Chapter 35- God tells Jacob to build an altar in Bethel. Jacob tells everyone in his household to get rid of their “foreign gods.” The altar gets built in Bethel. Rebekah’s nurse dies. God changed Jacob’s name to Israel, again, and promised him lots of offspring, again. Rachel dies in childbirth with Jacob’s son Benjamin. Reuben (one of Leah’s sons) sleeps with Bilhah, Rachel’s maid/Jacob’s concubine. Isaac dies.
This chapter is just little bits and bobs. Rebekah’s nurse, Deborah, is introduced just so she can die. I don’t remember reading about her before…
You know that stereotype of old people who forget things, so they tell the same stories over and over? That’s how God has been in Genesis. He has promised to make a great nation/give lots of offspring to Isaac/Jacob so.many.times. And, He changed Jacob’s name to Israel back in Chapter 32, but it’s like He forgot, so he does it again here.
I’m intrigued by the story in verse 22: “And it happened, when Israel dwelt in that land, that Reuben went and lay with Bilhah his father’s concubine; and Israel heard about it.” That’s it. That’s the whole story. WHAT HAPPENED NEXT?!?! Israel heard about it, and high-fived his son? Israel heard about, and freaked out? It was important enough to be included in the bible, but not important enough to explain why it was important.
(Spoilers- Google is my friend. Turns out that this story becomes important 14 chapters from now. In chapter 49, Reuben should’ve gotten a good blessing as the eldest son, but gets a crap one instead, and Jacob lists this event as the reason. Seriously, Bible, your continuity sucks.)
Chapter 36- Genealogy of Esau. Listing of the chiefs/kings/rulers of Edom.
So, we get a listing of the son’s of Esau’s 3 wives, then the bible says “these were the chiefs of the sons of Esau: and lists them all again with the word “chief” before their names. I suppose the point is to emphasis that Esau’s children became the heads of local regions, like God promised, but it doesn’t make for a particularly interesting read.
I find it sad that daughters are of zero importance. Only the sons get listed. Stupid patriarchy.
Although, something that caught my attention: Aholibamah was Esau’s third wife, and also get’s listed as “chief Aholibamah” at the end of the chapter. Almost missed it amongst all the other strange name, and no explanation is provided as to why she is a chief along with all the men-chiefs.
Chapter 37- Jacob loves Joesph the most and makes him a multicolored tunic, which makes all his brothers jealous. Joesph has dreams about his brothers all bowing down to him, which makes them even more jealous. Jacob sends Joseph to find his brothers out in the fields. When they see him coming, they decide to kill him. Reuben convinces them to just throw him a pit and leave him instead. Some Ishmaelites pass by, and Judah convinces his brothers to sell Joseph to them. The Ishmaelites take Joseph to Egypt and sell him to Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh. The brothers kill a goat and dip Joseph’s colorful tunic in the goat blood, then take it to Jacob who thinks wild animals have killed Joseph. Jacob mourns.
Oh boy! This is one of my favorite stories (no sarcam; for realsies!) When I was younger, my mom and I would watch the Donny Osmond version of “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” over and over and over. I could probably still sing the whole soundtrack for you. I ♥ Andrew Lloyd Webber!
I just found the movie on YouTube, if you’re so inclined to watch it.
Okay- enough fan-girling over movies from my childhood. Back to the text.
Joseph was an idiot. If you know you’re daddy’s favorite and your older brothers hate you for it, don’t brag about the dreams you have wherein they all submit to you. It does say he was only 17, so I guess he was just a dumb kid.
I’m not surprised that Joseph was the favorite. He’s the first child to have been born to Rachel, the favorite wife. Laban really screwed things up for everyone- Leah and the 11 other sons really got the shaft all because of Laban’s deceit.
At first I wondered why Reuben would encourage his brothers not to kill Joseph, but I have a theory. It says he does it so that he might take Joseph back to his father, so I think it’s a play by Reuben to win back Jacob’s love after the whole Bilhah incident. Sadly for Reuben, though, the other brothers sell Joe off before Reuben can go back to retrieve him.
And, we’ll have to wait for later installments to find out what happens. (Or, go watch the movie!)