The Rotten Seeds of Bullying
Nothing springs up from the earth unless a seed was first planted, either by humans or by nature. Bullying
doesn’t just happen out of the clear blue sky. People bully, but ultimately
bullying originates from satan, who plants seeds of hatred in the hearts of people.
Parents plant seeds of prejudice in the hearts of their own children. They
teach them to hate and persecute others of different ethnic origins. The devil uses television, radio, the Internet, and mass
media culture to teach kids that violence is cool and it’s only wrong if you get caught.
The Lord has His wheat field of responsive souls who will let His Word take root in their hearts and
enter into eternal life. But the devil has his own crop of tares, wicked souls interspersed among the righteous. At present the Lord lets both “grow together”
(Matt.13:30). But the day is fast approaching when God will order His angels to bind the wicked into bundles to throw into
everlasting hell fire. Satan’s crop of violent, evil men will finally be
dealt with once and for all.
Satan has also sown tares of hurt in the hearts of wounded bullying victims. It’s time for God to pull up the weeds of destruction out of people’s hearts and plant words
of encouragement in them.
The Lord of Hosts Shall Roar From On High
Psalms 7:10-13; Chapter 22: 149:6-9; Isaiah 24:19-22
You're a survivor if you've come this far
Though inside you feel all battered and scarred
Because for you school just wasn't cool
But God in His Love would say to you:
I brought you through fire, flood and pain
To help you learn to love again
You felt like a desolate desert place
A sun-scorched soul without any rain.
You felt those fingers pointing at you
Because it was cool to be mean and cruel
You didn't have lots of glamor or money
But I didn't think what they did was funny.
You were put on a thorny pedestal
To torment and mock with cruel cat-calls
Outnumbered you dodged a hail of abuse
Because it wasn't cool to care about you.
Like a leper you were hated and shunned
Made the butt of laughter and fun
Pointedly picked to be the last
When sides were chosen for balls and bats.
But it was you I chose, not they
They're just too proud to come in from the rain
Turning their backs on the beckoning Ark
Those wild dogs won't come
To be saved by My Son
They just chase their prey and bark.
You broke their gang-banged beauty mold
By being unique, by being you
Incapable of shedding tears
Those snakes injected the poison of fear
With pointed, deadly devil's fangs
They made you die to happy things
They withered away your soul inside
That pack of dogs took vicious bites.
Protect me from the lion and the bear
Cried the Psalmist, whom I saved from despair
Deliver me from the ravening dog
Be very near me when I call.
Though ten thousand gather against me
O Lord of Hosts, be my Victory
Send warring angels of fire and light
Against my foes take up the fight.
Impede their progress on their dark path
Let liars be caught in their own traps
Deliver Thy darling from the lowest hell
Redeem me out of the snare where I fell
Out of this nightmare hell of a Pit
Dug by my foes where in darkness I sit
Forgotten by all but remembered by Thee
Make haste to come deliver me.
If they think I've forgotten they make a mistake
For in wrath the earth itself I shall shake
The blood of the slain, the martyr's pain
I bring to the forefront of My docket again
As I shout My displeasure from My Throne on High
Ye are but men! In My wrath I shall cry
Your land is defiled by innocent blood
Again and again you've spurned My love.
You've rejected the cleansing of My blood
Again it is time for the cleansing flood
To wash away every loathsome trace
Of vile persecutors and their weapons of hate.
My arrows are readied upon My bow
Ordained against haters of God below
To strike at the heart of My enemies
Who will not allow Me to set them free
From being slaves of satan My foe
Who keeps the wicked beneath his control
Rejecting life, they've chosen to die
My Holy Word they taunt and despise.
It isn't just you those bullies have bullied
They've rejected My Son in word, thought and deed
They've pledged allegiance to the devil below
So into the Lake of Fire they'll go
With all the evil seeds they've sown.
But you who have nestled beneath My wings
And fed on holy eternal things
Shall shine as stars in heavenly places
As all your scars My love erases.
Naked, Shamed and Exposed
One dream I had illustrates the trauma caused to a child’s soul through teacher misunderstanding
and/or bullying. In seventh grade, one teacher blamed ME for being bullied. My mother and I put together a plaster of Paris Social Studies project: a Roman Temple
and a clay “bust of Julius Caesar”. Maybe the bust looked a bit comical,
but the two of us had done our best with what we had. I had to carry everything
to school with me on foot. I was unfortunate enough to stumble and drop the columned
“temple” onto the sidewalk. I had to present the mess as was, since there was no time to salvage the situation.
