Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Reading the Bible - Genesis 32

Genesis 32 contains one of the best stories in the Bible, but to get there we have to gloss over a few parts. so here is a brief run down of verses 1-23. Jacob as we know is traveling back to his fathers land, so to try make peace with his brother Esau he send a messenger to tell him that he is coming home. The messenger returns and says that Esau is on his way to meet Jacob with 400 people, needless to say this makes Jacob rather worried as he knows Esau is not his number one fan. To combat his losses Jacob divides his people and flocks into two so that one can run if the other is attacked. Then after praying Jacob goes a step further and sends 9 flocks spaced apart ahead of him as a gift to bribe Esau into his good graces.
"Then he took some of his possessions as a gift for Eʹsau his brother: 200 female goats, 20 male goats, 200 female sheep, 20 rams,  30 camels nursing their young, 40 cows, 10 bulls, 20 female donkeys and 10 full-grown male donkeys."
Then Jacob sent his family and the rest of the people before waiting behind to take care of some business. Got that?

Great, now we  can read the story which details what Jacob was doing once he had sent his family away. We get introduced to the grandslam, no the ultimate, neigh the pinnacle pro-wrestling match that is recounted in verses 24 - 30.

I am putting the entire text here, as I think it is just an epic story that shows qualities of Jehovah that blow holes into every apologetic argument for this God.
"Finally Jacob was left by himself. Then a man began to wrestle with him until the dawn broke. When he saw that he had not prevailed over him, he touched the socket of his hip; and the socket of Jacob’s hip was dislocated during his wrestling with him. After that he said: “Let me go, for the dawn is breaking.” To this he said: “I am not going to let you go until you bless me.” So he said to him: “What is your name?” to which he said: “Jacob.” Then he said: “Your name will no longer be Jacob but Israel, for you have contended with God and with men and you have at last prevailed.” In turn Jacob inquired: “Tell me, please, your name.” However, he said: “Why is it that you ask my name?” With that he blessed him there. So Jacob named the place Pe·niʹel, for he said, “I have seen God face-to-face, yet my life was preserved.”"
I am sure you have all heard the argument that "the God of Christianity is a just God." well, if this was true why did Jehovah have to cheat and dislocate Jacobs hip so as to win the wrestling match, is cheating just? Or how about the argument that "Jehovah God is all powerful." If this was true how the hell was Jacob able to wrestle God all night, and then even with a dislocated hip he was able to restrain god so as to demand a blessing. Or perhaps you have heard the argument that "God cannot be tested as God does not reside on Earth" or "No man has ever seen the face of God." Well if these arguments were true, then why the hell would Jacob say he has seen the face of god and survived? Seriously, this little story shows that god is impotent (can't win a wrestling match) and a fraud (promises things, yet cant win). Is this the type of person that you aspire to be like?

Lastly, and importantly, we see the Jacob gets renamed Israel and essentially becomes the big daddy of Israel. Thereby joining the patriarchs Abraham, Isaac as the grandfathers of Christians and Jews all around the world. Now while these patriarchs do not have higher levels among them, the important thing to realize is that Israel/Jacobs sons are the patriarchs of the tribes of Israel.

Lastly, we learn that Jews do not eat thigh stews, as this is a reminder of Jacob and his defeat by the cheating Jehovah. Rather bizarrely, I would think this stew would be eaten as Israel beat god, I mean what a meal that would be to remember your strength against an omnipotent and omniscient opponent. Then again I am applying logic to this, so probably my view is skewed compared to the belief and fear that normally would be used to understand this dietary requirement.

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