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In the opening of this Chapter, Jacob's history seems to brighten in the renewal of divine visits to him. But, in the progress of the Chapter, we have the sad news of death in his family. Such is the mixed state of the happiest pilgrimage. The Patriarch by the LORD'S direction, removes from Shechem to Bethel. Arriving there, he builds an altar unto the LORD: Deborah, his mother's nurse, dies in Bethel, and is buried there: GOD again visits Jacob, and renews the assurance of his favor: Jacob sets up a pillar in token of it: he prosecutes his journey: by the way new calamities befall him, for his beloved Rachel dies in child-bed of Benjamin: he perpetuates her memory by erecting a pillar: still pursuing his rout towards Isaac his father's house afresh instance of grief occurs; for Reuben his eldest son, commits incest with his father's concubine. Jacob's sons are mentioned: he arrives at his father Isaac's, at Mamre. Isaac dies in a good old age, and is buried by the joint affection of Jacob and Esau.
And! think it more than probable also, that the LORD in tender mercy, had visited the Patriarch with afflictions to call his vows to remembrance. Revelation 3:19 . It should seem by this address of Jacob to his household that he considered his visitations in this light: Isaiah 1:16-18 . How sweetly the apostle converts such puttings away, into a gospel sense! 1 Peter 3:21-22 . But, Reader! is it not strange that Jacob, the highly favoured, highly blessed Jacob, should suffer strange gods in his family? Alas! what is man in his greatest attainments! Precious Redeemer, how increasingly dear becomes the recollection of thy salvation at every renewed instance we feel in ourselves, or are called upon to behold in others, of human corruption!
Psalms 66:13-14 . How charming is the like in Ephraim! Hosea 14:8 . How amiable in the Prodigal! Luke 15:18 .
When grace works, how it works! Luke 19:8-9 .
What can be more gratifying, than to see how the LORD provides for his people, even in the very hearts of their enemies. What a cluster of scriptures might be gathered in proof of it; see Malachi 3:11 ; Isaiah 54:14-17 ; Deuteronomy 7:10 ; Exodus 34:24 .
Luz, see Genesis 28:19
El-beth-el, that is the GOD of Bethel. Reader! precious are the Bethels; the house of GOD, and the ordinances of GOD'S home. But how infinitely more precious the GOD of his house. See! that when you attend the house of GOD, your heart is waiting for the gracious visits of GOD in his house. Let you and I imitate the Greeks we read of, (John 10:21 ), and earnestly cry out; we would see JESUS.
Genesis 24:59 . Faithful, long-tried servants are humble friends, and should be treated with affection and tenderness. Jacob's example here is worthy imitation. Colossians 4:1 . Allon-bachuth, that is, the Oak of Weeping. This shows that a grateful tribute was paid to Deborah's memory.
How sweet, how very sweet, are the renewals of divine mercy. Reader! shall I say, I hope you know them. And if so, you will know how to prize them.
Genesis 32:28 Glorious name! El Shaddai, GOD All-mighty, GOD All-sufficient. As much as to say, I am able to fulfil all my promises. See what they are, Genesis 17:1-9 . Confirmed to Jacob personally; Genesis 28:13-15 .
Divine communions cannot be uninterrupted while we live in vessels of clay. But, Reader, those souls who know what it is to enjoy them, know also, what it is to pine after their renewals. Do .you know both? Luke 24:31-32 .
Every renewed token of JESUS' love, ought to beget in our hearts renewed thankfulness. If a gracious GOD at any time fulfils a promise, every gracious child would desire to act faith upon his faithfulness.
1 Thessalonians 5:3 See, the effects of a fallen state! Genesis 3:16 .
See how little we consult our own happiness, when we presume to dictate to GOD. Compare Genesis 30:1 , with this verse. Benoni, is the son of my sorrow. Benjamin means the son of my right hand. Jacob no doubt by the change of the name, meant to place this child near his heart, as a particular token to the memory of his beloved Rachel.
This monument was long after preserved. See 1 Samuel 10:2 . Reader! do not pass over the review of Rachel's death, without again remarking the trials of the faithful. Genesis 47:9 .
Still you see journeying. Hebrews 11:8-10 .
More grief for Jacob. 1 Corinthians 5:1 ; Genesis 49:4 .
The HOLY GHOST is pleased to give a record of Jacob's sons. This is the first enumeration in the Bible of them. Perhaps inserted here, that as the church is formed out of them, the record might be noticed. Rev_7:4-8; Rev_21:12 .
It is probable that Jacob visited his father often, though it be only mentioned in this place.
From the age of Isaac at his death, it appears that he did not die at that time, for he must, by his age, have lived after Joseph's being sold into Egypt. But perhaps it is inserted here, by way of finishing that Patriarch's history.
It is good to see that Esau and Jacob's love continued. Death indeed in a family, may well induce affection in the survivors. It is awful to see relations, sometimes for a little property, fighting over the graves of their friends, while they themselves are falling after them. Genesis 27:41 .Genesis 35:0
Reader! while we pass over this Chapter to admire and adore the divine goodness manifested in so many sweet and repeated visits of his love to the Patriarch Jacob; let us examine our own hearts for the like tokens of such Bethel enjoyments. Will you look within, and ask your own heart; (for I desire continually to put the same questions to mine); when did the visions of GOD begin with my soul? When did JESUS, (according to his most sure promise to his people), manifest himself to me otherwise than he doth to the world? When did I experience the renewings of the HOLY GHOST? Reader! do not dismiss these questions unanswered?
In the sorrows of the Patriarch's household, let us seriously contemplate the lot of a fallen state. Sin hath indeed entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passeth upon all men because all have sinned. But my soul, look with an eye of faith beyond the grave. What though thy friends, children, servants, die; nay, thou thyself art hastening after them? yet JESUS, thy JESUS liveth. And am I not his in an everlasting covenant, and is he not mine? And shall I mourn then with such bright prospects in view? Dearest LORD! when all friends leave me, and when my heart and strength fail, be thou the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
One look more at Isaac before we dose the Chapter, and drop the Patriarch's history. I delight in every person and in everything, which receives in scripture the particular notice of GOD the HOLY GHOST, to trace somewhat which may lead my heart to JESUS. And is there nothing striking to this amount in Isaac's life? Was not the Redeemer long promised, long looked for, with a devout earnestness by all the church, and at length born into the world in a method contrary to the established course of natural causes; similar, but infinitely beyond the example of Isaac's birth? And were there not Ishmaels to mock the LORD JESUS in the long and trying persecutions he sustained, like the son of Hagar the Egyptian, despising Isaac? In the cheerful acquiescence which Isaac made to his father's will for sacrifice; carrying the wood; being bound upon the altar; and not offering a repining word when Abraham took the knife to slay his son; can I not, as a type, trace somewhat of thine unequalled love; oh! thou Lamb of GOD, who voluntarily didst undertake, by the sacrifice of thyself, the redemption of thy people; when fainting beneath thy cross, thou wast led as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so openedst not thou thy mouth! Oh! may my soul live in the constant, daily, hourly meditation of thy love! May everything tend to lead my heart unto thee! And may thy love at length awaken mine, and induce all those precious effects of loving thee who hast so loved me, as to have given thyself for me.
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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Genesis 35". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 12 / Ordinary 17