Notes: Genesis 36-37

Trinity International Baptist Church of Athens, Greece

English Language Bible Study Guide for February 9, 2008


The account of the death of Isaac (chapter 35) is followed by the genealogy of Esau; and then the narrative of Jacob’s family continues to the end of the book of Genesis.

Genesis 36


I. Esau, who is Edom (1-19:)

1, 8, 19, 43: The point is this: Esau is Edom. So when we later find the nation of Edom opposing the nation of Israel, we understand the root of the turmoil.

6-7: Both Esau and Jacob were wealthy, and the land could not sustain both households. Hence they amicably parted ways, as did their grandfather Abraham separate from his nephew Lot.


II. Dukes and Kings of Seir/Edom (20-42:)

20-42: Some of these names are found elsewhere in scripture; but many are never mentioned again outside of this list.

24: In the midst of the names there are a couple of additional comments. In this verse one Anah is noted as the one who found the mules in the wilderness.

31: Edom had kings before the nation of Israel did.


Genesis 37


I. Joseph, more beloved of his father than the other sons, relates his dreams (1-11:)

2: If Joseph was 17, and he was son #11, then how old must the others have been? This was not just another teenage prank.

3-4: Favoritism should cautiously be guarded against. You would think that Jacob would have learned that lesson from observing his father’s affection for Esau.

5: Joseph’s dreams portraying his advancement above his brothers didn’t help ingratiate him to them either.

11: But Isaac paid attention.


II. Joseph is thrown into a pit by his jealous brothers (12-24:)

18: The brothers conspire to kill Joseph

21: Reuben intends to help Joseph

22: Joseph is cast into a dry pit, without his colorful coat, to await the brothers’ determination on what to do with him


III. Joseph is sold to Ishmaelites/Midianite merchants (25-30:)

26-27: Judah suggests selling Joseph to a passing caravan headed to Egypt; and the brothers agree.

28: Twenty pieces of silver (split 10 ways?)

29: Reuben returns to help Joseph but finds him missing


IV. Joseph is sold to an Egyptian captain; but his brothers pretend not to know anything about his disappearance (31-36:)

31-32: Joseph’s colorful coat is dipped in animal blood and sent to Jacob for identification

33-35: Jacob mourns Joseph’s all-too-apparent demise by wild animals; and his whole family (including the guilty brothers) join him

36: Meanwhile, the Midianite caravan arrives in Egypt and Joseph, who had announced his dream of being a leader, becomes a slave in the house of Potiphar.


Meditation Points:

  1. Were not these the same people who would avenge the honor of their sister? And now they would kill their little brother?
  2. Who would expect complete harmony among siblings who share a father but not his affection?
  3. And who would expect men with such sin in their hearts to understand, let alone agree with, one whom God Himself favored highly?
  4. That Reuben would save Joseph is admirable and unexpected.
  5. Humanly speaking, it was the greed of the older brothers which saved Joseph.
  6. Twenty pieces of silver.  What is your life worth?
  7. As Jacob deceived his father, so now his sons deceive him.
  8. God had prevented Joseph’s grandfather from going to Egypt.
  9. From sovereign to slave; from a hole in the ground to the great city.



Notes: Genesis 27

English Language Bible Study Guide for February 3, 2008

Jacob steals Esau’s blessing

I.  Isaac desires one good meal before he blesses Esau (1-4:)

1: Isaac was old and he could not see well

2-4: Isaac’s (maybe) last request for a good meal prepared from acquisition to presentation by Esau


II. Rebekah plans to pull the wool (literally) over her husband Isaac’s eyes (5-17:)

5: If you recall that Isaac loved Esau and Rebekah loved Jacob, then this event will not appear so strange to you.

8: As with most cons and other recipes for deceit, the steps must be meticulously followed

9-10: Mock venison. Some cooks can make any set of ordinary ingredients taste like a king’s feast

11-12: Jacob is to be the wolf in sheep’s clothing

13-14: With assurance that Rebekah will take the blame if their plot is uncovered, Jacob agrees

15: Why not steal (“borrow”) a set of Esau’s finest clothing for the occasion?


III. Jacob executes the plan flawlessly and cons his father (18-29:)

18-19: Jacob blatantly lies and pretends to be Esau. Remember that this is not undercover detective work.

20: When Isaac wonders how Esau could have gone to the field and successfully bagged a deer and returned home to cook it so quickly, Jacob the Pretender casually draws God into the discussion and gives Him credit for the apparent speedy success.

22-27: With dim vision, Isaac hears the sound of Jacob’s voice, but Isaac’s aged hands are fooled by the goatskins wrapped around the boy’s arms and the smell of Esau’s clothing. Jacob lies again, and claims to be Esau

28-29 Isaac bestows the grand blessing upon the liar and cheat who stands before him


IV. Esau begs for any kind of blessing that Isaac may yet have for him (30-40:)

30-31: No sooner has Jacob gone from Isaac’s presence when Esau arrives bearing the savory venison as ordered

32-33 Isaac realizes that he has been tricked; but declares that he cannot take back the blessing

34-40: Esau begs for a blessing, any blessing


V. When Rebekah learns of Esau’s plan to kill Jacob, she urges Isaac to send Jacob away to find a wife (41-46:)

41: Understandably, Esau hates Jacob for all that he has done to take away both Esau’s birthright and, now, his blessing

42-45: Rebekah, always ready with a plan, tells Jacob to prepare to journey back to her own homeland where he can stay safely with his uncle Laban until Esau has calmed down

46: Rebekah talks Isaac into sending Jacob to Haran to find a wife, lest he marry Hittite women and disgrace his parents as did Esau in his marriages


Meditation Points:

  1. 2 Corinthians 5:7  For we walk by faith, not by sight. Trusting your feelings is always a bad idea–trust God.
  2. Did anyone say “dysfunctional family”?
  3. Why would a mother plot so to deceive her husband?
  4. P.T.Barnum said that you can fool all of the people some of the time, and some of the people all of the time. Which kind are you?
  5. Remember this event and you will discern a connection between Isaac’s blessing of Jacob and subsequent history. A spirit of prophecy attends the blessing.
  6. What was so important about the blessing? How does blessing differ from birthright? Together they certainly guarantee that Jacob will be the head of the family after the death of Isaac, and that Jacob will possess all of Isaac’s wealth, and that the promises of God will not be fulfilled in Esau.
  7. Rebekah sent Jacob away for a little while, until things calmed down. Read on to see how long Jacob actually stayed away.