.he BEDTIME BIBLE LESSONS: Part One .fo Copr. 1986 W. Roane, Jr. # God Made It All (Gen 1-2) My name is Adam. God made me. God made all the animals, too. God made the pretty blue sky and the white, fluffy clouds. God made the tall trees and the green grass and the bright flowers. God made the big round moon and the shiny stars. God was not born. God was always here. On Sunday, God made light. He made light so that it would not be dark any more. On Monday, God made the deep blue ocean and the big, wide, sky. God made the lakes and the little streams and the big rivers, too. Then God made dry land. On Tuesday, God made all the fruit trees: the apple tree, the orange tree, the peach tree, the pear tree; God even made the tomato plant. All the grass and the little bushes and the big oak trees, God made. On Wednesday, God made the big, hot sun and the moon, round and bright. God made the shiny stars, too. On Thursday, God made all the fish. The big, long whales, the little tiny goldfish, the tuna fish and the salmon, God made. God made birds, too. The tall pelican and the little sparrow; the noisy woodpecker and the gentle dove, God made. On Friday, God made all the rest of the animals. God made the giraffes tall. The funny monkeys, the pretty deer, and the growling tigers, God made. God made the elephants big. And God gave the zebra his long, thin stripes. But God did not make me on Friday. You see, I am not an animal. I was not around when God made all the clouds and the sky and the animals. On Friday, God looked at all the animals. Then God said "Let's make man like Us. He will not be like all the animals. He will have a soul." So God took some dirt from the ground and made me. God called me Adam. Adam means "man". God breathed into my nose and I started to breathe! I was alive! God gave me a soul. My soul will never die. Then on Saturday, God rested. God made everything good. Everything God made was good. What did God make? What is your favorite animal that God made? What did God not make? Why was Adam different from the animals? God Puts Adam In A Garden (Gen 2) God planted a garden to the east. The garden did not get rain. Water came up from the ground and gave all the plants a drink. God planted many trees in the garden for me. Bushes and all kinds of flowers were there, too. God put me in the garden. Some of the trees had flowers on them and some of the trees had fruit on them. God gave me a job. My job was to keep the trees growing right and to take care of all the plants there. I was allowed to eat any of the fruit there except one. God told me not to eat the fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. God told me that if I ate from that tree I would die. I was very happy in the garden. I liked eating the fruit and I liked taking care of the garden. But something was wrong. I was lonely. Where did God put Adam? What was Adam's job? What did God tell Adam not to do? God Makes Adam A Helper (Gen 2) God saw that I was lonely. So God brought all the animals to me. I named all the animals and all the birds. None of the animals and the birds was a good helper for me. So God said "I will make you a helper that is right for you." God made me fall into a deep, deep sleep. God took one of my ribs out of me and closed me up. God made my rib into a woman. Then God brought the woman to me. She was very beautiful. I said, "She is made out of my body. She is part of me. I will call her woman, because God made her out of me." I called my wife "Eve". Eve means life. We were both naked but we were not ashamed. What did God make for Adam? How did God make the woman? The Devil Tempts Eve (Gen 3) My name is Eve. I am Adam's wife. I was in the garden resting under a tree one afternoon and the snake talked to me. The snake was very tricky. He said, "God did not really tell you the truth. If you eat from the fruit of the tree of knowledge you will not die. You will know what God knows." I told the snake, "God told us not to eat that fruit or we would die." But the snake told me, "Look how pretty the fruit is. Look how juicy and big that good-tasting fruit is. Just take a bite. Then you will be just like God." I wanted to obey God, but the snake was very tricky. I wanted to see what that fruit tasted like. I was tired of eating all the other fruit in the garden. I wanted some of THIS fruit. The snake kept on telling me, "Go on, eat some. You are not scared of God, are you? Go ahead, just a bite!" So I ate some of the fruit. It was not as good as the snake said it would be. I gave some of the fruit to my husband Adam, and he ate some, too. Then Adam and I knew that we were naked. So we made aprons out of fig leaves to wear. We knew we had done wrong. We had not obeyed God. What did the snake say? Was the snake telling the truth? Who did Eve listen to, God or the snake (the devil)? God Punishes Adam and Eve (Gen 3) Adam and I were hiding from God. We knew we had eaten the fruit God told us not to eat. Every day when it was cool, God walked in the garden. We used to run out to meet God. We used to walk with God and talk to God. But not today. We knew we had disobeyed God. We did not want to meet God now. We were ashamed of what we had done. And we were afraid of what God would do to us now. Just then we heard God walking through the garden. Adam and I hoped God would not find us. God said, "Where are you, Adam?" Adam said, "I heard You in the garden and ran and hid. I hid because I was naked." God said, "Adam, who told you that you were naked? Have you been eating that fruit I told you not to eat?" Adam said, "The woman you gave me for a helper gave me some of the fruit and I ate it." God asked me, "Why did you give Adam some of the fruit to eat?" I was afraid. I said, "Well, the snake tricked me and I ate the fruit." God told the snake, "Because you have tricked the woman, you will have to crawl on your belly from now on. You have no excuse. One day you will not be able to trick anyone." God told me, "Life will be hard for you now. Now you will have pain and trouble because you did not obey Me." God told my husband Adam, "Now you will have to work for a living. The ground will grow weeds and thorns now. You will have to work hard to get anything to grow for you. Now you will both have to leave the garden." So God made us both leave the beautiful garden. God would not let us eat from the tree of life. God put an angel with a flaming sword outside the garden to keep us away from the tree of life. But God felt sorry for us so He made some clothes out of animal skins and gave them to us. We were very sad. Adam and I liked the beautiful garden. Now we had to work hard to grow food, all because we did not obey God. Why did God punish Adam and Eve? How did God punish them? What did God make for Adam and Eve? Adam and Eve's Two Boys (Gen 4) God gave Adam and me two fine boys. We named the oldest Cain and the youngest Abel. Cain and Abel were different. Abel kept sheep and goats and cows. Abel made butter and cheese from the milk. But Cain planted grain and vegetables and was a farmer. God asked for a present from my two boys. Both boys brought God their best. Cain brought all the best vegetables and grain and gave them to God. And Abel brought the best sheep and goats and young cows from his herds to God. God liked Abel's present best. Cain was very angry. He was upset because God liked Abel's present better. God told Cain, "Do not be angry. You must not sin by being so angry. Just obey Me and you will be all right." But Cain did not listen to God. Cain was so angry that he killed my other son, Abel. I was very sad. God asked Cain, "Where is your brother Abel?" Cain said, "I don't know. I can't keep up with my brother." God asked, "Why did you kill your brother? Now you will have to work even harder. The ground will have even more weeds and thorns from now on." God told Cain, "You must wander around on the earth." Cain said, "I cannot stand this punishment. Everyone will hate me and want to kill me. Please help me!" So God put a mark on Cain so that no one would kill him. God sent Cain east, and God sent Cain a wife. Cain and his wife had children. One of Cain's sons built a city. Some of Cain's great-great-great grandsons made brass and iron tools. Some of them even made musical instruments like the harp, flute, and bagpipe. Adam and I had many more sons and daughters. One of our great-great grandsons, Enoch was a very good man. He walked with God. What did God ask Cain and Abel for? What did Abel offer God? What did Cain offer God? What did Cain do wrong? God Is Sad (Gen 6) My name is Noah. My family and I worship God. God talks to me and tells me what to do. Many of the other people do not worship God. They do not even obey God or care about Him. But our family worships God. One day God tells me, "Noah, I am very sad to tell you this. All of the other people except your family do not obey Me any more. They only want to do bad things. They only think bad thoughts. I am sorry I ever made them." God told me, "Don't worry, Noah. You love Me and obey Me. I will take care of you. I am going to flood the whole earth with water. Get ready and build a big boat, an ark." God told me that when He flooded the earth that me and my family would be safe on the ark. Why was God sad? Who did God talk to? What did God tell Noah? Noah Obeys God (Gen 6-7) "Noah! Noah!" God was calling me. God told me, "Noah, build the ark now. Build it out of gopher wood. Make it 450 feet long and 150 feet wide and 45 feet tall. Make it with three floors and a big window all around the top." So my boys and I built the ark just like God said. We used gopher wood, not oak or walnut. We built the ark just the way God said. All the people laughed at us. "Look at the silly ark!" they said. "Why, it has never even rained, and Noah is building a big boat!" But we just kept on obeying God. After lots of hard work, we were finally finished with the ark. What a big job! We had to do everything by hand. Then God told me, "Noah, put food for you and your family on the ark. Put two of every animal that breathes on