Crystal Writes A Blog

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Circumcision of Truth


Today’s reading has some pretty sensitive topics, but it’s still a part of biblical history, so we will trudge on together. Our complete reading is from Genesis 34:1 through Genesis 35:11, and it begins with the story of a man, Hamor the Hivite, who has fallen in love with Dinah, the daughter of Leah and Jacob. Now, Hamor’s son, Shechem, was also in love with Dinah and demanded that his father go get her for him.

Before Shechem shared his intentions with his father, Hamor apparently tried to win Dinah’s affections and did not succeed, so he raped and humiliated her. And then I’m wondering if maybe he thought he could hide the situation is why he was willing to go to Jacob to ask for Dinah’s hand. But Jacob knew what had happened to Dinah, though since his sons were not available, he held his tongue. When Simeon and Levi, the sons of Jacob, came in, Jacob told them the situation, and they made plans for payback.

hen Hamor offered the women of his village in exchange for the women of Jacob’s people, the boys told them they would accept the offer only if all their men would become circumcised as the men in Jacob’s family were. When Hamor brought the news to his men, he told them he thought it was a good idea because the intermarriage of the families would mean they would inherit all the riches of Jacob’s people. Both camps, it seems, circumcised the importance of truth from their lives and communications.

Finally, when Hamor’s people got circumcised physically, the sons of Jacob waited about three days until the men were in excruciating pain. Then, they took advantage of the pain and weakness of the men and attacked and killed them. After they did this, the rest of Jacob’s people and servants plundered the Hivites and took their cattle and possessions. But Jacob was angry with them and told them it was going to cause all the other people around, such as the Canaanites and Perizzites, to join forces and attack him.

God came to Jacob and told him to go back to Bethel and make his home there and to build an altar at the place where he first met God. Jacob told his people to get rid of all their false gods (I’m amazed that he knew they had them and didn’t make them get rid of them before) and to get ready to travel to Bethel. As they traveled, God put a fear on all the people of the lands they passed through so they would not harm Jacob or his people. Finally, Jacob built the altar God told him to build, and God met him once more. This time, he said he would not only be named Israel, but from that point on should also be called Israel.

In Chapter 35, verse 11, (in the Amplified Bible) we read, “And God said to him, I am God Almighty. Be fruitful and multiply; a nation and a company of nations shall come from you and kings shall be born of your stock.” What a promise from a God to His people–even after they had failed to put Him first in their worship and their behaviors. I think I’ve said before how I didn’t think God showed mercy in the Old Testament, but this is one of those wonderful stories that shows He truly did show mercy in wonderful ways since the beginning. And I imagine that we only know a piece of it with this recorded history, but I’m so thankful for what He has revealed to us.

November 20, 2013 Posted by | Bible Study, Nonfiction, Torah Commentary | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This Time, I Will Praise God


SPOILER ALERT! FIRST, read today’s commentary before you watch the video! This is the video I promised I would look for back when I told you this story was upcoming. It’s by my favorite parody group, ApologetiX, and this is their official video for the song, “Downer of a Sister” which is a parody of the song “Chop Suey” by System of a Down. If you would like to read the lyrics and learn more about this amazing band who writes and sings Christian parodies of songs from a variety of genres, visit this song’s lyrics page on their site at http://apologetix.com/music/song.php?freebie=true%20&song_id=383 Once you watch the video, I would love to hear your thoughts about this song, and other ApologetiX songs you may have listened to, in the comments below. Thanks.

Now, today’s reading comes from Genesis 29:18 through Genesis 30:18, and it continues the story of Jacob’s love for Rachael. Jacob loved Rachael so much that when Laban asked him to work for seven years in order to have her as his wife, he worked happily and said the years were like only a few days. And then the wedding and feast were set in order.

On the wedding night, Laban snuck in Leah because she was the first born, and Jacob did not know until the next morning that he had slept with (and therefore married) the wrong sister. He was angry at Laban, but Laban explained it was just the way they did things. He promised he would give him Rachael at the end of the marriage week if Jacob would promise to stay and work for another seven years. He wanted Rachael enough that he agreed to the request.

When he took Rachael as his wife, he was much more in love with her. Yahveh Almighty saw that Leah was unloved, so he made her fertile and Rachael unable to bear children. Leah bore 4 sons to Jacob before she gave birth no more, and each time she was certain that having the children would cause her husband to love her. She named her first three sons Reuben (see, a son), Simeon (God hears), and Levi (companion). But when she had a fourth son, she turned her praise toward God instead of hoping that her husband would love her, so she named him Judah, meaning praise.

Rachael was still infertile, so she gave her handmaiden to Jacob who bore him two more sons, Dan (he judged) and Naphtali (my wrestling). Leah, unfortunately still struggling to feel loved, then gave her own handmaiden to Jacob who also bore him two sons, Gad (fortune) and Asher (happy).

I truly feel compassion for both of these women. I am sad for Leah in feeling unloved, and having plenty of experiences to push her to feeling that way. I wish, for her sake, that she would have been able to have a relationship with God the way people these days are able to, with His Spirit of Comfort able to dwell within us, but somehow, she did know that it was God who was hearing her needs, and that is why she named her children as she did. I think when she named the last one Judah, she was giving praise directly to God, and maybe that’s why the lineage of our Messiah comes through that one.

I also felt bad for Rachael because of being childless. I know that feeling from my own childlessness. I know there is comfort in having children by proxy, and I love the nephews I was privileged to raise for a few years from the depths of my heart–even when they have hurt me. But I also know that there is a part of me that will always wonder what it would have felt like to have known a maternal bond from conception and birth. And yet, as Leah when she had her fourth child, I can still say, I will praise God.

Oh, and just to keep with the NaNo updating, my word count today is 22,731

November 11, 2013 Posted by | Bible Study, Nonfiction, Torah Commentary | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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