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Saturday, September 23rd, 2023
the Week of Proper 19 / Ordinary 24
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Bible Commentaries
Genesis 35

Sermon Bible CommentarySermon Bible Commentary

Verse 8

Genesis 35:8

The name given to the old oak-tree speaks of mourning, of very thoughtful and sorrowful, if not of very bitter tears; of kindly remembrances of old days and faithful duties; of the utter blotting out of every recollection but such as are kindly, sad, and hopeful. Deborah was only an old servant, one who had served the family so long, so faithfully, that she had grown one of it, prized in her active life, cared for in her failing age, wept over at the last with this memorable weeping. All the realities, the uttermost commonplaces of human life and history, and the passing on of time, are infinitely touching when really brought home to us. The wearied-out old frame laid in the last sleep, the hopeful young days 125 years ago, the busy, helpful life of work and worry, you see them all. There are practical suggestions here. (1) There could not have been this near and warm relation, but that the relation had lasted long. (2) We ought not to have mere money relations with those who serve us. (3) Those who serve may see from this how honourable is their calling, if they abide in it with God.

A. K. H. B., The Graver Thoughts of a Country Parson, 3rd series, p. 45.

Reference: Genesis 35:18 . Spurgeon, Evening by Evening, p. 68.

Verses 28-29

Genesis 35:28-29

The lives of Abraham and Jacob are as attractive as the life of Isaac is apparently unattractive. Isaac's character had few-salient features. It had no great faults, no striking virtues; it is the quietest, smoothest, most silent character in the Old Testament. It is owing to this that there are so few remarkable events in the life of Isaac, for the remarkableness of events is created by the character that meets them. It seems to be a law that all national, social and personal life should advance by alternate contractions and expansions. There are few instances where a great father has had a son who equalled him in greatness. The old power more often reappears in Jacob than in Isaac. The spirit of Abraham's energy passed over his son to his son's son. The circumstances that moulded the character of Isaac were these. (1) He was an only son. (2) His parents were both very old. An atmosphere of antique quiet hung about his life. (3) These two old hearts lived for him alone.

I. Take the excellences of his character first. (1) His submissive self-surrender on Mount Gerizim, which shadowed forth the perfect sacrifice of Christ. (2) His tender constancy, seen in his mourning for his mother, and in the fact that he alone of the patriarchs represented to the Jewish nation the ideal of true marriage. (3) His piety. It was as natural to him as to a woman to trust and love: not strongly, but constantly, sincerely. His trust became the habit of his soul. His days were knit each to each by natural piety.

II. Look next at the faults of Isaac's character. (1) He was slow, indifferent, inactive. We find this exemplified in the story of the wells (Genesis 26:18-22 ). (2) The same weakness, ending in selfishness, appears in the history of Isaac's lie to Abimelech. (3) He showed his weakness in the division between Jacob and Esau. He took no pains to harmonise them. The curse of favouritism prevailed in his tent. (4) He dropped into a querulous old age, and became a lover of savoury meat. But our last glimpse of him is happy. He saw the sons of Jacob at Hebron, and felt that God's promise was fulfilled.

S. A. Brooke, Sermons, p. 333.

References: Genesis 35:29 . F. W. Robertson, Notes on Genesis, p. 126. Genesis 35:0 Ibid., p. 121; R. S. Candlish, Book of Genesis, vol. ii., p. 103; M. Dods, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph, p. 119. Genesis 36:24 . Expositor, 2nd series, vol. vi., p. 352.

Bibliographical Information
Nicoll, William R. "Commentary on Genesis 35". "Sermon Bible Commentary". https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/sbc/genesis-35.html.
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