“Mideast Conflict” – One Year Bible Reading – January 12

Old Testament:   Genesis 26:17-27:46

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Genesis 26:17-27:46   Mideast Conflict

Summary:  Well, well: a deep subject, especially when you need water to prosper. God was prospering Isaac making the king’s men jealous so he kept moving further from them. Isaac was pretty worried but God appeared to Him and told him He’d take care of him because of the covenant He had with his father,  Abraham.  Isaac was able to continue to find sources of water.

Jacob, whose name means “supplanter” or “trickster” had already bargained Esau out of his birthright. He felt like he had to fool his father into giving it to him. His mom helped. She recommended he dress up like Esau who was hairy and since his father was elderly and had bad eyesight he could easily be fooled.

When Esau found out, he wanted to kill Jacob. Rebekah told Jacob to abscond to her brother Laban’s place until Esau cooled off. Believe it or not, this is the beginning of the Israeli-Arab conflict. The descendants of Jacob became the Jews and the descendants of Esau became the Arab people.


In Chapter 26:17-35, we see that God was prospering Isaac making the king’s men jealous.  Isaac had a different personality than either his Dad or his son, Jacob.  He was not confrontational.  He kept digging new wells further from Abimelech’s people to maintain the peace (cf. Rom. 12:18).

The first well Isaac’s men dug was named Esek which meant “contention” (v. 20).  The second was named Stinah which meant “enmity” (v. 21).  Finally, they moved further out and dug a well and named it Rehoboth which meant “plenty of room” since no one quarreled over it (v. 22).    

God appeared to Isaac at Beersheba to comfort him and told him to build an altar there.   Yahweh reiterated His oath with Abraham (vv. 23-25).  He built a well at Beersheba which was fitting since Beersheba means “well of the oath” (vv. 23, 33, Shibah means “seven” or “oath”). God was going to keep His covenant with Abraham and bless Isaac who would be able to continue to find sources of water.

Abimelech made peace with Isaac. Perhaps he feared retribution from Isaac for filling in his wells (vv. 15:16).  They pledged to each other that they would continue in peace (v. 31) after they had feasted together (v. 30).

In defiance of Isaac’s faith, Esau married two pagan women once he turned forty (v. 34).  Isaac and Rebekah grieved (v. 35).  Later he marred another third pagan woman (cf. Gen. 28:9).

In Chapter 27, Jacob formally cheats Esau out of his birthright.  He had already made the deal with Esau after trading him for a bowl of red stew.  Here’s how it happened.

Rebekah overheard Isaac ask Esau to catch him some game for some stew knowing Esau was a good hunter.  Isaac was old and his eyesight was failing (v. 2, Ryrie says Isaac was 137 and would live 43 years, cf. 35: 28).  She told Jacob to bring in a couple goats that she could cook up for his father.  She also dressed Jacob up in Esau’s cloths with some goatskins on his hands and neck to make him seem hairy like Esau (vv. 5-17).

Jacob brought the meal to Isaac.  The plot was working.  Though Jacob felt like Esau (vv. 22-23) and smelled like Esau (v. 27), he sounded like Jacob (v. 22).  When Isaac asked Jacob how he made the stew so quickly and why he sounded like Jacob, he outright lied.  Isaac gave him the blessing of the firstborn (vv. 28-29).

When Esau finally came to Isaac and they both realized they had been hoodwinked, Esau yowled like a wolf (v. 34, 38).  Esau said that Jacob had been named right since his name meant “supplanter” (v. 35).  Esau felt like he had been cheated out of both his birthright and his blessing.  In fact, Yahweh had decided that Jacob would receive the birthright of the firstborn and the blessing (Gen. 17:19).  Rebekah and Esau did not have to go through their machinations for Jacob to be blessed and he would later pay for his dishonesty (Gen. 29: 21 -30).

Isaac stated that Esau would serve his brother and would eventually break Jacob’s yoke from his neck (v. 40).  Esau’s descendant’s, the Edomites, would live in an area less fertile than Jacob’s (v. 39, cf. Mal. 1:3).

Esau decided after his father died, he was going to off Jacob (v. 41).  Rebekah caught wind of Esau’s intentions and told Jacob to flee to her brother Laban’s place (v. 43).  Rebekah lied to Isaac that Jacob was leaving to find a wife because she wouldn’t be able to stand another local pagan girl around (v. 46).  Rebekah would never see Jacob again.

New Testament:  Matthew 9:1-17

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Summary:  Jesus made some religious leaders look like fools. A paralyzed man was brought to him and Jesus forgave his sins. The religious leaders said, “hey, you’re acting like you think you’re God.” Then Jesus healed the man, proving He really was God. Boy, did the leaders feel stupid.  Maybe not since they then hassled Jesus about having lowlife sinners follow Him. Jesus told them that sick people need a doctor, meaning the poor and sinners needed Him.  The religious leaders were too proud to trust Him.  Finally, Jesus gave a lesson on how to sew up wineskins but was really saying He was bringing in a new era of grace.

Matthew 9:1-17     Taxing Situations

Jesus came back to His home base, Capernaum (v. 1).  A paralytic was brought to Him to heal but Jesus, instead, said his sins were forgiven (v. 2).  The religious leaders were offended thinking that Jesus had taken the place of God (v. 3).  What they didn’t understand was that Jesus really was God.  Jesus could read their minds (v. 4).  So Jesus asked the religious leaders whether it was easier to tell someone they were forgiven or to say a person could get up and walk (v. 5).  To prove He was Who He appeared to be, Jesus told the paralytic to pick up his palate and go home (v. 6).  So the man got up and went home (v. 7).  This proved to be embarrassing to the religious leaders but the regular people were awestruck that God had worked that way through a Man (v. 8).

Jesus kept traveling on and came to a tax collector’s booth, the office of the author of this gospel, Matthew (v. 9, aka Levi, cf. Mark 2:14, Luke 5:27).  Tax collectors were despised by the Jews since they were themselves Jews who took advantage of the rest of the Jews by collecting their taxes for the Roman government.  They would collect more than the people owed and keep the difference for themselves.  But Jesus must have seen something in Matthew since He called him to be a disciple.

Many of the ceremonially unclean people were hanging at Matthew’s house eating dinner (v. 10).  The religious leaders were offended and asked how such a great teacher could commune with such lowlife (v. 11).  Jesus heard them and said it wasn’t healthy people who needed a doctor but unhealthy people (v. 12).  He was being a bit sarcastic since the religious leaders thought highly of themselves but Jesus knew that they weren’t humble enough to trust Him (cf. Matt. 5:3; James 4:8; 1 Pet. 5:5).  Jesus said He came for humble, unhealthy people (v. 13).

John the Baptist’s disciples asked Jesus why they had to go without eating for religious reasons but Jesus’ disciples didn’t have to go without eating (v. 14).  Jesus told them that the groomsmen didn’t grieve while they were with the bridegroom (v. 15a).  He said when the groom is gone, then the groomsmen grieve (v. 15b).   Jesus explained that no one puts a new patch on old clothes or it’ll rip and be worse than before it was fixed (v. 17).  It was the same with old wine and new wineskins (v. 17a).  New wine was preserved in new wine skins (v. 17b).  He was trying to teach them that there was a new age coming, the church age.

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