Sunday School lessons for Gospel Doctrine Class

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Birthright Blessings; Marriage in the Covenant

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Have you ever spent money or time to obtain something, only to discover that it was not worth what you had spent on it?  Have you made a choice to have something you really wanted, right now, rather than wait and work for something else that would have been better? 

Sometimes we choose what will bring immediate gratification, pleasure or satisfaction; even if the choice to work and wait would eventually provide a greater blessing.  This is true not only in a temporal sense but in spiritual understanding as well.   

Choosing immediate gratification could deny us glorious and lasting blessings.  By making unrighteous choices, we may trade eternal blessings for things of far less value.  But by striving to live righteously we can receive all the blessings that Heavenly Father has prepared for us. 

Its a simple but complicated scenario isn't it?  Its simple in its technical aspect  as God has given us the guide line and help that is plain.  But complicated in living because we are a state of testing.  It is though, not only comforting but helpful to know that our day is not the only day with this delemia and we can learn much from the old testament to help up understand and make the right choices.  


1. Choosing marriage in the covenant Genesis 24

Abraham, though men cannot be perfect in this life, was just about as perfect as one can get, in my humble opinion.  He chose the right, even when it was the hardest thing he could possible imagine to do and he trusted God enough to also teach his family to live as he did thereby gaining their own testimonies of the Gospel.  His son Isaac is a great example of this for Isaac became a great spiritual man even as his father; he trusted, he believed and he lived with God.  

The Story of Isaac and his wife Rebekah begins as follows, "And Abraham was old and well stricken in age,"  for all Abraham knew at this time, he would soon die.  Sarah had recently died and so mortality and completing his mission on earth were undoubtedly on his mind.  Isaac needed a wife, and if Abraham was going to teach the covenant of marriage as he had been taught by the Lord, now was the time to do it.  

1 And Abraham was old, and well stricken in age: and the Lord had blessed Abraham in all things.

To do this, in Genesis 24, Abraham emphasizes the importance of marriage in the covenant or eternal marriage, through the selection of a worthy wife for Isaac.  He commanded his eldest servant,  Eliezer, a man who had been with Abraham for many years and ruled over all that he had, to arrange a marriage for Isaac but had this servant swear that his son shall not take a wife from the daughters of the Cannaites.  

2 And Abraham said unto his eldest servant of his house, that ruled over all that he had, Put, I pray thee, thy hand under my thigh: 

3 And I will make thee swear by the Lord, the God of heaven, and the God of the earth, that thou shalt not take a wife unto my son of the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I dwell:

Why does Abraham tell Eliezer to put his hand under Abraham's thigh while taking the oath?  The Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible says the purpose of this custom was to relate the oath-taker to the source of life in the other person. However in the Joseph Smith Translation the line changes from, "Put, I pray thee, thy hand under my thigh" to "Put forth I pray thee thy hand under my hand."  So perhaps the idea was for Abraham to hold Eliezer's hand under his hand and against his thigh as in a token like the shaking of hands made between two men. Before our day, a handshake between men was sacred, it was a promise and men's reputations were staked upon that handshake, I believe this promise being made was in the same way.

Why was Abraham so insistent that Isaac marry a woman from his kindred rather than from the Canaanites, in whose land Abraham and Isaac lived?   The marriage covenant is an eternal ordinance that has been the Lord’s order in all ages when the fulness of the gospel has been on the earth. Adam and Eve were the first on this earth to enter into this ordinance.  Abraham wanted Isaac to marry someone of his own faith so he could marry in the covenant. This was necessary so the blessings of the Abrahamic covenant could be given to Abraham’s descendants.  

Canaan who settled the land of Canaan , was one of the sons of Ham, who was cursed pertaining to the priesthood, the canaanites most likely did not posses the right to the priesthood.  The right to priesthood as we have learned from Abraham, was partly a matter of lineage. (Genesis 9:18-27; 10:6, 15-19; Abraham 1:21-22, 26-27.)  

