10: “Surely the Lord Is in This Place” (Genesis 28–33)
Who remembers this gem of a Janice Kapp Perry song from the 80s? "Integrity, a word so seldom understood / Integrity is doing all that is right and good." That song was ringing through our ears while reading about the Old Testament prophet Jacob this week. From being tricked by his father-in-law to struggling with his brother Esau, Jacob faced a lot of challenges in his life. But he always kept his word, and the blessings he received for doing so still make an impact on us today. So grab your scriptures and let's dig into Genesis 28–33 to learn more about how this prophet was blessed for keeping his integrity.
Genesis 28:1–4 7,
Integrity = “The state of being whole and not divided” (see Oxford Learner’s Dictionaries).
Plain = Tamim or finished, complete, perfect
Endowment = Gift
Ladder = Sulam or stairway
Dreadful = Awesome
Beth (House) el (God) Beth-el = House of God
“When Jacob traveled from Beersheba toward Haran, he had a dream in which he saw himself on the earth at the foot of a ladder that reached to heaven where the Lord stood above it. He beheld angels ascending and descending thereon, and Jacob realized that the covenants he made with the Lord there were the rungs on the ladder that he himself would have to climb in order to obtain the promised blessings—blessings that would entitle him to enter heaven and associate with the Lord” (Marion G. Romney, “Temples—The Gates to Heaven,” Ensign, Mar. 1971, 16).
“Temples are to us all what Bethel was to Jacob” (Marion G. Romney, “Temples—The Gates to Heaven,” Ensign, Mar. 1971, 16).
Rachel = Ewe
Leah = Cow
Seven = Shevah, which comes from the root savah, meaning to make an oath.
Hated = Loved less
Reason for Name
See a son
Joy for having a son (see Genesis 29:32).
Because the Lord heard that she was hated (see Genesis 29:33).
“This time will my husband be joined unto me” (Genesis 29:34).
“Now I will praise the Lord” (Genesis 29:35).
“God hath judged me” (Genesis 30:6).
“With great wrestlings have I wrestled with my sister” (Genesis 30:8).
“Leah said, A troop cometh” (Genesis 30:11).
“Leah said, Happy am I” (Genesis 30:13).
God hath given me my reward (Genesis 30:18).
“Now will my husband dwell with me” (Genesis 30:20).
“The Lord shall add to me another son” (Genesis 30:24).
Son of my right hand
“You are the son of my right hand” (see Genesis 35:18).
“Prophet Joseph Smith taught, “I have constantly said no man shall have but one wife at a time, unless the Lord directs otherwise” (History of the Church, 6:46). Occasionally the Lord did direct otherwise in ancient and modern times. Monogamy has been the rule since the time of Adam and plural marriage the exception. The latter is to be practiced only when the Lord authorizes it, as in the case of the patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The reason for the law of plural marriage is clearly stated in the Book of Mormon to “raise up seed unto me” (Jacob 2:30)” (Andrew C. Skinner, D. Kelly Ogden, Verse by Verse, The Old Testament, Vol. 1, Deseret Book).
Picture: Family reunion t-shirt reference to Genesis 31:49
Genesis 30:27, 38–43
Images = Teraphim
Mizpah = Look out point
Wrestle = Embrace
Hollow = Socket
Israel = Let God prevail
“Who wrestled with Jacob on Mount Peniel? The scriptures say it was a man. The Bible interpreters say it was an angel. More than likely it was a messenger sent to Jacob to give him the blessing. To think he wrestled and held an angel who couldn’t get away, is out of the question. The term angel as used in the scriptures, at times, refers to messengers who are sent with some important instruction. Later in this chapter when Jacob said he had beheld the Lord, that did not have reference to his wrestling.” (Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, 1:17.)
“This leads us to believe that there is, in this fragmentary text, the suggestion of ritual embrace, new name, and priestly and kingly power bestowed, which has a parallel in the holy endowment. The man had power to change Jacob’s name and from this struggle Jacob (“he shall supplant”) emerged as Israel (“Let God Prevail”) some see a real change in his nature and way of life from this time on; Watch for evidence of this” (Andrew C. Skinner & D Kelly Ogden, Old Testament Verse by Verse, Deseret Book, 140).
El-elohe-Israel = God is the God is Israel
Succoth = Booths
I'm gonna take a little stroll down memory lane back to 1986, when my bangs were as high as my hopes; back to when Janice Kapp Perry introduced her songs for all Young Women to sing loud and proud. Some of my favorites were "I Walk By Faith" and that fun little ditty, "Integrity". Do you remember that song? It goes to something a little bit like this: (sings) "Integrity. A word so seldom understood. Integrity is doing all that's right and good." Listen, no joke. I sang this song in my head as I was reading and preparing for our discussion of Genesis, chapters 28-33. And if you can relate to that song, and you feel like integrity is a word so seldom understood, then hopefully, by the end of this episode, you will not only understand it, but you're going to want to live it every day.
Welcome to the Sunday on Monday Study Group, a Deseret Bookshelf Plus Original, brought to you by LDS Living, where we take the Come Follow Me lesson for the week and we're going to dig into the scriptures together. I'm your host, Tammy Uzelac Hall.
Now, if you're new to our study group, we want to make sure you know how to use this podcast. So follow the link that's in our description, and it's going to explain how you can best use this podcast to enhance your Come Follow Me study just like my friend Mary Ann Cropper in California. Hi, Mary Anne. I love her so much. She's like my spirit animal. When we first met, I was like, oh, we'll be friends forever, and she listens to the podcast. And I loved her the moment I met her. So, Hi, friend.
Now another awesome thing about our study group is each week we're joined by two of my friends, so it's always a little bit different. So today we have Joleene Watabe and Jen Kaufmann. Hi, ladies. Okay, now, how do you two know each other?
Joleene Watabe 1:41
We were in the same building (church) we shared in Ohio, well, Columbus.
Jen Kaufmann 1:47
Joleene's just awesome. And I always saw her in the hallways.
Joleene Watabe 1:51
Yeah, I just remember Jen. When the first Sunday I met her, she just was talking to everybody like she was their best friend and came up and said hi to me. And I didn't know who she was, but she was really friendly and happy. So I was excited to get to know her.
And now Jen, you still live in Ohio?
Jen Kaufmann 2:07
And Joleene, you've moved, right?
Joleene Watabe 2:09
Yes, I'm in Utah now.
All right. And these two have been good friends. And I've gotten to know them. And so I love their stories. And I'm really excited to see how it plays into today's discussion, because we've got some really great chapters. Did you guys like it when you read what you were assigned?
Joleene Watabe 2:25
Yes. I love reading the stories in the Bible,
Especially these ones because we were laughing at the beginning. Like at least you didn't get assigned Isaiah chapters, right? Poor people. Sorry, future guests.
Joleene Watabe 2:37
These ones have the drama.
Total drama, yes! Oh, my gosh, I love that. All right. Well, for those of you who are listening, we are going to have so much fun with Genesis chapters 28-33. So grab your scriptures, your journal, and your scripture markers, and let's dig in. Here we go. Do either one of you remember that song "Integrity"? Are you old enough to know that?
Joleene Watabe 2:59
I don't remember that one.
Jolene, you're killing me. Really?
Joleene Watabe 3:03
I don't. Yeah. I don't know how I haven't heard that one.
Jen Kaufmann 3:06
We used to sing those all the time.
Oh, every Sunday in Young Women's, right?
Jen Kaufmann 3:11
To that tape, in our car. Yep
I know. I know My friend Amy right now is singing at the top of her lungs "I Walk by Faith". We did when we were roommates. She loves those songs. I love them. Ah, okay, that makes me so happy. Well, here's my question for you. What does integrity mean? Have you ever wondered, tell me what your definition of it is.
Joleene Watabe 3:29
I actually looked it up yesterday. And I, one of the definitions that I found that I really liked that I hadn't thought of it this way. But it said it was "the state of being whole and undivided."
Okay, Joleene, I love that you just looked up that definition and how it said whole, like it had that word whole in there. Because last week we talked about Jacob. And one of the ways that the scriptures described him was a plain man. And the word plain in that context is TAMIM, which we have also known to mean 'perfect, whole, or complete'. It comes from the Hebrew root word, TAM, which means integrity. So you just brought that full circle, that is so cool. So today's lesson as I was reading it, all I kept seeing was just example after example of Jacob's integrity being tested. And so that's what we're going to look for in today's discussion, is examples of how his integrity was challenged and what he did in every one of these tests of integrity, is what I'm kind of calling it.
We're going to turn to Genesis chapter 28, verses 1 and 2. And this is stemming from last week's discussion where Rebekah comes to Jacob and says, in Genesis 27, verse 43, she says, 'Obey my voice. I need you to get out of here because your brother's gonna kill you.' And so now we have Genesis chapter 28, verses 1 and 2. And what is he asked to do by his dad?
