On his journey home, Jacob sends word to his brother Esau that he is coming. He then learns that Esau is coming to meet him with what looks like an army. He gathers several hundred goats and sheep as a peace offering in an attempt to pacify his brother.
There is a strange scene where Jacob is left alone and wrestles with a mysterious stranger. The stranger disables his hip and turns out to be God. God renames him Israel and because of this meeting, Israelites no longer eat the tendon attached to the hip. Sometimes there are weird little side stories tucked into a main story. I see the relevance of this, but wish it were explained better and in more detail.
All of the gifts were unnecessary as Esau is stoked to see his brother (I guess time really does heal all wrongs?) regardless of the flocks. He even decides to travel forth with him... yay for family reunions!
Jacob temporarily settles in a land near a small town. The son of the head of the town takes Dinah (Jacob's only daughter) and rapes her...then has the audacity to ask for her hand in marriage. Trying to keep a level head, Jacob and his sons decide that he can marry her and others can marry within the town if all of the males are circumcised in accordance with their beliefs. The town agrees to this. Not really sure why this seemed like a good idea... but...whatever. A few days later, while the men are all still in pain from being circumcised, Simeon and Levi kill every single man in the town while the other sons proceed to loot and pillage what they can. Seems like a pretty sadistic means of revenge... let them circumcise themselves, writhe in pain for a few days and then kill them. Naturally, Jacob thinks this was all a little extreme, but the brothers didn't like their sister being treated like a prostitute.
I don't have siblings, but I've seen the way my husband and his brother protect their sister. It's pretty ferocious. I can only imagine how easy it must have been for Simeon and Levi to make such a rash decision. Not justifying it by any means, just saying that its easy to see how quickly an idea can turn into an action. Especially with 11 brothers!!!
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