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Contact me at Mom25dogs@gmail.com

Friday, March 13, 2009

The Twelve Tribes of Israel - Judah


Hebrew Yahuda=Praise.

The 4th son of Jacob and Leah.

Genesis 37:12 - 36 One day when Joseph's brothers had taken the sheep to a pasture near Shechem, his father Jacob said to him, "I want you to go to your brothers. They are with the sheep near Shechem." "Yes, sir," Joseph answered. His father said, "Go and find out how your brothers and the sheep are doing. Then come back and let me know." So he sent him from Hebron Valley. Joseph was near Shechem and wandering through the fields, when a man asked, "What are you looking for?" Joseph answered, "I'm looking for my brothers who are watching the sheep. Can you tell me where they are?" "They're not here anymore," the man replied. "I overheard them say they were going to Dothan." Joseph left and found his brothers in Dothan. But before he got there, they saw him coming and made plans to kill him. They said to one another, "Look, here comes the hero of those dreams! Let's kill him and throw him into a pit and say that some wild animal ate him. Then we'll see what happens to those dreams." Reuben heard this and tried to protect Joseph from them. "Let's not kill him," he said. "Don't murder him or even harm him. Just throw him into a dry well out here in the desert." Reuben planned to rescue Joseph later and take him back to his father. When Joseph came to his brothers, they pulled off his fancy coat and threw him into a dry well. As Joseph's brothers sat down to eat, they looked up and saw a caravan of Ishmaelites coming from Gilead. Their camels were loaded with all kinds of spices that they were taking to Egypt. So Judah said, "What will we gain if we kill our brother and hide his body? Let's sell him to the Ishmaelites and not harm him. After all, he is our brother." And the others agreed. When the Midianite merchants came by, Joseph's brothers took him out of the well, and for twenty pieces of silver they sold him to the Ishmaelites who took him to Egypt. When Reuben returned to the well and did not find Joseph there, he tore his clothes in sorrow. Then he went back to his brothers and said, "The boy is gone! What am I going to do?" Joseph's brothers killed a goat and dipped Joseph's fancy coat in its blood. After this, they took the coat to their father and said, "We found this! Look at it carefully and see if it belongs to your son." Jacob knew it was Joseph's coat and said, "It's my son's coat! Joseph has been torn to pieces and eaten by some wild animal." Jacob mourned for Joseph a long time, and to show his sorrow he tore his clothes and wore sackcloth. All of Jacob's children came to comfort him, but he refused to be comforted. "No," he said, "I will go to my grave, mourning for my son." So Jacob kept on grieving. Meanwhile, the Midianites had sold Joseph in Egypt to a man named Potiphar, who was the king's official in charge of the palace guard.

He saved his younger half brother, Joseph, from death by the plan of selling him to the Midianites. We will study more about this story when we study Joseph.

In Genesis 42-43, Judah was the brethren's spokesman in prevailing on Jacob to let Benjamin go to Egypt, and he accepted responsibility for him. And when Joseph's cup was found with Benjamin, Judah professed their guilt and his willingness to become a servant, though actually innocent of stealing it, in order to pay for the cup. Then Judah touchingly appealed to the supposed Egyptian prince (who was his younger half brother, Joseph) to detain him as a bondservant instead of his youngest brother, by describing his father's love for Benjamin after having lost Joseph (Genesis 44). Judah, in his conduct before Joseph in Egypt, manifested true nobility; he had sold Joseph yet he was willing to be sold himself for the youngest brother.

So, when Reuben forfeited his birthright by incest, Simeon and Levi by manslaughter, Judah, the next oldest, received from Jacob the best blessing of the older sons. He inherits the birthright, blessing and the family’s headship.

Judah stopped with his friend Hirah, an Adullamite, and there married a Canaanitess, Shuah's daughter (Bath-Shua), by whom he had sons, Er, Onan, and Shelah. Judah should not have married a foreign woman.

