session 8b lessons from deception genesis 27 1 31 55 n.
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Session 8B Lessons from Deception Genesis 27:1 - 31:55. Genesis: a 12-session study. SUMMARY Genesis Structure. Genesis 1: wide angle view of creation Creation is ordered: first formed and then filled. God works 6 days, then rests the 7 th day. Rest is a gift from God.

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session 8b lessons from deception genesis 27 1 31 55
Session 8B

Lessons from Deception

Genesis 27:1 - 31:55

Genesis: a 12-session study

summary genesis structure
SUMMARYGenesis Structure
  • Genesis 1: wide angle view of creation
    • Creation is ordered: first formed and then filled. God works 6 days, then rests the 7th day. Rest is a gift from God.
  • Genesis 2-4: close up view of Adam’s generation
    • Adam & Eve made in the image of God as rulers and priests. The Fall brings inherited sin. Cain kills Abel. Seth appointed.
  • Genesis 5-11: wide angle view of the nations
    • Noah & The Flood. Shem, Ham, & Japheth. Tower of Babel. Languages confused and people diffused across the world.
  • Genesis 11-50: close up view of the nation of Israel
    • Terah. Abram/Abraham. Ishmael & Isaac. Esau & Jacob (Israel). Joseph.
close up of israel patriarchs parents progeny 1
CLOSE-UP OF ISRAELPatriarchs, Parents, & Progeny (1)
  • Terah:
    • Left for Canaan. Settled half-way. His son finishes the journey.
  • Abram/Abraham:
    • Went to Canaan faithfully. Went to Egypt fearfully. Came back to Canaan faithfully. God appears. Abram builds altars. Abram rescues Lot. Lot escapes Sodom. Abraham receives covenant name, sign, son, place, and presence. Treaty in Gerar. Near sacrifice of Isaac. Return to Beersheba. Hagar & Keturah’s children sent away. Gifts given to Isaac. Sarah & Abraham buried in a cave in Canaan.
close up of israel patriarchs parents progeny 2
CLOSE-UP OF ISRAELPatriarchs, Parents, & Progeny (2)
  • Ishmael (slave) & Isaac (free):
    • Ishmael born first, but Isaac received the covenant. Hagar cast out, but son Ishmael still blessed. Before Abraham’s death, his servant finds a godly wife, Rebekah, for Isaac. Ishmael & Isaac bury Abraham together. God’s blessing passes to Isaac. Isaac settles at Beer-lahai-roi (The Well of the Vision). Ishmael settles in Shur, to the west of Beer-lahai-roi. Isaac goes to Gerar, like Abraham. Isaac calls his wife his “sister”, like Abraham. God protects Isaac’s wife. King Abimelech protects them, but later asks Isaac to leave because God has blessed Isaac so much that the Philistines are jealous. Isaac reopens Abraham’s wells. Isaac goes to Beersheba. God appears, confirming His covenant yet again. Isaac builds an altar, pitches a tent, and builds a well. Abimelech makes a peace treaty with Isaac. Isaac imitates the faith and faithfulness of Abraham.
close up of israel patriarchs parents progeny 3
CLOSE-UP OF ISRAELPatriarchs, Parents, & Progeny (3)
  • Esau & Jacob
    • God revealed to mother Rebekah that older would serve the younger. Esau is born first, but didn’t value his birthright ant sells it to Jacob for red stew. Esau took an unbelieving wife (Judith the Hittite) and make life bitter for his parents. But Jacob took a believing wife. Esau failed to understand his parents values. Later Rebekah helps Jacob deceive Isaac into blessing Jacob instead of Esau, but the deception wasn’t necessary as God had already revealed His will that the older Esau would serve the younger Jacob.
  • Joseph
  • “The Patriarchs”