board, too. Put seven of some of the birds and animals on the ark. Put food for the animals inside, too." When we finished putting all the food and the animals on the ark, God told me, "Noah, get all your family on the ark." What did God tell Noah about the ark? Did Noah obey God? What did Noah have to put on the ark? God Floods The Earth (Gen 7-8) God let me and my family stay on the ark for a whole week. Then God let the rain loose! It had never rained before. The whole ground was covered with water. God opened the springs in the ground, too. God let it rain for 40 days and 40 nights! All the trees were covered with water. Soon, all the mountains were covered with water, too. The only people who were alive were me and my family. God remembered us people on the ark and kept us safe. God took care of me and my family because we obeyed Him. Finally God made the rain stop. The water started to go back into the ground, but very slowly. Five months after the rain started, we felt the ark bump on the top of some tall mountains. The mountains were in Ararat. The ark rested on top of these mountains for almost three months. The tip tops of mountains just seemed to peek out of the water. After 40 more days I opened the window and looked around. I sent out a raven. This raven did not come back. It flew around and around. I put a dove outside and it flew around and around. The dove came back because there was not place for it to land. A week later, I sent out the dove again and it flew back late in the afternoon with an olive leaf in its beak. The next week I sent the dove out again, but this time it did not come back. After many weeks, the ground was day. God told me to get my family and all the animals off the ark. So we climbed out of the ark. We were all VERY glad to walk around on dry land again. How long did it rain? Where did the ark land? What did Noah send out of the ark? The Rainbow (Gen 8-9) My name is Japheth. Noah is my dad. When we got off the ark, me and my two brothers Shem and Ham took our wives for a long walk. We looked around for a good place to live. When we got back, our dad, Noah had built a big table made of rock to put presents to God on. This big table of rock was called an altar. You probably know what a barbecue pit is used for: to cook meat. Whenever somebody wanted to give something to God, they used to cook their present on an altar. Well, our dad Noah had just caught some of the birds and animals that we had seven of and killed them. He built a big fire on the altar and cooked the birds and a couple of sheep, goats, and cows right there. Boy, that meat sure smelled good to us! When our dad gave God something he burned the animal all up so that there was nothing left except ashes. Just then, we all something strange, bright and big in the sky! There was a big curved shape of color in the sky. This big shape had purple, blue, red, orange, green, blue, and yellow in it. God told our dad Noah that this was a rainbow. God liked the way the burnt offering smelled so He gave us the rainbow. God told our dad Noah that He would not ever flood the whole earth again. God promised us that there would always be day and night, and summer and winter, as long as the earth was here. We were very glad to hear this. We were tired of staying all cooped up on an ark, even if it was big. God told us to go and have big families and obey Him. God let us eat meat now, too. God told us that all the animals would be afraid of us. God promised to look at the rainbow and remember not to flood the whole earth. What did Noah give God? What did God put in the sky? What did God promise? Noah Gets Drunk (Gen 9) It's me, Japheth again. My brothers, Shem and Ham, and I started to raise animals and grow our own food. Our dad, Noah had a farm, too. He liked grapes so he planted a vineyard full of them. He made wine one time and drank too much of it. Our dad got so drunk that he did not know where he was. He was in his tent and he must have thought he was taking a bath, because he took off all his clothes! Ham walked in the tent, and saw our dad without any clothes on at all! Ham came running out and yelled, "Shem! Japheth! Guess what?" We could not believe what Ham said. "Dad's drunk and he has taken off all his clothes! What can we do?" So Shem and I took a big jacket and carried it into our dad's tent backwards so we did not see him. He was asleep then so we covered him up and left as fast as we could. Our dad woke up and found out he had been drunk and taken off all his clothes. He was ashamed. He was even more ashamed that we boys had found out that he got drunk. Our dad was really angry with Ham because he saw him with no clothes on. "Ham! Shem! Japheth! Get in here!" he yelled. We ran to see what our dad wanted. "Ham, your name is not Ham any more. Your name is Canaan now. You will be a slave to your brothers because you looked at me when I was naked," our dad said, "Shem and Japheth, God will bless you and your brother will serve you, because you covered me up and did not look at me when I was drunk."We boys learned right then what drinking wine can do to you. I hope YOU never get drunk EVER. What did Noah do wrong? Why was Noah angry with Ham? The Tower (Gen 11) Hello, I lived in Shinar. My friends and I used to live in one big city here. We used to be like one big, happy family. We all talked the same, walked the same, worked the same, and played the same. We did everything together. One day one of our men had an idea. "Let's build a tower up to heaven!" he said. "That's a good idea!" we all said. So we scraped some tar up off of the ground and we made clay into bricks. We used the bricks to build with and we put tar in between them to hold them together. We had a pretty good start on our tower, too. Then God saw what we were doing. He said, "All the people speak the same language. They can do whatever they want. Let's make them speak different languages so that they cannot understand each other." So God made us all speak different languages. We could not understand each other any more, so we had to move away from the city. We never finished the tower, either. This is why there are different languages now. What did the people want to do in Shinar? What did God do to the people? Why? God Calls Abram (Gen 12) My name is Abram. God called me when I lived in Haran. My family was from Ur in Chaldea. My dad wanted to take us to live in Canaan, but we stopped to rest in Haran. My dad Terah just stayed in Haran until he died. When he died my wife Sarai and I did not know what to do. My nephew Lot was with us, but he did not know what to do, either. God used to talk to the head of each family. I knew God talked to my dad Terah, but God had never talked to me before. When God talked to me, I was surprised. "Abram, Abram!" God called. "Now go away from your father's house and leave all your relatives. I will show you where to go. I will make your family into a big nation. I will give them land to live on and I will make you great. I will help the people who help you and I will hurt the people who want to hurt you. One of your great-great-great grandsons will help all the people on earth." I did not know what to say. God had promised me so much. I did not deserve all the good things that God had promised me. And all God wanted me to do was obey Him. I could not tell God "No" because He was so kind and good. So I promised God that I would obey Him. "Sarai, Lot, get ready to move!" I told them. So we got all our clothes packed and all our animals and our servants together. I was 75 years old when we left Haran. We all made it to the land of Canaan, safe and sound. There were many people called Canaanites living nearby, but we were not afraid of them. God had promised to take care of us. When we got to Shechem, there was a huge oak tree called Moreh. God talked to me there at Shechem, and promised me "I will give your great-great grandchildren this land." I was very happy, so I built an altar to God and put sacrifices on it. Next we moved on to Bethel and we camped between Bethel and Ai. We spent the night and I built another altar to God here and worshiped God here. Then we moved south with all our animals and servants. What did God promise Abram? What did God ask Abram to do? Abram Goes to Egypt (Gen 12) There was no rain in the land of Canaan so there was not much food. Someone told me, "Abram, I hear there is food in Egypt." So I took my family and all my servants and all my animals and went to Egypt. Before we got there, I told Sarai, "Look! You are a very nice looking woman. The king of Egypt, the pharaoh may want to marry you. So say that you are my sister so that they will not kill me and marry you." We got into Egypt and the men there noticed Sarai right away. The Egyptian men told Pharaoh, "There is a beautiful woman who just got into town!" Pharaoh said, "Well, don't just stand there! Find out if she is married or not and find out her name! If she is not married, bring her to me. I need another good wife or two." So the men asked Sarai, "Are you married? Is this man your husband?" Sarai said, "No, he's my brother. I am single." So the men took Sarai and brought her to live in Pharaoh's house. Pharaoh gave me lots of sheep and goats and cows and donkeys and servants. But God was not happy that Sarai was living in Pharaoh's house. God made all Pharaoh's family and all his servants very sick. Then Pharaoh figured out the truth. Pharaoh called Abram and said, "What do you mean, letting me almost marry your wife! You did not tell me she was your wife. Now all my servants and family are sick because you did not tell the truth. Shame on you, Abram! Now take your wife and all your animals and all of your servants and all of your things and get out of my sight. I never want to see any of you ever again." Pharaoh sent men from his army to make sure we left the country. So we left Egypt and walked north, back to Canaan where we came from. Where did Abram go? What did Abram tell Sarai to say? Was this right? What happened because Abram did not tell the truth? Why should we tell