Posts Tagged 'Tribes of Israel'

1 Chronicles Chapter 27

In this chapter, the responsibilities given to certain Israelites continues to be recorded. There were many who served the king in the armies, over his household and as his personal entourage. It begins:

1 Now the children of Israel after their number, to wit, the chief fathers and captains of thousands and hundreds, and their officers that served the king in any matter of the courses, which came in and went out month by month throughout all the months of the year, of every course were twenty and four thousand.
2 Over the first course for the first month was Jashobeam the son of Zabdiel: and in his course were twenty and four thousand.
3 Of the children of Perez was the chief of all the captains of the host for the first month.
4 And over the course of the second month was Dodai an Ahohite, and of his course was Mikloth also the ruler: in his course likewise were twenty and four thousand.
5 The third captain of the host for the third month was Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, a chief priest: and in his course were twenty and four thousand.
6 This is that Benaiah, who was mighty among the thirty, and above the thirty: and in his course was Ammizabad his son.
7 The fourth captain for the fourth month was Asahel the brother of Joab, and Zebadiah his son after him: and in his course were twenty and four thousand.
8 The fifth captain for the fifth month was Shamhuth the Izrahite: and in his course were twenty and four thousand.
9 The sixth captain for the sixth month was Ira the son of Ikkesh the Tekoite: and in his course were twenty and four thousand.
10 The seventh captain for the seventh month was Helez the Pelonite, of the children of Ephraim: and in his course were twenty and four thousand.
11 The eighth captain for the eighth month was Sibbecai the Hushathite, of the Zarhites: and in his course were twenty and four thousand.
12 The ninth captain for the ninth month was Abiezer the Anetothite, of the Benjamites: and in his course were twenty and four thousand.
13 The tenth captain for the tenth month was Maharai the Netophathite, of the Zarhites: and in his course were twenty and four thousand.
14 The eleventh captain for the eleventh month was Benaiah the Pirathonite, of the children of Ephraim: and in his course were twenty and four thousand.
15 The twelfth captain for the twelfth month was Heldai the Netophathite, of Othniel: and in his course were twenty and four thousand.

There were 24,000 men who were set as officers, captains, and chief fathers in Israel at a time. These men collectively served the king all throughout the year, with anything he ordered. They were assigned by the months of the year. For the first month, was Jashobeam with 24,000 men. The leader of the captains of the host was of the children of Perez. In the second month, Dodai and 24,000 men, with Mikloth as the leader. Third was Benaiah, along with 24,000 men and his son, Ammizabad. Benaiah was a chief priest and mighty among men. He had the strength to defeat lion-like Moabites as well as an actual lion. He was over thirty. He was a valiant and honorable man who did not seek for honor for his might. He would later prove to be loyal to David when others were not. (see also 2 Sam. 23:20-23)

The fourth month was Asahel and his son Zebadiah, with 24,000 men. Asahel was the brother of Joab and the Bible Dictionary says that he was “celebrated for his swiftness of foot, an accomplishment much valued in ancient times”. He was one of David’s 30 heroes. Fifth, was Shamhuth with 24,000. Ira, was the sixth captain, over his 24,000 men. Then, Helez was seventh, over his 24,000. For the eighth month, it was Sibbecai over his 24,000. Ninth, was Abiezer as captain of 24,000. Tenth, was Maharai as captain of his 24,000. The eleventh captain was Benaiah, one of David’s mighty men, with his 24,000. And finally, the twelfth captain was Heldai over his 24,000.

16 Furthermore over the tribes of Israel: the ruler of the Reubenites was Eliezer the son of Zichri: of the Simeonites, Shephatiah the son of Maachah:
17 Of the Levites, Hashabiah the son of Kemuel: of the Aaronites, Zadok:
18 Of Judah, Elihu, one of the brethren of David: of Issachar, Omri the son of Michael:
19 Of Zebulun, Ishmaiah the son of Obadiah: of Naphtali, Jerimoth the son of Azriel:
20 Of the children of Ephraim, Hoshea the son of Azaziah: of the half tribe of Manasseh, Joel the son of Pedaiah:
21 Of the half tribe of Manasseh in Gilead, Iddo the son of Zechariah: of Benjamin, Jaasiel the son of Abner:
22 Of Dan, Azareel the son of Jeroham. These were the princes of the tribes of Israel.

Each of the twelve tribes of Israel, had a leader or a prince. Eliezer was over the tribe of Reuben, Shephatiah was over Simeon, and Hashabiah was over Levi. Zadok was specifically over those Levites who were from the family of Aaron and therefore priests. He would be a faithful priest, loyal to David and the priest to anoint Solomon. Elihu, David’s brother, was over Judah. Omri was over Issachar, Ishamaiah was over Zebulun, Jerimoth was over Naphtali, Hoshea was over Ephraim, Joel was over the first half of Manasseh, Iddo was over the other half in Gilead, Jaasiel was over Benjamin, and Jeroham was over the tribe of Dan.

23 But David took not the number of them from twenty years old and under: because the Lord had said he would increase Israel like to the stars of the heavens.
24 Joab the son of Zeruiah began to number, but he finished not, because there fell wrath for it against Israel; neither was the number put in the account of the chronicles of king David.

There was no record made of the children in his kingdom, because the Lord had promised the Israelites they would increase so greatly, and they had. Joab, David’s nephew and captain of the army’s, began to take a record according to orders of David, but did not finish because he brought the wrath of God upon Israel. No number was recorded in the king’s chronicles either.

25 And over the king’s treasures was Azmaveth the son of Adiel: and over the storehouses in the fields, in the cities, and in the villages, and in the castles, was Jehonathan the son of Uzziah:
26 And over them that did the work of the field for tillage of the ground was Ezri the son of Chelub:
27 And over the vineyards was Shimei the Ramathite: over the increase of the vineyards for the wine cellars was Zabdi the Shiphmite:
28 And over the olive trees and the sycomore trees that were in the low plains was Baal-hanan the Gederite: and over the cellars of oil was Joash:
29 And over the herds that fed in Sharon was Shitrai the Sharonite: and over the herds that were in the valleys was Shaphat the son of Adlai:
30 Over the camels also was Obil the Ishmaelite: and over the asses was Jehdeiah the Meronothite:
31 And over the flocks was Jaziz the Hagerite. All these were the rulers of the substance which was king David’s.
32 Also Jonathan David’s uncle was a counsellor, a wise man, and a scribe: and Jehiel the son of Hachmoni was with the king’s sons:
33 And Ahithophel was the king’s counsellor: and Hushai the Archite was the king’s companion:
34 And after Ahithophel was Jehoiada the son of Benaiah, and Abiathar: and the general of the king’s army was Joab.

The king had many workers that took care of things such as his crops and animals, which were each given a leader. Azmaveth was put over the treasury of the king, Jehonathan was put in charge of the storehouses, Ezri was put in charge of the workers of the fields, Shimei was put in charge of the vineyards, and Zabdi was put in charge of the produce from the vineyards. Baal-hanan was put in charge of the trees in the low plains, including olive trees and sycomores. Joash was put in charge of the cellars, Shitrai was in charge of the herds in Sharon, and Shaphat was over the herds in the valleys. Obil was in charge of the camels, Jehdeiah was over the donkeys, and Jaziz was over the flocks, which I think means the sheep.

Finally, David had those who worked the closest with him. His nephew, Jonathan, was a counselor, a wise man and scribe. Jehiel served the king’s sons, Ahithophel was the king’s advisor and the grandfather of Bathsheba, Hushai was his companion (perhaps something like a body guard or a personal assistant), Johoiada and Abiathar were other counsellors to the king, and Joab, as mentioned above, was the general of the king’s army.

The scriptures do not always record the details of the kings and those who served him, because those things were reserved for other records, but there was significance to the establishment of the kingdom of David. This record shows that there were many who helped to lead Israel at this time in its history. This is a mere handful of the children of Israel at this time, but they helped to make the kingdom of David strong and successful.

Advertisements

1 Kings Chapter 12

Rehoboam was the son of Solomon, who began to rule once Solomon died. Solomon had been promised that his kingdom would no longer remain whole and under the rule of his family, but rather, that the kingdom would be split during the reign of his son, and ten of the tribes would leave to follow another ruler. That new ruler would be Jeroboam, who had been promised these things through the prophet. Those who ruled over the Israelites would be blessed if they were faithful to the Lord. This chapter tells of both Rehoboam and Jeroboam.

1 And Rehoboam went to Shechem: for all Israel were come to Shechem to make him king.
2 And it came to pass, when Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who was yet in Egypt, heard of it, (for he was fled from the presence of king Solomon, and Jeroboam dwelt in Egypt;)
3 That they sent and called him. And Jeroboam and all the congregation of Israel came, and spake unto Rehoboam, saying,
4 Thy father made our yoke grievous: now therefore make thou the grievous service of thy father, and his heavy yoke which he put upon us, lighter, and we will serve thee.
5 And he said unto them, Depart yet for three days, then come again to me. And the people departed.

Rehoboam went to Shechem to be made king over the people. Jeroboam, who had fled to Egypt during the reign of Solomon, heard of this and returned to be there. Jeroboam and the Israelites asked for a lighter burden upon them, then they had with Solomon. In return, they promised to serve Rehoboam. He told the people to leave him for three days, and so they did.

6 And king Rehoboam consulted with the old men, that stood before Solomon his father while he yet lived, and said, How do ye advise that I may answer this people?
7 And they spake unto him, saying, If thou wilt be a servant unto this people this day, and wilt serve them, and answer them, and speak good words to them, then they will be thy servants for ever.
8 But he forsook the counsel of the old men, which they had given him, and consulted with the young men that were grown up with him, and which stood before him:
9 And he said unto them, What counsel give ye that we may answer this people, who have spoken to me, saying, Make the yoke which thy father did put upon us lighter?
10 And the young men that were grown up with him spake unto him, saying, Thus shalt thou speak unto this people that spake unto thee, saying, Thy father made our yoke heavy, but make thou it lighter unto us; thus shalt thou say unto them, My little finger shall be thicker than my father’s loins.
11 And now whereas my father did lade you with a heavy yoke, I will add to your yoke: my father hath chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions.

