Rachel – The Loved

Rachel-The Loved is a spin-off of Leah The Overlooked.  Rachel is a type of grace, she did nothing to get the love of Jacob.  Since Rachel had her faults it needs to be mentioned that to be a “type and shadow” every characteristic and action does not have to be perfect.  Leah and Rachel are many of the pairs of people that are used to teach us lessons in the Bible.  (Examples – Cain and Abel, Jacob and Esau, David and Jonathan, Paul and Peter.  The pair does not need to be in conflict but their actions teach us something.)   

Rachel is a picture of grace because she did nothing to inspire Jacob’s love for her.  Rachel means ewe or female sheep (#7354 Strong’s).  Like David, her grandson, she was probably taking care of the sheep because she was the youngest.  Genesis 29:17 (NIV) says she was “lovely in form and beautiful” but I can imagine her as a tough and harden individual.  Taking care of sheep was not easy work. 

As a “mother of Israel” she bore Jacob Joseph (Ephraim and Manasseh) and Benjamin.  Benjamin was the last child born to Jacob and was the “other tribe” that stayed with Jerusalem when the kingdom split under Rehoboam. (Judah and Levi are the tribes who stayed.)

Rachel had her share of struggles and problems, but she was loved.  I can imagine Jacob’s anger when Laban’s household gods came out of the camel’s saddle as they went to Bethel (Genesis 35).  In spite of her issues Jacob still loved her, that is grace.  

Leah – All that is said about her was that she was older and had “delicate or weak eyes”.  I have heard many negative things said about Leah over the years.  Considering that she had seven children by Jacob I cannot imagine that she was ugly or some of the other things I have heard.  Leah according to Strong’s (#3812) means “to be or make weary”.  I read this as speaking to her life and the pain she endured from Rachel, Jacob, and her father.  Laban used his daughters to snare Jacob and then used up everything that came from the bridal cost – fourteen years of work.  She also had to watch her first three sons not receive a blessing from their father – Ruben committed adultery and Levi and Simeon slaughtered the men of Shechem bring trouble to Jacob/Israel.

It would be very easy to cast Leah as “natural Israel” and all of the weariness they have endured over the millennia.  I just don’t think it is that easy!  Leah is still a “mother of Israel” and the grandmother of Jesus.  So, my type is going to be edgier than that – she is a picture of those who are working for their place at the feast and not those who understand and walk in grace.  That can cover the people who sit in Christian churches every week and still struggle with their walk with Jesus. Compare this to Rachel you enjoyed the love of Jacob even when she did some pretty outrageous things.

Laban’s Daughters – These two girls are probably behind the command in Leviticus 18:18 not to marry your wife’s sister.  Siblings will disagree, unfortunately, it may be very heated.  In reading Genesis 29 through 31 it is obvious these ladies have issues.  I will not attempt to excuse them but please do not discount the example they were raised by – Laban.  But you got to love the Bible, it does not pull punches.  Problems and praises can be on the same page.  Sometimes you wish more was written as that would help frame the issues better.  On somethings, they are not so, just study (thoroughly) and don’t take things out of context.  

The last post in this series (hopefully) will be on the family that produces the players from Abram to the Exodus.  It is important to remember that even though Leah was chosen and placed with Jacob, and Rachel was loved by him both played a part in the Father’s plan.

Leah the Overlooked

Leah is one Bible character that just seems to be overlooked or ignored.  I am writing this during the Christmas season which is part of the reason this is bugging me.  I do have a habit of disagreeing with popular preaching and she will be added to my growing list. (Lo Debar was not a dump, Mephibosheth was not pathetic, and Jesse was not cruel to David. Leah was the good faithful FIRST wife of Jacob who probably had “pretty eyes”.)  This Christmas season I have heard Rachel mentioned several times and Leah mentioned only once, and that was only because she was unloved.  So, please bear with me as I try to show you why Leah should be treated better!

Jacob – I know that he got the short end of the deal with Laban, but did he really have room to complain about deceptive practices!  He was not the poster child of fair-trade practices.  (By the way, Jacob was OLD when he took a liking to Rachel.)  It is also very plain that he did not ignore Leah, she had seven children (six boys and a girl).  All of Leah’s family came before the name change to Israel.  Yes, it still amazes me that from that point on he was called by both names.  That change has many foreshadows.