Joleene Watabe 4:50
To take a wife.
Yeah, exactly. And they're specific about who he's going to go to. In verse 2 it says,
28:2 "Arise, go to Padan-aram, to the house of Bethuel thy mother's father; and take thee a wife from thence of the daughters of Laban thy mother's brother."
So basically go marry your first cousin, which I love how Kerry Muhlestein pointed out- this is very normal in biblical times. And we need to just acknowledge that because the Canaanites who he was charged not to marry, these people did not engage in practices that were of the Lord. In fact, their practices were very offensive to the Lord. And so Rebekah and Isaac are like, 'Jacob, you have to marry in the covenant', which we talked so much about last week, for those of you who remember. But let's look at Genesis chapter 28, verses 3 and 4. And I want us to read these, and find the promises that Jacob would receive by marrying in the covenant. And so Joleene, will you read these two verses for us?
Joleene Watabe 5:43
Sure. 28:3 "And God Almighty bless thee, and make thee fruitful, and multiply thee, that thou must be a multitude of people;
4 "And give thee the blessing of Abraham, to thee, and to thy seed with thee, that thou must inherit the land wherein thou art a stranger, which God gave unto Abraham."
What are some of the blessings that stood out to you in those two verses?
Joleene Watabe 6:04
Beautiful. Lots of kids,
Jen Kaufmann 6:06
That he would inherit the land,
Joleene Watabe 6:08
The land where he's a stranger, it says.
Oh, now, isn't that interesting. I love how verse 4 teaches us, too, the blessings of Abraham. This is the Abrahamic Covenant with the acronym L D S that we've talked about, representing Land, Deliverance, and Seed. So these are the same promises that are given to us from the Divine Kinsman when we enter His house and make covenants with Him. So Isaac and Rebekah knew their son needed these blessings. So they sent him on his way to enter into covenants. But before we dive into Jacob's experience, I want to know from both of you: what have been the blessings of the Covenant been for you personally?
Joleene Watabe 6:46
So one of the other blessings of the covenant that are, that I feel like I have because I'm in the covenant is just have a hope in the promises of God. And I think that hope is so important. My husband passed away four years ago. We were living in Ohio at the time, and he was serving as the bishop. The young men were going on a rappelling activity; he was one of the only ones certified and trained in how to do rappelling safely. And so he went to help them on a Saturday, and he ended up being in an accident and passing away. And since then, hope has been the most important thing for me, to just hold on to that hope that life is going to be okay again, and that we can just keep moving forward with God.
Joleene, thank you. Thank you for sharing that part of your story. And I am so sorry for your loss. That's got to have been so hard. You know, as you were speaking, what I really appreciate about your answer is the connection to hope. That was so amazing, when it would seem like there was no hope left. You could have just been like, I'm done. You weren't bitter, you weren't angry. And boy, that is a beautiful example of not only hope, but integrity. And I think that your integrity might have been definitely pulled and pushed and wrestled with for sure during this time. And I just think that's amazing.
Jen Kaufmann 8:09
And it's even more amazing, because she goes and shares that hope with other people. And she came to our ward and talked to us about how to handle grief with people and to help them and she does that with all of the people that she counsels with. I'm sure that she helps tons of people in that process.
Joleene Watabe 8:24
Well, holding onto the hope was a process, because I can't say that I was not angry. There were times when I was angry and discouraged and disappointed. But, you know, I did try to make it a priority to always just turn to the Lord and look to Him for hope that it'll get better than it is today.
And I would imagine that it's covenants that help you do that. It's that covenantal promise, right?
Joleene Watabe 8:48
Wow, thank you for sharing that story. Jen, I'm curious to know what your thoughts are about this question for you in your life.
Jen Kaufmann 8:56
I really feel like this just brings me comfort and peace to know that people that can't have kids in this life, have a family, just like Joleene was saying. That there's a family there for us that's always there that we're connected to and tied to because of this covenant. I think of even in this story we're gonna talk about with Rachel being barren for a while. I imagine that she felt pretty downtrodden for thinking that, How am I supposed to help to bring him all this multitude of children if I can't have any? And so that just really comforts me to know that the Lord still has that covered and that we're all connected.
Thank you so much for what both of you shared. We really put emphasis and focus on the Abrahamic Covenants and we connect it to the importance of marriage. But I feel like what we really need to do is take a second and point out that, you know what, some marriages end in divorce and death, and some of us never marry. And there are some of us who are in mixed faith marriages, which makes this next part so important. Because while marriage is totally the goal, in the next segment, we're going to talk about how what Jacob does before getting being married is even more important. And it's what we need all of the youth in our church to understand.
Segment 2 10:05
You both are endowed. And here is what I want to know: in which temple did you receive your endowment?
Jen Kaufmann 10:20
Joleene Watabe 10:23
Mine was in the Los Angeles, California temple.
Very cool. Mine was in St. George. I loved it. I want to know, is there anything significant about that day or anything that you remember?
Jen Kaufmann 10:34
I was crazy nervous. It was my wedding day. And I was super nervous, mostly for being married part. But I felt just this peace, the overall peace being in the temple and doing the whole Endowment process. I mean, people say sometimes, just make sure you pay attention. I tried. But the important thing was I know that peace was there. I felt loved the whole time.
Oh, I like that. What about you, Joleene?
Joleene Watabe 10:58
Yeah, I don't remember a lot from that day. I do remember being a little bit nervous. But I was getting married the next week. So I was more focused on that, I think. But I do remember, so my husband had been through the temple, prior, he'd gone on a mission. But his first experience in the temple was not great. But because of that experience, he prepared me really well to go through that first time and just was really wanted me to have a good experience. So I do remember, just like that confidence in him that, you know, this was gonna be okay.
Um hmm. Oh, my gosh, I appreciate you sharing both that story about your husband, and both of you sharing your candidness about what that day was like. Because it was the same way for me. Like if I were to say, use one adjective to describe your temple day, for me it would be 'crazy'. Is that a verb? It might be. Not really good with the English. But I was nervous too, Jen. I was so nervous. And I wasn't even, I was going on a mission. I was not getting married. I wish I was getting married. But I was just so nervous because I had not been prepared. I didn't even know what was going on.
And I remember sitting in the endowment session, and I saw my best friend in the world, she came down to St. George to be with me in the temple. And that is what got me through it. I just kept thinking, okay, she's here, we're good, I can handle this. And I feel so strongly that we need to prepare our youth for that receiving their endowment. Because the word endowment actually translates as gift. And who doesn't love gifts, any teenager, anyone preparing to go on a mission with love a gift. And so when we can teach these kids like you're about to receive the greatest gift, you're going to love it so much. And I think what's so cool is in Genesis chapter 28, Jacob receives this gift.
Let's go to Genesis chapter 28, and we're gonna look at verse 12. So he's on his way to get married, but before he can even get married - let's look what happens in verses 12- 16. Oh, it's such a good story. You've probably heard it before. You might want to mark it and write about, to the side, "Jacob's Ladder". Does that sound familiar? Have you heard "Jacob's Ladder" before?
Joleene Watabe 13:04
Yeah, there's a song about it, isn't there?
Joleene Watabe 13:08
I always think of that string, that string like "Cat's Cradle" and you can make the "Jacob's Ladder" at the end. I could do that. And I felt, I was so impressed.
I'm so impressed. Okay, awesome. Let's go into the story about Jacob's Ladder. And we're gonna mark it and talk about it. So here we go in verse 12. And he dreamed a dream. And behold, a ladder. Now highlight the word ladder, because in Hebrew, the word ladder is SULLAM. And it means 'a stairway'. So we have this ladder or this stairway set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven. And behold, the angels of God ascending and descending on it. K, so get that image in your brain, angels going up and down. And then we have verses 13, 14, & 15. So let's each take a turn reading these verses and find out what's going on with this ladder. So we'll start with you, Jen,. We'll go Jen, Jolene, and then myself.
Joleene Watabe 13:59
28:13 "And, behold, the Lord stood above it, and said, I am the LORD God of Abraham thy father, and the God of Isaac: the land whereon thou liest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed;
14 "And thy seed shall be as the dust of the earth, and thou shalt spread abroad to the west, and to the east, and to the north, and to the south: and in thee and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed.
15 "And, behold, I am with thee, and will keep thee in all places whither thou goest, and will bring thee again into this land; for I will not leave thee, until I have done that which I have spoken to thee of."
Now, I think this is amazing, because at the end in verse 16, Jacob awakes out of his sleep, "and he said, Surely the Lord is in this place, and I knew it not." So many scholars - and we actually have a cool quote - that this experience in verses 13-16 is when Jacob is receiving his Endowment. He is getting the gift of the Abrahamic Covenant. And I love the promise in verse 15. Highlightight "I am with thee." Think about your own lives when you have gone through a difficult time, how you felt that the Lord has been with you?
