By: Ely Lagajino
Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all sins. Proverbs 10:12(NKJV)
Jacob had 11 sons and one daughter from among his wives when they left Haran. Rachel gave birth to his second child when they were in Canaan but died after giving birth, which made Jacob very sad. He named the child Benjamin 16 years younger than his elder brother Joseph (Gen. 29:31-36, Gen. 30:1-25).
Because of Laban’s deception Jacob acquired more than one wife. And this led to jealousy and hatred in the family. It caused serious consequences that influenced the character of Jacob’s sons who committed severe faults as they grew up.
From Haran they lived outside of Shechem city. Dinah went to town to hang out with the youth. Shechem, son of King Hamor, became acquainted with the lady and physically abused her.
The King and his son went to talk to Jacob’s family proposing for marriage. Dinah’s brother Simeon and Levi interfered that they would only allow the wedding if all the men of Sechem submitted to the ceremony of baptism by circumcision to be one with them.
So all the men of Shechem went through the ceremony, but after three days while the men were still in pain, Simeon and Levi killed them. The revenge was kept secret from their father.
As a father, Jacob loved all his children, but Leah’s sons became jealous of Joseph, Jacob’s favorite son. The more they became envious when Jacob gave him a magnificent coat of many colors, compared to their old black and white robes (Genesis 37:3). They suspected that their father would offer the birthright to Joseph.
Jacob appealed to his sons to respect him and honor God, as the grown-up ones seemed repentant, yet hid their jealousy and hatred. Jacob, was unresponsive to the misbehavior of his sons and insensitive to their ill feelings. He overlooked Simeon and Levi’s secrecy that resulted to their wicked behavior. Later he asked Joseph to visit his brothers in the field which resultedto losing him for many years.
Despite these painful lessons in the family, Jacob remained a supportive father to his children and a faithful son of God.