Rehoboam sought the advice of the older men, or elders of Israel, that had served Solomon as his advisors. They told him that the people would remain loyal to him, if he would serve them and answer them with good words, which I think means to tell them he would do as they asked. Rehoboam ignored their advice, and then turned to the advisors of his own generation, who told him to say that he would be harder and harsher on them than his father had been.

12 So Jeroboam and all the people came to Rehoboam the third day, as the king had appointed, saying, Come to me again the third day.
13 And the king answered the people roughly, and forsook the old men’s counsel that they gave him;
14 And spake to them after the counsel of the young men, saying, My father made your yoke heavy, and I will add to your yoke: my father also chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions.
15 Wherefore the king hearkened not unto the people; for the cause was from the Lord, that he might perform his saying, which the Lord spake by Ahijah the Shilonite unto Jeroboam the son of Nebat.

Jeroboam and the people returned after the third day, and he told them that he would make their burdens heaver and harder. He did not listen to the request of his people and this would lead to the fulfillment of the words of the prophet to Jeroboam.

16 So when all Israel saw that the king hearkened not unto them, the people answered the king, saying, What portion have we in David? neither have we inheritance in the son of Jesse: to your tents, O Israel: now see to thine own house, David. So Israel departed unto their tents.
17 But as for the children of Israel which dwelt in the cities of Judah, Rehoboam reigned over them.
18 Then king Rehoboam sent Adoram, who was over the tribute; and all Israel stoned him with stones, that he died. Therefore king Rehoboam made speed to get him up to his chariot, to flee to Jerusalem.
19 So Israel rebelled against the house of David unto this day.
20 And it came to pass, when all Israel heard that Jeroboam was come again, that they sent and called him unto the congregation, and made him king over all Israel: there was none that followed the house of David, but the tribe of Judah only.

The Israelites were upset with his decision, and returned to their own homes feeling separated from the king and disenchanted with his kingdom. Rehoboam continued to rule over those who lived in Judah (and those near it, which included those from the tribe of Benjamin). He sent out his servant to collect tribute from the rest of Israel, but the people of Israel stoned him. Learning of the revolt of his people, Rehoboam fled to Jerusalem. The ten tribes turned from the house of David and instead turned to Jeroboam to be their king.

https://www.lds.org/scriptures/bc/images/03990_000_bible-map-3.pdf

21 And when Rehoboam was come to Jerusalem, he assembled all the house of Judah, with the tribe of Benjamin, an hundred and fourscore thousand chosen men, which were warriors, to fight against the house of Israel, to bring the kingdom again to Rehoboam the son of Solomon.
22 But the word of God came unto Shemaiah the man of God, saying,
23 Speak unto Rehoboam, the son of Solomon, king of Judah, and unto all the house of Judah and Benjamin, and to the remnant of the people, saying,
24 Thus saith the Lord, Ye shall not go up, nor fight against your brethren the children of Israel: return every man to his house; for this thing is from me. They hearkened therefore to the word of the Lord, and returned to depart, according to the word of the Lord.

The tribes of Judah and Benjamin were gathered under Rehoboam (the southern kingdom), and he made an army to fight against the men of Israel, so that he could bring the kingdom back together under his rule. Shemaiah, a prophet, was given revelation to tell Rehoboam not to go up and fight against their brothers, the Israelites, because this fight was not acceptable to the Lord. They listened to the word of the Lord and departed.

25 Then Jeroboam built Shechem in mount Ephraim, and dwelt therein; and went out from thence, and built Penuel.
26 And Jeroboam said in his heart, Now shall the kingdom return to the house of David:
27 If this people go up to do sacrifice in the house of the Lord at Jerusalem, then shall the heart of this people turn again unto their lord, even unto Rehoboam king of Judah, and they shall kill me, and go again to Rehoboam king of Judah.
28 Whereupon the king took counsel, and made two calves of gold, and said unto them, It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem: behold thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.
29 And he set the one in Beth-el, and the other put he in Dan.
30 And this thing became a sin: for the people went to worship before the one, even unto Dan.
31 And he made an house of high places, and made priests of the lowest of the people, which were not of the sons of Levi.
32 And Jeroboam ordained a feast in the eighth month, on the fifteenth day of the month, like unto the feast that is in Judah, and he offered upon the altar. So did he in Beth-el, sacrificing unto the calves that he had made: and he placed in Beth-el the priests of the high places which he had made.
33 So he offered upon the altar which he had made in Beth-el the fifteenth day of the eighth month, even in the month which he had devised of his own heart; and ordained a feast unto the children of Israel: and he offered upon the altar, and burnt incense.

Jeroboam, who now ruled over the ten tribes of Israel (the northern kingdom), built Shechem and lived there. He also built Penuel. Jeroboam worried that those of his people who wanted to worship would go to Jerusalem and turn to the Lord and possibly back to Rehoboam. He worried that this might lead to his own death and loss of the kingdom. So after taking counsel, he built two golden calves for the Israelites to worship, saying that they were the gods who brought the people out of Egypt. He led the people into worshiping these false gods. He called false priests who were not Levites. Jeroboam established their own feast like the feast which the Lord had established, and made sacrifices and offerings on an altar. So, Jeroboam ruled with the practice of idolatry, over the children of Israel. In this, they became an apostate nation.

This is yet another example of two things. First, the negative effects from deliberately choosing not to follow the counsel of our elders in favor of those who might say more of the words that are easier for us to hear. In his case, Rehoboam lost the united kingdom of Israel and would spend the rest of his days against those in the kingdom of Jeroboam. Rehoboam could have avoided this, if he had listened to the elders. Those who have wisdom that comes with age and years of service, especially in a time or area where people are trying to do what is right, are more likely to advise us to do things that are good and better for us. People in my life that would be better to listen to are my parents, church leaders, and older people who have the same standards as I do. I am so grateful for the spirit, which allows me the gift of discernment, when there are many opinions and voices trying to be heard.

The second example is the bad that can come from following leaders who are not righteous. Unrighteous rulers will most likely lead their people into a life of unrighteousness. Idolatry has never been acceptable to the one true and living God, and it results in eventual destruction of the wicked. It is important for followers of Christ, to be watchful for those who say things that are pleasing to hear and those who tempt others to turn to false idols of all kinds.

1 Kings Chapter 11

Solomon had been blessed to be given the kingdom of Israel to rule over. He had been visited by the Lord two times, in which the Lord had blessed him to be the wisest and wealthiest king of his time. He was well known by all nations, and greatly sought after for his wisdom. He had been blessed with these things, and with the promise that his family would continue to rule, if he would continue to remember the Lord and keep the commandments. This chapter begins with the following:

1 But king Solomon loved many strange women, together with the daughter of Pharaoh, women of the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Zidonians, and Hittites;
2 Of the nations concerning which the Lord said unto the children of Israel, Ye shall not go in to them, neither shall they come in unto you: for surely they will turn away your heart after their gods: Solomon clave unto these in love.
3 And he had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines: and his wives turned away his heart.
4 For it came to pass, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned away his heart after other gods: and his heart was not perfect with the Lord his God, as was the heart of David his father.
5 For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Zidonians, and after Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites.
6 And Solomon did evil in the sight of the Lord, and went not fully after the Lord, as did David his father.
7 Then did Solomon build an high place for Chemosh, the abomination of Moab, in the hill that is before Jerusalem, and for Molech, the abomination of the children of Ammon.
8 And likewise did he for all his strange wives, which burnt incense and sacrificed unto their gods.

Solomon was married to the daughter of Pharaoh, and also married many women who were strangers, or not Israelite women. His marriage to many women was not forbidden by the Lord. However, he married women who belonged to nations that the Lord had forbidden the Israelites to marry. They were from nations who followed after false gods. The Israelites had been forbidden to go to them, because they would lead them away from the Lord and to following after their false gods. Solomon loved these many women, and they led his heart away from the Lord, who had given him so much to be grateful for. He no longer lived the commandments, but turned to Ashtoreth (worshipped with Baal) and Milcom (fire god, known for sacrificing children by fire), false gods of the Zidonians and Ammonites. In fact, it says here that he turned his heart to them, which shows that they became of great importance to him. He also built a place of worship for Chemosh (human sacrifices) and Molech (also known as Milcom), who were the gods of the Moabites and the children of Ammon. He built them in the “high places”, just as places of worship had been built to the Lord, before Solomon built the temple in Jerusalem.

I can see how someone who believed in the Lord and did so much to show his devotion, like building the grand temple to the Lord, would fall away like this. Solomon was exposed to all the great people of all the nations. They offered him the best they had as gifts, including their daughters and other women. He loved them. I can imagine him wanting them to be happy and feel of his love and acceptance. It may have started as simply allowing them to continue to worship as they wanted, but eventually he began to support them by giving them things in order to continue that worship. After time, his wives were able to lead him into following their beliefs instead of the beliefs he had been raised with by his father, David. This didn’t happen overnight, as it says he was old when he turned away. It took years. One of the tactics of the adversary, is to slowly lead away the righteous, so they don’t recognize that something is happening. This is why we must be continually on guard and follow commandments given. If Solomon had followed the commandment to stay away from marrying women of certain wicked nations, he would have been kept safe from this temptation and his own weakness with it.

9 And the Lord was angry with Solomon, because his heart was turned from the Lord God of Israel, which had appeared unto him twice,
10 And had commanded him concerning this thing, that he should not go after other gods: but he kept not that which the Lord commanded.
11 Wherefore the Lord said unto Solomon, Forasmuch as this is done of thee, and thou hast not kept my covenant and my statutes, which I have commanded thee, I will surely rend the kingdom from thee, and will give it to thy servant.
12 Notwithstanding in thy days I will not do it for David thy father’s sake: but I will rend it out of the hand of thy son.
13 Howbeit I will not rend away all the kingdom; but will give one tribe to thy son for David my servant’s sake, and for Jerusalem’s sake which I have chosen.

The anger of the Lord was upon King Solomon, because he turned his heart from Him and had broken the commandments. Since he had been privileged twice, to have a witness of the Lord, I am sure that the standard for King Solomon was set even higher than most people who have lived. Solomon was promised at this time, that his kingdom would be taken from his family and given to another, at the time his son was on the throne. Because of the promises given to David, the kingdom was not to be taken during Solomon’s reign, and one tribe would be left to their line, including Jerusalem.

