>< v.1-16 Ya’akov consults his wives about God’s instructions. Hebrew society was male-dominated. However, it should be noted that Hebrew society greatly revered women. The first thing Ya’akov did after God told him it was time to leave was to consult his wives. He considered their feelings and valued their thoughts. He included his wives in the decision that would affect them greatly—to leave their family forever.
>< v.17-35 Rachel steals Lavan’s household gods
Why did Rachel steal his idols? See verse 14-16. There was nothing left that their father could give them. He had no intention of caring for them. They were satisfied to take what they could get from what God had dealt them.
**In Mesopotamia, it was the tradition that he who possessed the family gods was the owner of the family wealth and authority. Rachel had every intention to keep these idols until Lavan was in his grave…and when she appears before the family with these idols, she would have assured a family inheritance for herself. This wasn’t just petty theft. They actually believed in these gods and prayed to them for rain, protection, healing, children, etc. It’s no wonder Lavan went to great lengths in search of his gods.
^^v.24 God came to Lavan in a dream and warned him not to speak either good or bad to Ya’akov…why is this significant? God speaks to nonbelievers too. This is the first instance in Scripture where God speaks to pagans.
**Ya’akov had no clue that Rachel had taken Lavan’s gods and he pronounced that whoever was found with them would be executed! v.32
>< v.36-54 Covenant of Mitzpah Proud, greedy Lavan had never been able to accept Ya’akov’s wealth. Threatened by Ya’akov’s increasing success, Lavan cleverly suggests with make a treaty with one another, so that he would not be at war with his daughters. They put up a pile of “standing stones” as both a testament to their agreement and a sort of boundary marker, and they had the typical covenant meal to seal the deal.
>< v.1-3 Two Camps Lavan kissed his “sons and daughters” goodbye. It was common terminology to refer to grandchildren as “sons” in those days.
The malachim Elohim met Ya’akov on his way, perhaps as an assurance that he was back in the Promised Land, or they were a visible presence confirming God was with. him. Upon Ya’akov’s journey to leave Ken’an, he encountered angels (at Beit-El), and now on his journey of return to Ken’an he encounters angels again. Because of this encounter, he names this place Mochanayim, meaning “two camps”…his camp & God’s camp.
>< v.4-24 Ya’akov fears ‘Esav Ya’akov sends his own malachim ahead to ‘Esav in hope of a reconciliation. The messengers come with good news/bad news. Good news—they found ‘Esav. Bad news—‘Esav is coming and he has 400 men with him.
Why did Ya’akov fear ‘Esav? Why did Ya’akov divide his family into two groups? Why did Ya’akov send flocks and messengers ahead of him to ‘Esav?
>< v.25-33 Ya’akov wrestles / becomes Isra’el Who was Ya’akov wrestling with? Verse 25 says he wrestled with an ish, a man. Verses 29 & 31 make clear it was a divine being… Ya’akov calls the place P’ni-El because he had “seen God face to face.”
>< v.1-17 Ya’akov meets ‘Esav As the sun rises, Ya’akov looks up and sees ‘Esav approaching. Why do you think he positioned his family in this order as ‘Esav approached? Ya’akov then goes in front of his family and prostrates himself on the ground seven times before ‘Esav. In verse 4 we see a beautiful display of forgiveness and reconciliation as ‘Esav runs to his brother, hugs him, throws his arms around his neck and kisses him and they weep together. What a joyous moment of assurance for Ya’akov as all his fears are dispelled.
>< v.18-20 Ya’akov settles in Sh’khem ‘Esav returns to Edom believing that Ya’akov would follow, but instead Ya’akov heads northwest back to the place where the wrestling match occurred and stayed there for two years. He named it Sukkot because he built temporary shelters for his family and animals, as this is not where they would settle.
What parallels do we see between Ya’akov and Avraham as they entered the land of Sh’khem. Why is this place so significant and special to the Hebrews/Israel?
**Read John 4:1-14 Yeshua and the Samaritan woman.
This takes place at this very well in Sh’khem.