119) Melchizedeks Are Cursed

    Jacob had been forced to flee his home and inheritance due to an assassination plot by his brother. After enduring years of virtual slavery he and his family were forced to flee another assassination plot. After a forced march escaping from an unwinnable battle with Laban when Jacob frankly admits to Laban that “I was afraid,” (Genesis 31:31) you can bet he was pushing his herds and flocks and women and children just in case his enemies changed their minds and turned around to seize them after all. Only to meet up with his nemesis, brother Esau “and four hundred men with him. Then Jacob was greatly afraid and distressed: and he divided the people that was with him, and the flocks, and herds, and the camels…and Rachel and Joseph hindermost. [Keep in mind the two people he loves the most.]

    And, miraculously, Esau ran to meet him, and embraced him. Jacob stayed on guard, thinking “This is not like Esau’s typical outburst of anger. He’s learned to strategize.”

    • And [Esau] said, Let us take our journey, and let us go, and I will go before [with] thee. 
      • And Jacob is thinking {He’s going to get revenge on way I tricked him out of everything he should have had, he’s just tricking me into trusting him and he’s going to spring a surprise attack when my guard is down like his was] said unto him…pass over before his servant: and I will lead on softly…until I come unto my lord unto Seir [which as the story proceeds, we know he had absolutely no intention of going there and being taken prisoner in that fortress.]
    • And Esau said, [Can’t argue with that, so Plan B} Let me now leave with thee some of the folk that are with me. [A little more demanding on fewer of his reivers, but they can still win that fight against a bunch of herdsmen].
      • And Jacob said, What needeth it? let me find grace in the sight of my lord. [Jacob always had a way with words that Esau couldn’t beat.]
    • So Esau returned that day on his way unto Seir.
      • And Jacob journeyed to Succoth [is the a play on “Sucker!” since he got the better of his brother yet again] and built him an house, and made booths for his cattle: therefore the name of the place is called Succoth.

    But that wasn’t the end of the journeying. He got driven out of there too, obviously, because…

    • And Jacob came to Shalem, [same root word for Shalom] a city of Shechem, which is in the land of Canaan, when he came from Padanaram; and pitched his tent before the city. And he bought a parcel of a field, where he had spread his tent, at the hand of the children of Hamor, Shechem’s father, for an hundred pieces of money. And he erected there an altar, and called it El-elohe-Isra-el.

    The exact meaning of this title has become obscure over time,

    But put in context, and accounting for abbreviations in any language, I think we can fairly reconstruct Jacob’s shout of triumph after returning safely home despite opposition from many els – exactly as promised by this El:

    The God of gods is my Fighter God!

    Rebekah…called Jacob…flee thou to Laban my brother to Haran…And Jacob wentAnd he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth…and the LORD stood above it, and said, I am the LORD God of Abraham thy father, and the God of Isaac:

    • the land whereon thou liest, to thee will I give it…
    • and in thee and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed. 
    • And I…will keep / guard thee in all places whither thou goest, and will bring thee again into this land…

    And Jacob vowed a vow, saying, If God will be with me, and will keep me…So that I come again to my father’s house in peace; then shall the LORD be my God.” (Genesis 28)

    Finally! Peace!

    Nope. This has more drama than a soap opera.

    Daughter Dinah is thrilled to get off the farm into some social activities, but while visiting their new neighbors the prince of the clan, also named Shechem, no doubt after his founding forefather so quite a catch “lay with her, and defiled her…and he loved the damsel, and…spake unto his father Hamor, saying, Get me this damsel to wife.” (Genesis 34)

    Shechem’s behavior was nothing shocking

    Bride kidnapping…has been practiced around the world and throughout prehistory and history, among peoples as diverse as the Hmong in Southeast Asia, the Tzeltal in Mexico, and the Romani in Europe. Bride kidnapping still occurs in various parts of the world, but it is most common in the Caucasus and Central Asia.

    “And Jacob heard that he had defiled Dinah his daughter: now his sons were with his cattle in the field: and Jacob held his peace until they were come.”