Rachel – She must have been good looking but her personality really did match Jacob’s – she was a thief (her father’s idols), a con artist (Ruben’s gourds), and a liar (faking her period before her father).  Leah is only mentioned in the Books of Genesis and Ruth (she was placed after Rachel), while Rachel is mentioned more times and made it into Jeremiah and Matthew.  She was the “loved one” but I still have a hard time seeing that she was the “better one”.  Because of her “loved” status people have heaped accolades on her but I shutter when they try to compare her to Ruth and Mary.  (Which by the way, Mary was a descendent of Leah and Jacob through Judah.)  Also, the fact that she was not taken to the family burial cave is a little perplexing.  It would seem that Jacob was grieving and set up a pillar over her grave, but he did not take the time to honor her with a trip to the only property the family owned at the time. I know she may have stunk by the time they made it there but he did not even try. 

Leah – Her exact role in Laban’s con of Jacob is never made clear, except that she went along with it and that Jacob could not tell the girls apart in the dark (okay, he was probably drunk).

At first, it bothered me that Leah was not mentioned more than she was in the Bible.  That was until I remembered that the genealogies in Matthew and Luke were really her family trees.  Boaz, Jesse, David, and Jesus are all her grandchildren, as were the majority of Jerusalem. 

It is probable that Leah took care of baby Benjamin and Joseph after the death of Rachel and that she was the “mother” in Joseph’s dream.  How long she lived and when she died is not told to us, only that she was buried in the cave with the rest of the family. 

Leah’s Sons – Please do not point to the behavior of the children as an indicator of how good the parents were.  If you read carefully the best one was Joseph and he may have had a pride problem before the trip to Egypt.  Leah’s children in order of their birth are Ruben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Zebulun, and Dinah.  See the graphic in Marching Order.  

It is apparent that “true wives” versus servant girls and first-born and rights of the firstborn come in God’s planning in the Exodus story and occupying the Land.  Judah, Issachar, and Zebulun are in the prominent position of first in the Exodus march and face east in the camp around the Tabernacle.  Rachel’s family of Ephraim, Manasseh, and Benjamin set out third and are on the west side of the Tabernacle.  This is not bad, but they are not in the lead.

After the kingdom was split into two parts the tribes of Judah, Benjamin, and Levi (Aaron) are the ones that inhabit Jerusalem and protect the Temple.

A Thought – Like many things Leah and Rachel are types and shadows of things to come.  Leah the overlooked, the first wife of Jacob should/does represent present-day Judaism.  That would make Rachel a shadow of Christianity.  Okay, I am not sure how comfortable I am with that idea but God bless Leah the Overlooked and her part in the Family of God. 

Special pic is from the Ultimate Bible Collection – Leah_w_Rachel_67-63

Joseph the Tzaddik Christmas 2020

Joseph, the step-father of Jesus, is introduced in Matthew as tzaddik(righteous) for his part in the Christmas story.  That statement in Matthew 1:19 caught my attention because he was making a choice that was not religious (the Law).  John 8 (the woman caught in adultery) would have been the religious solution and would have had Mary stoned as an example. (Was Jesus thinking about His mother while this was taking place?) Stoning was the religious answer, not the righteous one! Joseph’s life and that decision made him tzaddik.

Why, am I using the Hebrew term? I used the two websites below and found the thoughts and the connections very interesting.  This is also a study blog, which means that getting out of your comfort zone is okay. (Note- the Chabad.org site is not Christian, but has great views into Jewish thoughts and practices that I do not find in Christian sites.)  Chabad portrays a tzaddik as a person who is calibrated to the Creator’s original concept of being human.  That dwarfs many modern definitions of the word righteous and challenges me to do some internal checking.

Joseph is not the only tzaddik in the Christmas story.  Luke also places Elizabeth and Zechariah as righteous Christmas characters.  Luke, being a Gentile, would have used the term dikaios for the idea of righteousness.  

I did use the Orthodox Jewish Bible, that is in Bible Gateway, to start this study; use the parallel function.  Grammar is a work in progress for me.  So Jewish grammar is a step-up and I may not have used tzaddik correctly in all of my sentences.

http://www.hebrew-streams.org/works/ntstudies/tzaddikim.html

https://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/2367724/jewish/Tzaddik.htm

In a previous Christmas post about Joseph, I had suggested comparing the Joseph of the Old Testament with the one of the New.  I will do a few of those now.

