Beginning of the End


Jacob Comes Home

This chapter is based on Genesis 34; 35; 37.

Crossing the Jordan, “Jacob came in safety to the city of Shechem, which is in the land of Canaan.” Here he “bought the parcel of land, where he had pitched his tent, from the children of Hamor, Shechem’s father, for a hundred pieces of money. Then he erected an altar there.” It was here also that he dug the well to which Jesus came seventeen centuries later. Beside this well Jacob’s Son and Savior rested during the noontime heat and told His amazed hearers of that “fountain of water springing up into everlasting life” (John 4:14). BOE 94.1

The time that Jacob and his sons spent at Shechem ended in bloodshed. One daughter of the family had been brought to shame and sorrow; two brothers were involved in the guilt of murder; a whole city had experienced ruin and slaughter in retaliation for the lawless deed of one rash youth. The beginning that led to results so terrible was the act of Jacob’s daughter in going out to associate with the ungodly. Anyone who seeks pleasure among those who do not fear God is inviting temptations. BOE 94.2

The treacherous cruelty of Simeon and Levi toward the Shechemites was a terrible sin. The news of their revenge filled Jacob with horror. Heartsick at the deceit and violence of his sons, he said, “You have troubled me by making me obnoxious among the inhabitants of the land ... and since I am few in number, they will gather themselves together against me and kill me, I shall be destroyed, my household and I.” BOE 94.3

Jacob felt that there was cause for deep humiliation. Cruelty and falsehood were in the character of his sons. False gods and idolatry had gained a foothold to some extent even in his household. BOE 94.4

While Jacob was so bowed down with trouble, the Lord directed him to journey south toward Bethel. The thought of this place reminded him not only of his vision of the angels and of God’s promises of mercy, but of the vow he had made there that the Lord would be his God. Determined that his household should be freed from the defilement of idolatry before going to this sacred spot, he gave direction to all, “Put away the foreign gods that are among you, purify yourselves, and change your garments. Then let us arise and go up to Bethel; and I will make an altar there to God, who answered me in the day of my distress and has been with me in the way which I have gone.” BOE 94.5