Joleene Watabe 15:09
Definitely. I feel like there's been times when I've just been held like in the hallow of His hand and just kind of been carried along, by his love.
It's a great way to describe it. What about you, Jen? "I am with thee." What does that feel like?
Joleene Watabe 15:23
For me in my current state, the Lord is with me, no matter where I'm at. If there's chaos around me, if my kids are going insane, and I can't think, or I can't have a moment to myself to have quiet time to be able to hear Him better, that He is in the place that I am at. He comes to me, where I'm able to meet Him at that moment in time. As long as I'm putting forth that effort, He will come meet me in the middle.
Yes, you're absolutely right. I think that is a promise we don't really realize is part of the covenant. I am with thee. I'm going to help you, I'm going to deliver you, I will be with you through all of this hardship. I mean, Jacob has no idea how hard it's about to get. I think of that, you know, little me at the St. George temple. I had no idea how hard my life might get and, and I have counted on that promise. I am with thee. Here is what Marion G Romney had to say about this specific experience. And this quote is what is going to have us understand that this is Jacob's endowment before he gets married. And Jen, will you read it for us.
Jen Kaufmann 16:21
"When Jacob traveled from Beersheba toward Aram, he had a dream in which he saw himself on the earth at the foot of a ladder that reached to heaven where the Lord stood above it. He beheld angels ascending and descending thereon. And Jacob realized that the covenants he made with the Lord there, were the rungs on the ladder that he himself would have to climb in order to obtain the promised blessings, blessings that would entitle him to enter heaven and associate with the Lord."
Thank you, excellent. And so he has this experience. And then now let's go to verses 17-19. Because this is so fun, especially verse 17. We just have to mark this up. Verse 17 says, "And he was afraid". So highlight the word 'afraid'. It doesn't mean scared. In Hebrew, it means he is honoring and revering this experience. And then I love how it says, "and said, How dreadful is this place!" Oh my gosh, highlight the word 'dreadful'. Can we just fix this, please? It is not dreadful in Hebrew. Guess what it is?
Joleene Watabe 17:00
'Awesome', yes. How'd you two know?
Jen Kaufmann 17:23
I looked it up.
Know what? That makes me so happy, I love it. Yes. highlight that and write to the outside: how "awesome" is this place? I mean, seriously. When has, here's what I want to know. When has the temple been awesome for either one of you? Do you have a story?
Jen Kaufmann 17:40
So we were going to my niece's wedding in Washington, DC, where she got married as well. And I brought my two year old along at the time, my little daughter Valerie. And she, as we're driving up to the temple, she just says, Oh, it's my home. And she was so, so excited that she just knew this was her home. And that, to me just spoke volumes of what the temple is to us here. This is our home on Earth, like it is where we are going to go after this life is over. It's what we're used to. It's what we're made for. And that just to me is so special that she knew that and that was like she remembered.
Hold on, I gotta write that down. "We're home". "My home". Is that what she said?
Jen Kaufmann 18:21
Yeah, this is my home.
Oh, I love that.
Jen Kaufmann 18:24
She was so excited about it. She was, "Oh, it's my home."
What a sweet story. Oh, my gosh. Thank you, Jen. What about you, Jolene?
Joleene Watabe 18:33
The one that comes to mind is the first time I went back to the temple after my husband passed away. It was the word temple night. And we had gone regularly to word temple nights with some of our friends. And so I called them up and I said, Hey, I really want to go, a little nervous about going back. So I went with them. And there was more people from our ward in that temple session than I'd ever seen in any of our other word sessions.
And I just remember that feeling of, of peace and joy that I felt. And I had been crying through the session, and I was crying more in the Celestial room. And one of the, my friends came over and just gave me a big hug and said, Isn't it amazing? You know, the promises of the Lord? And I said, Yeah, I'm crying because I'm sad, but also because I'm so grateful to know what I know from being able to be sealed to my husband in the temple.
Wow. How awesome is this place! Both of your stories exemplified that perfectly. Thank you so much. And then how incredible is it that in Genesis chapter 28, verse 19, just right below these verses we've studied, he names the place. And we've marked this before but we're going to do it again. He calls the name of that place Bethel. And in Hebrew, that's BEIT EL, which means House of God. BETH is house, EL is God. And from the quote that we shared earlier by Marion G. Romney, and he is a former member of the Quorum of the 12, he went on in that quote to say,
"Temples are to us what Bethel was to Jacob." Then in Genesis chapter 28, verses 20-22, he reiterates the covenant. And I love how it says, "And Jacob vowed a vow". Like he is now coming up on his end of the bargain. The Lord's like, here's your covenant. And Jacob's like, I will do this. But imagine the imagery of the angels going up and down the rungs. Because there's so much beauty in that. When every rung represents a level that we are in, and who's there to help us? These unseen angels; these unseen beings, and that there's so much beauty in that, that they're going up and down and helping everyone along the way. And we just can't discount that.
When the Lord says, "I am with thee", He really is, and so are His servants. They are on those rungs with us, or those steps of those stairs, helping us along the way as we are just trying our best to remain true to our covenants. And I want you to keep thinking about that, because throughout the rest of the story of Jacob, we're going to see him on these different rungs, these different ladders, and the help that he's going to receive and the help that his family is going to receive. I mean, it's just beautiful.
Okay, so Jacob received his endowment and his first Temple experience; he is committed. And I love again, how he said, 'how awesome is this place!' It's so cool. His integrity is what allowed for him to vow a vow and move forward. So in the next segment, we're going to see how his integrity will be tested.
Segment 3 21:25
Okay, I love how, when in the last segment I said his integrity might be pushed to the limit. And both of you shook your head like, Huh, why did you do that? Tell me why.
Jen Kaufmann 21:39
Oh, because I would have gone back to Laban and been like, duper done. Here's your daughter back. Give me another one. Let's do a trade, let's just do it over again. Redo.
I mean, seriously, you're so mad when you read this story, and you feel bad for everybody except Laban. Laban. By the way, this is not the same Laban that Nephi got the plates from. Because I've had people ask that question before. But Laban was a very common name during this time. And Laban in the Book of Mormon was in Jerusalem. So common name, different Laban.
Okay, well, let's tell the story, ladies, I know you know this story, so I just want us to kind of tell it together, because it is such a fun story. So, Jacob comes into the land of Laban - that's his uncle - and he is kind of asking around like, Hey, am I in the right place? Does anybody know Laban? And he comes to a well, and they're opening this well so that they can feed the flocks. Is that right? And he says, All right. Does anyone know Laban? And they're like, Oh, yeah, this is Laban's land. You're in the right place. And then what happens next? What does he see?
Joleene Watabe 22:40
Rachel comes to feed the sheep that she was tending.
Yeah, mark, verse 9. And I think that's interesting that Rachel is the keeper of the sheep. And in fact, Rachel's name means Lamb. Isn't that fun? Or Ewe. So she is the keeper of the sheep. And then Jacob sees her. Ah,
Jen Kaufmann 22:59
And he kisses her.
A little presumptuous. Verse 11, goes right up to her, he kisses her, and then he weeps. That's sweet. He weeps. And then in verse 13, read that for us, Jen.
Jen Kaufmann 23:13
29:13 "And it came to pass, when Laban heard the tidings of Jacob his sister's son, that he ran to meet him, and embraced him, and kissed him, and brought him to his house. And he told Laban all these things."
Now, look at verse 14, because you guys know how passionate I am about the kinsman and kinship in tents. Verse 14 is a beautiful example of this.
14 "And Laban said unto him, Surely thou art my bone and my flesh. And he abode with him [for] the space of a month."
That right there, 'bone and my flesh' is him saying, You're part of my kin? I'm going to take care of you because Laban's the head kinsman over his tent. And so Jacob comes to visit and Laban's like, I got your back; you're part of my family clan. And so he comes in, he stays with him for a month. Like he knows he loves Rachel, right? He wants to marry her. So he has an agreement and what's that agreement? Can you tell us about that Jolene, and that is in verses 16-18.
Joleene Watabe 24:06
Jacob asks Laban if he can serve him for seven years for the hand of his daughter Rachel, in marriage?
Definitely. I like how it describes her, how he had two daughters. In verse 16, (17) "And Leah was tender eyed; but Rachel was beautiful and well favoured."
Joleene Watabe 24:24
This one just says "they're a sweet spirit."
Umm, that's exactly what tender eyed means. In Hebrew, it means weak, lackluster, or plain. Oh, poor Leah.
Joleene Watabe 24:35
I just feel for her. I want to give her a big hug.