14 And the Lord stirred up an adversary unto Solomon, Hadad the Edomite: he was of the king’s seed in Edom.
15 For it came to pass, when David was in Edom, and Joab the captain of the host was gone up to bury the slain, after he had smitten every male in Edom;
16 (For six months did Joab remain there with all Israel, until he had cut off every male in Edom:)
17 That Hadad fled, he and certain Edomites of his father’s servants with him, to go into Egypt; Hadad being yet a little child.
18 And they arose out of Midian, and came to Paran: and they took men with them out of Paran, and they came to Egypt, unto Pharaoh king of Egypt; which gave him an house, and appointed him victuals, and gave him land.
19 And Hadad found great favour in the sight of Pharaoh, so that he gave him to wife the sister of his own wife, the sister of Tahpenes the queen.
20 And the sister of Tahpenes bare him Genubath his son, whom Tahpenes weaned in Pharaoh’s house: and Genubath was in Pharaoh’s household among the sons of Pharaoh.
21 And when Hadad heard in Egypt that David slept with his fathers, and that Joab the captain of the host was dead, Hadad said to Pharaoh, Let me depart, that I may go to mine own country.
22 Then Pharaoh said unto him, But what hast thou lacked with me, that, behold, thou seekest to go to thine own country? And he answered, Nothing: howbeit let me go in any wise.

The Lord allowed Hadad the Edomite, to be stirred up against Solomon. Hadad had been a refuge from Israel to Egypt, as a little child. He had been given land in Egypt, and eventually found favor with Pharaoh. Hadad had married the sister of the queen of Egypt, and his son lived among the sons of Pharaoh. When David and Joab had both died, Hadad asked Pharoah if he could return to his own land. Pharaoh asked him what he was lacking in Egypt, that would cause him to return to his own land, and Hadad asked to return anyway.

23 And God stirred him up another adversary, Rezon the son of Eliadah, which fled from his lord Hadadezer king of Zobah:
24 And he gathered men unto him, and became captain over a band, when David slew them of Zobah: and they went to Damascus, and dwelt therein, and reigned in Damascus.
25 And he was an adversary to Israel all the days of Solomon, beside the mischief that Hadad did: and he abhorred Israel, and reigned over Syria.

Likewise, Rezon of Zobah, became stirred up against Solomon and Israel, because David had killed those in Zobah. Rezon lived in Damascus and reigned over Syria. He and Hadad did mischief against Israel.

26 And Jeroboam the son of Nebat, an Ephrathite of Zereda, Solomon’s servant, whose mother’s name was Zeruah, a widow woman, even he lifted up his hand against the king.
27 And this was the cause that he lifted up his hand against the king: Solomon built Millo, and repaired the breaches of the city of David his father.
28 And the man Jeroboam was a mighty man of valour: and Solomon seeing the young man that he was industrious, he made him ruler over all the charge of the house of Joseph.
29 And it came to pass at that time when Jeroboam went out of Jerusalem, that the prophet Ahijah the Shilonite found him in the way; and he had clad himself with a new garment; and they two were alone in the field:
30 And Ahijah caught the new garment that was on him, and rent it in twelve pieces:
31 And he said to Jeroboam, Take thee ten pieces: for thus saith the Lord, the God of Israel, Behold, I will rend the kingdom out of the hand of Solomon, and will give ten tribes to thee:
32 (But he shall have one tribe for my servant David’s sake, and for Jerusalem’s sake, the city which I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel:)
33 Because that they have forsaken me, and have worshipped Ashtoreth the goddess of the Zidonians, Chemosh the god of the Moabites, and Milcom the god of the children of Ammon, and have not walked in my ways, to do that which is right in mine eyes, and to keep my statutes and my judgments, as did David his father.
34 Howbeit I will not take the whole kingdom out of his hand: but I will make him prince all the days of his life for David my servant’s sake, whom I chose, because he kept my commandments and my statutes:
35 But I will take the kingdom out of his son’s hand, and will give it unto thee, even ten tribes.
36 And unto his son will I give one tribe, that David my servant may have a light alway before me in Jerusalem, the city which I have chosen me to put my name there.
37 And I will take thee, and thou shalt reign according to all that thy soul desireth, and shalt be king over Israel.
38 And it shall be, if thou wilt hearken unto all that I command thee, and wilt walk in my ways, and do that is right in my sight, to keep my statutes and my commandments, as David my servant did; that I will be with thee, and build thee a sure house, as I built for David, and will give Israel unto thee.
39 And I will for this afflict the seed of David, but not for ever.
40 Solomon sought therefore to kill Jeroboam. And Jeroboam arose, and fled into Egypt, unto Shishak king of Egypt, and was in Egypt until the death of Solomon.

Additionally, the Lord allowed Jeroboam to be stirred up against Solomon. Jeroboam was of Zereda and a servant of Solomon. He was angry with Solomon because he had built up the defenses in Jerusalem and repaired the city of David. Jeroboam had been recognized as a mighty man, so he was placed in charge of the house of Joseph. One day, dressed in new clothing, he came upon the prophet Ahijah. Ahijah took his new clothes and tore them into twelve pieces. The prophet told Jeroboam to take ten of the pieces, because the Lord would take ten of the tribes of Israel and give them to Jeroboam, leaving the king with one tribe and Jerusalem. This was because the tribes had forsaken the Lord and turned to worshipped other gods, breaking the commandments and statutes that had been given to them. The footnote says that the Septuagint translation of the bible reads as two tribes. Considering Jeroboam was promised ten, and we know that the line of Joseph was split into two tribes, there would be one tribe missing. This seems to make more sense to me. Either way, Solomon the king, would be left a prince or ruler of this tribe, because of the promises to David. His son would rule over Jerusalem (Judah), which was the chosen city of the Lord and was the place of His temple. Solomon would not repent, as his father David had repented after falling into his own temptations (see footnote c of verse 33).

Jeroboam was told that the would be made king and rule over Israel, and would be allowed to rule as he desired. If Jeroboam would obey the commandments given to him by the Lord, the Lord would be with him and his kingdom would remain. He was promised that the seed of David would be afflicted, but not forever. This was a continuation of the curse placed on David for his transgression against God. After Jeroboam received this promise, Solomon went after him and he fled into Egypt, remaining there until Solomon died.

41 And the rest of the acts of Solomon, and all that he did, and his wisdom, are they not written in the book of the acts of Solomon?
42 And the time that Solomon reigned in Jerusalem over all Israel was forty years.
43 And Solomon slept with his fathers, and was buried in the city of David his father: and Rehoboam his son reigned in his stead.

This was all that was recorded in this book, regarding Solomon. There may have been more recorded in other books, but they have been lost to us since then. After forty years of being the king of Israel, ruling in Jerusalem, Solomon died. His son, Rehoboam, reigned in his stead.

Time and time again, the rulers of Israel, were punished for turning from the Lord. This is because the adversary has great power among men. We are not free from this in our day either. Satan uses tactics today, just as he did to those in biblical times. In fact, this tactic of slowly leading good people into carnal security, can be seen throughout the world today. Even the best can fall, if they are not watchful. This is why it is important for disciples of Christ, to do those things each day that will guard them against the traps and snares of the adversary. It is vital that good people continue to be good, by searching the scriptures daily, praying daily, following the commandments of God, and turning to the Lord continually to repent and find the strength to endure in these difficult times. If these things are not done, we can also turn from God. The results will be the same in our lives, as they were for Solomon. The Lord will allow our own enemies, even ourselves, to come against us. Our safety comes in following the Lord and keeping His commandments. I am so grateful for the gospel of Jesus Christ, because it helps me to remember the commandments and my covenants with God. It helps me to try harder to live more righteously, and gives me hope that I will be able to overcome the temptations of the adversary.

Joshua Chapter 18

Near the end of Joshua’s life, the Israelites had taken the land of Canaan from their enemies and the lots of inheritance were being divided among the tribes of Israel. Joshua was given this responsibility by the Lord, as the prophet of that time. In the midst of receiving the inheritances, the Israelites were gathered together. This chapter begins:

1 And the whole congregation of the children of Israel assembled together at Shiloh, and set up the tabernacle of the congregation there. And the land was subdued before them.
2 And there remained among the children of Israel seven tribes, which had not yet received their inheritance.
3 And Joshua said unto the children of Israel, How long are ye slack to go to possess the land, which the Lord God of your fathers hath given you?
4 Give out from among you three men for each tribe: and I will send them, and they shall rise, and go through the land, and describe it according to the inheritance of them; and they shall come again to me.
5 And they shall divide it into seven parts: Judah shall abide in their coast on the south, and the house of Joseph shall abide in their coasts on the north.
6 Ye shall therefore describe the land into seven parts, and bring the description hither to me, that I may cast lots for you here before the Lord our God.
7 But the Levites have no part among you; for the priesthood of the Lord is their inheritance: and Gad, and Reuben, and half the tribe of Manasseh, have received their inheritance beyond Jordan on the east, which Moses the servant of the Lord gave them.

The people gathered at Shiloh, north of Jericho and on the western side of the Jordan, and the tabernacle of the congregation was set up there. I believe that this means, that the ark of the covenant was placed there, and they continued to have the presence of the Lord among them. This would be where the people of Israel could bring their sacrifices and offerings to the Lord. I believe the tabernacle would remain there, until the Lord named the place for his temple.

Men from each tribe, were sent to survey the land and plan how they would be divided. Then, they were to bring their suggestions back to Joshua, for him to casts lots. Those who had already received their inheritances, as well as the Levites who would not receive an inheritance, were not included in this part of the division. This was because their blessings came from their priesthood service to the Lord.

8 And the men arose, and went away: and Joshua charged them that went to describe the land, saying, Go and walk through the land, and describe it, and come again to me, that I may here cast lots for you before the Lord in Shiloh.
9 And the men went and passed through the land, and described it by cities into seven parts in a book, and came again to Joshua to the host at Shiloh.

The men who had been chose, went out into the land and brought back the plans for seven parts, to Joshua and the rest of the Israelites.

