Genesis 28 – Pretexts

We left Jacob in a precarious situation. He’s safe as long as his father lives, but it’s a thinly-veiled secret that Esau plans to kill Jacob as soon as Isaac dies. However, Rebekah has a plan to get Jacob far away from his brother. She drops a hint to Isaac that she would absolutely hate it to death if Jacob married anyone from Canaan. So, in today’s chapter, Isaac sends Jacob to Rebekah’s family, so that he can marry one of Laban’s daughters.

Laban is Rebekah’s brother. Rebekah intends to save Jacob’s life under the pretext of having him marry a cousin.

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Matthew 1 – Joseph and the Amazing Keep-the-Mother Dream Angel

Merry Christmas, Chocolate Book fam. Today we turn to the first chapter of Matthew, which is mostly genealogy. The eight remaining verses are mostly about Joseph, which is after a fashion to be expected, considering that some scholars think the genealogy in Matthew presents Joseph’s family tree, in contrast to Luke’s presentation of Jesus’ lineage via Mary. Comparing the two genealogies can be an interesting exercise, but there’s little to be gained by me recapitulating the points and counterpoints of those who’ve already done their research. You’ve got the internet; you can dig as deep as you please. Meanwhile, over here we’re gonna look at what Matthew has to say about the virgin birth.

Zechariah 4 – Between Two Olive Trees

The visions continue with Zechariah 4. After his angel guide snaps him out of an apparent lapse in attention, Zechariah sees a lampstand with seven lamps and two olive trees. He asks the angel their significance, and the angel offers an explanation that, upon my first read-through, still didn’t shine much light on the scene. So here I am, trying to figure out what the angel means when he tells Zechariah what the vision means.

Zechariah 1 – The Horse Report

I think it was shortly after my family moved to Ohio in the fall of 1990 that my dad got into biking. I don’t remember why he started, although I do remember that he stopped biking downtown with friends and coworkers because of my mom’s concerns about his safety. I recall his increased interest in trail riding and racing events after he stopped city biking; if memory serves, he participated more than once in the MS150, a fundraising bike ride held by the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. I wish I remembered more about his biking phase, because then I could catch your attention with an engaging anecdote, rather than my usual practice of writing an introductory paragraph better suited for your Introduction to Biblical Studies essay. But I do remember that he used to call his biking excursions “patrolling the earth,” and he drew the name from the first chapter of Zechariah.