Genesis 30, Mark 1, Esther 6, Romans 1

DateVersionReading Plan
@January 29, 2024ESV (2016)M’Cheyne Plan 2024

Genesis 30

Genesis 30:37–39 (ESV) 37 Then Jacob took fresh sticks of poplar and almond and plane trees, and peeled white streaks in them, exposing the white of the sticks. 38 He set the sticks that he had peeled in front of the flocks in the troughs, that is, the watering places, where the flocks came to drink. And since they bred when they came to drink, 39 the flocks bred in front of the sticks and so the flocks brought forth striped, speckled, and spotted.

The breeding method with sticks used here by Jacob seems odd and worth unpacking. The Faithlife Study Bible has an informative analysis:

In order to increase his herd, Jacob employs sympathetic magical practices. Sympathetic magic was based on the belief that the user could influence something based on its relationship or resemblance to another thing. Sympathetic magic was employed throughout the ancient Near East. Jacob’s actions also reflect the ancient Near Eastern belief that the offspring of an animal was affected by what it saw during the procreation process.

Mark 1

Mark 1:22, 27 (ESV) 22 And they were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one who had authority, and not as the scribes. … 27 And they were all amazed, so that they questioned among themselves, saying, “What is this? A new teaching with authority! He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey him.”

Jesus’s presence represented a supernatural authority. Unlike the hypocrisy of the scribes that droned on mechanically, Jesus perfectly lived the things that He spoke. There was astonishment and amazement because Jesus has sovereign authority over all creation, commanding obedience like nothing and no one else.

Esther 6

Esther 6:6 (ESV) 6 So Haman came in, and the king said to him, “What should be done to the man whom the king delights to honor?” And Haman said to himself, “Whom would the king delight to honor more than me?”

After being reminded that Mordecai had thwarted a plan among the king’s eunuchs to lay hands on him, the king sought to honor Mordecai. The king then called on Haman to do the honoring and asked for advice as to what should be done. Haman, not knowing the man to be honored was Mordecai, entirely overlooked the king’s question and wondered who was more worthy of honoring than himself. Haman’s focus was entirely on Haman—his prestige, his glory, his exaltation—and his story provides a startling example of unchecked selfishness.

Romans 1

Romans 1:32 (ESV) 32 Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.

What can be known about God is plain and yet the insolent and haughty proceed in wickedness. Terrible enough that they do it themselves, it becomes all the more when they approve of others who carry on in like ways. Rather than seeking Christ and His righteousness, they promote waywardness among each other in order to be affirmed in remaining in it themselves. The challenge here is seeing how easily “they” can become “we” and to be on constant guard, rooted and grounded in God’s Word.

Carson on Genesis 30

By the last book in the Bible, Revelation, the twelve tribes of the old covenant constitute the counterpoint to the twelve apostles of the new covenant: this twelve by twelve matrix (i.e., 144, in the symbolism of this apocalyptic literature) embracing in principle the whole people of God.

This is so helpful. I have known that the 144 was symbolic rather than literal, but have never made the connection between the Israelite tribes and apostles in this way.