Monthly Archives: May 2013

Genesis 36:1-4 History of Joseph. . .

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1And Jacob dwelt in the land wherein his father was a stranger, in the land of Canaan. 2These are the generations of Jacob. Joseph, beingseventeen years old, was feeding the flock with his brethren and the ladwas with the sons of Bilhah, and with the sons of Zilpah, his father’s wives: and Joseph brought unto his father their evil report. 3Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his children, because he was the son of his old age: and he made him a coat of many colours. 4And when his brethren saw that their father loved him more than all his brethren, they hated him, and could not speak peaceably unto him.

Moses has no more to say of the Edomites, unless as they happen to fall in Israel’s way but now applies himself closely to the story of Jacob’s family: These are the generations of Jacob. His is not a bare barren genealogy as that of Esau (Genesis 36:1), but a memorable useful history. Here is, 1. Jacob a sojourner with his father Isaac, who has yet living, Genesis 37:1. We shall never be at home, till we come to heaven. 2. Joseph, a shepherd, feeding the flock with his brethren,Genesis 37:2. Though he was his father’s darling, yet he was not brought up in idleness or delicacy. Those do not truly love their children that do not inure them to business, and labour, and mortification. The fondling of children is with good reason commonly called the spoiling of them. Those that are trained up to do nothing are likely to be good for nothing. 3. Joseph beloved by his father (Genesis 37:3), partly for his dear mother’s sake that was dead, and partly for his own sake, because he was the greatest comfort of his old age probably he waited on him, and was more observant of him than the rest of his sons he was the son of the ancient so some that is, when he was a child, he was as grave and discreet as if he had been an old man, a child, but not childish. Jacob proclaimed his affection to him by dressing him finer than the rest of his children: Hemade him a coat of divers colours, which probably was significant of further honors intended him. Note, Though those children are happy that have that in them which justly recommends them to their parents’ particular love, yet it is the prudence of parents not to make a difference between one child and another, unless there be a great and manifest cause given for it by the children’s dutifulness or undutifulness paternal government must be impartial, and managed with a steady hand. 4. Joseph hated by his brethren, (1.) Because his father loved him when parents make a difference, children soon take notice of it, and it often occasions feuds and quarrels in families. (2.) Because he brought to his father their evil report. Jacob’s sons did that, when they were from under his eye, which they durst not have done if they had been at home with him but Joseph gave his father an account of their bad carriage, that he might reprove and restrain them not as a malicious tale-bearer, to sow discord, but as a faithful brother, who, when he durst not admonish them himself, represented their faults to one that had authority to admonish them. Note, [1.] It is common for friendly monitors to be looked upon as enemies. Those that hate to be reformed hate those that would reform them, Proverbs 9:8. [2.] It is common for those that are beloved of God to be hated by the world whom Heaven blesses, hell curses. To those to whom God speaks comfortably wicked men will not speak peaceably. It is said here of Joseph, the lad was with the sons of Bilhah some read it, and he was servant to them, they made him their drudge.

 

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Genesis 36:20-43

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0 These are the sons of Seir the Horite, who inhabited the land Lotan, and Shobal, and Zibeon, and Anah, 21And Dishon, and Ezer, and Dishan: these are the dukes of the Horites, the children of Seir in the land of Edom. 22And the children of Lotan were Hori and Hemam and Lotan’s sister was Timna. 23And the children of Shobal were these Alvan, and Manahath, and Ebal, Shepho, and Onam. 24And these arethe children of Zibeon both Ajah, and Anah: this was that Anah that found the mules in the wilderness, as he fed the asses of Zibeon his father. 25 And the children of Anah were these Dishon, and Aholibamah the daughter of Anah. 26 And these are the children of Dishon Hemdan, and Eshban, and Ithran, and Cheran. 27 The children of Ezer are these Bilhan, and Zaavan, and Akan. 28 The children of Dishan arethese Uz, and Aran. 29 These are the dukes that came of the Horites duke Lotan, duke Shobal, duke Zibeon, duke Anah, 30 Duke Dishon, duke Ezer, duke Dishan: these are the dukes that came of Hori, among their dukes in the land of Seir.

