Jacob and Esau reunite

We started off by singing “Happy Family” from the Primary song book. I drew names out of the prayer bucket for us to use in singing until everyone’s name had been sung. It was silly, but Happy Family fit in with our lesson pretty well.

In today’s Seminary lesson, Jacob and Esau reunite. We did a short exercise on what Jacob did to prepare for Esau to come, reading several verses in Genesis 32 and 33 that described how Jacob prepared to meet Esau. I did describe to the students what it meant that Jacob separated the flocks and herds out so that they could arrive to Esau a little while after each other. Maximum impact was what Jacob wanted.

Because I was pitching the lesson toward how we should treat our siblings (in keeping with our previous lessons) I covered a few verses in Matthew where the Savior talks about how we should treat others: Matthew 18: 21-22 and Matthew 5:43-48. We should forgive others 70×7 and we should “be perfect” by loving those that hate us. We talked some about how the Savior was qualified to make these statements — he has forgiven each of us more than just 7 times. He loves those who despise him. In order to be like him, we should also adopt those attitudes toward others.

(We skipped Genesis 31 in the reading, but I summarized part of it.)

One student had some questions about Jacob’s wrestle. I tried to use the student manual and the lesosn manual, but they were completely unhelpful. We read Enos’ wrestle, as suggested in the Student Guide, but I didn’t find it particularly enlightening. One asked whether this was a literal wrestling or not. I told them that it was both, especially since Jacob’s hip was dislocated. I did goof up on my explanation though — it’s commonly believed that Jacob wrestled with the Lord, and that’s what I said during the lesson. Problem is, Christ would not have a body yet. :-S So it has to be another messenger. That messenger gave Jacob a blessing and a new name. There probably was some prayerful wrestling going on as well.

Joseph F Smith says this couldn’t have been an angel because it’s impossible that Jacob could have forced the angel to stay. I didn’t get that from the reading at all. What I got is “yeah, my leg is dislocated, but I’m hanging on like a bulldog” — hence the name Israel “prevails with God”. Jacob/Israel was a stick-to-it kind of fella. The wrestler doesn’t give any indication that he’s trapped and can’t leave. The wrestle is over because it’s morning and Jacob’s got to go meet Esau.

“Halted upon his thigh” in verse 31 must mean he was limping afterward — or, it was a literal wrestle.

Whether he wrestled an angel or man, Jacob received a new name (Israel) that described his personality better than Jacob (supplanter). Jacob was plainly a patient man who didn’t give up. He worked for years for his wives, worked even longer for his flocks, and then wrestled like a maniac. That’s probably the lesson to take away here.

Here’s some articles on the topic.

http://lds.org/manual/old-testament-teacher-resource-manual/genesis-34-4…

http://lds.org/ensign/1998/03/jacob-keeper-of-covenants?lang=eng

Both conflict slightly, but I suppose that’s because we have so little information about this story.

I will spend a few minutes in class tomorrow fixing what I said wrong.

This lesson ended between 6:45 and 6:50, so I told the kids to look up some scripture masteries to pass off. One had passed off Leviticus 19:18 the other day and Amos 3:7 (both very short), and so several passed those off. One more passed off Exodus 20.

Genesis 29-30

Yesterday’s lesson was short. Much too short. I was able to stretch out the naming of the 12 tribes a few minutes, but I thought for a minute there I was going to end 20 minutes early. I probably should have added chapter 31 on to this day’s lesson. You can always drone on and on about the symbolism of idolatry…..

My outline for this lesson looks like this:

1) Read story about Mau Thom Family.

2) Have student summarize the story of Rachel, Leah and Jacob.

3) What are you willing to work for?

4) Student Guide Activity B Questions 1 and 3, page 32.

5) List 12 sons of Israel, mother, meaning of name

6) What can we learn about the importance of maintaining a good relationship with our siblings from Leah and Rachel?

That’s the order I did the lesson in, but #5 and# 6 should have been swapped. I could possibly have put a little more emphasis on #3, too. They could have done a writing exercise.

Anyway, we did scripture mastery at the end of class. Everyone is resisting passing off Exodus 20. They all know all 10 commandments thanks to that movie. But they will all Jedi (fully memorize) that one. Hopefully by Friday.