Abraham would have been particularly aware of priesthood rights as he says, "The records of the fathers, even the patriarchs, concerning the right of Priesthood, the Lord my God preserved in mine own hands." (Abraham 1:31.)  

Also it is unlikely that a woman of Canaan, unless converted, would have raised Isaac's children to believe in Abraham's God.  According to Elder Bruce R. McConkie, Abraham had "entered into celestial marriage" (Mormon Doctrine, p13). Thus the sealing keys were upon the earth at that time. Isaac could not be married in the covenant unless he married a righteous woman, one who was prepared for celestial marriage, a woman of the faith.

Why is it important that we marry in the covenant?  We also live among the "Canaanites" today. The strength of a righteous spouse is essential as we attempt to avoid the temptations and evil practices that surround us.  As well we must enter into marriage in the covenant to have all the saving ordinances we need for exaltation.  Elder Bruce R. McConkie: teaches us that "Those portions of it (the Abrahamic covenant) which pertain to personal exaltation and eternal increase are renewed with each member of the house of Israel who enters the order of celestial marriage; through that order the participating parties become inheritors of all the blessings of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob." (Mormon Doctrine, p13) 

Why does Abraham select his steward for the important mission of finding Isaac a wife? Why didn't he go himself to arrange the marriage? Genesis 24:1

The five-hundred-mile trip from the Beersheba-Hebron area to Haran was most likely not an easy journey.  In the beginning of the chapter the age of Abraham was the first thing stressed, it may be that at his stage in life he was not in a position to travel, so he chose his most trusted servant to do so.  

1 And Abraham was old, and well stricken in age: and the Lord had blessed Abraham in all things.

What impresses you about Abraham’s servant? Genesis 24: 4-9  

4 But thou shalt go unto my country, and to my kindred, and take a wife unto my son Isaac.

5 And the servant said unto him, Peradventure the woman will not be willing to follow me unto this land: must I needs bring thy son again unto the land from whence thou camest?

6 And Abraham said unto him, Beware thou that thou bring not my son thither again.

7 The Lord God of heaven, which took me from my father’s house, and from the land of my kindred, and which spake unto me, and that sware unto me, saying, Unto thy seed will I give this land; he shall send his angel before thee, and thou shalt take a wife unto my son from thence.

8 And if the woman will not be willing to follow thee, then thou shalt be clear from this my oath: only bring not my son thither again.

9 And the servant put his hand under the thigh of Abraham his master, and sware to him concerning that matter.

Eliezer, whom is Abrahams most trusted servant, takes the oath though he doesn't know yet how he will fulfill it.  Yet he believes, as Abraham states, that the Lord will help him, and he acts on that faith and is given revelation and answer. He was trustworthy, loyal, prayerful, and faithful. Even after a long journey, he wouldn’t eat until he had finished his errand for Abraham. And rather than stay for a 10-day celebration, he wanted to take Rebekah and return directly to Abraham.  As we are called for callings and given responsibilities from the Lord, such as raising children, we are admonished to magnify and serve worthily.  I am sure that Abraham sought the council of the Lord before choosing his servant, and the Lord knew that Eliezer would live up to the promise doing his best.  

Abraham's servant took ten camels and traveled to Nahor, near the town of Haran, in Mesopotamia, asks guidance from the Lord and meets Rebekah.  Genesis 24: 10-20

10 ¶ And the servant took ten camels of the camels of his master, and departed; for all the goods of his master were in his hand: and he arose, and went to Mesopotamia, unto the city of Nahor.

11 And he made his camels to kneel down without the city by a well of water at the time of the evening, even the time that women go out to draw water.

12 And he said, O Lord God of my master Abraham, I pray thee, send me good speed this day, and shew kindness unto my master Abraham.