In the midst of this genealogy of the Edomites here is inserted the genealogy of the Horites, those Canaanites, or Hittites (compare Genesis 26:34), that were the natives of Mount Seir. Mention is made of them, Genesis 14:6, and of their interest in Mount Seir, before the Edomites took possession of it,Deuteronomy 2:12,22. This comes in here, not only to give light to the story, but to be a standing reflection upon the Edomites for intermarrying with them, by which, it is probable, they learned their way, and corrupted themselves. Esau having sold his birthright, and lost his blessing, and entered into alliance with the Hittites, his posterity and the sons of Seir are here reckoned together. Note, Those that treacherously desert God’s church are justly numbered with those that were never in it apostate Edomites stand on the same ground with accursed Horites. Particular notice is taken of one Anah who fed the asses of Zibeon his father (Genesis 36:24), and yet is called duke Anah, Genesis 36:29. Note, Those that expect to rise high should begin low. An honourable descent should not keep men from an honest employment, nor a mean employment hinder any man’s preferment. This Anah was not only industrious in his business, but ingenious too, and successful for he found mules, or (as some read it) waters, hot-baths, in the wilderness. Those that are diligent in their business sometimes find more advantages than they expected.


Verses 31-43
31And these are the kings that reigned in the land of Edom, before there reigned any king over the children of Israel. 32And Bela the son of Beor reigned in Edom: and the name of his city was Dinhabah. 33And Bela died, and Jobab the son of Zerah of Bozrah reigned in his stead. 34And Jobab died, and Husham of the land of Temani reigned in his stead. 35 And Husham died, and Hadad the son of Bedad, who smote Midian in the field of Moab, reigned in his stead: and the name of his city was Avith. 36 And Hadad died, and Samlah of Masrekah reigned in his stead. 37 And Samlah died, and Saul of Rehoboth bythe river reigned in his stead. 38 And Saul died, and Baal-hanan the son of Achbor reigned in his stead. 39 And Baal-hanan the son of Achbor died, and Hadar reigned in his stead: and the name of his city wasPau and his wife’s name was Mehetabel, the daughter of Matred, the daughter of Mezahab. 40 And theseare the names of the dukes that came of Esau, according to their families, after their places, by their names duke Timnah, duke Alvah, duke Jetheth, 41Duke Aholibamah, duke Elah, duke Pinon, 42Duke Kenaz, duke Teman, duke Mibzar, 43Duke Magdiel, duke Iram: these be the dukes of Edom, according to their habitations in the land of their possession: he is Esau the father of the Edomites.

By degrees, it seems, the Edomites wormed out the Horites, obtained full possession of the country, and had a government of their own. 1. They were ruled by kings, who governed the whole country, and seem to have come to the throne by election, and not by lineal descent so bishop Patrick observes. These kings reigned in Edom before there reigned any king over the children of Israel, that is, before Moses’s time, for he was king in Jeshurun, Deuteronomy 33:5. God had lately promised Jacob that kings should come out of his loins (Genesis 35:11), yet Esau’s blood becomes royal long before any of Jacob’s did. Note, In external prosperity and honour, the children of the covenant are often cast behind, and those that are out of covenant get the start. The triumphing of the wicked may be quick, but it is short soon ripe, and as soon rotten: but the products of the promise, though they are slow, are sure and lasting at the end it shall speak, and not lie. We may suppose it was a great trial to the faith of God’s Israel to hear of the pomp and power of the kings of Edom, while they were bond-slaves in Egypt but those that look for great things from God must be content to wait for them God’s time is the best time. 2. They were afterwards governed by dukes, again here named, who, I suppose, ruled all at the same time in several places in the country. Either they set up this form of government in conformity to the Horites, who had used it (Genesis 36:29), or God’s providence reduced them to it, as some conjecture, to correct them for their unkindness to Israel, in refusing them a passage though their country, Numbers 20:18. Note, When power is abused, it is just with God to weaken it, by turning it into divers channels. For the transgression of a land, many are the princes thereof. Sin brought Edom from kings to dukes, from crowns to coronets. We read of the dukes of Edom (Exodus 15:15), yet, long afterwards, of their kings again. 3. Mount Seir is called the land of their possession, Genesis 36:43. While the Israelites dwelt in the house of bondage, and their Canaan was only the land of promise, the Edomites dwelt in their own habitations, and Seir was in their possession. Note, The children of this world have their all in hand, and nothing in hope (Luke 16:25) whilethe children of God have their all in hope, and next to nothing in hand. But, all things considered, it is better to have Canaan in promise than mount Seir in possession.

