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.



Notes: Genesis 24

English Language Bible Study Guide for February 1, 2008

Isaac’s mother, Sarah, has died; and Abraham determines to find a bride for his son.

I. Abraham’s charge to his servant (1-9)

1-2: Abraham, a wealthy man, chose his chief servant for a special mission

3-4: Abraham is very specific about the wife which he wants for Isaac

5-8: Abraham releases the servant from his obligation if the woman will not follow him to Isaac

9: Abraham receives the servant’s oath that he will carry out the master’s wishes


II. The servant’s prayerful plan (10-14)

12: The servant prays to the God of his master

13-14: And he proposes a test whereby he may sure to identify the woman whom God has chosen for Isaac


III. Rebekah meets the servant’s requirements (15-20)

15: Before he finishes praying, Rebekah comes to the well

16: She’s good looking, too!

19: Not only does she willingly provide water for the servant, she offers to provide water for his camels, too–he didn’t have to ask


IV. The servant speaks with Rebekah (21-27)

21: At first, he waits to see whether this is indeed the work of God

22: And then he showers Rebekah with gold jewelry

23-24: Indeed, she is of Abraham’s family

25-27: After Rebekah offers to provide food and lodging for the night, the servant is certain that God has providentially brought her


V. Rebekah’s family welcomes the servant (28-32)

28: Is Rebekah’s father dead?

29: Her brother Laban seems to be the “man” of the household

31-32: Provisions are made for the servant from the west and his animals


VI. The servant must tell of his mission (33-49)

33: The excitement of the day prevents him from eating until he has told Rebekah’s family everything

34: “I am Abraham’s servant”

35: “Abraham is wealthy”

36: “The son of his old age is to inherit everything”

37-41: “I came here to find a bride for Isaac”

42-48: “Rebekah is everything I’ve asked for”

49: “Will Rebekah be Isaac’s wife, or not?”


VII. Rebekah’s family agrees to the proposal (50-53)

50: Who can argue with God?

51: You have our consent

52: The servant thanks God (again) for his merciful providence

53: And he showers more gifts upon Rebekah, as well as upon her brother and her mother


VIII. The servant leaves with Rebekah the following morning (54-61)

54-56: Though the family would like to have 10 days to say goodbye to Rebekah, the servant believes that God would have him leave immediately with her.

57: The family allows Rebekah to choose

58: “Will you go with this man?”

59-61: And she did


IX. Isaac marries Rebekah (62-67)

65: Rebekah veiled herself when she learned that Isaac was approaching them

66: The servant gave a report to Isaac

67: The marriage was a simple ceremony


Meditation Points:

  1. It’s not good that the sons of God should marry the daughters of men
  2. If Isaac leaves the promised land, he may never return
  3. Abraham is confident that God will help the servant to find the right bride for Isaac
  4. Gideon had a fleece (Judges 6:37-40); Abraham’s servant had thirsty camels
  5. Praying to his master’s God
  6. How often God answers before we finish praying
  7. “I being in the way, the Lord led me…”  Don’t you want to be in the right place so that God will lead you?
  8. Not eating until you have fulfilled your (gospel) mission
  9. “If you will deal kindly and truly with my master, tell me.” Or I will move on to someone else with this great offer
  10. Don’t stop until the whole job is completed
  11. Would you have gone with this man? (Who wants to be a millionaire’s wife?)
  12. A simple wedding–two people who agree to be husband and wife for as long as they both shall live.
  13. A wife can bring comfort after a loved one has died.
  14. If Isaac is a picture of Christ and Rebekah is a picture of Christ’s Bride, the Church; then the servant pictures every believer whose responsibility it is to go into the world and invite men to come to Christ. Our mission is to bring them out of the world and into Christ’s presence. If they will not come, we must know. We dare not eat or lie down until our message be told. Let no man hinder us in our work. Will you come to Christ with me?



Notes: Genesis 22-23

English Language Bible Study Guide for January 31, 2008

Genesis 22

A.  The Testing of Abraham’s Faith (1-10)

1: God never “tempts” anyone to sin (James 1:13)

2: Isaac was the only son that counted in the house of Abraham

3: Abraham rose early to begin a most difficult job

5: Confidently Abraham expected that both he and Isaac would return from worship

6-7: Abraham appeared fully prepared; but Isaac noticed that the sacrificial animal itself was missing

8: Abraham trusts that God will provide a lamb

10: Abraham raised the knife to sacrifice his son


B.  The Victory of Abraham’s Faith  (11-14)

12: The Lord interrupted the motion that would end Isaac’s life; and He announced that Abraham had passed the test with flying colors

13: Abraham sees that the Lord had indeed provided himself a lamb for the sacrifice

14: Abraham’s name for the place would ever be Jehovahjireh


C.  The Reward of Abraham’s Faith  (15-19)

15: When the Lord speaks a second time, it is to set a “gold sticker” onto Abraham’s report card

16: The Lord “swears” to tell the truth

17: The promise of innumerable descendants is repeated


D.  The Successor with Abraham’s Faith (20-24)

Someone, at some time later, brings Abraham news of the brother he had left back home


Meditation Points:

  1. Job was tested severely, but he had no choice in the death of his children; Abraham was asked not only to consent to the death of his beloved son, he was asked to be the instrument of that death.
  2. Abraham believed either that God would prevent the sacrifice or that God would raise Isaac from the dead in order to fulfill His covenant.
  3. God did provide a lamb for the sacrifice then–and God provided the Lamb for the sacrifice at Calvary.
  4. The chapter break which we observe in English might better have been placed before verse 20 for the first 19 verses stand together; and the last 5 which announce the birth of Rebekah, the future bride of Isaac, go better with the events of chapters 23 and 24.

