As a quick disclaimer: I have seen your replies and clearly some of you have a heart for God. Others, spend far too much time listening to the doctrines of demons. Know this, unless they block me I will not quit. I write for a world that is filled with people with a heart like mine; one that has learned to err on the side of mercy. Have a great day basking in the love of Jesus Christ our soon coming King.
Now, on with the post.
Having addressed who or what Gog could be in my previous post, we now look at the directive given to Ezekiel to prophecy against Gog (from a great distance, and through time,) about what God's plan is, for the last days.
Ezekiel 38:3 NASB and say, 'Thus says the Lord GOD, "Behold, I am against you, O Gog, prince of Rosh, Meshech and Tubal.
Eugene Peterson's “The Message” gives us this, “Be warned, Gog. I am against you.
Ezekiel 38:4 CJB I will turn you around, put hooks in your jaws and bring you out with all your army, horses and horsemen, all completely equipped, a great horde with breastplates and shields, all wielding swords.
Why would verse four be immensely significant in the Jewish mind?
If you think back to the story of Jonah you remember that Jonah was asked to prophesy against Nineveh and tell them their days were numbered. While that might seem appropriate, especially if you had an intense hatred for the Ninevehites and wanted them dead because they were sadistically cruel and bloody people.
But Jonah also knew something about God that most of us miss, and that was that God's nature was one of mercy. The other thing that Jonah understood was that the Ninevehites were a part of the Assyrian nation, just as Gog is, and they had the nasty habit of dragging their victims back to their lands by putting hooks in their mouths, among other places.
“I will turn you around.”
Another piece of insight for you. Having recently gone to the beach to be with family, I took an ice chest of cold drinks. I dragged that chest from the car, across the beach sand, and now, later in the day, I was dragging it back again. By the time I got to the stairs that lead up to the car, I was exhausted. I could feel the full weight of the ice chest as I went up the first step. Suddenly it got lighter. I actually thought I was going to turn around and see an angel. What I saw was the long-haired young man whom I had just passed carrying a skateboard. My wife, who was about 22 meters behind me, saw the skateboarder and internally had said, Lord, that would be great if that young man helped my husband. With that, the young man stopped, turned, and began to help me without saying a word. You see, God has ways of his will without a word being exchanged; and, the young man, he probably thought it was his great idea.
“and bring you out with all your army, horses and horsemen, all completely equipped, a great horde with breastplates and shields, all wielding swords.”
In one of my posts on Ezekiel 38, I went into great detail about the people of that region, the Scythians. One of their claims to fame is that they were skillful horsemen and deadly with weapons as they rode. Would Ezekiel have known that? It is highly possible as the line of descendants that produced these people existed long before Ezekiel did and he would have learned this through oral history.
At this point, I only wish to say, that someone attempted to challenge my previous assertions about Gog, saying, Gog was Satan. Based upon verse four alone is that probable?
Not likely seeing as 1Chronicles 5:4 shows us the lineage of a man named Gog, a descendant of Reuben – the disinherited son of Jacob, but then, Ezekiel's prophecy and the actual occurrence of these events spans well over two thousand years and no one lives that long. The only other thing that has credence is a demonic spirit/ fallen angel that carries that name.
In this battle coming against Israel, who are the players?
Ezekiel 38:5-6 NASB Persia, Ethiopia and Put with them, all of them with shield and helmet; 6) Gomer with all its troops; Beth-togarmah from the remote parts of the north with all its troops-many peoples with you.
Persia – Modern day Iran
Ethiopia – At one time Ethiopia was known as Cush.
Put - Put is the Libyans. While Qaddafi may have been a wild man, since his removal the nation has turned into a violent Muslim nation.
Gomer - Sits squarely in modern day Turkey.
Beth-togarmah - This was territory from which the Medes emanated. It is the region in which the Armenians resided. At one point in time, the Assyrian nations bordered Beth-togarmah, and it is the Caucasus region between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea. While Russia has dominated these people at times they seem to be independent of Russia while maintaining civil war amongst themselves.
There is a strong clue embedded within the verse that says, “in the far reaches of the north, with all its troops-many peoples are with you." Again, this is the Scythian region and one of their claims to fame was Genghis Khan.
Ezekiel 38:7 CJB Prepare yourself, get ready, you and all your crowd gathered around you; and take charge of them.
Consider something here. Ezekiel is writing this while he is in Babylonian captivity; which for him, began around 570 B.C. Now, over 2570 years later, God is finally bringing this collection of assailants together for a horrendous battle. A battle, that for Israel, will look impossible.
Many will add another war in here, the Psalm 83 war. Some even insert it before the events that Ezekiel lays out before us.