 

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Genesis 36:9-19 Dukes of Edom. . .

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9 And these are the generations of Esau the father of the Edomites in mount Seir: 10 These are the names of Esau’s sons Eliphaz the son of Adah the wife of Esau, Reuel the son of Bashemath the wife of Esau. 11And the sons of Eliphaz were Teman, Omar, Zepho, and Gatam, and Kenaz. 12And Timna was concubine to Eliphaz Esau’s son and she bare to Eliphaz Amalek: these were the sons of Adah Esau’s wife. 13And these are the sons of Reuel Nahath, and Zerah, Shammah, and Mizzah: these were the sons of Bashemath Esau’s wife. 14And these were the sons of Aholibamah, the daughter of Anah the daughter of Zibeon, Esau’s wife: and she bare to Esau Jeush, and Jaalam, and Korah. 15 These were dukes of the sons of Esau: the sons of Eliphaz the firstborn son of Esau duke Teman, duke Omar, duke Zepho, duke Kenaz, 16 Duke Korah, duke Gatam, and duke Amalek: these are the dukes that came of Eliphaz in the land of Edom these were the sons of Adah. 17 And these are the sons of Reuel Esau’s son duke Nahath, duke Zerah, duke Shammah, duke Mizzah: these are the dukes that came of Reuel in the land of Edom these are the sons of Bashemath Esau’s wife. 18 And these are the sons of Aholibamah Esau’s wife duke Jeush, duke Jaalam, duke Korah: these were the dukes that came of Aholibamah the daughter of Anah, Esau’s wife. 19 These are the sons of Esau, who is Edom, and these are their dukes.

Observe here, 1. That only the names of Esau’s sons and grandsons are recorded, only their names, not their history for it is the church that Moses preserves the records of, not the record of those that are without. Those elders that lived by faith alone obtained a good report. It is Sion that produces the men of renown, not Seir, Psalm 87:5. Nor does the genealogy go any further than the third and fourth generation the very names of all after are buried in oblivion. It is only the pedigree of the Israelites, who were to be the heirs of Canaan, and of whom were to come the promised seed, and the holy seed, that is drawn out to any length, as far as there was occasion for it, even of all the tribes till Canaan was divided among them, and of the royal line till Christ came. 2. That these sons and grandsons of Esau are called dukes,Genesis 36:15-19. Probably they were military commanders, dukes, or captains, that had soldiers under them for Esau and his family lived by the sword, Genesis 27:40. Note, Titles of honour have been more ancient out of the church than in it. Esau’s sons were dukes when Jacob’s sons were but plain shepherds, Genesis 47:3. This is not a reason why such titles should not be used among Christians but it is a reason why men should not overvalue themselves, or others, for the sake of them. There is an honour that comes from God, and a name in his house that is infinitely more valuable. Edomites may be dukes with men, but Israelites indeed are made to our God kings and priests. 3. We may suppose those dukes had numerous families of children and servants that were their dukedoms. God promised to multiply Jacob, and to enrich him yet Esau increases, and is enriched first. Note, It is no new thing for the men of this world to be full of children, and to have their bellies too filled with hidden treasures, Psalm 17:14. God’s promise to Jacob began to work late, but the effect of it remained longer, and it had its complete accomplishment in the spiritual Israel.

 

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Genesis 36:1-8 Esau’s line. . .

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1Now these are the generations of Esau, who is Edom. 2Esau took his wives of the daughters of Canaan Adah the daughter of Elon the Hittite, and Aholibamah the daughter of Anah the daughter of Zibeon the Hivite 3And Bashemath Ishmael’s daughter, sister of Nebajoth. 4And Adah bare to Esau Eliphaz and Bashemath bare Reuel 5 And Aholibamah bare Jeush, and Jaalam, and Korah: these are the sons of Esau, which were born unto him in the land of Canaan. 6 And Esau took his wives, and his sons, and his daughters, and all the persons of his house, and his cattle, and all his beasts, and all his substance, which he had got in the land of Canaan and went into the country from the face of his brother Jacob. 7 For their riches were more than that they might dwell together and the land wherein they were strangers could not bear them because of their cattle. 8 Thus dwelt Esau in mount Seir: Esau is Edom.