Genesis 23

Sarah dies, and Abraham secures a burial place for her.

1: Sarah is the only woman whose age (127) is recorded in the Bible.

2: Even the most faithful, the most severely tested, may mourn

3-4: Abraham declares his desire to procure a burial place for his wife

5-6: His neighbors kindly offer him the choice of any of their sepulchres

7-9: Abraham appreciates their offer, but asks that instead they arrange for the sale of the cave of Machpelah

10-11: The owner of the cave offers the property for free

12-13: Abraham insists upon paying for the cave

14-15: A value of 400 silver shekels is set forth

16-18: Abraham pays the agreed upon sum, in the presence of many witnesses; and he secures ownership of the property for generations to come

19-20: With ownership of the land duly transferred to Abraham, then he proceeds to bury Sarah


Meditation Points:

  1. Sarah was 90 years old when Isaac was born, and she was 127 when she died. That would make Isaac 37 years old at her death. Rebekah (22:23), granddaughter of Isaac’s uncle, would most likely be of a similar age.
  2. Abraham mourned for Sarah. Sorrow without sin, not as those who have no hope (1 Thessalonians 4:13).
  3. Abraham was highly regarded by his neighbors.
  4. Abraham’s almost rude insistence upon paying for the burial ground is a puzzle. Perhaps we should remember that Abraham also refused reward from the king of Sodom lest the king say that he had made Abraham rich (Genesis 14:22-23). Elijah may take nourishment from the unclean birds, but no believer wants the unsaved to glory in doing God’s job of caring for His child.



Notes: Genesis 20-21

English Language Bible Study Guide for January 30, 2008

Genesis 20

Twenty-four years earlier Abraham and Sarah kept their marriage secret from the Egyptians, and brought a plague upon Pharaoh’s house. Now we find them lying again; and this time they bring God’s wrath upon Abimelech, Philistine king of Gerar, and his household.

1-2: Why Abraham moved from Hebron to the southern portion of the promised land is unknown. Whether the recent destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah and uncertainty about Lot’s fate were influential in his decision is purely conjecture.

3-7: Though Abraham and Sarah declared otherwise, God informed Abimelech that the two were indeed married; and Abimelech pleads ignorance of the fact.

8-13: Abraham confesses to the ruse and explains his reasons for it.

14-18: God restores Abimelech and his household to health

Meditation Points:

  1. Sin can become so habitual that we don’t even consider not doing it
  2. God’s wrath against sin, even sins of ignorance
  3. God’s ability to prevent us from sinning
  4. 7: Abraham is a prophet who will pray for Abimelech(‘s restoration)
  5. 8: When others learn what we know about God, and how they fear Him, too
  6. 10: Why would you do such a thing?
  7. 11: Surely the fear of God is not in this place, or so Abraham thought
  8. 12: Marrying your half-sister. When a half-truth is a lie.
  9. 16: In what sense could Sarah’s husband be a covering for her? (1 Corinthians 11)
  10. 18: How long must Abraham and Sarah been in that land?

Genesis 21

1-8: Isaac is born and circumcised.

9-10: Sarah notices Ishamel’s attitude toward his little (half-) brother; and she doesn’t want Hagar’s son around any longer.

11-13: The Lord instructs Abraham how to cope with the situation.

14-21: Hagar and Ishmael, cast out by Abraham and Sarah, are delivered by the Lord.

22-34: Abraham makes a peace treaty with the Philistines; and he continues in that land for many days.

Meditation Points:

  1. 1: God kept His promise to Abraham, and Isaac was born of Sarah
  2. 4: The rite of circumcision is continued
  3. 9: Sarah doesn’t want Ishmael to take away any of Isaac’s inheritance
  4. 11: Like Joseph (Matthew 1:19), Abraham struggles with what to do.
  5. 14: The bondwoman and her son are sent away
      Galatians 4:21 Tell me, ye that desire to be under the law, do ye not hear the law?
      22  For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a freewoman.
      23  But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the freewoman was by promise.
      24  Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants; the one from the mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar.
      25  For this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children.
      26  But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all.
      27  For it is written, Rejoice, thou barren that bearest not; break forth and cry, thou that travailest not: for the desolate hath many more children than she which hath an husband.
      28  Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise.
      29  But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now.
      30  Nevertheless what saith the scripture? Cast out the bondwoman and her son: for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman.
      31  So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman, but of the free.
  6. 22: When others see God’s hand of mercy upon us, they often want to be our friends
  7. 33: Abraham planted a grove, and called upon the name of the Lord there. This may be innocent agriculture; but elsewhere in the KJV where we read the word “grove” as the translation of an entirely different Hebrew word, idolatry and not innocence is the case.
      Exodus 34:13  But ye shall destroy their altars, break their images, and cut down their groves:
      Deuteronomy 7:5  But thus shall ye deal with them; ye shall destroy their altars, and break down their images, and cut down their groves, and burn their graven images with fire.
      Deuteronomy 12:3  And ye shall overthrow their altars, and break their pillars, and burn their groves with fire; and ye shall hew down the graven images of their gods, and destroy the names of them out of that place.
      Deuteronomy 16:21  Thou shalt not plant thee a grove of any trees near unto the altar of the LORD thy God, which thou shalt make thee.
      Judges 3:7  And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD, and forgat the LORD their God, and served Baalim and the groves. (…and many more references)