Genesis 35:22
While Israel was living in that region, Reuben went in and slept with his father's concubine Bilhah, and Israel heard about it. Jacob had twelve sons:
Family RecordsR.A. Redford Genesis 35:16-29
Jacob's Grief At Reuben's SinBp. Babington.Genesis 35:22-26
LessonsG. Hughes, B. D.Genesis 35:22-26
Genesis 35:16-29
Genesis 35:16-29. These family records mingle well with the story of God's grace. The mothers "Ben-oni is the father's Benjamin." Out of the pain and the bereavement sometimes comes the consolation. A strange blending of joy and sorrow is the tale of human love. But there is a higher love which may draw out the pure stream of peace and calm delight from that impure fountain. Jacob and Esau were separated in their lives, but they met at their father's grave. Death is a terrible divider, but a uniter too. Under the shadow of the great mystery, on the borders of an eternal world, in the presence of those tears which human eyes weep for the dead, even when they can weep no other tears, the evil things of envy, hatred, revenge, alienation do often hide themselves, and the better things of love, lessee, brotherhood, amity come forth. Jacob was with Isaac when he died, and Esau came to the grave. - R.

The sons of Jacob.
Moses expresseth not how Jacob grieved when he heard this, but only saith, "It came to Israel's ears" that it was done. Surely the reason was this, that we might thereby conceive that the grief was greater than could be expressed, to have his bed defiled by his own son. So read we, the painter that portrayed the intended sacrifice of Iphigenia, painted her father Agamemnon's face covered, because it was not possible to express well the countenance of a man so plunged in woe. Think we then earnestly of Jacob's sorrow, but know that we cannot think how it was. And what crossing griefs the Lord sends us, let us strive to patience by these examples. Yea, let us grow by these examples to a Christian strength against worldly scandals and offences, not moved by them to waver up and down as some do, condemning truth, and judging persons by faults and offences that do happen. As if one should say, See the religion of these men; can it be true, can it be good, when the professors of it have such spots? Simeon and Levi cruel bloodshedders, Dinah wanton and wantonly defiled, and now Reuben an incestuous person, defiling his own father's bed. How should the religion of these men be good? Surely the idolatrous ignorance, and ignorant idolatry of the Gentiles, of the Canaanites, Perizzites, Jebusites, or such like, was the good religion, and not the way that Jacob served God by. But let us be wise, and learn by this to take a surer course to judge both of men and of religion. Jacob and his family had the true religion, though their sinful flesh offended sometimes. All were not evil in such degrees, though some offended too much. Bewail the falls we may of those that profess the truth, nay, bewail them we ought with a sighing heart; but forsake truth for them, or condemn truth to be no truth, we may not, we dare not, we ought not. Let God be true, and all men liars. Let truth be truth, and all men sinful; yea, such great patriarchs as these were not ever free.

(Bp. Babington.)

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.)

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