Genesis 39
About that time Judah left his brothers in the hill country and went to live near his friend Hirah in the town of Adullam. While there he met the daughter of Shua, a Canaanite man. Judah married her, and they had three sons. He named the first one Er; she named the next one Onan. The third one was born when Judah was in Chezib, and she named him Shelah. Later, Judah chose Tamar as a wife for Er, his oldest son. But Er was very evil, and the LORD took his life. So Judah told Onan, "It's your duty to marry Tamar and have a child for your brother." Onan knew the child would not be his, and when he had sex with Tamar, he made sure that she would not get pregnant. The LORD wasn't pleased with Onan and took his life too. Judah did not want the same thing to happen to his son Shelah, and he told Tamar, "Go home to your father and live there as a widow until my son Shelah is grown." So Tamar went to live with her father. Some years later Judah's wife died, and he mourned for her. He then went with his friend Hirah to the town of Timnah, where his sheep were being sheared. Tamar found out that her father-in-law Judah was going to Timnah to shear his sheep. She also realized that Shelah was now a grown man, but she had not been allowed to marry him. So she decided to dress in something other than her widow's clothes and to cover her face with a veil. After this, she sat outside the town of Enaim on the road to Timnah. When Judah came along, he did not recognize her because of the veil. He thought she was a prostitute and asked her to sleep with him. She asked, "What will you give me if I do?" "One of my young goats," he answered. "What will you give me to keep until you send the goat?" she asked. "What do you want?" he asked in return. "The ring on that cord around your neck," was her reply. "I also want the special walking stick you have with you." He gave them to her, they slept together, and she became pregnant. After returning home, Tamar took off the veil and dressed in her widow's clothes again. Judah had his friend Hirah take a goat to the woman, so he could get back the ring and walking stick, but she wasn't there. Hirah asked the people of Enaim, "Where is the prostitute who sat along the road outside your town?" "There's never been one here," they answered. Hirah went back and told Judah, "I couldn't find the woman, and the people of Enaim said no prostitute had ever been there." "If you couldn't find her, we'll just let her keep the things I gave her," Judah answered. "And we'd better forget about the goat, or else we'll look like fools." About three months later someone told Judah, "Your daughter-in-law Tamar has behaved like a prostitute, and now she's pregnant!" "Drag her out of town and burn her!" Judah shouted. As Tamar was being dragged off, she sent someone to tell her father-in-law, "The man who gave me this ring, this cord, and this walking stick is the one who got me pregnant." "Those are mine!" Judah admitted. "She's a better person than I am, because I broke my promise to let her marry my son Shelah." After this, Judah never slept with her again. Tamar later gave birth to twins. But before either of them was born, one of them stuck a hand out of her womb. The woman who was helping tied a red thread around the baby's hand and explained, "This one came out first." Right away his hand went back in, and the other child was born first. The woman then said, "What an opening you've made for yourself!" So they named the baby Perez. When the brother with the red thread came out, they named him Zerah.

Er died childless; and according to custom his widow was suppose to marry the next eldest son, Onan. But Onan refused to preserve the name of his deceased brother that died childless. The Messiah was to descend from Judah! He didn’t have natural, procreating sex with Tamar and thus did not consummate the marriage. So God was displeased and killed him. He could have been in the lineage of Christ but he refused. Judah became superstitiously afraid to let his youngest son marry her although he promises him to her. In his heart he blamed her for the sudden deaths of his elder sons when the real cause of their deaths was their own wickedness. His father’s heart couldn’t admit to their sin. It was easier to blame Tamar. Shelah grows up and yet was not given to Tamar as a husband, so she determined to procure children from Judah himself, who had become a widower in the meantime. He was unjust to his daughter-in-law, either through negligence or design, in not giving her his surviving son, and this exposed her to temptation. Tamar wickedly prostituted herself as a harlot to Judah, so the father might raise up seed to the deceased. It is possible she had left her Canaanite beginnings and believed in the Jewish God and learned of the prophecies to Abraham about the Messianic descendant and, by faith, she wanted to be a part of that honored family. But the way she went about it was wrong. Her scheme was well planned. Judah was taken in the snare, and through it he was guilty of incest with his daughter-in-law (not knowing who she was), and, willfully guilty of fornication. Whoever she was, he knew she was not his wife, and therefore not to be touched. He has no excuse.

When Tamar is discovered to be pregnant, her scandal reflected on Judah as well as her own family because she was married in the eyes of the law (Judah had promised Shelah to her) to his youngest son, Shelah. She was to be either burnt to death or branded by hot iron as stigmatized for being a harlot. Like Nathaniel Hawthorne's “Scarlet Letter”. But she shows the signet ring, cord and walking stick to prove it had been Judah who had impregnated her. His foolish shame is made public after all and he has to publicly exonerate her. It is a common thing for men to be severe against those whose sins match their own. In judging others, they condemn themselves. Tamar has twins and Judah has 3 sons again. She has a hard birth and when the first fist came out, they tied a scarlet thread around his wrist as the first born of the twins. But then the fist is drawn back and the other baby, Perez, is born first. Zerah is actually born second. These boys, like Jacob and Esau, struggled for the birthright. Perez obtained it, and from him Christ descended.

The Jews, just like Zerah, deserved the birthright, and were marked with a scarlet thread, as those that came first. The Gospel of Salvation through Jesus Christ was offered to them first. But, their nation as a whole, rejected Christ. They pulled back. But the Gentiles, like Perez, accepted Jesus as Christ and Messiah. They pressed forward and broke through to take what was offered to them, salvation. Yet, when the fullness of time is come, all Israel shall be saved because both sons are mentioned in the genealogy of Christ in Matthew 1:3 (Tamar and Judah are mentioned too).

Judah publicly admitted his guilt and never had sexual relations with Tamar again. I.e. his heart had truly turned away from the sin because his further actions proved it. True repentance is not only regretting your sin but turning away from it and leaving it behind. Despite the sin of Judah and Tamar, God forgives, redeems and extends mercy to the repentant.

When he moved to Egypt with his family it was himself and his 3 sons.

At the time of the Exodus, when we meet with the family of Judah again, they have increased to the number of 74,000 males. God was praised for him, Genesis 29:35, praised by him, and praised in him; therefore his brethren shall praise him. Judah should be a strong and courageous tribe. Judah is not a raging lion, but a lion enjoying the satisfaction of his power and success.

