Luther’s Works: The American Edition, published by Concordia and Fortress Press between 1955 and 1986, comprises fifty-five volumes. These are a selection representing only about a third of Luther’s works in the Latin and German of the standard Weimar Edition, not including the German Bible.
In this section of Luther’s Lectures on Genesis (31—37) the subject is the mature child of God in the school of adversity.
Says Luther, “We have seen the triumphs and glory of Jacob … let us now also descend with him into hell and see his sadness and terror.” Extensive treatment is given to a mounting series of afflictions for Jacob. In every affliction, Jacob “wrestles with great infirmity,” and one trial may be termed “light” only by comparison with another.
Luther is also interested in pointing out the antidote for all adversity—the comforting mercy of God. This comfort is in Jesus Christ; therefore Luther observes: “These emphatic words, which Moses scatters like jewels here and there in his writings, are wonderfully sweet, provided they are referred to Christ.” Luther does not hesitate to draw comparisons: “These things are written to comfort us so that we may know that our afflictions and disasters are not extreme.”