Psalms 83:3-8 ISV They plot against your people and conspire against your cherished ones. 4) They say, "Let us go and erase them as a nation so the name of Israel will not be remembered anymore." 5) Indeed, they shrewdly planned together, forming an alliance against you— 6) the tents of Edom, the Ishmaelites, Moab, the Hagrites, 7) Gebal, Ammon, Amalek, Philistia, and the inhabitants of Tyre. 😎 Even Assyria joined them to strengthen the descendants of Lot. Interlude.
Psalm 83 has similarities to what we see in Ezekiel 38 and 39, but what I don't see is Cush, and Put – Egypt and Libya. I am not sure those nations can be excluded as the descendants traveled extensively.
Ezekiel 38:8 CJB After many days have passed, you will be mustered for service; in later years you will invade the land which has been brought back from the sword, gathered out of many peoples, the mountains of Isra'el. They had been lying in ruins for a long time, but now Isra'el has been extracted from the peoples and all of them are living there securely.
“After many days have passed,”
Far too many read this and think it merely means weeks later. This phrase, like “the prince that shall come,” that is defined for us in Daniel 9:26, has several encroachments into history. The problem is, these intrusions are spread across thousands of years.
Many is the Hebrew word rab meaning much, many, numerous, and abundance, among others.
Verse eight is clearly a description of Israel.
Ezekiel 38:9 CJB You will come up like a storm, you will be like a cloud covering the land—you and all your troops, and many other peoples with you.'
“You will come up like a storm,”
Sudden and overwhelming. Are all storms sudden? No, in many cases people will say, this is storm weather and it always starts like this. So, the implication is that we have a strong probability of knowing when this will come. Just today (6/29/2018), through the MEMRI website, I learned of a Middle Eastern newspaper that leans heavily toward Erdoğan, publishing an article calling for the Muslim of the world to gather in Jihad against Israel (this article was published in Dec of 2017 – not that long ago. An aspect of the article was a map which showed Israel surrounded on every side with army tanks. Surrounded on every side sounds very much like Ezekiel's words.
“you will be like a cloud covering the land.” - Clouds are formed by thousands of drops of water. We are told that the number seems innumerable.
“you and all your troops, and many other peoples with you.” - These are people of a like mind – Muslims may not be unified in “religion” but they all seem to understand the idea of Jihad.
Ezekiel 38:10-12 CJB "Adonai Elohim says: 'When that day comes, thoughts will well up in your mind, and you will devise a sinister scheme. 11) You will say, "I am going to invade this land of unwalled villages; I will take by surprise these people who are at peace, living securely, all in places without walls, bars or gates. 12) I will seize the spoil and take the plunder." You will attack the former ruins that are now inhabited and come against the people gathered from the nations, who have acquired livestock and other wealth and are living in the central parts of the land.
“ When that day comes,” - Question, does God do anything at random? The answer is NO, as everything is part of a precise and well thought out plan; a plan which includes giving man a free will and the opportunity to choose life or death.
Regardless of the optional qualities, the plan is still in place and intact. So, is it possible that God would leave the option for Gog to design and plan out “his” own destiny? Not a chance and verse ten is no different, as “that day” is entirely in God's hands, and, a part of God's plan.
Another consideration is the terminology “that day.” The phrase is attributed to several events; one of which is the return of Jesus as the warring and conquering Messiah, who also fights a bloody battle in the Jezreel Valley; there is the great white throne judgment and the entirety of the seven-years of God's wrath upon the earth.
Are any of those events what we are looking at here? I do not believe so as there are always other events associated, which we do not see here.
“thoughts will come into your mind and you will devise an evil plan,” -
The Hebrew word for thoughts is dāḇār and literally means words. I could read this when that day comes, words will pop into your head, you are going to think this is your sinister scheme, but in reality, you will be doing what I have planned all along.
Mind is the Hebrew word lēḇāḇ and also means heart. In God's understanding, the heart and the mind are one in the same.
Devise is from the Hebrew word châshab and means to weave, fabricate, or plot.
“You will say, "I am going to invade this land of unwalled villages; I will take by surprise these people who are at peace, living securely, all in places without walls, bars or gates. 12) I will seize the spoil and take the plunder.”
The context of Deuteronomy 3:5 is applied to Israel's conquer of Og, the King of Bashan. Having destroyed Og's fortified cities they were never rebuilt by Israel. It also demonstrates that cities were typically fortresses; this is not what you see in Israel today.
Deuteronomy 3:3-6 NASB "All these were cities fortified with high walls, gates, and bars, besides a great many unwalled towns.
Zechariah 2:4 NASB and said to him, "Run, speak to that young man, saying, 'Jerusalem will be inhabited without walls because of the multitude of men and cattle within it.
I like the way the ISV version translates Ezekiel 38:12, “the people … who live at the center of the world's attention.” Currently, all the world seems to be looking at Israel, once again. Whether Israel is at the center of the world or not is debatable, but God is making that nation the center of attention.
And, although we have not covered the verse yet, it sums up the reason behind all this tumult.
