December 19, 2006

Breadcrumb: He's at it again

Jacob was always one to prefer the younger brother over the elder. He himself was a younger son, who stole his older brother's blessing and birthright. But, in today's readings, it seems that he's not content with his own aggrandizement, but needs to pass it on to his younger grandsons as well. In Gen. 48, Jacob blesses Joseph's sons, but places the younger, Ephraim, before the elder, Manasseh. Even on his deathbed, Jacob believed in causing mischief.

5 comments:

James said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
James said...

Hello Julie

Is Jacob really up to mischief in blessing Ephraim first? At 147 years old, Jacob has learn some hard lessons of trying to work out God’s plan from a human standpoint. He went from an unrenewed heart to a renewed heart and from a none experiential walk with God to an experiential. Now he is a selfless and willing participant in God directing future events for his two grandsons.

Through inspiration, Jacob understands God's future for Ephraim is much clearer then his, therefore he places his right hand on Ephraim.

Down the road, Ephraim’s tribe was larger than Manasseh’s.

Jim

Julie said...

Hi Jim,

I'm not quite sure what you mean by "renewed" and "unrenewed" hearts, or by "experiential walk with God." However, the gist of your post is clear enough.

To answer it, I'd say that it's possible that Jacob is merely channelling prophecy (ie: God's will) in his blessing. It is also possible, albeit less likely, that *because* of the blessing, it was so. In other words, *because* Jacob blessed Ephraim, Ephraim's tribe was larger.

It is also possible, and probable, that the author of the text was using some foreshadowing to point to future events, the same way he did for the blessings for the twelve sons.

Cheers,
Julie

James said...

Hello Julie

Unrenewed heart: Jacob coveted and schemed to obtain the birthright. His heart was unrenewed by divine grace.

Renewed heart: Jacob acknowledged his sinned and was assured of God’s protecting care and mercy. As the result of his forgiveness, he became more trusting in his God.

Experiential walk: Jacobs walk with God began after he left home, however his walk with God is really apparent after he fought with the angel. In this crises, his vulnerability to be destroyed by Esau became his strength in divine grace.

For being so young, your comments on the Bible amazes me.

Jim

Julie said...

Hi Jim,

I suppose, not coming from a Christian background, the concepts of "renewed" and "unrenewed" hearts are a bit foreign to me.

You mentioned that Jacob acknowledged his sin and thus was assured of God's care and mercy. I'm not entirely sure of this. He never really repents of what he did to Esau, at least not explicitly. We could describe his actions upon his reunion with Esau as the actions of a fearful man, not necessarily a repentant one. He might be repentant, but he also might not be.

In terms of the experiential walk, I assume the fight with the angel you're refering to is the one in Gen. 32:22-32. You said, "In this crises [sic], his vulnerability to be destroyed by Esau became his strength in divine grace." I'm not sure what you mean by that. Though this episode takes place after Jacob has made preparations to meet Esau but before he actually meets him, Esau does not factor into the wrestling match at all. Furthmore, Jacob demands the blessing from the angel -- it is not an act of free giving by the angel, but forced by Jacob.

In any case, those are my thoughts.

Cheers,
Julie