What Brothers Can Do (1)
In the inspired, inerrant Word of God, the word brother and it’s root occur 630 times. And, the word means not only brother, but friend. Of course, when we think of brothers in the Bible, we tend to describe a brother as the son of one’s mother. Such as Cain and Abel. And, these brothers were, by our understanding of the Hebrew word aaaaahf) (ah), extremely close at one point. In Deuteronomy 13:6, Moses penned that brothers then were as close, “as thine own soul . . .” Sadly though, Cain allowed jealousy to reign in his life which turned to hatred and he killed his brother.
Later, we read of half brothers such as Ishmael and Isaac or Joseph and his half brothers (Genesis 10). As for Joseph’s brothers, they too were extremely jealous of Joseph and turned to hatred (Genesis 37:2-5). So, they sold their brother as a slave and considered him dead. In both instances, the brothers showed symptoms of jealousy. But, was their jealousy, in the eyes of God, acceptable?
No. God showed his disapproval for such animosity. Cain was cursed (Genesis 4:10-12) and Jacob did not fully become Israel until after he reconciled to Esau (Genesis 35:10; 32:28; 33:4). In Exodus 20:5 and other areas, it states that God is a jealous God. This word is interesting because )fNaq (qanna’) is solely used by God and only when dealing with idolatry. In the New Testament, the apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians 11:2, said that he was jealous. However, he meant a godly jealousy which arose from his desire that the church be faithful to Christ and not turn aside to another. And, while we can have godly jealousy, the Old Testament used the word hf):nIq (qin’a) for jealousy. In Song of Solomon 8:6, “. . . jealousy is cruel as the grave . . .” This type of jealousy shows to be no good.
Now, did Cain display godly jealousy when he killed his brother Abel? Which did Joseph’s brothers have for him? Which jealousy did Absalom have for Amnon which resulted in his murder (2 Samuel 13:29)? Or what about Jacob and Esau? Whatever happened to brothers being as Moses said, “as thine own soul?”
In the New Testament, we find more than 350 uses of brother. And, there are three different words used for brother, but primarily, we find the word, adelyov (adelphos). This of course refers to male children of the same parents (Matthew 1:2) or male children of the same mother (Matt. 13:55). And, while it can also refer to a brother-in-law, or countrymen, it also refers to persons united by a common interest (Matthew 5:47), persons by a common calling (Revelation 22:9), the disciples, which means all believers (Matthew 28:10) and this even includes sisters that are believers (1 Timothy 5:2).
But, what can brothers do? Well, consider these verses: 1 Peter. 3:8, “Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous.” Romans 12:10, “Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another.” 1 Thessalonians 4:9, “But as touching brotherly love ye need not that I write unto you: for ye yourselves are taught of God to love one another.” Hebrews 13:1, “Let brotherly love continue.” 1 Peter 1:22, “Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently.”