Ezekiel 38:16 ERV...I will bring you to fight against my land. Then, Gog, the nations will learn how powerful I am! They will learn to respect me and know that I am holy.
I was asked by my pastor why I study eschatology (end times events.) Ignoring the negativity of a challenge like this, I find that "end times events" are tied in with almost everything I read in scripture. Ezekiel 38 and 39 is such an event, as it speaks of a horrific situation that may happen at any minute.
Try opening a conversation about what you find in Ezekiel 38 and 39 and the eyes of your audience will glaze over and you can watch them begin to look at their watches, wondering if there isn't somewhere else they need to go. There are reasons behind this lack of interest, and they stem from confusion; a lack of understanding; the inability of the speaker to put flesh and blood on the characters; and, the worst part is that there is a veil over the eyes and ears of the hearer so that they cannot comprehend. Along with those factors, there is a multitude of answers as to who the players are and when this event will take place. Ambiguity plays a role in the disinterest because an honest dissertation of an end-times scenario will typically put you in the ballpark, perhaps even provide the audience with the team name, but at this point, I am not sure we specifically say who the main characters are. Furthermore, two simple sentences can inspire books of commentary. I am going to try and condense but still give you an understanding of this prophecy.
An introduction to Ezekiel:
He was a priest, the son of a priest, and he was taken captive into Babylon. Already, you should be thinking, odds are not in his favor. Ezekiel was one of the few that give us precise dates.
According to Dr. John Gill's commentary, chapter 38 gives an account of "an enemy of the Jews, under the name of Gog, that shall invade their land, and disturb their peace after they are settled in it;"
J. Vernon McGee, in his commentary, demonstrates some classic old-school thinking as he tells us the theme of Ezekiel 38 is Russia's invasion of Israel. McGee is making his case for Gog to be Russia.
I happen to think McGee's assessment is wrong and we should not be focused on the Russian President Putin. You have to keep in mind what was going on in the world that would have inspired the McGee's particular emphasis on Russia in his commentary. For example, The United States was deeply entrenched in the Korean war; the Vietnam conflict, with the cold war with Russia waiting just around the corner. I too assumed that Russia would be one of the major players (and no doubt they are, but we are trying to think biblically while paying attention to the context.) as we lived with the verified threat of Russian missiles 90 miles off our coast in Cuba - a Russian ally, as children.
The Summarized Bible commentary conveys that “God does not only see those who are now the enemies of His people, but foresees those who will be so in the last days, and lets them know by His Word that He is against them, and will make their movements to serve His own purposes.”
I know, every generation has had those that have said, "we are in the last days," and I would tell you that they were right.
Now how would I come to the understanding that every generation comprehended that we are in the last days?
Daniel chapter 9, spells out a seventy-week decree against Israel. Sixty-nine of those weeks have been fulfilled. The seventieth week of years (7years) has been on hold for over 2000 years. Therefore, we, the church, have been in the last days for over 2000 years.
Peter, on the day of Pentecost, filled with Holy Spirit, preached to the thousands milling about the streets of Jerusalem that day. An aspect of what Peter said came from Joel chapter 2 which speaks about the time of God's wrath which the seventieth year portrays. However, within that period, people are acting out in the power of the Holy Spirit as the prophets of old did. Peter said this part of Joel's prophecy had been fulfilled in your hearing.
What did he say? We are living in the last days.
Since the last days seems to be very focused on the seven-years of wrath, are we, at the moment, living in the seventieth week? No, and that will not come until the church is removed from the earth. 2 Thessalonians 2:6-8
The NASB opens our look into Ezekiel 38 with:
Prophecy Against Gog
Ezekiel 38:1-2 NASB And the word of the LORD came to me saying, 2) "Son of man, set your face toward Gog of the land of Magog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal, and prophesy against him
Note how the passage provided has no appropriate punctuation at the end. That is because the thought continues and we will pursue that shortly. But for the moment let's dissect the verses.
“Son of man,” Is there any question as to whom the Lord is talking? The answer is Ezekiel.
“set your face toward Gog of the land of Magog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal, and prophesy against him,” Okay, what just happened? Ezekiel was told to prophesy against two entities:
Gog; this person also happens to be the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal.
And, the land of Magog; If Ezekiel is told to prophesy against him, and "him" includes the land, then we should be considering the possibility that this is:
A nation? A people group? A demonic operation that controls a people group? As I try to understand, I turn my attention to my concordances and look up the word Gog.
BDB Definition: Gog = “mountain” - A Reubenite, the son of Shemaiah (1 Ch 5:4); The prophetic prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal, and Magog (Read Ezekiel 32)
Strong's concordance merely adds Gog, the name of an Israelite.