Why does Eliezer address the Lord as "Lord God of my master Abraham," and not just "Lord God"?  Eliezer knows the Lord loves Abraham, so he addresses the Lord on behalf of Abraham, saying in effect that what the Lord does for Eliezer will be done for Abraham.

13 Behold, I stand here by the well of water; and the daughters of the men of the city come out to draw water:

14 And let it come to pass, that the damsel to whom I shall say, Let down thy pitcher, I pray thee, that I may drink; and she shall say, Drink, and I will give thy camels drink also: let the same be she that thou hast appointed for thy servant Isaac; and thereby shall I know that thou hast shewed kindness unto my master.

15 ¶ And it came to pass, before he had done speaking, that, behold, Rebekah came out, who was born to Bethuel, son of Milcah, the wife of Nahor, Abraham’s brother, with her pitcher upon her shoulder.

What could we learn from Abraham’s servant to help us better fulfill responsibilities the Lord has given us?    Rather than just asking the Lord to solve the problem, he presented the Lord with a plan for Him to confirm.  This exemplifies to us the theory of after all we can do.  We must think things out in our minds first then go to the Lord.  We must have faith, even when we don't have all the answers, even when it is scary, and believe that the Lord will help us, lead us and guide us, giving us all that is needed and required to perform to the best of our ability. 

16 And the damsel was very fair to look upon, a virgin, neither had any man known her: and she went down to the well, and filled her pitcher, and came up.

17 And the servant ran to meet her, and said, Let me, I pray thee, drink a little water of thy pitcher.

18 And she said, Drink, my lord: and she hasted, and let down her pitcher upon her hand, and gave him drink.

19 And when she had done giving him drink, she said, I will draw water for thy camels also, until they have done drinking.

20 And she hasted, and emptied her pitcher into the trough, and ran again unto the well to draw water, and drew for all his camels.

How could Abraham’s servant tell that Rebekah would be a good wife for Isaac? Genesis 24:15–20, 58

Lineage was Abraham's main concern.  Genesis 24:15 we learn that Rebekah was the granddaughter of Abraham's brother, which would have made her a first cousin once removed to Isaac, so she was of Abrahams lineage which was his desire. 

Also It was custom then that the women would go to the well to get the water and it was good hospitality to lower the pitcher down to offer water.  What wasn't so common place was for a woman to say after I give you to drink let me water your 10 camels as well.  In the day and age of Rebekah this was a heroic effort.  A camel can drink up to 30 gallons of water in one day, so Rebekah would have had to draw a great deal of water to satisfy 10 camels.  And we read that Rebekah doesn't just take the edge off the camels' thirst; she waits until they have "done drinking,"  she is willing to help others, she served the servant.  A major Christ like attribute.  

Rebekah too, was not only caring and wiling to serve but spiritually. Her willingness to leave her family and marry Isaac suggests a spirited disposition, an eagerness to better her position through a good marriage, and perhaps a growing faith in the Lord. It also suggests years of getting ready for the time she would consent to an arranged marriage. She was prepared and most likely new  it was the Lord’s will that she marry Isaac because she had great faith and so she was willing.   Genisis 24: 55-61

55 And her brother and her mother said, Let the damsel abide with us a few days, at the least ten; after that she shall go.

56 And he said unto them, Hinder me not, seeing the Lord hath prospered my way; send me away that I may go to my master.

57 And they said, We will call the damsel, and inquire at her mouth.

58 And they called Rebekah, and said unto her, Wilt thou go with this man? And she said, I will go.

59 And they sent away Rebekah their sister, and her nurse, and Abraham’s servant, and his men.

60 And they blessed Rebekah, and said unto her, Thou art our sister, be thou the mother of thousands of millions, and let thy seed possess the gate of those which hate them.

61 ¶ And Rebekah arose, and her damsels, and they rode upon the camels, and followed the man: and the servant took Rebekah, and went his way.

