Genesis 39 – Joseph and Potiphar’s Wife

We move past Genesis 38 and the story of Judah and Tamar, who are related (pun intended) in the genealogy of Jesus Christ, as told in Mt 1:3 – and into chapter 39.  Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh and captain of the guard, had bought Joseph from Ishmaelites.  Joseph was successful in this Egyptians master’s home because the Lord was with him; and because of that,  Potiphar enjoyed prosperity (v 5).  Verse 6 says “Joseph was handsome in form and appearance” (exactly as his mother, Rachel was described in Gen 29:17); and Potiphar’s wife would not leave him alone, trying to persuade him to “lie with” her. Unable to slip her grasp, Joseph just leaves her holding the garment and puts some “gone” between him and the master’s wife.

Considering her behavior, it’s not too surprising that she makes up the story that gets Joseph thrown in prison (v 17-18).  She places an interesting play on the term “laugh” in this chapter to drive the stake in deep.  She first uses the contempt that the men of the household would have for Joseph both as a slave, and by not being Egyptian of birth, to make the “attack” on her personal to them (v 14 “See, he has brought among us a Hebrew to laugh at us”).  Since the “he” in that statement is Potiphar, the whole thing then becomes partly his fault – further pushing any suspicion from herself.  In verse 17, she uses “laugh” in the intimate form as when Abimilech discovered “Isaac laughing with Rebekah his wife” in Gen 26:8,  and knew she was not his sister.

Joseph again goes from a “most favored” status to fellowship with the king’s prisoners. But the Lord showed him steadfast love (v 21) and he succeeded in whatever he did there as he again won favor, this time with the prison keeper.

Two things are remarkable about Joseph in this chapter. The first is obvious – a young man being seduced by a desirable woman, yet he does the right thing.  Contrast his character with his brothers (Reuben with his father’s concubine in ch 35, and Judah with his own daughter-in-law – thinking he was visiting a prostitute as her face was covered in ch 38).  The other notable thing about Joseph is his statement to Potiphar’s wife that he could not do “this great wickedness and sin against God.” It is his recognition of what sin really means that has meaning for us today.  We sometimes hurt ourselves when we sin, and we often hurt other people because of it.  But it always hurts the Lord.

Notice as was the case with Potiphar, Joseph’s success with the Lord’s help was such that the prison keeper did not have to think about any of the things he was in charge of.

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Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.
/Robert

Genesis 37 – Joseph’s Dreams

Moving from Genesis 32 to Genesis 37 – here are some highlights we have skipped over.  Esau and Jacob’s reunion goes much better than he had feared, but they have little to do with each other. Esau and his people move from the land of Canaan, and he is the father of the Edomites (we will hear much about them, particularly after the Babylonian captivity). Dinah, Leah’s daughter is sexually assaulted by Shechem.  Ultimately, Jacob’s sons (led by Simeon and Levi, who slaughter him and all the males of the city) take their revenge.  Jacob seems more worried about himself and his reputation in the land than anything else.  Reuben has laid with his father’s concubine in an apparent effort to assume position in the family, very much a slap in the face of Jacob – for which he will carry a grudge.

Isaac has died, as well as Rachel (after bearing his son Benjamin). And as 35:22-25 state  “…Now the sons of Jacob were twelve. 23 The sons of Leah: Reuben (Jacob’s firstborn), Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, and Zebulun. 24 The sons of Rachel: Joseph and Benjamin. 25 The sons of Bilhah, Rachel’s servant: Dan and Naphtali.”  So now we have the basis for the “twelve tribes of Israel.”

Jacob, having already proved he was not the best father, shows favoritism to Joseph and made him a “robe of many colors.” We read about this same Hebrew term (for the robe) again only in 2 Sam. 13:18, with (King) David’s daughter Tamar. So we know it is a very special coat, and simply seeing him wear it must have angered his brothers. Then Joseph has what can only be thought of as the bad judgment to tell them about his dreams that seem to signify his entire family bowing down to him. His angry and jealous brothers conspire to kill him. Reuben talks them into throwing him into a pit, hoping to save him later. But Judah talks the others into selling him to Midianite traders, who in turn sell him in Egypt to Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh.  Jacob’s despair, thinking he is dead, is deep after the boys pull off their deception (v 31-35).