10 And Joshua cast lots for them in Shiloh before the Lord: and there Joshua divided the land unto the children of Israel according to their divisions.

Joshua divided the land by casting lots for the remaining tribes.

Division of the Tribes of Israel

11 And the lot of the tribe of the children of Benjamin came up according to their families: and the coast of their lot came forth between the children of Judah and the children of Joseph.
12 And their border on the north side was from Jordan; and the border went up to the side of Jericho on the north side, and went up through the mountains westward; and the goings out thereof were at the wilderness of Beth-aven.
13 And the border went over from thence toward Luz, to the side of Luz, which is Beth-el, southward; and the border descended to Ataroth-adar, near the hill that lieth on the south side of the nether Beth-horon.
14 And the border was drawn thence, and compassed the corner of the sea southward, from the hill that lieth before Beth-horon southward; and the goings out thereof were at Kirjath-baal, which is Kirjath-jearim, a city of the children of Judah: this was the west quarter.
15 And the south quarter was from the end of Kirjath-jearim, and the border went out on the west, and went out to the well of waters of Nephtoah:
16 And the border came down to the end of the mountain that lieth before the valley of the son of Hinnom, and which is in the valley of the giants on the north, and descended to the valley of Hinnom, to the side of Jebusi on the south, and descended to En-rogel,
17 And was drawn from the north, and went forth to En-shemesh, and went forth toward Geliloth, which is over against the going up of Adummim, and descended to the stone of Bohan the son of Reuben,
18 And passed along toward the side over against Arabah northward, and went down unto Arabah:
19 And the border passed along to the side of Beth-hoglah northward: and the outgoings of the border were at the north bay of the salt sea at the south end of Jordan: this was the south coast.
20 And Jordan was the border of it on the east side. This was the inheritance of the children of Benjamin, by the coasts thereof round about, according to their families.
21 Now the cities of the tribe of the children of Benjamin according to their families were Jericho, and Beth-hoglah, and the valley of Keziz,
22 And Beth-arabah, and Zemaraim, and Beth-el,
23 And Avim, and Parah, and Ophrah,
24 And Chephar-haammonai, and Ophni, and Gaba; twelve cities with their villages:
25 Gibeon, and Ramah, and Beeroth,
26 And Mizpeh, and Chephirah, and Mozah,
27 And Rekem, and Irpeel, and Taralah,
28 And Zelah, Eleph, and Jebusi, which is Jerusalem, Gibeath, and Kirjath; fourteen cities with their villages. This is the inheritance of the children of Benjamin according to their families.

The tribe of Benjamin were given their inheritance by lot. A description of the land with its borders is given here. The city of Jerusalem, was located in the land inherited by the tribe of Benjamin.

It is important to know that the tabernacle was once again established in the land where they dwelled. The Lord would continue to be with the people of Israel, if they would follow His commandments. The tabernacle was a symbol of the Lord’s presence in that day. Likewise, the temples of today are a symbol of the Lord’s presence in our lives. If we live the standards that will make us worthy to be in the temples of the Lord, we can have the spirit of the Lord in our lives. I am very grateful for temples and for the reminder that His spirit is here.

Joshua Chapter 17

This part of the book of Joshua, reviews the inheritances of the tribes of Israel.

Division of the Tribes of Israel

The tribes of Joseph, which are Manasseh and Ephraim, are the line which were to receive a double-portion of the inheritance. This was because Reuben, who was the firstborn, had lost the right to the double-portion through transgression against his father. This chapter begins as follows:

1 There was also a lot for the tribe of Manasseh; for he was the firstborn of Joseph; to wit, for Machir the firstborn of Manasseh, the father of Gilead: because he was a man of war, therefore he had Gilead and Bashan.
2 There was also a lot for the rest of the children of Manasseh by their families; for the children of Abiezer, and for the children of Helek, and for the children of Asriel, and for the children of Shechem, and for the children of Hepher, and for the children of Shemida: these were the male children of Manasseh the son of Joseph by their families.

The posterity of Manasseh included Machir, Abiezer, Helek, Asriel, Shechem, Hepher and Shemida. The inheritance would go to the male children of their family.

3 But Zelophehad, the son of Hepher, the son of Gilead, the son of Machir, the son of Manasseh, had no sons, but daughters: and these are the names of his daughters, Mahlah, and Noah, Hoglah, Milcah, and Tirzah.
4 And they came near before Eleazar the priest, and before Joshua the son of Nun, and before the princes, saying, The Lord commanded Moses to give us an inheritance among our brethren. Therefore according to the commandment of the Lord he gave them an inheritance among the brethren of their father.
5 And there fell ten portions to Manasseh, beside the land of Gilead and Bashan, which were on the other side Jordan;
6 Because the daughters of Manasseh had an inheritance among his sons: and the rest of Manasseh’s sons had the land of Gilead.

The daughters of Zelophehad, had no brothers for the inheritance to pass on to. According to the commandment given to Moses (see Numbers 27), the inheritance would go to the daughters because their was no son and no one to provide for them. An additional ten portions of the inheritance went to the tribe of Manasseh, aside from the inheritance that had already been claimed on the eastern side of the Jordan.

7 And the coast of Manasseh was from Asher to Michmethah, that lieth before Shechem; and the border went along on the right hand unto the inhabitants of En-tappuah.
8 Now Manasseh had the land of Tappuah: but Tappuah on the border of Manasseh belonged to the children of Ephraim;
9 And the coast descended unto the river Kanah, southward of the river: these cities of Ephraim are among the cities of Manasseh: the coast of Manasseh also was on the north side of the river, and the outgoings of it were at the sea:
10 Southward it was Ephraim’s, and northward it was Manasseh’s, and the sea is his border; and they met together in Asher on the north, and in Issachar on the east.
11 And Manasseh had in Issachar and in Asher Beth-shean and her towns, and Ibleam and her towns, and the inhabitants of Dor and her towns, and the inhabitants of En-dor and her towns, and the inhabitants of Taanach and her towns, and the inhabitants of Megiddo and her towns, even three countries.
12 Yet the children of Manasseh could not drive out the inhabitants of those cities; but the Canaanites would dwell in that land.
13 Yet it came to pass, when the children of Israel were waxen strong, that they put the Canaanites to tribute; but did not utterly drive them out.
14 And the children of Joseph spake unto Joshua, saying, Why hast thou given me but one lot and one portion to inherit, seeing I am a great people, forasmuch as the Lord hath blessed me hitherto?
15 And Joshua answered them, If thou be a great people, then get thee up to the wood country, and cut down for thyself there in the land of the Perizzites and of the giants, if mount Ephraim be too narrow for thee.
16 And the children of Joseph said, The hill is not enough for us: and all the Canaanites that dwell in the land of the valley have chariots of iron, both they who are of Beth-shean and her towns, and they who are of the valley of Jezreel.
17 And Joshua spake unto the house of Joseph, even to Ephraim and to Manasseh, saying, Thou art a great people, and hast great power: thou shalt not have one lot only:
18 But the mountain shall be thine; for it is a wood, and thou shalt cut it down: and the outgoings of it shall be thine: for thou shalt drive out the Canaanites, though they have iron chariots, and though they be strong.

The lands of Manasseh and Ephraim were described here. Some of the Canaanites continued to live in the land where the tribe of Manasseh lived. They caused the Canaanites to pay them tribute, or serve them. Because the tribes of Joseph were great, they also received the portion of land in the mountain, or hill country. Joshua told them to cut down the forest for their land, and promised them that they could drive the Canaanites out of the mountain in spite of their enemy’s strength and chariots. The tribe of Joseph had been promised strength in the blessings of their father, Jacob. The wisdom of men, brought fear into their hearts when facing the giants of those days, with their chariots and strength. But the Lord would be with his faithful people. He continues to be with the faithful today, and will strengthen each of us in our own trials, if we trust in him and not in the arm of the flesh.

Deuteronomy Chapter 33

At this point in the story of Moses and the Israelites, Moses has completed his sermons to the people and is preparing to go up into the Mount to die. Throughout the scriptures, we have records of what the prophets have done when they know they are about to leave their mortal life. It seems that quite often, they take the time to leave a blessing upon the people or upon their families. In this chapter Moses leaves a blessing upon the tribes of Israel. (This is just my simple understanding of what the words of Moses mean, and I know I do not have a perfect grasp of all the words spoken). It begins as follows:

1 And this is the blessing, wherewith Moses the man of God blessed the children of Israel before his death.
2 And he said, The Lord came from Sinai, and rose up from Seir unto them; he shined forth from mount Paran, and he came with ten thousands of saints: from his right hand went a fiery law for them.
3 Yea, he loved the people; all his saints are in thy hand: and they sat down at thy feet; every one shall receive of thy words.
4 Moses commanded us a law, even the inheritance of the congregation of Jacob.
5 And he was king in Jeshurun, when the heads of the people and the tribes of Israel were gathered together.

Moses was a man, who led the saints of his day under the had of the Lord. The people were loved by the Lord, and He gave them His word in the Law of Moses, as well as a promised inheritance.

We have a prophet today, who leads the saints of God now. He is a man called of God, and serves under the direction of God. In modern revelation it tells us how our prophet should be like Moses. In Doctrine and Covenants, chapter 107, we read the following:

91 And again, the duty of the President of the office of the High Priesthood is to preside over the whole church, and to be like unto Moses—
92 Behold, here is wisdom; yea, to be a seer, a revelator, a translator, and a prophet, having all the gifts of God which he bestows upon the head of the church.

6 Let Reuben live, and not die; and let not his men be few.

Moses blessed the tribe of Reuben, that they would not die, but would be great in number. They still did not hold any greater blessing even though they were the tribe of the firstborn, because those blessings were given to Joseph and his posterity. However, being blessed to have numbers, was a great blessing for their tribe.

7 And this is the blessing of Judah: and he said, Hear, Lord, the voice of Judah, and bring him unto his people: let his hands be sufficient for him; and be thou an help to him from his enemies.

The tribe of Judah was blessed that they would have sufficient for their needs and aid when faced with enemies or other nations they would need to drive out of the land.

