In Chapter 10, before the writer concentrates on the line of Abraham, the names of other nations are recorded. In a similar way in this chapter, before concentration on the family of Jacob, a list of Esau’s descendants is given.
- Jacob and Esau were both sinners. What, however, was the vital and decisive difference between them?
Do we ever read anything similar to 35:1-7 recorded of Esau?
Cf. Heb. 12:16, 17.
- It was foretold before their birth that each of Rebekah’s twin sons would beget a nation (25:23).
Was it the case with the nations, as it was with their progenitors, that the one was chosen of God and the other rejected, and, if so, why?
Cf. Obad. 1-4, 8-10, 17, 18; Mal. 1:2-5.
- What is the importance of the title that Jacob gives to God in verse 20?
How has he named him previously?
See 31:5, 42, 53; 32:9. Cf. Ps. 63:1.
- In the story of this chapter how far did Jacob live up to his new name Israel?
Is it significant that he is still called by the old name?
Recall the terms of his vow in 28:22.
How far does our behavior match our Christian profession and express our new nature?
Cf. Rom. 7:20, 24, 25a.
Note. In other cases of change of name in Scripture the new replaces the old, so we read of Abraham instead of Abram, of Peter instead of Simon (but see John 21:158-17), of Paul instead of Saul. But after Peniel the old name Jacob still occurs seventy times in Genesis, and Israel only forty times.
- Six more years have passed (31; 41).
To what extent is Jacob the deceiver now a changed man?
See 31:6, 38-42. Also, what evidence is there that he has come to a deeper knowledge of God?
See 31:3-13, 42.
- What factors combined to make Jacob sure that God’s time for him to return to Canaan had come?
How was the inevitable opposition of Laban overcome?
What may I learn for my own encouragement from such a record?
Note. 31:42, 53. ‘The Fear of Isaac’: i.e., the God whom Isaac reverently worshipped.