And do you want , let's add insult to injury, guess what Leah's name translates in Hebrew: cow.
Jen Kaufmann 24:43
I'm thinking of "Johnny Lingo."
Yes, she is the "10-cow wife." I want to hug Leah so bad. So Jacob will serve Laban for seven years. Look at verse 20, highlight that. Jacob served seven years for Rachel and they seemed unto him but a few days for the love he had for her. I mean, come on, that makes up. In fact, I asked you guys ahead of time if we were to have this be a romantic movie - because last week we talked about romantic movies - did you come up with a name? What would you name it?
I asked my creative husband for names and he said "The Entrapment". (Laughter)
That's exacty, that is the truth about this story. Okay. I love it. Not really a romantic movie.
Joleene Watabe 25:26
Yeah. I didn't have a romantic name, either. I asked my kids and they said "Meet the Father-in-Law".
Oh, that's good, too. That's good.
Joleene Watabe 25:33
And I even came up with a song, a theme song for it. I don't know if you know the song: "If you want to be happy for the rest of your life, better make a pretty woman your wife."
I hate that song. (laughs)
Joleene Watabe 25:46
That song helped me out.
Stop it, Jolene. You're beautiful. Give me a break. "That song helped me out." You're hilarious. Okay, so right here, he loves her so much. And then he finally gets to marry her. The seven years of serving are up, right? And then Jen, what happened? Why do you hate this story?
Jen Kaufmann 26:03
He tricks him. And he gives him the other daughter. He gives him Leah. And I read that that could have happened because they're maybe similar height. And they had to veil maybe their faces and they were living in tents because they were shepherds so they had, it was dark in the tent, couldn't see. No idea what you're getting yourself into. And then it's too late.
Yes, no, you're totally right. Laban tricks Jacob. He sends Leah in for that night of betrothel. And this is interesting. I love how you mentioned the veil because that is true. So they consummate the marriage, then they unveil and he realizes, You're not Rachel. You're Leah. And he goes to Laban. And he says, What have you done? And I love that Laban's like, Well, according to tradition, the younger sister can't get married before the older sister. So I just kind of switched it out. And so what happens after this? What arrangement do Laban and Jacob come up with?
Joleene Watabe 26:55
When Jacob comes to him initially and offers to work for those seven years? I was reading that they said that is because he didn't have a dowry. And so he offered himself up, Hey, I'll work for you because I don't have money. So I'll be honest, and do my job and do a work for you. And then I'll now work seven more years for your other daughter. It's only fair.
Yeah. So we've talked about 'seven' before and what the word seven means. Did he really work for seven years, and then another seven, a total of 14? He could have, absolutely. But another way to interpret 'seven' - I thought this was kind of cool - the root of the Hebrew word for seven is SHEVAH, which is identical to the Hebrew verb that means 'to take an oath'. So it connects the word 'seven' to covenants and covenant making. So he's like, Okay, I'll work seven more years. And I like how Laban knows that Jacob is a man of integrity. And so what does Laban do? Does he make Jacob wait to have Rachel as a wife?
Joleene Watabe 27:49
No, he says, Finish the week with Leah - there was a bridal week that he needed to finish - and then you can marry Rachel at the end of that week.
That's exactly right. And then he'll work for seven more years for Rachel. And you can read what we just discussed in verses 25-30. So let's just pause for a second here because yes, Jacob has two wives. And if that seems a little bit odd, and it should, it's uncomfortable for us. In fact, Jen, you mentioned that you had a quote about this. So will you share with what you found about having multiple wives in Old Testament time?
Jen Kaufmann 28:19
Yeah, this is a quote from a study guide. It's in Deseret Book actually, in the app. And it says that, the Prophet Joseph Smith taught: "I have constantly said, no man shall have but one wife at the time, unless the Lord directs otherwise. Occasionally, the Lord did direct otherwise, in ancient and modern times. Monogamy has been the rule since the time of Adam, and plural marriage, the exception. The latter is to be practiced only when the Lord authorizes it, as in the case of the patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The reason for the law of plural marriage is clearly stated in the Book of Mormon: 'to raise up seed unto me.'"
Perfect quote, wow, Jen, thank you for doing your research on that. So let's get into verse 31. Because here's one of my favorite parts of this whole story with Rachel and Leah. In verse 31, it says, "And when the Lord saw that Leah was hated." Now, let's make sure we mark that word, because it's not hated. In Hebrew, it actually translates as 'loved less'. I don't know if it makes it any better. But either way, it's not hated, it's loved less, "He opened her womb, but Rachel was barren." So I want to talk about this for just a minute, because for women, this was unfortunately a very real thing throughout the Bible.
So bearing children was highly valued, and it was believed that a woman's primary role was that of being a mother. So often these biblical women would suffer deep shame as a consequence, because this is so crazy to me. Their barrenness was attributed to something hidden that was wrong, a sin, or a flaw in their lives. So as a result if you are unable to have children, in some cases, it was then the initiative of the barren woman herself, who would use her handmade to bear children for her. And we saw this a couple of weeks ago in the story of Sarah and Hagar. So that is what the rest of Genesis 29 and all of Genesis 30 teaches us.
There are four women involved in this story. We have the wives of Jacob, Leah, and Rachel. And then we have their handmaid's: Leah's handmade Zilpah, and Rachel's handmade is Bilha. So we're going to mark all the names of all the children that the four of them have. And I want you to notice the names that the women give them. How much do I love that women named the children in these stories? And what's so cool about the names they give them as it's usually in connection with events surrounding the birth. So we have verse 32.
29:32 "And Leah conceived, and bare a son, and she called his name Reuben: for she said, Surely the Lord hath looked upon my affliction; now therefore my husband will love me."
Highlight Reuben, because in Hebrew, the word Reuben translates as, 'look, a son.' Ben is 'son', and Rue is 'to see'. So she's saying right here, the Lord saw you, he looked upon my affliction. And so I have a son.
Verse 33, says, "And she conceived again, and bare a son; and said, Because the Lord hath heard that I was hated, [or loved less], he hath therefore given me this son also; and she [called his] name[d him] Simeon."
And guess what, Simeon then is Hebrew SHEMON, which is SHEMA meaning 'to hear', or 'to obey'. So there's so many cool connections to what's happening in verse 34. She names him Levi, so highlight that name at the end. But she says in right there, my husband is now joined unto me. And the word LEVI means to be joined together. So it's fun to read and go and find out what the word, the names mean. And you can use footnotes down below, which will also give you those definitions. But I have gone through and highlighted the name and then drawn a line to what was going on at the time to get that name. And it is awesome.
But what I want us to do right now is just go through each verse and I want you just to grab a highlighter and highlight their names. So in verse 35, at the very end, is Judah. Now Leah still having these sons; then we go to chapter 30. And Rachel is really frustrated because she can't have children. So she says to Jacob, How about if I just give you my handmade and maybe she can start having children for me. So her name is Bilhah in verse 3. And then Bilhah is going to conceive, and she is going to have a son in verse 6 and his name is Dan. So highlight that. Then we have in verse 8 Naphtali. I think that's so cool, because Naphtali means 'wrestling', and she says right there, the great wrestlings I have wrestled with my sister. So that's why they named him Naphtali.
Then we have another son that's born in verse 11. His name is Gad; verse 13, Asher; oh, and I love that because Leah said, Happy am I, for the daughters will call me blessed. And she called his name Asher; Asher means 'happiness'. And Gad and Asher come by way of Leah's handmade Zilpah. I just think it's cool, because when I think about when I was pregnant, I don't know if I would have named my children what I was going through at the time, you know. And I'll call him Heartburn. I don't know, like, this, Morning Sickness. Exactly. So here we have these births. K, then turn the page and there are a few more. Leah sends her servant into the ring, and Zilpah is going to actually have Gad and Asher. Just so you know those two names that we had.
Then we come to verse 18. And the name of the son is Issachar. In verse 20 Leah will have another son, she'll name him Zebulun. And then finally we have verses 22-24.
30:22 "And God remembered Rachel, and God hearkened to her, and opened her womb. 23 "And she conceived, and bare a son; and said, God hath taken away my reproach:
24 "And she called his name Joseph; and said, The Lord shall add to me another son.
And the name "Joseph" means 'to add' or 'to increase'. And then Rachel will have one other son, and you can put it right here somewhere on your pages a cross reference, because he will not be born until Genesis chapter 35. Verses 16-19. And his name will be Benjamin.
Joleene Watabe 33:54
You know, when we think of Rachel and Leah, you know, these are the mothers of Israel. Like these are great women that go down in history, right? But they had these imperfections just like we do: Rachel envied Leah for having kids. And Leah envied Rachel for having her husband love her more, loved Rachel more. So I just love that they're human, too.
