'Studies in the Old Testament'

The Abrahamic Covenant - 6

February, 2009

(Continued from page 396)

Jacob and Esau


After Joseph, the eleventh son, was born (Genesis 30:25), Jacob asked Laban's permission to take his wife and children back to his homeland in Canaan: "Send me away so that I may go to my own country." Jacob had worked the seven additional years which he promised to Laban in return for Rachel and he wanted to go to his own land. In fact he had "gone the extra mile" for when we look at Genesis 31:38, we see that he did not return to his own land after the fourteen years, but served with Laban an additional six years.  He had also became wealthy through the multiplication of the original flocks that he was given by Laban as an incentive to stay. We can use this sequence of events to get back to the original point regarding the ages of Esau and Jacob at the time the blessing was obtained from Isaac by deception. If Jacob was ninety-one years old at the time of the birth of Joseph, then we must subtract fourteen years, since Joseph was the last child born just prior to Jacob's asking to be released from his bondage to Laban.  Thus we find by simple subtraction, 91 - 14 = 77, that these two men were seventy-seven years old when Isaac asked for the savoury meal so the blessing could be pronounced.  Strange as it seems to our ears today we see that, at seventy-seven years of age, Jacob was not yet married but was living at home with his mother and, in fact,  it would be another seven years before his marriage to Leah at eighty-four years of age. This puts an accurate perspective on the chronology of these twin brothers in our study of the book of Genesis.

(Continued on page 398)

'The Abrahamic Covenant'

Genesis 3:15 and its importance to Old Testament history and Christianity

Theories of the origin of the world and mankind

Abram's brothers

Promises and validation of the Abrahamic covenant

Isaac's prayer for his barren wife related to twentieth century Christianity

Jacob and Esau

Jacob's eleven sons

Esau, Jacob and Laban

Joseph in Egypt

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