From Gilead to Shechem

November 15, 2010

After Jacob lived in Haran for a total of twenty years (see our previous couple of posts) he made his way back to Canaan.  Besides the fact that he was ready to leave Haran for personal reasons (Gen. 31:1-2), the Lord instructed him, “Return to the land of your fathers and to your kindred, and I will be with you” (Gen. 31:3). He left, along with his wives (four!) and eleven sons (plus Dinah), picking the opportune time when Laban was gone shearing his sheep (Gen. 31:19).

It was on the third day that his father-in-law Laban learned of these events. It took seven days’ travel to overtake Jacob. The text says, “and he overtook him in the mountains of Gilead” (Gen. 31:23). Our photo below shows a view of some of the mountains of Gilead, as viewed from the west side of the Jordan.

 

Mountains of Gilead. Photo ©Leon Mauldin.

 

After he and Laban came to an understanding, Laban returned home to Haran and Jacob continued his journey to Canaan. After what turned out to be a cordial meeting with his formerly estranged brother Esau, Jacob lived a while in Succoth, then made his way to Shechem.

Our photo below shows the pass that leads from the area of Succoth (which would be to our backs) toward Shechem.  This is the route Jacob and his family and servants would have taken to Shechem.  On the right of the photo you can see the modern road which follows this ancient pass.

 

Pass to Shechem. Jacob would have taken this route. Photo ©Leon Mauldin.

Click on images for larger view.

 

 


Jacob’s Sojoun in Haran

November 9, 2010

In our previous post we made reference to Jacob’s watering Laban’s flock.  Genesis 28 tells of his flight from Canaan to Haran of Mesopotamia: “Now Jacob went out from Beersheba and went toward Haran” (v.10).  Jacob’s mother Rebekah had said, “Now therefore, my son, obey my voice: arise, flee to my brother Laban in Haran. And stay with him a few days, until your brother’s fury turns away” (Gen. 27:43-44).  Ironically, those “few days” would turn into a sojourn of some twenty years!

Previously we showed a photo of an ancient well to illustrate how Jacob watered the sheep as mentioned in Gen. 29:10. Our photo today was taken at Haran (modern spelling is Harran). Shepherds continue to lead their sheep to water and grazing these thousands of years later.

Shepherd w/Sheep at Haran. Photo ©Leon Mauldin.

Jacob agreed to work seven years as a shepherd for Laban in order to marry Rachel.  When the time quickly passed the wedding night arrived. But the next morning Jacob awoke to discover that he was married to Leah, Rachel’s sister.  When he demanded an explanation from Laban, he told his immeasurably shocked son-in-law that it was not their custom to marry the younger daughters before the older.  But he had a solution: let Leah have her one-week wedding festivities, then marry Rachel, on the condition that you work seven more years!  Jacob agreed to those terms.  After those fourteen (total) years had passed, Jacob worked another six years for Laban, making the total of twenty years we referenced above in our post.

Photo below shows the site of biblical Haran.

Biblcial Haran. Jacob sojourned in this area 20 years. Photo ©Leon Mauldin.

Later, when Isaac died, Jacob and Esau buried him.  But there is no mention of all of Jacob’s seeing his mother after sending him away to Haran for what she thought would be just a short while.

Click on photos for larger view.  Also, see our post of May 4, 2010:
https://bleon1.wordpress.com/2010/05/04/mah-zzot-what-is-this/