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JACOB OBTAINS ESAU'S BIRTHRIGHT. [2347-1635 B.C. 12. THE HISTORY OF ISAAC. HE BLESSES HIS SONS.

years.

Genesis xxv. 20-xxviii.

Abraham died at the age of one-hundred-and-seventy-five His sons Isaac and Ishmael buried him in the cave of Machpelah. Twenty years after Isaac and Rebekah were married they had two sons. The Lord told Rebekah before they were born, that the elder should serve the younger. This was fulfilled many years after in their descendants. Esau was the first-born, and Jacob was the younger son. Esau was a

cunning hunter, a man of the field. Jacob was a plain man dwelling in tents. Esau came from the field weary and faint. He asked Jacob for his red pottage. Jacob would not give it to him except for his birthright. Esau thought his birthright was of little use, and sold it to Jacob for his pottage. They were then thirty years of age.

There was a famine in Canaan, and Isaac went to Gerar. God confirmed to Isaac the promises he had made to Abraham. Isaac told the men of Gerar that Rebekah was his sister. The king afterwards reproved Isaac for his deceit. Isaac's flocks and herds increased very much. The herdsmen of Gerar quarrelled with Isaac's herdsmen about the wells of water. Isaac left Gerar, and dwelt in Beersheba. Some years after, Ishmael died in the presence of his brethren.

When Isaac was old his eyes were 'dim, and he could not

see.

He called his son, Esau, to bless him. Rebekah wished Jacob to have the blessing, and she and Jacob deceived Isaac. Isaac gave Jacob the first-born's blessing, saying, “ God give thee of the dew of heaven, and the fatness of the earth, and plenty of corn and wine: let people serve thee, and nations bow down to thee: be lord over thy brethren, and let thy mother's sons bow down to thee: cursed be every one that curseth thee, and blessed be every one that blesseth thee." When Esau came in, Isaac knew that he had been deceived, and he blessed Esau also, saying, "Behold, thy dwelling shall be the fatness of the earth, and of the dew of heaven from above; and by thy sword shalt thou live, and shalt serve thy

PERIOD II.] JACOB FLEES INTO PADAN-ARAM.

brother; and it shall come to pass when thou shalt have the dominion, that thou shalt break his yoke from off thy neck." Esau hated Jacob for having obtained their father's greatest blessing; and he said he would slay Jacob. Jacob fled to Laban, his mother's brother, at Padan-aram; on his way he had a vision at Bethel. God promised to protect and bless him in all places, and bring him again into Canaan.

NOTES AND EXPLANATIONS.

His sons, &c.-though living at a distance from one another, it would seem that they maintained a friendly inter

course.

fulfilled-took place as had been fore

told.

Esau-'covered with hair;' he was of a daring, hasty spirit; resentful, but forgiving; it does not appear that he was under the influence of the fear of God. He was called Edom, or 'red,' from the circumstance of selling his birthright for a mess of red pottage.

Jacob-heeler,'' supplanter'; he was a man of domestic virtues and affections; eminent for piety; a man of faith and prayer. In all his troubles he sought for succour from God alone, whose hand he recognised in all the affairs of life.

cunning-clever in the chase; skilful in the pursuit of one's calling. Exod. xxxv. 35; 1 Kings vii. 14.

plain-quiet; prudent; fond of home; not given to daring exploits.

tents are still used in the East. Esau's life sometimes compelled him to take shelter in trees and caves, or to lie exposed upon the ground; Jacob preferred the calmer life of dwelling in tents. Lesson 2, 'tents.'

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dim-a film had obscured his power of sight; as old age advances a gradual decay of the senses takes place.

deceived-Rebekah being aware that Jacob was the object of God's special favor, felt, as was natural, peculiarly anxious about him; but this feeling was not kept in proper subjection to the law of God, hence she conceived a plan for deceiving her husband, into which Jacob unhappily fell. She did this to render sure the promise of God that 'the elder should serve the younger; but he who promised that should Jacob have the sovereignty over his brother was able to bring it to pass, without necessitating any of his children to acts of dishonour and

injustice. Lesson 13, 'deceived.'

hated a feeling of indignation and contempt at Jacob's deceit ; and dislike and resentment towards him for hav. ing obtained that blessing which some years before he had bartered for a mess of pottage. Esau's hatred did not however continue to the end of his Lesson 13. 'reconciled.'

birthright-the chief blessing belong-life; ed to the first-born by right; still it might be forfeited voluntarily, as in this case, or on account of crime; 1 Chron. v. i. The chief blessing included special consecration to the

GEOGRAPHICAL NOTE. PADAN-ARAM-a district in the northern part of Mesopotamia in which some of Abraham's kindred were settled.

JACOB SERVES LABAN.

PRAYER OF JACOB.

[2347-1635 B.C.

"I AM WITH THEE AND WILL KEEP THEE IN ALL PLACES WHITHER THOU GOEST."

O God of Bethel! by whose hand
Thy people still are fed;

Who, through this weary pilgrimage,
Hast all our fathers led!

Our vows, our prayers, we now present
Before thy throne of grace;
God of our fathers, be the God
Of their succeeding race.

Through each perplexing path of life
Our wandering footsteps guide,
Give us each day, our daily bread,
And raiment fit provide!

O spread thy covering wings around,
Till all our wanderings cease,
And at our Father's love'd abode
Our feet arrive in peace!

Now with the humble voice of prayer

Thy mercy we implore;

Then with the grateful voice of praise
Thy goodness we'll adore.

LOGAN.

