Bible Society of South Africa

A rolling stone with a domino effect - 11 March 2024

By Imogen Campbell

Bible text(s)

27People who set traps for others get caught themselves. People who start landslides get crushed.

Proverbs 26:27GNBOpen in Bible reader

Skulduggery with regard to the rights of the firstborn produced a striking series of events in the life of Jacob that would prove to define the course of his days and produce untold heartache.

First, he “stole” the birthright of his older brother even though God had technically given it to him. In much the same way, Leah stole time with the husband promised to her younger sister even though it was customary for the firstborn to marry first. Another technicality!

The deceptive aspect of Jacob’s character manifested itself when he schemed to get the irrevocable blessing his father wrongly intended to bestow on his older brother. It involved swapping out clothes and dressing like his brother in order to deceive his father. There was also a covering of goatskin so that his father would believe that the hairy hands were those of Esau.

“Then Rebekah took the best clothes of her elder son Esau her older son, which she had in the house, and put them on her younger son Jacob. She also covered his hands and the smooth part of his neck with the goatskins. Then she handed to her son Jacob the tasty food and the bread she had made. He went to his father and said, ‘My father.”’ (Genesis 27:15-18)

Furthermore, considering that Rebekah had volunteered to prepare the food, Jacob thus became complicit to, dare I say it, her ill-conceived scheme. In every way, he tried to imitate his older brother, made slightly easier by his father’s failing eyesight. And he managed to wangle the blessing right away from his brother and get it for himself.

But the chickens came home to roost on his first wedding night. After spending seven years working for his beloved Rachel, the time came for their marriage. Unexpectedly, Jacob found himself on the receiving end of deception. This time, the older sister pretended to be the younger one. It was probably dark, and his eyes deceived him.

Moreover, traditionally food would have been prepared, not unlike that day when he fooled his brother and, of course, there were bridal garments galore, hopefully, not goatskins. Somehow, Leah usurped the role of his beloved, and found herself complicit to her father’s craftiness.

Outwitted! The proverbial rolling stone, Jacob, now found himself cloistered to Laban, indebted to work more years. Talk about family problems and meddling in-laws. Jacob became mired in proverbial moss, and perhaps, like the Rolling Stones’ song suggests, unable to get satisfaction. I think you would agree the stone rolled back a bit. Quite the warning for us even today.

Prayer: Dear Father God, thank you for teaching us incredible lessons from your Word that show us how to avoid pitfalls in our lives. Amen

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