After Simeon and Levi
took out their anger
on all the men of Shechem
for the rape of their sister,
Jacob their father,
heard from the Lord
and was told to go to Bethel
(the place where he saw
a ladder between earth and Heaven
and angels going up and down,
and the Lord at the top)
to seek refuge
from a Canaanite attack.
“When they set out, the terror of God
fell on all of the towns all around them
so that no one pursued them.”
For some reason,
the writer found it fitting
to add this information -
“Now Deborah, Rebekah’s nurse,
died and was buried
under the oak outside Bethel.
So it was named Allon Bakuth.”
The death of Rebekah
is not recorded in the Bible,
but she was buried
in the cave of Machpelah
together with the Patriarchs
and Sarah and Leah.
We know this from Chapter 49
when Jacob on his deathbed said,
“I am about to be gathered
to my people. Bury me with my fathers
in the cave in the field of Ephron
the Hittite, the cave in the field
of Machpelah, near Mamre in Canaan,
which Abraham bought
along with the field as a burial place
from Ephron the Hittite.”
“There Abraham and his wife
Sarah were buried, there
Isaac and his wife Rebekah
were buried, and there I buried Leah.
The field and the cave in it
were bought from the Hittites”
(one of the Canaanite tribes -
and remember - Canaan was cursed)
With further research, I found out
that in the Book of Jubilees (31:8-11)
Rebekah was still alive
when Jacob returned home.
And she journeyed with him to Bethel
and died at the age of 155,
five years before Isaac's death.
That means that Isaac and Rebekah
were in tow when Jacob and his sons
and all of their wives and children,
and all that they owned
traveled to Bethel
to set up an altar to the Lord.
Then, for whatever reason, they left Bethel,
and were on their way to Ephrath
when Jacob’s love Rachel
began to give birth to a son.
The scripture says
that Rachel had great difficulty
giving birth, and the midwife said to her,
for you have another son.”
Right before Rachel
took her last breath
she named her son Ben-Oni,
meaning “son of my sorrow” -
but Jacob named him Benjamin
meaning “son of the right hand.”
When Rachel died
and was buried on the way to Ephrath
(that is Bethlehem),
the writer of Genesis
(who many believe to be Moses)
changed Jacob’s name
and started calling him by the name
that the Lord gave him.
“Israel moved on again
and pitched his tent
beyond Migdal Eder.
While Israel was living in that region,
Reuben went in and slept with
his father’s concubine Bilhah,
and Israel heard of it.”
Genesis 35:21-22 NIV
So at this point, I can focus in
on how Reuben’s actions affected Israel,
or I can focus in
on the place that that Israel went
to pitch his tent.
Because the places in the Bible
have so much significance,
I am going to research Migdal Eder.
Migdal Eder, as it is known,
was only about 1000 paces
(the place where Jesus was born)
and was a place of elevation,
where Shepherd’s would go
to watch over their sheep
in the valley’s meadow below.
It’s so sweet that in his grief
God would give Jacob such a view.
Also, many generations
would come and go
until Jacob’s descendant, David, was born.
David was born in Bethlehem -
as was Jesus Christ,
almost 900 years later -
after David was born.
“Joseph also went up
from the town of Nazareth
in Galilee, to Judea, to Bethlehem
the town of David,
because he belonged
to the house and line of David.
He went there to register with Mary,
who was pledged to be married
to him and was expecting a child.
While they were there,
the time had come
for the baby to be born,
and she gave birth to her firstborn,
a son. She wrapped him in cloths
and placed him in a manger,
because there was no guest room
available for them.
And there were shepherds
living out in the fields nearby,
keeping watch over their flocks
all night long.
An angel of the Lord
appeared to them,
and the glory of the Lord
shone around them,
and they were terrified.
But the angel said to them,
“Do not be afraid.
I bring you good news
that will cause great joy
for all the people.
Today in the town of David (Bethlehem)
a Savior has been born;
he is the Messiah, the Lord.
This will be a sign to you:
You will find a baby wrapped in cloths
and lying in a manger.”
Suddenly a great company
of the heavenly host
appeared with the angel,
praising God and saying,
“Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace to those
on whom his favor rests.
When the angels had left them
and gone into heaven,
the shepherds said to one another,
“Let’s go to Bethlehem
and see this thing that has happened,
which the Lord has told us about.”
I am so glad I researched Migdal Eder,
I had no idea it was a place of elevation
I also learned
that in Aramaic and Hebrew
Bethlehem means “house of bread”
but in Arabic
Bethlehem means “house of meat” -
all of it reminds me of communion with God.
Every part of history, past and present,
has something to do with our future.
Why would we ever want to erase it?