the truth? Lot And Abram Argue (Gen 13) My nephew, Lot was angry with me. "Uncle Abram," he said, "There is just not enough room around here for both of us." I said, "Let's not fight over land. You just take the land you want and I will take the rest." So we walked outside and looked the land over. Lot wanted the valley of the Jordan river, near Sodom and Gomorrah. God had not destroyed these cities yet. Now the men of Sodom were very bad. They did not obey God at all. So Lot took his animals and his family and moved toward the city of Sodom. God told me, "Abram, do not worry about the land Lot has. Look at the rest of the land. I will give this land to your great-great grandchildren. Just keep on obeying Me. Your family will be very large. You will have so many great-great-great grandchildren that counting them will be like trying to count the grains of sand on the beach. Look the land over, Abram, because it will belong to your great-great-great grandchildren." Why was Lot angry? What did Abram give Lot? What did God promise Abram? Nine Kings Go To War (Gen 14) Four kings took their armies out to go to war. They went to war against almost the whole land of Canaan. They won every battle they fought. But the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah took three other kings and got their armies together. The kings of Sodom and Gomorrah were tired of the four kings always having their way. Well, I was one of Lot's slaves. When the four kings won the battle, they captured the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah. They took Lot's family prisoner, too. I just got away because I was out in the field when the kings came. I ran and ran to tell Abram what had happened. I hoped I was not too late. "Abram, sir! Help, help!" I yelled. I was so tired from running that I could hardly talk. "What is it?" Abram said. "It's your nephew, Lot," I said, "The four kings took him prisoner along with the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah. And I barely got away with my life!" Abram called all 318 of men. They were Abram's slaves. Abram called his friends, Aner, Eschol, and Mamre to help. They brought their slaves, too. We rode with Abram all night and chased the four kings all the way past Damascus to the north of Damascus. We men fought the four king's men and won! So we brought the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah back and Abram brought Lot and his family back home, too. On our way back home, we passed the city of Salem, now called Jerusalem. The king of Salem came out to meet us. He was named Melchizedek. Melchizedek brought out bread and wine for Abram. Melchizedek was a priest of God. "God has blessed you, Abram." Melchizedek said, "God has let you win the battle against your enemies." Because Melchizedek was God's priest, Abram gave Melchizedek one tenth of all the money, animals, and clothes he had taken from the four kings. Then the king of Sodom told Abram, "Give me my people back and you can keep the money and the animals and the clothes." "No way," Abram said, "I do not want you to say 'I made Abram rich. ' Aner, Eschol, and Mamre may take what they want, but I will not take anything of yours." What happened to Lot? Who rescued Lot? What did Abram give Melchizedek? God Talks to Abram (Gen 15) My name is Abram. God talked to me one night. I was afraid, but God told me not to be afraid. God said, "I am your shield. I will reward you Abram." I said, "Lord, what are you going to give me? How can you keep all your promises to me about my grandchildren? I do not even have a son, so how can I have any grandchildren? Please give me a son." God told me, "Don't worry, Abram. I will make sure you get a son. Look up, Abram." I looked up at the night sky. "What do you see, Abram?" God asked me. I said, "Well, I see stars--lots and lots of stars." God told me, "Try to count the stars." I could not count them, so God said, "I will give you many many great-grandchildren. You will have so many great- grandchildren that no one will be able to count them." I was very glad to hear this, because one of my servants, Eliezer, who was born in Damascus was going to be in charge of the other servants if I did not have a son. I was glad to hear this promise from God. I was glad God was finally going to give me a son. I believe everything God says is going to happen. God said, "Remember, Abram, I helped you come into Canaan from Ur. I will give this land to your great-grandchildren." I said, "Well Lord, how do I know that You will give us this land?" God told me, "I'll make a deal with you, Abram. Bring Me a three year old calf, a three year old female goat and a three year old male goat. Bring me a dove and a little pigeon." I ran to get the animals. I killed them and cut the large animals in half and brought them to God. The birds came down from the sky and tried to eat the meat of the animals. So I kept yelling and slapping the birds to keep them away from the meat. It was morning by now and I stayed awake all that day and kept chasing the birds away. That night the birds stopped bothering the meat and I fell asleep. I was so tired from all that work. I was really sleeping good when it got so dark that I could feel it. I was scared now but God started to talk to me again. "Abram!" God said, "Your great-grandchildren will be slaves in another country. They will be slaves for 430 years. But don't worry. I will take care of them. I will punish the people who will keep them slaves. I will make your great-great-great-grandchildren very rich. I will bring them out into this land, the land of Canaan. This will happen long after you die, Abram." Then I saw a bright fire and a lot of smoke like a big oven come right in the middle of the meat that I had set out. God told me, "Abram, now you can believe me. Do you see that flame that I put in the middle of that meat? Now you know that I always keep My promises. I will give your great-grandchildren's grandchildren this land. I will give them all the land as far as you can see. I will give them the land from the edge of Egypt to the Euphrates river. I will drive out all the people who live here so that your great-great grandchildren can live here. Remember My promise, Abram." So I woke up. I was very happy that God made such good promises to me. I know that God ALWAYS keeps His promises. What did God promise Abram? Does God always keep his promises? Do you? Abram Marries Hagar (Gen 16) My name is Sarai. I am Abram's wife. I know God promised Abram and me a son, but we haven't got one yet. What can we do? ...... I know! I have an idea. "Abram, Abram!" I said. "What is it, honey?" he answered me. "You know how God has promised us a son?" I asked. "Well, I've been thinking. Let's help God out some. You may marry my slave, Hagar. Maybe God will give you a son faster if you have more than one wife." Abram said that was all right with him. So he and Hagar, my servant got married. It was my idea, all right. But boy, was I jealous. I wanted to have a baby, myself. Abram love me, but I did not get as much attention as I used to. Pretty soon I couldn't stand to look at Hagar. So I asked Abram another favor: "Abram, honey, I need a favor." He was in a good mood, so he said, "Sure, honey, name it." Now was my chance. "You know your slave-wife, Hagar? Well, she has been causing me trouble lately. She needs to be taught a lesson or two. May I teach her some manners, please?" "Sure, honey," Abram said, "Do whatever you want to." So I really made life tough for Hagar. I gave her lots of extra work to do. I made sure she got only bones and crumbs to eat. I even slapped her a few times just to let her know that I was Abram's REAL wife. I sure let Hagar know I was boss. Hagar got so upset one day that she ran away out into the desert. My plan was working out just fine. I was sure glad to see them go. I had really wanted to get rid of her ever since Abram married her. Now maybe Abram would pay more attention to ME. Well, Hagar did not stay out in the desert for long. God sent His angel to look for her. God's angel found Hagar by a little water hole in the desert on the way to Shur, which is to the south, almost to Egypt. God's angel told Hagar, "Go back home to Sarai, no matter how bad she treats you. God will give you a son. Your son will be strong, and his children will live to the east of their relatives. Name him Ishmael, which means 'God hears '." So Hagar come back home and had her baby. She named him Ishmael. I was even more jealous than before. Who was Hagar? How did Sarai treat Hagar? Who found Hagar in the wilderness? God Gives Abram a New Name (Gen 17) "Abram, Abram!" "Abram, Abram!" God was calling me! God told me, "Abram, you keep on doing what I tell you to. Keep on obeying Me." God said, "I will bless you and make your grandchildren into a big big family of people." I was 99 years old then, and I was so surprised that I fell down on my face and God kept on talking to me. "Abram, your family will be SO big that one day whole countries will call you their father. Your name is not going to be Abram any more. Abram only means great father. Your new name is going to be Abraham, which means 'father of nations'. Some of your great grandchildren will be kings and princes. I will always be with your grandchildren if they will obey Me." Next, God told me what He was going to do for Sarai, my wife. "Abram, your wife will not be called Sarai any more. Her name will be Sarah, which means princess. Sarah will have a baby boy, and his grandchildren will be kings." I almost could not believe all the things God was going to do for me and Sarah. I even laughed and told God, "How can Sarah and I have a baby? She is 90 years old, and I am 100 years old. Please, God, let Ishmael become the father of kings and many nations." God told me, "Believe Me, Abraham, Sarah and you will have a baby boy, just like I told you. I will bless Ishmael, too, and 12 of his children will be great princes. But Sarah will have as son. Name him Isaac. Isaac will be greater than Ishmael." Then God stopped talking to me. Who laughed