GENESIS 33:12-35



1. a)  What did Esau propose and why did Jacob refuse his offer?

Esau proposed that he would accompany Jacob, but Jacob refused his offer because he did not want to drive his animals too hard.  Esau also wanted to leave some of his men with Jacob, but Jacob also refused that.

2. a) Where did Jacob decide to settle down?

In Succoth.

b)  How did he establish himself there (17-20)?

He made a place for himself and made shelter for his livestock.  He camped at Shechem later and for 100 pieces of silver he bought from the sons of Hamor the father of Shechem, the plot of ground where he pitched his tent.

c)  Why did he want to settle down in Succoth (Near Shechem)?

Perhaps he was physically and emotionally drained.  He had struggled with God and became Israel.  He no longer wanted to fight with men in the fierce jungle of worldly competition.  He had peace in his heart and wanted to settle down and enjoy the blessings God had given him.

d)  Why could this not be what God wanted (31:13; 28:20-22)?

God had told him to go back to Bethel where he had made his vow to God.  Now he was disobeying God.  He was building "shelters" in order to relax and follow his own desire.  He must go back and keep his part of the vow.  Jacob once again named his own place calling it "Succoth" in verse 17.  He planned to settle down there near the city of Shechem.  He had God's peace in his heart - perhaps for the first time in his life.  He suddenly became tired of wandering and struggling with men.  He would worship God and enjoy God's blessings - his family and wealth - and make friends withthe Shechemites.  But he forgot about his holy pilgrimage and the calling that God had given him to be a patriarch of faith and a blessing to all people.  He forgot about the blessing of Abraham and his inheritance in Canaan; he forgot about his own promise to return to his father's house and worship God in Bethel.  He took firm hold of God's blessings but he only wanted to use them for himself.  Many people become nominal Christians because they receive God's blessingsand want to sit down and enjoy their peaceful and blessed lives.  However God blesses us so that we can be a blessing to others.  God calls us in his redemptive history to evangelize the world.  We must remember God's promise and travel the pilgrim road to the end to receive our inheritance in the kingdom of God.

3. a)  Describe the event that forced Jacob to leave Shechem. (34:1-31)

Dinah was raped by Shechem son of Hamor the Hivite the ruler of the area.  Jacob's sons heard about it and were filled with anger and fury.  But Shechem really wanted to marry Dinah so the people were willing to do anything for this. (11-12)  Jacob's sons acted deceitfully and said that they must all circumcise them.  Then they would agree to give their sister in marriage and to settle with the people.  While they were still in pain from the circumcision, two of Jacob's sons, Simeon and Levi, took their swords and attacked the city killing all the males, plundering and looting the city as well.

b)  How did Simeon and Levi displease Jacob (30-31; 49:5-7)?

They had become a stench to Jacob in the eyes of the Canaanites and Perizzites.  Later, Jacob withheld his blessings from them.  According to 49:5-7, they had given into therir anger and fury and killed innocent men.  They were to be cursed, scattered and disciplined.  So God couldn't bless Jacob at Succoth and Jacob's sons did not show themselves to be godly men.  They gave into their emotions and were deceivers and murderers.

c)  What does Jacob's attitude at this time show about his change of character?

He didn't approve of his sons' behavior.  He began to say something.  God used this event to stir Jacob to leave and go back to Bethel.  It was a tragic event but God uses human tragedies to stir us up out of complacency.  This is why we must always be aleart and spiritually awake.  It wasn't pleasing to God for Jacob to make a treaty with the people of the land and intermarry with them because they were idolatrous.  Had he done this, he would have compromised his faith and lost the covenant blessing.  So God used this tragedy to push him to complete the journey back to Bethel.


4. a)  What did God tell Jacob to do?

"Go up to Bethel and build an altar there to God who appeared to you while you were fleeing from your brother Esau."

b)  Where was Bethel and what important event in Jacob's life had happened there?

Bethel was the first place and time that Jacob met God personally.  It was the turning point of his life.  He made a vow to God there which enabled God to take hold of Jacob's life and intervene.

God reminded him of how miserable he was when he was fleeing from Esau and how gracefully God appeared to him.  We must remember how miserable we were, how God showed mercy upon us all the time and live according to God's grace and will.

c)  What did it mean to Jacob to return to Bethel (28:10-22; 31:13; 35:1,3)?

