Saturday, April 30, 2016


Zebulun seems a weird place to end this year's challenge.  It seems like Zebulun should have been dissected a few weeks ago.  If you are reading this and have read all of the posts this month, thank you.  I hope I didn't lead you down rabbit trails but instead peaked your curiosity and saw Jacob's story in a new light.  If I confused you or am off on any historical detail, please forgive me.  I did my best to stay true to cultural understanding as best I am able.  I realize my western understanding penetrated much of my posts, and I hope you will use this as a springboard to research on your own for more clarity.

Now, onto Zebulun.

Zebulun was the 10th son born to Jacob.  The 7th son born to and for Leah, but born as part of the bargain his mother and Aunt Rachel made:  sex with Jacob for a plant.

Zebulun was third in line during the desert wanderings.  His family camped on the east side of the tabernacle, a representative from his family brought their offering for the dedication of the tabernacle on the third day, and Ezekiel saw Zebulun's gate on the south side of heaven.

When he was born, his mother, Leah, said, "God has presented me with a precious gift.  This time my husband will treat me with honor, because I have borne him six sons."  Hence, Zebulun means "dwelling."

When Jacob was dying he said this to his tenth son:  "Zebulun will live by the seashore and become a haven for ships; his border will extend toward Sidon."

Moses said, about Zebulun and his brother Issachar:  "Rejoice Zebulun, in your going out, and you, Issachar, in your tents.  They will summon peoples to the mountains and there offer sacrifices of righteousness; they will feast on the abundance of the seas, on the treasures hidden in the sands."

When Jesus walked the planet he lived in Capernaum, in the area of Zebulun.

Zebulun had three sons:  Sered, Elon, Jahleel of whom no other significant details are found in the Bible.

I found the meaning behind the words Leah spoke when Zebulun was born somewhat heartbreaking.  The Hebrew transliteration says it this way:  

 has bestowed God upon me dowry a good now dwell with me will my husband because I have born to him six sons and she called his name Zebulun."  (Hebrew transliteration)

 "God has presented me with a precious gift.  This time my husband will treat me with honor, because I have borne him six sons."  (NIV)

presented:  zabad - bestow upon, endow with

gift - zebed - gift, dowry

precious - towb - beautiful, pleasant, agreeable to the senses

dwell - zabal - dwell - English - to remain for a time; to live as a resident; to keep the attention directed

Synonyms of dwell:  abide, stay, hang around, remain, stick around
Antonyms:  bail, bail out, bug out, buzz off, clear off, walk out, take off, vamoose

Zebulun - zabal - see dwell above

Zebulun  was the last boy born to Leah.  When she named him, apparently she hoped the sixth son would be enough to make Jacob stay longer than his previous visits to her side of the camp.   (Apparently she must have forgotten that she had claimed Zilpah's sons as her own too).

But she couldn't make Jacob stay.

She looked into her little baby boy's eyes, the sixth of her womb, drinking him in, smelling that precious baby smell.  She looked at him and used the holy word God used when he looked upon his creation and saw that it was good.

Leah saw good like God saw good.  ("And God saw that it was good" sound familiar?)  She recognized good when she saw it.  She saw it in her precious boy Zebulun.

But it wasn't enough to make Jacob stay.

What Leah actually said, though the NIV English translates it poorly is in effect this (my paraphrase):

My time is now.  This precious gift from God is what will keep Jacob around.  Instead of running back to Rachel, this time, this time maybe he'll stay.  This time he'll stick around.  This time he won't bug out and take off in disgust.  This time...maybe this boy will keep him close by.

But there is no record that says sweet little Zebulun changed his father's mind about his mother.

But God did not walk out on Zebulun.  God hung around.  God planted Zebulun, Issachar, and Judah  on the east side of the Tabernacle, where the gate was and toward the sunrise.  Isaiah's prophecy concerning Zebulun was fulfilled in Matthew.  Eleven of the Christ's disciples came from Zebulun's territory in Galilee.

How many times do we fear God will walk out on us because of all we've done or haven't done?  Or is it just me?  How precious are the names of the twelve sons of Jacob.  They give us a picture into the heart of God.  Each child is precious to him.  Each of us grown physically, but infant in our understanding is precious to the God who created us.

He will never leave us or forsake us.  He is with us for the long haul.



Isaiah 9:1
Matthew 4:13-16
Judges 5:18
1 Chronicles 12:40
Deuternonmy 31:6
John 15

No comments:

Post a Comment