at God? Whose names were changed? To what? Why? Three Men Visit Abraham (Gen 18) God was talking to me, Abraham, again. It was so hot outside that I could not walk out into the field. I was sitting in the shade of the oak trees in Mamre right by my tent door. It was so hot that the breeze did not even move the leaves in the oak tree. I looked up and the bright sun almost made me blind. Then I saw them. Away off on the next hill, I saw three men walking along alone. The men did not have any camels or donkeys with them. The men got closer. It was bad manners not to go meet your visitors, so I ran out to meet the strangers. I ran out to the men before they got close to my tent. I bowed down and said "Welcome, friends! Please do me the honor to come to my house for lunch. It is hot outside. You should not be walking outside. Come and set yourselves down under this tree and rest awhile." The men said, "That sounds great!" So I brought out water and made the servants wash the men's feet. I ran into the tent and yelled, "Sarah, we've got company!" I told Sarah, "Hurry, fix three big jars of flour and bake your best bread for our guests." I ran out back while the men were resting and grabbed a young calf and gave it to one of my servants: "Here, kill this calf and roast it over the fire, and hurry up; we've got company." So the servant killed the calf and roasted it over the fire. I brought out milk and cottage cheese for the men to eat with their meat and their fresh baked bread. The whole place smelled like fresh bread and barbecue meat. The servants could hardly wait until everyone was through eating so they could eat some, too. The men said, "Where is your wife, Sarah?" I said, "Sirs, she is over there in the tent." One of the men said, "By the time I come visit you again next year, she will have a baby boy." Sarah was hiding in the door of the tent listening. Sarah laughed to herself and said, "How can I have a baby when I am so old?" Then God asked Abraham, "Am I a weak God? Do I make promises I cannot keep? Your wife Sarah will have a son next year." Now Sarah was afraid and said, "I didn't laugh." But God said, "You did, too; I heard you." Who came to see Abraham? Why did Sarah laugh? Abraham Talks to God (Gen 18) It's me, Abraham. The three men got ready to leave, so I walked with them a little ways. They were on their way to the city of Sodom, to look at it. God talked to me again: "Abram, you will become the father of many nations. One of your great great great grandchildren will be a blessing to the whole world. Now, Abraham, look down at the city of Sodom. That city is a very bad place. The men of Sodom have not obeyed Me at all. I am very sad about the people in Sodom. I am going to have to punish them. They are SO bad, that I am going to have to get rid of the whole city." I said, "Father in Heaven, please wait! What if there are 50 good people in Sodom? Will you destroy the city if 50 good people are there?" God said, "No, Abraham, I will not destroy the city if 50 good people are there." I asked God again, "Father, I know You are good and You always do what is right. I know You would not get rid of the city if there are 45 good people there." God said, "All right, Abraham, I will do what you want. I will not get rid of Sodom if there are 45 good people living there." I kept right on asking God, "Well, Lord, what if there are 40 good people in Sodom? Please do not destroy Sodom if there are 40 good people there!" "OK, I will not destroy Sodom if I find 40 good people there, " God promised me. I asked God again, "Please, Father, do not be angry with me. I need to talk to you again. Please do not get rid of Sodom if there are only 30 good people there." God said, "Abraham, I will not destroy Sodom if there are 30 good people there." Then I was afraid, but I kept on talking to God anyway. "Please, Father, I have prayed to four times today. You have answered me 'Yes' four times today. I am praying to You again. Please listen to me: Please do not destroy Sodom if there are 20 good people there." "I will not destroy Sodom if there are only 20 good people there." I prayed to God one more time: "Dear Father, please do not be angry with me. I need to ask you just this one more thing. What if there are 10 good people in Sodom?" God told me, "Don't worry, Abraham. If there are just 10 good people in Sodom, I will not hurt the city." So Abraham went back to his tent and thought about what God had said. What did God say He was going to do? What did Abraham ask God? God Destroys Sodom and Gomorrah (Gen 19, II Pet 2:7-8) My name is Lot. I am Abraham's nephew. I decided to live in Sodom instead of with Abraham out in the field. I liked being in Sodom at first, but then I found out the the people were very bad. Finally the people disobeyed God so much that I could not stand it. Even some of my family started acting like the people who lived in Sodom. I was very sad. Late one evening, God sent two angels to Sodom. I saw them out in the street. I knew right away that they were from God. I bowed down in front of them and said, "Sirs, please come home with me and spend the night. You can wash your feet and get some rest. In the morning you can get up early and keep on traveling." The angels angels said, "No, we will spend the night out here in the street." I said, "No, please come home with me. I would feel bad if you had to spend the night out in the street. So the angels came home with me. My wife cooked a big dinner for the men and baked flat bread without salt or yeast. Now, the angels looked like men. The evil men who lived in Sodom followed the angels to Lot's house. By the time the angels were finished with supper, the evil men of Sodom were all around my house. They yelled, "Lot, Lot!" and banged on my door. They yelled, "Bring out the two men in your house. We will hurt them!" I was afraid, and I walked out the front door and closed it behind me. I said, "Please, do not hurt the men that have come to my house to spend the night." But the evil men did not listen to me. The evil men said, "Just do you think you are, telling us what to do? Who told you you were so big?" The evil men tried to break down my front door, but the angels made the men of Sodom blind. Even though the evil men were blind, they still tried to find my door. So the angels reached out and pulled me inside the house. The evil men stayed outside all night trying to break in my house. I was really afraid. The angels told me, "God is going to destroy this city, because the people do not obey God." The angels asked me, "Where is your family? You are all going to have to get out of town. God is going to destroy Sodom." So I told my daughters' husbands, "Come on, let's get out of town; God is going to destroy the city!" But they did not believe me. By now it almost was getting light outside, and the angels said, "It's time to go; lets get out of town before God destroys the city!" But I was so afraid that I could not move. So the angels grabbed me and my wife and my two daughters by the hand and pulled us along. "Hurry up, hurry up!" the angels said. The angels got us outside the city, and they told us, "Run for your life! Run up into the mountains! Do not look back, or you will die." So we ran up into the mountains. And God rained fire and burning sulfur down on Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities were burned up. All the people who did not obey God were burned up. But my wife did not obey God. She looked back to the city and God turned her into a big chunk of salt. I was very sad. I was sorry I had ever moved to such a bad city as Sodom. Who visited Lot? What did God do to Sodom and Gomorrah? What happened to Lot's wife? Why? Abraham Tells A Lie (Gen 20) My name is Abraham. After God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, I took my family and moved south to Gerar. The king of Gerar was Abimelech. I was afraid that Abimelech would want to marry Sarah. I was afraid that Abimelech would kill me just to marry Sarah. So I told a lie. I told Abimelech: "Sarah is my sister." I did not think about what happened the LAST time I told somebody that Sarah was my sister. Well, Abimelech almost married Sarah. But God talked to Abimelech in a dream. "Abimelech," God said, "You will die if you touch Sarah. She is married." Abimelech was afraid, and told God, "I have not touched her; please do not hurt me or my people! I did not know she was married! Abraham told me she was his sister!" God said, "Abimelech, I know that you did not mean to do anything wrong, so I did not let you touch Sarah. Now, give Abraham back his wife. Abraham speaks for Me. Abraham will pray for you and your family will be well again." So Abimelech gave me my wife Sarah back and told me, "What have you done to me? Why did you not tell me that Sarah was your wife?" I was ashamed and said, "I was afraid. I thought that no one here would obey God, so I told you that Sarah was my wife. Besides, Sarah really is my sister; she is my half-sister." So Abimelech gave me sheep and cows and servants and 1,000 pieces of silver. Abimelech told Sarah, "Here, I have given your brother 1,000 pieces of silver to show that I have not touched you." So I prayed to God, and God made Abimelech's family well again. What did Abraham do wrong? Should we ever lie? Isaac Is Born (Gen 21) My name is Hagar. I am Ishmael's mother; Abraham's other wife. When Sarah's son Isaac was born, all the people were happy. Abraham gave a big dinner and all the neighbors came. But I was sad. Now my son Ishmael would not be Abraham's favorite son. Now Abraham would not pay attention to me or my son. Ishmael did not like Isaac, either. He made fun of Isaac in front of Sarah. Well, Sarah told Abraham, "Look what that slave woman's boy is saying about your son! Let's get rid of them both!" So Sarah threw us out of camp. Abraham was sad, but God told him to let Sarah throw us out. We only had a jug of water and some bread. We had to start walking by ourselves out into the desert. The water was soon, gone and it was hot. We were close to where Beersheba