The KJC keeps us in Ezekiel with one exception: 1 Chronicles 5:1-4 MKJV And the sons of Reuben, the first-born of Israel (for he was the first-born; but since he defiled his father's bed, his birthright was given to the sons of Joseph the son of Israel, and the genealogy is not to be counted according to the birthright; 2) For Judah prevailed among his brothers, and from him came the chief ruler, but the birthright was Joseph's); 3) the sons of Reuben the first-born of Israel: Hanoch, and Pallu, Hezron, and Carmi. 4) The sons of Joel: Shemaiah his son, Gog his son, and Shimei, his son.
The dishonor carried by the family due to Reuben's indiscretion, which excluded them from any rights of birth, surely plays a role in all of this.
The Word Study Dictionary tells us this about Gog:
He is pictured as a great enemy against God's people. Ezekiel 38:9 NASB "You will go up, you will come like a storm; you will be like a cloud covering the land, you and all your troops, and many peoples with you."
He is from the land of Magog or possibly "from the land of Gog." Gog. i.e., mountain, in reference to the Caucasus mountains, the chief seat of the Scythian people. Note: Rather, "Gog (the prince) of the land of Magog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal." The Ultimate Cross-Reference Treasury
The Lord sets Himself against Gog (Eze_38:2). Gog will lead a coalition of nations against God's people who are then dwelling securely in the land of Israel (Eze_38:14-16).
With the addition of the words, God's people who are then dwelling securely in ...Israel. They have turned this so that we are looking at the church and not Israel, which is incorrect.
But God, in fact, will bring Gog forth and will destroy him and his people. Ezekiel 39:1-2; Ezekiel 38:19-23
The Lord spoke about this through other prophets (Eze_38:17-18). Ezekiel 38:17 MKJV So says the Lord Jehovah: Are you he of whom I have spoken in former days, by the hand of My servants the prophets of Israel, who prophesied in those days and years that I would bring you against them?
The multitudes of Gog will be buried in the Valley of Hamon Gog, that is, "multitudes of Gog" (Eze_39:11), Ezekiel 39:11 CJB " 'When that day comes, I will give Gog a place there in Isra'el for graves, the Travelers' Valley, east of the sea; and it will block the travelers' passage. There they will bury Gog and all his horde, and they will rename it the Valley of Hamon-Gog [horde of Gog].
The Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature informs us that: They are the name of a mixed race dwelling in the extreme north, comprehended by the Greeks under the name of the Scythians; (2.) to the center and representative of their race, i.e. their king (Ezekiel 38:39). Gog comes forth from the distant north (Eze_38:15-23; Eze_39:2), ... And, if you are stickler for history - Interpreters have given very different explanations of the terms Gog and Magog; but they have generally understood them as symbolical expressions for the heathen nations of Asia, or more particularly for the Scythians, a vague knowledge of whom seems to have reached the Jews in Palestine about that period. Thus Josephus (Ant. 1:6, 3) has dropped the Hebrew word Magog, and rendered it by Σκύθαι;
See attachment - Classic Bible Maps, The World as known to the Hebrews
Of the maps, I looked at to better understand this ancient classic version shows me more and divergent details than any other map, as it points out Gog and Magog, and where they were located. I have also provided a link to Wikipedia which continues to fill in the blanks in understanding and prophecy with highly detailed information about the Scythians. Because of the quantity of information found there, which all seems important, I am only going to suggest that the interested pursue that there. [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scythians]
As you read the information, consider where Gog might come from. It may help you to understand more clearly how the Turkish "president" Recep Tayyip Erdoğan might best fill the role of Gog.
Just for the fun of it, I searched the internet to find out if Genghis Khan could have been a Scythian. The Headline read, “Not Just Genghis Khan - Scythians Show Genetic Blending With Europe 2,000 Years Ago.” http://www.science20.com/news_articles/not_just_genghis_khan_scythians_show_genetic_blending_europe_2000_years_ago-96314
Here is was I gather so far.
Gog, from the disinherited family line of Reuben, moves North and becomes a nomadic mounted and warring nation known as the Scythians. They ranged into China, Siberia, Egypt, Asia Minor and as far south as the Northern African nations, however, they seem to be centrally located around Turkey and the Caspian Sea. They are heavily influenced and integrated by the surrounding nations such as Persia, Syria, and the Caucasus regions. They conquered Nineveh, the Assyrians, and the Medes. Having relations as violent as Genghis Khan one can assume that slaughter was their general theme. This is the people that God sees as one of Israel's few remaining thorns in the flesh.
I introduced a section within my first post in this series, as one of the most unbelievable scenarios you could read. In that section you have Rebekah and Jacob pulling off the deception of a lifetime, as Isaac is tricked into believing that Jacob was Esau merely by strapping a piece of sheepskin on Jacob's arm. I have to ask, have you ever seen sheep? They exceed the hair of man about 100 to one.
While most would have run for their lives but not Jacob; and, I cannot give you any good reason why? As you see in Genesis 28:6-7, Isaac, after the deception, has instructed Jacob not to take a wife from the daughters of Canaan. After hearing this Jacob leaves toward Haran in order to comply and his mother goes with him. What just happened?
