Wednesday 2 March 2016

Reading the Bible - Genesis 18

After the mass circumcisions of Genesis 17, once again Jehovah comes to visit Abraham. What is different about this visit by god is that Jehovah is not alone.
He looked up and saw three men standing some distance from him. When he saw them, he ran from the entrance of the tent to meet them, and he bowed down to the ground.
This meeting of these three angels (or three godly beings) can be interpreted in many ways. Firstly, this could be a way to get around the fact that no one has ever seen Jehovah. Using this reasoning, we can assert that all meetings between Jehovah and Abraham or any other biblical character can be seen as a visions or the meeting of an angel an said person. Amazingly, angels are also spiritual beings, so why they can enter Earth and be seen by people and god cannot still does not really help this explanation. Secondly, the fact that Jehovah here appears as three people could lend credence to the trinity idea. This idea is more appealing, as in reality the part about people never seeing Jehovah is absurd when it gets bandied about in the Bible so much.

Remarkably, even after all the circumcisions and vast promises by Jehovah we see that Abraham does still not get that he is the most blessed one.
Then he said: “Jehovah, if I have found favor in your eyes, please do not pass by your servant. Please, let a little water be brought and have your feet washed; then recline under the tree.
Abraham then goes off to get Sarah prepare a massive meal. And when I say massive I mean it, as it includes 22 litres of flour to make bread, a young bull, milk and butter. This meal is almost worship of these three people. So we have to come to one of two conclusions 1) Jehovah is part of a trinity, or 2) Christianity is a polytheistic religion.

At the conclusion of the meal, once again Jehovah makes it known that he intends to allow Sarah to get pregnant. As we learned before Abraham was amused by this, and this time Sarah overhearing this also laughed at the promise.
So Sarah began to laugh to herself, saying: “After I am worn out and my lord is old, will I really have this pleasure?” 
Jehovah then asks Sarah why she laughs, as she should know god can do anything.
Then Jehovah said to Abraham: “Why did Sarah laugh and say, ‘Am I really going to give birth even though I am old?’ Is anything too extraordinary for Jehovah? I will return to you next year at this appointed time, and Sarah will have a son.”
Amazingly, Sarah denies this and yet Jehovah does not get angry or reprimand her. Again Jehovah is showing what kinds of people he chooses to be his special people.
But Sarah denied it, saying, “I did not laugh!” for she was afraid. At this he said: “Yes! You did laugh.”

The last part of this chapter focuses on Jehovah telling Abraham what he plans to do to Sodom and Gomorrah. The actual tale of Sodom and Gomorrah will be in next weeks reading,  but sufficient to say for now Jehovah is going to fuck shit up.
Jehovah said: “Am I keeping hidden from Abraham what I am going to do?

However, for some reason god is unable to really know what is going on in Sodom and Gomorrah, and this is why he happened to be strolling past Abraham's camp. He was on Earth so that he could walk around a bit and see if the cities truly are that evil.
Then Jehovah said: “The outcry against Sodʹom and Go·morʹrah is indeed great, and their sin is very heavy. I will go down to see whether they are acting according to the outcry that has reached me. And if not, I can get to know it.” Then the men left from there and went toward Sodʹom, but Jehovah remained with Abraham.

Abraham tries to be a good person now, as he and god start to bargain as to how the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah can be saved. Basically, God says he will save the cities if he can find 50 good people. However, our hero Abraham gets god to decrease this number to 10 good people. This means that if there are only ten good people in the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah combined then god will not fuck shit up. This whole bargaining is actually annoying as it takes 10 verses in the Bible which could be more effectively used in showing actual evidence for God or some other relevant stuff like the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah.

At this point lets leave the Bible study for the week, and remember that all we need to save two cities is ten good people. Maybe something simple like ten babies?

See you next week.

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