    Meanwhile, Shechem kept Dinah at his place, and her chances of getting pregnant and sealing the deal were growing. Being “with his cattle in the field” wouldn’t be “the lower 40 acres”, more like days away. So it certainly appears that Jacob was going to agree to it, once her brothers, who also had authority over her, agreed to terms.

    in much of the world siblings are a major influence in the life course of their brothers and sisters. As adults, they may help arrange marriages and provide marriage payments for each other.

    And the sons of Jacob came out of the field when they heard it: and the men were…were very wroth, because he had wrought folly / evil, wickedness, lewdness in Israel in lying with Jacob’s daughter: which thing ought not to be done. 

    Remember how much trouble and time and payment Abraham went through for a wife for Isaac, and that Jacob worked 14 years to get the wife he wanted. Say what you want about Bible mores, the Hebrews put a high value on their women.

    “And Hamor communed with them, saying…make ye marriages with us, and give your daughters unto us, and take our daughters unto you. And ye shall dwell with us: and the land shall be before you; dwell and trade ye therein, and get you possessions therein.”

    Here’s the problem with that:

    Melchizedek Abraham had clearly made a precedent ruling against intermarrying with Canaanites.

    And Abraham said unto his eldest servant of his house, that ruled over all that he had…swear by the LORD, the God of heaven, and the God of the earth, that thou shalt not take a wife unto my son of the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I dwell:” (Genesis 24)

    Isaac learned the hard way the reasons for not intermarrying with Canaanites.

    “And Esau..took to wife Judith the daughter of Beeri the Hittite, and Bashemath the daughter of Elon the Hittite: Which were a grief of mind unto Isaac and to Rebekah…And Rebekah said to Isaac, I am weary of my life because of the daughters of Heth:” (Genesis 26:34-35, 27:46)

    Even more than bad manners, any marriage covenant required blending families – not just step kids and half-siblings, but the gods. And Shechem was so besotted with Dinah that he was willing to make a personal sacrifice and talked his people into going along as well.

    “And the sons of Jacob answered Shechem and Hamor his father deceitfully, and said, because he had defiled Dinah their sister…we consent unto you: If ye will be as we be, that every male of you be circumcised…and we will become one people…And Hamor and Shechem his son…communed with the men of their city, saying, These men are peaceable with us…Only herein will the men consent unto us for to dwell with us, to be one people, if every male among us be circumcised, as they are circumcised. Shall not their cattle and their substance and every beast of their’s be our’s?” (Genesis 34) 

    Yeah. These mass conversions aren’t usually heart-felt.

    Shechem didn’t know any better than to act as he did. Dinah often gets blamed for socializing with the wrong crowd. And why didn’t Jacob deal with the situation, why did he leave it to his sons? Avoiding the difficult decision? No doubt Jacob knew there was no good answer.

    Refuse to allow it and start a feud with his neighbors? He would bring shame on his family – and therefore their God. Plus a lifetime of misery on Dinah not to mention eternal damnation for losing faith in YHVH if he allowed his daughter to stay with Shechem and worship his gods. Its great that Shechem fell in love and wanted to marry her, but that’s not the point. He initially just planned to take what he wanted and toss her aside. He comes across as a very impetuous individual, who would just as quickly lose interest and then where would Dinah be?  Accept besotted Shechem into his family, as he had been accepted into Laban’s? That was undoubtedly the best option, but Dinah’s brothers couldn’t be trusted to keep the peace.

    There’s plenty of misbehavior all around, but the worst was from God’s people.

    And…every male was circumcised, all that went out of the gate of his city [old enough to fend for themselves]. And it came to pass on the third day, when they were sore, that…Simeon and Levi, Dinah’s brethren, took each man his sword, and came upon the city boldly, and slew all the males…and took Dinah out of Shechem’s house…and spoiled [made uninhabitable, cursed] the city, because they had defiled their sister. They took their sheep, and their oxen, and their asses [turned the tables on the Shechemites’ plans], and that which was in the city, and that which was in the field, And all their wealth, and all their little ones, and their wives took they captive, and spoiled even all that was in the house.

