fbpx

Genesis 33

1 Looking up, Jacob saw Esau coming and with him four hundred men. He then divided the children between Leah, Rachel and the two slave-girls.

2 He put the slave-girls and their children in front, with Leah and her children following, and Rachel and Joseph behind.

3 He himself went ahead of them and bowed to the ground seven times, until he reached his brother.

4 But Esau ran to meet him, took him in his arms, threw himself on his neck and wept as he kissed him.

5 Then looking up he saw the women and children. ‘Who are these with you?’ he asked. Jacob answered, ‘The children whom God has bestowed on your servant.’

6 The slave-girls then came up with their children, and they all bowed low.

7 Then Leah too came up with her children, and they all bowed low. Finally Rachel and Joseph came up and bowed low.

8 Esau asked, ‘What was the purpose of that whole camp I just met?’ ‘To win my lord’s favour,’ he replied.

9 ‘Brother, I have plenty,’ Esau answered, ‘keep what is yours.’

10 Jacob protested, ‘No, if I have won your favour, please accept the gift I offer, for in fact I have come into your presence as into the presence of God, since you have received me kindly.

11 So accept the gift I have brought for you, since God has been generous to me and I have all I need.’ And he urged him, and Esauaccepted.

12 Esau said, ‘Let us break camp and move off; I shall go beside you.’

13 But Jacob replied, ‘As my lord knows, the children are weak, and the sheep and cows which have calved make it hard for me. If they are driven too hard, even for one day, the whole drove will die.

14 May it please my lord to go on ahead of his servant. For my part, I shall move at a slower pace, to suit the flock I am driving and the children, until I join my lord in Seir.’

15 Esau then said, ‘At least let me leave you some of the people who are with me.’ ‘What for?’ Jacob asked. ‘Please indulge me, my lord!’

16 So that day Esau turned back towards Seir,

17 but Jacob made his way to Succoth, where he built himself a house and made shelters for his livestock; that is why the place was given the name of Succoth.

18 Jacob arrived safely at the town of Shechem in Canaanite territory, on his return from Paddan-Aram. He encamped opposite the town

19 and for one hundred pieces of silver he bought from the sons of Hamor father of Shechem the piece of land on which he had pitched his tent.

20 There he erected an altar which he called ‘El, God of Israel’.

Genesis 34

1 Dinah, who was Jacob’s daughter by Leah, went out to visit some of the women of that region.

2 Shechem son of Hamor the Hivite, headman of the region, saw her, seized her and forced her to sleep with him.

3 He was captivated by Dinah daughter of Jacob; he fell in love with the girl and tried to win her heart.

4 Accordingly Shechem said to his father Hamor, ‘Get me this girl; I want to marry her.’

5 Meanwhile, Jacob had heard how his daughter Dinah had been dishonoured, but since his sons were out in the countryside with his livestock, Jacob said nothing until they came back.

6 Hamor father of Shechem was visiting Jacob to discuss the matter with him,

7 when Jacob’s sons returned from the countryside and heard the news; the men were outraged and infuriated that Shechem had insulted Israel by sleeping with Jacob’s daughter — a thing totally unacceptable.

8 Hamor reasoned with them as follows, ‘My son Shechem’s heart is set on your daughter. Please allow her to marry him.

9 Intermarry with us; give us your daughters and take our daughters for yourselves.

10 We can live together, and the country will be open to you, for you to live in, and move about in, and acquire holdings.’

11 Then Shechem addressed the girl’s father and brothers, ‘Grant me this favour, and I will give you whatever you ask.

12 Demand as high a bride-price from me as you please, and I will pay as much as you ask. Only let me marry the girl.’

13 Jacob’s sons gave Shechem and his father Hamor a crafty answer, speaking as they did because he had dishonoured their sister Dinah.

14 ‘We cannot do this,’ they said to them. ‘To give our sister to an uncircumcised man would be a disgrace for us.

15 We can agree only on one condition: that you become like us by circumcising all your males.

16 Then we will give you our daughters, taking yours for ourselves; and we will stay with you to make one nation.

17 But if you will not agree to our terms about being circumcised, we shall take our daughter and go.’

18 Hamor and Shechem son of Hamor were pleased with what they heard.

19 The young man did not hesitate about doing this, for he was deeply in love with Jacob’s daughter. Moreover he was the most respected member of his entire family.

20 Hamor and his son Shechem went to the gate of their town and spoke to their fellow-townsmen as follows,

21 ‘These men are friendly; let them settle in the region and move about freely in it; there is plenty of room here for them; we shall marry their daughters and give our daughters to them.

22 But these men will agree to settle with us and become a single nation only on this condition: that all our males be circumcised like them.

23 Will not the livestock they own, all their animals, become ours? Then let us give our assent to this, so that they can settle with us.’

24 All the citizens of the town agreed to the proposal made by Hamor and his son Shechem, and all the males were circumcised.

25 Now on the third day, when the men were still in pain, Jacob’s two sons Simeon and Levi, Dinah’s brothers, each took his sword and advanced unopposed against the town and slaughtered all the males.

26 They killed Hamor and his son Shechem with the sword, removed Dinah from Shechem’s house and came away.

27 When Jacob’s other sons came on the slain, they pillaged the town in reprisal for the dishonouring of their sister.

28 They seized their flocks, cattle, donkeys, everything else in the town and in the countryside,

29 and all their possessions. They took all their children and wives captive and looted everything to be found in the houses.