What can we learn about the importance of the choice to marry in the covenant from this story?  President Ezra Taft Benson tells us :  When you marry, your decision not only affects you, but your future children and generations after you..."Don't trifle away your happiness by an involvement with someone who cannot take you worthily to the temple..."I would urge you further to pray about this matter. Obtain the testimony of the truth of these things before a romantic involvement can take root. Covenant with your Heavenly Father that you will do His will. Live a clean, moral life, and be worthy of His spirit to bless you.   No sacrifice is too great to have the blessings of an eternal marriage. To most of us, a temple is easily accessible, perhaps so conveniently that the blessing is taken too casually. As with other matters of faithfulness in gospel living, being married the Lord's way takes a willingness to deny yourself ungodliness—worldliness—and a determination to do our Father's will. By this act of faith, we show our love to God and our regard for a posterity yet unborn. As our family is our greatest source of joy in this life, so it may well be in the eternity." (Conference Report, Apr 1979)

How does this lesson apply to those already married?  If you are not married in the covenant it should be your goal to attain this, for without it we cannot enter into the celestial kingdom.  If you are already married in the covenant, it should be your goal to remain worthy of this blessing as well as develop and maintain those qualities that will make us good husbands and wives. 

  2. Choosing to honor your birthright.  Genesis 25:20–34.

To begin learning about birthright we must first read about Rebekah.  After being barren for 20 years she finally conceives but seems to be having trouble with the babe in her womb.   There is struggling she says and being worried, in faith she goes to the Lord to seek help and guidance; in return she is given a revelation.  

22 And the children struggled together within her; and she said, If it be so, why am I thus? And she went to inquire of the Lord.

What revelation did Rebekah receive about her unborn baby?  That she would have twin boys and that they would be two nations at odds with each other. 

23 And the Lord said unto her, Two nations are in thy womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels; and the one people shall be stronger than the other people; and the elder shall serve the younger. 

The birthright was usually passed from father to eldest son. Receiving this birthright meant that the eldest son would inherit a double share of the family wealth, and in return he would preside over the family and take care of his mother and sisters after his father’s death. The statement that “the elder shall serve the younger” in the Lord’s revelation to Rebekah meant that in this situation the younger son would receive the birthright and his descendants would be the covenant people making this a very unusual revelation for the time and sets the stage for our lesson on honoring our birthright.  

About the Brothers: Genesis 25: 24-27

24 ¶ And when her days to be delivered were fulfilled, behold, there were twins in her womb.

25 And the first came out red, all over like an hairy garment; and they called his name Esau.

26 And after that came his brother out, and his hand took hold on Esau’s heel; and his name was called Jacob: and Isaac was threescore years old when she bare them.

27 And the boys grew: and Esau was a cunning hunter, a man of the field; and Jacob was a plain man, dwelling in tents.

After the babes were born Jacob was described as a plain man.  The Hebrew word used for plain in this verse is  'îysh tâm which actually means whole, complete or even perfect.  This emphasises Jacob's integrity, peace and completeness.

Esau was reddish.  The name Esau actually means made already.  For me this suggests that the Lord already knew how he would react and what his decisions would be in this life.  Red in Hebrew is the word "Edom" which became another name for Esau. The Edomites which are descendants of Esau played a significant role in the old testament usually as antagonists to the Israelites.  

The manner in which these two were born and named gives us some insight on their life, and the revelation given to Rebekah explains their future actions, their thoughts, their obedience and attitude towards the things of God.  

Esau in his life did not have respect for the things of God, his focus was on instant gratification.  Genesis 25:29–34.

29 ¶ And Jacob sod pottage: and Esau came from the field, and he was faint:

30 And Esau said to Jacob, Feed me, I pray thee, with that same red pottage; for I am faint: therefore was his name called Edom.

31 And Jacob said, Sell me this day thy birthright.

32 And Esau said, Behold, I am at the point to die: and what profit shall this birthright do to me?

33 And Jacob said, Swear to me this day; and he sware unto him: and he sold his birthright unto Jacob.

34 Then Jacob gave Esau bread and pottage of lentiles; and he did eat and drink, and rose up, and went his way: thus Esau despised his birthright.