    And they come tearing back to Jacob all fired up from blood lust and adrenaline and victory

    “And Jacob said to Simeon and Levi, Ye have troubled me to make me to stink among the inhabitants of the land, among the Canaanites and the Perizzites: and I being few in number, they shall gather themselves together against me, and slay me; and I shall be destroyed, I and my house.!

    And they said, [rather deflated, put down, sulking] Should he deal with our sister as with an harlot?” (Genesis 34)

    Like I said, this has all the drama of a soap opera. Turns out Rachel is pregnant. This is an extremely precious pregnancy, only her second, as she had always had difficulty getting pregnant. Plus she was a lot older now, and has been through terrible traveling conditions under duress from danger at any turn.

    Then Laban overtook Jacob…wherefore hast thou stolen my gods?…With whomsoever thou findest thy gods, let him not live: before our brethren discern thou what is thine with me, and take it to thee. For Jacob knew not that Rachel had stolen them.

    Trust me, with the state of mind Laban was in, the humiliation he was experiencing in front of his sons and servants for not killing any opposition and taking back all that “belonged to him”, he could have killed Rachel without flinching, and she knew it.

    And Laban went into Jacob’s tent, and into Leah’s tent, and into the two maidservants’ tents; but he found them not. Then went he out of Leah’s tent, (See what I mean about drama? This was all orally transmitted for thousands of years, you know.) and entered into Rachel’s tent. Now Rachel had taken the images, and put them in the camel’s furniture, and sat upon them. And Laban searched all the tent, but found them not. And she said to her father, Let it not displease my lord that I cannot rise up before thee; for the custom of women is upon me. And he searched but found not the images.

    It is quite likely that Jacob’s purchase of land and planned good relations with Hamor’s powerful clan at Shechem was intended to provide a safe haven during Rachel’s pregnancy and delivery of a treasured child. And the two boys totally messed up that plan

    “And Jacob said to Simeon and Levi, Ye have troubled me to make me to stink among the inhabitants of the land…Then Jacob said unto his household, and to all that were with him…let us arise, and go up to Bethel…And they journeyed from Bethel. (Genesis 33-34)

    Don’t overlook Jacob’s limited resources in the land. He had nobody to turn to.

    The Book of Jasher, which if not accepted as 100% spiritually accurate, at least has historical and cultural relevance. This gives credible accounts of perpetual war between the children of Israel and the inhabitants of the land of Canaan.

    Jashub king of Tapnach…sent to all the kings of the Amorites that surrounded Shechem and Tapnach, saying, Go up with me and assist me, and we will smite Jacob the Hebrew and all his sons, and destroy them from the earth…And the seven kings of the Amorites assembled…about 10,000 men with drawn swords…

    And all the kings of the Amorites came…to consult with their counsellors…they unanimously exclaimed…Surely he delivered their father Abraham, the Hebrew, from the hand of Nimrod, and from the hand of all his people who had many times sought to slay him…And..we ourselves saw with our eyes that Esau, the brother of Jacob, came to him with 400 men, with the intention of slaying him…you come to war with their God who made choice of them, and you have therefore all come this day to be destroyed.

    And when the kings of the Amorites heard all the words of their advisers, their hearts were filled with terror, and they…would not fight against them.

    So they weren’t attacked, but they were still stressed.

    “..and Rachel travailed, and she had hard labour…And Rachel died…”

    Rachel’s death in childbirth can certainly be linked to Levi’s actions at Shechem.

    And if that wasn’t bad enough, Jacob also lost Joseph as a consequence of Levi’s actions at Shechem.

    And Israel journeyed, and spread his tent beyond the tower of Edar…And Israel said unto Joseph, Do not thy brethren feed the flock in Shechem?…Go, I pray thee, see whether it be well with thy brethren..And they took Joseph’s coat…and dipped the coat in the blood; And they…brought it to their father…And Jacob rent his clothes, and put sackcloth upon his loins, and mourned for his son…he refused to be comforted; and he said, For I will go down into the grave unto my son mourning. Thus his father wept for him.” (Genesis 36-37)

    With this background in mind, we can see that Jacob cursed Levi and his descendants for the terrible consequences forced upon him by their actions, to permanently experience the same unsettled life.