Watch what Esau does.
Genesis 28:6-7 NASB Now Esau saw that Isaac had blessed Jacob and sent him away to Paddan-aram to take to himself a wife from there, and that when he blessed him he charged him, saying, "You shall not take a wife from the daughters of Canaan," 7) and that Jacob had obeyed his father and his mother and had gone to Paddan-aram.
This is the first time I noticed this aspect of the story. Note how it says, “and that Jacob had obeyed his father and his mother and had gone to Paddan-aram.” When you think about the reality of the situation and how furious Isaac should have been at Rebekah, then it makes all the sense in the world for her to with Jacob. Besides that, she may need to make the introductions and marriage arrangements for this favorite of sons.
Esau, on the other hand, seeing how irritated his mother became about the women he married, (This is the same mother who deceived Isaac his father, and helped to cheat him out of his rightful inheritance,) went out and found himself a few more.
Genesis 28:8-9 NASB So Esau saw that the daughters of Canaan displeased his father Isaac; 9) and Esau went to Ishmael, and married, besides the wives that he had, Mahalath the daughter of Ishmael, Abraham's son, the sister of Nebaioth.
This next section focuses entirely on a dream that Jacob had.
Indeed, it was a very vivid dream, in a manner similar to the dream that Abram had, it was as close to reality as you can come. You have to wonder how much understanding Jacob had about God, or where he got that understanding. The only thing we see is Isaac praying to the Lord in chapter 25. Isaac, being the son of Abraham, I can understand how and where he learned of the Lord, but the apparent influence on Jacob is not seen.
Genesis 25:21-23 NASB Isaac prayed to the LORD on behalf of his wife, because she was barren; and the LORD answered him and Rebekah his wife conceived. 22) But the children struggled together within her; and she said, "If it is so, why then am I this way?" So she went to inquire of the LORD. 23) The LORD said to her, "Two nations are in your womb; And two peoples will be separated from your body; And one people shall be stronger than the other; And the older shall serve the younger."
Jacob's Dream - Genesis 28:10-22
But first Jacob has to kneel before his father, apparently at his father's demand.
Genesis 28:1 NASB So Isaac called Jacob and blessed him and charged him, and said to him, "You shall not take a wife from the daughters of Canaan.
This is the second time Jacob has been blessed, however, Isaac is well aware of the deceitful methods that were used on him. Without going any farther, I already see a prime example of the nature and character of God, as Isaac overlooks the “sin” and bestows a purposeful blessing upon Jacob.
Blessed is the Hebrew word bāraḵ: A verb meaning to bless, kneel, salute, or greet. The verb derives from the noun knee and perhaps suggests the bending of the knee in blessing.
Would we expect to see Isaac kneeling before Jacob at this point?
Not a chance, so it is Jacob, this time with intention, kneeling before his father.
Do you think it is possible that Isaac could bring some punishment upon this son?
No, and again, this is an example of God's grace, as we too, caught in our sins, deserved punishment, but what happened? The Son Jesus took all punishment on our behalf.
I am well aware that I have no key character, in this scenario, that takes the punishment for Jacob. What I do see, is Jacob suffering abuse, at not only the hand of Laban but his own sons when we get to them.
Pay attention to what Isaac tells Jacob.
Perspective: The flood has come and gone, and, with it, should have been the giants and the evil and violence that were associated not just with them, but people in general. And, secondly, this has taken place before Moses and prior to the law.
Is that what happened?
Not exactly, for men still had the right to choose how they would live, and the giants returned. Genesis 6:4 tells us that afterward, they showed up again. After what? The flood.
“The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward when the sons of God came in to the daughters of men, and they bore children to them. Those were the mighty men who were of old, men of renown.” Genesis 6:4 NASB
Two pieces of evidence for giants after the flood comes from Numbers 13:33 and 2Samuel 21:16, both of which speak of giants still permeating the land. Canaan was one of those places and we learn of it when Israel sent 12 men to spy out the Land of Canaan.
“You shall not take a wife from the daughters of Canaan.”
Do a word search and the first place Canaan shows up is in Genesis 9.
Genesis 9:18-27 NASB Now the sons of Noah who came out of the ark were Shem and Ham and Japheth; and Ham was the father of Canaan. 19) These three were the sons of Noah, and from these the whole earth was populated. 20) Then Noah began farming and planted a vineyard. 21) He drank of the wine and became drunk, and uncovered himself inside his tent. 22) Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brothers outside. 23) But Shem and Japheth took a garment and laid it upon both their shoulders and walked backward and covered the nakedness of their father; and their faces were turned away, so that they did not see their father's nakedness. 24) When Noah awoke from his wine, he knew what his youngest son had done to him. 25) So he said, "Cursed be Canaan; A servant of servants He shall be to his brothers." 26) He also said, "Blessed be the LORD, The God of Shem; And let Canaan be his servant. 27) "May God enlarge Japheth, And let him dwell in the tents of Shem; And let Canaan be his servant."