Observe here, 1. Concerning Esau himself, Genesis 36:1. He is calledEdom (and again, Genesis 36:8), that name by which was perpetuated the remembrance of the foolish bargain he made, when he sold his birthright for that red, that red pottage. The very mention of that name is enough to intimate the reason why his family is turned off with such a short account. Note, If men do a wrong thing they must thank themselves, when it is, long afterwards, remembered against them to their reproach. 2. Concerning his wives, and the children they bore him in the land of Canaan. He had three wives, and, by them all, but five sons: many a one has more by one wife. God in his providence often disappoints those who take indirect courses to build up a family yet here the promise prevailed, and Esau’s family was built up. 3. Concerning his removal to mount Seir, which was the country God had given him for a possession, when he reserved Canaan for the seed of Jacob. God owns it, long afterwards: I gave to Esau mount Seir (Deuteronomy 2:5Joshua 24:4), which was the reason why the Edomites must not be disturbed in their possession. Those that have not a right by promise, such as Jacob had, to Canaan, may have a very good title by providence to their estates, such as Esau had to mount Seir. Esau had begun to settle among his wives’ relations, in Seir, before Jacob came from Padan-aram, Genesis 32:3. Isaac, it is likely, had sent him thither (as Abraham in his life-time had sent the sons of the concubines from Isaac his son into the east country, Genesis 26:6), that Jacob might have the clearer way made for him to the possession of the promised land. During the life of Isaac, however, Esau had probably still some effects remaining in Canaan but, after his death, he wholly withdrew to mount Seir, took with him what came to his share of his father’s personal estate, and left Canaan to Jacob, not only because he had the promise of it, but because Esau perceived that if they should continue to thrive as they had begun there would not be room for both. Thus dwelt Esau in Mount Seir, Genesis 36:8. Note, Whatever opposition may be made, God’s word will be accomplished, and even those that have opposed it will see themselves, some time or other, under a necessity of yielding to it, and acquiescing in it. Esau had struggled for Canaan, but now he tamely retires to mount Seir for God’s counsels shall certainly stand, concerning the times before appointed, and the bounds of our habitation.

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Genesis 35:16-29 Rachel’s death. . .

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6 And they journeyed from Beth-el and there was but a little way to come to Ephrath: and Rachel travailed, and she had hard labour. 17 And it came to pass, when she was in hard labour, that the midwife said unto her, Fear not thou shalt have this son also. 18 And it came to pass, as her soul was in departing, (for she died) that she called his name Ben-oni: but his father called him Benjamin. 19 And Rachel died, and was buried in the way to Ephrath, which is Beth-lehem. 20 And Jacob set a pillar upon her grave: that is the pillar of Rachel’s grave unto this day.

We have here the story of the death of Rachel, the beloved wife of Jacob. 1. She fell in travail by the way, not able to reach to Bethlehem, the next town, though they were near it so suddenly does pain sometimes come upon a woman in travail, which she cannot escape, or put off. We may suppose Jacob had soon a tent up, convenient enough for her reception. 2. Her pains were violent. She had hard labour, harder than usual: this was the effect of sin, Genesis 3:16. Note, Human life begins with sorrow, and the roses of its joy are surrounded with thorns. 3. The midwife encouraged her, Genesis 35:17. No doubt she had her midwife with her, ready at hand, yet that would not secure her. Rachel had said, when she bore Joseph, God shall add another son, which now the midwife remembers, and tells her her words were made good. Yet this did not avail to keep up her spirits unless God command away fear, no one else can. He only says as one having authority, Fear not. We are apt, in extreme perils, to comfort ourselves and our friends with the hopes of a temporal deliverance, in which we may be disappointed we had better found our comforts on that which cannot fail us, the hope of eternal life. 4. Her travail was to the life of the child, but to her own death. Note, Though the pains and perils of childbearing were introduced by sin, yet they have sometimes been fatal to very holy women, who, though not saved in childbearing, are saved through it with an everlasting salvation. Rachel had passionately said, Give me children, or else I die and now that she had children (for this was her second) she died. Her dying is here called the departing of her soul. Note, The death of the body is but the departure of the soul to the world of spirits. 5. Her dying lips called her new-born son Ben-oni, The son of my sorrow. And many a son, not born in such hard labour, yet proves the son of his parent’s sorrow, and the heaviness of her that bore him. Children are enough the sorrow of their poor mothers in the breeding, bearing, and nursing of them they should therefore, when they grow up, study to be their joy, and so, if possible, to make them some amends. But Jacob, because he would not renew the sorrowful remembrance of the mother’s death every time he called his son by his name, changed his name, and called him Benjamin, The son of my right hand that is, “very dear to me, set on my right hand for a blessing, the support of my age, like the staff in my right hand.” 6. Jacob buried her near the place where she died. As she died in child-bed, it was convenient to bury her quickly and therefore he did not bring her to the burying-place of his family. If the soul be at rest after death, it matters little where the body lies. In the place where the tree falls, there let it be. No mention is made of the mourning that was at her death, because that might easily be taken for granted. Jacob, no doubt, was a true mourner. Note, Great afflictions sometimes befal us immediately after great comforts. Lest Jacob should be lifted up with the visions of the Almighty with which he was honoured, this was sent as a thorn in the flesh to humble him. Those that enjoy the favours peculiar to the children of God must yet expect the troubles that are common to the children of men. Deborah, who, had she lived, would have been a comfort to Rachel in her extremity, died but a little before. Note, When death comes into a family, it often strikes double. God by it speaks once, yea, twice. The Jewish writers say, “The death of Deborah and Rachel was to expiate the murder of the Shechemites, occasioned by Dinah, a daughter of the family.” 7. Jacob set up a pillar upon her grave, so that it was known, long after, to be Rachel’s sepulchre (1 Samuel 10:2), and Providence so ordered it that this place afterwards fell in the lot of Benjamin. Jacob set up a pillar in remembrance of his joys (Genesis 35:14), and here he sets up one in remembrance of his sorrows for, as it may be of use to ourselves to keep both in mind, so it may be of use to others to transmit the memorials of both: the church, long afterwards, owned that what God said to Jacob at Bethel, both by his word and by his rod, he intended for their instruction (Hosea 12:4), There he spoke with us.


