- What qualities in Joseph are shown in this passage?
Try to find at least five.
- How did God make Joseph’s prison experiences work together for good?
Why were victory over temptation, and use of opportunities to prove God and help others, so important at this stage?
- Chapter 38. From what initial false step did all the events of sin and shame originate? What can we learn from this? Cf. Gen. 24:3; 26:34, 35; 27:46-28:4.
- Chapter 39. How did Joseph exemplify the best qualities of his ancestors: the faith and faithfulness of Abraham, the meekness of Isaac, the energy and ability of Jacob, the beauty of Rachel?
- Over what temptations did Joseph win the victory? What was the key to his success?
- What three things specially aroused the envy and hatred of Joseph’s brothers against him?
To what other sins did their envy lead hem?
Cf. Jas. 3:16.
- Can you approve of:
(a) Jacob’s possessive love for Joseph,
(b) his favoritism in his treatment of him,
(c) the unrelieved gloom to which the loss of Joseph led him?
What ought we to learn from such a story?
Note. Verse 3. ‘A richly ornamented robe’: a garment of distinction, perhaps implying freedom from manual toil.
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.
- How did Jacob’s repentance show itself, and how was it rewarded?
Note what personal sorrows accompanied God’s blessings to Jacob.
Cf. Heb. 12:6-11; Ps. 119: 67, 71.
- What actually provoked Jacob’s repentance and what new revelation was given to him after his repentance? What does this record thus demonstrate concerning God’s character and his demands?
Cf. Hos. 14:4-7; 2 Tim. 2:19.
- In this sordid story, which appears the more honourable, Shechem and his father, or the sons of Jacob?
How contrary to 1 Pet. 2:12; 4:15! Cf. 1 Cor.10:12.
- What evidence is there that Jacob left everything to his sons, instead of taking action himself as the head of the family?
When he did finally rebuke them, about what was he chiefly concerned?
What considerations ought to have moved him to think, speak or cat differently?
- 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.