Jacob’s return to Canaan with his family and possessions took considerable time and involved a number of stops along the way. Today’s reading gives a diary of some of the travels and experiences of Jacob as he came back to Canaan.
Genesis 33—Reunion With Esau. There are four main features concerning this meeting. •First, protection for the meeting: Jacob divided his family into different groups, so if hostile action occurred, some (especially his favorites) could escape. • Second, passion in the meeting: Esau ran to embrace Jacob, old grudges were gone, affection prevailed. •Third, proposal in the meeting: Esau proposed he and Jacob travel together. •Fourth, prevarication in the meeting: Jacob still feared Esau so under the guise of needing to go slowly, he went in a different direction than promised.
Genesis 34—Reproach at Shechem. •Sinning that started the reproach: the immoral conduct of Dinah with a leading Shechemite man. •Scheming that encouraged the reproach: getting the men of Shechem to agree to circumcision. •Slaying that assured the reproach: several sons of Jacob, in revenge for the defilement of Dinah, led a bloody slaying of the Shechemites when the men were incapacitated because of their recent circumcision.
Genesis 35:1–15—Return to Bethel. After the Shechem experience, Jacob needed to move on, and he did. He went to Bethel the place of his vision years before. It was a wise and profitable move. •Precept to return: God commanded Jacob to return to Bethel. •Purifying for the return: the family cleaned up and got rid of their idols. •Protection in the return: the “terror of God was on the people of the land.” •Piety in the return: Jacob built an altar at Bethel. •Proclamations in the return: in a vision God proclaimed to Jacob some promises and some precepts.
Genesis 35:16–29—The Roving in Canaan. Jacob moved around in Canaan after arriving there. The roving times experienced some heart tugging events of which three are recorded in this passage. •Delivery of Benjamin his son: the last of Jacob’s twelve sons. •Death of Rachel his wife: Jacob’s favorite wife died in giving birth to Benjamin. •Death of Isaac his father: Jacob and Esau came together to bury him.
Butler, J. G. (2003). Daily Bible Reading: Synopsis (Vol. 1, p. 12). Clinton, IA: LBC Publications.