    • Abraham, Isaac, & Jacob. This is the covenant line. The entire nation of Israel, God’s chosen people, and Jesus’ earthly parents, Mary & her husband Joseph, descend from them.
the big picture genesis 27 31
THE BIG PICTUREGenesis 27-31
  • Jacob deceived and manipulated.
  • Jacob’s sins wound his relationships.
  • Jacob retreats in to personal exile.
  • Jacob gets deceived and manipulated.
  • Jacob’s consequences from sin prepared him for his encounter with God at Bethel and beyond.
isaac plans to bless esau genesis 27
Isaac Plans To Bless EsauGenesis 27
  • The blessing was a prayer, believed to shape the future of the blessed person.
  • The paternal blessing revealed the rightful heir of the divine promises.
  • Isaac desires to bless his firstborn, Esau, being blind to Esau’s shortcomings.
  • Rebekah overheard Isaac and planned to trick Isaac into blessing Jacob.
  • Jacob is afraid of being discovered. Rebekah says she will bear any curse that comes.
  • Jacob agreed to carry out the deception. He gets two goats. Rebekah cooked them.
  • Rebekah put Esau’s clothes on Jacob and goat hair on his hands and neck.
  • Jacob pretends to be Esau, back from the hunt, ready to receive Isaac’s blessing.
  • Isaac is suspicious at first, but Jacob wins him over and Isaac blesses Jacob.
  • The deception worked—for a little while. Deception is always temporary.
  • Isaac speaks of abundance and sovereignty, believing God’s promise to Abraham.
  • Esau returns and is angry. Esau blames Jacob for losing both birthright and blessing.
  • Esau demands a blessing from Isaac. Isaac gives in inverse blessing, but ends with the hope of Esau being free from his brother’s control.
  • Esau's descendants settle East of the Jordan river, away from Jacob’s descendants.
  • Esau plans to kill Jacob after Isaac dies. Rebekah overhears and tells Jacob.
  • Rebekah convinces Isaac to send Jacob away to “look for wife” so he won’t marry a local unbeliever.
  • Rebekah tells Jacob she will send for him after Esau’s anger subsides.
  • Isaac calls Jacob and gives him the blessing of Abraham, expecting Jacob to return.
  • Isaac also gives the blessing to be fruitful and multiply. Abraham is literally becoming the father of many nations as God promised.
esau s wife jacob s dream genesis 28
Esau’s Wife & Jacob’s DreamGenesis 28
  • Esau hears Isaac tell Jacob not to marry a Canaanite woman, which Esau did.
  • Esau goes to Ishmael and marries one of his daughters.
  • Esau doesn’t seem to connect “Canaanite” with “unbelieving”.
  • Esau failed to understand his parents concerns about the unbelieving locals.
  • Jacob starts the 550 mile journey to Haran. Jacob sleeps on a stone.
  • Jacob dreams about a “ladder” (or “stairway” or “ramp” or “flight of steps” like local temples) going to heaven with angels go up and down it.
  • Standing at the top is the LORD (Yahweh: the covenant name).
  • God confirms His covenant has passed from Abraham to Isaac to Jacob.
  • Jacob calls it an awesome place: the “house of God” or “Bethel”.
  • Jacob sets up a pillar and pours oil on it, but doesn’t build an altar.
  • Jacob copied a Canaanite practice of pillars. Later God prohibits this.
  • Jacob will later return to this spot to build an altar instead.
  • Jacob vows that if God will be with him, keep him, and give him bread (food) and clothing, and he will come back to Isaac in peace then and the LORD will be his God.
  • In John 1:51, Jesus identifies himself as the connection to heaven (to God).
  • The vision anticipates Jesus being the permanent opening to heaven.