Caleb, the son of Jephunneh, represented the tribe as one of the spies. Judah is the tribe that both King David and the Messiah, King Jesus, came from. Upon the death of Saul, David established the tribe of Judah into a separate kingdom (II Sam. 2: 1). The house of Saul, under the weak Ish-bosheth, reigned over the remaining tribes for 7 1/2 years. Judah was then reunited to Israel under King David. This union continued for eighty years, through the reigns of King David and his son, King Solomon. The legitimate successor of the kingdom (established by David) was Solomon's son Rehoboam. The kingdom separated into Southern Judah (which included the Tribe of Benjamin, most of the Levite tribe, and the Holy City of Jerusalem) and their king, Rehoboam; and Northern Israel with their king, Jeroboam I.

Jacob’s Blessing:
Genesis 49:8-12
Judah, may your brothers praise you. May your hand be in the neck of your enemies. May your father's sons bow before you.
Judah is a lion's whelp. My son, you have gone up from the prey. He stooped, he crouched like a lion; and like a lioness, who shall rouse him?
The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor a Lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come. And the obedience of the peoples to him.
Binding his foal to the vine, and his ass's colt to the choice vine, he washed his garments in wine, and his clothes in the blood of grapes.
His eyes shall be sparkling with wine, and his teeth white from milk.

The fulfillment of God's purposes is connected with Judah, for, the King who wields the sceptre, and the Judge who administers the law, comes from Judah, and the gathering of the people will be to Him. Jesus Christ is the King of King's, the Lion of Judah, the Prince of Peace. He is the fulfillment of this prophecy.

The hand (symbolizing powerful action) will be in the midst of it’s enemies. They may be surrounded by enemies but they shall have the upper hand. When our Lord Jesus returns to this earth as a mighty King, then all will bow down in homage to Him, as many have already done for centuries in prayer! Just as a lion seizes his prey and returns to the den, daring any to challenge him, so our Savior, the Lion of Judah, takes us by force from our enemies, the devil and sin, to take us back to His City and there, we will be forever protected.

“He crouched like a lion” indicates all 4 legs folded under him in rest. As in, "It is done."

The scepter indicates His kingship, the right to rule, the title to all power, His rod of punishment against His enemies. The old "lion" is Jacob, his son, Judah, is his whelp. When Judah's descendants, the Jews, were "whelps" they were seized and devoured by others, they cried, but were not strong enough to fight other nations so he learned to keep his head low. But the whelp will grow up and rise up himself against other nations.

A young lion for agility and grace; a full-grown lion for strength and majesty; a lioness whose fierceness defends her offspring.

“Shiloh” means “to rest” or “he to whom it belongs” and is used as a personal name for Jesus Christ. Jesus is the Prince of Peace and He has the right and ownership of His people. This blessing came way before the city of Shiloh was established. Later, when the Tabernacle was set up in the city of Shiloh in Canaan, all Israel "knew" that the Lord God dwelt with them. Not in person but in Spirit. Because of God dwelling there with them the people were delivered from their enemies, and His "presence" brought blessing. So Shiloh was a city of redemption or Salvation. Since the Ark disappeared in ancient history, "Shiloh" means Jesus Christ. He became the Salvation, the Redeemer and Deliverer from our enemies and sins, who is with us always. He is that city of strength and refuge. He is the place of refuge. He dwells within Christians as the Holy Spirit. He makes His home in us.

The Seed promised to Abraham was to be a great ruler. Isaac and Jacob in turn inherited this promise, and now Judah was to be the ‘lion’s whelp,’ that is, the one to inherit God’s royal promise.

Micah 5:1-5a
Jerusalem, enemy troops have surrounded you; they have struck Israel's ruler in the face with a stick.
Bethlehem Ephrath (the Bethlehem where Jesus was born), you are one of the smallest towns in the nation of Judah. But the LORD will choose one of your people to rule the nation -- someone whose family goes back to ancient times.
The LORD will abandon Israel only until this ruler is born, and the rest of his family returns to Israel.
Like a shepherd taking care of his sheep, this Ruler will lead and care for His people by the power and glorious name of the LORD His God. His people will live securely, and the whole earth will know His true greatness,
because He will bring peace.

Isaiah 26:1-4
The time is coming when the people of Judah will sing this song: "Our city is protected. The LORD is our fortress, and he gives us victory. Open the city gates for a law-abiding nation that is faithful to God. The LORD gives perfect peace to those whose faith is firm. So always trust the LORD because he is forever our mighty rock.

The last verses of the blessing upon Judah refers to Jesus, who would ride a young donkey in the Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem where the common people cheered and praised Him. Jesus was really entering unto His death on the cross because He knew death awaited Him and, yet, He went to His destiny. He voluntarily gave His live for us and He was obedient unto death. Jacob’s prophesy was fulfilled. And, though our sins were scarlet, He washed us white as snow. His death, the blood He shed, was the wine or grape juice that washed our filthy, tattered garments of self righteousness. He shed His blood for us, for our cleansing. He has provided garments of righteousness that are pure and clean. When we partake in the Lord’s Supper, Communion, we are asked to remember Jesus’ death, sacrifice and resurrection, when we drink the wine that represents His blood and eat the cracker that represents His broken body. As He has saved us and reconciled us to God, His pure joy shines in His eyes and smile!