is today. I did not want to see my son die of thirst, so I put him under a bush and ran off to cry. "Don't cry," an angel said, "God has plans for your son. His grandchildren will be a great nation, too." Then God showed me a water well close by. I ran and filled up my water jug and gave my boy a drink. Ishmael and I lived out in the desert. He grew up, and was very good with a bow and arrow. So I picked out a wife for him from Egypt and they were married. I was glad God took care of me and my son. What happened to Hagar and Ishmael? Why? Did God take care of Ishmael? God Tests Abraham (Gen 22) My name is Isaac. For as long as I can remember, my dad, Abraham has always believed God. He has obeyed God, too, most of the time. My dad loved God very much. One day, God wanted to find out how much my dad loved Him. So God told my dad to take me up on a mountain and offer me to God on an altar. My dad called me, "Isaac, Isaac!" "Yes, dad?" I said. "Come on, son, we're going someplace. So my dad took a donkey and two servants and got packed. My dad even split some wood and loaded it onto the donkey. So the servants and the donkey went with my dad and I. We started walking. We walked for three days! Well, we finally got to the bottom of a mountain. So my dad told the servants, "Stay here with the donkey, while we go to worship God." My dad took the wood and put it on my back. It was very hard to walk up the mountain with wood on my back. But I loved my dad so much that I would do anything for him. "Dad, " I asked, "I have been wondering about something." "What's that, son?" "Well, dad, you know that whenever we go to worship God, we always bring a lamb with us. This time we did not bring a lamb, did we?" My dad almost could not talk, he was so sad. "Son, God will give a lamb for us to give to Him." When we got to the top of the mountain, my dad built an altar out of rocks. Then he put the wood on top of the rocks. Next, my dad tied me up. Then I knew: I was going to be offered to God. I was afraid, but I loved my dad so much that I lay still on top of the rocks. My dad took out his knife and was about to kill me, but an angel called, "Abraham, Abraham!" My dad said, "Here I am, sir." The angel said, "Do not hurt your son. I know that you love God, because you were willing to give up your son." Then my dad looked around, and he saw a ram (male lamb) caught in a bush. So we offered that lamb to God. My dad was very glad that he got to keep me. I was very glad that my dad loved God so much. What did God tell Abraham to do? What did Isaac ask Abraham? Sarah Dies (Gen 23) My name is Ephron. I live in the city called Hebron. I own some good land near town and I raise sheep and goats. I also grow some food like wheat and barley. The other day a very rich man came to town. He had many sheep and goats and many, many servants. His name was Abraham, and he was a Hebrew. All my relatives and all the people in Hebron knew Abraham. They all respected Abraham. The older men in Hebron listened carefully to what Abraham had to say. I was sitting by the gate of the city listening to the older men, too. Abraham told them, "My wife Sarah was 127 years old, but she died yesterday. I do not own a grave to bury her in." The men of Hebron said, "Sir, we are so sad to hear about your wife dying. We want to make things easier for you. We will let you have any of our family graves that you want." But Abraham said, "Thank you for your kind words. I want my wife Sarah to be buried in the field Ephron owns. There is a cave in that field called Machpelah. Please ask Ephron to sell me the field." I looked around at the older men. I told Abraham, "Sir, you are a great man. I want you to bury your wife in my field. I will give you the field free." Abraham bowed to the older men and said to me, "Please listen to me. Thank you for being so kind to me. I know you want me to be happy. But I want to pay you for the field." I said to Abraham, "Sir, the land is worth 400 pieces of silver, but that is not worth arguing about. Take the land as my present to you." But Abraham paid me the 400 silver pieces anyway. This is the kind of man Abraham was. He was always fair and honest. So I gave Abraham the deed to the land, and he buried his wife Sarah in the cave in the field. Who came to Hebron? What did he want? Why did Abraham not take the land free? A Wife For Isaac (Gen 24) I am Abraham's oldest servant. I am in charge of everything Abraham has. One day Abraham called me in. He said to me, "Put your hand under my leg and swear to me that you will obey me." "Yes, sir," I said, "I will do whatever you ask me to do." Abraham told me, "Now my son Isaac is almost 40 years old and I am a very old man. Isaac needs a wife. I do not want him marrying any of the women from around here. The women around here in the land of Canaan do not worship God. I want Isaac to marry a woman who worships God. So you must go back east to my relatives and find a wife there for Isaac." "Sir," I said, "What happens if the woman I choose does not want to marry Isaac? Should I bring Isaac back east to live?" "NO!" Abraham shouted. "Do NOT take my son Isaac back east to live. Trust God to show you a good woman for Isaac to marry. God will send His angel to help you find Isaac a good wife." Abraham said, "Now, if the woman you choose does not want to marry Isaac, you may come back here; but do not even THINK about bringing Isaac back east." So I put my hand under Abraham's leg and swore that I would do what he told me to do. I took 10 camels and loaded them down with all kinds of good food and gold and silver. I took a few other servants with me, too. We rode east to the city called Nahor, where Abraham used to live. It was hot and dry and dusty all the way there. All the camels and the men were very tired and thirsty. We stopped outside the city beside the well. It was getting dark, and it was almost time for the women to come out of the city to get water. I prayed to God. I asked God to help me find the right woman for Isaac to marry. I asked God to show me the right woman for Isaac. I asked God to let the woman God had chosen to give all the men and the camels enough water to drink. Just then, I saw a beautiful young woman coming out of the city with a jar on her shoulder. After she had filled her jar, I ran out to meet her and said, "Please give me a drink." She said, "Drink, sir." I took a big drink of water, and she said, "I will bring water for your camels until they have had enough water." So she brought jar after jar of water. All the camels finally were full and she stopped getting water. So I gave the young lady a gold ring and two gold bracelets. I asked, "Who are you? Who is your family?" She told me that she was Abraham's great niece (brother's granddaughter). She said, "Sir, we have plenty of food for your camels and a place for you and your men to stay. Please come home with us." So she ran home and told her brother, Laban, what had happened. Laban took one look at the gold ring and the gold bracelets and he ran out to the well to meet me. Laban told me, "Come in, sir! God has blessed me today." So we went to Rebekah's house and our camels ate while we washed our feet off. "Well, what do you want?" Laban said. I explained how God had shown me Rebekah. I told him how Abraham wanted Isaac to marry a woman who worshiped God. Laban said, "It is all right for Rebekah to marry Isaac, but let her stay at least ten more days." But I said, "God has blessed me, so please let me hurry home to Abraham and Isaac." So in the morning I took the camels and men and Rebekah and started for home. Isaac and Rebekah Have Twins (Gen 24:61-25:34) My name is Rebekah. When I left my brother Laban's house, I took some servants with me. When we got close to where Isaac was, I saw a man out in the field. It was almost evening, and Isaac was taking a walk out in the field, praying to God. I asked Abraham's servant, "Who is that man?" He said, "He is Isaac." So I put my veil on before he could see me. Isaac and I were married that day, and we were very happy. Isaac and I had two fine boys, named Jacob and Esau. Esau was the oldest; he was red and hairy when he was born. Jacob was smooth when he was born. When the boys were born, Jacob grabbed Esau's foot. Both boys grew up. Esau was a good hunter, and liked to be outside all the time. But Jacob liked to stay at home and raise sheep and goats. Esau and Jacob did not get along very well. They were always arguing about something. Jacob was jealous of Esau because Esau was such a good hunter. And Esau did not care for Jacob because he thought Jacob was really a "sissy". One day, Esau was out hunting. He came in, tired and hungry, like he always did. So Jacob decided to get even with Esau. Jacob made a big pot of red stew near the place where Esau would pass on his way home. That stew REALLY smelled good. Just then, Esau came stumbling along. "Give me some stew, " he said. Jacob said, "First sell me your birthright and you can have all the stew." Now, the birthright meant that the oldest son would be in charge when his father died. Esau did not care about becoming the head of the family; he wanted to eat, so he said, "All right, Jacob, you can have my birthright. Now, where's that stew." "First swear to me that you mean it, " Jacob said, so Esau swore to Jacob that he could have his birthright. So Jacob gave Esau the stew. Esau did not care very much about his birthright. What is a birthright? Did Jacob and Esau get along well? Isaac Tells A Lie (Gen 26) My name is Abimelech. I am king of the Philistines in Gerar. Isaac was going to go to Egypt to find food, because there was no more food in the land of Canaan. But God told Isaac not to go to Egypt, that He would take care of Isaac. So Isaac came to live near me in Gerar. My men asked about Rebekah, "Who is this woman?" Isaac did not want to tell them that she was his wife. He was afraid that they would kill him and marry her. So he lied and told the men that Rebekah was his sister. Isaac lived near me for a long time. One day, I was looking out the window