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Sunday, August 13, 2017
Jacob - Family Troubles
This article is part of a series of articles I started some years ago on various Bible characters who suffered from depression, anxiety, or something similar. I re-worked it and am now posting it for the first time on the blog.
Jacob had family troubles from the day of his first wedding when Laban tricked him into marrying Leah instead of Rachel. He eventually was the head of a large family that caused him much trouble at various times. Leah and Rachel fought among themselves to gain his attention - and more children. His daughter, Dinah, went out "to see the daughters of the land" (Gen. 34) and ended up in fornication or raped (depending on your interpretation). Two of his sons used the occasion to kill a whole city of men, thus causing Jacob to fear for his family's safety. Jacob's sons were also less than shining examples of godliness in other incidents.
Joseph, his favorite wife's first son, was Jacob's favorite and Jacob did not hide it. Because of this and several things that had happened, Joseph's brothers had become bitterly jealous of him. Genesis 37:4 And when his brethren saw that their father loved him more than all his brethren, they hated him, and could not speak peaceably unto him.
Jacob's sons were herdsmen by trade. At one time when they were keeping his flocks in a place away from the central home, Jacob decided to send Joseph out to check on their welfare. Genesis 37:14 And he said to him, Go, I pray thee, see whether it be well with thy brethren, and well with the flocks; and bring me word again. So he sent him out of the vale of Hebron, and he came to Shechem.
Joseph finally located them, but as he was approaching them, they recognized him. Their hatred for him was so intense that before he got near some of them conspired to kill him. Now Reuben, being the oldest and no doubt feeling his sense of responsibility to his father, interceded for him and suggested they throw him into a pit instead of murdering him outright. His intention was to rescue Joseph later and restore him to his father.