The teacher, “Mrs. Barton”, had no sense of humor.
She shook her head and said, “Some of us don’t have much to give.”
She turned to another kid and said, “but YOU were fortunate (in abilities, etc.).
In that particular dream I was wearing the same thin nightgown I wore in bed. I was back in Mrs. Barton’s
Social Studies class, sitting at a desk. I looked around at the other kids who
were all dressed up for school. Oddly enough, although American public school kids don’t wear uniforms, the other kids
wore uniforms which consisted of a tie, a sweater, and a couple more layers underneath. I keenly felt my own lack of clothing.
There was only one whisper-thin layer between me and an evil-eyed world. I was
afraid the teacher would notice this and announce my nakedness to the whole class. Hadn’t teachers always done that
to me before? Maybe there’s a sweater I could wear to fool the teacher, I
thought. I reached behind me, but there was no sweater draped over on the back of my desk.
I remembered the ruined class project and woke up.
The lack of protective clothing symbolizes the vulnerability I felt. I felt continually exposed to glaring,
prying eyes of scorn. There was NOTHING to shield my heart from abuse. Everyone
else was clad in basic human dignity. The sweater worn by the other kids symbolized
the warm acceptance they all felt for each other. For them, school was a “warm and fuzzy” experience of normalcy.
Their neatly pressed shirts symbolized a world orderly and “nice”,
a smooth, wrinkle-free garment of conformity which never “made waves”. The tie spoke of being on a leash, being gagged and controlled by the status quo. The pastel,
muted shades of the other kids’ clothes spoke of refusal to be bold in standing for the right, and a desire to fade into the crowd, whether the crowd’s opinion was right or wrong. The absence of a
sweater on my chair back symbolized my vulnerability to foes behind my back. My
own garment was pale blue, but it was so thin I felt like everybody could see my nakedness underneath. The washed-out color
spoke of my soul, so drained of life and unable to boldly fight for survival. The thinness of my garment symbolized the transparency
of my feelings, and the fact that all my weaknesses and imperfections, real or
imagined, were open for all the world to see.
Mrs. Barton’s insensitive comments bruised self-esteem which was already down in the toilet. Another
teacher who didn’t like me much had also left her mark on my life. On the
very first day of school “Mrs. Hutton” asked me some pointless questions I didn’t have ready answers for. I felt like everybody was staring at me, hoping I’d look stupid. The class laughed.
A sudden, inexplicable terror seized my soul. I burst into tears. The
teacher got mad and decided to take revenge on me for letting tears escape my eyes.
She called my dad at work, and told him I’d “acted like a baby”. Did that woman think I’d PLANNED
to let my eyes leak and make a spectacle of myself? I wouldn’t have gone
through that shame and embarrassment for a billion dollars!
Parents, don’t EVER just automatically take the word of an adult over that of your own child.
Besides damaging your precious relationship with a family member who has been loyal to you in good times and bad, you are
showing partiality toward an outsider who may not even like your child. That’s
right. Some teachers will LOVE your child, others could care less, and a very
few might feel hostile toward him/her. It’s teachers like that who need to learn a lesson in Compassion 101. And if
they don’t, the law of sowing and reaping could ensure that what “goes around comes around” (see Gal.6:7;
Rev.13:10). People who abuse their position of authority to intimidate the friendless and the helpless will have to answer
to God for it.
I’m no dummy. I’ve got a decent IQ. Not to
brag, but I was awarded the ONLY “A” in my college English 101 class. Despite the fact my third grade teacher,
a hostile-looking woman, called me a “stupid kid”. But even if I’d
had an IQ of only 2, NOBODY, not even the President of the United States, has the right to scare little kids and call them
stupid! EVERY person on earth has been given worth and potential by almighty
God, and no one is ever a failure as long as they are faithful to do what God has called them to do. A lot of the time the
failure rests with the teacher for writing off a kid whose personality type differs from theirs. If a teacher wants to intimidate
the weak, he/she should quit teaching and become a bill collector!
