christine's bible study

The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever. Isa 40:8

genesis 28:10-32:2, vayetze, “and he left”

Read Genesis 28:10-32:2 at Bible Gateway.

"Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go."

Genesis 28:15

(Beginning with this post, I am trying to post the torah portion studies one week ahead, for those who like to study ahead.)

Torah portion vayetze is a single strong paragraph according to the Hebrew paragraph divisions (the teaching tools of scripture explain the teaching tools of hebrew paragraph divisions and chiastic structures):

Gen 28:10-32:2 {p} God fulfills His promise to Jacob

How did I come up with the topic theme of this paragraph, that God fulfilled His promise to Jacob? The single chiastic structure formed by this paragraph reveals it.

I found it interesting that only at the end of this long paragraph, do we have our first strong paragraph division in several chapters. The last strong paragraph division was at the end of Gen 25. So the entire section which God considers teaching a single overarching theme, is:

Gen 26:1-33 {s} Isaac and Abimelech (life of Isaac repeats events from the life of Abraham)
Gen 26:34-35 {s} Esau’s wives
Gen 27:1-28:9 {s} Jacob receives the blessing + Jacob’s wife (Life of Jacob repeats events from the life of Isaac)
Gen 28:10-32:2 {p} God fulfills His promise to Jacob (wives + children + flocks)

It turns out this single strong theme forms its own chiastic structure:

Gen 26:1-32:2
1a) Gen 26:1-33 {s}, God blesses Isaac in the land of his sojourning (Isaac and Abimelech);
1b) Gen 26:34-35 {s}, Esau’s wives;
central axis) Gen 27:1-42, Jacob receives the blessing;
2b) Gen 27:43-28:9 {s}, Jacob’s wife;
2a) Gen 28:10-32:2 {p}, God blesses Jacob in the land of his sojourning (wives + children + flocks).

The mystery of Esau’s wives is solved! Last week we saw that torah portion toledoth formed its own chiastic structure, leaving out the two verses of Gen 26:34-35 concerning Esau’s wives. We speculated at the time that it stood out like a sore thumb because it was a necessary component of a greater chiastic structure. And so it has proven to be.

The greater strong theme of this section seems to be, that God is transferring the blessing, covenant, and promises of Abraham to Isaac, and then to Jacob. Events from Isaac’s life repeat events from Abraham’s life, and events from Jacob’s life repeat events from Isaac’s life. God is revealing that the blessing, covenant, and promises in fact passed from Abraham to Isaac, not Ishmael; and then passed from Isaac to Jacob, not Esau. This reality revealed that the lives of the patriarchs also form an interesting repeating chiastic structure.


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