Notice how Canaan is pointed out as the son of Ham; this is not a favorable distinction.
Genesis 28:2 NASB "Arise, go to Paddan-aram, to the house of Bethuel your mother's father; and from there take to yourself a wife from the daughters of Laban your mother's brother.
The town of Bethuel gained it's origins in a man, as was the case with every city.
Genesis 22:20-23 NASB Now it came about after these things, that it was told Abraham, saying, "Behold, Milcah also has borne children to your brother Nahor: 21) Uz his firstborn and Buz his brother and Kemuel the father of Aram 22) and Chesed and Hazo and Pildash and Jidlaph and Bethuel." 23) Bethuel became the father of Rebekah; these eight Milcah bore to Nahor, Abraham's brother.
So here is your ancestry moment, It was told, Abraham:
Milcah also has borne children to your brother Nahor
Uz his firstborn and Buz his brother and Kemuel the father of Aram 22) and Chesed and Hazo and Pildash and Jidlaph and Bethuel."
Kemuel produces a son Aram. Note the similarities to Paddan-aram!
The son to be born to Nahor is Bethuel.
Bethuel became the father of Rebekah
Rebekah is the wife of Isaac, the mother of Esau and Jacob. This also means that Bethuel became the father of Laban.
Jacob, still kneeling before his father Isaac, receives all these instructions and blessings; as though what he stole was not enough.
Genesis 28:3-5 NASB "May God Almighty bless you and make you fruitful and multiply you, that you may become a company of peoples. 4) "May He also give you the blessing of Abraham, to you and to your descendants with you, that you may possess the land of your sojournings, which God gave to Abraham." 5) Then Isaac sent Jacob away, and he went to Paddan-aram to Laban, son of Bethuel the Aramean, the brother of Rebekah, the mother of Jacob and Esau.
“ May God Almighty bless you and make you fruitful and multiply you, that you may become a company of peoples.”
“May He also give you the blessing of Abraham, to you and to your descendants with you, that you may possess the land of your sojournings, which God gave to Abraham.”
What were the blessings of Abraham?
Genesis 12:1-3 NASB Now the LORD said to Abram, "Go forth from your country, And from your relatives And from your father's house, To the land which I will show you; 2) And I will make you a great nation, And I will bless you, And make your name great; And so you shall be a blessing; 3) And I will bless those who bless you, And the one who curses you I will curse. And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed."
Genesis 17:6-8 NASB "I will make you exceedingly fruitful, and I will make nations of you, and kings will come forth from you. 7) "I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your descendants after you. 8) "I will give to you and to your descendants after you, the land of your sojournings, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God."
I will make you a great nation
I will bless you
and make your name great
I will bless those that bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse.
In you, all the families of the earth will be blessed.
I will make you exceedingly fruitful
and I will make nations of you
kings will come forth from you
I will establish my covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you … for an everlasting covenant.
Be a God to you and to your descendants.
And, I will give you and your descendants … all the land of Canaan for an everlasting possession.
So, tell me, is this what you say to someone who has just deceived you? And yet, this is exactly what Isaac just did. “May He also give you the blessing of Abraham, to you and to your descendants with you, that you may possess the land of your sojournings, which God gave to Abraham.”
Genesis 28:10-11 NASB Then Jacob departed from Beersheba and went toward Haran. 11) He came to a certain place and spent the night there because the sun had set; and he took one of the stones of the place and put it under his head, and lay down in that place.
Haran, isn't that the place where Abram was and God told him to go to a land that He would show him? Yes, it is. But it is also the place where so many things will take place, and now Jacob is going there to find himself a wife. Fortunately, Jacob has his mommy with him to make the introductions; although we are not told that, it works for the moment.
Genesis 11:26-31 NASB Terah lived seventy years, and became the father of Abram, Nahor and Haran. 27) Now these are the records of the generations of Terah. Terah became the father of Abram, Nahor and Haran; and Haran became the father of Lot. 28) Haran died in the presence of his father Terah in the land of his birth, in Ur of the Chaldeans. 29) Abram and Nahor took wives for themselves. The name of Abram's wife was Sarai; and the name of Nahor's wife was Milcah, the daughter of Haran, the father of Milcah and Iscah. 30) Sarai was barren; she had no child. 31) Terah took Abram his son, and Lot the son of Haran, his grandson, and Sarai his daughter-in-law, his son Abram's wife; and they went out together from Ur of the Chaldeans in order to enter the land of Canaan; and they went as far as Haran, and settled there.
Note this: “Terah took Abram his son, and Lot the son of Haran, his grandson, and Sarai his daughter-in-law, his son Abram's wife; and they went out together from Ur of the Chaldeans in order to enter the land of Canaan; and they went as far as Haran, and settled there.
