Reading 1 - Genesis 31
- It seems that stones, or heaps of stones, were sometimes erected as
a witness. Stone is long lasting. It is there for a long time to keep
a 'watch' (Jegarsahadutha
(Aramaic) and Galeed (Hebrew)
both mean 'watch') over the makers of the vows together. In Josh.24:27,
the rock seems to have been personalised, as if it had ears. So is this
rock a representation of God? Something long-lasting - a memorial stone
to remind them of the vows which they swore there?
- Jacob knew this time would come one day beacuse of his experience with
the dream of the ladder which caused him to receive and repeat the prophecy
of this fact. (ch.28:15,20-22)
the household gods Rachel demonstrates a rather unsavoury aspect of her
character. We tend to think of Rachel, maybe because she was Jacob's favourite
wife, as the more spiritual. However look for aspects of Leah's behaviour
in the next few days which show her spirituality.
The angel, in saying 'lift up now thine eyes and see' he is quoting Genesis
13:14 where an angel asked Abraham to do the same. So the way that Jacob
dealt with the sheep was at the direction of God and in some way related
to the promises that had been made to Abraham.
Genesis 31 - The affairs of these families are related very minutely, while (what are called) the great events of states and kingdoms at that period, are not mentioned. The Bible teaches people the common duties of life, how to serve God, how to enjoy the blessings he bestows, and to do good in the various stations and duties of life. Selfish men consider themselves robbed of all that goes past them, and covetousness will even swallow up natural affection. Men's overvaluing worldly wealth is that error which is the root of covetousness, envy, and all evil. The men of the world stand in each other's way, and every one seems to be taking away from the rest; hence discontent, envy, and discord. But there are possessions that will suffice for all; happy they who seek them in the first place.
Genesis 31:7 - The sheep in Mesopotamia, brought forth their young twice a year; so that every weaning time, which was ten times in five years, Laban made an alteration in Jacob's wages; one time he would let Jacob have only the speckled, and not the ringstraked; another time the ringstraked, and not the speckled; and so changed every time, according as Laban observed the prevailing colour was, as may be concluded from the next verse.
Genesis 31:15 - "Are we not accounted of him strangers?".... Laban their father had not treated his daughters as children, nor even as freeborn persons; but as if they were foreigners that he had taken in war, or bought of others; or at least, that they were born bondmaids in his house, and so had a right to sell them as he had. "....for he hath sold us" - Laban had sold his daughters to Jacob for fourteen years service, as if they had been his slaves, instead of giving dowries with them as his children. "....and hath quite devoured also our money" - that which Laban had got by the servitude of Jacob, instead of giving it back to them as their portion; he spent it on himself and his sons, and there was nothing left for them. Truly Uncle Laban was a serpent, through and through, a real "cheat" [as Jacob's name means].
31:23 - "and pursued after him seven days' journey"
- which must be reckoned, not from Jacob's departure from
Haran, but from Laban's; for Laban being three days' journey from thence,
whither he had to return, after he received the news of Jacob being gone;
Jacob must have travelled six days before Laban set out with his brethren
from Haran; so that this was, the thirteenth day of Jacob's travel;
for Laban not having animals to drive as Jacob did, could travel as fast again as he, and do
that in seven days which took up Jacob thirteen.
"and they overtook him
in the mount Gilead" - This is thought to be three hundred and eighty
miles from Haran. Laban had been thwarted
by Jacob, for his intention was never to let Jacob actually take
possession of that which he had worked so hard for. Though part of the
"Ecclesia" at Haran, Uncle Laban certainly showed himself to be a man
too much in love with this present world.
Reading 2 - Psalm 35
2 - This word
'buckler' seems to feature quite a bit in scripture (eg. Ps.18:2,20,
Ps.91:4(AV)). Here is Ps.35
it represents a special sort of shield that went right round the body.
It was quite hard to handle - 1Chron.5:18,
12:8. It was a shield of extra protection. See
- We have to remember that, as well as encamping round about those that
fear Him, the angels also have work involving the destruction of evil men
actually is prophetic of the Lord Jesus - John
15:25. From the Psalm we see that Jesus was distressed by the evil thoughts
and actions of his opponents.