Oh, okay, okay. You just said something so important to the names that we marked. You called the women 'mothers in Israel' Or really, it would be the mothers to Israel's posterity. This is so cool, because the 12 names that we just marked are what make up the House of Israel.
Jen Kaufmann 34:33
Jacob's name is going to be changed to Israel when we get to Genesis 32. So just kind of keep that in the back of your brain. But it's so important to know the significance of these 12 names that we marked and how they make up the House of Israel. And I've said this before, but I'm just going to kind of reiterate it again, that growing up I used to think that the House of Israel was literally a house in Israel that some guy lived in, and I was like, Boy, oh, sure. Hope we get to meet him and I hope there's good refreshments there. Like, I did not know what House of Israel meant.
So I like to draw it out like a house. And we have Jacob at the top. And then his name is changed to Israel. And then he has 12 sons. And those sons make up the entire house of Israel which includes us. When you get your Patriarchal Blessing, you're assigned one of those tribes, and we're going to talk a ton more about it when we get to Genesis 49. But it's super important for us to understand, so I just kind of want to focus and just highlight that for a minute. So we now have the posterity of Jacob, Leah, Rachel, Bilhah and Zilpah. So Jacob and his entire family stayed and they actually lived with Laban. During this whole time, nothing in that regard had changed yet, but in the next segment, we will have another incident that will test Jacob's integrity.
Segment 4 35:50
Okay, so a few years ago, I was in Alabama with a good friend of mine and our husbands. My favorite thing about that trip was we basically ate our way through all of Alabama, we ate so much food. One of the things that I will never forget, though, is that as we were going along, we noticed there were a lot of people who had matching T shirts on. Apparently it's a southern thing, that when your family gets together for reunions, you make matching T shirts. One of the T shirts that stood out to me is this one, I took a picture of it: this beautiful woman, and on the back of her t shirt, it just said Genesis 31:49. And I didn't know what it meant. I'm like that is so, what in the world are we talking about? So immediately, I looked it up. Listen to this verse. Joleene, will you read this for us?
Joleene Watabe 36:35
Gen 31:49 "And Mizpah; he said, The Lord watch between me and thee when we are absent one from another."
I mean, is that the greatest family reunion t shirt? I thought that was so powerful. And it just struck me," the Lord watch between me and thee when we are absent one from another." Now that is the end of a very difficult saga though, in Genesis chapter 31. So let's start the story. It actually begins in Genesis chapter 30. And we're going to find out how we're going to get to that verse in Genesis chapter 31. So here is how the story plays out.
So Jacob, Leah, Rachel, and all the children have been living with Laban. And Jacob comes to Laban and says, Okay, I need to leave, like I want to go, I want to start my own family. I want to become the kinsman over everybody. And we're gonna go and Laban and says, No. Laban's like, yeah, that's not really going to work out for me. Look at Genesis chapter 30, verse 27. I love how Laban says this. Jen, will you read verse 27 for us in Genesis chapter 30.
Joleene Watabe 37:40
30:27 "And Laban said unto him, I pray thee, if I have found favor in thine eyes, tarry: for I have learned by experience that the Lord has blessed me for thy sake.
Interpret that into English for us.
Joleene Watabe 37:53
So don't leave because everything good that I've gotten, the Lord has given to you that now I get to reap the benefits from.
Exactly what he's saying. Laban has definitely succeeded because of Jacob's work. And there's a lot of cattle and a lot of flocks. So Jacob decides, let's just separate them. And here's what I'll do for you Laban: I'm going to give you the best of the best. I'm going to give you the unblemished flocks. And I'll take all the blemished ones, and we're going to just try this on a trial run almost. And he leaves and he goes away. And then he starts to do this thing, it's kind of a superstitious thing, I thought this is interesting. It's in verses 38-42.
It talks about Joseph peeling branches and placing them before the animals so that when they conceive, they're going to bear multicolored offspring. And so it's just an interesting part of the story. But the end result is that in verse 43, Jacob is going to increase exceedingly, and he's going to have so much cattle and maidservants and menservants, and camels, and asses. Like this is going to be so beneficial for Jacob. And Laban's realizing, “Oh my gosh, I really need him to stay with me.” But he starts to get a little bit jealous, so do Laban's sons. Let's go to Genesis chapter 31, verse 1. Joleene, will you read verse 1 for us. And when it says 'he' in there, we're talking about Jacob. Jacob's hearing something.
Joleene Watabe 39:07
31:1 "And he heard the words of Laban's sons, saying, Jacob hath taken away all that was our father's; and of that which was our father's hath he gotten all this glory."
He's like, we did all this for Jacob, and here's Jacob, he's so rich, and it has nothing to do with him. We did the work, (which is not true). And so Jacob, in verse 2, it says,
3:2 "AndJacob beheld the countenance of Laban, and, behold, it was not toward him as before."
So there's almost like this element of pride and envy that's kind of creeping in their relationship. And Jacob realizes, We got to get out of here. As you guys were reading in Genesis chapter 31, specifically verse 4, what does Jacob do? What does that tell us about his relationship with his wives?
Joleene Watabe 39:46
Seems like he valued their opinions and he wanted to hear from them. They must have had a relationship where they communicated.
And they trusted him, too.
Uh huh. You're totally right. It's almost like in my mind I'm imagining that Jacob has this spreadsheet with charts and graphs, because he lays out for the wives in verses 5-13. He's like, look, here's what I have, here's everything I can provide you for. We're going to be fine on our own, I make a decent wage. And God even came to me in a dream. And God told me that He is going to provide for me, and I made a covenant with Him. So God will be with us. We've talked about that. God will be with us, it's going to be okay. And I just love Rachel and Leah's response, starting in verse 14. Did you guys catch what they said in verses 14, 15, and 16? What do we love about their response?
Joleene Watabe 40:35
Is there anything of our inheritance from our father? Like, he took it all, sold it, sold us, and took our money, and all these things are now ours. We should deserve this, essentially.
Yeah, exactly. Because they're like, we don't get an inheritance because we're girls. So why do we have to stay with our dad's? What's the point of that? But don't you love at the end of verse 16? How do they end their conversation with him?
Joleene Watabe 40:58
16 "......whatsoever God hath said unto thee, do."
Yeah. How do you interpret that?
We trust Jacob to do the right thing because you're listening to God.
Jen Kaufmann 41:08
And we trust God. So. I also think that Jacob saw the Spirit was gone from Laban when he saw his countenance. I think I saw his countenance and he, he saw that he was no longer following God and that he was different.
Jen, that is an excellent interpretation of how his countenance fell. Because if we go into the story in Genesis 31, Jacob gets up, and he takes everything with him. And they are going to leave. But before they do.....look at verse 19, it says,
19" And Laban went to shear his sheep, and Rachel had stolen the images that were her father's."
Highlight the word 'images'. Here's something I thought was interesting; that there's so much debate among scholars about what those images were that were stolen by Rachel and what they represented. So the Hebrew word sometimes used for small images, or false gods is also TERAPHIM. So it makes us ask the question like, was Laban, an idolater? And if so, why would Jacob go all the way back to Haoran to find a wife if they were idolaters like the Canaanites? That doesn't make sense, right? One scholar theorized that these images were somehow tied with the legal rights of inheritance.
So if this theory is correct, the possessor of the Terraphim - he had the right to inherit the father's property. So this circumstance would explain why Rachel stole the images, since her father had stolen her inheritance. So she's like, I'm gonna take it back as mine. It was also explained Laban's extreme agitation over their loss, and Jacob's severe penalty offered against the guilty party. So I think that's an interesting way to look at this, is that Rachel's like, you know what, I'm going to take my inheritance back. And that is why Laban wanted it back so badly, because he's like, No, that's my inheritance. So there's a couple of different ways we can look at that word.
So they take after Laban and all of his people leave, they go to find Jacob, they catch up with Jacob. And then Jacob and Laban have a conversation in verse 26, and 27. And Laban is like, What are you doing? Like, why would you possibly leave? And I think it's funny in verse 27, he says, I would have had a party for you. We would have had great food, I would have sent you off. I think Jacob's like, Yeah, right. I'm sure you would have. Right? You can just
Joleene Watabe 43:10
I noticed that, too. Yeah, that was like, would he really have thrown a party for them? He didn't want them to leave.
Yeah, exactly. And then he even
Joleene Watabe 43:18
I just wanted to give them a kiss goodbye.
Yeah, Jen, thank you. In verse 28, 'Those are my grandkids. I just wanted to say goodbye to them and kiss them on their cheeks.' And I think Jacob's like, There is no way; you were so angry. And so before Laban even does anything, then Laban's like, And by the way, someone stole my beautiful images, whatever you want to call them. So he goes from tent to tent looking for them. And I think it's so fascinating because when I was reading this, I realized, now remember we've talked about the tent, we've talked about the kinsman. In those tents, they were actually separated into a male side and a female side. And so when it says he goes into Leah's tent, and he goes into Rachel's tent - that is very normal. So then he can't find them, he goes into Rachel's tent. Did anyone of you catch what happened when he went into Rachel's tent? What she did?