Verses 21-29

The Disgrace of Reuben. B. C. 1716.

21And Israel journeyed, and spread his tent beyond the tower of Edar. 22And it came to pass, when Israel dwelt in that land, that Reuben went and lay with Bilhah his father’s concubine: and Israel heard it.Now the sons of Jacob were twelve: 23The sons of Leah Reuben, Jacob’s firstborn, and Simeon, and Levi, and Judah, and Issachar, and Zebulun: 24The sons of Rachel Joseph, and Benjamin: 25 And the sons of Bilhah, Rachel’s handmaid Dan, and Naphtali: 26 And the sons of Zilpah, Leah’s handmaid Gad, and Asher: these are the sons of Jacob, which were born to him in Padan-aram. 27 And Jacob came unto Isaac his father unto Mamre, unto the city of Arbah, which is Hebron, where Abraham and Isaac sojourned. 28 And the days of Isaac were an hundred and fourscore years. 29 And Isaac gave up the ghost, and died, and was gathered unto his people, being old and full of days: and his sons Esau and Jacob buried him.

Here is, 1. Jacob’s removal, Genesis 35:21. He also, as his fathers, sojourned in the land of promise as in a strange country, and was not long in a place. Immediately after the story of Rachel’s death he is here called Israel (Genesis 35:21,22), and not often so afterwards: the Jews say, “The historian does him this honour here because he bore that affliction with such admirable patience and submission to Providence.” Note, Those are Israels indeed, princes with God, that support the government of their own passions. He that has this rule over his own spirit is better than the mighty. Israel, a prince with God, yet dwells in tents the city is reserved for him in the other world. 2. The sin of Reuben. A piece of abominable wickedness it was that he was guilty of (Genesis 35:22), that very sin which the apostle says (1 Corinthians 5:1) is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father’s wife.It is said to have been when Israel dwelt in that land as if he were then absent from his family, which might be the unhappy occasion of these disorders. Though perhaps Bilhah was the greater criminal, and it is probable was abandoned by Jacob for it, yet Reuben’s crime was so provoking that, for it, he lost his birthright and blessing, Genesis 49:4. The first-born is not always the best, nor the most promising. This was Reuben’s sin, but it was Jacob’s affliction and what a sore affliction it was is intimated in a little compass, and Israel heard it. No more is said–that is enough he heard it with the utmost grief and shame, horror and displeasure. Reuben thought to conceal it, that his father should never hear of it but those that promise themselves secresy in sin are generally disappointed a bird of the air carries the voice. 3. A complete list of the sons of Jacob, now that Benjamin the youngest was born. This is the first time we have the names of these heads of the twelve tribes together afterwards we find them very often spoken of and enumerated, even to the end of the Bible, Revelation 7:4,21:12. 4. The visit which Jacob made to his father Isaac at Hebron. We may suppose he had visited him before since his return, for hesorely longed after his father’s house but never, till now, brought his family to settle with him, or near him,Genesis 35:27. Probably he did this now upon the death of Rebekah, by which Isaac was left solitary, and not disposed to marry again. 5. The age and death of Isaac are here recorded, though it appears, by computation, that he died not till many years after Joseph was sold into Egypt, and much about the time that he was preferred there. Isaac, a mild quiet man, lived the longest of all the patriarchs, for he was 180 years old Abraham was but 175. Isaac lived about forty years after he had made his will, Genesis 27:22. We shall not die an hour the sooner, but abundantly the better, for our timely setting our heart and house in order. Particular notice is taken of the amicable agreement of Esau and Jacob, in solemnizing their father’s funeral (Genesis 35:29), to show how wonderfully God had changed Esau’s mind since he vowed his brother’s murder immediately after his father’s death, Genesis 27:41. Note, God has many ways of preventing bad men from doing the mischief they intended he can either tie their hands or turn their hearts.