13. JACOB SERVES LABAN. HE RETURNS TO

CANAAN.

Genesis xxix-xxxiv.

Jacob came into the land of the people of the east; he inquired for Laban, the son of Nahor, when he came to a well at Haran. To this well Rachel, a daughter of Laban, came to water her father's sheep. Jacob made himself known to Rachel, and Laban received him with much kindness. While Jacob lived at Padan-aram he kept the flocks of Laban, his uncle. He agreed to serve Laban seven years, for his daughter Rachel. Laban deceived him, and gave him ⚫Leah. He served again other seven years for Rachel. He married both Laban's daughters, and he had many children.

PERIOD II.]

JACOB RETURNS INTO CANAAN.

God blessed Jacob, and his riches increased exceedingly; he had much cattle, and many maid-servants, men-servants, and camels, and asses. He stayed with Laban twenty years. Laban and his sons envied Jacob, because of his great riches. Jacob left Laban, and took with him his wives and children. Laban followed him and overtook him on Mount Gilead; but God came to Laban by night and said to him, "Take heed that thou speak not to Jacob either good or bad."

He also

Rachel had stolen her father's images. Laban searched for them, but found them not, for she sat upon them; and Jacob was wroth with Laban: and said, "What is my trespass ? what is my sin, that thou hast so hotly pursued after me?" said, "This twenty years have I been with thee; thy ewes and thy she goats have not cast their young, and the rams of thy flock have I not eaten. That which was torn of beasts I brought not unto thee; I bare the loss of it; of my hand didst thou require it, whether stolen by day, or stolen by night. Thus I was; in the day the drought consumed me, and the frost by night; and my sleep departed from mine eyes. have I been twenty years in thy house; I served thee fourteen years for thy two daughters, and six years for thy cattle: and thou hast changed my wages ten times. Except the God of my father, the God of Abraham, and the fear of Isaac, had been with me, surely thou hadst sent me away now empty. God hath seen mine affliction and the labour of my hands, and rebuked thee yesternight." Laban and Jacob 'covenanted not to do harm to each other.

Thus

The angel of God met Jacob at Mahanaim. Jacob heard that his brother Esau was coming towards him, and he feared to meet him; so he prayed to God to deliver him and his family from Esau's hand; he also sent messengers before him with a great present. At Peniel God changed Jacob's name to ·ISRAEL. The two brothers met, and were reconciled to each other. Esau returned to Mount Seir. Jacob journeyed to Succoth; he bought a parcel of land from the Shechemites, and erected an altar there. Dinah, the daughter of Jacob, was taken by the prince of Shechem. Afterwards, her brothers, Simeon and Levi, deceitfully slew many of the Shechemites.

NOTES AND EXPLANATIONS. [2347-1635 B.C.

a well-in eastern countries wells are of vast importance; those near towns frequented by the women of every family, hence they are suitable places for travellers to make inquiries.

are

Rachelewe;' she was Jacob's cousin, her father being the brother of his mother Rebekah. This young and beautiful woman followed the avocation of a shepherdess, a thing not uncommon in those times. Exod. ii. 16,17. Rachel became the mother of two children-Joseph & Benjamin. deceived-a certain retribution attends every act of disobedience to the divine laws. Jacob had been guilty of deceiving his father, and now he is himself deceived by his own uncle. Moreover Jacob was not privileged to

see

his mother any more, by whose aid he had deceived his father.

Leah-God compensated Leah for being less loved than Rachel, by making her the happy mother of seven children -Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Zebulun, and Dinah.

camels-beasts of burden adapted for travelling over sandy deserts. Less. 10.

asses eastern asses are larger and very superior to those with which we are familiar; in many respects they are preferable to horses.

envied envy leads to other crimes, as in the case of Cain; and there is little doubt that the envy of Laban's sons would have urged them to some desperate act, had not Jacob fled according to the Lord's command.

God came-as God's intervention is never unnecessary, it is evident that Laban and his company had intended to inflict some injury upon Jacob.

images-probably small figures in human shape; such household gods were long a source of iniquity in Israel. drought, &c.—so excessive are the summer heats in Canaan that the grass is often burned up; while the night dews render the atmosphere very cold. empty-Jacob apprehended that Laban intended to rob him of all that he

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GEOGRAPHICAL NOTES.

MOUNT GILEAD-' heap of testimony;' the mountains of Gilead lie east of the Jordan, and extend from Antilibanus southward into Arabia Petrea.

On one of these bills was Galeed, the heap of witness, of Jacob and Laban.

MAHANAIM-'two hosts ;' a Levitical city beyond the Jordan, between Mount Gilead and the brook Jabbok: its name was given to it by Jacob because the angels of God met him there on his

return from Padan-aram into Canaan.

PENIEL or PENUEL- the vision of

God;' a place east of the Jordan near the ford of the brook Jabbok, at which

Jacob received the name of ISRAEL.

MOUNT SEIR-the mountainous tract

to the south of Canaan extending from the southern extremity of the Dead Sea to Ezion-geber. This country was inhabited by the posterity of Esau, and called Edom. Less. 11, 'Idumea.'

SUCCOTH-tents; the first encampment of the Israelites after they left Egypt; also a city of Gilead at which Jacob dwelt before he went to Shechem.

of Ephraim, forty miles from JeruSHECHEM-part or portion;' a city salem, situated in the valley between Mts. Ébal and Gerizim. At this place the sons of Jacob, Simeon & Levi, slew the Shechemites deceitfully. Near Shechem was Jacob's well, and the parcel of ground which Jacob gave to his son Joseph.

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