Posted by: forfreedomalone | 22/01/2019

Muddier? or Clearer?

I was told, today, that I am attempting to turn the clock back for Christians and make them Jews. We don’t need all that Old Testament stuff, we have the New Testament which is FAR more important. Jewish culture doesn’t need to be brought into the equation as it just muddies the waters and makes it harder to understand what the bible is all about and, anyway, all their superstitions and culture based upon false beliefs was what Jesus was attacking anyway!

Well, there we have it.

Let’s have a quick look at a story from the Old (redundant and able to be thrown away) Testament, which is universally mistaught due to lack of ‘Jewish’ cultural understanding and see what we can learn from it. It is the story of Esau and Jacob.

Issac and Rebekah had twins, boys called Esau and Jacob. Esau tried to be born first, but his twin grabbed him, pulling him back into the womb and pushed his way out first. This was not before a quick thinking nurse tied a red thread around Esau’s hand. There was to be no fooling with who was first!

As they grew Jacob was a simple man who lived in tents, spent a great deal of time with his mother, as he was her favourite and was a tricky character. In Hebrew culture one’s ‘name’ is not just a sound which gets one’s attention, it is one’s reputation, or that into which it is expected one will grow. Jacob means, “heel-catcher” and could be seen by his attempts to usurp his brother before they were even born, a close eye had to be kept on Jacob.

Esau, by contrast was a strapping lad. He was a great hunter and, unlike his peely-wally brother, was ruddy in complexion, hairy all over and red haired. Esau means, “hairy”. He had no time for ‘dwelling in tents’ he was out hunting, providing the family with food. He was his father’s favourite.

Before they were born the twins gave Rebekah a very hard time, fighting, kicking and generally going at one another for nine miserable months. God told her that within her womb were two nations who would not follow the natural order of things; the younger would be dominant over the elder. In due course their father came near the end of his life and he had to pronounce the First Born Blessing upon his firstborn son. Knowing that Rebekah had ideas that this should go to Jacob, Issac arranged to see Esau privately to give him his blessing, after he had had some game stew.

This blessing was one part of what went to the firstborn, the other thing was the birthright, but, on an earlier occasion, ravenous from hunting Esau had come home to find his sissy brother making lentil stew (after all cooking was woman’s work) and agreed to give away his birthright for a plate of it. WHAT a schemer Jacob was, not to just give his brother some stew!!

When Esau was off getting goat for the stew, Rebekah and Jacob deceived Issac, stole the blessing to add to the birthright and pulled a fast one on the head of the family and his elder son.

That’s pretty much the story as it is told in Christian circles. 
Jacob is a dirty dealer and Esau the wronged party. Rebekah is a dreadful example of wifely fidelity and poor Issac is just the saddest case around.

Now, let’s add in Hebraic understanding and culture to the story and see what we get.

“Heel catcher” means, “One who will not be defeated”. 
Jacob, dwelt in tents because that is where his father and mother were. He was the son who was dutifully taking care of his parents. His making lentil stew was no sissy activity, it was the role of the eldest of the family at the time of family mourning. Lentil stew or soup is a traditional food eaten in Jewish families in the early days of mourning. We can work out that they were mourning Abraham. During those days of great sadness, the immediate relatives do no work. They would be Parents, Spouse, Siblings, Children, of the deceased. Therefore, Jacob and Esau would be expected to run things during those days. Esau was out hunting (we’ll get back to that in a moment).

Esau, which rightly means, “rough handling” was quite happy to disdain his birthright for food. Jacob did not need to press him to give it up. Esau had no regard for it, yet he was distraught at the loss of the blessing. Why?
Birthright brought all the responsibility, blessing all the power and authority. Esau wanted power and authority, not responsibility. Which takes us back to the “mighty hunter”. There are only two people in the whole Bible referred to as ‘hunters’, Esau and Nimrod. While there is no doubt they hunted game, the word so translated also means “murderer”; they hunted men for sport. The very connection of Esau’s name with Nimrod’s tells us a great deal about him.

The First Born Blessing was to be pronounced in public, that all may know on whom it had been pronounced. Issac, connived with Esau to circumvent this convention and to give him the power and authority quietly. Issac knew this was against what God had said and he also knew it would make ruling very hard as no one would trust a rough man who claimed to have the authority without having seen it handed over.

Jacob was described as a ‘plain’ man, but the Hebrew calls him, ‘peaceable’; not quite the same thing.

Jacob was a man destined by God to rule those who man would think of as his superiors. He was a peaceable man, who took care of his parents (5th commandment) and who took both the responsibility and the authority. Later we will see, in his determination to win his bride, that he laid down his life for her at huge personal cost. Esau went after foreign wives, in direct contradiction of God’s law.

If we put back what anti-Semitic translation and teaching has removed, for centuries, we will see that the picture of Jacob being a type of Yehoshuah is clearer, not muddier.

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