Genesis 16 – Tensions in Jacob’s Family

August 22, 2013

Dinah is raped by Shechem, who seeks to make her his wife. When his father, Hamor, pleads on his behalf, the sons of Jacob convinced Shechem’s family to be circumcised so that they could slay all of them while they were laid up after the surgery. When Jacob discovers this, he rebukes them but says nothing more until he is on his deathbed. Similarly, when Reuben takes up with Bilhah, his father’s concubine, Jacob says nothing at the time.

God tells Jacob to go to Bethel and make an altar there, and so he tells his family to put away their idols, purify themselves and change their clothes (similar to Ex 19:10-11). After this, God tells Jacob that his name is now Israel and promises him the land.

Rachel has her second son, whom she names Ben-oni, which could mean the son of her sorrow or the son of her strength, but Jacob calls him Benjamin, son of my right hand. Rachel dies, with her eyes toward Bethlehem. Jer 31:15 refers to this in a prophecy that would be fulfilled with the slaughter of the innocents.

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