Give material possessions to an immaterial being for protection

Genesis 28

Jacob is about to set off, when Isaac summons him for one more blessing. This time Isaac blesses him so that he won’t marry a Caananite woman, but rather one of his cousins on his mother’s side. Esau hears what is going on, and rushes off to marry a cousin from his father’s side. In the middle of his journey, Jacob has a dream in which he sees a stairway to heaven (cue Led Zeppelin). In this dream he encounters God, who promises Jacob that he will have many descendants, and that he will protect Jacob until he returns to his home land. Jacob wakes up, sets up a sacred pillar, renames the place he slept, and vows that if God keeps his promise then Jacob will give 10% of his stuff to God.

First off, we get to add a new marriage type to the running list of biblically supported non-traditional marriage types. This time it is Esau, who marries his cousin, Mahalath, who is the daughter of his fathers brother.

so Esau went to Ishmael, and in addition to the wives he had, married Mahalath, the daughter of Abraham’s son Ishmael and sister of Nebaioth. (Genesis 28:9)

God further continues to promise a multitude of descendants, this time he promises it to Jacob in a dream. I am not sure why God didn’t just show up and talk to Jacob like he did with others, perhaps he just wanted to change things up a bit. I can and will however, take this interaction of further approval by God of Rebekah and Jacob’s actions from the previous chapter. The footnotes attempt to address this, but the only reason they state is that there is a pattern of biblical preference for the younger sibling over the older. I don’t think this excuses any of the poor behavior.

Lessons I Learned:

  • Angels need a stairway to go between heaven and earth.
  • God protects liars and cheats.

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