I sort of shrugged that teacher’s comment off. After
all, adults sometimes got into “bad moods”, and at the time I didn’t really think kids were full-fledged
people who deserved respect. I’m all for discipline of kids who deliberately misbehave. But hostility toward children
who “don’t gel with” the teacher is inexcusable. That’s
no different from what goes on in many adult workplaces: A grumpy colleague is rubbed the wrong way by a cheerful type and
sets out to “wipe that smile” off their face via psychological abuse or “put-downs”. My own daughter liked school better than I did. She made good friends
throughout her school years and had no serious problems. And she was blessed with the ability to learn most any subject easily (even math, which I hated). She had
some absolutely wonderful teachers. They appreciated the fact that she liked to befriend shy classmates and was very bright.
But even if my daughter had been painfully shy like me, or even had learning difficulties, a powerful
sermon would have been preached if any teacher had called her “stupid” or insulted her human dignity in any other
If you get any complaint about your child, CALMLY listen to both sides before forming a judgment. Don’t
just automatically assume the teacher is always right, especially if you speak with them (or see them) long enough to wonder
if a personality conflict might be the root of the problem. A crabby, sarcastic teacher may not like a mild-mannered child.
It doesn’t matter that the teacher is thirty years older than the child. Years alone do not confer worth or wisdom on
a person (Eccl.4:13). It is wrong to “have respect of persons” in
forming judgments in issues of right and wrong (Prov.24:23). I had committed no sin.
I did not choose to suffer that sudden panic attack in seventh grade. Satan
brought it on me, through manipulating the circumstances, and through a spirit of fear (2 Tim.1:7). But it was I,
and no one
else, who paid the penalty for a panic attack I couldn’t control. For the rest of that year I was tagged as a reject. When I get to heaven, I will not
only tell Jesus how much I love Him, I will also tell Him how much I hate the devil who sorely tempted and tried me on earth. Even there, I will continue to plead for God’s righteous vengeance to fall upon
satan and his evil kingdom of darkness.
Fear seizes hold of people like a vicious assailant. People
don’t choose to be afraid, anymore than they choose to get their legs shot off on the battlefield. I’m reminded of the story of General Patton, who slapped an American soldier for “cowardice”. The poor guy had been shell-shocked out of his senses. Any guy whose rational faculties
had been overcome by involuntary head-to-toe tremors could hardly have been expected to shoot straight at the enemy and might
have been more of a hindrance than a help in Patton’s battle. But all Patton could see was the man didn’t have
a gaping chest wound or shattered limbs. Only his soul was shattered and that
didn’t count as being wounded. Even if there was a WILL to “go out
and kill Germans” to please Patton, the noise and terror of the battlefield overpowered the soldier. Patton scolded the soldier for being a *&!*% coward, and said that if he didn’t hurry up
and get back to the battlefield, he’d shoot him himself. Then “Old
Blood and Guts” slapped him in front of everybody in the infirmary. Patton
ordered this weeping, broken man to be sent back to the front lines where the battle was hottest. Kick somebody who’s
down. A good photo op for Patton, the mighty war hero.
The same standard you hold others up to, will be used by God to judge you (Matt.7:1-2). Those who browbeat
others for failure had better hope their own battles never surpass the limits of their own health, strength and courage. Hopefully, Old Blood and Guts never felt like jumping out of the frying pan into the
When a kid gets off on the wrong foot at the beginning of the school year, he/she feels ruined for good!
Bullies are two-legged Pitbulls who need to sink their fangs into SOMEBODY. They
NEVER let you live a bad “first impression” down, even if it’s somebody else’s fault.
I was (barely) born again at the time and had NO training in the Bible, and nobody to turn to for help.
Naturally I’d smolder with resentment when someone said something mean. Sometimes
I’d snap back, but generally I’d keep my resentment bottled up inside
(it accumulated). Those who unjustly hated me made the most of every excuse to
torment me. The kids even poked fun at my handwriting when I wrote something
on the blackboard. Over the years I’ve experimented with different styles of writing, but my natural handwriting slants
sharply to the right. It reminds me of a racer who runs leaning forward so he
can reach the finish line quicker. I felt like I was getting nowhere, and I was nothing but a joke.
Mrs. Barton even mocked the pictures I sketched to make
my miserable day go by quicker. Certain kids wouldn’t leave me alone and were continually picking at me. But I was the one who’d get the blame. Toward the end
of that miserable year I was finally put in isolation for most of the day in the library.