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Genesis 35:6-15 Jacob arrives at Bethel. . .

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6 So Jacob came to Luz, which is in the land of Canaan, that is, Beth-el, he and all the people that werewith him. 7 And he built there an altar, and called the place El-Beth-el: because there God appeared unto him, when he fled from the face of his brother. 8 But Deborah Rebekah’s nurse died, and she was buried beneath Beth-el under an oak: and the name of it was called Allon-bachuth. 9 And God appeared unto Jacob again, when he came out of Padan-aram, and blessed him. 10 And God said unto him, Thy nameis Jacob: thy name shall not be called any more Jacob, but Israel shall be thy name: and he called his name Israel. 11And God said unto him, I am God Almighty: be fruitful and multiply a nation and a company of nations shall be of thee, and kings shall come out of thy loins 12And the land which I gave Abraham and Isaac, to thee I will give it, and to thy seed after thee will I give the land. 13And God went up from him in the place where he talked with him. 14And Jacob set up a pillar in the place where he talked with him, even a pillar of stone: and he poured a drink offering thereon, and he poured oil thereon. 15 And Jacob called the name of the place where God spake with him, Beth-el.

Jacob and his retinue having safely arrived at Beth-el, we are here told what passed there.

I. There he built an altar (Genesis 35:7), and no doubt offered sacrifice upon it, perhaps the tenth of his cattle, according to his vow, I will give the tenth unto thee. With these sacrifices he joined praises for former mercies, particularly that which the sight of the place brought afresh to his remembrance and he added prayers for the continuance of God’s favour to him and his family. And he called the place (that is,the altarEl-beth-el, the God of Bethel. As, when he made a thankful acknowledgment of the honour God had lately done him in calling him Israel, he worshipped God by the name of El-elohe Israel so, now that he was making a grateful recognition of God’s former favour to him at Bethel, he worships God by the name of El-beth-el, the God of Beth-el, because there God appeared to him. Note, The comfort which the saints have in holy ordinances is not so much from Bethel, the house of God, as from El-beth-el, the God of the house. The ordinances are but empty things if we do not meet with God in them.

II. There he buried Deborah, Rebekah’s nurse, Genesis 35:8. We have reason to think that Jacob, after he came to Canaan, while his family dwelt near Shechem, went himself (it is likely, often) to visit his father Isaac at Hebron. Rebekah probably was dead, but her old nurse (of whom mention is madeGenesis 24:59) survived her, and Jacob took her to his family, to be a companion to his wives, her country-women, and an instructor to his children while they were at Bethel, she died, and died lamented, so much lamented that the oak under which she was buried was called Allon-bachuth, the oak of weeping. Note, 1. Old servants in a family, that have in their time been faithful and useful, ought to be respected. Honour was done to this nurse, at her death, by Jacob’s family, though she was not related to them, and though she was aged. Former services, in such a case, must be remembered. 2. We do not know where death may meet us perhaps at Beth-el, the house of God. Therefore let us be always ready. 3. Family-afflictions may come even when family-reformation and religion are on foot. Therefore rejoice with trembling.

