Category: Famous Families

Joseph in Potiphar’s House

Building a Good Reputation


Every parent will be delighted to know that his/her child’s reputation away from home draws respect and admiration and makes people want to assign greater responsibilities to the child. One such child was Joseph, the 11th son of Jacob. He was sold to Potiphar, captain of Pharaoh’s special guard, by Ishmaelite merchants that took him to Egypt having bought him from his brothers. Joseph quickly distinguished himself as someone that is attentive to needs, commits to doing what he could to provide for the needs, perseveres until he succeeds, and conveys the image of God in everything he did.

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Joseph Sold to Slavery

God Directs Events toward His Purpose


A tragic event in Joseph’s family that nearly claimed his life at a young age challenges us to think about the roles of parents and siblings in managing unequal opportunities among the children of one family; potential problems of polygamous relationships; and God’s willingness to direct our life events, including events that appear tragic, toward his purpose.

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Jacob Makes Peace with Esau

Family Dispute Resolution


We discuss an approach to settling family dispute through unrelenting commitment to peace. The discussion focuses on interactions between Jacob and Esau while Jacob was on his way back to Canaan from Paddan Aram. He sent emissaries to Esau, conveying to him a message of humility, desire for peace, and description of progress that occurred in his life during the previous twenty years.

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Jacob and Laban Make a Treaty

Family Dispute Resolution


The bible provides practical guidance on settling family disputes. In this first of a two-part study, we learn about family dispute settlement, roles of the Council of Relatives, and the importance of sharing food, based on interactions between Jacob and Laban during Jacob’s departure from Paddan Aram. When Laban was informed that Jacob left with his household and belongings without telling him, he gathered his relatives and pursued Jacob, caught up with him at Gilead, and confronted him the next day in the presence of their relatives. The interaction that followed illustrates that the best approach to settling a family dispute is to make peace without necessarily digging for the truth, setup mechanisms for preventing future disputes, and invite God to witness and honor the settlement.

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Jacob-Laban Interactions on Labor and Wages

Business Partnership Agreements


In this bible study we learn about business partnership agreements, leadership responsibilities, and re-alignment of relationships at marriage. The study focuses on interactions between Jacob and Laban during Jacob’s final six years in Paddan Aram and between Jacob and his wives in deciding to leave Paddan Aram to return to his Cradle in Canaan.

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Jacob’s Wives and Children

Problems Due to Polygamy


In this bible study, we learn about interactions within Jacob’s family during the birth of the children. The interactions illustrate an inherent problem in polygamist households. Because the husband cannot love two or more wives equally, the wives compete for their husbands love. The resulting rivalry among co-wives could dominate family life. For example, of the twelve sons of Jacob, nine were named in reference to rivalry between Leah and Rachel, two were named in reference to relationship with God, and one was named in reference to love. The passage reminds us of Paul’s counsel to Timothy to not appoint polygamists as overseers or deacons [1Timothy 3:2 & 12].



Jacob Marries Rachel and Leah

Council of Relatives in Family Interactions


In this bible study we learn about Jacob’s first seven years in Paddan Aram, where he lived with his uncle Laban. The passage illustrates the role of family as a structure for regulation of human interactions. This function often is performed through the Council of Relatives, constituted by informally selecting family members to represent each family. The Council of Relatives is still the same and plays the same roles today as in the days of this bible incident. The council is referred to as Umunna among the Igbo people of Nigeria, for example.

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Jacob Relocates to Paddan Aram

Covenant at Bethel


Spousal Interactions by Leading the Leader

In this bible study, we learn about Jacob’s departure from Canaan to live with his uncle in Paddan Aram. Informed that Esau was threatening to kill Jacob, Rebekah advised Jacob to flee to Paddan Aram. However, to secure Isaac’s approval, she presented a different case that she could not bear the possibility of Jacob marrying a Canaanite. Isaac was convinced by this argument and instructed Jacob to move to Paddan Aram. Thus, Rebekah persuaded her husband by focusing on an issue that she and her husband were likely to agree but did not mention her other concern that could have led to a disagreement with her husband.

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Isaac Marries Rebekah

Prayer by Head of Household


Prayer by Head of Household

In this bible study, we learn about Abraham sending his chief servant to get a wife for Isaac from among “my country and my own relatives.” His interactions with his servant remind us that a prayer by the head of a household goes a long way for members that believe in the prayer. Abraham prayed for his servant before sending him on the mission. His servant believed in the prayer and invoked it every time he felt like praying. His prayers came through exactly as he prayed.

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Jacob and Esau Early Years Interactions

Parental Blessing


This bible study focuses on the family of Isaac and Rebekah during the early years of Jacob and Esau. Their interactions remind us that children need parental blessing, through a parent fulfilling obligations to the child or responding to motivation due to a child’s good behavior. Parental blessing based on obligation alone may be less effective than blessing that is also motivated by a parent feeling good about the child. Therefore, children need to be good to their parents and should not rely on parental obligation alone to earn parental blessing.

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