Zechariah 9:9 (Messianic prophecy)
Everyone in Jerusalem, celebrate and shout! Your king has won a victory, and he is coming to you. He is humble and rides on an ass; and upon a colt, the foal of an ass.

Matthew 21:1-9 (Prophesy fulfillment)
And when they drew near Jerusalem, and had come to Bethphage, to the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples,
saying to them, Go into the village across from you. And immediately you will find an ass tied, and a colt with her. Untie them and bring them to Me.
And if anyone says anything to you, you shall say, The Lord has need of them, and immediately He will send them.
All this was done so that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying,
"Tell the daughter of Zion, Behold, your King comes to you, meek, and sitting on an ass, even a colt the foal of an ass."
And the disciples went and did as Jesus commanded them.
And they brought the ass, even the colt, and put their clothes on them, and He sat on them.
And a very great crowd spread their garments in the way. Others cut down branches from the trees and spread them in the way.
And the crowds who went before, and those who followed, cried out, saying, Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!

At its height, Judah was the leading tribe, and occupied most of the territory of the kingdom, except for a small region in the north east occupied by Benjamin, and an enclave towards the south west which was occupied by Simeon. It had 4 distinct regions: The Negev (south), the Shephelah (coast lands), the Wilderness (wild and barely inhabitable), and the Hills (an elevated plateau that was very fertile).

Judges 1:1-4
And it happened after the death of Joshua, the children of Israel asked Jehovah, saying, Who shall go up first for us against the Canaanites to fight against them?
And Jehovah said, Judah shall go up. Behold, I have delivered the land into his hand.
And Judah said to Simeon his brother, Come up with me into my lot so that we may fight against the Canaanites. And I likewise will go with you into your lot. So Simeon went with him.
And Judah went up. And Jehovah delivered the Canaanites and the Perizzites into their hand. And they killed ten thousand men of them in Bezek.

Under Caleb, during the wars of conquest, Judah conquered that portion of the country which was later assigned to it as its inheritance.

While the northern tribes (the northern Kingsom of Israel) were effectively scattered and "lost" after the Assyrian conquest in 722 B.C, the Judahites (the southern Kingdom of Judah) maintained their ethnic and cultural identity after being exiled to Babylon under Nebuchadnezzar II of Babylon in 587 B.C. Under Cyrus of Persia, many returned to Jerusalem, rebuilt the Temple and established a national identity as "Jews" which has lasted until this day. The northern tribes reconstituted to some degree in Samaria, but were denigrated by the Jews for intermarrying with foreign peoples and for worshiping outside of Jerusalem at Mount Gerizim. What remained of the northern tribes either evolved into the Samaritans, assimilated with Judah as "Jews," or were simply considered to be "lost."

(Note – Assyria was named after it’s capital city, Asshur, and was a colony of Babylon. Assyria became an independent and a conquering power, and shook off the yoke of its Babylonian masters and it absorbed Babylon. It subdued the whole of Northern Asia. The Assyrians were Semites (see Genesis 10:22) but in the process of time non-Semite tribes mingled with the inhabitants. They were a military people, the “Romans of the East.”)

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Hillbilly Brett

I found some tiny OshKosh bib overalls and it gave me an idea! I went to Hobby Lobby and bought a little teddy bear straw hat. I pulled out one of my Grandma's old crazy quilts and a miniature bale of hay and I went to town taking these pictures. We teased Kyle about how we were going to make him a Southern boy, now here is proof!

Here he is with his stuffed wrecker truck!

Here Brett is wearing something to remember his Daddy by.

My Grandma kept Daddy's first 2 pairs of overalls and I still have them. The first time he wore them they rolled the legs up and then unrolled them as he grew!

Notice the legs rolled up?

And he still loves to wear overalls whenever he gets a chance!

Brett's 2 Month Birthday

The Twelve Tribes of Israel - Levi



The name Levi is derived from the words "he shall accompany", “joined” and “to adhere”.

Levi was one of the twelve sons of Jacob. His mother was Leah, who also gave birth to Reuben, Judah, Simeon, Issachar and Zebulun. He was to bring a strengthening of relationship between his parents. "now will my husband be joined unto me, because I have borne him three sons", Genesis 29:34.

Levi is the ancestor of the Tribe of Levi. Levi joined Simeon in avenging their own sister, Dinah. They were treacherously killed the Shechemites, and so incurred Jacob's curse. They made circumcision, which God gave as a pledge of His holy covenant, the instrument of hypocrisy and bloody revenge. Jacob showed moral weakness when reproaching his sons not with the treacherous murder but with exposing him to danger ("ye have troubled me to make me to stink among the inhabitants of the land") . On his death bed he took a less selfish and juster view of their deed. When Jacob's death drew near, and the sons are gathered round him, Levi and Simeon heard the old crime brought up again to receive its sentence. They, no less than Reuben, the incestuous firstborn, had forfeited the privileges of their birthright. Simeon, as the one detained in Egypt, by Joseph, was probably the foremost of Levi's sons in the cruel attack on Rachel's son, and Levi probably joined him, though the spite began with the base born sons of Bilhah and Zilpah. The discipline made the sons, once so unfeeling towards Joseph, to become self sacrificing for Benjamin. As the two joined in crime, retributively they should be "divided and scattered" in Israel. Levi received no land inheritance but cities scattered through Israel (Joshua 21:1-40) and depended on tithes paid by the other tribes. The curse became a blessing to the nation by Levi's separation to divine service.