How did Esau, the elder son, feel about his birthright to the covenant that had been made between his grandfather Abraham and the Lord?

In understanding lessons from this story of Esau and Jacob the first thing we need to understand is that this was not a set up or a trap or that Jacob was being unfair. We have to understand that Esau really did not value or have respect for the birthright which was a spiritual thing.  In   Hebrews 12:16 Paul calls Esau profane, a fornicator and a reprobate., he did not care about spiritual things. There must have been information that Paul had, that we don't have that further explained Esau and his actions.  As well, Jacob as his twin brother would have certainly succored Esau freely if his life were in jeopardy and needed food.  The point of this account seems to be primarily to show how little value Esau placed on the birthright.  His immediate bodily needs were more important to him than the right of the covenant.  

Another example of so-called favoritism is that Jacob appears to have stolen the birthright from his brother, Esau—that he received it unjustly through deceit and trickery. But what does the scriptural record say concerning this matter? The record indicates that Esau not only sold his birthright, but “despised” it (Gen. 25:34), and that he further disqualified himself for these blessings by marrying nonbelievers “which were a grief of mind unto Isaac and Rebekah” (Gen. 26:35) (Understanding the Old Testament: By Edward J. Brandt Ensign Sept 1980)

In regards to Rebekah and Isaac and favoritism which is many times referred to in Old Testament study the following quote is helpful:  When the time came for Isaac to bless his two sons, Rebekah, who learned through a revelation she had received that Jacob was to rule over his brother (see Gen. 25:23), went against the cultural tradition and helped Jacob, the younger son, receive the blessing. When Esau came to claim his blessing, Isaac realized that the important rights of priesthood presidency did, in fact, belong to faithful Jacob, not to unworthy Esau: “Yea,” said Isaac, “and he shall be blessed” (Gen. 27:33). If the prophet-patriarch had acted improperly, he had the priesthood right to revoke Jacob’s blessing. But he didn’t do so, knowing that he had done the will of the Lord. Perceiving that Esau’s concern was for the loss of the temporal gain instead of spiritual blessings, Isaac promised him prosperity, but he also reaffirmed the blessing of Jacob (see Gen. 27:37–40). (Understanding the Old Testament: By Edward J. Brandt Ensign Sept 1980)

As members of the Church, we are each entitled to a spiritual birthright from our heavenly parents. What blessings are included in our birthright?  The priesthood, temple blessings, ordinances, revelation, and the potential for exaltation.  

How do our words and actions show the value we place on our birthright?  How might some of us make errors similar to Esau’s, choosing things that bring immediate gratification rather than things that have eternal value?  Elder Neal A. Maxwell taught:  "As we look at the misbehavior we see in each of us, we see both aberrations and preoccupations. Preoccupations can be a sign that some things have come to mean too much to us. Though not necessarily bad in itself, a preoccupation can exercise dominion over us. But whether obsessions, rationalizations, or preoccupations, each is a diversion. Messes of pottage (Genesis 25:29-34) respond to the 'now' in us, whereas only the submissive heart and mind sees eternity's considerations." (Not My Will, But Thine, p60)

How does where we marry affect our ability to receive the blessings of our birthright? We gain our blessings from the of the Abrahamic covenant that pertains to exaltation and eternal increase by making and keeping the covenants of the temple endowment and eternal marriage.

In determining the heir to the covenant, the Lord chose Isaac over his older brother Ishmael (Galatians 4:22–23), Jacob over his older brother Esau, Joseph over his older brother Reuben (1 Chronicles 5:1–2), and Ephraim over his older brother Manasseh (Genesis 48:17–20).

What does this suggest about how we become qualified for God’s callings and blessings?  Righteousness counts...