Jacob must keep his part of the vow.  He must be faithful and he must let God be his God.  He must give thanks to God for his original grace.  God came to Jacob when he was in danger of being annihilated by the people of the land.  God reminded Jacob of his vow and of his protection.  Jacob accepted God's word and repented for the first time.

5. a)  What preparations did Jacob and his family make before leaving for Bethel?

They got rid of all the foreign gods and purified themselves and changed their clothes.

When he tried to settle at Succoth, his household became filled with sin and idols.  Consciously and unconsciously, they compromised and sin sneaked into his life and the lives of his household.

In order to follow God's guidance, they had to get rid of all sins and idols and purify themelves.  They repented.

b)  Why did he do these things?

These things made him and his family impure before the Lord.  To be God's people we must repent of our sins and of anyting that hinders us; the sin that so easily entangles us (Heb. 12:2,3).  God's people must be and live as a holy people. (Lev 11:44,45)

c)  Why did no one pursue him, even though he had made many enemies in that land (2,4,5)?

God helped Jacob when he repented and when his household repented.  God is with his people when they seek to please him and set their hearts on God, to be God's people and let God be our God.  God becomes our God who protects us.  This was part of God's promise to Jacob.

6. a)  What did Jacob do when he arrived at Bethel?  Why?

He built an altar and called the place "El Bethel."  It was there that God had revealed himself to him when he was fleeing from his brother.

b)  Why did he name the place El Bethel?

"El Bethel" means "the God of Bethel."  Bethel means "House of God."

Long time ago, he named the place "Bethel" and promised that the Lord would be his God.  It was from his own decision and his own prospect.  The subject was "I", "My", and "Me."

But now when he came back to Bethel, he realized that the God of Bethel had been with him and brought him back to Bethel.  He realized that it was not "himself" who had done all things and brought him back, but God, the God of Bethel.

c)  What does this show about Jacob's faith?

His faith is growing from self-centered to God-centered.  God became the subject of his life rather than building a family having wealth and human love.  His faith is becoming more mature.  Jacob also recognized God's help in his life.  35:3.  "....who answered me in the day of my distress and who has been with me wherever I have gone."

7. a)  How did God again bless Jacob (9-15)?

By once again naming him Israel.  He also renewed the covenant promises with Jacob.  God revealed his covenant promises which he made to Abraham.  God talked with Jacob personally.  There, Jacob remembered this personal meeting with God in this place where he had first met God and made a vow.  God held onto that vow for 20 years he had been with Jacob to bless him to bring him back to that place.

b)  What does it mean that God talked with Jacob (13-15)?

God was his friend and shepherd who waf faithful to him.

c)  How did Jacob express that he was moved by his conversation with God?

Verse 14.  He set a stone pillar at the place where God had talked with him, and he poured out a drink offering on it; he also poured oil on it and called the place "Bethel."

d)  What does this show about his faith?

He remembered God's grace.  Jacob had become a new man, an Israel, a man who struggles with God.  He had become a God-centered man.

8. a)  What were the human joys and sorrows which Jacob experienced in this chapter (8,16-29; 49:3,4)?  Name Jacob's 12 sons.

Deborah, Rebekah's nurse died.  Rachel died in childbirth 35:18.  Reuben slept with Bilhah and was defiled.  Isaac died 35:28.  

Sons of Jacob:  Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Zebulun, Dan, Naphtali, Gad, Asher, Joseph and Benjamin.


9. a)  Read 47:7-10, Jacob's meeting with Pharaoh.  What does this tell us about Jacob's faith and life?

Jacob saw his life as a pilgrimage. 47:9 is his life testimony.

b) Read 48:15.  (Jacob's blessing on Joseph)  What light does this shed on Jacob's life?

He saw that God was his shepherd all the days of his life.  He knew that it was God who helped him in his life.

c) What can we learn about the God of Jacob?

He is the good shepherd who is faithful.

10. a)  Read 46:1-4.  Why did God send Jacob to Egypt?

To make him into a great nation.  This was God's sovereign control and way of working in history.

b)  Why did Jacob want to be buried in Canaan? (Heb 11:9,10)

The land of Cannan is the promised land.  It is picture of heaven.



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