HARAN/NAHOR (in Paddan-Aram)

about 550 miles




jacob finds a wife genesis 29 1 14
Jacob Finds A WifeGenesis 29:1-14
  • Jacob’s vision of God in heaven had an impact on him.
  • Jacob now shows more generosity and hospitality.
  • Arriving in Paddan-Aram, Jacob finds a well and 3 flocks of sheep.
  • Jacob asks the shepherds about Laban.
  • Not only do they know Laban, his daughter Rachel is with them.
  • Normally, the flocks wouldn’t be gathered together until evening, but it seems that the shepherds need to water their sheep now.
  • Rachel comes with sheep. Rachel is also “ewe lamb” in Hebrew.
  • When Rachel comes with Laban’s sheep, Jacob rolls the stone from the well and waters the flock.
  • Jacob kissed Rachel and wept. God led him to his relatives!
  • A kiss is a customary greeting in ancient Near East.
  • This is the only place in the Bible where a man kissed a woman who was not already his wife or his mother.
  • Jacob reveals that he is Rebekah’s son.
  • Rebekah runs to tell her father Laban.
  • Laban runs to meet Jacob and brings him home.
  • Jacob stays for a month.
parallels isaac jacob finding a wife genesis 24 29
Parallels: Isaac & Jacob Finding a WifeGenesis 24 & 29
  • Abraham makes his servant promise not to take a Canaanite wife for Isaac.
  • Isaac tells Jacob not to take a Canaanite wife.
  • Abraham tells his servant to take a wife for Isaac from Abraham's country and relatives.
  • Isaac tells Jacob to take a wife from Padan-Aram, from Jacob's Uncle Laban's daughters.
  • Abraham's servant was by a spring of water.
  • Jacob was by a well of water.
  • While Abraham's servant was still speaking to God, Rebekah came to draw water.
  • While Jacob was still speaking to shepherds, Rachel came to water her sheep.
  • Rebekah was very attractive in appearance.
  • Rachel was beautiful in form and appearance.
  • Rebekah drew water for the animals (camels) of Abraham's servant.
  • Jacob drew water for the animals (sheep) of Rachel.
  • Rebekah ran and told her mother's household what happened.
  • Rachel ran and told her father what happened.
  • Laban ran to meet Abraham's servant.
  • Laban ran to meet Jacob and hugged and kissed him.
  • Isaac loved Rebekah.
  • Jacob loved Rachel.
the deceiver gets deceived genesis 29 15 26
The Deceiver Gets DeceivedGenesis 29:15-26
  • Uncle Laban asks Jacob what his wages should be.
  • For a “wage”, Jacob asks for Rachel, Laban’s beautiful younger daughter.
  • The older daughter, Leah, is still unmarried. Leah is described as having “tender”, “delicate”, “weak”, “dull”, or “lovely” eyes.
  • A divergence of terms like this often indicates that the original language is simply difficult to translate into English.
  • Some translators think the Hebrew means she had “lovely” eyes.
  • Others think her eyes didn’t “shine” or “sparkle” like her sister’s.
  • Is something wrong with her eyes or is something right with her eyes?
  • In any case, Leah can’t compete with her sister who is altogether beautiful.
  • Jacob agrees to work for Laban for 7 years for Rachel.
  • For Jacob, 7 years seemed just a few days because of his love for Rachel.
  • Laban held a feast. He gave Jacob a wife, and his wife’s servant Zilpah.
  • In the morning Jacob discovered that his wife wasn’t Rachel, but Leah!!
  • Laban says it is not customary to give the younger daughter first.
    • Is it just an excuse for the deception?
    • Is it an expression of moral outrage? (like Gen. 20:9, 34:7, or 2 Sam 13:12)
  • Jacob deceived his father and displaced his older brother in the blessing.
  • Rachel’s father, deceived Jacob and displaced the younger sister in marriage.
jacob marries rachel serves laban leah bears children genesis 29 27 35
Jacob Marries Rachel, Serves Laban.Leah bears children. Genesis 29:27-35
  • Laban offered to give Rachel as a wife, if Jacob would complete the bridal week with Leah.
    • The wedding celebration lasted for a week. (Judges 14:12)
    • The week together would also give Leah the opportunity to conceive a child.
  • To Jacob, Laban gave Rachel and her servant Bilhah.
  • Jacob serves 7 more years for receiving Rachel.
  • God saw that Jacob loved Rachel much more than Leah.
  • God opened the womb of Leah.
  • Reuben (“See, a son”). “The LORD has looked on my affliction.”
  • Simeon (sounds like the Hebrew for “Heard”). “The LORD has heard I am hated.”
  • Levi (sounds like the Hebrew for “Attached”). “Now my husband will be attached to me, because I have borne him three sons.” Later, Levi’s descendants become the “Levites” who are “attached” to the LORD in service of the LORD’s tabernacle and later the temple.
  • Judah (sounds like the Hebrew for “Praise”). “This time I will praise the LORD.”
  • When naming a child, think about what their name means!
  • Leah ceased childbearing. These are the first born of the 12 tribes of Israel.
bilhah s children rachel s by proxy zilpah s children leah s by proxy genesis 30 1 13
Bilhah’s children, Rachel’s by proxy. Zilpah’s children, Leah’s by proxy. Genesis 30:1-13
  • Having no children, Rachel was jealous of Leah and angry with Jacob.
  • Beware that disappointment doesn’t create a root of bitterness in your life!
  • Jacob says he’s not God who closed Rachel’s womb.
