Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Reading the Bible - Genesis 16

As we discovered last week Abram suffered from some problems about not having any children. Initially I thought it was impotency problems, however it turns out that it was not his problem but his wife's problem. But not to worry, the Bible has a way out of everything, so here we go into the journey of the pregnancy/rape of Hagar by Abram.

One of the possessions that Sarai (Abram's wife) brought from Egypt was her slave Hagar. Now, Sarai decided that as she cannot have children it would make a lot of sense to her to give Hagar to her husband so that he can father a child with her.
So Sarʹai said to Aʹbram: “Please now! Jehovah has prevented me from bearing children. Please, have relations with my servant. Perhaps I can have children by means of her.”
In essence Sarai was giving Hagar to Abram to rape, as Hagar had no choice in this. But to get through this apologetic's the Bible quickly comes up with an answer as it allows Abram to wed Hagar. However, we cannot forget that as Sarai is property this cannot count as consensual marriage.
After Aʹbram had lived for ten years in the land of Caʹnaan, Aʹbram’s wife Sarʹai took her Egyptian servant Haʹgar and gave her to her husband Aʹbram as his wife.
Luckily we know that polygamy is an acceptable biblical standard to live by, and perhaps rape is also okay?

After her what I would gather was multiple rapes Hagar became pregnant, and on learning of her pregnancy she came to despise Sarai. Why Hagar despised Sarai is not elaborated on, but I can only gather it was for her actions which were rather disgusting by allowing her husband to take her and use her to his content. However, Sarai now places the blame for Hagar's hate towards her on squarely on Abram.
At this Sarʹai said to Aʹbram: “The injury done to me is your fault. I was the one who put my servant in your arms, but when she realized that she was pregnant, she began to despise me. May Jehovah judge between me and you.”
This is mental, as it was Sarai's choice to begin with. However, Abram allows his wife Sarai to act anyway against the women he has impregnated. As such again we are seeing Abram in his true light, that of the villain he truly is.
So Aʹbram said to Sarʹai: “Look! Your servant is under your authority. Do to her whatever you think is best.” Then Sarʹai humiliated her, and she ran away from her.
So, Sarai then abuses Hagar to such an extent that she runs away from the father of the child she is carrying. What a perfect screwed up couple. They truly could be in line for couple of the year the way they carry on.

We now find Hagar in the wilderness at a spring called Be'er-la'hai-roi, where she is found by one of Jehovah's angels, who is basically there to give Hagar Jehovah's message. So what words of wisdom does god have to give to this lady that has been abused and raped?
Jehovah’s angel then said to her: “Return to your mistress and humble yourself under her hand.” Then Jehovah’s angel said: “I will greatly multiply your offspring, so that they will be too numerous to count.” Jehovah’s angel added: “Here you are pregnant, and you will give birth to a son, and you must name him Ishʹma·el, for Jehovah has heard your affliction. He will be a wild donkey of a man. His hand will be against everyone, and everyone’s hand will be against him, and he will dwell opposite all his brothers.”
Now some how this is meant to make Hagar feel better. The fact that she will have a child that is largely hated by Jehovah's people. Not sure if there is any logic to this, but somehow Hagar decides to go back.
Then she called on the name of Jehovah, who was speaking to her: “You are a God of sight,” for she said: “Have I here actually looked upon the one who sees me?” 
From some commentaries I have read, it seems that she went back as Jehovah's angel appeared to her. But it really seems that there is not much consensus as to why she went back. Personally, I am sure she went back so that Abram and Sarai do not look like the horrible abusive couple they are. Maybe Paul Bernardo and Karla Homolka are an accurate description of this power couple that were the beginning of Gods chosen people.

Interestingly, even though Ishmael is not going to be a superstar, he is the first person in the Bible that got given a name by Jehovah before his birth. This is remarkable really as some other pre-named people are those lesser know biblical characters like Jesus and Solomon who were also cast aside. Yes, I was being ironic.

All verses come from the New World Translation Of The Holy Scriptures.
Online version available at the Jehovah's Witnesses official website