8 And of Levi he said, Let thy Thummim and thy Urim be with thy holy one, whom thou didst prove at Massah, and with whom thou didst strive at the waters of Meribah;
9 Who said unto his father and to his mother, I have not seen him; neither did he acknowledge his brethren, nor knew his own children: for they have observed thy word, and kept thy covenant.
10 They shall teach Jacob thy judgments, and Israel thy law: they shall put incense before thee, and whole burnt sacrifice upon thine altar.
11 Bless, Lord, his substance, and accept the work of his hands: smite through the loins of them that rise against him, and of them that hate him, that they rise not again.

The tribe of Levi was blessed to have directions from the Lord, to teach the children of Israel all the Lord’s judgments, or ordinances, and the law. This was the duty of their priesthood, which only they held among all the Israelites. They were blessed to continue in their service to the Lord with incense and sacrifices. They were also blessed to have their work and service accepted by the Lord, and to be protected from any enemies.

12 And of Benjamin he said, The beloved of the Lord shall dwell in safety by him; and the Lord shall cover him all the day long, and he shall dwell between his shoulders.

The people of Benjamin were blessed with safety and protection provided by the Lord, and the presence of the Lord to be with them.

13 And of Joseph he said, Blessed of the Lord be his land, for the precious things of heaven, for the dew, and for the deep that coucheth beneath,
14 And for the precious fruits brought forth by the sun, and for the precious things put forth by the moon,
15 And for the chief things of the ancient mountains, and for the precious things of the lasting hills,
16 And for the precious things of the earth and fulness thereof, and for the good will of him that dwelt in the bush: let the blessing come upon the head of Joseph, and upon the top of the head of him that was separated from his brethren.
17 His glory is like the firstling of his bullock, and his horns are like the horns of unicorns: with them he shall push the people together to the ends of the earth: and they are the ten thousands of Ephraim, and they are the thousands of Manasseh.

The tribes of Joseph, meaning Ephraim and Manasseh, were given a blessing on the land and all around them. They were blessed with glory and the power to push people together. This is the greatest blessing of the tribes, and draws attention to the calling that these people have for gathering the house of Israel in the latter days. As mentioned earlier, they received the greater blessing, because they still maintained the birthright of the tribes of Israel.

18 And of Zebulun he said, Rejoice, Zebulun, in thy going out; and, Issachar, in thy tents.
19 They shall call the people unto the mountain; there they shall offer sacrifices of righteousness: for they shall suck of the abundance of the seas, and of treasures hid in the sand.

The tribe of Zebulun received a blessing over their travels, I think. This tribe was already blessed with what sounds like the ports of the sea (Genesis 49:13), where they would be able to work for their good and be blessed by the “abundance of the seas”. The tribe of Issachar was given a blessing in their homeland, and what sounds like blessings of treasure in the land. These tribes would bring people to the house of the Lord to offer righteous sacrifices.

20 And of Gad he said, Blessed be he that enlargeth Gad: he dwelleth as a lion, and teareth the arm with the crown of the head.
21 And he provided the first part for himself, because there, in a portion of the lawgiver, was he seated; and he came with the heads of the people, he executed the justice of the Lord, and his judgments with Israel.

I think that the tribe of Gad was blessed to be enlarged and have strength. They had already been blessed to gain the land of their inheritance, which was right by the Lord. I think they may have been blessed to be judges in Israel.

22 And of Dan he said, Dan is a lion’s whelp: he shall leap from Bashan.

The tribe of Dan was blessed with being like a lion’s cub, I think in the hand of the Lord. They would be protected as a cub is protected by it’s father. I think they would have an inheritance of rich soil, as well.

23 And of Naphtali he said, O Naphtali, satisfied with favour, and full with the blessing of the Lord: possess thou the west and the south.

The tribe of Naphtali was blessed with favor and blessing of the Lord. They were blessed to posses land in the west and south of the land of promise. The footnote indicates that this means the sea of Galilee was an inheritance to this tribe.

24 And of Asher he said, Let Asher be blessed with children; let him be acceptable to his brethren, and let him dip his foot in oil.
25 Thy shoes shall be iron and brass; and as thy days, so shall thy strength be.

The tribe of Asher was blessed with children, and to be accepted by others. They were also blessed with strength.

26 There is none like unto the God of Jeshurun, who rideth upon the heaven in thy help, and in his excellency on the sky.
27 The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms: and he shall thrust out the enemy from before thee; and shall say, Destroy them.
28 Israel then shall dwell in safety alone: the fountain of Jacob shall be upon a land of corn and wine; also his heavens shall drop down dew.
29 Happy art thou, O Israel: who is like unto thee, O people saved by the Lord, the shield of thy help, and who is the sword of thy excellency! and thine enemies shall be found liars unto thee; and thou shalt tread upon their high places.

In this blessing, Moses again reminds the people that there is no other God as the God of the Israelites, who is the God of the righteous. God was the only one who would give help and be a refuge and defense for the Israelites. If they stayed a righteous people of God, they would be blessed to stay in his safety and he would destroy and scatter their enemies. The land would be blessed for them, as well. In all things, Israel was blessed to triumph with God on their side.

In The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS), the fullness of the priesthood has been restored, which allows men today, to be called as patriarchs and give amazing blessings to the saints. I have received my own patriarchal blessing, which tells me that I am a covenant member of the tribe of Ephraim. That means that these blessings apply to me as well, if I choose to live faithfully. Likewise, it means that I have a duty to serve in these latter days, in the gathering of Israel. My life is greatly blessed by God, and I know that this comes through my faithful living of the commandments of God.

It is interesting to learn the importance of blessings in life. Why do we give and receive blessings? It would have been easy for men of God to leave this earth without pronouncing blessings on their people and posterity, but it seems a rite of passage in a man’s life to do so. It is a natural desire for men to leave something behind for their children. Some men choose only to leave the physical possessions of this life, but men of God, choose to leave words of wisdom, guidance, and love. With the addition of the priesthood, men are able to leave blessings of God upon others as the spirit directs them to do so. These blessings may help others to live in a way that is more righteous or will help them to go further in their mortal progression. Overall, these blessings show me that true men of God desire the best for their children. As they desire to be more like their Father in Heaven, they give their love through their words to their family. I am so grateful for the words of righteous men and women in my own life and for the great words of the prophets of old.

Numbers Chapter 1

Numbers is the fourth book of Moses found in the Bible. At this point in the narrative of the Old Testament, the Israelites have made it to the desert of Sinai and are encamped around the base of the mount. The Lord has revealed to them many laws and statutes, and has promised to lead them to the land of their fathers. The children of Israel have made covenants with God and have been given instruction regarding the tabernacle of the Lord. My understanding is that the first ten chapters of Numbers will cover the preparations for the Israelites before they march through the wilderness towards the promise land. The book of Numbers begins:

1 And the Lord spake unto Moses in the wilderness of Sinai, in the tabernacle of the congregation, on the first day of the second month, in the second year after they were come out of the land of Egypt, saying,
2 Take ye the sum of all the congregation of the children of Israel, after their families, by the house of their fathers, with the number of their names, every male by their polls;
3 From twenty years old and upward, all that are able to go forth to war in Israel: thou and Aaron shall number them by their armies.
4 And with you there shall be a man of every tribe; every one head of the house of his fathers.

Moses, who was receiving instruction from the Lord, was to number the men of the host of Israel by households and tribes. These men were to be 20 or older and able to fight for the army of Israel. In the number, there was to be a leader of each tribe and a head of each household.

A Family Tree

A Family Tree

5 And these are the names of the men that shall stand with you: of the tribe of Reuben; Elizur the son of Shedeur.
6 Of Simeon; Shelumiel the son of Zurishaddai.
7 Of Judah; Nahshon the son of Amminadab.
8 Of Issachar; Nethaneel the son of Zuar.
9 Of Zebulun; Eliab the son of Helon.
10 Of the children of Joseph: of Ephraim; Elishama the son of Ammihud: of Manasseh; Gamaliel the son of Pedahzur.
11 Of Benjamin; Abidan the son of Gideoni.
12 Of Dan; Ahiezer the son of Ammishaddai.
13 Of Asher; Pagiel the son of Ocran.
14 Of Gad; Eliasaph the son of Deuel.
15 Of Naphtali; Ahira the son of Enan.
16 These were the renowned of the congregation, princes of the tribes of their fathers, heads of thousands in Israel.

Specific names were given, as who was to stand with Moses in the army of God. These men were being called to this service and were known by the host of Israel as the princes of the tribes. It is notable that the Levites did not have a prince included here, because they were called specifically to serve with the tabernacle. The twelve tribes represented here, included a prince from both of the sons of Joseph, Ephraim and Manasseh. It is also notable that Nahshon of the line of Judah, would later be a direct descent of Solomon, David and eventually Joseph, the husband of Mary, the mother of Jesus.

17 And Moses and Aaron took these men which are expressed by their names:
18 And they assembled all the congregation together on the first day of the second month, and they declared their pedigrees after their families, by the house of their fathers, according to the number of the names, from twenty years old and upward, by their polls.
19 As the Lord commanded Moses, so he numbered them in the wilderness of Sinai.
20 And the children of Reuben, Israel’s eldest son, by their generations, after their families, by the house of their fathers, according to the number of the names, by their polls, every male from twenty years old and upward, all that were able to go forth to war;
21 Those that were numbered of them, even of the tribe of Reuben, were forty and six thousand and five hundred.

As a side note, I love family history. I wish that now was a time in my life where I could put more focus on it, but life with little kids makes it difficult. It is always fun to me to read verses that talk about things like the pedigrees of families, because it shows just how important family histories are. I think it would be awesome to be related to one of these names mentioned in the bible and to have this amazing record of patriarchal lines, which ultimately lead back to Adam. Anyway, Moses and Aaron did as they were commanded by God, and numbered the males of Israel. The tribe of Reuben was totaled as 46,500.

22 Of the children of Simeon, by their generations, after their families, by the house of their fathers, those that were numbered of them, according to the number of the names, by their polls, every male from twenty years old and upward, all that were able to go forth to war;
23 Those that were numbered of them, even of the tribe of Simeon, were fifty and nine thousand and three hundred.

The tribe of Simeon totaled 59,300.

24 Of the children of Gad, by their generations, after their families, by the house of their fathers, according to the number of the names, from twenty years old and upward, all that were able to go forth to war;
25 Those that were numbered of them, even of the tribe of Gad, were forty and five thousand six hundred and fifty.