30 Jacob said to Simeon and Levi, ‘You have done me an ill turn by bringing me into bad odour with the people of the region, the Canaanites and the Perizzites. I have few men, whereas they will unite against me to defeat me and destroy me and my family.’

31 They retorted, ‘Should our sister be treated like a whore?’

Job 23

1 Job spoke next. He said:

2 My lament is still rebellious; despite my groans, his hand is just as heavy.

3 Will no one help me to know how to travel to his dwelling?

4 I should set out my case to him, advancing any number of grievances.

5 Then I could learn his defence, every word of it, taking note of everything he said to me.

6 Would he put all his strength into this debate with me? No, he would only have to give his attention to me,

7 to recognise his opponent as upright and so I should win my case for ever.

8 If I go to the east, he is not there; or to the west, I still cannot see him.

9 If I seek him in the north, he is not to be found, invisible as ever, if I turn to the south.

10 And yet he knows every step I take! Let him test me in the crucible: I shall come out pure gold.

11 My footsteps have followed close in his, I have walked in his way without swerving;

12 I have not neglected the commandment of his lips, in my heart I have cherished the words of his mouth.

13 But once he has made up his mind, who can change it? Whatever he plans, that he carries out.

14 No doubt, then, but he will carry out my sentence, like so many other decrees that he has made.

15 That is why I am full of fear before him, and the more I think, the greater grows my dread of him.

16 God has undermined my courage, Shaddai has filled me with fear.

17 The darkness having failed to destroy me, I am plunged back into obscurity by him!

Job 24

1 Why does Shaddai not make known the times he has fixed; why do his faithful never see his Days?

2 The wicked move boundary-marks away, they carry off flock and shepherd.

3 They drive away the orphan’s donkey, as security, they seize the widow’s ox.

4 The needy have to keep out of the way, poor country people have to keep out of sight.

5 Like wild desert donkeys, they go out to work, searching from dawn for food, and at evening for something on which to feed their children.

6 They go harvesting in the field of some scoundrel, they go pilfering in the vineyards of the wicked.

7 They spend the night naked, lacking clothes, with no covering against the cold.

8 Mountain rainstorms cut them through, unsheltered, they hug the rocks.

9 The orphan child is torn from the breast, the child of the poor is exacted as security.

10 They go about naked, lacking clothes, and starving while they carry the sheaves.

11 Two little walls, their shelter at high noon; parched with thirst, they have to tread the winepress.

12 From the towns come the groans of the dying and the gasp of the wounded crying for help. Yet God remains deaf to prayer!

13 In contrast, there are those who reject the light: who know nothing of its ways and who do not frequent its paths.

14 When all is dark the murderer leaves his bed to kill the poor and needy. During the night the thief goes on the prowl,

15 The eye of the adulterer watches for twilight, ‘No one will see me,’ he mutters as he masks his face.In the daytime they keep out of sight, these people who do not want to know the light.

16 breaking into houses while the darkness lasts.

17 For all of them, morning is a time of shadow dark as death, since that is when they know what fear is.

18 He is no more than a straw floating on the water, his estate is accursed throughout the land, nobody goes near his vineyard.

19 As drought and heat make snow disappear, so does Sheol anyone who has sinned.

20 The womb that shaped him forgets him and his name is recalled no longer. Thus wickedness is blasted as a tree is struck.

21 He used to ill-treat the childless woman and show no kindness to the widow.

22 But he who lays mighty hold on tyrants rises up to take away a life that seemed secure.

23 He let him build his hopes on false security, but kept his eyes on every step he took.

24 He had his time of glory, now he vanishes, wilting like the saltwort once it is picked, and withering like an ear of corn.

25 Is this not so? Who can prove me a liar or show that my words have no substance?

Proverbs 3 [13-18]

13 We shall find treasures of every sort, we shall fill our houses with plunder;

14 throw in your lot with us: one purse between us all.’

15 My child, do not follow them in their way, keep your steps out of their path

16 for their feet hasten to evil, they are quick to shed blood;

17 for the net is spread in vain if any winged creature can see it.

18 It is for their own blood such people lie in wait, their ambush is against their own selves!

Thoughts and Reflection

Starting with Job, we see that life isn’t straightforward; good people die and bad people are rewarded. Job tries to wrestle with the Lord and make sense of it. We all wrestle with our suffering. I know I have said if God should care for us, he wouldn’t allow this pain to continue.

Years later after Jacob steals Esau’s blessing from their father, Isaac, he meets Easy and brings him a gift – a blessing – as a sign of reconciliation, forgiveness and mercy. Then we see the terrible abuse and rape of Dinah. This paradox from one day to the next shows us how the world works. One da we have blessings and another there is brokenness and suffering.

How can we respond? We must move forward. For what is good, we give thanks to God and for what is bad we do what we can to eradicate it from our lives, relationships and culture. Honestly, I am not sure what I would do if I were in this situation. What would you do?

About This Project

For the year 2022, I decided that my New Year’s Resolution was to read the whole Bible following the Bible in the Year plan presented by Fr. Mike Schmitz. It is a big and bold undertaking. You can follow along by subscribing. Feel free to look at previous day’s post and comment. It’s something we can all learn from together!

Like what you are reading? Subscribe and get notified of new posts.

You have Successfully Subscribed!

%d bloggers like this: