We are looking at the contrast that Torah gives between the two brothers Esau and Jacob. Esau dwelt on earth and Jacob dwelt in heaven.
So the boys grew. And Esau was a cunning hunter, a man of the field; but Jacob was a mild man dwelling in tents. (Gen 25:27)
In part 1 of this 2 part series we saw that Esau was a man who lived by his senses, especially his eyes, but also a man who learned from his life experiences; he was a man of the flesh who lived like all animals do. His decisions about living were based on what seemed right for him. But Jacob was not a “mild, plain, peaceful or quiet” man as most translations make him out to be. Jacob was a complete, mature, whole, upright and perfect man who shunned evil and feared Elohim. He learned the ways of Yehovah from his family; Isaac, Abraham, Eber and Shem. Abraham lived for 39 years in the home of Noah and Shem; he knew Yehovah and His ways.
Jasher 9:6 And Abram was in Noah’s house thirty-nine years, and Abram knew Yehovah from three years old, and he went in the ways of Yehovah until the day of his death, as Noah and his son Shem had taught him… .
Abraham obeyed My voice and kept My charge, My commandments, My statutes, and My laws.” (Gen 26:5)
Jacob was just like his father and his father’s father, a man who learned, loved and lived righteousness.
Today we are going to find out where these two contrasting men choose to dwell.
So the boys grew. And Esau was a cunning hunter, a man of the field; but Jacob was an upright and perfect man dwelling in tents [אהלים or o’helim]. (Gen 25:27)
When I first read this I thought, “How strange, doesn’t Esau also dwell in a tent? And how many tents can Jacob live in any way? Does this mean he does not go outside like his brother?”
Jacob Dwelt In Heaven
So I did more research and found that Jacob’s tent is mentioned two times and that nowhere else in Torah was the word tent [אהל or o’hel] used in the plural.
So Laban overtook Jacob. Now Jacob had pitched his tent [אהל] in the mountains, and Laban with his brethren pitched in the mountains of Gilead. (Gen 31:25)
And he [Jacob] bought the parcel of land, where he had pitched his tent [אהל], from the sons of Hamor, Shechem’s father, for one hundred pieces of money. (Gen 33:19)
It appeared that everyone had their own tent. So what was the answer to this riddle about a perfect and upright man dwelling in tents; this plural word was unique to Torah.
Then it came to me; this tents [I know that sounds odd] that Jacob dwelt in was not multiple tents at all but rather one great big tent! The answer to the riddle was in understanding the Hebrew plural.
Few people understand that Hebrew is the only language that has two different kinds of plurals. Jeff Benner in his book Ancient Hebrew Lexicon of the Bible describes the two plurals this way. (Note: Since WordPress does not render the ancient picture language font correctly I have substituted a modern-day Hebrew font.)
Nouns are made plural by adding the suffix ים or ות. Generally the ים is used for masculine nouns and ות for feminine nouns. In some cases masculine words, usually very ancient words, will use the ות suffix. The Hebrew words אב (av – father) and אור (or – light) are masculine words but are written as אבות and אורות in the plural. In all modern languages the plural is always quantitative while in Ancient Hebrew a plural can be quantitative or qualitative. For instance the word “trees” refers to more than one tree (quantitative) while in Hebrew the plural word עץים (etsiym – trees) can mean more than one tree (quantitative) or one very large tree (qualitative). An example of this is the word בהמות (behemot or usually transliterated as behemoth in Job 40:15). This word is the plural form of the singular בהמה (behemah), meaning beast, but refers to a very large beast rather than more than one beast. One of the most common uses of the qualitative plural is the word אלהים (elohim) which can be translated as “gods” (quantitative) or as “God” (qualitative)
Jacob Dwelt In The “Big Top!”
Jacob dwelt in a qualitative tent – a tent that is created not by his effort but by Yehovah’s.
Have you not known? Have you not heard? Has it not been told you from the beginning? Have you not understood from the foundations of the earth? It is He who sits above the circle of the earth, and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers, Who stretches out the heavens like a curtain, and spreads them out like a tent to dwell in. He brings the princes to nothing; He makes the judges of the earth vanity. (Isa 40:21-23)
This is the qualitative tent that all perfect and upright men, sons of Abraham, must learn to live in.
By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he dwelt in the land of promise as in a foreign country, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise; for he waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is Elohim. (Heb 11:8-10)
Esau, like all men who live in their flesh, dwells in the field. Oh, we all live in a tent, some have a very expensive tent; all these “tents” will burn up in the end. But Jacob’s TENT is a safe haven and anyone who learns to dwell in it will find place to preserve themselves along with their wives and children.
So the boys grew. And Esau was a cunning hunter, a man of the field; but Jacob was an upright and perfect man dwelling in tents/heaven [אהלים or o’helim]. (Gen 25:27)
I have two blogs that go along with this line of thinking and contrasts those who dwell in heaven, like Jacob with those who dwell on earth, like Esau and what both groups can expect in the last days.