The Sins of the Father and his Sons

Who can name the twelve sons of Israel (Jacob) in order of birth and give the names of their mothers? Almost nobody I guess. I couldn’t, even now, after writing it all down. They are in the bold print below, daughter Dinah included. I hope this list will come in handy for future reference.

From dysfunctional family to forgiveness and God’s Love and Grace, this is a fascinating story. I see a Netflix series that would be spellbinding, the average person being as shocked at the ending as many fans of The Americans were at seeing daughter Paige standing on the train platform as her Russian spy parents left the station to avoid arrest and prosecution.

We hear all the stories, usually one at a time, without much context, but reading these sixteen chapters of Genesis in one sitting pulls it all together. In spite of all the sins and sinning and sinfulness, we have this statement of faith from Joseph, at the end, as he forgives his brothers: Genesis 50:20 (NABRE) Even though you meant harm to me, God meant it for good, to achieve this present end, the survival of many people. And then there is that ominous eighth verse of the first chapter of Exodus, the beginning of the story of Moses. This story is great theological truth in an ancient literary masterpiece.

Joseph, by the way, comes through the whole story as virtuous and upright except that it does bother me that he devised and implemented a plan to confiscate all the wealth of the people and turn it over to the Pharaoh. Maybe that Pharaoh was a benevolent and loving dictator with the best interests of the citizens at heart, but there is always that next king. Maybe this story was in his mind when Samuel warned the people (1 Samuel 8) about the problems with kings.

And, the story goes on. We should not be surprised when we learn that the twelve tribes named after the twelve sons end up fighting and dividing and being conquered by Assyrians and Babylonians.


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