of my palace. I saw Isaac hugging Rebekah. I could tell that Rebekah was Isaac's wife. So I called Isaac inside, "Come here, man! What are you doing to us? Rebekah is really your wife, but you told my men that she was your sister! Shame on you, Isaac!" Isaac said, "Sir, I was afraid that someone would kill me and take Rebekah if I said she was my wife." I said, "You are wrong, Isaac. People around here respect marriage. You just have to be honest with us and let us know you are married." I told all my men, "Stay away from Isaac and his wife, or I will have you killed." Isaac stayed for a year or so and planted grain and became very rich. I told him, "Isaac, you are too rich to stay here with me. My men are jealous of you. So move away and take your animals with you." So Isaac moved a little way off. His servants and my servants kept arguing over the which water belonged to who. Abraham, Isaac's father had dug wells, but my men had stopped them up with dirt. So Isaac had his men dig them out again. Isaac named the wells the same names that Abraham named them. Every time Isaac's servants would dig a well, MY servants would say THEY owned it. Then Isaac's men would dig another well, and my servants would say THEY owned it. Digging wells was hard work, but Isaac made his men keep digging wells until my servants did not argue about the water. Finally, Isaac moved to Beersheba. God talked to Isaac there, and said, "Isaac, I will bless you. Your great-grandchildren will be a great nation. I will give you the blessings that I promised your father, Abraham." I went to visit Isaac at Beersheba but I brought the general of my army along. Isaac said, "Why have you come to visit me? Don't you hate me?" I said, "I do not hate you, Isaac. I know that God blesses you, so let's make an agreement. You promise not to hurt me or my men, and we will promise not to hurt you or your men." Isaac said, "That sounds good to me." Then Isaac had his servants cook a big dinner there for me and my men. We had a good time, and we spent the night there. We got up in the morning and were ready to go. I promised Isaac that I would not hurt him or his men, and Isaac promised me that he would not hurt me or my men. So we left and went home. Just after we left, we heard the news that Isaac's men had finished digging another well. Isaac called the well Shibnah. It is near the city of Beersheba. What did Isaac tell Abimelech and his men? Why did Abimelech want Isaac to leave? What did Abimelech and Isaac promise? Jacob Gets Esau's Blessing (Gen 26:34-27:45) "My name is Jacob. I am still very jealous of Esau. I am worried. Our dad, Isaac is getting old. He is going to bless Esau, and I might lose my birthright, too. Now our dad is telling Esau to go out and hunt deer for my dad to eat. My dad loves deer meat. I will ask my mother what to do." "Mom, what do I do? Dad told Esau to go hunt for deer meat for him. I am afraid that Esau will get the blessing instead of me." My mother, Rebekah, said, "Don't worry, son. Just do what I tell you to. Your dad cannot see very well any more. So get me two young goats from the flock." I brought her two young goats. My mother took the goats and cooked them so that they tasted just like tender deer meat. "But Mother, " I said, "I am not hairy like Esau. When dad touches my arm, he will know it I am not Esau." My mother said, "Here, put the skins of the goats on your arms and neck, and wear some of your brother's best clothes. Do what I say, and don't worry about what might happen." So I took the tender goat meat and wore Esau's clothes and the goat skins. I went to my dad, Isaac's tent. "Dad?" I said. "Who is it?" my dad said. "I'm Esau, your oldest boy," I said. I lied to my dad. I said, "Please get up, and eat the food I brought for you, and bless me." My dad asked me, "Why are you back so soon? Deer hunting takes a long time, especially this time of year." I said, "God helped me find the deer soon." My dad said, "Come closer, so I can touch you. I want to make sure you are really Esau." I let my dad touch my hands and my neck. I was afraid that he might find out that I was not really Esau. But he believed me. He said, "You sound like Jacob, but you feel like Esau." So he ate the tender goat meat and asked, "Are you REALLY Esau?" "I sure am!" I said. So my dad blessed me and told me this: "You are like a good field that God has blessed. May God give you many good things. May your land always grow lots of food. Other families will obey your family and your brothers will serve you. God will bless those who are good to you, and punish those who hurt you." I ran outside as soon as I could, and I saw Esau coming in with his deer meat. Esau came and told dad, "Here I am, dad. Please eat this deer meat and bless me." Then dad said, "Who are you?" Esau said, "I'm Esau, your oldest boy." Then our dad said, "Who just came and brought me food? I just blessed someone else! And I only have one blessing to give!" Then Esau said, "Please bless me, too!" So our dad said, "I cannot give you much, but I can tell you this:" "You will live a hard life in the desert. You will always be at war and you will have to obey your brother. One day, you will be stronger than he is, and you will not have to obey him any more." Esau was very sad and cried and cried. He hated me because I got our dad's blessing and birthright. In fact, Esau planned to kill me right after our dad died. So I was very afraid of Esau. What did Isaac ask Esau to get for him? How did Isaac bless Jacob? Jacob Has a Dream (Gen 28) My name is Jacob. My brother Esau is angry with me. He wants to kill me. I had to run away back east. So my dad Isaac called me and told me, "Son, do not marry a woman from Canaan. Go back east and marry a woman who worships God. You should go to your uncle's house and marry one of his relatives. God will bless you and make your grandchildren into a great nation. May God give you the blessings of Abraham." So I ran off toward the east. One evening, when it was almost dark, I stopped near a town called Luz. I spent the night there and used a rock for my pillow. I was soon fast asleep. Suddenly I had a dream. I saw a big ladder on the earth. It was so tall, that its top reached all the way up to heaven! I saw God's angels climbing up and down on it. I was afraid. God even talked to me. God said, "I am your God. Abraham and Isaac worshiped me. I own the whole world. I will give the land of Canaan to your great-great grandchildren. You will have many, many great-great grandchildren. They will be a very strong nation. One of your great-great-great-great grandchildren will bless the whole world." God told me, "I will take care of you, and help you, and I will bring you and your family back to this land. I always keep My promises." Then I woke up and I was very afraid. I thought, "I did not know God was here! This is God's house, and I almost saw into heaven last night!" I took the rock that I had used for a pillow and set it up as an altar. I poured oil on the rock as a gift to God. I named the place Bethel, which means house of God. I promised God that if He would take care of me and give me food and clothing and bring me back home, I would give God 10% of everything and I would worship God always." So I kept on walking east. I kept thinking about what God had told me. I was glad God always keeps His promises. What did Jacob dream? What did God promise Jacob? What did Jacob promise God? Jacob Meets Rachel (Gen 29) My name is Rachel. Laban is my father. Laban is Rebekah's brother. One day I was out in the field taking care of the sheep. It was hot and the sheep were very thirsty. There was a well there, with a big rock on top. Every day the men would roll the rock away and let the water out for the animals to drink. And when the animals were done drinking, they would roll the rock back on the well. Now, all the sheep were ready for a drink, but the rock was still on the well. I sure wished someone would come along and roll the rock away early for a change. The sheep were thirsty NOW. The other shepherds were boys. They did not roll the rock away for me and my father's sheep. I just did not know what to do. Then, I saw a man a long way off, walking from the west. He was strong and handsome, and he was very dusty from walking in the desert. His skin was burned dark from being out in the sun. This young man saw the well and the sheep there. Then he saw me. He asked the shepherd boys, "Where do you live?" They told him, "We live in Haran." The young man asked, "Do you know Laban, Nahor's son." The boys answered, "We sure do, and Laban's daughter Rachel is right here with the sheep." The young man said, "Look, it is hot out here in the sun. Why don't you give the sheep some water and let them out into the fields to eat grass?" The boys said, "We cannot get any water for the sheep until the men come and moved the rock away from the well." I just HAD to get a closer look at this young man. I walked slowly over to him, and as soon as the young man saw me, he walked right up and rolled the rock off of the well. The water flowed out, clear and cool, and all my sheep got a drink first, before any of the other sheep. Then the young man kissed me and cried out loud, because he was so glad to see me. "I am one of your relatives," he told me, "my name is Jacob. I am Rebekah's son." I was so glad to hear that he was a relative that I ran home to tell my dad, Laban. My dad, ran out almost before the words were out of my mouth. When did the sheep get water? Who rolled the rock away? Why? Laban Tricks Jacob (Gen 29) My name is Leah. My dad, Laban, told Jacob, "Come, come, my boy! You are a hard worker and besides, I like you. You have been working for me for a month now. What do you want me to pay you? Silver, gold, sheep, land-- you name it, and it's yours." Jacob thought for just a moment. He said, "Uncle Laban, I like you. And I REALLY like your daughter, Rachel. I'll tell you what. I'll work for you for seven years if you will let me marry Rachel, your youngest daughter." "Good choice!" my dad said. "Rachel