     “Simeon and Levi are brethren; instruments of cruelty are in their habitations. O my soul, come not thou into their secret; unto their assembly, min honour, be not thou united [definition of the Hebrew word Levi]: for in their anger they slew a man, and in their selfwill they digged down a wall. Cursed be their anger, for it was fierce; and their wrath, for it was cruel: I will divide them in Jacob, and scatter them in Israel.” (Genesis 49:5-7)

    “Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them…But in the fourth generation they shall come hither again.” (Genesis 15:13-16)

    The fourth generation of immigrants are not easy to uproot. I married an immigrant, and I can assure you that our children – 2nd generation – have a 100% American mentality with just a light dusting of foreign identity for decoration, even though they grew up in a mixed culture through relatives, friends, foods, languages, visits to their father’s country of origin, and were even registered as nationals by their father in his country.

    Even the 2nd generation child who also married an immigrant from the same country of origin whose children are now also only 2nd generation, and who have also maintained even more international contact through internet access and overseas visits have no desire to face the heavy flow of traffic out of that tumultuous country to fight their way in.

    The adults of the 4th generation will be living in the 24th century. Leave what has become home for generations to return to what has become a foreign land? Hardly.

    In any case, why would any leave a comfortable situation in a 1st world country for a bad one in a war zone?

    Refugees. Like the ones who streamed out of Europe into Palestine after being slaughtered by Hitler.

    “Now there arose up a new king over Egypt, which knew not [rejected association with] Joseph. And he said unto his people, Behold,

    • the people of – not only the genetic descendants but those who joined 
    • the children religiously under the authority of a Priest-King Father figure
    • of Israel -“Fighter God” – identifying the leader with the name/attribute of his God, like “God of Thunder”, who joined forces, i.e. attributes ergo name with Jacob when he proved he was worthy of it. Just like the Pharaoh was the personification of Egypt’s main god.
    • are more and mightier than we. – In other words, what we would call converts to the Fighter God were leaving Egypt’s state religion in which the Pharaoh was the god. Get it?

    Come on, let us deal wisely with them; lest they multiply. and…when there falleth out any war, they join also [not just to the anti-Egyptian religion of Israel but] unto our enemies, and fight against us, and so get them up out of the land…

    And the Egyptians made the children / followers of the High Priest of Fighter God Israel to serve with rigour..

    And the king of Egypt spake to the Hebrew midwives…When ye do the office of a midwife to the Hebrew women, and see them upon the stools; if it be a son, then ye shall kill him: but if it be a daughter, then she shall live…And Pharaoh charged all his people, saying, Every son that is born ye shall cast into the river, and every daughter ye shall save alive.” (Exodus 1)

    That should do it! Life with Pharaoh or death to the rebel followers of Fighter God.

    What Pharaoh didn’t know was just how much fight some of these Hebrews had in them.

    Plot twist coming up. Keep in mind that that the Levites are cursed to experience a permanently unsettled lifestyle. (Foreshadowing dark music…with a thrill in the background.)

        “And there went a man of the house of Levi, and took to wife a daughter of Levi. And the woman conceived, and bare a son: and when she saw him that he was a goodly child, she hid him three months. And when she could not longer hide him, she took for him an ark of bulrushes, and daubed it with slime and with pitch, and put the child therein; and she laid it in the flags by the river’s brink.