3. Choosing the Right. 

Jacob marries Leah and Rachel in the covenant, and through him the Abrahamic covenant continues. Genesis 26–29.

"When Isaac was old, and his eyes were dim" he called upon Esau to go hunting and return and prepare him "savoury meat." Isaac told Esau that he wanted to bless him before he died.  Rebekah overheard this conversation and told Jacob go to the flocks and obtain "two good kids of the goats" and she would prepare a dish of savory meat for Isaac. Jacob was to take the meat to his father and obtain the blessing that Isaac had intended to give to Esau.  Jacob raised some questions about this procedure and his mother responded, "Upon me be thy curse, my son: only obey my voice, and go fetch me them" Jacob obeyed his mother. He put the skins of goats on his hands and took the meat into his father and presented himself as Esau.  Isaac blessed Jacob No sooner than Jacob had obtained the blessing, Esau showed up. After presenting the meat, Esau requested the blessing. Isaac responded, "Thy brother came with subtilty, and hath taken away thy blessing" Esau obtained a less desirable blessing from his father and said, "The days of mourning for my father are at hand; then will I slay my brother Jacob"

This story raises some questions: Do you think Rebekah was justified in the way she sought to secure the birthright blessing for Jacob?

The story of how Jacob obtained the birthright blessing from Isaac with the help of his mother is a troubling one in many respects. Typically, commentators who do not have access to latter-day scriptures come to one of two conclusions: either they emphasize Esau’s unworthiness for the birthright and therefore justify the deception, or else they criticize Jacob’s shrewd and crafty nature.

A more complete knowledge of gospel principles, however, may pose some additional problems. Can a person deceive a patriarch and get a blessing that belongs to someone else? Was Jacob a deceitful and crafty man? Was Isaac blindly favorable to certain children? Can one be dishonest and still get a valid patriarchal blessing? The following points should be carefully considered:

As the record in Genesis now reads, there is little option but to conclude that Rebekah and Jacob deliberately deceived Isaac and that Jacob explicitly lied to his father (see v. 24). Rebekah and Jacob believed the deception was necessary because Isaac obviously favored Esau. Joseph Smith, however, taught that certain errors had crept into the Bible through “ignorant translators, careless transcribers, or designing and corrupt priests” (Teachings, p. 327). For example, a comparison of the early chapters of Genesis with the fuller accounts revealed to the Prophet (now found in the books of Moses and Abraham) shows how much has been lost. It is possible that the story of Jacob’s obtaining the birthright has also lost much or been changed by unbelievers. These changes could then explain the contradictions.

Rebekah knew by personal revelation that Jacob was to be the son of the covenant (see Genesis 25:22–23). Jacob reluctantly gave in to his mother’s wishes after she told him that she would take the responsibility for what they were about to do.

Although the early patriarchs and their wives were great and righteous men and women who eventually were exalted and perfected (see D&C 132:37), this fact does not mean that they were perfect in every respect while in mortality. If the story is correct as found in Genesis, Isaac may have been temporarily shortsighted in favoring Esau. Or Rebekah may have had insufficient faith in the Lord to let Him work His will and therefore undertook a plan of her own to ensure that the promised blessings would come to pass. These shortcomings do not lessen their later greatness and their eventual perfection.

Whatever the explanation for the circumstances surrounding the reception of the blessing, one thing is perfectly clear. Priesthood holders are given the keys to bind and loose on earth and have that action validated in heaven (see Matthew 16:19). Once Isaac learned of the deception, he could have revoked the blessing and given it to Esau. Instead, he told Esau, “Yea, and he shall be blessed” (Genesis 27:33). Later, when Jacob was preparing to leave for Padan-aram to escape Esau’s wrath, Isaac clearly gave him the blessing of Abraham (see Genesis 28:3–4), an additional proof that Jacob received the blessing meant for him and that Isaac confirmed it upon him. Thus, if the Genesis record is correct as it now is, Jacob, like others, received a call and a promise of eventual blessings because of his potential and in spite of his weaknesses. Like anyone, he had then to live worthily in order to obtain the promised blessings.  (Old Testament Student manual) 

Esau Marries out of the Covenant  Genesis 26:34–35; 28:6–9

What does Esau’s choice of wives tell us about his priorities?

