And it came to pass, when Israel dwelled in that land, that Reuben went and lay with Bilhah his father's concubine: and Israel heard it…
1. God carrieth His Jacobs sometimes from Ephrath to Edar, from one affliction to a worse.
2. The Church's journeys and stages are appointed and ordered by God.
3. Israel is willing to pitch his tents where God allots him.
4. The Church and its pastor sit down by the tower of the flock; shepherds and sheep have their tower (ver. 21).
5. The Church's habitation is not free from affection and affliction in the land of its sojournings.
6. Providence ordereth the permission of the foulest crimes sometimes in His own Church.
7. The chiefest in outward privilege in the Church may fall into greatest sin. God's wisdom orders it.
8. God will not suffer the blots in His Church to be wholly covered or silenced. Others may learn by them.
9. Great is the fascination of lust which makes a son and wife conspire to pollute the father's bed.
10. Deep impressions the tidings of such wickedness in the Church makes upon gracious men, to consternation.
11. Providence distinctly notes the genealogy and number of the Church's beginnings, to observe God's making good His promises. Now Jacob was come to twelve (ver. 22).
12. God doth not always cast out of His visible Church for greatest wickedness. Reuben is numbered.
13. The twelve first patriarchs were ordained of God's grace, not for their worth.
14. Scripture useth figurative speeches, warily to be opened by God's ministers (vers. 23-26).
(G. Hughes, B. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And it came to pass, when Israel dwelt in that land, that Reuben went and lay with Bilhah his father's concubine: and Israel heard it. Now the sons of Jacob were twelve: