14 January 2017

Today's Readings and Stuff -- Saturday, 14 January 2017

Happy Saturday and welcome to the day book.  We, or at least I, seem to have survived yet another "Friday the 13th".  And no, if the movie was on TV somewhere I did not watch it, or seek it.  Has no attraction for me.  Your mileage may vary, of course.
I trust and hope that the day finds you well.  We are "enjoying" a torrid 25° here, with an assurance that we may actually make it up to 35° today!  Wow!  Heat wave!!  I was archly informed a few days ago that this constitutes ironclad evidence of Catastrophic Global Warming.  I reminded him that the heat record for that particular day was set in 1898 and was about 8 degrees warmer than the "unseasonably warm" temperatures we were seeing that day.  Haven't heard much from him since then.  Data has a way of doing that.

Dear Wife has had yet another bad night.  Up most of the night.  She went to bed same time I did, but lay there awake for more than an hour (so was I), then got up, hungry finally, and made herself something (pancakes) while I slept.  She finally came back to bed, hours later, slept fitfully off and on,  After I got up two hours before dawn to feed cats, she drifted off.  And is still sleeping now.  She had visions of another attempt to cut my hair today, but we shall see.  It may be time to get her to coach me in how I should do it myself.  I know other guys who do it, and as homely as I am, it couldn't make me look much worse.  She just likes to do it, in part I think, because it makes her feel useful after long periods when she really can't do very much at all. That feeling is worth something, surely.  To both of us.

Neighbor (not the niece, the other one, the one whose husband died a few weeks ago) has their dog out in a big enclosure.  Large dog, part Rottweiler I think (I can barely distinguish between a Chihuahua and a collie), and he's out there barking at birds, passers-by, the wind,  etc.  Good for him to be outside at least for a little while.  And at least she doesn't let him run loose like some nitwits do.  Pet peeve of mine, ok?  Everyone has a few, I've noticed.  But listening to the "chorus", particularly in the all-too-brief warm season of this area, as the various neighbors let their dogs outside, there to compete in vocal efforts, gets real old, real fast.  At least cats don't bark.


The morning's reading from the Old Testament is chapters 33, 34, and 35 of the Genesis.
Big changes here, as Jacob and his family return to the area of his father and brother.  Some long-standing animosities and other issues, some serious.
And, at the end, Isaac dies. In Hebron, the so-called "Palestinian West Bank", the area that the Moslem heathens claim no Jew ever lived.  One of the multitude of lies that constitute the evil demon cult of Islam.
Much here in this passage.  Have you ever tried to repair a family feud that stretches back over decades?  It is as tough a thing as exists, even IF both sides desire it, which is not always the case.  And sometimes too there are more than two sides.  Happens.  We've been seeing some of it since our return to this area where we now live.  On both sides of the family.  I have a sister-in-law who would open fire if she saw me near their house, the one I lived in for many years.  I have cousins who will not acknowledge my very existence.  Dear Wife has similar situations, with various relatives still angry over something that my late mother-in-law or father-in-law did in the 1940's!  To this very day!  And violence is always an available option -- late mother-in-law was a cousin to a notorious Sicilian Mafia figure in this area, who was assassinated causing her much grief.  And there are other "family (or Family, la Famiglia) associations here and there.  So some of these rivalries are quite real.  And the the old dispute between Jacob and Esau very nearly became just as nasty.  Remember that Cain and Abel were brothers too.

Genesis 33
1 And Jacob lifted up his eyes, and looked, and, behold, Esau came, and with him four hundred men. And he divided the children unto Leah, and unto Rachel, and unto the two handmaids. 2 And he put the handmaids and their children foremost, and Leah and her children after, and Rachel and Joseph hindermost. 3 And he passed over before them, and bowed himself to the ground seven times, until he came near to his brother. 4 And Esau ran to meet him, and embraced him, and fell on his neck, and kissed him: and they wept. 5 And he lifted up his eyes, and saw the women and the children; and said, Who are those with thee? And he said, The children which God hath graciously given thy servant. 6 Then the handmaidens came near, they and their children, and they bowed themselves. 7 And Leah also with her children came near, and bowed themselves: and after came Joseph near and Rachel, and they bowed themselves. 8 And he said, What meanest thou by all this drove which I met? And he said, These are to find grace in the sight of my lord. 9 And Esau said, I have enough, my brother; keep that thou hast unto thyself. 10 And Jacob said, Nay, I pray thee, if now I have found grace in thy sight, then receive my present at my hand: for therefore I have seen thy face, as though I had seen the face of God, and thou wast pleased with me. 11 Take, I pray thee, my blessing that is brought to thee; because God hath dealt graciously with me, and because I have enough. And he urged him, and he took it. 12 And he said, Let us take our journey, and let us go, and I will go before thee. 13 And he said unto him, My lord knoweth that the children are tender, and the flocks and herds with young are with me: and if men should overdrive them one day, all the flock will die. 14 Let my lord, I pray thee, pass over before his servant: and I will lead on softly, according as the cattle that goeth before me and the children be able to endure, until I come unto my lord unto Seir. 15 And Esau said, Let me now leave with thee some of the folk that are with me. And he said, What needeth it? let me find grace in the sight of my lord. 16 So Esau returned that day on his way unto Seir. 17 And Jacob journeyed to Succoth, and built him an house, and made booths for his cattle: therefore the name of the place is called Succoth. 18 And Jacob came to Shalem, a city of Shechem, which is in the land of Canaan, when he came from Padanaram; and pitched his tent before the city. 19 And he bought a parcel of a field, where he had spread his tent, at the hand of the children of Hamor, Shechem's father, for an hundred pieces of money. 20 And he erected there an altar, and called it EleloheIsrael.