I had to sit in a chair while some mean-looking teacher guarded me. A
few kind girls stopped by to see me, but I felt so numb I hardly noticed their presence or responded to them. It felt like my soul faculties were shutting down one by one, in much the same way the functions of the
body shut down before physical death. If my body couldn’t escape that torture
chamber called “school”, at least I could deaden my emotions, much like a bear hibernates to survive the long,
harsh winter. I never told my parents how I spent those long days, parked in a chair and staring into space.
After so many months of humiliation and ridicule for letting my hurt feelings leak out, I was AFRAID
to feel emotions anymore, lest they be criticized by a hostile world. I felt
absolutely dead inside, unable to love even kind people. The abuse had gone on
so long I felt like any nice gesture was too little, too late. Gone were the days of jump ropes, dolls, and playground fun.
Early adolescence was an initiation into the REAL world, where life was a sordid,
scary, sick game of meanness and manipulation. Growing up immersed me in a war against unearned enemies who struggled to steal
away from me basic human dignity. At twelve I was too well-developed for my height of five foot one. I felt like a broad-shouldered,
clumsy oaf who didn’t fit in anywhere and never should have been born. All I wanted was to be the happy, skinny kid
I used to be, and for daily life to be uncomplicated and fun once more. If that’s
immaturity, I guess I was guilty of it. Suspicion became a part of my nature because I felt I could trust no one, much less
Reflecting on these things, I know what Jesus meant when He said it was necessary to “become as
a little child” in order to enter into the Kingdom of God (Matt.18:3). Jesus didn’t mean for adults to go out
and skip rope. He meant that He values childlike honesty and simplicity in our
relationship with God and others. If we tell someone we love them, it should
be unfeigned (honest) love without underlying ulterior motive (I Pet.1:22). Teenagers learn a lot of “people skills”
at school, how to play it cool to keep off the bottom of the heap and get respect
from popular kids who get that way by being walking billboards for Western consumer culture.
A girl will love the big football star...until his dad gets laid off and the boy can’t even afford McDonald’s
anymore. A girl will buddy up to an unpopular girl, just to gain her confidence.
Once it is discovered that the unpopular girl shops at K-Mart instead of Hiphop Boutique, the first girl breaks off the “friendship”
and runs back to her real friends with fresh gossip. And the knives come out
at the feast.
Cain: A Harvest of Sin
When Adam sold out to satan by disobeying God’s simple commandment, he got more than he bargained for. Eve was seduced by satan into eating the
fruit first. I can picture Adam groaning in despair as what she’d done
sunk in. He knew that Eve was now doomed to die.
Perhaps Eve sank to her knees begging Adam to partake also, so that she would not be alone in her exile from the Garden,
driven out into the inclement world without his companionship. For whatever reason,
Adam made a deliberate decision to disobey God by conforming to the contrary will of another human being. Thus he incurred an immeasurable loss for himself and for all his descendants.
In the Garden there was harmony among all creatures and with their Creator. There was no warfare or death in that Paradise. All of Adam’s needs had been met there. He’d been free of all the hassles and hazards known to our world.
But he’d chosen to reject God’s rule over his life.
In that moment of infamy, Adam traded the sinless nature of God in his soul for the nature of satan.
The Bible declares : The heart of man is deceitful above all things, and desperately
wicked. Who can fathom it (Jeremiah 17:9)? Sin
had introduced a previously unknown consciousness of nakedness and shame. I believe
that prior to Adam and Eve’s sin, there had been such a glow of the Glory of God surrounding them that there was no
awareness of nakedness. There must also have been a traumatic sense of having
been stripped of innocence itself, and feeling exposed in their sinfulness before a Holy God.
Steal, kill, and destroy. Satan had engineered Adam and
Eve’s loss of fellowship with God in Eden. He’d already begun to kill their physical bodies. Untold destruction had
been wrought in their psyches. The sin nature had embedded itself in the very
genetic code of man, to be passed down through countless generations. Adam lived
to witness the outworking of this hereditary sin nature when his son Abel became the world’s first homicide statistic,
slain by his jealous brother Cain. The story is recorded in Genesis 4:1-15.
Evidently sibling rivalry existed between these two young
men, at least in Cain’s heart. Cain approached God in a spirit of competitiveness,
while Abel’s attitude was one of contrite faith toward God. Blood sacrifice
was what God required as an atonement for sin, for without the shedding of blood there can be no forgiveness of sin (Hebrews 10:28). God’s penalty for sin is death. The soul which sins shall die (Ezekiel 18:4b). Romans 6:23 says: The
wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
His own sinless soul was made an offering for sin on our behalf (see Isaiah
53:10). Had Christ committed even one sin during His lifetime on earth, He
would have disqualified Himself from paying the penalty of our sins, and God could not justly have forgiven one sinner.
