The Holy Scriptures says that Jehovah is a compassionate and merciful god. It says this by the mouth of Moses, his faithful servant: “Jehovah passed by before him, and proclaimed, ‘Jehovah! Jehovah, a merciful and gracious God, slow to anger, and abundant in loving kindness and truth’” (Ex. 34:6). And Moses said more: “Know therefore that Yahweh your God, he is God, the faithful God, who keeps covenant and loving kindness with them who love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations” (Deut. 7:9).
As Jehovah is compassionate, his inheritance is eternal. He gave the land of Canaan to Abraham and his offspring, saying: “I will give to you, and to your seed after you, the land where you are traveling, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession. I will be their God” (Gen. 17:8). Four hundred years later he delivered the people of Israel by the hand of Moses, and took them to Mount Sinai, to establish the covenant of the Law. While Moses was with Jehovah on the mountain, the people became perverted, down at the foot of the mountain. Jehovah, offended and filled with fury, made plans to destroy them. Moses pleaded for them, that Jehovah would not destroy his people, and reminded him of the promise made to Abram (Ex. 32:10-14). Convinced by Moses, Jehovah repented from it. Even the god Jehovah, when he speaks without reflecting, is forced to repent.
- But Jehovah is merciful and gives inheritance even to the unfaithful. For example: the Moabites and Ammonites were two peoples of incestuous origin. Moab, father of the Moabites, was born of the incest practiced by the oldest daughter of Lot with her own father (Gen. 19:31-33). The Ammonites are the children of Ammon, who came from Benammi, son of the youngest daughter, also from the incestuous copula with Lot, her father (Gen. 19:34-38). And besides, the Moabites, fearing the Israelites, camped in the plains of Moab and tried to pay Balaam to curse Israel (Num. 22:5-6). Before this, when Israel had left Egypt and asked permission to pass through the land of the Moabites and Ammonites, they had not allowed them. Actually, despite the curse of the Moabites and Ammonites, Jehovah had given orders to Israel, saying: “Don’t bother Moab, neither contend with them in battle; for I will not give you of his land for a possession; because I have given Ar to the children of Lot for a possession” (Deut. 2:9). They were a people corrupt and abominable to Jehovah, but in attention to Lot, he gave them inheritance (Num. 25:1-3; Deut. 2:17-19).
- Israel asked to go through the land of the Edomites, in their way to Canaan, but these men did not allow them, either, and threatened to take up arms (Num. 20:14,18). The Edomites are descendants of Esau, Jacob’s brother. They are both children of Isaac. Esau is the same Edom (red) (Gen. 25:30). Esau was a fornicator and a profane man. In the letter to the Hebrews we read: “Lest there be any sexually immoral person, or profane person, like Esau, who sold his birthright for one meal. For you know that even when he afterward desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for a change of mind though he sought it diligently with tears” (Heb. 12:16-17). Why is Esau called a fornicator? That is because he married the Hitite women, who were so wicked, that they were a bitterness of spirit to Rebecca (Gen. 26:34-35). Rebecca despaired of her life because of these women (Gen. 27:46). Well, Jehovah, the merciful and gracious, gave inheritance to Edom (Gen. 25:30). Jehovah said: “Command the people, saying, ‘You are to pass through the border of your brothers the children of Esau, who dwell in Seir; and they will be afraid of you: take good heed to yourselves therefore; don’t contend with them; for I will not give you of their land, no, not so much as for the sole of the foot to tread on; because I have given Mount Seir to Esau for a possession’” (Deut. 2:4-5). Jehovah was merciful and gracious with Esau.
- Jacob had twelve sons, who constituted the twelve tribes of Israel. The first four children of Leah are: Reuben, Simeon, Levi, and Judah (Gen. 29:32-35). We will make a summary of the lives of these four children of Leah and Jacob: Judah had three children. For Er, his firstborn, Judah took Tamar for wife. Er, however, was evil, and so Jehovah killed him. Then, Judah said to Onan: Marry the wife of your brother and bring descendants to your brother. But Onan did not want to bring forth seed to his brother, and what he did was bad in the eyes of Jehovah. So he killed him. Shelah, the youngest, was too young, and Judah did not make him marry Tamar. After a considerable time, Tamar put on the garments of a prostitute, and sat by the road. Judah passed, saw her with the veil, and thinking that she was a harlot, went in to his daughter-in-law, and she conceived. Judah was a lustful and corrupted man. But Jehovah, the gracious, gave him an eternal inheritance in Canaan (Josh. 15:1-12). This immoral story is in Gen. 38:1-19.
The story of Simeon and Levy is different. His sister Dinah, curious, went out to visit the daughters of the land. Shechem, son of Hamor, the Hivite, saw her and lay with her. And Shechem loved her, and went with his father to Jacob, to speak with him about marriage with his daughter. Jacob demanded the circumcision. They accepted even the union of their clans. All the men of Shechem were circumcised. On the third day, when the pain was the strongest, Simeon and Levi came upon them and killed every male. They coldly murdered those who accepted the faith of their father. But Jehovah, the gracious, gave them inheritance (Josh. 19:1-9). Levi inherited with Judah, because they formed the tribe of the Levites, which ministered in the temple.
Reuben, Jacob’s firstborn and the strength of Jacob, seduced the wife of his father and practiced incest (Gen. 35:22). Jacob, his father, found out about it and rebuked him in his deathbed (Gen. 49:3-4). Reuben lost his birthright due to this shameful act. It went to the sons of Joseph: Ephraim and Manasseh (1 Chr. 5:1). However, Jehovah gave them inheritance in the land (Josh. 13:15-23).
By contrast, the man who did not have an inheritance in the land of Jehovah was not incestuous, was not criminal like Simeon and Levi, was not profane and fornicator as Esau, was not adversary to Israel as the Moabites and Ammonites. He was the humblest (Num. 12:3), the greatest prophet (Deut. 34:10). He was the most intimate of Jehovah, the most faithful (Num. 12:6-8). When he came down from the mountain his face shone so brightly, that the children of Israel could not look straight to his face (Ex. 34:29-30).
But Moses did not have an inheritance such was the consideration of Jehovah for Moses (Deut. 34:1-5). This is Jehovah, the merciful…
By Pastor Olavo Silveira Pereira