UPS AND DOWNS OF LIFE
Lord Jesus, You are the source of truth and the Lord of life. I acknowledge that You are the Lord of my life today and every day. I bless Your holy name.
Read Genesis 35:16–29
The Deaths of Rachel and Isaac
16 Then they moved on from Bethel. While they were still some distance from Ephrath, Rachel began to give birth and had great difficulty. 17 And as she was having great difficulty in childbirth, the midwife said to her, “Don’t despair, for you have another son.” 18 As she breathed her last—for she was dying—she named her son Ben-Oni.[a] But his father named him Benjamin.[b]
19 So Rachel died and was buried on the way to Ephrath (that is, Bethlehem). 20 Over her tomb Jacob set up a pillar, and to this day that pillar marks Rachel’s tomb.
21 Israel moved on again and pitched his tent beyond Migdal Eder. 22 While Israel was living in that region, Reuben went in and slept with his father’s concubine Bilhah, and Israel heard of it.
Jacob had twelve sons:
23 The sons of Leah:
Reuben the firstborn of Jacob,
Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar and Zebulun.
24 The sons of Rachel:
Joseph and Benjamin.
25 The sons of Rachel’s servant Bilhah:
Dan and Naphtali.
26 The sons of Leah’s servant Zilpah:
Gad and Asher.
These were the sons of Jacob, who were born to him in Paddan Aram.
27 Jacob came home to his father Isaac in Mamre, near Kiriath Arba (that is, Hebron), where Abraham and Isaac had stayed. 28 Isaac lived a hundred and eighty years. 29 Then he breathed his last and died and was gathered to his people, old and full of years. And his sons Esau and Jacob buried him.
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Genesis 35:18 Ben-Oni means son of my trouble.
Genesis 35:18 Benjamin means son of my right hand.
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectEcclesiastes says there is a time and season for everything. What season are you in now?
This last section of the story of Jacob and his family contains a mixture of joy (Rachel’s second pregnancy at last!), sorrow (Rachel’s death in childbirth, and Isaac’s death of old age) and treachery (Reuben sleeping with his father’s concubine). Jacob knows about Reuben’s treachery, which was perhaps an attempt to challenge Jacob’s authority within the family, but does not deal with it at the time. He remembers however, and in his final words to his sons Jacob says that, although Reuben is his firstborn, he will not excel because of this act (Genesis 49:4).
There is a sense of completeness as Jacob comes home to his father, before Isaac’s death (27–29). God is not mentioned in the narrative here, but Jacob’s return home and the listing of the twelve sons shows that God’s promises are beginning to be fulfilled.
Look back over the story of this family. With which characters do you identify? Which would you like to see mend their ways? What do you see of God at work in their lives?
Map out the story of your own family. Where do you see God at work? Where do you long for Him to intervene? Talk to Him about what He is doing in your family.
Loving Father, through all the ups and downs of my life, I rest in the truth that You are working Your purposes out for me. I love You Lord.