III. There God appeared to him (Genesis 35:9), to own his altar, to answer to the name by which he had called him, The God of Beth-el (Genesis 35:7), and to comfort him under his affliction, Genesis 35:8. Note, God will appear to those in a way of grace that attend on him in a way of duty. Here, 1. He confirmed the change of his name, Genesis 35:10. It was done before by the angel that wrestled with him (Genesis 32:28), and here it was ratified by the divine Majesty, or Shechinah, that appeared to him. There it was to encourage him against the fear of Esau, here against the fear of the Canaanites. Who can be too hard for Israel, a prince with God? It is below those who are thus dignified to droop and despond. 2. He renewed and ratified the covenant with him, by the name El-shaddai. I am God Almighty, God all-sufficient (Genesis 35:11), able to make good the promise in due time, and to support thee and provide for thee in the mean time. Two things are promised him which we have met with often before:– (1.) That he should be the father of a great nation, great in number–a company of nations shall be of thee (every tribe of Israel was a nation, and all the twelve a company of nations), great in honour and power–kings shall come out of thy loins. (2.) That he should be the master of a good land (Genesis 35:12), described by the grantees, Abraham and Isaac, to whom it was promised, not by the occupants, the Canaanites in whose possession it now was. The land that was given to Abraham and Isaac is here entailed on Jacob and his seed. He shall not have children without an estate, which is often the case of the poor, nor an estate without children, which is often the grief of the rich but both. These two promises had a spiritual signification, of which we may suppose Jacob himself had some notion, though not so clear and distinct as we now have for, without doubt, Christ is the promised seed, and heaven is the promised land the former is the foundation, and the latter the top-stone, of all God’s favours. 3. He then went up from him, orfrom over him, in some visible display of glory, which had hovered over him while he talked with him,Genesis 35:13. Note, The sweetest communions the saints have with God in this world are short and transient, and soon have an end. Our vision of God in heaven will be everlasting there we shall be ever with the Lord it is not so here.

IV. There Jacob erected a memorial of this, Genesis 35:14. 1. He set up a pillar. When he was going to Padan-aram, he set up for a pillar that stone on which he had laid his head. This was agreeable enough to his low condition and his hasty flight but now he took time to erect one more stately, more distinguishable and durable, probably placing that stone in it. In token of his intending it for a sacred memorial of his communion with God, he poured oil and the other ingredients of a drink-offering upon it. His vow was,This stone shall be God’s house, that is, shall be set up for his honour, as houses to the praise of their builders and here he performs it, transferring it to God by anointing it. 2. He confirmed the name he had formerly given to the place (Genesis 35:15), Beth-el, the house of God. Yet this very place afterwards lost the honour of its name, and became Beth-aven, a house of iniquity for here it was that Jeroboam set up one of his calves. It is impossible for the best man to entail upon a place so much as the profession and form of religion.


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Genesis 35:6-15 Jacob arrives at Bethel. . .

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6 So Jacob came to Luz, which is in the land of Canaan, that is, Beth-el, he and all the people that werewith him. 7 And he built there an altar, and called the place El-Beth-el: because there God appeared unto him, when he fled from the face of his brother. 8 But Deborah Rebekah’s nurse died, and she was buried beneath Beth-el under an oak: and the name of it was called Allon-bachuth. 9 And God appeared unto Jacob again, when he came out of Padan-aram, and blessed him. 10 And God said unto him, Thy nameis Jacob: thy name shall not be called any more Jacob, but Israel shall be thy name: and he called his name Israel. 11And God said unto him, I am God Almighty: be fruitful and multiply a nation and a company of nations shall be of thee, and kings shall come out of thy loins 12And the land which I gave Abraham and Isaac, to thee I will give it, and to thy seed after thee will I give the land. 13And God went up from him in the place where he talked with him. 14And Jacob set up a pillar in the place where he talked with him, even a pillar of stone: and he poured a drink offering thereon, and he poured oil thereon. 15 And Jacob called the name of the place where God spake with him, Beth-el.

Jacob and his retinue having safely arrived at Beth-el, we are here told what passed there.