The tribe of Gad totaled 45,650.

26 Of the children of Judah, by their generations, after their families, by the house of their fathers, according to the number of the names, from twenty years old and upward, all that were able to go forth to war;
27 Those that were numbered of them, even of the tribe of Judah, were threescore and fourteen thousand and six hundred.

The tribe of Judah totaled 74,600.

28 Of the children of Issachar, by their generations, after their families, by the house of their fathers, according to the number of the names, from twenty years old and upward, all that were able to go forth to war;
29 Those that were numbered of them, even of the tribe of Issachar, were fifty and four thousand and four hundred.

The tribe of Issachar totaled 54,400.

30 Of the children of Zebulun, by their generations, after their families, by the house of their fathers, according to the number of the names, from twenty years old and upward, all that were able to go forth to war;
31 Those that were numbered of them, even of the tribe of Zebulun, were fifty and seven thousand and four hundred.

The tribe of Zebulun totaled 57,400.

32 Of the children of Joseph, namely, of the children of Ephraim, by their generations, after their families, by the house of their fathers, according to the number of the names, from twenty years old and upward, all that were able to go forth to war;
33 Those that were numbered of them, even of the tribe of Ephraim, were forty thousand and five hundred.

The tribe of Joseph, through Ephraim, totaled 40,500.

34 Of the children of Manasseh, by their generations, after their families, by the house of their fathers, according to the number of the names, from twenty years old and upward, all that were able to go forth to war;
35 Those that were numbered of them, even of the tribe of Manasseh, were thirty and two thousand and two hundred.

The tribe of Joseph, through Manasseh, totaled 32,200.

36 Of the children of Benjamin, by their generations, after their families, by the house of their fathers, according to the number of the names, from twenty years old and upward, all that were able to go forth to war;
37 Those that were numbered of them, even of the tribe of Benjamin, were thirty and five thousand and four hundred.

The tribe of Benjamin totaled 35,400.

38 Of the children of Dan, by their generations, after their families, by the house of their fathers, according to the number of the names, from twenty years old and upward, all that were able to go forth to war;
39 Those that were numbered of them, even of the tribe of Dan, were threescore and two thousand and seven hundred.

The tribe of Dan totaled 62,700.

40 Of the children of Asher, by their generations, after their families, by the house of their fathers, according to the number of the names, from twenty years old and upward, all that were able to go forth to war;
41 Those that were numbered of them, even of the tribe of Asher, were forty and one thousand and five hundred.

The tribe of Asher totaled 41,500.

42 Of the children of Naphtali, throughout their generations, after their families, by the house of their fathers, according to the number of the names, from twenty years old and upward, all that were able to go forth to war;
43 Those that were numbered of them, even of the tribe of Naphtali, were fifty and three thousand and four hundred.
44 These are those that were numbered, which Moses and Aaron numbered, and the princes of Israel, being twelve men: each one was for the house of his fathers.
45 So were all those that were numbered of the children of Israel, by the house of their fathers, from twenty years old and upward, all that were able to go forth to war in Israel;
46 Even all they that were numbered were six hundred thousand and three thousand and five hundred and fifty.

The tribe of Naphtali totaled 53,400. They had twelve princes over the twelve tribes. The total number among them was 603,550 (I checked for fun).

47 But the Levites after the tribe of their fathers were not numbered among them.
48 For the Lord had spoken unto Moses, saying,
49 Only thou shalt not number the tribe of Levi, neither take the sum of them among the children of Israel:
50 But thou shalt appoint the Levites over the tabernacle of testimony, and over all the vessels thereof, and over all things that belong to it: they shall bear the tabernacle, and all the vessels thereof; and they shall minister unto it, and shall encamp round about the tabernacle.
51 And when the tabernacle setteth forward, the Levites shall take it down: and when the tabernacle is to be pitched, the Levites shall set it up: and the stranger that cometh nigh shall be put to death.
52 And the children of Israel shall pitch their tents, every man by his own camp, and every man by his own standard, throughout their hosts.
53 But the Levites shall pitch round about the tabernacle of testimony, that there be no wrath upon the congregation of the children of Israel: and the Levites shall keep the charge of the tabernacle of testimony.
54 And the children of Israel did according to all that the Lord commanded Moses, so did they.

We are told here that the Levites were not numbered with the Israelites, because they were instead to be over the tabernacle and the things having to do with it. They were to dwell around the tabernacle, move it when it was to be moved, and minister to it. They were called to take it down and pitch it up. Anyone who came then, who was not of their tribe, or was not authorized to be there, was to be put to death. Only the Levites held the priesthood authority to do these things. The families of Moses and Aaron, and the Levites surrounded the tabernacle. The remainder of the tribes were to camp with their tribes outside the Levites. One thing to learn from this, is that the Lord instructed them to have the tabernacle as the center of their encampment. This should stand an example to us that we are to have the Lord’s temple as the center of our own lives if we hope to make covenants and remain worthy of the spirit of the Lord in our lives.

There will be many times in the scriptures, when the Lord commands the prophets and priests to number the people of God. In this case, they numbered only those who would be soldiers in the army of the Lord, so the actual number of all the Israelites was something much great (the manual suggests closer to 2 million). It makes sense to me, that this idea of numbering, or of taking a census, has to be important to the Lord. I am a secretary in my calling at church and I can’t help but think of why taking attendance is so important. It was one of the only duties that I was told specifically to be sure I performed. I think that this is important in part because when we are not numbered, we are not known. Moreover, when we are not known, we can be lost. The Lord is the great Shepherd and he knows his sheep. In 1 Nephi 22:25 we read, “And he gathereth his children from the four quarters of the earth; and he numbereth his sheep, and they know him; and there shall be one fold and one shepherd; and he shall feed his sheep, and in him they shall find pasture.” Leaders of the Lord’s church, need to be shepherds as well, whether they are the leaders of the little children in a ward, leaders of the tens of thousands of missionaries in the field, or the prophet who leads all the members of the gospel. Whoever they are, they need to count their flock, so that not one is lost. The Savior taught us of the lost sheep in Matthew 18:

11 For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost.
12 How think ye? if a man have an hundred sheep, and one of them be gone astray, doth he not leave the ninety and nine, and goeth into the mountains, and seeketh that which is gone astray?
13 And if so be that he find it, verily I say unto you, he rejoiceth more of that sheep, than of the ninety and nine which went not astray.
14 Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish.

Since I mark a list of who attends each week in our class, I am continually thinking of who is able to come to church and who we are not seeing. I can then give that information to the leaders and they can be mindful of those who are not there as well. This idea of numbering can extend even further. We all have a calling to number our sheep. All of us have a duty to seek for those who may be lost in our own circle of influence. If we regularly take a count of our family members, our friends, those we visit or home teach, and so on, we will notice quickly when one has begun to stray from the flock. I am so glad that I have been counted in my life. I am grateful that in the times of life when I have truly been lost, my friends, family and church leaders have noticed my absence and went seeking for me.

Exodus Chapter 28

At this point in the Bible, Moses has been given instruction regarding the commandments, laws and judgments, and building of the Tabernacle. He spoke with the Lord in Mount Sinai, as the Israelites were camped at the base of the mountain. The word of the Lord continues as follows:

1 And take thou unto thee Aaron thy brother, and his sons with him, from among the children of Israel, that he may minister unto me in the priest’s office, even Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar, Aaron’s sons.
2 And thou shalt make holy garments for Aaron thy brother for glory and for beauty.
3 And thou shalt speak unto all that are wise hearted, whom I have filled with the spirit of wisdom, that they may make Aaron’s garments to consecrate him, that he may minister unto me in the priest’s office.
4 And these are the garments which they shall make; a breastplate, and an ephod, and a robe, and a broidered coat, a mitre, and a girdle: and they shall make holy garments for Aaron thy brother, and his sons, that he may minister unto me in the priest’s office.
5 And they shall take gold, and blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine linen.

Aaron and his sons were called to be priests unto the Lord. This lesser priesthood is now known as the Aaronic priesthood, after Aaron. He was instructed in what clothing and accessories Aaron was to wear, which would be consecrated for him and the holy purposes of the Lord. These included a breastplate, an ephod (which I think was a type of robe), a coat, a mitre (or some type of cap), and a girdle (or a belt or band).

I liked that those who were found with wisdom in their hearts, were going to be asked to make the sacred clothing for Aaron. Wisdom is an attribute of God. Those who had been blessed with that gift of the spirit, would have had the desire to do the work and the reverence to keep those things sacred as they worked. I always wonder what it would be like to be one to create something of beauty for the holy purposes in the temple. I am sure it is a sacred experience itself, and such a blessing to the righteous.

6 And they shall make the ephod of gold, of blue, and of purple, of scarlet, and fine twined linen, with cunning work.
7 It shall have the two shoulderpieces thereof joined at the two edges thereof; and so it shall be joined together.
8 And the curious girdle of the ephod, which is upon it, shall be of the same, according to the work thereof; even of gold, of blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine twined linen.
9 And thou shalt take two onyx stones, and grave on them the names of the children of Israel:
10 Six of their names on one stone, and the other six names of the rest on the other stone, according to their birth.
11 With the work of an engraver in stone, like the engravings of a signet, shalt thou engrave the two stones with the names of the children of Israel: thou shalt make them to be set in ouches of gold.
12 And thou shalt put the two stones upon the shoulders of the ephod for stones of memorial unto the children of Israel: and Aaron shall bear their names before the Lord upon his two shoulders for a memorial.

Aaron was to wear precious stones on the shoulders of his clothing, which would have the twelve children or tribes of Israel engraved on them. This was to be done to keep them in remembrance.

Names have a special place in the gospel. For example, so far in this study of the bible we have seen some receive sacred new names, such as Jacob being known as Israel. I think that having stones with all the names of the tribes in one place could have been a reminder that they were together even though they were twelve individual tribes. Eventually, those tribes would be scattered as prophesied many times. And yet, the Lord would promise that his work would include a gathering of these tribes again. The work will not be complete until after the Levites make their offering again in the temple or tabernacle of the Lord. In Doctrine and Covenants 13 we read the following:

Upon you my fellow servants, in the name of Messiah I confer the Priesthood of Aaron, which holds the keys of the ministering of angels, and of the gospel of repentance, and of baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; and this shall never be taken again from the earth, until the sons of Levi do offer again an offering unto the Lord in righteousness.

