In our last look in Genesis Rebekah and Jacob tricked a blind Isaac into blessing Jacob as his firstborn son, despite Jacob being the second born son. God doesn’t seem to care about this lie and allows it to happen. Everything beyond this point in the Bible is based on a known lie that God endorses. Wow! Christians really need to read their Bible! Chapter 28 begins with Isaac speaking to Jacob.
“Do not marry a Canaanite woman.” – Genesis 28:1
So much for Jacob making his own decisions
“Go at once to Paddan Aram, to the house of your mother’s father Bethuel. Take a wife for yourself there, from among the daughters of Laban, your mother’s brother.” – Genesis 28:2
In other words, Jacob is told to marry one of his first cousins. Again, the Bible condones incest.
“May He give you and your descendants the blessing given to Abraham, so that you may take possession of the land where you now live as an alien.” – Genesis 28:4
This isn’t new, but God’s blessing, through Abraham, is to allow Jacob to steal away the land already occupied by others. Others who have done NO wrong. Esau hears of this and tries to please Isaac.
“…so he (Esau) went to Ishmael and married Mahalath, the sister of Nebaioth and daughter of Ishmael son of Abraham, in addition to the wives he already had.” – Genesis 28:9
More high quality family values in the Bible. Esau marries a cousin, but already has wives. It would be bad enough if Esau already had a wife, but he already has more than one wife!!! All of those fundamentalist conservatives pushing family values should really read their Bible. Jacob travels to Bethel and on the way has a dream where God speaks to him.
“All peoples on Earth will be blessed through you and your offspring.” – Genesis 28:14
All peoples, as we’ll later learn, does not include the people Jacob murders to take the already occupied land God ‘gives’ Jacob.
“When Jacob awoke from his sleep, he thought, ‘Surely the Lord is in this place, and I was not aware of it.’ He was afraid and said, ‘How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God; this is the gate of heaven.’” – Genesis 28:16-17
Hold on there just a second Jacob. You had a dream. That’s it. It doesn’t matter how vivid the dream was, it was still just a dream. Nothing more. I once had a dream of tossing couch cushions over the roof of my house. On the back side of the house was a pond of bright rainbow colored water. The cushions landed in the water and were instantly painted rainbow colors. It was quite vivid, however I didn’t go out proclaiming God wants me to paint all couch cushions in the world with rainbow colors.
“Then Jacob made a vow, saying, ‘If God will be with me and will watch over me on this journey I am taking and will give me food to eat and clothes to wear so that I return safely to my father’s house, then the Lord will be my God and this stone that I have set up as a pillar will be God’s house, and of all that you give me I will give you a tenth.’” – Genesis 28:20-22
This is a very odd vow. Jacob isn’t placing his full faith in God. Jacob uses an if/then statement. If God brings Jacob to safety, then Jacob will have faith in God. That’s NOT the message the Bible sends in the book of Job. Job clearly told us that you MUST have full faith in God before receiving a reward. Now God is suddenly changing his mind? Surprise, surprise. A God that makes a command and then backtracks on it or changes it completely. Does Jacob receive the wrath of God as Job did? Is Jacob covered in sores? Does Jacob see his entire family killed? Nope. Jacob sees none of this as a result of his lack of complete faith from the get go.
I “think” this is the first mention of giving God a tenth in the Bible. I may be wrong, but I think it’s the first time it is mentioned. Apparently an all-powerful, all-knowing God needs you to give Him back a tenth of all you own. For what purpose? Beats me. What is God going to do with that money/land/animals/slaves/etc.? If God is truly all-powerful, then He doesn’t need any of this.
That concludes Chapter 28. Jacob marries his cousin, has a dream, and doesn’t have full faith in God. Unlike Job, God doesn’t require Jacob to have full faith to get started. This is the God of shifting goal posts, that’s for sure.
Coming Soon: Genesis – Chapter 29: Jacob Arrives in Paddan Aram