The Tribe of Levi was not included in the tribes who were given allotments of land during the conquest of Canaan, when the nation of Israel was first established. Instead of a land allotment, Joshua, who led the conquest of Canaan, gave 48 towns, scattered throughout the land of Israel, to the Tribe of Levi. The Levite was dependent on the tithes and food gifts of others. Levites were exempt from general military service (Numbers 1:49). The service of the Levite is the service of the spirit. Thus the tribe originally chastised for its warlike behavior became the tribe which exemplified peace.

Moses singled out the Tribe of Levi to serve as the nation's priests. The tribe of Levi was elevated to perform holy service, in the Tabernacle of the desert and in the Temple. Jehovah "proved" Levi. In Exodus 32: 25-29, a new scene opens to us. We are called to witness the dawning of a new day upon Levi. Here he was with his sword by his side, but, oh, for what a different purpose, and in what a different cause! Moses has come down from the Mountain and sees the Israelites in idolatrous and perverted behavior in worship of a golden calf. Moses calls for all who are on the Lord’s side and the Levites stepped forward. Moses orders them to kill all those who participated even if it means killing a brother, friend or neighbor. It is not now in anger and self-will, but in holy jealousy and care for the honour of the Lord God of Israel, and in simple obedience to His command; and although this may, and will, lead to the very cutting off of a brother, a son, or a friend, Levi cared not; for the word is, "Consecrate yourselves to the Lord, that He may bestow upon you a blessing." This was enough for the Levites.

Moses and Aaron's faithfulness (they were of the Levite tribe), the Levites' drawing their swords against their Israelite brethren as God's avengers of the idolatry of the golden calf, "slaying every man his brother ... companion ... neighbour ... son," where God's honour was at stake, gained God's approval and the choice of Levi as the priestly tribe. And henceforth, in following the footsteps of Levi, we shall find that, instead of being "swift to shed blood," they are to be "swift in following the movements of the cloud, and, "swift" in performing the service of the tabernacle.Levi ben Ya'akov (Levi son of Jacob), the father of the tribe of Levites, lived 137 years, the longest of all of the sons of Jacob. He had a particularly strong influence on the spiritual development of his progeny, and lived to see his great-grandsons, Moses and Aaron. The tribe of Levi developed separately from the other tribes of Israel. During the period of Egyptian bondage, the Levites avoided the slavery suffered by the others. They maintained their separateness in the land of Goshen immersed in learning, and maintaining the spiritual traditions.

The descendants of Levi played a roll in guarding and serving the tabernacle (Numbers 3:21-37). "The Levites shall be for Me" (Numbers 18:14), indicating that the special relationship with the tribe of Levi is permanent. The prophet Jeremiah relates God's promise that there will always be Kohanim and Levites fit to serve: "As I will never renege on My covenant with day and night, so is my covenant with...the Levites, the Kohanim, My servants" (Jeremiah 33:21).

The choice of the tribe of Levi for the highest spiritual service was due to their ability to channel their strong character in the service of God. Levi, the son of Jacob, was chastised for his anger by his father: "Cursed is their zealousness for it is brazen and their wrath for it is hard. I will separate them in Ya'akov and scatter them throughout Israel" (Genesis 49:6-7). The Levites were able to apply their physical and spiritual strength to the fulfillment of God's will and gain forever the role of God's trusted servants.

Here is a summary of the Levitical duties: First, "They shall teach Jacob Thy judgements, and Israel Thy law." Secondly, "They shall put incense before Thee, and whole burnt sacrifice upon Thine altar." Thirdly, "Bless his substance." Fourthly, "Accept the work of his hands." Fifthly, "Smite through the loins of them that rise against him, and of them that hate him, that they rise not again." It was a natural development, therefore, that the task of the Levite became to accompany the Divine Presence and serve in the Temple. His role as teacher and spiritual example is to lead and, thereby, accompany others back to their spiritual purpose

It is important that a man be walking close to God and obedient to His Word in order for him to be a teacher, a spiritual leader, a preacher. It is not teaching out of mere intellect, fluent words, persuasive argument. That is carnal, of the flesh and doesn’t change the heart. The Levites were to teach and instruct from a place of intimacy with God. Today, we need to teach out of a place of our own spiritual intimacy with God. We call that communion with God. We should have a relationship with God and have regular times of prayer, worship and Bible reading where we get in touch with our Source. Then, when teaching flows from the Spirit that is within you, hearts may be changed.

They were also to “put incense before Thee, and whole burnt sacrifice upon Thine altar”. This is worship. We put incense before God when we are presented to the Father by the fragrance of Christ. Christ makes us acceptable in His Presence. When we are present before Him, through Christ and through our choice to worship God, then the Father hears our prayers. They are as a fragrant odor before Him.