Joleene Watabe 44:05
She had put them in, like the camel's saddle or something. And she sat on top of it. And she told her dad, she couldn't move because she was on her 'period'.
Yes, it's exactly what happened. That, it's in verse 35. She says, "the custom of women is upon me." And if you want to cross reference that to Leviticus chapter 15, verse 19. In that scripture, it says that women are unclean when it is their monthly time. And so you can't touch the women. And so Laban's like Oh. And I can just imagine him slowly backing out of the tent, like, alright, I'll leave you be. So she hid them underneath her, because she's like, there's no way I'm letting my dad have these.
And so at this point, then, Jacob says to him, Look, I have been with you for 20 years. That's in verse 38. In verse 41, He says it again, for 20 years I've served you, just let me go, just let me be with my people. And then mark verses 44 through 50. This is where Laban finally just agrees. And he enters into a covenant of peace with Jacob and says, Okay, fine, I'll let you go. They enter into this covenant. And that's where we have verse 49. Laban says, and MIZPAH, and that is a Hebrew word. And Mizpah is a lookout point. That's what it means. So they're at this lookout point and he says, "The Lord watch between me and thee when we are absent one from another." And then he kisses everybody goodbye. I love verse 50, though. Verse 50, to me is sort of a dad's warning. Did you get that? What is verse 50? Say, Jen, I love your smile right now.
Joleene Watabe 45:36
If you hurt my daughters, or take any other wives, then I am no longer with you, God's no longer with us. We're done.
Yeah, don't you dare hurt my daughters like, I love this careful dad right here. And Jacob's like, I won't, you know I won't. I'm good for it. And then he gets up, he kisses everybody goodbye. And they depart. In verse 55 Laban goes his way. And Jacob will now go his way. And so that is kind of this really awesome story right here, where we have this transfer of authority. And now Jacob is going to be the kinsman. But before he can even be the kinsman then, again, we're gonna have another test of integrity, because something unique is going to happen to Jacob, before he becomes the head kinsman over his tent. And we'll talk about that in the next segment.
Segment 5 46:22
Here's what I want to know: Do either of you have wrestlers in your family? Do you know anything about wrestling? Let's talk about that word for just a minute.
Joleene Watabe 46:33
My husband used to wrestle with, like, his brothers and his son sometimes. And they just had fun with it most of the time. But yeah, I just noticed some things about wrestling. Like it takes strength and speed and agility. It takes knowing the right moves. And then it's also important to know how to get out of precarious positions, too.
Um hmm. And at the end of the the whole wrestling match, it's about submission, someone's got to submit, right? What about you, Jen? Do you have a story?
Joleene Watabe 47:01
My husband told me a story. His brother was a wrestler. And so he wasn't himself, but he's, his brother would come home from wrestling and he would try out his moves on him and test it out. So he said he would always get beaten, always, because he didn't know these moves and he didn't have any experience. And he's a little brother. So I kind of actually liked that experience, too, in relation to how we wrestle with God, is that He can always beat us, always. He knows all the ends, He knows all the ways to make us submit.
But in the process, He just teaches us and shows us these moves, and shows us how to come to Him. He doesn't pound us to the ground; He doesn't want to fight. We're the ones wrestling. We're the ones that wrestle and want to fight Him, but we're trying to fight what He wants us to do in our lives. And so He just teaches us along the way and shows us, Okay, you can try and fight me on this, I will just keep redirecting you until you learn what you're supposed to do with your life.
Jen, I love how you just connected that to our relationship with the Lord. Because my thought was, Why in the world is the word 'wrestle' often used when there is a struggle with God? I so appreciate how you said He gives us the moves, He shows us what we need to do. Sometimes we are like, that's not really gonna work. There is no way. Because I have learned in wrestling, for every move there's a counter move that you can do. I think sometimes we're like, that is not going to work Heavenly Father, there's just no way. And we have this experience here where we talk about this wrestle that Jacob's gonna have. So that was a perfect setup, Jen.
Let's go into Genesis chapter 32. And I'm going to give us a little bit of background that will lead us up to this idea or word of wrestling. So here's what happened. Verse 1 says, "And Jacob went on his way, and the angels of God met him. Highlight 'angels', because the Hebrew word is MALACHIM. And we've learned this year that it can be messengers also. And these messengers say to Jacob, Hey, we just want to let you know, Esau - he is pretty close to where you are right now. And you're about to meet up with your brother. In fact, not only Esau, but all of his family and all of his flocks and all of his herds. They are in such great number. Verse 6 tells us how many. Ladies look at verse 6. How big is Esau's clan?
Joleene Watabe 49:09
Yeah, there's a lot of people. And Jen, what is Jacob's reaction in verse 7?
Jen Kaufmann 49:16
He's greatly afraid and distressed. The last time he saw Esau he wanted to kill him. And I think part of the reason he gives him so many things is to say, Hey, look. I don't need your money anymore. I'm, okay, now, we can just let bygones be bygones.
That's exactly what Jacob's plan is. So he says to his wives and childre, Okay, listen, I need to send you guys ahead of me. I want you to go and soften the blow with Esau. And by the way, take all of this wonderful stuff. Let's have gifts for Esau: money, goats, bowls, everything and just give it to Esau. So it'll soften the blow and maybe when we finally meet he won't hate me so much. Because yeah, he wanted to kill me last time we were together. So he sends his family ahead of him he says, I'll catch up with you.
Now let's go to Genesis chapter 32, verse 24, because he's still with the messengers from God, one messenger in particular. And here's where we get this amazing story. Let's start in verse 24. And we're just going to read it and we're going to mark it and we're going to discuss it. So Jen, let's start with you and we'll go Jen, Joleene, and me, each taking a verse.
Jen Kaufmann 50:21
24 "And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day.
Joleene Watabe 50:27
25 "And when he saw that he prevailed not against him, he to"uched the hollow of his thigh, and the hollow of Jacob's thigh was out of joint, as he wrestled with him.
So pause for a second. Let's mark some words right here.,Where we have the word 'wrestled', highlight that. "there wrestled a man with him". This is Jacob's wrestle. I love the word wrestled in Hebrew, because it also means embrace. And in this embrace in verse 25, it says, "he prevailed not against him". So there had there been some struggle. And in this struggle, it says, "he touched the hollow of his thigh". The word 'hollow' in Hebrew is actually 'socket'. And so Jacob's thigh comes out of socket in this embrace, or in this wrestle that they're experiencing.
Jen Kaufmann 51:07
There's a submission hold for you.
Yeah. Thank you. Jen, the submission hold. Exactly. Okay. Then we go to verse 26.
"And he said, Let me go, for the day breaketh. And he, [who is Jacob] said, I will not let thee go except thou bless me."
So sort of a turn of events here, because now Jacob says, Wait a minute, I need a blessing from the Lord. I'm about to meet my brother, and I need you to give me a blessing, to this messenger.
In fact, let's go back to verses 9-12. Highlight those, bracket them off and label them "Jacob's prayer". So before Jacob sends his family away, and before anything happens, he actually asks God for help with his brother and to be delivered. Jacob wants a blessing of deliverance, and he wants a blessing of help. And so it makes sense that he's asking for that blessing right now. Carry on in the story, Jen, go ahead, verse 27.
32:27 "And he said unto him, What is thy name? And he said, Jacob
Joleene Watabe 52:02
29 "And he said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed."
And then verse
29 "And Jacob asked him, and said, Tell me, I pray thee, thy name. And he said, Wherefore is it that thou dost ask after my name? And he blessed him there."
That's the blessing he gets, his name is changed. This is where we get "let God prevail." And remember, we talked earlier that often the name has to do with the situation. And so Israel's name, when he says, Jacob, your name is now "Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men and hast prevailed." Israel means "let God prevail". And the messenger prevailed and gave him this blessing. So who exactly is he wrestling with? This is something that a lot of people want to know like, is he wrestling with an angel? I really appreciate this quote: this is by Joseph Fielding Smith. And here's what he has to say about the wrestle. Jen, will you read this for us.
Jen Kaufmann 52:58
"Who wrestled with Jacob on Mount Peniel? The Scriptures say it was a man; the Bible interpreters, it was an angel. More than likely it was a messenger sent to Jacob to give him the blessing. To think he wrestled and held an angel who couldn't get away is out of the question. The term Angel, as used in the scriptures, at times refers to messengers who are sent with some important instruction. Later in this chapter, when Jacob said he had beheld the Lord and did not have reference to his wrestling."