Genesis 34
1 And Dinah the daughter of Leah, which she bare unto Jacob, went out to see the daughters of the land. 2 And when Shechem the son of Hamor the Hivite, prince of the country, saw her, he took her, and lay with her, and defiled her. 3 And his soul clave unto Dinah the daughter of Jacob, and he loved the damsel, and spake kindly unto the damsel. 4 And Shechem spake unto his father Hamor, saying, Get me this damsel to wife. 5 And Jacob heard that he had defiled Dinah his daughter: now his sons were with his cattle in the field: and Jacob held his peace until they were come. 6 And Hamor the father of Shechem went out unto Jacob to commune with him. 7 And the sons of Jacob came out of the field when they heard it: and the men were grieved, and they were very wroth, because he had wrought folly in Israel in lying with Jacob's daughter: which thing ought not to be done. 8 And Hamor communed with them, saying, The soul of my son Shechem longeth for your daughter: I pray you give her him to wife. 9 And make ye marriages with us, and give your daughters unto us, and take our daughters unto you. 10 And ye shall dwell with us: and the land shall be before you; dwell and trade ye therein, and get you possessions therein. 11 And Shechem said unto her father and unto her brethren, Let me find grace in your eyes, and what ye shall say unto me I will give. 12 Ask me never so much dowry and gift, and I will give according as ye shall say unto me: but give me the damsel to wife. 13 And the sons of Jacob answered Shechem and Hamor his father deceitfully, and said, because he had defiled Dinah their sister: 14 And they said unto them, We cannot do this thing, to give our sister to one that is uncircumcised; for that were a reproach unto us: 15 But in this will we consent unto you: If ye will be as we be, that every male of you be circumcised; 16 Then will we give our daughters unto you, and we will take your daughters to us, and we will dwell with you, and we will become one people. 17 But if ye will not hearken unto us, to be circumcised; then will we take our daughter, and we will be gone. 18 And their words pleased Hamor, and Shechem Hamor's son. 19 And the young man deferred not to do the thing, because he had delight in Jacob's daughter: and he was more honorable than all the house of his father. 20 And Hamor and Shechem his son came unto the gate of their city, and communed with the men of their city, saying, 21 These men are peaceable with us; therefore let them dwell in the land, and trade therein; for the land, behold, it is large enough for them; let us take their daughters to us for wives, and let us give them our daughters. 22 Only herein will the men consent unto us for to dwell with us, to be one people, if every male among us be circumcised, as they are circumcised. 23 Shall not their cattle and their substance and every beast of theirs be ours? only let us consent unto them, and they will dwell with us. 24 And unto Hamor and unto Shechem his son hearkened all that went out of the gate of his city; and every male was circumcised, all that went out of the gate of his city. 25 And it came to pass on the third day, when they were sore, that two of the sons of Jacob, Simeon and Levi, Dinah's brethren, took each man his sword, and came upon the city boldly, and slew all the males. 26 And they slew Hamor and Shechem his son with the edge of the sword, and took Dinah out of Shechem's house, and went out. 27 The sons of Jacob came upon the slain, and spoiled the city, because they had defiled their sister. 28 They took their sheep, and their oxen, and their asses, and that which was in the city, and that which was in the field, 29 And all their wealth, and all their little ones, and their wives took they captive, and spoiled even all that was in the house. 30 And Jacob said to Simeon and Levi, Ye have troubled me to make me to stink among the inhabitants of the land, among the Canaanites and the Perizzites: and I being few in number, they shall gather themselves together against me, and slay me; and I shall be destroyed, I and my house. 31 And they said, Should he deal with our sister as with an harlot?