It would yet be many centuries before Christ would come to earth to die for Abel’s sins. In Old Testament times, animal sacrifices were offered up as temporary symbolic substitutes,
or, as one preacher put it, “promissory notes” until final payment for sin was made by Christ. These sacrifices
were counted by God as acts of obedient faith, anticipating His appointed time when Christ Himself would die as the Lamb of
God to take away the sin of the world (John 1:29).
Cain must have heard these truths at the knee of Adam, his sadder but wiser father. But evidently Cain refused to take consolation in this mercy of the Lord.
Most likely he rankled over the expulsion of his parents (and hence, himself)
from the delights of Paradise. Humankind had been sentenced to a life
of grueling toil, aging, sorrows of innumerable kinds, and eventual physical death.
I can picture the cogitations of a mind like Cain’s: Who does my dad think HE is, teaching ME how to run MY life, after the way HE struck out? I could have kicked back and sipped cider under an apple tree all day!
In any event, I wouldn’t have had to toil like a mule day in and day out just to eat! Life sure is a drag, thanks to good old Dad. I’ll placate
God in my OWN way, not Dad’s. And if God doesn’t like it...well,
What a thorn Cain must have been in the hearts of his penitent parents.
Surely the rebellious nature of their eldest son was a poignant reminder to them of the sorrow their own disobedience
had brought to God. The treacherous Absalom would bring such anguish to his father
King David many centuries later.
Flashing his cheesiest smile, Cain brashly approached the stone altar he had erected. Proudly he brandished his gift to God, a conveniently bloodless heap of fresh farm produce he’d cultivated
from the cursed ground. My, he thought, won’t
God be thrilled with MY donation? Much more than He’ll be with Abel’s! The very idea...presenting a pile of
raw, bloody flesh to the Almighty! His finer sensibilities will surely be offended.
Cain misread God, if he’d bothered to try to understand Him at all. The faith of Abel is commended
by God in Hebrews 11:4: By faith Abel
offered to God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he gained God’s assurance that he was righteous, God approving of his gifts; and by faith he, though dead, speaks.
But God wasn’t pleased with Cain’s self-styled
offering, or his insubordination. It was Abel who’d been obedient, humbly
casting himself by faith upon the mercy of a Deity offended by sin. Abel entertained
no delusions about the utter depravity of the human nature he’d inherited from Adam, his father. He realized that only with God’s help could it be held in check.
He knew that man, in spite of his best efforts, falls short of the Glory
of God (see Romans 3: 23), and that sacrificial blood must be shed to cover his sin from God’s sight.
The hard-hearted Cain couldn’t have cared less. Like
most people he considered himself no better or worse than any other human, hardly bad enough to merit God’s attention. He refused to see his sin nature in the light of God’s unfathomable Holiness. Unlike his brother Abel, Cain was not
accounted by God as righteous.
Cain’s “sacrifice” was an exercise in futility.
God noticed how Cain glowered as the smoke from his offering refused to ascend heavenward, how the fire fizzled out
no matter how much he fanned it and blew on it.
Why are you so angry, Cain? And why that pout on your face? If only you’d done what you were supposed to, you would have been accepted by
Me. But because you disobeyed me, sin is even now lurking at your door. It wants
to dominate you, but you must overcome it (Genesis 4:7).
Cain seethed. He resented anybody, God included, telling him what to do. He refused to repent
of his own perverseness, for his heart was hardened toward God. He didn’t
want any advice from the God he was supposedly sacrificing to. How dare God be so picky, He was lucky to get anything at all
from cool Cain! Cain was determined to run his turf his own way.
This headstrong young man couldn’t stomach following the godly example of his younger brother.
Far be it from him to obtain one of Abel’s choicest lambs to offer up as the blood sacrifice demanded by God. Cain was ticked off. Why didn’t God appreciate this
gorgeous pile of veggies, or all the sweaty toil that had gone into wresting his offering from the earth? Cain’s super-sized ego was deflated. Upstaged by his
bratty little brother! Oh, the stinging humiliation of it all! The Top Dog must not lose face; this insult must not go unavenged.
