I’m currently reading in Exodus and must say that each time I read it, I realize how relevant it is today and also something new always jumps out at me that gives new meaning to getting to know God and putting it all together.
I highly recommend Christians read in the Bible daily and recommend reading all of it. Not just the New Testament or the same verses that help when we’re struggling, because reading the entire Bible over and over again is like seeing the entire picture and putting all the pieces together.
I truly think even secular people can find value in this. The Bible is not just rules and regulations but it’s beautiful stories and poetry and it’s quiet amazing how it nails human nature so perfectly.
Before I dive in, I have to give some character background. These are some of the pieces you put together over reading the entire Book and it can help give context, especially to those not familiar.
Let’s start with Abraham, who is the one who God made His covenant (agreement, promise) with that God would make a people from him that would outnumber the stars.
God carried out this promise through Abraham’s son Isaac, and through Isaac’s son Jacob.
The Exodus, is the story of Moses. Even if you didn’t grow up in the church like I didn’t you probably have heard about Moses and possibly watched the movie that was on tv as a child like I did.
Moses was a descendant of Levi and Levi was Jacob’s son. Jacob was later named Israel by God, and his 12 sons are the 12 tribes of Israel.
One of Jacob’s 12 sons was Levi. Levi was one of Jacob’s sons by his first wife Leah.
There’s something interesting about Leah. Jacob wanted to marry Rachel, Leah’s sister. He worked for their father Laban 7 years under the agreement that he would get to marry Rachel.
The day of the wedding they have a big party and Laban basically gets Jacob drunk and then places his older daughter Leah (that we are told was not as beautiful) into the bridal suite.
The next morning Jacob realizes what’s happened and confronts his father in law and Laban basically tells him that he will give him Rachel also, for another 7 years of work!
So Leah, the unloved wife, kept having sons hoping that it would win her husband’s love. One of these son’s was Levi.
The whole thing with Leah and Rachel ended up causing issues among their children as we see how sin passes down from generation to generation.
Rachel’s son Joseph ended up being Jacob’s favorite among his 12 sons. This (and probably the unequal treatment by Jacob of their mom compared to his favorite, Rachel, made his brothers hate him (and it didn’t help that Joseph kept telling his brothers that he had prophetic dreams that he would rule over all of them). Additionally, their dad gave Joseph lavish gifts, making the favoritism well known.
So the brothers, including Levi, plotted to kill him but instead realized they could turn a profit by selling him to Egyptians. They poured blood on his coat and told their father he had been ripped to pieces. And then they all let their father believe for years that he was dead and watched him grieve. Yeah. Pretty wicked stuff. And it shows that even what we think of as “minor sins” like having a favorite child can have unintended disastrous consequences.
Levi also ended up killing an entire town of men after one of them raped his sister. He first got all the men to circumcise themselves by deceiving them and when they were sore and recovering he and his brother slaughtered them all and their animals. Their father Jacob (Israel) is angered by their actions. When confronted, instead of humbling himself, Levi gets defensive and says that the men treated his sister as a whore and he was not to let that go unpunished. His comment shows that his rage was not so much fueled by his sense of justice but rather his own pride.
When Jacob (Israel) is giving a blessing to his children at the end of his life, he has this to say about Levi and his brother that killed the men with him, “their swords are weapons of violence”, “they have killed men in their anger”, “cursed be their anger”, “I will scatter them”, and we can see it holds true as we learn the full story of Moses.
Some of the things we learned about Levi are that he is taken over by his anger and passions and he is a deceiver. He suffers from jealousy and pride and he let his father think his brother was dead!! I’ll talk about how the sons of Levi passed down to Moses next.