It seems God has His hands in everything, doesn't it?
“He came to a certain place and spent the night there because the sun had set;”
Genesis 28:19 NASB He called the name of that place Bethel; however, previously the name of the city had been Luz.
“And he took one of the stones of the place and put it under his head, and lay down in that place.”
Genesis 28:18-22 NASB So Jacob rose early in the morning, and took the stone that he had put under his head and set it up as a pillar and poured oil on its top. 19) He called the name of that place Bethel; however, previously the name of the city had been Luz. 20) Then Jacob made a vow, saying, "If God will be with me and will keep me on this journey that I take, and will give me food to eat and garments to wear, 21) and I return to my father's house in safety, then the LORD will be my God. 22) "This stone, which I have set up as a pillar, will be God's house, and of all that You give me I will surely give a tenth to You."
God's house? This statement is immensely significant, and so is this, “and of all that You give me I will surely give a tenth to You.”
Without any motivation of “law,” Jacob has made a commitment to tithe.
What is it that makes us decide to trust and believe, not just God, but people?
Everything we do as followers of Christ is wrapped around faith, the essence of trust and belief. However, there is added disincentive in the story of Rahab in that these two men who may have entered her house under false pretenses, have now enlightened her that they are spies; that her life is now in danger from the spies and the guards of Jericho. They point out that her only reasonable choice is to hide them, and she does.
For us, there is a sudden awareness that her faith in this unknown god and her desire to be rescued by Him has become challenged. What does this added incentive do to your belief system?
Ponder once again what Rahab tells the two Israeli spies.
Joshua 2:9-10 NASB and said to the men, "I know that the LORD has given you the land, and that the terror of you has fallen on us, and that all the inhabitants of the land have melted away before you. 10) "For we have heard how the LORD dried up the water of the Red Sea before you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to the two kings of the Amorites who were beyond the Jordan, to Sihon and Og, whom you utterly destroyed.
At first, it is deeply personal as she says, “ I know that the LORD has given you the land and that the terror of you has fallen on us,” This paragraph has belief and fear written all over it. While I, Rahab, know that the Almighty has his hand on you, there is a profound and genuine concern on the part of the entire city for their safety, lives, and mine as well.
Joshua 2:11 NASB "When we heard it, our hearts melted and no courage remained in any man any longer because of you; for the LORD your God, He is God in heaven above and on earth beneath.
Does fear promote belief? I know it does not work for me. I may, under duress, comply out of concern for the safety of my family and myself, but I will never come to admire and possibly love you, as Rahab did.
The reality is that God's most significant impact on our faith is through signs. The idea that God is okay with that, comes from the verse where she recaps the two notable stories of which the people Jericho were aware. “We have heard how the LORD dried up the water of the Red Sea before you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to the two kings of the Amorites who were beyond the Jordan, to Sihon and Og, whom you utterly destroyed.”
It is rapidly becoming evident that Rahab is a smart woman. You don't last long in such a business without the skills of a spy yourself, and she, therefore, strikes a bargain.
Joshua 2:12-13 NASB "Now therefore, please swear to me by the LORD, since I have dealt kindly with you, that you also will deal kindly with my father's household, and give me a pledge of truth, 13) and spare my father and my mother and my brothers and my sisters, with all who belong to them, and deliver our lives from death."
The men hear her out and respond with the words she needs to hear.
Joshua 2:14 NASB So the men said to her, "Our life for yours if you do not tell this business of ours; and it shall come about when the LORD gives us the land that we will deal kindly and faithfully with you."
Having received a promise of protection, and trusting their word, she provides them with a way of escape. I am going to do something peculiar here, and verse 15 last because I cannot see any practicality to her shouting additional instructions to the men as they rappel down the wall from her window.
Joshua 2:15-21 NASB 16) She said to them, "Go to the hill country, so that the pursuers will not happen upon you, and hide yourselves there for three days until the pursuers return. Then afterward you may go on your way." 17) The men said to her, "We shall be free from this oath to you which you have made us swear, 18) unless, when we come into the land, you tie this cord of scarlet thread in the window through which you let us down, and gather to yourself into the house your father and your mother and your brothers and all your father's household. 19) "It shall come about that anyone who goes out of the doors of your house into the street, his blood shall be on his own head, and we shall be free; but anyone who is with you in the house, his blood shall be on our head if a hand is laid on him. 20) "But if you tell this business of ours, then we shall be free from the oath which you have made us swear."
15) Then she let them down by a rope through the window, for her house was on the city wall so that she was living on the wall.
21) She said, "According to your words, so be it." So she sent them away, and they departed, and she tied the scarlet cord in the window.
The bargaining is completed. Rahab lets them out through a window and uses the same scarlet cord to signal Israel's troops that hers is a safe house.
