Genesis 31 – Conflict between Jacob & Laban

Jacob asks Laban for leave of his land with his belonging, his wives, and children:

Genesis 31:27 – And Laban said unto him, if now I have found favor in thine eyes, tarry: for I have divined that Jehovah hath blessed me for thy sake.

Laban seems to be asking for more blessings from Jehovah due to Jacob’s presence, so he would like to collect on it, and asks Jacob to negotiate a new wage and stay (tarry). Jacob, with all aforementioned belongings, asks Laban when he can finally fend for his own household. Laban asks Jacob, in a set of words “what’s your price?”

Jacob responds by asking Laban to come to an agreement: Jacob will continue to tend to his flocks, but he will remove (day by day) all the imperfect animals, and bring them into his flock, leaving the perfectly colored and strong flock with Laban. Laban agrees. In a sort of earthly spell:

31:37 – And Jacob took him rods of fresh poplar, and of the almond and of the planetree; and peeled white streaks in them, and made the white appear which was in the rods. And he set rods which he had peeled over against the flocks in the gutters in the watering-troughs where the flocks came to drink; and they conceived when they came to drink. And the flocks conceived before the rods, and the flocks brought forth ringstreaked, speckled, and spotted.

Stripping branches of their bark to expose the whiteness of the wood, he was able to manipulate the breeding of imperfect animals and direct the stronger animals into his flock. This is one topic that definitely requires study by the more botany minded. He directed the feeble of the lambs to Laban’s flock, strengthening his own. The sons of Laban became aware of this manipulation and passed it on to their father. Jacob realizes Laban’s attitude towards Jacob had changed (you think?) so Jehovah tells Jacob to return to the land of his fathers. Jacob calls upon his wives, daughters of Laban and accuses Laban of deceiving him due to wage changes. So, for revenge, Jacob manipulated the flock and their offspring.

Ok, so multiple times Jehovah has told Jacob that he will protect him, not to be afraid. So why couldn’t Jacob just walk away? He knew Laban was deceiving him through his wages, so why return deceit with more deceit?

Is Jacob really an example we should be following in modern times?

Jacob calls upon his cousin-wives, tells them to pack up, and explains to them the reason for his actions: he dreamed about it and God was the one who took the cattle of their father.

It wasn’t Jacob? It was God’s doing?

Rachel and Leah, knowing they no longer have an inheritance with their father, affirm with Jacob that it was time to leave. Inheritance? Was it all about money and possessions for them?

So on their way out, Rachel stole all the teraphim (household idols?) of her father, and Isaac packed up and left without informing Laban. Laban got word, and in 7 days, he caught up with Jacob and his daughters, accusing Jacob of carrying his daughters away “captives of the sword.” He also indicated, if he had told him to leave, Laban would have sent him off with mirth, songs, tabret and harp (a celebration).

31:31 – And Jacob answered and said to Laban, Because I was afraid: for I said, Lest thou should takest thy daughters from me by force.

After all the promises, dreams, visions, and miracles from Jehovah, Jacob STILL walks in fear (or does he not, but feigns fear to compromise his adversary?). He keeps breaking the promise Jehovah put on him: to not fear and go forth to where he commands. Laban, realizing his collection of gods had been stolen (Rachel) accuses Jacob of stealing them. Rachel, in an act of deception, hides them from not only her father as he searches for them, but also Jacob. The final conclusion of this conflict is both sides airing their issues: Laban claims all of Jacob’s possessions are his, Jacob claims they all belong to him because of the deceitful actions of Laban. So the form a covenant, a peace treaty, and form it using a heap of stones, which not only acts as a symbol of their treaty, but also a demarcation line that neither one will cross the stone to get to the other. The next morning, Laban says goodbye to his daughters and children, and returns home, peacefully, as he promised.

jacob laban covenant
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Moral of the story: It seems forming a peaceful covenant and demarcating it has worked somewhat well for these peoples in their culture. Where is Jehovah to create this peace between the peoples they say he created? Will he bless Laban for treating Jacob well?

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Genesis 30 – Jacob’s son of Leah, Rachel, and their handmaids. Man dragons?

Rachel, envious of her sister’s births, angers Jacob by demanding he give her children, when Jacob lays the blame for her closed womb on God. In another common occurrence, Rachel demands that Jacob impregnate her hand maid, and now we are told that Jacob has lain with a woman for the purpose of bearing children.

Sons of Bilnah and Jacob (Words of Rachel who named the sons):

5. Dan – “God hath judge me, and hath also heard my voice, and hath given me a son”

6. Naphtali – “With mighty wrestlings have I wrestled with my sister, and have prevailed”

Rachel claims she has prevailed over Leah despite having to resort to her handmaid for her sons and being outnumbered 4 to 2. Leah, who had left off bearing, answers back by having Jacob impregnate her handmaid, Zilpah.

