him with the present that goes before me. Then afterward I will see his face; perhaps he will accept me.” 21 So the present passed on before him, while he himself spent that night in the camp [let us pause for a second, in the introductory verses, he has divided his flock into two camps and given the reason for the division, they can’t be close to each other. At the time he is diving the flock into droves, has he dissolved the camps or are they still in place? What distance is he putting between each group of droves? And combined with this question how far was Esau and his entourage?]

22 Now he arose that same night and took his two wives and his two maids and his eleven children[allow me list the names of the children so you could count for yourself and tell me who among them is missing. I have not read any report of a missing person so far; Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Zebulun and Dinah by Leah, Joseph by Rachel, Gad and Asher by Zilpah and finally Dan and Naphtali by Bilhah], and crossed the ford of the Jabbok. 23 He took them and sent them across the stream. And he sent across whatever he had.

Jacob Wrestles

24 Then Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him until daybreak[ this I believe must be the longest wrestling match recorded or do the Judo wrestlers take longer? Anyone?] . 25 When he saw that he had not prevailed against him, he touched the socket of his thigh; so the socket of Jacob’s thigh was dislocated while he wrestled with him [since I have no experience of dislocating my thigh socket, can anyone share this experience and can it be just dislocated by touch? This information could be handy when am accosted by not very nice characters]. 26 Then he said, “Let me go, for the dawn is breaking.” But he said, “I will not let you go unless you bless me [ am honestly confused here, who is asking for blessings? Is it Jake or his wrestling opponent?].” 27 So he said to him, “What is your name?” And he said, “Jacob.” 28 He said, “Your name shall no longer be Jacob, but Israel; for you have striven with God and with men and have prevailed [take time for a good laugh, Jake has wrestled with god(s) and prevailed? Tell me dear reader, if you have been reading since we started, is this god omni-anything?].” 29 Then Jacob asked him and said, “Please tell me your name.” But he said, “Why is it that you ask my name?” And he blessed him there. 30 So Jacob named the place Peniel, for he said, “I have seen God face to face, yet my life has been preserved [keep this verse in memory, later we will be told by another scribe who I think is not aware of these verses that no one has seen god and lived. In yet another we shall be told no one has seen god! But don’t worry if you can’t remember, I will remind you when we get there.].” 31 Now the sun rose upon him just as he crossed over Penuel, and he was limping on his thigh [I don’t know how extensive the dislocation was, but given the location, would someone share how long it would take to heal and what amount of pain he could have been in? I have had a sprain and I can tell you, it hurt badly]. 32 Therefore, to this day the sons of Israel do not eat the sinew of the hip which is on the socket of the thigh, because he touched the socket of Jacob’s thigh in the sinew of the hip [flimsy reasons, methinks, for prohibitions].

Genesis 28

Jacob Is Sent Away

28 So Isaac called Jacob and blessed him and charged him, and said to him, “You shall not take a wife from the daughters of Canaan. Arise, go to Paddan-aram, to the house of Bethuel your mother’s father; and from there take to yourself a wife from the daughters of Laban your mother’s brother [The chosen family gives new meaning to the adage ‘a family that plays/prays together stays together!]. May God Almighty[El Shaddai] bless you and make you fruitful and multiply you, that you may become a company of peoples. May He also give you the blessing of Abraham, to you and to your descendants with you, that you may possess the land of your sojournings, which God[Elohim, a different member of the god family] gave to Abraham.” Then Isaac sent Jacob away, and he went to Paddan-aram to Laban, son of Bethuel the Aramean[ Bethuel is a member of the Abe family, are they Arameans?], the brother of Rebekah, the mother of Jacob and Esau.

Now Esau saw that Isaac had blessed Jacob and sent him away to Paddan-aram to take to himself a wife from there, and that when he blessed him he charged him, saying, “You shall not take a wife from the daughters of Canaan,” and that Jacob had obeyed his father and his mother [I don’t hear the mother talking. Anyone hear her?] and had gone to Paddan-aram. So Esau saw that the daughters of Canaan displeased his father Isaac; and Esau went to Ishmael, and married, besides the wives[how many does he already have ?]  that he had, Mahalath the daughter of Ishmael, Abraham’s son, the sister of Nebaioth[ It can’t be gainsaid, there is a lot of inbreeding in this house!].

Jacob’s Dream

10 Then Jacob departed from Beersheba and went toward Haran. 11 He came to a certain place and spent the night there, because the sun had set; and he took one of the stones of the place and put it under his head, and lay down in that place. 12 He had a dream, and behold, a ladder was set on the earth with its top reaching to heaven; and behold, the angels of God[Elohim] were ascending and descending

Jacob’s ladder

on it[by all means, this is an ambitious dream, if you allow me, for how tall would this ladder be? On a side note, what are the angels doing coming up and down?]. 13 And behold, the Lord stood above it and said, “I am the Lord[YHWH], the God[Elohim] of your father Abraham and the God[Elohim] of Isaac; the land on which you lie, I will give it to you and to your descendants. 14 Your descendants will also be like the dust of the earth, and you will spread out to the west and to the east and to the north and to the south; and in you and in your descendants shall all the families of the earth be blessed. 15 Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.” 16 Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I did not know it.” 17 He was afraid and said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven[ Brothers and sisters, the bible or Torah has been used to justify the creation of Israel; a country that continues to this date to oppress the Palestinians. The reasons they give is this land was given them by god! Let us be objective, how can this claim be made with such veracity while it only happens in Jacob’s dream? If I may ask, lets for example say I dream that I own a Ferrari, do I wake up and claim ownership of one from any dealership? I guess not! Dreams are just dreams nothing more, nothing less! I think it’s time Palestine was recognized as an independent state and Israel became friendly to their neighbors. That would be a step towards world peace, don’t you think? ].”

18 So Jacob rose early in the morning, and took the stone that he had put under his head and set it up as a pillar and poured oil on its top[ the oil will be washed away as soon as it rains. Reminds of the guy who drops his sword in the sea and marks his boat where the sword fell so he can come back and find the sword!]. 19 He called the name of that place Bethel [Beit- el]; however, previously the name of the city had been Luz [ why rename the place?. 20 Then Jacob made a vow, saying, “If God[Elohim] will be with me and will keep me on this journey that I take, and will give me food to eat and garments to wear, 21 and I return to my father’s house in safety, then the Lord[YHWH] will be my God[Elohim]. 22 This stone, which I have set up as a pillar, will be God’s[Elohim] house, and of all that You give me I will surely give a tenth to You[ This is the second mention of tithing 1/10th of your earnings for those who may have forgotten. It is also important to note at this point, Jacob puts conditions on what would make him believe in YHWH. I hear a variant of this prayer all the time; a guy prays “if you give us safe journey we will thank you”].”