34 ¶ And Esau was forty years old when he took to wife Judith the daughter of Beeri the Hittite, and Bashemath the daughter of Elon the Hittite:

35 Which were a grief of mind unto Isaac and to Rebekah.

6 ¶ When Esau saw that Isaac had blessed Jacob, and sent him away to Padan-aram, to take him a wife from thence; and that as he blessed him he gave him a charge, saying, Thou shalt not take a wife of the daughters of Canaan;

7 And that Jacob obeyed his father and his mother, and was gone to Padan-aram;

8 And Esau seeing that the daughters of Canaan pleased not Isaac his father;

9 Then went Esau unto Ishmael, and took unto the wives which he had Mahalath the daughter of Ishmael Abraham’s son, the sister of Nebajoth, to be his wife.

 “Esau was also blessed—with the bounties of the earth, and with the potential to cast off the yoke of oppression; but like most of us he valued what he had lost after it was gone and rued the day he had traded the birthright off to Jacob. He bitterly resolved to get revenge by fratricide when he saw the blessing of transmittal of the birthright actually confirmed upon the head of him to whom he had bartered the right to it. The alert and resourceful Rebekah averted a double tragedy (loss of both sons—one by murder and one by execution, as the law of Genesis 9:6 would require) by proposing to Isaac that they send Jacob away to find a proper wife in her home land. Thus she would remove him from harm proposed by Esau until feelings could cool. The proposition that he be sent for a proper wife apparently was approved immediately by Isaac, for doubtless he saw that it was true, as Rebekah said, that their life’s mission would be frustrated if Jacob married as Esau had.” (Rasmussen, Introduction to the Old Testament, 1:47.)

Jacob marries in the Covenant Genesis 28:1–5; 29:1–28.

1 And Isaac called Jacob, and blessed him, and charged him, and said unto him, Thou shalt not take a wife of the daughters of Canaan.

2 Arise, go to Padan-aram, to the house of Bethuel thy mother’s father; and take thee a wife from thence of the daughters of Laban thy mother’s brother.

3 And God Almighty bless thee, and make thee fruitful, and multiply thee, that thou mayest be a multitude of people;

4 And give thee the blessing of Abraham, to thee, and to thy seed with thee; that thou mayest inherit the land wherein thou art a stranger, which God gave unto Abraham.

5 And Isaac sent away Jacob: and he went to Padan-aram unto Laban, son of Bethuel the Syrian, the brother of Rebekah, Jacob’s and Esau’s mother.

1 Then Jacob went on his journey, and came into the land of the people of the east.

2 And he looked, and behold a well in the field, and, lo, there were three flocks of sheep lying by it; for out of that well they watered the flocks: and a great stone was upon the well’s mouth.

3 And thither were all the flocks gathered: and they rolled the stone from the well’s mouth, and watered the sheep, and put the stone again upon the well’s mouth in his place.

4 And Jacob said unto them, My brethren, whence be ye? And they said, Of Haran are we.

5 And he said unto them, Know ye Laban the son of Nahor? And they said, We know him.

6 And he said unto them, Is he well? And they said, He is well: and, behold, Rachel his daughter cometh with the sheep.

7 And he said, Lo, it is yet high day, neither is it time that the cattle should be gathered together: water ye the sheep, and go and feed them.

8 And they said, We cannot, until all the flocks be gathered together, and till they roll the stone from the well’s mouth; then we water the sheep.

9 ¶ And while he yet spake with them, Rachel came with her father’s sheep: for she kept them.

