Read Chapter 33
Esau once planned to kill his brother now was the brother who “ran to meet him and embraced him, and fell on his neck and kissed him, and they wept” (Genesis 33:4, NASB). Time and space healed much hurt in this family. Esau now was simply happy to see his brother, his twin. Esau acts very differently than Jacob was prepared for.
Jacob approached his brother bowing 7 times (vs. 3). This was an act that was done to kings and others of higher standing as a sign for upmost respect. Jacob may have been repenting to his brother or just trying to calm him, since he thought Esau would kill him. So, you can imagine that Jacob is taken back slightly that his brother comes running for him. I imagine that Jacob would have been fearful at first when his older brother was running towards him. But instead of running to attack, he was running to him to hug him. This reminds me of another story in the New Testament. In Luke 15, a son was lost and came home and his father “ran and threw his arms around his neck, and kissed him” (Luke 15:20, HCSB). Both the father of the prodigal son and Esau had rights to be angry and to not be happy with the other… but both find themselves running towards the other happy.
I always will wonder what was going through Esau all those years. How did he get to this point to where he no longer had the need for revenge or wanting to kill his brother? How did his attitude change, why did his attitude change? This story, always leaves me asking myself if I hold on to grudges or if I would be the sister who was running to embrace one that took so much from me? Though, Jacob is the Patriarch and the one that would bring the line to the promised seed… Esau here has always stood out to me as someone who acts spiritually matured compared to Jacob. Reminding me that blessings can only do so much. God’s blessing was with Jacob yet he didn’t show the spiritual maturity that his brother displayed. Could it be that we live with great blessing but we don’t choose to use it to the maximum? Esau chose to forgive and to love, to let go of hurt for the cause of family and peace.
Jacob who had the blessing pays back the blessing that he stole… was it done because he truly regretted what he had done to his brother or out of fear of his brother? The text leaves me thinking it was the later though it isn’t clear. I do know that I could act a lot more like Esau… could you?
Read Chapter 34
God is never mentioned in this chapter. God is also not mentioned in the entire book of Esther. But the difference is God’s people act in a manner that represents Him even if He wasn’t mentioned in the book of Esther, however, here in Genesis 34 God’s chosen people do not represent him but act like the world.
When I first read chapter 34, it always makes me mad for Dinah. I am mad that her father isn’t outraged with what happened to his daughter. That Shechem isn’t disciplined more by Jacob or by his own father. To be honest, when I read chapter 34… I think Shechem and his family get what they deserve. Rape is never funny. Even though it has been highlighted in recent political agenda’s “locker room talk” is never funny. It opens the door of thinking of women in lesser ways than the image of God they are created. So, this passage strikes me as complicated. Being a woman and being a mother to two little girls… rape is something that I fear and could not imagine. Disciplinary acts should have occurred. But the way that Simeon and Levi carry out the discipline is also horrid and unimaginable to me.
A wrong does not correct a wrong. Simeon and Levi are just in in wanting justice for their sister but they go about it in a manner opposite of how God’s people should. God’s way is challenging sometimes for us to understand. Dinah was defiled. She was mistreated and not cared for properly. Shechem allowed passion to speak louder than self-control and still wanted her as his wife. Simeon and Levi allowed revenge to speak louder than forgiveness. Simeon and Levi take it into their own hands to see justice, or what they thought was justice for the crime. Jacob did not see it the same.
It is difficult for me to type these next words, but since God is not mentioned in these verses it also appears that He was not asked or even thought of either. I think God would have a lot to say in this matter. First, He would say the action of rape goes against the image of God who Dinah was created. But yet, the act of revenge that these two brothers take wasn’t a command from God either. Israel was supposed to be an example to the world… pointing the world to the Messiah. And Simeon and Levi do nothing to represent that Hope. In instances where Israel was commanded to destroy a peoples, it came from a Sovereign Lord not a spirit of revenge. Man should never make that call… it always should be God.
Read Chapter 35-36
After, God being ignored or not mentioned… He breaks His silence with the command to get up and go. To go worship Him, to refocus on Him. In times when we act without God or in the opposite of the manner we should, it is important for us to stop and refocus on Him or we could just keep going down the path leading away from Him. God makes them refocus and worship Him.
Here Jacob is renamed. After chapter 34, where God’s people act in a manner that does not declare that they are His chosen people… Jacob receives His new name. Is it because Jacob saw the way his sons acted wasn’t good? I believe so. Here in this chapter, we see Jacob refocus the family as well. He takes away their foreign gods and earrings and they worship God.
Jacob refocuses His family on God… however, in chapter 36 we see that Esau does not. He allows the foreign gods and the Canaanite ways to remain which will be a great flaw and the reason Jacob’s line is far greater than Esau’s line.