To me, these stones would have been a beautiful reminder of the perfection (making whole) of the covenant people of the Lord.

13 And thou shalt make ouches of gold;
14 And two chains of pure gold at the ends; of wreathen work shalt thou make them, and fasten the wreathen chains to the ouches.

The ouches were the places on the clothing where the stones were set. Then there would be chains of gold attached to the shoulder pieces.

15 And thou shalt make the breastplate of judgment with cunning work; after the work of the ephod thou shalt make it; of gold, of blue, and of purple, and of scarlet, and of fine twined linen, shalt thou make it.
16 Foursquare it shall be being doubled; a span shall be the length thereof, and a span shall be the breadth thereof.
17 And thou shalt set in it settings of stones, even four rows of stones: the first row shall be a sardius, a topaz, and a carbuncle: this shall be the first row.
18 And the second row shall be an emerald, a sapphire, and a diamond.
19 And the third row a ligure, an agate, and an amethyst.
20 And the fourth row a beryl, and an onyx, and a jasper: they shall be set in gold in their inclosings.
21 And the stones shall be with the names of the children of Israel, twelve, according to their names, like the engravings of a signet; every one with his name shall they be according to the twelve tribes.

The breastplate was a breastplate of judgment and was to be made of the same matierials as the other parts of the clothing, which was fine linen of the colors of the tabernacle. It was also to have precious stones set into it, with the names of the twelve children of Israel, or the twelve tribes.

22 And thou shalt make upon the breastplate chains at the ends of wreathen work of pure gold.
23 And thou shalt make upon the breastplate two rings of gold, and shalt put the two rings on the two ends of the breastplate.
24 And thou shalt put the two wreathen chains of gold in the two rings which are on the ends of the breastplate.
25 And the other two ends of the two wreathen chains thou shalt fasten in the two ouches, and put them on the shoulderpieces of the ephod before it.

Again, there were to be chains of gold and parts where the shoulder pieces and breastplate would be able to connect.

26 And thou shalt make two rings of gold, and thou shalt put them upon the two ends of the breastplate in the border thereof, which is in the side of the ephod inward.
27 And two other rings of gold thou shalt make, and shalt put them on the two sides of the ephod underneath, toward the forepart thereof, over against the other coupling thereof, above the curious girdle of the ephod.
28 And they shall bind the breastplate by the rings thereof unto the rings of the ephod with a lace of blue, that it may be above the curious girdle of the ephod, and that the breastplate be not loosed from the ephod.
29 And Aaron shall bear the names of the children of Israel in the breastplate of judgment upon his heart, when he goeth in unto the holy place, for a memorial before the Lord continually.

Moses was told how the two parts of Aaron’s clothing were to be connected. Aaron was to always wear the breastplate in the holy place of the Tabernacle.

30 And thou shalt put in the breastplate of judgment the Urim and the Thummim; and they shall be upon Aaron’s heart, when he goeth in before the Lord: and Aaron shall bear the judgment of the children of Israel upon his heart before the Lord continually.

In the breastplate, the Urim and Thummim would be placed. Aaron was called to be a judge of Israel, and keep a remembrance of this always.

31 And thou shalt make the robe of the ephod all of blue.
32 And there shall be an hole in the top of it, in the midst thereof: it shall have a binding of woven work round about the hole of it, as it were the hole of an habergeon, that it be not rent.

His ephod, or robe was to be made in a way, where it had no seams, but was all one piece with a hole, I’m assuming for his head.

33 And beneath upon the hem of it thou shalt make pomegranates of blue, and of purple, and of scarlet, round about the hem thereof; and bells of gold between them round about:
34 A golden bell and a pomegranate, a golden bell and a pomegranate, upon the hem of the robe round about.
35 And it shall be upon Aaron to minister: and his sound shall be heard when he goeth in unto the holy place before the Lord, and when he cometh out, that he die not.

On the hem of his robe, he was to have bells attached. The bells would make a sound, so that as he went into the holy place of the tabernacle and returned out of it, he would be heard and not die.

36 And thou shalt make a plate of pure gold, and grave upon it, like the engravings of a signet, HOLINESS TO THE LORD.
37 And thou shalt put it on a blue lace, that it may be upon the mitre; upon the forefront of the mitre it shall be.
38 And it shall be upon Aaron’s forehead, that Aaron may bear the iniquity of the holy things, which the children of Israel shall hallow in all their holy gifts; and it shall be always upon his forehead, that they may be accepted before the Lord.

The phrase, “Holiness to the Lord” was to be engraved on a plate and then attached to the cap on Aaron’s forehead. He was to wear this always as he served. He was to be held accountable for all the holy things in the tabernacle.

39 And thou shalt embroider the coat of fine linen, and thou shalt make the mitre of fine linen, and thou shalt make the girdle of needlework.

All these parts of his clothing, were to be made of fine linen and beautiful craftsmanship.

40 And for Aaron’s sons thou shalt make coats, and thou shalt make for them girdles, and bonnets shalt thou make for them, for glory and for beauty.
41 And thou shalt put them upon Aaron thy brother, and his sons with him; and shalt anoint them, and consecrate them, and sanctify them, that they may minister unto me in the priest’s office.
42 And thou shalt make them linen breeches to cover their nakedness; from the loins even unto the thighs they shall reach:
43 And they shall be upon Aaron, and upon his sons, when they come in unto the tabernacle of the congregation, or when they come near unto the altar to minister in the holy place; that they bear not iniquity, and die: it shall be a statute for ever unto him and his seed after him.

The sons of Aaron, were to have coats, belts, and hats also. Moses was to place these things upon the priests of Aaron. He was to anoint, consecrate and sanctify these men to minister in the office they were called to. This meant that these worthy men would be given the authority to serve in the holy tabernacle of the Lord. All of them were to be covered in sacred garments when they came to the tabernacle of the congregation (just outside the holy place), and by this and their worthiness, they would able to enter there.

When we go to the House of the Lord, or His holy temples, we need to sanctify ourselves. In prayerful preparation, we make sure that we are worthy to enter there. This does not mean that we must be perfect to enter, because no one is perfect in their life now. If we were, we would have no need to be here. Instead, we go to the temple with our hearts turned to Christ, having repented of those things that would make us unworthy and having left the things of the world behind. We need to enter the doors of the temple, with a willing heart and mind, and with a sincere desire to sin no more. With this, we can enter the temple with holiness to the Lord written in our hearts and mind, just as Aaron was to enter with those words literally upon his head. All those who are worthy and willing, have the opportunity to enter the temple and serve there. I love the temple. I am blessed to have the opportunity to be in the temple and to make and keep sacred covenants with the Lord because of it. I cannot imagine having the kind of happiness I have in my life, without this sacred opportunity.

Exodus Chapter 24

The Lord gave the Israelites the commandments and judgements they were to live by, through His prophet, Moses. They had been encamped around the base of Mount Sinai and had received a witness of the Lord. The book of Exodus continues as follows:

1 And he said unto Moses, Come up unto the Lord, thou, and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel; and worship ye afar off.
2 And Moses alone shall come near the Lord: but they shall not come nigh; neither shall the people go up with him.

The Lord called Moses, Aaron, and two of Aaron’s sons, Nadab and Abihu, near to Him, out from among the people, to worship, along with seventy elders. Then Moses was called directly to the Lord, while the others were left behind. No one else was to come with these men.

3 And Moses came and told the people all the words of the Lord, and all the judgments: and all the people answered with one voice, and said, All the words which the Lord hath said will we do.
4 And Moses wrote all the words of the Lord, and rose up early in the morning, and builded an altar under the hill, and twelve pillars, according to the twelve tribes of Israel.
5 And he sent young men of the children of Israel, which offered burnt offerings, and sacrificed peace offerings of oxen unto the Lord.
6 And Moses took half of the blood, and put it in basins; and half of the blood he sprinkled on the altar.
7 And he took the book of the covenant, and read in the audience of the people: and they said, All that the Lord hath said will we do, and be obedient.
8 And Moses took the blood, and sprinkled it on the people, and said, Behold the blood of the covenant, which the Lord hath made with you concerning all these words.

Moses took all the commandments and judgements or ordinances to the people, and the people agreed, by a unanimous voice (or what we call common consent) to follow the word of the Lord. Moses recorded all that had been told to him and then he built and altar at the base of the mountain, to the Lord. The altar also had twelve pillars representing the twelve tribes of Israel, who were going to make sacrifice and covenants with the Lord. They offered their sacrifice to the Lord and then made a covenant at the altar, that they would obey the law. I think about the idea that they sent young men to make the offering for the people. When I read this, I think about our young men today, who are just ordained to the priesthood and then pass the sacrament to each of us. I don’t think that the church was organized too different in ancient times from what it is now. And again, this was a type for the Christ to come, just as the sacrament we take from the altar in our churches today, is a way to look to Christ as well.

Once again, we can learn from this that we are to keep a record of sacred things. Records lead to remembrance of things that would otherwise be forgotten by men. I had an experience with this just this weekend. I had an impression during church and intended to share it with my family. I know it was something that I felt strong in my heart, but I did not write it down as I usually do. Because of this, I had forgotten what the thoughts and feelings had been once I arrived home. I was sad when I realized I couldn’t recall it to share it with them. It is easy to forget because we are mortal and at the mercy of our minds with all that is going on in our lives. I believe that we should always record our personal revelation, just as Moses recorded revelation received for the people of the Lord.

9 Then went up Moses, and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel:
10 And they saw the God of Israel: and there was under his feet as it were a paved work of a sapphire stone, and as it were the body of heaven in his clearness.
11 And upon the nobles of the children of Israel he laid not his hand: also they saw God, and did eat and drink.

The elders that had been called of the Lord, went with Moses, Aaron, Nadab and Abihu and witnessed God and worshiped him. This sounds a lot like a quorum of The Seventy going with the First Presidency of the church today, to a meeting of worship. A description is given of what he was standing upon, which was a paving of sapphire, which was clear as the heavens. The Lord did not touch them, but was seen as God, by these men.