I. There he built an altar (Genesis 35:7), and no doubt offered sacrifice upon it, perhaps the tenth of his cattle, according to his vow, I will give the tenth unto thee. With these sacrifices he joined praises for former mercies, particularly that which the sight of the place brought afresh to his remembrance and he added prayers for the continuance of God’s favour to him and his family. And he called the place (that is,the altarEl-beth-el, the God of Bethel. As, when he made a thankful acknowledgment of the honour God had lately done him in calling him Israel, he worshipped God by the name of El-elohe Israel so, now that he was making a grateful recognition of God’s former favour to him at Bethel, he worships God by the name of El-beth-el, the God of Beth-el, because there God appeared to him. Note, The comfort which the saints have in holy ordinances is not so much from Bethel, the house of God, as from El-beth-el, the God of the house. The ordinances are but empty things if we do not meet with God in them.

II. There he buried Deborah, Rebekah’s nurse, Genesis 35:8. We have reason to think that Jacob, after he came to Canaan, while his family dwelt near Shechem, went himself (it is likely, often) to visit his father Isaac at Hebron. Rebekah probably was dead, but her old nurse (of whom mention is madeGenesis 24:59) survived her, and Jacob took her to his family, to be a companion to his wives, her country-women, and an instructor to his children while they were at Bethel, she died, and died lamented, so much lamented that the oak under which she was buried was called Allon-bachuth, the oak of weeping. Note, 1. Old servants in a family, that have in their time been faithful and useful, ought to be respected. Honour was done to this nurse, at her death, by Jacob’s family, though she was not related to them, and though she was aged. Former services, in such a case, must be remembered. 2. We do not know where death may meet us perhaps at Beth-el, the house of God. Therefore let us be always ready. 3. Family-afflictions may come even when family-reformation and religion are on foot. Therefore rejoice with trembling.

III. There God appeared to him (Genesis 35:9), to own his altar, to answer to the name by which he had called him, The God of Beth-el (Genesis 35:7), and to comfort him under his affliction, Genesis 35:8. Note, God will appear to those in a way of grace that attend on him in a way of duty. Here, 1. He confirmed the change of his name, Genesis 35:10. It was done before by the angel that wrestled with him (Genesis 32:28), and here it was ratified by the divine Majesty, or Shechinah, that appeared to him. There it was to encourage him against the fear of Esau, here against the fear of the Canaanites. Who can be too hard for Israel, a prince with God? It is below those who are thus dignified to droop and despond. 2. He renewed and ratified the covenant with him, by the name El-shaddai. I am God Almighty, God all-sufficient (Genesis 35:11), able to make good the promise in due time, and to support thee and provide for thee in the mean time. Two things are promised him which we have met with often before:– (1.) That he should be the father of a great nation, great in number–a company of nations shall be of thee (every tribe of Israel was a nation, and all the twelve a company of nations), great in honour and power–kings shall come out of thy loins. (2.) That he should be the master of a good land (Genesis 35:12), described by the grantees, Abraham and Isaac, to whom it was promised, not by the occupants, the Canaanites in whose possession it now was. The land that was given to Abraham and Isaac is here entailed on Jacob and his seed. He shall not have children without an estate, which is often the case of the poor, nor an estate without children, which is often the grief of the rich but both. These two promises had a spiritual signification, of which we may suppose Jacob himself had some notion, though not so clear and distinct as we now have for, without doubt, Christ is the promised seed, and heaven is the promised land the former is the foundation, and the latter the top-stone, of all God’s favours. 3. He then went up from him, orfrom over him, in some visible display of glory, which had hovered over him while he talked with him,Genesis 35:13. Note, The sweetest communions the saints have with God in this world are short and transient, and soon have an end. Our vision of God in heaven will be everlasting there we shall be ever with the Lord it is not so here.

IV. There Jacob erected a memorial of this, Genesis 35:14. 1. He set up a pillar. When he was going to Padan-aram, he set up for a pillar that stone on which he had laid his head. This was agreeable enough to his low condition and his hasty flight but now he took time to erect one more stately, more distinguishable and durable, probably placing that stone in it. In token of his intending it for a sacred memorial of his communion with God, he poured oil and the other ingredients of a drink-offering upon it. His vow was,This stone shall be God’s house, that is, shall be set up for his honour, as houses to the praise of their builders and here he performs it, transferring it to God by anointing it. 2. He confirmed the name he had formerly given to the place (Genesis 35:15), Beth-el, the house of God. Yet this very place afterwards lost the honour of its name, and became Beth-aven, a house of iniquity for here it was that Jeroboam set up one of his calves. It is impossible for the best man to entail upon a place so much as the profession and form of religion.

 

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