Forgotten Stories from the Old Testament: A Brotherly Reunion

At the time Jacob and Esau parted, they weren’t on very good terms. Jacob had received the birthright blessing, and Esau felt he had been robbed of it, even though the Lord had made it clear that Jacob had been the one to live faithful enough to receive that blessing. Esau was bitter enough about the whole thing that he made plans to kill Jacob.

Talk about sibling rivalry.

Jacob’s mom, recognizing the danger he was in, succeeded in getting Jacob sent away to find a wife. That effort not only saved Jacob from his brother, but he succeeded in getting a wife – in fact, he got two wives, and had twelve kids. Kind of a cheaper-by-the-dozen deal, I suppose.

After a while, however, Jacob decides it’s time to return, with all his household and the possessions he had accumulated. Only problem is, that means he’s got to face Esau again. Not sure whether his brother was over his grudge or not, he sends messengers to Esau with gifts, effectively saying, “Here’s a gift, I’m coming to visit.”

Esau sends back word that was more or less, “I’ll meet you part way – with 400 men.”

You can imagine Jacob’s anxiety. Sure that his brother plans on killing his whole family, Jacob prays and begs for help. This is when he is given the name change from Jacob to Israel.

Finally they meet across a field, and Esau comes running at Jacob. Jacob bows down, ready to beg for mercy, but his brother gets there and hugs him. They cry and sob over each other – Esau excited to finally see his brother again, and Jacob probably out of relief.

Here’s the account:

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Forgotten Stories from the Old Testament: Melchizedek

There is a tradition in the church (based on a statement in the Lectures on Faith) that Melchizedek was Shem, son of Noah. While this may or may not be true, there is a great deal more that we know about him from the Joseph Smith Translation of the bible. For example, we know that:

He had strong faith, and even as a child stopped the mouths of lions.

Through his faith, he quenched the violence of fire.

He was a high priest in the Melchizedek (or Holy) priesthood.

He was the King of Salem, and was called a prince of peace.

He and his people sought to join their city with that of Enoch.

Having obtained such peace, he was called by his people the king of heaven, or the King of peace.

He was keeper of the storehouse of God, and collected the tithes of the people.

Obviously, Melchizedek was a great man, and though we know little about the details of these facts, they certainly cast a light on the righteousness of the man, and his closeness to the Lord.

Here’s the record:

Genesis 14:25-40

25 And Melchizedek lifted up his voice and blessed Abram.

26 Now Melchizedek was a man of faith, who wrought righteousness; and when a child he feared God, and stopped the mouths of lions, and quenched the violence of fire.

27 And thus, having been approved of God, he was ordained an high priest after the order of the covenant which God made with Enoch,

28 It being after the order of the Son of God; which order came, not by man, nor the will of man; neither by father nor mother; neither by beginning of days nor end of years; but of God;

29 And it was delivered unto men by the calling of his own voice, according to his own will, unto as many as believed on his name.

30 For God having sworn unto Enoch and unto his seed with an oath by himself; that every one being ordained after this order and calling should have power, by faith, to break mountains, to divide the seas, to dry up waters, to turn them out of their course;

31 To put at defiance the armies of nations, to divide the earth, to break every band, to stand in the presence of God; to do all things according to his will, according to his command, subdue principalities and powers; and this by the will of the Son of God which was from before the foundation of the world.

32 And men having this faith, coming up unto this order of God, were translated and taken up into heaven.

33 And now, Melchizedek was a priest of this order; therefore he obtained peace in Salem, and was called the Prince of peace.

34 And his people wrought righteousness, and obtained heaven, and sought for the city of Enoch which God had before taken, separating it from the earth, having reserved it unto the latter days, or the end of the world;

35 And hath said, and sworn with an oath, that the heavens and the earth should come together; and the sons of God should be tried so as by fire.

36 And this Melchizedek, having thus established righteousness, was called the king of heaven by his people, or, in other words, the King of peace.

37 And he lifted up his voice, and he blessed Abram, being the high priest, and the keeper of the storehouse of God;

38 Him whom God had appointed to receive tithes for the poor.

39 Wherefore, Abram paid unto him tithes of all that he had, of all the riches which he possessed, which God had given him more than that which he had need.

40 And it came to pass, that God blessed Abram, and gave unto him riches, and honor, and lands for an everlasting possession; according to the covenant which he had made, and according to the blessing wherewith Melchizedek had blessed him.

Forgotten Stories from the Old Testament: The Rainbow

After the Lord destroyed every living thing on the earth except what was preserved on the ark – and I suppose some sea life, too, the scriptures say, “And the bow shall be in the cloud; and I will look upon it, that I may remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is upon the earth. And God said unto Noah, This is the token of the covenant, which I have established between me and all flesh that is upon the earth.” (Genesis 9:16-17) The rainbow was to be a sign of a covenant that God made between Himself and all flesh. But what covenant is it a token of? Part of the covenant was that God would no longer destroy the earth by flood. Genesis 9:11-15

11 And I will establish my covenant with you; neither shall all flesh be cut off any more by the waters of a flood; neither shall there any more be a flood to destroy the earth.

12 And God said, This is the token of the covenant which I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for perpetual generations:

13 I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth.

14 And it shall come to pass, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the bow shall be seen in the cloud:

15 And I will remember my covenant, which is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall no more become a flood to destroy all flesh.

But the rainbow was also to help us look forward as well. It was to remind us that if we keep the commandments, Zion will return to the earth. Enoch’s people became so righteous that they were taken up into heaven. And when God’s people embrace the truth and look upward, Zion would look downward, and there would be great joy. The rainbow reminds us that not only is God in control, but someday the Savior will return as the rightful heir to the government of earth.

The Joseph Smith Translation of the verses (JST) gives the account:

21 And the bow shall be in the cloud; and I will look upon it, that I may remember the everlasting covenant, which I made unto thy father Enoch; that, when men shall keep all my commandments, Zion should again come on the earth, the city of Enoch which I have caught up unto myself.

22 And this is mine everlasting covenant, that when thy posterity shall embrace the truth, and look upward, then shall Zion look downward, and all the heavens shall shake with gladness, and the earth shall tremble with joy;

23 And the general assembly of the church of the first-born shall come down out of heaven, and possess the earth, and shall have place until the end come. And this is mine everlasting covenant, which I made with thy father Enoch.

24 And the bow shall be in the cloud, and I will establish my covenant unto thee, which I have made between me and thee, for every living creature of all flesh that shall be upon the earth.

25 And God said unto Noah, This is the token of the covenant which I have established between me and thee; for all flesh that shall be upon the earth. (JST GENESIS 9: 21-25 )