“Bless his substance.” An increase of blessing will ever be the result of true-hearted devotedness to Christ. "Every branch in Me that beareth fruit He purgeth, that it may bring forth more fruit;" "The diligent soul shall be made fat;" and "To him that hath shall more be given." Apostle Paul brought the same principle to Timothy when he told him to "meditate on these things; give thyself wholly to them, that thy profiting may appear to all”. Here he connects the "profiting" with the "giving himself wholly".

Grace takes up a sinner and leads him to the forgiveness of sins through faith in the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. This places him down in a position of responsibility to Christ, which position he by his evil human nature could never have sustained. Now that man can be put into a place of responsibility to Christ and it is clear that the more faithfully and diligently he works, the more blessed his spirit and his ministry will be.

The Lord does not ask a sinner dead in trespasses and sins to serve Him. All he could do would be polluted with sin… his very prayers are polluted; his meditations are polluted; his acts of benevolence are polluted; and therefore can do nothing acceptable in the sight of God. But the Lord quickens those that are dead in trespasses and sins, and then teaches them to “walk worthy of Him as dear children," and to be fruitful in every good word and work and when we do this He graciously condescends to "accept the work of our hands."

We’ve arrived at the fifth point in our subject, namely, "Smite through the loins of them that rise against him, and of them that hate him, that they rise not again." Christ has conquered the devil, death, hell, and He has crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts, and therefore when a soul believes on the Lord Jesus Christ, he is so placed as to have Satan, the world, and the flesh under his feet! It is as he walks in the power of resurrection life, that he can maintain this, his blessed ground. But we often are found under their feet, to the gross dishonor of our Lord, and to the sorrow of our own souls because we don’t walk in simple obedience. Obedience is a victory over our flesh and the devil and every fresh victory causes us to grow. Disobedience is our loss and each loss gives the enemy the power to attack anew.

Some question whether Levi had a precious stone with his name or no. If not, Ephraim and Manasseh were reckoned distinct, as Jacob had said they should be, and the high priest himself, being head of the tribe of Levi, sufficiently represented that tribe. If there was a stone for Levi, as is intimated by this, that they were engraven according to their birth (Exodus 28:10) it would be the carbuncle or beryl, a brilliant, glittering and flashing stone. Some say the garnet. Carbuncle means “little coal” meaning when it is held up to the sun, you can see a burning light through the gem. Garnets are the hardest stone next to diamonds.

The History of the Tribe of Levi, by C. H. Mackintosh.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

The Twelve Tribes of Israel - Simeon/Simon

Simeon means "who hears or obeys" and "is heard".


He was associated with Levi in the terrible act of vengeance against Hamor, Shechem and the Shechemites.

Genesis 34
And Dinah the daughter of Leah, whom she bore to Jacob, went out to see the daughters of the land.
And when Shechem, the son of Hamor the Hivite, prince of the country, saw her, he took her and lay with her, and humbled her.
And his soul clung to Dinah the daughter of Jacob, and he loved the girl and spoke to the heart of the girl.
And Shechem spoke to his father Hamor, saying, Get me this girl for a wife.
And Jacob heard that he had defiled Dinah his daughter. And his sons were with his cattle in the field. And Jacob kept silent until they had come.
And Hamor the father of Shechem went out to Jacob to speak with him.
And the sons of Jacob came out of the field when they heard. And the men were furious, and they were very angry, because he had done folly in Israel, in lying with the daughter of Jacob. And it ought not to be done so.
And Hamor communed with them, saying, The soul of my son Shechem longs for your daughter. Please give her to him for a wife.
And you make marriages with us, giving your daughters to us, and taking our daughters to you.
And you shall live with us. And the land shall be before you. Live and trade in it, and get possessions in it.
And Shechem said to her father and to her brothers, Let me find grace in your eyes, and whatever you shall say to me I will give.
Heap upon me ever so much price and dowry, and I will give according as you shall say to me. But give me the girl for a wife.
And the sons of Jacob answered Shechem and Hamor his father, speaking with deceit because he had defiled Dinah their sister.
And they said to them, We cannot do this thing, to give our sister to one that is uncircumcised. For it is a reproach to us.
But in this we will agree with you, if you will be as we are, that every male of you be circumcised, then we will give our daughters to you, and we will take your daughters to us, and we will live with you, and we will become one people.
But if you will not listen to us, to be circumcised, then we will take our daughter, and we will go.
And their words pleased Hamor and Shechem, Hamor's son.
And the young man did not hesitate to do the thing, because he had delight in Jacob's daughter. And he was more honorable than all the house of his father.
And Hamor and Shechem his son came to the gate of their city, and talked with the men of their city, saying,
These men are at peace with us. Therefore let them live in the land, and trade in it. For behold, the land is large enough for them. Let us take their daughters to us for wives, and let us give them our daughters.
Only on this condition will the men agree to us, to live with us, to be one people, if every male among us is circumcised as they are circumcised.
Shall not their cattle and their substance and every animal of theirs be ours? Only let us agree with them, and they will live with us.
And all that went out of the gate of his city listened to Hamor and to Shechem his son. And every male was circumcised, all that went out of the gate of his city.
And it happened on the third day, when they were sore, that two of the sons of Jacob, Simeon and Levi, Dinah's brothers, took each his sword and came upon the city boldly, and killed all the males.
And they killed Hamor and Shechem his son with the edge of the sword, and took Dinah out of Shechem's house, and went out.
The sons of Jacob came upon the slain, and plundered the city, because they had defiled their sister.
They took their sheep and their oxen, and their asses, and that which was in the city and that which was in the field.
And all their wealth, and all their little ones, and their wives, they took captive, and plundered even all that was in the house.
And Jacob said to Simeon and Levi, You have troubled me, to make me stink among those who live in the land, among the Canaanites and the Perizzites. And I, being few in number, they shall gather themselves together against me, and kill me. And I shall be destroyed, my house and I.
And they said, Should he deal with our sister as with a harlot?