Psalm 35 - A Psalm of David. This psalm seems to have been written by David, when he was persecuted by Saul; and when many false charges were brought against him by his courtiers; and when he was the scorn and derision of the people; the subject of it is pretty much of the same kind with Psalm 7, and might be written about the same time that was, or at least describing the same occasion. There is a passage in it, Psalm 35:19, which our Lord seems to refer to and apply to Himself, John 15:25.
Psalm 35:2 - "Take hold of shield and buckler, and stand up for mine help." - The shield is a small hand held device, whilst the buckler describes a large body shield. Both these were defensive weapons. "Draw out also the spear" - In contrast, the spear is an offensive weapon. The weapons of our warfare are likewise, defensive and offensive, as we fight the carnal mind in our own lives - but all weapons are useless, except the Lord stand for us.
35:20 - "For they speak not peace" - They seek a quarrel. They are unwilling
to be on good terms with others, or to live in peace with them. The idea
is that they were "disposed" or "inclined" to quarrel. Thus we speak now
of persons who are "quarrelsome." "They devise deceitful matters" - literally, "they think of words of deceit."
That is, they set their hearts on misrepresentation, and they study such
misrepresentations as occasions for strife with others. They falsely represent
my character; they attribute conduct to me of which I am not guilty; they
pervert my words; they state that to be true which never occurred, and
thus they attempt to justify their own conduct. Almost all the quarrels
in the world, whether pertaining to nations, to neighborhoods, to families,
or to individuals, are based on some "misrepresentation" of facts, designed
or undesigned, and could have been avoided if men had been willing to
look at facts as they are, or perfectly understood each other.
"Against them that are quiet in the land" - That are disposed to be quiet, or that
are inclined to live in peace with those around them. The word rendered
"quiet" means literally those who are "timid;" then, those who shrink
back, and gather together from fear; then, those in general who are disposed
to be peaceful and quiet, or who are indisposed to contention and strife.
David implicitly asserts himself to be one of that class; a man who preferred
peace to war, and who had no disposition to keep up a strife with his
Reading 3 - Matthew 20
Are we going out in these last days to find the few that
stand idle and have not been hired. It is certainly the 11th hour (v.9).
If we can hire them now, they can still receive the kingdom with us. We
have a responsibility Rom.10:14-17.
We were all there once Eph.2:12.
Remember the situation Jesus describes at the end in another parable Matt.22:9
The parable of the labourers in the vineyard is directed at the disciples
because of Peter's question [20:27]
about what they would have in the kingdom. The lesson did not sink home
immediately because :20
The mother of Zebedee's children - Mark
10:36 says it was the sons - asked a favour of Jesus which showed that
the parable had not been understood.
the recurring phrase 'first
20:8 :16. The parable of Chapter 20:1-16
was directed to the disciples because of their obsession with greatness
manifest in Chapter 19.
Matthew 20:15 - "Is thine eye evil, because I am good?" - What is an evil eye? The eye is the entrance to the brain. To have ones eyes opened, is to have the brain excited with new information that sheds light upon a problem, Ecclesiastes 11:7. To give someone an "evil eye," is to lower the eyelids and screw up the face in a squint, so as to give someone a "dark look" as we say today. Another saying we have today is "to shoot daggers" at somebody. Jesus is remonstrating with the Pharisees here, because they were always "shooting daggers" at Him, giving Him the evil eye. Why? Because His way of life and words, which were of God or good, showed them up so badly. If they only wanted it, Jesus could heal them of their evil eye, as we see in v30-34, where He healed two [or is it three?] blind men near the town of Jericho.
Matthew 20:33 - "They say unto him, Lord, that our eyes may be
opened" - That is, that their sight might
be restored to them; for being deprived of that, it was all one as if
their eyes were so closed, that they could not open them; and so the recovery
of their sight is expressed
by an opening of them. The opening of the eyes of the blind was prophesied
of, as what should be done in the days of the Messiah, and by Him, as an evidence of His being that person, Isaiah
35:5 which prophecy these blind men might be acquainted with,
and be an encouragement to their faith to expect a cure from Him. They do not ask for alms, but for the recovery
of their sight; which being granted, they would be able to get their bread
in another way; for they were not like some idle persons that choose rather
to be under such a calamity [see
v6], or any other, that they might not be obliged to work with
their hands for a livelihood. Their request shows, that they made no doubt
of it, but firmly believed that Christ was able to do this for them, though
the thing was impossible to be done by man. We therefore, by miracles
such as these, must conclude that He was not a mere man, but also the Son of the living God.