        4207365_a_hindu_woman_bathes_in_the_ganges_river_on_the_first_day_of_the_kumbh_mela_festival_in_alla-xlarge_trans_nvbqzqnjv4bqmuac98d-ja8s9oi1lbgosvxf650nygcxiusn5qkxotq

        And the daughter of Pharaoh came down to wash herself at the river [Moses’ mom probably put him in the river during the optimal time to catch the eye of a powerful maternal ally – during a religious ritual such as those in India]…she saw the ark among the flags…when she had opened it, she saw the child: and, behold, the babe wept. And she had compassion on him, and said,

        • This is one of the Hebrews’ children.
        • Then said his sister to Pharaoh’s daughter, Shall I go and call to thee a nurse of the Hebrew women…And Pharaoh’s daughter said unto her, Go….and he became her son. And she called his name Moses…Because I drew him out of the water.
        • when Moses was grown…he spied an Egyptian smiting an Hebrew, one of his brethren. And…he slew the Egyptian…
        • And when he went out the second day, behold, two men of the Hebrews strove together: and he said to him that did the wrong, Wherefore smitest thou thy fellow? And he said, Who made thee a prince and a judge over us? intendest thou to kill me, as thou killedst the Egyptian? 
        • Now when Pharaoh heard this thing, he sought to slay Moses. (Exodus 2:1-15)

        So first Moses is an outcast within his Hebrew peope, then an outcast in his adoptive Egyptian people. If Moses had kept his adoptive Egyptian identity Pharoah wouldn’t have bothered about a member of the royalty killing a commoner.

        But Moses is a true Levite. A Fighter.

        “By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter; Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God…Esteeming the reproach of The Promised Redeemer / Messiah / Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward.” That is, resurrection to eternal life. (Hebrews 11:24-26)

        When Moses flees the country he sensibly heads to a safe haven within one of Abraham many Hebrew nations.

        “Moses fled from the face of Pharaoh, and dwelt in the land of MidianNow the priest of Midian had seven daughters: and they came and drew water, and filled the troughs to water their father’s flock. And the shepherds came and drove them away: but Moses stood up and helped them [one against many], and watered their flock…And Moses was content to dwell with the man: and he gave Moses Zipporah his daughter.” (Exodus 2:16-21)

        De ja vu of Jacob watering Laban’s flock! Bear in mind that what is also repeated is that when Moses joined Reuel’s household, Reuel had complete authority over him, just as Laban had over Jacob.

        Unlike the pagan Laban who had a self-serving agenda of enlarging his household and increasing his wealth through enslaving Jacob, this priest of Midian is reported to be a righteous priest in line with his  ancestor Abraham. His name Reu-el means “friend of God,” This is an honorary title only bestowed previously on Abraham, then later on close associates of the Son of God.

        “Who raised up the righteous man from the east, called him to his foot, gave the nations before him, and made him rule over kings?…I the LORD, the first, and with the last…Abraham my friend…I have chosen thee…I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.” (Isa 41:2-10)

        Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you…for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you…I have chsen you.” (John 15:14-16)

        Significantly, Jethro is also identified as “the Kenite.”

        The significance of his confusion of names and identities is that the Kenites were a cursed nation aligned with monstrously wicked nations.

        “the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying, Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates: [taking it from] The Kenites, and the Kenizzites, and the Kadmonites, And the Hittites, and the Perizzites, and the Rephaims, And the Amorites, and the Canaanites, and the Girgashites, and the Jebusites.” (Genesis 15:18-21)

        “Out of Jacob shall come he that shall have dominion, and shall destroy him that remaineth of the city…the Kenite shall be wasted, until Asshur shall carry thee away captive.(Numbers 24:19-22)

        How interesting that Moses, a Levite cursed to wander, found a haven with another cursed Hebrew. 

        Now [at age 80Moses kept the flock of Jethro his father in law, the priest of Midian:

        Obviously, Jethro, like the Amorite brothers Mamre, Eshcol, and Aner who were confederate with Abram, repudiated his nation / religion of origin to join the Hebrews under the rule of their Most High God and consequently shared their blessings.

        The persistent reference to the Kenites throughout scripture is a reminder of the option for any individual from any nation to join God’s kingdom.