  • The later healing of Rachel’s womb indicates God’s presence with this family.
  • Rachel gives Jacob her servant Bilhah to bear children.
  • “so that she may give birth on my behalf”
  • In the ancient near east, children born to the second substitute wife are considered children of the first barren wife.
  • This is why Rachel names Bilhah’s children as if they are her own.
  • Dan (sounds like the Hebrew for “judged”). “God has judged me, and has also heard my voice…”
  • Naphtali (sounds like the Hebrew for “wrestling”). “With many wrestlings I have wrestled with my sister and have prevailed.”
  • Because Leah stopped having children, she gave Zilpah to Jacob to bear more for her.
  • Gad (sounds like the Hebrew for “good fortune”) “Good fortune has come!”
  • Asher (sounds like the Hebrew for “happy”) “Happy am I! For women have called me happy.”
leah s children rachel s child genesis 30 14 24
Leah’s children. Rachel’s child. Genesis 30:14-24
  • Note ongoing jealousy between the older sister Leah and the younger sister Rachel.
  • Reuben, Leah’s son, found some mandrakes while harvesting wheat. Rachel badly wanted some of the mandrakes. Why?
  • (Some commentaries suggest mandrakes were believed to increase fertility. “Mandrakes” can also be translated “love fruits.”)
  • Leah accuses Rachel of “stealing” her husband. Leah lets Reuben give Rachel the mandrakes if Rachel will let Jacob spend the night with Rachel.
  • By Jacob, Leah ends up bearing more children.
  • Issachar (sounds like the Hebrew for “wages” or “hire”) “I have hired you with my son’s mandrakes.” “God has given me my wages…I gave my servant to my husband.”
  • Zebulun (sounds like the Hebrew for “honor”) “my husband will honor me”
  • A daughter, Dinah, is also born. She is mentioned briefly here. (Gen. 34)
  • God remembers Rachel, listens to her, and opens her womb.
  • Joseph (“He may add” and sounds like the Hebrew for “taken away”). “God has taken away my reproach.”
  • The patriarch’s wives are all healed of barrenness, a sign from God!
the manipulator gets manipulated jacob uncle laban genesis 30 25 43
The manipulator gets manipulated.Jacob & Uncle Laban. Genesis 30:25-43
  • After the birth of Joseph and the completion of 14 years of work for Uncle Laban, Jacob is ready to go back home.
  • Laban’s wealth had increased abundantly with Jacob.
  • By divination, Laban sees the LORD has blessed him because of Jacob.
  • Divination is an attempt to find out something by going to a spiritual power other than God: interpreting omens, telling fortunes, etc.
  • Divination is prohibited in Deuteronomy. Not everything that happens in the Bible is “biblical”. Be discerning about what God’s standard is.
  • Laban asks Jacob it name his wages.
  • Jacob asked for the speckled and spotted sheep, black lambs, and speckled and spotted goats. Others would be considered stolen.
  • Laban manipulates Jacob by secretly taking all those animals out of his flocks and giving them to his sons first. Jacob gets nothing.
  • Laban put a 3-day distance between he and Jacob. (to hide the truth)
  • Jacob pastures Laban’s flock, none of which are his own.
  • Over time, Jacob attempts to manipulate the flock into selective breeding, using streaked sticks. It wasn’t necessary, as God was in charge.
  • God increased the number of striped, speckled, and spotted animals born.
  • Jacob increased greatly with large flocks, servants, camels, and donkeys.
the 12 tribes of israel jacob s sons summary from genesis 29 30 35
The 12 “Tribes of Israel” (Jacob’s sons) SUMMARY from Genesis 29-30, 35
  • Leah
    • Reuben ("see, a son")
    • Simeon ("heard")
    • Levi ("attached")
    • Judah ("praise")
    • Issachar ("wages")
    • Zebulun ("honor")
  • Bilhah, Rachel's Servant
    • Dan ("judged")
    • Naphtali ("wrestling")
  • Zilpah, Leah's Servant
    • Gad ("good fortune")
    • Asher ("happy")
  • Rachel
    • Joseph ("He may add”)
    • Benjamin (“son of the right hand”) (Genesis 35)

Notice how Leah, who was “unloved” and even “hated” by her husband, was the one who received the most children from God.

God begins the first stage of His promise to multiply Abraham’s offspring!

discussion genesis 29 31
DISCUSSIONGenesis 29-31
  • In what ways did Jacob’s dream change him from a deceiver of men to a disciple of God?
  • In what ways is finding a wife for Jacob parallel to finding a wife for his father Isaac?
  • Isaac & Jacob find a wife through a woman, a well, and water. If Jews all knew this story, what might they think of Jesus talking to the woman at the well requesting water?
  • Why were Jacob’s attempts to deceive unnecessary?
  • Can God lead us to the right spouse?
  • Do you think Laban was justified in trying to marry off the older daughter first? Why or why not?
  • How did Jacob handle Laban’s deception and manipulation?
  • Think about Laban. What spiritual powers do people turn to today, other than God? Why should we go to God first?
  • Why is it important to think about the meaning of the names we give to our children?
  • Are you beginning to see how God is multiplying and prospering the descendants of Abraham into the nation of Israel? What does this say about believers?

Genesis starts with one family (Adam & Eve) and ends with twelve tribes which become one nation (Israel).