On the pretext that Cain wanted a private word with him, Abel was lured out to a secluded field, away from the eyes of his parents. But
God saw everything. He witnessed the full savagery of the lethal blow dealt Abel
by Cain, the first murderer. Soon Abel was lying in a pool of his own blood.
Jealous rage turned to fear. Up until then, no human had
ever died. Cain shook that lifeless form lying limply at his feet. He shouted
at it. No response. What could be
done now? His dad would go ballistic. He
might even do the same to HIM if he found the grisly evidence. So Cain became the first undertaker and buried the body in a hastily excavated grave. The earth received Abel’s lifeless corpse. But his blood
cried out to God, Who knows every sparrow that falls to the ground.
In I John 3:12, the
Holy Spirit gives the apostle John insight into Cain’s motive for the murder.
This verse is included in a discourse on loving one another, John’s
John contrasts the malignant attitude of Cain with true Christian love.
He instructs us to be:Not like Cain, who was of that wicked one (satan) and
killed his brother. And why did he kill him?
Because his own deeds were evil, while his brother’s were righteous.
Cain served the prince of darkness, as all bullies do. Abel had walked in the Light, and this Light had shown up the sinister workings of
Cain’s soul. But Cain’s premeditated crime did not succeed in snuffing
out the Light, or make his own burden of guilt weigh any less heavy upon him.
Barely had Cain finished conducting Abel’s no-frills funeral when he heard an entreaty from heaven: “Cain! Cain! Where is Abel, your brother?”
Ever a cool dude, Cain shrugged, “How should I know? Am
I my brother’s keeper (Genesis 4:9)?
But God was not to be put off. “Cain! What have you done? I hear your brother’s blood crying
up to me from the ground, clamoring for vengeance. The very same earth which
opened her mouth to receive your brother now abhors you. From now on, you will
enjoy no success in farming. The earth will refuse to yield a crop to you. A homeless wanderer you will be upon the earth.”
Abel had become the first saint martyred for the sake of the Truth, as many millions in the future would
be. His death was due to persecution for righteousness’ sake, rather than
bullying for cosmetic shortcomings. God has, throughout the ages, permitted such
martyrdoms to occur. This is a matter far different from being targeted because
you wear a cheap brand of clothes. I believe that in all other cases, protection
from physical harm can assuredly be sought for through the intervention of God.
Cain manifested these traits of a typical bully: a vicious temper, a callous heart, contempt for authority figures, a driving need to be Top Dog.
Now he had been reduced to being a homeless vagabond. For the remainder
of his life Cain would wander and scavenge for his sustenance, always peeking over his shoulder and worrying that some younger,
stronger punk would bump him off. Bullies are like that. These predators restlessly range, seeking approbation from some and victimizing others, always fighting
any who could pose a challenge to their position as Leader of the Pack.
Let the bully beware. It is a dangerous business to glorify
the attributes of satan as being “cool”. We live in an amoral (frankly,
immoral!) society. Nothing’s a sin, except bucking the trends. But God doesn’t conform to this ugly world. He
declares in Malachi 3:6: I am the Lord,
I never change. In God’s court of law, terminal bullying carries a
terminal penalty, with no time off for good behavior.
But the fearful, and the unbelieving, and perverts, and MURDERERS,
and the immoral, and practitioners of witchcraft, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their place in the lake which burns
with fire and sulfur; this is the second death (Revelation 21:8).
Unearthing Some Hidden Worms
I am going to put forth a theory which may seem incredible, and downright politically incorrect, but which, in the light of Biblical revelation, makes
much sense to me. I am leaving no stone unturned in my quest to help to set satan’s captives free from oppression. I
will elaborate on one insidious, little acknowledged channel satan uses to gain entrance
into a person’s life to oppress him, apart from anything the victim himself has done: generational curses.
Time and again the Biblical patriarchs would utter prophetic words over their sons, foretelling what
lay in store for them, and their descendants in particular. Some sons would receive greater blessings from their fathers than
others. Occasionally, a negative prophecy would be given a son who had done something
to anger his father. Thus, the descendants of the wayward son would bear the
consequences of his ancestor’s misdeed! When the Patriarch Israel spoke
a blessing over each of his twelve sons, he disinherited Reuben, who would have
received the double portion blessing of the firstborn son. Why? Because Reuben had slept with one of his father’s wives (Genesis