GO UP TO BETHEL: Such a summons is, in effect, God's
forgiveness for all Jacob's sins of the intervening 20-plus years.
BETHEL: "The house of God". It was God's plan that
Jacob remain separate from Esau.
GET RID OF THE FOREIGN (STRANGE) GODS: "Teraphim" (Gen
31:19), having idolatrous implications. Suggestive of "wealth" (Gen 34:29) and
property. Thus, Jacob and his wives renounce any claim to the lands and property
of Laban, and demonstrate renewed reliance on God. (May refer to "teraphim"
taken as plunder from Shechem also: Gen 34.)
PURIFY YOURSELVES AND CHANGE YOUR CLOTHES: Repr
baptism: a purification by water, and a change of "garments".
JACOB BURIED THEM UNDER THE OAK AT SHECHEM: In view of
Jacob's troubles there... a very fitting way to put an end to a former way of
life. Cp Joshua at Shechem: Jos 24:23-26. Typ, we "bury" our old way of life
under the "tree" of the "Burden-bearer".
See WP 72.
THE TERROR OF GOD FELL UPON THE TOWNS ALL AROUND THEM:
Other towns would have heard of the slaughter of the Shechemites (Gen
NO ONE PURSUED THEM: ie, to avenge the murder of the
LUZ: The former name of the place. Sig "perverse
willfulness, or waywardness".
Vv 7-15: A short summary of main points of Jacob's
Apparently, Jacob had returned to his family sometime earlier,
found that his mother had died, and took her old nurse Deborah back with him to
NO LONGER...: 'Not only, but also'. Other examples of
this kind are Hos 6:6; Luk 10:20; Joh 6:27; Act 5:4; 1Co 15:10. Here, means:
'Your name will not (only) be Jacob now, but (also) you will be called Israel.'
Jacob ("Supplanter") (Gen 27:36) changed to Israel ("Prince
with God") (Gen 32:28).
THE LAND I GAVE TO ABRAHAM: Gen 13:14-17.
AND ISAAC: Gen 26:1-4.
I ALSO GIVE TO YOU... AND TO YOUR DESCENDANTS (SEED):
The terms of the Abrahamic covenant:
Abraham and his seed to inherit the land TOGETHER: Heb 11:40. Note the
consistent inclusion of Abraham's seed: Gen 13:15; 15:18; 26:3; 28:13.
everlasting inheritance; hence, the heirs must be immortal (1Co 15:50).
promised seed to come: (a) thru Isaac (Gen 17:15-19); (b) thru tribe of Judah
(49:10); (c) thru house of David (2 Sa 7:12-14); and (d) thru family of Mary
THE LAND: Involving all earth: Rom 4:13. None actually
inherited the land: Act 7:5; Heb 11:13.
A further appeal to God to maintain the separation between
himself and Esau (cp Gen 21:45-52).
HE POURED OUT A DRINK OFFERING ON IT: Wine on altar =
the shed blood of Messiah on the "altar" of the cross!
OIL: Repr God's Spirit, poured out upon Christ and then
upon his bre, who become the "house of God".
Sadly, to fulfill Jacob's vow: Gen 31:32.
In similar fashion, Adam named his wife "Eve" -- "Life!" --
although by natural appearances "Death" might have been more appropriate. This
demonstrates an appreciation of the importance of God's promises, even in the
midst of suffering. "For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us
an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is
seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen
is eternal" (2Co 4:17,18).
FOR SHE WAS DYING: Rachel symbolizes the nation of
Israel -- which dies politically at the coming of her "son" Jesus Christ: Isa
53:3; Luk 2:34,35; Rom 11:15.
BEN-ONI: "Son of my trouble, or my sorrow" (cp Mat
2:18). Jesus, at first coming, was a man of sorrow and acquainted with
BENJAMIN: "Son of my right hand". Jesus, the only son
of his Father, after suffering in sorrow, was then elevated to power at God's
right hand: see Psa 80:17; 110:1,2; Mat 22:44; Phi 2:5-7.
"To every matter there is a bright as well as a dark side.
Rachel was overwhelmed with the sorrow of her own travail and death; Jacob,
though weeping the mother's loss, could see the mercy of the child's birth. It
is well for us if, while the flesh mourns over trials, our faith triumphs in
divine faithfulness. Samson's lion yielded honey, and so will our adversities,
if rightly considered.
"The stormy sea feeds multitudes with its fishes; the wild
wood blooms with beauteous flowers; the stormy wind sweeps away the pestilence,
and the biting frost loosens the soil. Dark clouds distil bright drops, and
black earth grows gay flowers. A vein of good is to be found in every mine of
evil. Sad hearts have peculiar skill in discovering the most disadvantageous
point of view from which to gaze upon a trial; if there were only one swamp in
the world, they would soon be up to their necks in it, and if there were only
one lion in the desert they would hear it roar...
"Faith's way of walking is to cast all care upon the Lord, and
then to anticipate good results from the worst calamities. Like Gideon's men,
she does not fret over the broken pitcher, but rejoices that the lamp blazes
forth the more. Out of the rough oyster-shell of difficulty she extracts the
rare pearl of honor, and from the deep ocean-caves of distress she uplifts the
priceless coral of experience. When her flood of prosperity ebbs, she finds
treasures hid in the sands; and when her sun of delight goes down, she turns her
telescope of hope to the starry promises of heaven. When death itself appears,
faith points to the light of resurrection beyond the grave, thus making our
dying Benoni to be our living Benjamin" (CHS).
Typ national Israel in the Kingdom: Mic 4:8. Cp Luk
REUBEN... SLEPT WITH... BILHAH: Reuben asserts his
right (?) as firstborn (cp 2Sa 12:8; 16:22; 1Ki 2:22), by taking his father's
concubine. Reuben fears Jacob will show favor to his beloved Rachel's sons, and
thus pass him over. Note: where Reuben failed (ie, in fornication), Joseph was
strong (Gen 39:9).
Somewhat amazingly, Isaac is still living when Jacob returns.
Isaac was considered very old and thought he was at the point of death many
years earlier (Gen 27:1,2).