Suddenly it occurs to me. While the scarlet color may have been associated with her profession, it now represented that scarlet blood that saves us all. Few realize what took place. Consider also the tremendous significance, as Jesus was three days and nights in death, so to the scarlet rope hung from that window. Our redemption through Jesus was signaled all throughout this book we call the Bible, and today, I saw it.
What would have happened had the townsfolk of Jericho saw that cord suddenly hanging there? With the armed militia out chasing the spies, did the town now feel safe? I doubt it. The city may have gone on lock-down. How did this rope go unnoticed? That can only be God.
Did Rahab and her family demonstrate a strong faith in this God of Israel, and were therefore saved?
We don't know any of that. Rahab took a chance and pitched her case, knowing full well that they could turn against her. If what she says is true, then the people within Jericho comprehend the threat that Israel poses. Finding out that two Israeli spies have infiltrated the city just raises the threat level exponentially. The result of the increased threat level is that the family, which may have treated her as an outcast, hurriedly gathered survival supplies and joined Rahab in her home.
Joshua 2:23-24 NASB Then the two men returned and came down from the hill country and crossed over and came to Joshua the son of Nun, and they related to him all that had happened to them. 24) They said to Joshua, "Surely the LORD has given all the land into our hands; moreover, all the inhabitants of the land have melted away before us."
Safely back at camp, they related all that had happened. What a story. Oh, and by-the-way Joshua, there is one more thing you might find interesting - “Surely the LORD has given all the land into our hands; moreover, all the inhabitants of the land have melted away before us.” At least that is what Rahab told us.
Melted – is the Hebrew word moog, meaning to melt; literally (to soften, flow down, disappear), or figuratively (to fear, faint).
Since this is a character study on Rahab, I am going to bypass much of the detail involved in the attack on Jericho. It is admittedly fascinating to learn how Jericho's walls fell. Having seen pictures of the archaeological digs at Jericho, it becomes apparent that they went straight down into the ground. Except for one spot, that portion that Rahab lived in. Joshua 6:20
The NASB states that the wall fell flat. What does that mean? The Hebrew word is taḥaṯ: A preposition meaning under, beneath; in place of. It indicates a position below or underneath some other reference point.” Word Study Dictionary.
While the word flat is indeed an option, how do you explain under, beneath or a position below, especially when the passage goes on to say that every man walked straight ahead?
We don't return to Jericho in the book of Joshua until chapter six. In the meantime, circumcisions have been performed, and Israel has passed through the Jordan on dry land, just as they did the Red Sea. This time they placed a large mound of stones to commemorate God's goodness and what a coincidence that a large mound of stones has been located in the Sea of Galilee.
I suppose the obvious thing to consider here, is that much time has passed and that scarlet cord is probably still hanging out that window.
Joshua 6:21-23 NASB They utterly destroyed everything in the city, both man, and woman, young and old, and ox and sheep and donkey, with the edge of the sword. 22) Joshua said to the two men who had spied out the land, "Go into the harlot's house and bring the woman and all she has out of there, as you have sworn to her." 23) So the young men who were spies went in and brought out Rahab and her father and her mother and her brothers and all she had; they also brought out all her relatives and placed them outside the camp of Israel.
How befitting that the young men who made the agreement should go and gather Rahab and her family.
“Rahab and her father and her mother and her brothers and all she had; they also brought out all her relatives and placed them outside the camp of Israel.”
Albert Barnes commentary states, “These words literally “made to rest outside the camp of Israel” - indicate that being still in their paganism, they were separated from the camp of the Lord. This was only for a time. They desired, and eventually obtained, admission to the covenant of the chosen people of God.”
Another instance where we have no details. We know nothing about paganism, but it is probably safe to assume. Since Rahab seems to have a faith in this God she knows little about, we shall see her come to understanding and acceptance.
Joshua 6:25 NASB However, Rahab the harlot and her father's household and all she had, Joshua spared; and she has lived in the midst of Israel to this day, for she hid the messengers whom Joshua sent to spy out Jericho.
And everyone lived happily ever after, well, I would hope so. Sadly we live in reality, but there are three other passages I want you to see.
In spelling out the Jewish heritage of Jesus, the gospel of Matthew includes Rahab.
Matthew 1:5 NASB Salmon was the father of Boaz by Rahab, Boaz was the father of Obed by Ruth, and Obed the father of Jesse.
Boaz, if you remember, owned the land in which Ruth had been directed to work by Naomi, her mother in law. Boaz buys the right to marry Ruth, and they produced a child named Obed, and Obed became the father of Jesse, the father of David.
Rahab is found in Hebrews 11 because of her faith.
Hebrews 11:31 NASB By faith Rahab the harlot did not perish along with those who were disobedient after she had welcomed the spies in peace.
And lastly, as an example of how faith works, we have the writings of James.
James 2:24-25 NASB You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone. 25) In the same way, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way?
Understanding the ramifications, Rahab accepted the spies, protected them, and sent them safely on their way. So, Rahab then becomes an example for us, of faith and how it works.