Thank you. Awesome. In verse 24, where it says wrestled, it's important to know that that word in Hebrew can also mean an embrace. And here's a really cool quote by Andrew C. Skinner and D. Kelly Ogden, in their <Old Testament Commentary>. I like this a lot. Joleene, will you read this quote that talks to us about the word embrace.
Joleene Watabe 53:47
"This leads us to believe that there is in this fragmentary text, the suggestion of ritual embrace, new name, and priestly and kingly power bestowed, which has a parallel in the holy endowment. The man had power to change Jacob's name. And from this struggle, Jacob, he shall supplant, emerged as Israel, let God prevail. Some see a real change in his nature and way of life from this time on; watch for evidence of this."
Thank you. I just think it's incredible how you look at this, you're like, why would they embrace, why would they wrestle, what's going on here? And this perfectly sets it up that he is now receiving a new name, priestly, and kingly power, and he's getting this name Israel, that God prevailed. So when we talk about this wrestle or this embrace, I'm curious to know from either one of you, why do you think the Lord requires us to put forth such great effort before we receive blessings? Have you ever had an experience where you wrestled or had an embrace from the Lord and then saw a blessing after? the
Joleene Watabe 54:47
I feel like the last four years of my life has been a wrestle with God - just trying to figure out where I'm going from here. And I actually have in just, in the last few months been able to come to a place where I feel a lot more peace and healing in my heart. And so I feel like I've been through this process. I was looking at the wrestle that Enos had, as I was studying for this. So Enos wrestled with God before he received a remission of his sins. And I felt like that's kind of kind of what happened to me, like I wrestled with just, you know, all the feelings I had, and the confusion and the frustration, the anger, just everything.
And in the end, I felt like I needed to, to repent and to forgive myself and to forgive God and others for my life being hard. It was nobody's fault. That's, that's the plan, right? That we're gonna have some hard trials and hard things. And when I repented, I started to feel better. And then I had this, I've had this desire to just help others through it, too. And I, Enos had the same thing. He prayed, he wrestled with God. And then after he went through his wrestle, he prayed for everybody else, prayed for his fellow men. And I think with Jacob, he just started on this new life at that point after, after his wrestle.
Definitely. Thank you for sharing that, that whole experience with your wrestle and your embrace. It's beautiful, Joleene. What about you, Jen. Have you had a wrestle or an embrace of the Lord?
Joleene Watabe 56:21
Um, my whole life.
How so? Tell me about that.
Jen Kaufmann 56:26
I just, I want what I want. And so I will try and tell Heavenly Father - just ask for things. Oh, but please help this job to work out. And then it won't and I get kind of frustrated, like what's gonna work out then, you know? What's supposed to happen? And every time it's always been led to even better and bigger thing that I didn't even see coming or expect. And our family has always been blessed to be able to be fine and never had any issues with that. And so I feel like I was just so blessed, and kind of put in my place. And He's like, Jen, stop, I've got this, like, just calm down. Don't worry. I've got your back, I'll take care of you.
And that's, it just helps to know that He's always, He's always embracing me all the time. And I'm the one that pushes Him away, He never pushes me away. It's always me having to come back to Him and humble myself enough to let Him prevail in my life, like Israel; I have to let Him prevail and not myself.
You know what, Jen, I really appreciate that you just said "my whole life", because it's real; it's a real answer for all of us. And that's what Jacob's life is an example of. There was nothing, nothing turned out like he thought it would. But it turned out. So what are some everyday tactics? How can we let God prevail when it is so hard? And when life has been hard, and it's gonna get hard. I'm just curious if you have any, like, Here's a tip, here's what you could try.
Joleene Watabe 57:46
I actually looked up some scriptures about this.
Oh, yeah, share 'em. Where are they?
Joleene Watabe 57:50
So in Ecclesiastes 7:3, it says "sorrow is better than laughter because the sad face is good for the heart". And 4 says, "The heart of the wise is in the house of warning, but the heart of fools is in the house of pleasure. And then 14 says, when times are good, be happy. But what times are bad, consider God has made one as well as the other. Yeah, I love that. One of the things I've been thinking about a lot lately, or that's just been in my heart is what I call living in the "and"; it seems like a lot of times, we think, Oh, I'm either going to be happy, or I'm going to be sad because of this. But I can be both at the same time. And I love that scripture, the verse 14 it says "God has made both". And He wants us to experience both. We're not here just to experience happy times, and joy, all the time. We are here to experience the mourning and the sorrow as well.
I'm writing this down, z'living in the snd", because it makes it think of the when you're really sad, you can be sad, and you'll be happy eventually, it will come back. And both are good. And I appreciate that verse pointing out that God made both. Jen, pipe in. was there any tips for you or anything that you would recommend for letting God prevail?
Jen Kaufmann 59:13
Get out of my own way. I want to do things my own way. And so just trusting, just letting go, and trusting and just kind of letting Him take the reins.
It's a really excellent description and advice for how to do that. I appreciate that, Jen. Well, thank you ladies for those tips on how to let God prevail. And I'm going to ask that question on social media this week. How have you let God prevail? What tip do you have? What piece of advice could you use? Because I think it's interesting in this wrestle that Jacob didn't give up. It would have been so easy to just tap out and say, Yeah, it's not worth it, this is too much effort. But he didn't and he never will. And that is again a symbol of his integrity. And so what we want to do is talk about one of the last tests of Jacob's integrity in this episode, and we're going to read about that in Genesis chapter 33, which we will do in the next segment.
Segment 6 1:00:06
Okay, so have either of you ever been to a family reunion that was memorable?
Joleene Watabe 1:00:12
I got to go and meet some family in Mississippi on my mom's side. I never met them before. And it was so great to see them because you just feel this kinship already without even having met them yet. I've heard stories about them, and I just love them to pieces. It was so wonderful.
That is a great example. You know, some people really love reunions and others might dread them due to like severed relationships or bad food. But either way, we have a reunion. It's like the reunion of Jacob and Esau in Genesis chapter 33. And this is the one that Jacob has been dreading. And he's really hoping that this 'let God prevail' message will come through as he meets his brother, Esau. So let's go to Genesis chapter 33. And we're going to look at verse 4. Esau sees Jacob, and Jen, will you read verse 4.
Jen Kaufmann 1:00:58
4 "And Esau ran to meet him, and embraced him, and fell on his neck, and kissed him; and they wept."
Oh, now, is that the greatest reunion? I'll go to all reunions if they could be like that. People are so happy to see me they cry. That's not gonna happen. I just think this is beautiful. They meet and they weep. And then I think it's so beautiful because, you know, Jacob's, like, Take everything that I sent. AndEsau's like, I don't need your stuff. I'm fine. I have enough cattle. I have enough money. And so, you know, Jacob's, like, No, just take it. It'll make me feel so much better about things. And so Esau's like, Alright, fine. And then they separate, that's it. Like they love each other, there is no ill feelings, nothing. And so they go on their separate ways. They go on their journey in this chapter.
Joleene Watabe 1:01:42
It's a little bit different than a family reunion I went to where, we were at a family reunion. It was and it was at my parents' house. We had a rat infestation. And so my husband and his brothers had put out traps to trap the rats. And the first night there was nothing but the second night, there was a rat in the trap. And instead of just, you know, disposing of it, my husband thought it would be great to like, take the rat, and go show it to everybody. My my sister-in-law was sleeping, and he knew that she hated rats. And he went and like held it over her head and said, "Michelle". And she opened her eyes and just jumped up and freaked out. I don't know if she will ever forgive him for that one.
She shouldn't! Yeah, a little different than Jacob and Esau's reunion. Oh, my gosh, that's crazy. Oh, my gosh. Thank you for sharing that. So let's turn the page. Let's go to Genesis chapter 33, verse 16. Esau leaves, and Jacob stays. And he builds up his houses and structures. And it says he made booths in verse 17, for his cattle. And I like this a lot. It says "therefore the name of the place is called Succoth." Or the Jews call it SUKKOT. It's the Feast of Tabernacles. It's a major celebration they have. And the word sukkot means 'booths'. So I thought it was kind of cool. I love that connection.
And then he sets up his family. And they're all living here. And then we have verse 20, where he is going to erect an altar there. And he's going to call it something specific. Highlight El-elohe-Israel. He calls it this name because it means 'God is the God of Israel'. Okay, I have to tell you, I have thought a lot about this specific name. But before I share my thoughts on this, because I've thought about it for a long time, I first want to know what you to think. What do you think Jacob wants us to learn from this specific name?
Jen Kaufmann 1:03:37
And his name is Israel now at this point. And so I mean, he's saying he's his God, and that he should also be their God?
Joleene Watabe 1:03:43
Yes, it doesn't Israel mean Let God prevail? And so in this, he's maybe saying, I'm gonna let God prevail.
