Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Reading The Bible - Genesis 24

In brief, Genesis 24 details the journey of Abraham's faithful slave who was tasked to find a wife for Isaac in the land of Abraham's birth. Anyway the servant goes to this strange land, and when there prays for Jehovah to give him a sign of the right women for Isaac, naturally God obliges and into the Bible enters Rebekah the wife to be. The slave (or servant, as the Bible would have us believe) then meets with Rebekah's family and tells them what he is being tasked with by Abraham the most faithful servant of Jehovah, as well as the fact that Jehovah answered his prayer to show him Rebekah. Needless to say the family is astounded that this happened, and as they also believe in Jehovah they allow Rebekah to be married to Isaac. Then the slave leaves with Rebekah and she meets Isaac and they get married.

Now, that is the nice version you will hear from the pulpit. Now lets look at some of the finer and weirder details of this epic chapter that is Genesis 24.

Rather interestingly we learn that the traditional way to take an oath with an elder gentleman like Abraham is to place your hand under said persons thigh and then promise. This apparently has to do with respecting the persons testicles and as such the oath is to be considered a pledge to offspring as well as the person whom you are taking the oath with. Now, I could have a field day with some choice comments, but I actually found this rather interesting and weird so I will just stop here.

Anyway, the servant takes an oath to find a wife in the land of Abraham's birth, yet he does ask some clarifier's such as,
"However, the servant said to him: “What if the woman is not willing to come with me to this land? Must I then return your son to the land from which you came?”"
Abraham, replied that he cannot do this,
"“See that you do not take my son there."
And now we learn the reasons why
"To your offspring I am going to give this land,’ he will send his angel ahead of you, and you will certainly take a wife for my son from there. But if the woman is unwilling to come with you, you will be free from this oath. But you must not take my son there.”"
This leads to many questions, as if God was giving this message to the servant, then why did God give the message to Abraham? Personally, I believe Abraham was meant to go look for the wife, as the message given is not addressed to a third person, but to a first person. Perhaps the Bible translators have not got to this part yet to make it more homogeneous? So in essence we have Abraham, the chosen one, again disobeying God! Seriously, how many times does this guy have to disrespect the God that looks after him so well before he finally gets the boot. Spoiler alert: He never gets the boot.

Additionally, this message from God says I am going to give this land to your offspring. So, if this is true then Isaac can surely go there, as he will be given this land. All in all, these verses regarding Abraham giving the message to the slave make absolutely no sense.

Moving on to another tasty tidbit. Well, many times we will get told by theists that God does not answer prayers specifically, rather he provides what he deems necessary. As such I was utterly surprised that God answers this slaves prayer perfectly. Here is the prayer,
"Then he said: “Jehovah the God of my master Abraham, please grant me success this day, and show your loyal love to my master Abraham. Here I am standing at a spring of water, and the daughters of the men of the city are coming out to draw water. May it happen that the young woman to whom I say, ‘Please let down your water jar so that I may take a drink,’ and who replies, ‘Take a drink, and I will also water your camels,’ let this be the one you choose for your servant Isaac; and by this let me know that you have shown your loyal love to my master.”"
Here is the answer
"In turn she said: “Drink, my lord.” With that she quickly lowered her jar upon her hand and gave him a drink. When she finished giving him a drink, she said: “I will also draw water for your camels until they are done drinking.”  So she quickly emptied her jar into the drinking trough and ran again and again to the well to draw water, and she kept drawing water for all his camels. The whole time the man silently stared at her in amazement, wondering whether Jehovah had made his trip successful or not."
So there you have it, God will answer any prayer specifically, but only in the old testament, once, under completely unverifiable  conditions, with no extra sources to back up the fact. Okay just saying this is rather weird when we consider that prayer has been tested experimentally and it does not work. On the other hand, apologetically, as this prayer is about Isaac, Gods chosen child from most beloved Abraham, it has to get answered perfectly.

What is remarkable is that Laban and Bethuel are also devout believers in Jehovah as they absolutely accept the slaves message regarding Abraham's assignment and his prayer.
"Then Laʹban and Be·thuʹel answered: “This is from Jehovah. We are not able to say yes or no to you. Here is Re·bekʹah before you. Take her and go, and let her become a wife to the son of your master, just as Jehovah has spoken.”"
If this is the case, why does God carry on choosing the flawed Abraham when there are other followers who would do a similar if not better job at just being a respectable human. Although, I will point out here that Rebekah has zero choice in this situation, she has to go and get married. Granted later in the chapter she apparently chooses to go with the slave, but at this point she was going to get sent off in ten days anyways so apologetics fails on this one.

Finally we end of with the sweet but also creepy closing verses when Isaac takes Rebekah as his new wife.
"After that Isaac brought her into the tent of Sarah his mother. Thus he took Re·bekʹah as his wife; and he fell in love with her, and Isaac found comfort after the loss of his mother."
Freud would have a field day with Isaac. Seems that he had some serious mummy issues.......Just saying

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