My scripture studies article is here “Birthright Blessings: Marriage in the Covenant: Genesis 24-29.” Quote from the opening paragraphs:
“Studying the Old Testament is at once both a marvelous joy and a challenge. Herein we find inspiring stories of faith, sacrifice and obedience of those who called down the powers of heaven to bless their lives, their families and all that they possessed. Yet herein we also find stories that are curious if not baffling to our present day values and perspectives. Such is the case for our present lesson that covers six fascinating and varied chapters from the Book of Genesis. In brief, these six chapters cover the time from Isaac marrying Rebecca to Jacob’s marriage of Rachel and Leah. Intertwined in these narratives are numerous references to promised blessings, birthrights, and the power of God in sustaining his covenant promises. These narratives also take us through highlights of those venerable individuals, couples and families that we associate with birthright blessings and marriage in the covenant.
“Now the task before us is a challenging one. It would be impossible in this article to sufficiently cover the many principles, ideas, interpretations, cultural contexts and curious questions that these six chapters evoke. Indeed a lifetime of learning awaits any who wishes to follow the never ending stream of books and articles written concerning every aspect of these six chapters. However, speaking from personal experience no amount of reading about the scriptures can replace reading the scriptures. In fact, Gospel Doctrine classes will be fulfilling in proportion to the time that class members read the scriptures to be discussed in class.
I will take a two-fold approach to these chapters. Following the sequence of each chapter I will focus on several ideas of deep importance: covenants and covenant making (particularly marriage covenants), prayer, faith and the Abrahamic promises. In so doing, it is a conscious choice to not exhaustively treat all of the questions that inevitably arise in the mind of any who open the Old Testament to read. Rather, since our time in Gospel Doctrine is precious then we should spend our times with that which is most precious.”