The Hivites descended from Canaan son of Ham. Abraham, on his first migration to the Land of Promise, pitched his tent and built an altar under the oak, or terebinth tree, of Moreh at Shechem. By the time Jacob came to the area, Shechem was a Hivite city. To the East of the city Jacob pitched his tent in a “parcel of ground” which he had bought from Hamor, Shechem's father (Genesis 33:19). Here he raised an altar and called it El-Elohe-Israel, “God, the God of Israel” (Genesis 33:20). Jacob subsequently bequeathed it, as a special patrimony, to his son Joseph. Genesis 33:19; Joshua 24:32; John 4:5. The field lay undoubtedly on the rich plain of the Mukhna, and its value was greater because of the well which Jacob had dug there, so as not to be dependent on his neighbors for a supply of water.

Then follows the story of Dinah's rape by Shechem, son of the city's chief, Hamor. Dinah is the only daughter of Jacob named so she may have been the only daughter he had. She would have been between 13-15 yrs old and they would have been living in the area for 7-8 years. Dinah may have felt safe and maybe had gone visiting the town before. She either had girlfriends there or wanted to make new girlfriends. It's possible that there was a special occasion like a festival or party. But for those times, and in the Middle East, it's doubtful that it was normal for young girls to go alone and unchaperoned to town. It's possible that she sneaked away from her father's tents and went off on her own as some teenage girls do today. And, it could have been more sinister because it's possible that Shechem had already seen her and enticed her away from the safety of her father's camp by having girls her age invite her. Was she flirting with Shechem? Was she seduced? Was she raped? Either way, she was no longer a virgin and it was serious. Shechem took advantage of her and her unprotected situation. Even in the best case scenario, she was younger, inexperienced, immature and not capable of making sound decisions and he took advantage of that. He was the adult, a male in a male driven society, he had experience in the world and he should have been the one to control himself. In the worst case scenario, he lured her out and raped her. The consequences were the same, she was no longer a virgin and this could have branded her and kept her from making a good marriage. Some say the child begotten in this act of fornication was Asenath, who was brought up by Potipherah's (probably not Potiphar's wife) wife in Egypt, as her daughter, and afterwards married to Joseph. Other scholars deny this.

When Jacob heard what happened, he kept his mouth shut. His sons were away from home at the time and he and his family were surrounded by tribes that could be strong enemies. He could have reacted impulsively and gotten into trouble but he used the wisdom of his years to wait. He discussed it with his sons when they came home. Naturally they were angry and upset. Not only had their sister been degraded but the whole family was humiliated. The younger men didn't think carefully as their father had. They wanted revenge and public revenge so others would think twice about mistreating their family in this way. Simon and Levi wanted to make an example of Hamor, Shechem and the men of Shechem.

Simon and Levi plotted revenge. The brothers went with their father to meet with Hamor and Shechem. It seems that Shechem had decided he loved Dinah and wanted to marry her. In Hamor's eyes this was a good solution. Hamor was the head of the Hivites and an important figure in their tribe so he thought she would be making a good marriage. Jacob and his sons met with Hamor and Shekem to discuss what happened and Hamor offered the solution of joining the two tribes by marriage. Shechem offered any amount of dowry that Jacob requested for Dinah and a peace treaty between the families for peaceful trade, solidified by intermarriages. But Abraham's servant was told by Abraham not to take a wife from one of the Canaanite tribes to be the wife of his son Isaac; and the same charge was given to Jacob by Isaac (Genesis 24:3). Jacob would never agree to intermarrying with any of a pagan nation. (Marriages with the pagan Canaanite tribes were afterwards forbidden by the law of Moses in Deuteronomy 7:3.) So, in order for Shekem to marry Dinah, he and his family would have to be circumcised and convert to the belief system that Jacob and his family followed. Hamor and Shekem went back to town and talked the men into doing it.

Simon and Levi deceived the Hivites by making the agreement with them with no intention of sticking to the agreement. They were not men of their word. Once the Hivites fulfilled their part of the bargain (be circumcised), Simon and Levi went in and killed them all, even the other men who had not been a part of Dinah's rape.

And they took the spoils. Since Simon and Levi were Dinah's full brothers, they felt it was up to them to lead in order to get Dinah back and revenge her defilement. Their vindication of Jacob/Israel's sacred calling to be separate from the Gentiles, was right; and their refusal to sacrifice Jehovah's promises for the Hivite prince's offers of a dowry was right. But the way they went about it was treacherous, cruel, and wicked. The innocent townsmen were punished too, and all Jacob's sons joined in plundering the town.