10 And it came to pass, when Jacob saw Rachel the daughter of Laban his mother’s brother, and the sheep of Laban his mother’s brother, that Jacob went near, and rolled the stone from the well’s mouth, and watered the flock of Laban his mother’s brother.

11 And Jacob kissed Rachel, and lifted up his voice, and wept.

12 And Jacob told Rachel that he was her father’s brother, and that he was Rebekah’s son: and she ran and told her father.

13 And it came to pass, when Laban heard the tidings of Jacob his sister’s son, that he ran to meet him, and embraced him, and kissed him, and brought him to his house. And he told Laban all these things.

14 And Laban said to him, Surely thou art my bone and my flesh. And he abode with him the space of a month.

15 ¶ And Laban said unto Jacob, Because thou art my brother, shouldest thou therefore serve me for nought? tell me, what shall thy wages be?

16 And Laban had two daughters: the name of the elder was Leah, and the name of the younger was Rachel.

17 Leah was tender eyed; but Rachel was beautiful and well favoured.

18 And Jacob loved Rachel; and said, I will serve thee seven years for Rachel thy younger daughter.

19 And Laban said, It is better that I give her to thee, than that I should give her to another man: abide with me.

20 And Jacob served seven years for Rachel; and they seemed unto him but a few days, for the love he had to her.

21 ¶ And Jacob said unto Laban, Give me my wife, for my days are fulfilled, that I may go in unto her.

22 And Laban gathered together all the men of the place, and made a feast.

23 And it came to pass in the evening, that he took Leah his daughter, and brought her to him; and he went in unto her.

24 And Laban gave unto his daughter Leah Zilpah his maid for an handmaid.

25 And it came to pass, that in the morning, behold, it was Leah: and he said to Laban, What is this thou hast done unto me? did not I serve with thee for Rachel? wherefore then hast thou beguiled me?

26 And Laban said, It must not be so done in our country, to give the younger before the firstborn.

27 Fulfil her week, and we will give thee this also for the service which thou shalt serve with me yet seven other years.

28 And Jacob did so, and fulfilled her week: and he gave him Rachel his daughter to wife also.

What can we learn about Jacob from his efforts to marry in the covenant?  Jacob like his father and grandfather was committed to the Lord and living the gospel.  Marriage in the covenant was very important to him as it had been taught.  He made a long journey to find a faithful woman to marry. He then worked for Laban for seven years before marrying Rachel and continued to work for him.  

President Gordon B. Hinckley told of a family who joined the Church in Australia and then sold all their possessions so they could travel to New Zealand and be sealed as a family. The father of this family said: “We could not afford to come [to the temple]. Our worldly possessions consisted of an old car, our furniture, and our dishes. I said to my family, ‘We cannot afford not to go. If the Lord will give me strength, I can work and earn enough for another car and furniture and dishes, but if I should lose these my loved ones, I would be poor indeed in both life and in eternity’” (Be Thou an Example [1981], 138).

After two people have been married in the temple, what must they do to ensure they have a truly eternal marriage?  Record your thoughts in your journal or gospel doctrine notebook! 


The importance of being married in the covenant and living worthy of the birthright blessings is vital. One cannot enter into the celestial kingdom without it.  Our daily goal should be to focus and have a desire to make wise choices and not trade eternal blessings for temporary pleasure or satisfaction. This can be a hard thing for Satan can disguise the things of the world to seem of great importance.  However we know that we will not be tempted with more than we can refuse and Satan cannot make us do anything, it is ultimately our choice to live so we can see the difference and make the right choice.  As we lean on Heavenly Father and seek his guidance, we will be victorious in our efforts.  


Understanding the Old Testament: By Edward J. Brandt Ensign Sept 1980

Conference Reports

Old Testament Student Manual Genesis -2 Malachi

Be Thou an Example Gordan B Hinkley

Rasmussen, Introduction to the Old Testament, 1:47

Mormon Doctrine

Not My Will, But Thine, p60

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The Fall of Adam and Eve

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