Genesis 35
1 And God said unto Jacob, Arise, go up to Bethel, and dwell there: and make there an altar unto God, that appeared unto thee when thou fleddest from the face of Esau thy brother. 2 Then Jacob said unto his household, and to all that were with him, Put away the strange gods that are among you, and be clean, and change your garments: 3 And let us arise, and go up to Bethel; and I will make there an altar unto God, who answered me in the day of my distress, and was with me in the way which I went. 4 And they gave unto Jacob all the strange gods which were in their hand, and all their earrings which were in their ears; and Jacob hid them under the oak which was by Shechem. 5 And they journeyed: and the terror of God was upon the cities that were round about them, and they did not pursue after the sons of Jacob. 6 So Jacob came to Luz, which is in the land of Canaan, that is, Bethel, he and all the people that were with him. 7 And he built there an altar, and called the place Elbethel: because there God appeared unto him, when he fled from the face of his brother. 8 But Deborah Rebekah's nurse died, and she was buried beneath Bethel under an oak: and the name of it was called Allonbachuth. 9 And God appeared unto Jacob again, when he came out of Padanaram, and blessed him. 10 And God said unto him, Thy name is Jacob: thy name shall not be called any more Jacob, but Israel shall be thy name: and he called his name Israel. 11 And God said unto him, I am God Almighty: be fruitful and multiply; a nation and a company of nations shall be of thee, and kings shall come out of thy loins; 12 And the land which I gave Abraham and Isaac, to thee I will give it, and to thy seed after thee will I give the land. 13 And God went up from him in the place where he talked with him. 14 And Jacob set up a pillar in the place where he talked with him, even a pillar of stone: and he poured a drink offering thereon, and he poured oil thereon. 15 And Jacob called the name of the place where God spake with him, Bethel. 16 And they journeyed from Bethel; and there was but a little way to come to Ephrath: and Rachel travailed, and she had hard labor. 17 And it came to pass, when she was in hard labor, that the midwife said unto her, Fear not; thou shalt have this son also. 18 And it came to pass, as her soul was in departing, (for she died) that she called his name Benoni: but his father called him Benjamin. 19 And Rachel died, and was buried in the way to Ephrath, which is Bethlehem. 20 And Jacob set a pillar upon her grave: that is the pillar of Rachel's grave unto this day. 21 And Israel journeyed, and spread his tent beyond the tower of Edar. 22 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: 23 The sons of Leah; Reuben, Jacob's firstborn, and Simeon, and Levi, and Judah, and Issachar, and Zebulun: 24 The sons of Rachel; Joseph, and Benjamin: 25 And the sons of Bilhah, Rachel's handmaid; Dan, and Naphtali: 26 And the sons of Zilpah, Leah's handmaid: Gad, and Asher: these are the sons of Jacob, which were born to him in Padanaram. 27 And Jacob came unto Isaac his father unto Mamre, unto the city of Arba, which is Hebron, where Abraham and Isaac sojourned. 28 And the days of Isaac were an hundred and fourscore years. 29 And Isaac gave up the ghost, and died, and was gathered unto his people, being old and full of days: and his sons Esau and Jacob buried him.


The New Testament reading is chapter 11 from the Gospel of Matthew.
This is taking place in that period after Jesus had sent forth the Twelve to proclaim the Good News, and He was still dealing with questions and issues in the area He was in.  Some of those questions came from the followers of His earthly cousin, John the Baptizer.  Good questions at that, important ones, and the answers were, and remain, equally important. For them and for us as well.

Matthew 11
1 And it came to pass, when Jesus had made an end of commanding his twelve disciples, he departed thence to teach and to preach in their cities. 
2 Now when John had heard in the prison the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples,  
3 And said unto him, Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another?  
4 Jesus answered and said unto them, Go and shew John again those things which ye do hear and see: 5 The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them.  
6 And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me.  
7 And as they departed, Jesus began to say unto the multitudes concerning John, What went ye out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken with the wind?  
8 But what went ye out for to see? A man clothed in soft raiment? behold, they that wear soft clothing are in kings' houses. 
 9 But what went ye out for to see? A prophet? yea, I say unto you, and more than a prophet.  
10 For this is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee. 
11 Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist: notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.  
12 And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force.  
13 For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John. 
14 And if ye will receive it, this is Elias, which was for to come.  
15 He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.  
16 But whereunto shall I liken this generation? It is like unto children sitting in the markets, and calling unto their fellows,  
17 And saying, We have piped unto you, and ye have not danced; we have mourned unto you, and ye have not lamented. 
18 For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, He hath a devil.  
19 The Son of man came eating and drinking, and they say, Behold a man gluttonous, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners. But wisdom is justified of her children.  
20 Then began he to upbraid the cities wherein most of his mighty works were done, because they repented not:  
21 Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. 
22 But I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment, than for you.  
23 And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day.  
24 But I say unto you, That it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for thee. 
25 At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes.  
26 Even so, Father: for so it seemed good in thy sight.  
27 All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him.  
28 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  
29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.  
30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.


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