Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Reading the Bible - Genesis 25

So now that Sarah is dead, we find a horny Jacob getting himself another wife and as Sarah died when she was 127, this means that Abraham must have been at least 137 when he got remarried. This is rather remarkable as we then hear that he fathered six children with his wife Keturah, again breaking records for the oldest father and lest you forget this whole story is 100% true. So that brings Abraham's harem total to a known three of Hagar, Sarah and Keturah. However, this does not include the concubines that he was bedding and giving children. So we can be sure that Jehovah is all about the group love, as long as it is a male that is having the group love and not a female.
"Later on Abraham gave everything he had to Isaac, but Abraham gave gifts to his sons by his concubines. Then while he was still alive, he sent them eastward, away from Isaac his son, to the land of the East."

The preceding verse is interesting in many ways, as one it shows that Isaac was clearly favored above all the others as Abraham sent the competition away. what we also see is that he has zero care for his new wifes children, as it refers to only his concubines children receiving gifts. Then again should we really be surprised, as this is exactly what Abraham did to to his son Ishmael born by Sarah's slave Hagar. I should say here that perhaps it could be argued that Abraham sent all his many sons away so that when Isaac came to rule their would not be bloodshed. Which brings me to the next point.

Abraham dies at the age of 175 years,
"Then Abraham breathed his last and died at a good old age, old and satisfied, and was gathered to his people."
Interestingly, and according to the translation footnote, the phrase "was gathered by his people" is a poetic way to say someone died. Although, this is not what all theists believe. In fact some believe that this shows there is an afterlife, as Abraham is essentially living after death and visiting his people in the afterlife. To me, I just wish they had stated it more simply and removed ambiguity, well that is what I would have done if I was God..

Abraham then gets buried with his wife Sarah, and remarkably Ishmael was there to bury his father as well. This is remarkable, as Abraham threw Ishmael out so I am not sure what he was doing there. The apologetics behind the presence of Ishmael at the burial is rather vast, and not satisfactory in my opinion. Personally, I think the writers forgot about Ishmael and the banishment, but it does set an easy segway into the next part of the chapter which is the genealogy of Ishamel's children. However, before we get told about Ishmaels children we get reminded that Abraham was truly blessed and as such Isaac now gets all the blessings that Abrham had. Seems fair?
"After Abraham’s death, God continued to bless his son Isaac, and Isaac was dwelling near Beʹer-laʹhai-roi."

The history of Ishmael is not something that I intend looking at, after all genealogies are boring. So lets move to the history of Isaac instead. In the last study session we learned that Isaac married Rebekkah, and we find out now that he was 40 years old when that happened. More importantly, we see that, just like Sarah, Rebekkah is barren. Naturally this gives Issac a chance to plead to Jehovah to make his wife pregnant, and then Jehovah can bless him by knocking up Rebekkah. Rebbekah's pregnancy however is not a pleasant one, and she asks Jehovah whats going on
"And Jehovah said to her: “Two nations are in your womb, and two peoples will be separated from within you; and the one nation will be stronger than the other nation, and the older will serve the younger.”"
So Rebekkah find out she is to have twins, while also at the same time learning that some strange stuff is going to happen as birthright would entail the older being in command and not serving. Anyway, when the children are born they get given their names based on their traits. As such, we have the elder Esau as he is covered in red hair and looks like an orangutan, and then we have the younger Jacob who was clutching to his brothers leg when he came out second. Another meaning behind the word Jacob is defined as supplanter, so clearly whoever named the children maybe had some inside knowledge into Rebekkah's prophetic message from Jehovah.

These two boys were loved differently by their parents, with Isaac being a simple man like his father and loving Esau more as he was a hunter and that translated to good food. On the other hand Rebekkah liked Jacob more, as he was smart and blameless, yes I said blameless so let that sink in. Additionally, Rebekkah had inside knowledge from Jehovah so maybe she was just backing the winning horse.
"As the boys got bigger, Eʹsau became a skilled hunter, a man of the field, but Jacob was a blameless man, dwelling in tents. And Isaac loved Eʹsau because it meant game in his mouth, whereas Re·bekʹah loved Jacob."

So how did Esau lose his birthright?

Well one day Esau had been out hunting and he was near dead from starvation. Anyway he cam back and saw Jacob had some stew, and so he asked for some. However, instead of giving his brother some stew, Jacob first made Esau give away his birthright.

I promise I am not making this up.

So we have here a brother Jacob that should rule after all he seems to be following in the steps of his dubious grandfather Abraham. I mean its that, or Esau is the dumbest person that has ever lived and was not really that hungry that he deemed food (i.e. life) more important than a silly title.

One last thing in closing, Esau has two names apparently. He is referred to as Edom in verse 31.
 "So Eʹsau said to Jacob: “Quick, please, give me some of the red stew that you have there, for I am exhausted!” That is why his name was Eʹdom."
Apparently, Edom means red in the same way that Esau means hairy. Or, the bible writers could have just made another massive screwup and forgot this important persons name for a while.

See you again next week.

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