He Will Rule As God

Observations as I follow God through the Chronological Bible

Genesis 35[1]

Jacob’s thinking is out of joint with the covenant of grace God made with Abraham. Even though he had a permanent physical reminder, he ignored the angel’s counsel. Instead of returning to Bethel to keep his vow, he limped to Shechem, bought land, and started his own business twenty miles short of Bethel. 

“When you make a vow to God, do not be late in paying it; for he takes no delight in fools. Pay what you vow! It is better that you should not vow than that you should vow and not pay. Do not let your speech cause you to sin and do not say in the presence of the messenger of God that it was a mistake. Why should God be angry on account of your voice and destroy the work of your hands?”[1].

God is patient, but the consequences of Jacob’s actions eventually caught up with him. 

Fifteen years after Jacob set up permanent residence in Shechem, Diane, his seventeen-year-old only daughter, visited some girlfriends in town. She never returned. Hamor, a Hivite prince, seduced her, and then fell in love with Diane setting in motion a series of events that destroyed the work of Jacob’s hands.

Following the example of their deceitful, rebellious father, Jacob’s sons made a covenant with Hamor, an honorable man,[2] that they never intended to keep. Jacob’s sons slaughtered every male in the city and plundered their goods. That one deceitful act destroyed Jacob’s name and everything he spent more than a decade building.

This time an angel bearing a message was not sufficient. God spoke to Jacob, “Go up to Bethel and settle there, and build an altar there to God, who appeared to you when you were fleeing from your brother Esau.”[3]

This time Jacob obeyed. He returned to Bethel with his family and kept his vow. Again God spoke to him, but the message has not changed for three generations. God will give Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and one seed/son descended from them the land. They will become a nation producing kings and more nations.

God never changed the promise he made to Abraham, but he added to the promise. He changed Jacob’s name, which means supplanter, to Israel, which means he will rule as God.


[1] All scripture quotes are from the NIV Bible unless otherwise noted.

[2] Genesis 34:19

[3] Genesis 35:1

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