Joseph has gone from favored son to prisoner in a far-off land – betrayed by his own family in the worst possible ways. How quickly ones fortune can turn! And soon, God will show that to be very much the case – as He has special plans for Jacobs’s favorite.

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

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Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.
/Robert

Genesis 32 – Jacob Wrestles with God

Jacob Fears Esau

Genesis 32 is a key turning point for Jacob.  He is finally headed home after 20 years of being away – and he had left out of fear that his brother Esau was going to take his life!  Now, he’s coming back to the very same place, and he is not at all confident that his brother won’t do just that (much less be happy to see him).  But the Lord has told him to return, and that is what he intends to do.  And when his messengers return to tell him that Esau is coming to meet him with four hundred men, it must have been a bit frightening.  But when he left, he had only his staff (as he says in his remarkable prayer to God in verses 9-12). But now, the wealth he has accumulated makes it possible to split his livestock and people into “two camps.”  He does this after the “angels of God” have met him along the way (in v 1).  He named the place where that happened “Mahanaim” which means “two camps,” and that theme is repeated in the chapter.

Jacob decides to try to appease his brother by sending his servants ahead of him, along with large amounts of livestock as presents for Esau from “your servant Jacob.”  A bit ironic, since the Lord had said in Gen 25:23 that “the older shall serve the younger.”  So for safety, Jacob splits the caravan into droves, and his camp into two camps, so one could get away if necessary.

Jacob Wrestles with God

The unexpected wrestling event of verses 22 and following are a source of much confusion to readers.  Jacob realizes quickly that he is actually wrestling with God, but we know that scripture says no one looks on God in His true form and lives, so how do we explain this – or Moses and his later encounters?  God’s word has several examples of God appearing to His people in biblical times in human form for His own reasons.  Remember Abraham’s encounter in Genesis 18 before the Lord destroyed Sodom?  Also, Jesus was fully God, and took human form.  There is much that we do not know, but the important thing is the change that is to come over Jacob, along with the change of his name from Jacob (which means “trickster”) to his new name “Israel,” (which means “God fights”).

The other important thing to take away from this chapter is the above-mentioned prayer in v 9-12.  Read it again, and notice the reverence, the humbleness, and the thanksgiving that accompanies his petition to God.  Only Jesus gives us a better example for prayer.

(Side note: Here is an interesting article about the possible site of Mahanaim)

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Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word.  Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.   For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.
/Robert

Genesis 31 – Jacob Flees from Laban

In Genesis 31, Jacob provides Leah and Rachel an explanation of where they are going and that the Lord has instructed him to go back to his father’s land.  Twice, the scripture tells us that Laban has cheated Jacob out of his wages 10 times; and verses 7-12 show that Laban had indeed tried – even beyond what we were told about in chapter 30, but the Lord had looked after Jacob so that he prospered greatly anyway.

But Laban’s sons were jealous and they stirred him up to pursue Jacob after they left.  But God put Laban on notice in verse 24 before he confronted him.  Jacob did not know that Rachel had stolen her father’s “gods,” and she hides them cleverly in verses 34-35, so that his search for them is fruitless.  It is then, that Jacob tells him exactly what he thinks of the way he has treated him.

The two of them make a covenant that basically is the same as drawing a line in the sand that says – let God judge you if you cross it to come after me or mine.  Laban goes away empty-handed after kissing his daughters and grandchildren.

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Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word.  Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.
/Robert

Genesis 17 – Abraham and the Covenant of Circumcision / Isaac’s Birth Promised

Genesis 17

Another very important chapter in the Bible. God continues his promises to Abram, and he changes his name to Abraham because he will be the “father of a multitude of nations.”  Sarai’s name is changed to Sarah, and God promises that she will bear him a son the next year. God also establishes the practice of circumcision, stating that every male will be circumcised at the age of 8 days. That very day, Abraham and all his household were circumcised as a sign of his covenant with God. Abraham’s immediate obedience is noteworthy.

(Side note: There is an interesting article on the significance of the 8th day at the website of Apologetics Press).