12 And the Lord said unto Moses, Come up to me into the mount, and be there: and I will give thee tables of stone, and a law, and commandments which I have written; that thou mayest teach them.
13 And Moses rose up, and his minister Joshua: and Moses went up into the mount of God.
14 And he said unto the elders, Tarry ye here for us, until we come again unto you: and, behold, Aaron and Hur are with you: if any man have any matters to do, let him come unto them.
15 And Moses went up into the mount, and a cloud covered the mount.
16 And the glory of the Lord abode upon mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it six days: and the seventh day he called unto Moses out of the midst of the cloud.
17 And the sight of the glory of the Lord was like devouring fire on the top of the mount in the eyes of the children of Israel.
18 And Moses went into the midst of the cloud, and gat him up into the mount: and Moses was in the mount forty days and forty nights.

The Lord commanded Moses to come to Him, to receive the law on tables of stone, so that he could teach the people. Often times, the prophets have received greater instruction from the Lord and other messengers, so that they are capable of teaching great things to the people of God. Moses left Aaron and Hur in charge of the people, while he went to see the Lord. The glory of the Lord remained on the mountain and was covered by cloud for six days, where Moses was. Then Moses was called out of the cloud and the children of Israel witnessed the glory of the Lord. It was like a great fire on the mountain. Moses went into the cloud and up the mountain, where he was gone from the Israelites for forty days and nights.

In this chapter we learn of the covenant or testament made between the children of Israel and God. The Israelites covenanted that they would do all that the Lord had commanded them through his prophet Moses, which we learn in the last 3 chapters studied. We have the privilege of making covenants with God as well. When we make the covenants of baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and those made in the holy temple, we are in a sense adopted into the tribes of Israel. When we sanctify ourselves and become worthy, we are capable of attending the temple and experiencing sacred things, just as these men of old experienced. We need to keep these experiences in our remembrance, so that we will remain true and faithful. I believe that in the coming chapters, we will see that the Israelites struggled to remember their own covenants with God and failed to receive the blessings because of that. I am so grateful for my covenants and I know that if we strive to live up to them each day, we will be greatly blessed and our testimonies and knowledge will grow.

Genesis Chapter 29

Jacob is the son of Isaac. Isaac has sent him away from home to protect his life from his brother, Esua, and has told him that he should not marry unless he can marry a woman in the covenant. The story of Jacob continues:

1 Then Jacob went on his journey, and came into the land of the people of the east.
2 And he looked, and behold a well in the field, and, lo, there were three flocks of sheep lying by it; for out of that well they watered the flocks: and a great stone was upon the well’s mouth.
3 And thither were all the flocks gathered: and they rolled the stone from the well’s mouth, and watered the sheep, and put the stone again upon the well’s mouth in his place.
4 And Jacob said unto them, My brethren, whence be ye? And they said, Of Haran are we.
5 And he said unto them, Know ye Laban the son of Nahor? And they said, We know him.
6 And he said unto them, Is he well? And they said, He is well: and, behold, Rachel his daughter cometh with the sheep.
7 And he said, Lo, it is yet high day, neither is it time that the cattle should be gathered together: water ye the sheep, and go and feed them.
8 And they said, We cannot, until all the flocks be gathered together, and till they roll the stone from the well’s mouth; then we water the sheep.

Laban is Jacob’s uncle, the brother of Rebekah. When Jacob met men at the well who were from Haran, he asked if they knew of Laban. These men told Jacob that the daughter of Laban was coming to the well to water the sheep of Laban. I think that this was evidence of the hand of God in Jacob’s life. He came to this well, in a land that was unknown to him, and happened to meet with people who knew of his family.

9 And while he yet spake with them, Rachel came with her father’s sheep: for she kept them.
10 And it came to pass, when Jacob saw Rachel the daughter of Laban his mother’s brother, and the sheep of Laban his mother’s brother, that Jacob went near, and rolled the stone from the well’s mouth, and watered the flock of Laban his mother’s brother.
11 And Jacob kissed Rachel, and lifted up his voice, and wept.
12 And Jacob told Rachel that he was her father’s brother, and that he was Rebekah’s son: and she ran and told her father.
13 And it came to pass, when Laban heard the tidings of Jacob his sister’s son, that he ran to meet him, and embraced him, and kissed him, and brought him to his house. And he told Laban all these things.
14 And Laban said to him, Surely thou art my bone and my flesh. And he abode with him the space of a month.

Rachel came to the well, and Jacob helped her to give water to the flock. When Jacob told her who he was, she returned to tell her father, Laban. Laban was glad to see him, and when he recognized that he was family, he invited him into his home, where he stayed for a month.

I am again very interested in the idea that wells of water were so important in bringing people together in those days. We don’t have wells to take our family flocks to these days, but water remains one of the most important and influential things to date. As I think deeper on this, it makes me think of the greatest water, living water, given to us by the Lord, which will bring people together for eternity. I think this is a powerful piece of imagery provided by the scriptures many times, even by the Savior himself.

15 And Laban said unto Jacob, Because thou art my brother, shouldest thou therefore serve me for nought? tell me, what shall thy wages be?
16 And Laban had two daughters: the name of the elder was Leah, and the name of the younger was Rachel.
17 Leah was tender eyed; but Rachel was beautiful and well favoured.
18 And Jacob loved Rachel; and said, I will serve thee seven years for Rachel thy younger daughter.
19 And Laban said, It is better that I give her to thee, than that I should give her to another man: abide with me.
20 And Jacob served seven years for Rachel; and they seemed unto him but a few days, for the love he had to her.

While living with Laban, Jacob served him. Since he was family, Laban said he should not serve him without a wage and asked him what he would want. Jacob, who loved Rachel, said he would serve him for seven years if he could marry Rachel. Laban accepted this offer because Jacob was family and he would rather her marry Jacob than another man. Jacob patiently served for seven years so that he could marry Rachel. Based on the footnotes, I think that Jacob took care of the sheep, just as Rachel had done when they met. I’m not sure if this was a typical kind of arrangement, to work for a marriage, but Jacob seemed to accept it without complaint.

21 And Jacob said unto Laban, Give me my wife, for my days are fulfilled, that I may go in unto her.
22 And Laban gathered together all the men of the place, and made a feast.
23 And it came to pass in the evening, that he took Leah his daughter, and brought her to him; and he went in unto her.
24 And Laban gave unto his daughter Leah Zilpah his maid for an handmaid.
25 And it came to pass, that in the morning, behold, it was Leah: and he said to Laban, What is this thou hast done unto me? did not I serve with thee for Rachel? wherefore then hast thou beguiled me?
26 And Laban said, It must not be so done in our country, to give the younger before the firstborn.
27 Fulfil her week, and we will give thee this also for the service which thou shalt serve with me yet seven other years.
28 And Jacob did so, and fulfilled her week: and he gave him Rachel his daughter to wife also.
29 And Laban gave to Rachel his daughter Bilhah his handmaid to be her maid.
30 And he went in also unto Rachel, and he loved also Rachel more than Leah, and served with him yet seven other years.

Jacob went to Laban to receive Rachel as his wife, but Laban gave him Leah instead, because she was older and had not yet married. Jacob felt betrayed when he realized what had been done to him. Laban offered Rachel to Jacob, if he would have Leah to wife for her week and then if he would continue to serve another seven years after his marriage. Jacob, who loved Rachel, accepted this offer and there were able to be married. He continued to work for another seven years as he had agreed. Laban was a sneaky man, when it came to Jacob. I can’t imagine that this made their father-in-law to son relationship very strong. Jacob truly was a patient man, to keep working for someone who betrayed him like that, just so that he could be with the woman he loved.

31 And when the Lord saw that Leah was hated, he opened her womb: but Rachel was barren.
32 And Leah conceived, and bare a son, and she called his name Reuben: for she said, Surely the Lord hath looked upon my affliction; now therefore my husband will love me.
33 And she conceived again, and bare a son; and said, Because the Lord hath heard that I was hated, he hath therefore given me this son also: and she called his name Simeon.
34 And she conceived again, and bare a son; and said, Now this time will my husband be joined unto me, because I have born him three sons: therefore was his name called Levi.
35 And she conceived again, and bare a son: and she said, Now will I praise the Lord: therefore she called his name Judah; and left bearing.

Jacob loved Rachel, but did not have a love for Leah. Leah was blessed, however, to have children, while Rachel was not able to have any. Leah had four sons and hoped that in having them, Jacob would love her more. Her sons were Reuben, Simeon, Levi, and Judah; Reuben being the firstborn son of Jacob. She was grateful to God for the opportunity to have sons.

I know that Jacob must have remained faithful and grateful to God, even though he had to suffer through difficulties in order to marry the person he desired to marry. I know that because he remained worthy of the blessings of Abraham which had been promised to him by his father, Isaac. The interesting thing about his situation, is that marrying Leah, caused a part of the blessings to be fulfilled. Through Leah, Levi and Judah were made part of the family of Jacob and eventually they would become two of the tribes of Israel that are essential to all nations being blessed by the seed of Abraham. There are reasons for our trials and difficulties that we may not be able to understand until we have passed from this life, but I have faith that good will come of them if we remain worthy and grateful to God, just as Jacob did.


About My Scripture Study Buddy

I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I love the scriptures, but I am not a scriptorian. I've been told that I'm too "deep" for some, but if you are willing, I'd love to have others join me in my quest for a greater understanding of the gospel. Please feel free to leave me comments and hopefully we can help each other to learn.
Testimony

Testimony

I made an album with my dad in 2011. Check it out!

Testimony

NEW!!! Digital Downloads (mp3) available directly from the site.

Current Study

Currently I am studying the The Old Testament. I will be studying from the LDS - King James Version of the Bible (see link below). I am studying along with the book, Scripture Study for Latter-day Saint Families: The Old Testament by Dennis H. Leavitt and Richard O. Christensen.

Learn More:

The Book of Mormon

You can order a free copy of the Book of Mormon here:

Book of Mormon Request

Archives

Follow me on Facebook:

My Wonderful Husband and Artist

Advertisements

%d bloggers like this: