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Questions for Reflection and Discussion – Genesis 25 19-34

The text we’re studying for Sunday, November 4 is Genesis 25:19-34, the birth of Esau and Jacob, and Esau’s sale of his birthright to Jacob. Here are some questions about the text we might want to consider:

In v21 we learn that Rebekah has been barren, so that Isaac specifically prays for her. What does this theme of barrenness suggest to us, especially in the context of God’s promise to Abraham of many future descendants? Does it mean something, or does it have a purpose, do we think? What?

Rebekah has a difficult pregnancy, and receives a prophecy from YHWH that explains what is going on (v23). The prediction challenges social expectations based on birth order. Why, do we think? Does this prophecy affect the way we read the later events of this story? How? Why is that?

In vv27-28, we have a description of the differences between Esau and Jacob, and a brief description of the relations in the family as they grow up. What impressions do we get from this description? What are our reactions to this description? Why? What does it lead us to expect about the relationship of Esau and Jacob? Why do we have those expectations, do we think?

(More personal) How has growing up in our own particular family affected us? How has it helped us grow closer to God, do we think? How has it gotten in the way of that relationship? How has it shaped our understanding of God, do we think?

Do we identify with one of the characters in this story more than another? Who? Why? Do we empathize with one of the characters more than another? Who? Why? Do we judge the characters? How? Why?

Where do we see God at work in this story? How? What are the implications for us in that?

Do we ourselves have a birthright? What is it? How have we received it? Valued it? How has that affected our understanding of God, or our relationship with God, do we think? How do we feel about that? Why?

Overall, we may want to consider what lessons we take away from this story for our own lives, whether those have to do with the way we interact with the members of our own families, or with the way we take any of these characters as examples, whether to follow or not to follow.

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