Genesis Chapters 23 to 37

In the 14 chapters of Genesis that I went through this morning, I again noticed a few things I hadn’t picked up on before that I would like to share.

The first thing is that, after Jacob’s 14 years of working for Laban to be allowed to marry his daughter Rachel, after being deceived into marrying Leah, Jacob had 12 sons. However, while we often hear that 10 of them were Leah’s and only two Rachel’s, this isn’t the case. Only 6 of them were Leah’s son’s and two Rachel’s. The other 4 are from both Leah’s and Rachel’s maidservants – 2 belonging to each. This was the result of a constant rivalry and jealousy between the sisters. The full story runs from Genesis 29:31 through to 30:24 and with the final son of Rachel, Benjamin, is in chapter 35:18. The summary of who had what sons runs from chapter 35:23-26.

The next little thing I noticed is that when Rachel gave birth to Benjamin, she named him Ben-Oni, which I believe means “Son of my trouble”. After she died giving birth to him though, Jacob renamed him Benjamin, “Son of my right hand”. This is in chapter 35:18.

I also didn’t realise previously that when Jacob wrestled with God, God gave him the name Israel, which was subsequently what his descendants called themselves, broken down into the 12 tribes of Israel – named after each of Jacob’s (Israel’s) 12 sons.

Now, I’m going through these as I remember them, not in the order they are written in the Bible. So lets jump back to chapter 34. This whole chapter is an interesting story that I don’t think is known too well, but I suspect could have been the start of, or involved in the start of the ongoing disagreements and fighting between the Israelites and the Canaanites.

In chapter 34:30, Then Jacob said to Simeon and Levi, “You have brought trouble on me by making me a stench to the Canaanites and Perizzites, the people living in this land. We are few in number and if they join forces against me, I and my household will be destroyed. NIV. This is after the two brothers (Simeon and Levi) went into the city and killed every male they found for the rape of their little sister (Dinah) by Shechem, the son of Hamor the Hivite who ruled the area.

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