  • Both went to Egypt and escaped certain death.  I have no problem believing that the first Joseph would have been killed by his brothers and the second Joseph would have put up a fight.
  • I do believe that they came back because of/about Passover.  The death angel had cleared the way for Jesus’ return and Joseph’s body came back with Moses.
  • The Magi supplied for the needs of the Holy Family (the gifts) as Joseph met the needs of his family in Egypt.
  • Righteous – both by the way they lived their lives are righteous (tzaddik).  One was before the Law and the second one was before fulfillment of the Law.
  • Dreams – Joseph of Genesis had and interrupted dreams.  Jesus’s Joseph had dreams and then acted because of them.  Okay, they were different types of dreams.

Tychicus – The Dear Brother

Who Is Tychicus?  He is a friend/disciple of Paul the Apostle.  His name means fortunate (#5190 Strong’s).  In the NIV his name is mentioned five times – Acts 20:4, Ephesians 6:21, Colossians 4:7, 2 Timothy 4:12, and Titus 3:12.  He was from the province of Asia (Turkey).

What We Know He Did

  1. In Acts, he is accompanying Paul to Troas/to Jerusalem.  Gene Edwards has the men in this group as trainees being readied for ministry as Paul spends twenty-seven months in Ephesus.  
  2. In the Books of Ephesians and Colossians, he is a messenger for Paul.  He is praised by Paul as being a dear brother, a faithful servant/minister, and a fellow servant in the Lord.
  3. In the Books of Ephesians and Colossians, he is also serving Paul by informing the Churches with accurate information about Paul’s ministry.
  4. 2 Timothy has Tychicus again going to Ephesus because Paul sent him there for some reason.  I am guessing that this verse is why the book we identify as going to the Ephesus got that name. (My NIV has a footnote that says early copies of that letter did not have a destination point in verse one.)
  5. Paul in his letter to Titus names Tychicus as a possible replacement for Titus on the Isle of Crete. 

Some Good Guesses About Tychicus

In Acts 19 Paul arrives in Ephesus and stays twenty-seven months.  Since Tychicus is part of the group that leaves with Paul as he heads to Jerusalem, it would be safe to say that he was with Paul during some extraordinary times.  He may have even been part of the twelve men who were baptized with the Holy Spirit.  Tychicus would have seen Eutychus raise from the dead.  He may have gotten the Ephesian elders to go to the beach for Paul’s farewell.  And he would have heard the prophecies about Paul being mistreated in Jerusalem.  If I may continue, he may have helped with Paul’s needs while he was imprisoned in Caesarea.

Tychicus did not accompany Paul to Rome in Acts 27.  It is possible that the “Book of Ephesians” was sent at this time so Tychicus may have been on a journey of his own.  I do think he eventually was with Paul in Rome and worked for/with him there.

Why Question the Book of Ephesians?

It was the question of who Ephesians was written too that started this study of Tychicus.  Ephesians 1:15 makes little sense because Paul started the church there.  This verse sounds like Colossians 1:9 and Paul says he never met the Church at Colosse.  Ephesians 3:2 is another verse that makes little sense because the Church at Ephesus would have known this mystery that was given to Paul. 

At the end of the day, it really does not matter who it was written too.  I like the Book of Ephesians!  But throw in what happened to Paul’s letter to the Laodiceans (Colossians 4:16) and the mystery that covers Hebrews, it makes for some good “think time”.  

Reflection – Tychicus is an example of “the seed” hitting “good ground” and producing a crop of which we have benefited from.  He may have gone on to pastor several churches in Asia, but we really do not know.  He was a help to Paul and the Church of his time.

Ruth – Continued

This study of Ruth will overlap other studies I have done, please click on the highlighted links to see them.  I am writing this during the time period called the Counting of the Omer – the days between Passover and Pentecost.  For the Jew these are two Feast that the Lord God gave them to celebrate and remember Him in the celebration.  On the historical side of this thought, it is the time Israel took to go to meet the Lord on Mt. Sinai.  Ruth is set in this period of time as she and Naomi return to the Promised Land during the barley harvest. (Bethlehem means the house of bread.) Because of this connection the study of Ruth in this time period is frequently part of the Counting of the Omer.

It is called the Book of Ruth, but it is also the story of Naomi.  The first chapter is her story and the verses of 4:16 +17 give her a happy ending.  Naomi’s actions are central to the story of Ruth and my musings took me all over the place, which is the reason for this post.   

