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Bible In A Year: Day 14

Holy Bible

Bible In A Year: Day 14

Readings:
Genesis 33
Psalm 12
Mathew 12

Jacob gets word that Esau is approaching with a company of 400 men, and in his mind this can only mean bad news. He splits his family into groups, with the concubines and their children at the head and then Leah and her children, and at the rear is his favorite wife and her only son. I guess this was a shrewd tactic thinking that if it came to violence perhaps Esau’s band would tire of killing by the time they got to Rachel and Joseph at the rear? I don’t know, but I bet the memory of being put out front in a dangerous situation didn’t sit well with the other brothers and could possibly be the very beginning of their resentment towards Joseph that will come to a head a few chapters from now. Stay tuned.

At least Jacob has the decency to go out in front of his family and be the first to come into contact with the brother that he robbed and disinherited. This day had to be one Jacob dreaded for a long time, and perhaps he was hoping that Esau had moved away to another land or possibly died in the 20 years he’d been gone, but whatever he had hoped and wished for I’m sure he had no inkling of how it was going to go down. Jacob throws himself at his brothers feet, and to his surprise he is kissed and hugged and Esau weeps for joy. After a few moments of catching up Esau offers to go along with Jacob, but he makes up what seems to be an excuse about his flocks and children being tired, so he tells his brother to go on to his land and he’d catch up later. So then Esau offers to leave some of his men with Jacob as a bodyguard possibly, but Jacob seems uneasy with this too and kindly declines. Jacob says he’ll be fine and he’ll see him down in Seir. This all seemed to be an excuse to just put distance between him and his brothers mini army, because as soon as Esau leaves for Seir in the south, Jacob turns west and crosses into Canaan.

He settles in a town called Shechem and it’s namesake is the prince of the city. He’ll be the star and villain in tomorrow’s reading.

Mathew

Lots of interesting things happening in this chapter of Mathew and we begin with yet another episode of Jesus and the Pharisees sparing over the law and scripture. You’d think after taking as many rhetorical beatings as they have already they’d quit, but they keep coming back for more.

Now they’re taking issue with some of the apostles plucking heads of grain as they pass through a field because they were hungry. They claim that harvesting wheat is forbidden on the sabbath, and they’d be correct if the apostles had a sickle and where cutting sheaths of wheat, but the law of Moses allowed for plucking food for personal consumption if one was hungry. Jesus points out the story about David eating the showbread and how he wasn’t condemned for it. And then He calls back to a few chapters ago when He told them to study a passage from Hosea chapter 6, now He tells them they would’ve understood what’s happening now if only they would’ve understood that passage. The passage in question says “I desire mercy, not sacrifice” and here’s what the catechism has to say about it,

Outward sacrifice, to be genuine, must be the expression of spiritual sacrifice: “The sacrifice acceptable to God is a broken spirit. . . . “The prophets of the Old Covenant often denounced sacrifices that were not from the heart or not coupled with love of neighbor. Jesus recalls the words of the prophet Hosea: “I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.”The only perfect sacrifice is the one that Christ offered on the cross as a total offering to the Father’s love and for our salvation. By uniting ourselves with his sacrifice we can make our lives a sacrifice to God.

CCC 2100

They still didn’t seem to understand when they tried to trap him by basically daring Him to heal a man with a withered hand on the sabbath. But Jesus turns it around on them and tells them that the sabbath was made for man not the other way around. At this point they must’ve been completely blinded by anger because He just healed a man’s shriveled hand and their response was… to conspire to have Him arrested?

The chapter ends with Jesus teaching and someone comes in to say His mother and brethren are outside. Many Protestant translations will render the word “adelphoi”, that is used here, as “brothers.” But this gives the false connotation that these are biological brothers of Our Lord. When this word can actually mean several different things, one of them being biological brothers, but it can also mean cousins or kin in general, and is used many times by the apostles in Acts when addressing crowds. It even becomes common for Saint Paul to use it as an address to all Christians in his letters because we are all “brethren in Christ”

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