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

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Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.
/Robert

Genesis 12 – The Call of Abram

As far as milestones go, this is an extremely important chapter in the Bible. It here that God’s promise to Abram is first made. He is promised that his line will become a great nation, that his name will be great and he will be blessed, and all of the families of the earth will be blessed through him ( a promise of a coming savior through his lineage.  For land, he is specifically promised that his people will obtain the land of Canaan. God always keeps His promises, and all have been fulfilled.

Notice that Abram does not trust in God completely yet. Instead, he lies and gets his wife to lie as well – hoping that will protect him from harm. But God does not give up on him. That should encourage us, to know that even thought we are not perfect, God still cares for us. That doesn’t mean that we do not have to do follow His word. God does demand obedience. But He is a forgiving and loving God.

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

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Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.
/Robert

Genesis 11 – The Tower of Babel

So God commanded the people to go forth and populate the earth after the flood, and what do they do? They do what they want instead, as usual. They congregate in one place and they build the Tower at Babel. They are full of themselves and their abilities, and not following God’s plan for them. So He confuses their language so that they cannot understand each other. This has the intended consequence of getting them to move on and spread out away from each other.

The genealogy of Shem’s line is told. The most important part is when it gets to Terah. Terah was the father of Abram, who God will later rename as Abraham, and his brother Haran, who fathers Lot. This means Lot is Abram’s nephew; and their stories will become important, especially the story of Abraham.

(Side note: The ancient city of UR in v 28 has unquestionably been found, and was the site of major excavations in the late 1920’s and early 1930s by Sir Leonard Wooley. It lays less that 200 miles southeast of modern Baghdad, and has been found to have been the site of highly developed urban culture. Some pictures of artifacts can be found at this link)

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

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Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.
/Robert

Genesis 9 – God’s Covenant With Noah

God blesses Noah and his sons, and where he had previously given man the plants to eat, now God has also “given” man the fish and creeping things to eat. But man is forbidden to eat meat with its blood because life is in the blood. There will be more on that from God and from Moses later.

God establishes a covenant with Noah, his offspring, and with every living creature. He will never again destroy all life on the earth with a flood. Note that He does not promise there will never be ANY floods, but that the earth will never again be destroyed with one – even more proof against the suggestion that it could have been a “local” flood. Note also that in verse 13, God does not say that he just now set his bow in the sky – that rainbows didn’t exist before. We do not know whether the scientific properties for such had been already created or not.  He is simply saying that now it shall be sign of this covenant.

Ham’s sin against his father Noah was disrespect and humiliation. Noah’s curse of Ham’s son Canaan foretells the judgment that will later befall the Canaanites. We will read much more of Canaan’s line.

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Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.
/Robert

Genesis 8 – The Flood Subsides

When we compare beginning in 8:13 with chapter 7, we can see that Noah and his family were in the Ark for a year before the waters subsided enough that God sent them out. A log time indeed. We know that every creature, man or beast, that was not on the Ark had died. But imagine the force and destruction of a flood of that magnitude for that many months. Such a disaster would leave permanent marks on the earth, and in fact it did. It is pretty easy to find them when you look at the world through your Christian eyes.

God makes lots of promises in this chapter and in chapter 9, and He always keeps His promises. One promise not often discussed is made in verse 22 – that we can expect the world to behave in a consistent manner. There will be seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night. God holds the universe together, as he reminds Job in Job 38, and as is stated in many passages such as in Heb 1:3 and Col 1:16-17. Even scientific experiments themselves are only possible because God made the world to behave in ways that we can depend on to be consistent!

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

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Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.
/Robert

Genesis 7 – Global Flood!

The day has finally arrived. God commands Noah to go into the Ark with the other 7 members of his family and shuts them in with the animals. Then he opened up the “fountains of the great deep” and “the windows of the heavens” (v 11) for 40 days. The waters prevailed on the face of the earth 150 days (v 24), but that was not the end of it, as we will see in chapter 8.

Many have tried to say that this was just a local flood, but that simply is not the case. Note in verse 20 that the mountains were covered 15 cubits deep. Secondly, if it was not a global flood, why would God have Noah build this massive Ark at all? Just tell him where to travel to for safety! Also, there would be no need to include the birds. If it was just a local flood, the birds could fly and land on dry ground or trees in another location. No, this was a global flood of catastrophic proportions that we can see evidence of even today when we look at it honestly.  Note again that “Noah did all that the Lord had commanded him”.

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

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Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.
/Robert