Family 1 – Naomi shows a “family love” here that is a little foreign to my paradigm.  She inspired a bond with her “daughters” by marriage.  Ruth and Orpah were so attached to Naomi that both of them started out to a strange land without any recorded argument.  Orpah turned back only at Naomi’s urging.  Naomi coached Ruth, as a daughter, in 2:22 and 3:1-4,18.

Ruth’s bond and love for her “mother” have always been a highlight of this story.  “She lived with her mother-in-law” (2:23) is an interesting phrase and that it made it into scripture is equally intriguing.   

Family 2 – The ancient Hebrews/Middle East peoples and some ideas about marriage and family duties that are not accepted or legal today.  The concept, however, is still solid but not carried out with the intensity as it should be – family takes care of the family.  Especially, in times of death to the breadwinner of the family.

Naomi, in Ruth 1:12+13, makes a case to her daughters-in-law for returning to their father’s home.  Naomi is referring to the custom/Law of Moses of a brother marrying his brother’s widow.  Before the Law of Moses this custom is mentioned in Genesis 38:8, Tamar’s husband dies and Judah requires Onan to fulfill the responsibility of a brother.  Deuteronomy 25:5-10 is the inclusion of this in the Law of Moses and the story in Ruth is the practical application of it in real life. The second half of this custom/law is in Boaz’s act of redemption, found in Ruth 4:5.  He reminds the other kinsman that he will get Ruth and be required to maintain the family name/property.

I believe that this whole thought/custom/law came from Genesis 2:23+24 where Adam gives a prophecy concerning the relationship of a husband and wife. The child would belong to the dead husband because he and the wife are ONE.  In noting that thought, right or wrong, Ruth 4:16-22 does list Boaz as David’s descendent in the line of Perez.

Moab – Ruth’s family tree started with the sordid events of Genesis19:30-38.  Lot’s daughters conceive children with him and the older daughter’s child was named Moab.  Moab means “from father”.  

During the Exodus God did not want the Israelites fighting with the Moabites because they were Lot’s family (Deuteronomy 2:9).  They, however, joined into the plan in Numbers 25 to seduce Israel so they would lose God’s favor and protection. So, in Deuteronomy 23:3 Lot’s descendants are forbidden from entering the Temple of the Lord.

If that sounds off to your thinking, you are not alone.  Solomon and David could not enter the Temple because of Ruth!  Okay we know that did not happen.  I do not remember the justification but it is smoothed out in Jewish traditions.  Some translations put the burden on the “father” in Deuteronomy 23:3 which would work because of Boaz being Hebrew.

The Women in the Root – In Matthew there are five women listed in the root of Jess/David/Jesus.  They are an interesting group.  (I have written about many of these ideas in the post below.)  This post I will look at “DNA” additions into Judah/Israel.

  • Sarah, Rachel, and Leah are all family from Terah (Genesis 11:27).
  • Tamar – Genesis 38:27-30 possibly Canaanite
  • Rahab – Canaanite from Jericho
  • Ruth – Family from Terah by Lot
  • Bathsheba – Hebrew
  • Rehoboam’s mother was Ammonite (see Deuteronomy 23:3) she is a descendant of Lot

These are other post about David’s Family

These are the names and their meanings from the Strong’s Concordance/Vines Dictionary.  

  • Elimelech – #458 – God of the king
  • Mahlon – #4248 – sick
  • Kilion -Chilion – #3630 – pining (suffer a mental and physical decline, especially because of a broken heart), destruction
  • Orpah – #6204 – mane, nape or back of the neck, the back, stiff neck 
  • Ruth – #7327 – friend – female associate or neighbor
  • Naomi – pleasant 
  • Boaz – #1162 – uncertain meaning – the name of one of the pillars on the Temple
  • Obed – #5744 – serving 
  • Ephrathites – #673 – fruitless; from the root #6509 to bear fruit or bear fruitful
  • Bethlehem – #1035 – house of bread 
  • Kinsman (KJV) Num. 5:8 -#1350 gaal redeemer, to redeem, 27:11 – #7607 flesh, kin by blood; Ruth 2:1 – #3045 yada, to know/kinsman                        gaal Lev.25:25 redeemer in Deu.19:6/Num.35:19 it is revenger; in Isaiah 41-36 it is God as Redeemer      The pic is from http://www.freebibleimages.org