will make you a fine wife. I will be glad to have such a hard-working young man in my family." Now, I was older than Rachel, and Jacob did not even MENTION me. Just because I had an eye problem, why did Jacob have to like my little sister? It sure seemed that the baby sister always gets what she wants. Well, I must admit, Jacob was a hard worker. He loved my sister, Rachel SO much that the seven years he worked only seemed like a few days to him. But the seven years seemed like forever to me. I was going to be an "old maid". I would have no husband, and my sister would be married to the handsome young man from out west. I was REALLY jealous of my sister, Rachel. I tried and tried, every way I knew how, to get Jacob to notice me, but he did not even LOOK at me. Jacob only looked at Rachel. I was hurt, but I was kind of happy for Rachel. At least ONE of us was going to marry a good-looking, strong young man. It was almost time for Jacob to marry my sister, Rachel. My dad, Laban, said, "Leah, come over here for a minute." I wondered what he could want. "Can you keep a secret?" he asked me. I really wondered what was going on, because my dad never told me anything secret. He said, "How would you like to mary Jacob?" I said, "What do you mean, dad? Rachel is going to marry Jacob, not me." He said, "My daughter, you and I are going to play a little joke on Jacob. When he gets married, he can't look under the bride's veil until AFTER he is married. He will not know who he is marrying until it is too late. And besides, it will be dark, and he will not be able to see whether he is marrying you or Rachel. So when he gets married, all you have to do is get into the wedding dress instead of Rachel. What do you say?" I thought this plan was crazy, and that it could never work. Jacob was too smart to be fooled by a little extra makeup and a veil. But the plan worked. Jacob was so excited about getting married that he did not notice that I was in the wedding dress instead of Rachel. Well, the next morning, Jacob got a good look at me. Jacob ran out yelling to my dad, "What have you done to me? Look! I worked hard for you for seven years, and you gave me the wrong wife! Just what do you mean by that?" My dad told him, "By the way, I forgot to tell you, that around here, the oldest daughter always gets married first. Now settle down, son. You can marry Rachel, too, if you promise to work for me for another seven years." So Jacob worked another seven years for Rachel. All this time, I was sad. Sure, I got to marry Jacob, but he loved Rachel more than he loved me. I had five boys, but Jacob still loved Rachel more than me. Why did I ever listen to my dad's plan? What did Laban promise Jacob? What did Laban do to trick Jacob? Jacob Gets Rich (Gen 30) My name is Laban. I am Leah's and Rachel's father. I am really glad to have Jacob around. He and his sons do a lot of work for me out in the field. They take care of all my animals and do all the hard work. One day, Jacob came up to me and he said, "You know, I am getting tired of you. I am getting ready to go home. I want to take my wives and my children and go back west to my father, Isaac." I knew that Jacob was good to have around. I had to talk him into staying. Then I had an idea. "Jacob, my boy, come here." I said, "Life here is not so bad, after all, is it? You have two lovely wives and a fine family. What more could you ask for?" He said, "I want something else. I do not want to work for nothing, you know." I said, "Son, just name your price. You are a good worker. I do not want to lose you." Jacob said, "I'll stay for a while, but only if you give me all the black and spotted and striped sheep and goats. That way you will know that I do not have any of your animals. You will be able to look at the sheep and keep all the animals that are not spotted or striped or black." I said, "All right." I thought that this was a pretty good deal. After all, I was getting to keep all the nicest looking sheep and goats. I figured Jacob was getting the short end of the deal. Well, God must have been looking out for Jacob. Jacob took all the striped and spotted and black sheep and goats and gave them to his sons. They took them away so far from Laban's animals that you had to walk three days just to get there! That was fine with me! I wanted all MY sheep and goats to look nice. Pretty soon, Jacob had more sheep and goats than Laban did. This was because God was taking care of Jacob. What did Jacob want from Laban? What did Jacob get to keep? Jacob Runs Away (Gen 31:1-21) My name is Leah. All my dad's servants are angry with my husband, Jacob. They say Jacob cheated my dad out of his sheep and goats. Even if Jacob loves Rachel more, I am still tired of living here. I want to go to Jacob's father's house out west. I am tired of my dad's servants making fun of me and my children. One night, God told Jacob to leave. God told Jacob to go back to the land of Canaan where he was born. Jacob told me and Rachel and our children to get ready to go. He said, "You know that your dad, Laban has tried to cheat me. But God took care of me, and I am rich now. Do you want to go west with me, or stay here?" Rachel and I said, "Lets leave. No one around here cares for us anyway. We love you most, Jacob." So we got ready and ran away with all our animals. We rode on camels and got far away before our dad, Laban even knew we were gone. When he found out that we were gone, we were almost in the land of Canaan. Who wanted to go home? What did Rachel and Leah say about this? The Pile of Rocks (Gen 31:22-55) By the time my dad, Laban figured out where we had gone, we were already to Gilead, on the east side of the Jordan river. It took him three days to find out we were gone, and a week's travel to catch us. I had stolen my dad's statues that he worshiped. I did not tell Leah or Jacob or any of the children. God told my dad, Laban, "Do not tell Jacob anything good or bad." Laban asked Jacob, "What do you mean, running off with my daughters and my grandchildren and my animals? Why did you leave without letting me at least kissing them 'goodbye '?" Jacob said, "Well, I was afraid that you would not let me leave." Laban said, "I COULD hurt you, but God told me to leave you alone. But why did you have to take my idols with you? I know that you do not believe in worshiping idols. So give them back, and I'll leave peacefully." Jacob did not know that I had stolen the idols and had hidden them. So he said, "Well, look through all my things. Whoever has stolen your statues will be killed on the spot." I had put the statues into my camel's saddle, and was sitting on the saddle. So Laban, my dad, looked all over for his statues, but did not find them in Leah's tent, or Jacob's tent. Next, he came to my tent. "Rachel," he asked, "Do YOU have my statues? I want them, you know." I said, "I am not feeling well, so please forgive me if I do not stand up." So my dad looked all over my tent and did not find the statues. "See, you went to all that trouble, and did not even find your statues," Jacob said, "And you called me a liar and a thief. I worked hard for you for 20 years and this is all the thanks I get! I paid you back when animals ate your sheep or goats, and I never ate any of your meat without asking permission first. I worked outside in the cold of winter and when it was so hot that I almost baked. You tried to cheat me, and now you won't even let me go home in peace. I am glad God has helped me. If you had your way, I would be going home without even the clothes on my back." My dad, Laban, said, "Now, don't get so upset. Let's promise each other that we will leave each other alone. You must not marry any other women besides my daughters. I must stay at home and not hurt you or your family." Jacob said, "Let's build a pile of rocks to show we are friends." So we all picked up as many big rocks as we could, and put them into a big pile. Jacob called the pile of rocks Galeed. So Jacob offered an animal to God, and our whole family ate and spent the night there. The next morning, Laban, our dad, got up and kissed us goodbye. Then he went home and we stayed with Jacob. Who followed Jacob? What did Rachel steal? Why was Jacob angry? Jacob Meets an Angel (Gen 32) I am one of Jacob's servants. Jacob was getting ready to meet Esau, his brother. He was afraid that Esau would still be angry with him. After all, Jacob had bought Esau's birthright for a bowl of stew. Jacob told us that Esau was coming with 400 men! So Jacob told some of us to take half of the animals, and the rest of us had to take the other half of the animals. Jacob started to pray to God. Jacob asked God to keep him safe from his brother, Esau. Jacob gave us servants 200 female and 20 male goats, 200 female and 20 male sheep, 30 mother camels with their baby camels, 40 cows, 10 bulls, 20 female and 10 male donkeys. Jacob told us, "Take these animals on ahead to Esau. If he asks what they are, say 'A present for Esau '. Tell Esau, 'Your servant, Jacob, is right behind us '." So we went on ahead with the animals. Next, Jacob sent his wives and children on ahead. He stayed alone by the small river called Jabbok. Jacob met an angel there, and Jacob started to wrestle with him. The angel was winning, but Jacob would not let go. The angel even put Jacob's hip out of joint, but Jacob said, "I will not let you go unless you bless me." So the angel asked Jacob, "What is you name?" Jacob told him. The angel said, "From now on, your name is Israel, because you have wrestled with God and men, and have won." Still Jacob was not happy. He asked the angel, "Tell me your name!" But the angel said, "Why do you want to know that?" Then the angel blessed Jacob and disappeared just as the sun was coming up. Jacob's new name, Israel, means "He wrestles with God." Who was Jacob afraid to meet? Who did Jacob wrestle with? What new name did Jacob receive? Jacob Meets Esau Again (Gen 33) My name is Esau. I heard my brother was coming, so I went out to see him. I saw all the animals my brother, Jacob gave me. But I did not want to