At this time, I wonder how Dinah felt? Was she also in love with Shechem? If she was, she would have been devastated that her brothers killed her lover. Or, maybe, she wasn't in love but knew she had lost her chances of making another good marriage and was willing to marry Shechem in order to be married and have children in one of the most important families in the area. What her brothers did robbed her of that. She might have been really mad at them knowing they had caused her to have to spend the rest of her life a spinster! Or was she so glad to see them! Maybe she hated Shechem and was scared to death of being married off to someone who was violent enough to rape her. Maybe she just wanted to go home and her brothers were her rescuers. How did she feel knowing that all those men were dead because of her? Little did she realize the consequences of her day out for pleasure! She is not mentioned again except to say that she went down to Egypt with her family.

Jacob/Israel was angry with them because they had let him make a covenant with the Hivites with no intention of honoring it. It ruined the reputation and integrity of their family. Who would make a covenant with a tribe who might not honor it? And, what if the other pagans decided to exact revenge on Jacob/Israel and attacked the family? This could have been an "international incident". In their youth and anger, they had endangered their whole family and possibly their way of making a living (if avengers attacked their flocks or drove them from the land, etc). They had gone of "half-cocked" as the saying goes without thinking out all the consequences. It was wrong for Shechem to do what he did. God was not pleased with what happened to Dinah! But, at least in their eyes, Hamor and Shechem had tried to make it right. It was wrong for the descendants of Abraham to intermarry with pagan tribes. God had specifically made that clear. But God has a way of dealing with wrongs. He is the only fair and righteous Judge. The brothers should have taken this problem to God and followed God's instructions rather than making their own decisions and doing things in their own way. It's possible that God would have told them to do exactly what they did. But they never asked God. They did it in their own strength and in their own wisdom. Their deceitfulness and treachery, their cruelty was also wrong. And they knew better! They knew they should go before God and wait for His Words and obey Him. But they wanted to do what they wanted to do.

Later, when the brothers go to Egypt for food during the famine, Simon was detained by Joseph in Egypt as a hostage (Genesis 42:24).

His father, Jacob, pronounced this against him when dying:
Genesis 49:5-7
Simeon and Levi, you are brothers, each a gruesome sword.
I never want to take part in your plans or deeds. You slaughtered people in your anger, and you crippled cattle for no reason.
Now I place a curse on you because of your fierce anger. Your descendants will be scattered among the tribes of Israel.

The tribes of Judah and Simeon joined together in the conquest of southern Canaan in Judges 1:3, 17

Simon's families are enumerated in Genesis 46:10; Numbers 26:12-14; and, 1Chronicles 4:24-43. At the census at Sinai, Simeon numbered 59,300 (Numbers 1:23); it was then the most numerous after Judah. At Shittim it had become the smallest, numbering 22,200. The mortality was a consequent of the idolatry of Peor (Numbers 25:9; Numbers 25:14). Zimri, slain in the act, was a prince of Simeon (Numbers 26:14).

Simeon was the "remnant" with Judah and Benjamin, which constituted Rehoboam's forces (1Kings 12:23). Still Simeon remained strong enough in Hezekiah's days to smite the men of Ham with an expedition under 13 Simeonite princes, and to occupy their dwellings "at the entrance of Gedor to the E. side of the valley" (1Chronicles 4:34-43). The Simeonites "found the Meunim" there besides the Hamites. The Meunim were connected with Maan, a city near Petra, "nomads". Five hundred Simeonites undertook a second expedition under four chiefs, sons of Shimei, against the remnant of Amalek that had escaped from Saul and David (1Samuel 14:48; 1Samuel 15:7; 2Samuel 8:12) to the mountains of Idumea; they smote them utterly, and dwelt in their place, and were there at the date of the composition of 1 Chronicles, i.e. after the return from Babylon.

Simeon is omitted in Moses' blessing, possibly because of the idolatry of Peor. Simeon in the wilderness marched south of the tabernacle, with Reuben and Gad, sons of Zilpah, maid of Leah, Simeon's mother. The Canaanitess, mother of Shaul (Genesis 46:10), and the Horite father of Shaphat, the spy from Simeon (Numbers 13:5), indicate the laxness of Simeon in marriage connections. It was forbidden to marry outside the Israelite tribes because of the fear of falling into the pagan worship of those they intermarried with.

Their villages and 18 or 19 cities lay round the well of Beersheba in Judah's extreme south. Simeon stands first of the tribes appointed to bless the people on Mount Gerizim (Deuteronomy 27:12). Though cities of Simeon were among those to which David sent presents of the Amalekite spoils, and though Ziklag was David's own property, received from Achish king of the Philistines who had wrested it from Simeon (1Samuel 27:6; 1Samuel 30:26), yet Simeon and Judah were few in numbers at his installation at Hebron (1Chronicles 12:23-37). Some men of Simeon were apparently settled in the northern kingdom of Israel after the disruption (2Chronicles 15:9; 2Chronicles 34:6). Simeon is between Issachar and Benjamin, not beside Judah, in Ezekial 48:25. Simeon is also in Revelation 7:7.

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