Thank you so much for what you just shared, I appreciate how you thought that through. You know, this name has become so significant to me. And I have thought about it for weeks as I've been preparing for this specific episode. And I think what's so unique is that, from this point on, the Lord is going to use this sort of really cool triad, is what I call it. A biblical triad where He uses three names to teach us a point, and the Lord uses it throughout the rest of the Bible, as well as the Book of Mormon, and the Doctrine and Covenants. We see it often, and you'll recognize it as I say it.
He'll say, I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. We hear that so often. And I've thought a lot about these three names. And I'm like, oh, yeah, that makes sense. You know, Abraham, he's the namesake of the Abrahamic Covenant. Jacob's name is changed to Israel, so he'll be the namesake for the entire house of Israel. But then I thought about Isaac, and I studied a ton about Isaac. And I was like, how does he fit into this triad? Yes, absolutely. His dad offered him as a sacrifice. And we studied that and found so many cool similitudes to the Savior Jesus Christ.
But other than that sacrifice and him having the sons Jacob and Esau, we don't really know much else of him or his life. He married Rebekah. He got old, he got blind, and then he died. But there is one unique verse about Isaac that I appreciated learning. And it is found in Genesis chapter 26, verse 25. So let's go there in our scriptures, because I want us to look at this verse. This specific verse is speaking about Isaac. And here's what it says. 'And he built an altar there and called upon the name of the Lord, and pitched his tent there. And there Isaac's servants dug a well.'
This is what we really know about Isaac. When it says he built an altar there, it means he worshipped the Lord. In our terms today, it would be he went to church every Sunday and went to the temple. And then he pitched his tent and digged dwells. And I love the wording of this because he 'pitched his tent', meaning he was the kinsman. So he took care of his family. And digged wells is how he provided for them. That was his job. This verse to me just says, Here's a man who got up every day, went to work, provided for his family, and loved God.
And I think that is so powerful to me, because I was talking to my husband about it. And I said, What do you get from this verse? And I explained it to him what it meant. And then I said, Whenever the Lord says, The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob, what do you think of when you hear the God of Isaacc? And I loved it: my husband said, He paused for a minute, and he goes, "Well, it's the story of me. I take that he also is the god of me, because I'm an Isaac". And I was like, Oh, my gosh, that is exactly what I was thinking. Like, my husband is, he's an Isaac: he gets up, he goes to work, he provides for the family, he goes to church on Sunday, he attends the temple.
And then it made me think of all the Isaacs that I know in my life. I love Isaac's story. And I love what Jacob calls this place, because the God of Isaac is the god of me. I love that so much. I thought of all the Isaacs that I know in my life. He's the god of Mike, the god of Doug, the god of Shane, the god of Robert, the god of Trace, the god of Gail-my dad. And so the next time I hear the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, I just want everyone to pause for one moment and think, Oh, oh, that's me. He's talking about me. God is the God of me. And I believe that he really is. And so I appreciated this naming.
And I just think it's specific. I think Jacob was teaching us something beautiful when he says, El-elohe-Israel. El is the God of Israel. God is the God of Israel. God is the God of all of us. And I just think it's so beautiful when we think about this in this context of these three incredible patriarchs. Because we talked about how, sure God is the God and President Nelson, and God is the God of Elder Uchtdorf. But God is the God of me. And that's what this this name is teaching us.
And I just really appreciate that because then you turn to Doctrine and Covenants section 132, verse 37. Let's go there and read what happened as a result, what Isaac was rewarded with. Doctrine and Covenants section 132, verse 37. Jen, will you read that verse for us.
Jen Kaufmann 1:08:02
This is the end result of these three men.
Joleene Watabe 1:08:05
137:37 "Abraham received concubines, and they bore him children; and it was accounted unto him for righteousness, because they were given unto him, and he abode in my law; as Isaac also and Jacob did none other things than that which they were commanded; and because they did none other things than that which they were commanded, they have entered into their exaltation, according to their promises, and sit upon thrones, and are not angels but are gods."
Wow, what an incredible end result for doing just what they were commanded to do.
Jen Kaufmann 1:08:38
It doesn't say in here that they didn't make mistakes, either. I mean, we think sometimes, Oh, well, I'm too far gone. I'm not gonna get that anymore, because I made this huge mistake. But I think I've just, I think of this wrestle too, that Jacob had and I think of this child - ever had a child that you've had throw a fit, or I've seen someone have a child throw a fit? And sometimes you just grab them and give them this embrace and say, Just calm down, gonna be okay. That's what He does for us. And we make these mistakes, and we come back to Him, eventually, and we're fighting it, but then He says, Just calm down, it'll be okay, I've got you. I have the Atonement for this reason, and you can come back and everything's gonna be okay. And I still love you. And I forgive you. And that gives me hope.
Oh my gosh, Jen. That is exactly it. That is the God who is the God of Israel. He is the God of all of us. And it's okay. Oh my gosh, that was beautiful. Like the Atonement's going to help you, it's going to help you prevail. So good.
Joleene Watabe 1:09:35
I love the Old Testament, because I feel like that's one of the themes - it's that there's these imperfect people, but God uses them because they turn to Him always. You know, they may make their mistakes or do something that's not quite right. Makes me feel good that I don't have to be perfect all the time. And as long as my heart is turned towards God, I'm going to be okay.
Absolutely. Amen! I will amen everything you both said, thank you so much. Thank you. I mean, this was such a great discussion. That's the end of our discussion of Genesis Chapters 20, what did we do? 28-33. That was so, wow there's so much in there, right? Ah, So gather your thoughts. And let's look over everything we wrote down and come up with what was your takeaway? What's something you'll remember from today's discussion?
Jen Kaufmann 1:10:24
I love Joleene's 'living in the end'. That really struck me. Because sometimes I think, Oh, well, if I'm upset, then I can't be happy. But you can do both. You can be more than one emotion at once. And I think we sometimes sell ourselves short and stop ourselves from enjoying things because we're stuck in this moment of I'm just in this mood. My day is ruined. But yeah, you can do both. You can do multiple. I love that.
Thank you, Jen. I like that, too.
Joleene Watabe 1:10:49
One of the things that stuck out to me it was just that the temple being home. Like I like Jen's story of her daughter saying 'the temple is my home'. I think that has been one of the places where I have felt the most peace and comfort, especially in the last four years, of just when I'm in the temple, I can sit there for hours sometimes. My friend who's also widowed, we went to the temple one time and we sat and sat there for like over an hour, I think just basking in the spirit. I felt like God was there and just giving me this hug and I didn't want to leave.
It is his Bethel. Beit El. It is the house of God. And I, I really appreciate how you just said that - they want us to come home. Yeah, whatever it takes, get your recommends renewed, get to the temple, or if you're preparing to go to the temple, really prepare. Talk to your family members and friends and let them talk to you about what it's like,because it's the most important thing you will do. It's the greatest gift you could possibly receive. So thank you.
My takeaway. Yeah, was that "this is my home", and living in the end. Both of you, I have the same takeaways. And I love that scripture you shared, Joleene where God says I created both happy and sad. Because sometimes we think if we're sad - that's Satan, but it's not. It's not at all. It's okay to be sad. It's, I think that is huge for me. And when you're sad, it's okay, be sad, and you'll be happy again. It's okay. So, thank you. Thank you, both of you. What a great discussion. Wow.
Jen Kaufmann 1:12:18
It was wonderful.
Joleene Watabe 1:12:19
Thank you. That was amazing.
I love you both. So fun. Those were great takeaways. I can't wait to hear what your takeaways are from this episode. So if you haven't already joined our discussion group on Facebook or Instagram, go join it. It's so awesome. You get to read what people are learning as they study and what their takeaways are. And at the end of the week, on a Saturday, we do a post calling for your big takeaway. So comment on the post that relates to this specific lesson. And let us know what you've learned. I love reading them and it's probably my favorite part of Sunday - is just reading what people have learned.
You can get to both our Facebook and Instagram by going to the show notes for this episode on LDS living.com/sunday on Monday. And it's not a bad idea to go there anyway, because that's where we have the links to all the references and a transcript of this whole discussion as well as some really cool glue-ins, things that we think that you would like to put in your scriptures. The Sunday on Monday Study Group is a Deseret Bookshelf Plus Original and it's brought to you by LDS Living. It's written and hosted by me, Tammy Uzelac Hall and today our incredible study group participants were Joleene Watabe and Jen Kaufmann. And you can find more information about these friends at LDS living.com/sunday on Monday.
Our podcast is produced by Katie Lambert and me. It is recorded and mixed by Mix At Six Studios and our executive producer is Erin Hallstrom. Thanks for being here. We'll see you next week. And please remember, in your wrestle, you are God's favorite!