see the animals. I wanted to see Jacob. I had not seen him in over 20 years. I saw Jacob's lovely wives and children. But they all seemed to be afraid of me. Just then, Jacob came up and bowed down to the ground seven times. I was so glad to see him that we hugged each other and cried out loud. I said, "Brother, there was no need to give me all these animals. I have enough already. Keep them." But my brother, Jacob, would not keep them. Then I said, "Come on, come with me. My men will protect you." "You know that the animals cannot travel fast," Jacob said, "So let me stay here and live." So Jacob was very glad to see me. I had forgiven Jacob a long time ago. After all, brothers are supposed to get along. Was Esau glad to see Jacob? Did Jacob go with Esau? Jacob's Favorite Son (Gen 37) My name is Joseph. I have 11 brothers. Boy, am I lucky! My dad likes me more than all my brothers. Why, my dad even gave me a special robe with lots of colors in it. Do I ever look nice in my fancy coat! My brothers are REALLY jealous now. Why, just last week I told my dad that they were not taking care of the sheep right. Last night I had a dream. I dreamed that I was out in the field with my brothers putting wheat into bundles. Well, my brothers' bundles bowed down to my bundle. My brothers said, "Does this mean we are going to serve you? You are nearly the baby of our family! How are we going to bow down to you?" No, my brothers did not like to hear about my dream at all. They hated me because of my dreams and because my dad loves me more than he loves them. I don't care. I am just going to enjoy being the favorite. Wow, I just had another dream! I dreamed that the sun, moon, and 11 stars were bowing down to me. My dad said, "Joseph, do you really think your mother and I and your brothers are going to bow down to you?" My brothers hated me even more, but my dad thought about my dream. One day my brothers were out in the field. They saw me coming and decided to get even. They grabbed me and tore off my robe and threw me into a deep hole in the ground. Then one of them saw some slave traders coming. Judah, one of my brothers, said, "Hey, let's not kill Joseph. Let's make a little money here. Let's sell Joseph to the slave traders." So my brothers dragged me up out of the pit and sold me to the men. They were on their way to Egypt. My brothers got 20 pieces of silver for me. Then my brothers took my beautiful robe and put goat's blood on it. They showed the robe to my dad, and he thought I was dead. But I was not really dead. Thanks to my greedy brothers, I was a slave in Egypt. Who did Joseph's dad like the best? Why were Joseph's brothers jealous? What did Joseph's brothers do to him? Joseph In Jail (Gen 39-40) Here I am again; you know, Joseph! Yes, I'm the one whose brothers sold him to a gang of slave traders. Well, those slave traders sold me to a man called Potiphar. Potiphar was a local big shot in charge of the king's best soldiers. Now, don't get me wrong. Potiphar was a good man. He kept giving me more work to do. When I finished a job, Potiphar saw I did it right. So Potiphar found out pretty fast that he could trust me. And so Potiphar trusted me SO much that he put me in charge of everything he had. Even the rest of Potiphar's slaves had to do what I said. One day, Potiphar's wife got jealous. She wanted me to disobey God. Now, you know I could not disobey God. I might be a slave, but no one could make me do something wrong. I only wanted to obey God's rules. But Potiphar's wife kept on nagging me and nagging me to disobey God's rules. "Just once, it won't hurt," she said. She nagged and nagged. "God will never know," she said. One day I got tired of her nagging and so I ran away from her. Potiphar's wife made up a wild story about me and told Potiphar. And Potiphar believed his wife's made-up story and Potiphar had me thrown in jail. When I was in the dark, damp jail, I still believed in God. I knew I did not belong in jail. I had not done anything wrong. Still, when we obey God, sometimes people hurt us. People might hurt us or put us in jail just because we are doing what God says. So I tried to be good in jail, too. The head guard, the jailer, noticed me, and gave me work to do. When I did a good job, the jailer gave me more work to do. Pretty soon, I was in charge of the whole jail except I could not go outside, of course. I took care of all the prisoners in the jail. One day, Pharaoh, king of Egypt, put two of his best men in jail. He had his baker and his butler (servant) thrown in jail. The baker and the butler were both very sad. They did not want to be in jail. One night, both of the men had a dream. The butler dreamed about a grape vine with three branches. He dreamed he took some of the grapes and squeezed the juice into Pharaoh's cup. The baker dreamed he had three baskets of bread on his head and that birds were eating the bread out of the top basket. Both men wanted to know what their dreams meant. So Joseph told them, "God knows what your dreams mean." Joseph said to the butler, "Your dream means that in three days you get out of jail. You will serve Pharaoh's juice to him like you used to. Please remember me when you get out of jail. I should not be in this jail. I have not done anything wrong." The baker said, "Tell me about my dream, too!" Joseph said, "The three baskets mean that in three days Pharaoh will let you out of jail and have you killed." And sure enough, in three days, Pharaoh let the butler go back to his old job, and he had the baker killed, just like Joseph said would happen. The butler did not remember about Joseph, so Joseph had to stay in jail another two years. Why was Joseph put in jail? What did the two men dream? What did the dreams mean? Pharaoh Has Dreams, Too (Gen 41) King Pharaoh had a dream. And no one could tell him what it meant. Pharaoh dreamed about seven skinny cows eating up seven fat cows. He dreamed that seven thin ears of corn ate up seven fat ears of corn. And king Pharaoh woke up all upset. "Get my wise men in here!" he roared. "Have them tell me what my dreams mean, and be quick about it!" Not one of Pharaoh's wise men could tell him about his dream. Then the butler told the king, "Sir, I am so sorry! I have forgotten about Joseph, the man who told me my dream in jail. And my dream came true, just like Joseph said." So Pharaoh sent some men to get Joseph out of jail. "Come on, Joseph, you are going to see the king!" they said. So Joseph hurried and changed his clothes and shaved and went to see king Pharaoh. Pharaoh told Joseph about his dreams about the cows and the ears of corn. Joseph said, "God will tell you about your dream." Joseph said, "Both your dreams mean the same thing. The seven fat ears of corn and the seven fat cows both mean seven good years. The seven thin ears of corn and the seven thin cows both mean seven years when no food will grow." Joseph kept on, "Sir, there will be seven good years when a lot of food will grow. Then there will be seven years when nothing will grow. I would suggest that you start gathering up all the food you can in the good years so that there will be food in the seven bad years. Sir, you need to put a good man in charge of this." King Pharaoh said, "You are just the man we need, Joseph. You have got yourself a job. Now take this ring and these fine clothes. Ride in this chariot and everybody except me will have to do what you say." And Pharaoh let Joseph marry one of the priest's daughters. And Joseph put food into barns in the seven good years. And when the seven bad years ran out, the people had to come to Joseph for food. What did Pharaoh dream? What did his dreams mean? What did king Pharaoh do for Joseph? Why? Joseph's Dreams Come True (Gen 42-45) Well, I never thought it would happen. My brothers sold me into Egypt as a slave, and now I am in charge of the whole country, except the king. I had to sell food to all the people. The seven years were so bad that people came from all over the world to buy food in Egypt. And guess what? My brothers and dad ran out of food and they had to come to Egypt, to me. Now, I was 13 years older and dressed in Egyptian clothes. My brothers came and bowed down to me, and they did not know who I was. The dream I had about my brothers bowing down to me came true! I sold my brothers food. My brothers went home and came back. When my brothers came back the second time, I had a servant put their money back in their bags with the food. Then I had my servant put a silver cup in Benjamin's bag. Then I had the servant chase them looking for the silver cup. The servant found the cup in Benjamin's bag. "Come on, you're going with me," the servant said. My other brothers did not dare go home without Benjamin, because our dad loved him so much. My dad could not live without Benjamin. My brother Judah said, "See, this what we get for not obeying God. We deserve to be punished because we sold Joseph as a slave." So all my brothers came back to Egypt. They were very sad. Then I had my servants fix a big dinner and I made all my brothers come. I had my servants seat my brothers in order, from the oldest to the youngest. And I sent my brothers food from my table. I sent Benjamin five times as much food as my other brothers. Finally I could not stand it any more. I had to let my brothers know who I was. I made all the Egyptians leave the room. I told my brothers, "I am Joseph, your brother!" They could not believe it. They thought I was dead. I told them all about being in jail, and how I was in charge of Egypt now. I cried and my brothers cried. We were happy to be back together again." Then king Pharaoh heard about me and my brothers and he said, "Joseph, bring your dad to live in Egypt, too. You and your brothers and their families can live here. There are still five more bad years, so bring them down here to live." So I did what Pharaoh said. That is how the children of Joseph, or the children of Israel got to live in Egypt. Who came to visit Joseph? Did Joseph's dream come true? How?
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