        And Moses said unto [his brother-in-law] Hobab the son of Raguel/ Reuel the Midianite, Moses’ father in lawcome thou with us, and we will do thee good: for the LORD hath spoken good concerning Israel…the children of the Kenite, Moses’ father in law, went up…with the children of Judah…and they went and dwelt among the people.” (Numbers 10:29-32)

        “the families of the scribes which dwelt at Jabez; the Tirathites, the Shimeathites, and Suchathites. These are the Kenites that came of Hemath, the father of the house of Rechab.” (I Chronicles 2:55)

        “Jonadab the son of Rechab our father commanded us, sayingBecause ye have obeyed the commandment of Jonadab your father, and kept all his precepts, and done according unto all that he hath commanded you…Jonadab the son of Rechab shall not want a man to stand before me for ever.” (Jeremiah 35)

        What should really pique our interest in Moses’ father-in-law is how much authority he continued to have over Moses after Moses left his household and began leading 9 million people camped out at Mount Sinai. 

        Jethro’s close relationship with God can be deduced by his

        When Jethro, the priest of Midian, Moses’ father in law, heard of all that God had done for Moses, and for Israel his people, and that the LORD had brought Israel out of Egypt;

        • Then Jethro, Moses’ father in law, took Zipporah, Moses’ wife, after he had sent her back, And  her two sons
        • Gershom…And Eliezer…And came with his sons and his wife unto Moses into the wilderness, where he encamped at the mount of God:
        • And Moses went out to meet his father in law, and did obeisance, and kissed him;
        • And Jethro said, Blessed be the LORD, who hath delivered you out of the hand of the Egyptians, and out of the hand of Pharaoh, who hath delivered the people from under the hand of the Egyptians.
          • This is a classic Melchizedekian blessing
          • And without all contradiction the less is blessed of the better.“ (Hebrews 7:7)
        • And Jethro, Moses’ father in law, took a burnt offering and sacrifices for God: and Aaron came, and all the elders of Israel, to eat bread with Moses’ father in law before God.
        • And when Moses’ father in law saw all that he did to the people, he said, What is this thing that thou doest? why sittest thou thyself alone, and all the people stand by thee from morning unto even? And Moses said unto his father in law, Because the people come unto me to enquire of God…The thing that thou doest is not good…I will give thee counsel, and God shall be with thee…provide out of all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness; and place such over them, to be rulers. So Moses hearkened to…his father in law, and did all that he had said.” (Exodus 18)

        Clearly, Moses’ mentoring under Reuel the Friend of God and Priest of Midian transformed him into the leader of his clan of Israelites and the whole world.

        Wait! Does this mean that Reuel was Melchizedek? His actions and Moses’ reactions described above provide compelling evidence that, as a descendant of Abraham, he is not only the priest of Midian but the high priest in the order of Melchizedek.

        But he was from the cursed Kenite nation!

        Exactly. and that proves the point.

        “___ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that _______:” (Galatians 3:13)

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        Once we accept that that Reuel was an Hebrew priest in the order of Melchizedek, we can understand his role in transforming Moses from a cursed outsider, then an impetuous Egyptian prince into the world’s greatest religious leader who “was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth” (Numbers 12:3)

        This was a key characteristic by which Jesus Christ could demonstrate that he was That Prophet promised to succeed Moses.

        “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)

        And once we accept that Moses was an Hebrew priest in the order of Melchizedek, like Jesus Christ, we can understand his role in leading all the peoples of the world, not just Israel, into escaping enslavement through God’s way in miraculous ways.

        Once we understand that, we can believe that God will do the same powerful rescues for us in this era under Jesus Christ as he did for his people in Egypt under Moses. We get all depressed and victimized and dysfunctional from our circumstances, but God proves his power through our traumas, failures and inadequacies. Moreover, his leadership consists of broken people like Moses. He works through peer counseling. Our testimony is what we have to offer to people who are just like us.

        As a health provider working with desperate people suffering the consequences of their actions, the transformation of a curse into a blessing gives me tremendous comfort and faith. Every individual can experience, not just the ultimate eternal salvation from sin and death, but customized salvation from the consequences of one’s personal sin and inherited family sin in this life.

        But if we are going to follow in the footsteps of the biblical redeemers, we have to accept that we, too, will be made a curse to society and our family.

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