Son of Zilpah and Jacob (Words of Rachel who named the son):

7. Gad – “Fortunate!”

Reuben, the oldest son, finds mandrakes in the field during wheat harvest and brings them to his mother Leah. His aunt Rachel demands Leah give them to her (they must have had some serious value) and Leah refuses, telling Rachel that not only has she taken her husband, now she wants to take her sons mandrakes. In a telling verse, Rachel offers a trade: Reuben’s mandrakes and Leah is allowed to sleep with Jacob (does this answer the previous question: Was Jacob the father of the first four sons of Leah?)

Genesis 30:16 And Jacob came from the field in the evening, and Leah went out to meet him, and said, Thou must come in unto me; for I have surely hired thee with my son’s mandrakes. And he lay with her that night.

Lely, Peter, 1618-1680; Reuben Presenting Mandrakes to Leah
Depiction of a young Reuben bringing mandrakes to his mother Leah. Note the ‘handmaid’ with child, most likely Dan, Naphtali, or Gad borne to handmaid Bilnah. Also note the (collared) dog in the painting, because there is correlation (warning on pursuing this connection)

We are told God hearkened unto Leah (who was no longer able to give birth aka “left off bearing” but now she was?)

Sons of Leah with Jacob (Words of Leah who named the sons:)

8. Issachar – “God hath given me my hire, because I gave my handmaid to my husband”

9. Zebulun – “God hath endowed me with a good dowry; now will my husband dwell with me, because I have borne him six sons”

Daughter of Leah (no indication Jacob was the father): Dinah.

God “remembers” Rachel, who has been barren all this time, and opens her womb (no indication Jacob was the father though it’s a good assumption).

10. Joseph – “God hath taken away my reproach; Jehovah add to me another son”

Back to mandrakes: can also be translated as “man dragons”, they seem to be a plant found in parts of the middle east. It could also be a general term for a group of hallucinogenic plants. An internet search will show that some of these tubers called mandrakes actually look like humans. The context of it in this book is unknown, however the idea that Leah would trade mandrakes to Rachel for the privilege of sleeping with her/their husband means that these items were highly valuable to Rachel, enough where she’d let another woman (even though it was his wife) sleep with him. Twice.

mandrake root
Hallucinogenic? Collectible? Why would Rachel, who was highly envious of Leah for having an open womb, allow Leah to sleep with Jacob for the mandrakes that Leah’s son Reuben had gathered? Here is an example of a creature figure like root of what is commonly known as mandrake. The mandrake in this book could be an entirely different plant however.

 

Genesis 29 – Jacob seeks a familial wife, Canaan follows suit; Jacob, Rachel, Leah

Isaac commands Jacob not to find a wife of the people of Canaan, instead he sends him to marry one of his first cousins, daughters of Laban.

Esau follows suite, after taking wives of the Hittites which bothered his mother and father, he goes to somewhat more distant relatives to marry within: Mahalath, the daughter of his uncle Ishmael.

Jacob leaves Beer-sheba on his way toward Haran when he experiences a dream: A ladder connects the top of heaven set upon the earth, with angels ascending and descending it. Jehovah stands at the top and repeats his promise to Isaac (this is your land, your seed will be plenty in all directions, all families of the earth will be blessed.

Genesis 29:15 – And, behold, I am with thee, and will keep thee whithersoever thou goest, and will bring thee again into this land; for I will not leave thee, until I have done that which I have spoken to thee of.

So there is a “completion” to this promise, that Jehovah will leave him once he has done all he has promised for Jacob.

29:16 – And Jacob awaked out of his sleep, and he said, Surely Jehovah is in this place; and I knew it not. And he was afraid, and said, How dreadful is this place! this is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.

Afraid, dreadful. Words to describe the house of God and the gate of heaven? The concept that Jehovah is not at places at once looks to be a belief Jacob carried. Is this why Jacob would travel and “fear” despite being told not to?

Jacob arrives in the land of his uncle Laban. He meets Rachel at a watering hole with her sheep and everyone is introduced. Laban offers Jacob wages for his work as Jacob stays with him, and Jacob requested the hand of his younger daughter, Rachel (described as beautiful and well favored) over Leah his eldest daughter (described as tender eyed, sore to the eyes?)

Jacob promises 7 years of work for the hand of Rachel.

After the 7 years, he calls in his promise and in the midst of the wedding night, Laban switches Rachel with Leah, and Jacob sleeps with her that night. Was she veiled the whole time where Jacob could not tell? Was he drunken the way Lamech was when his two daughters were able to sleep with him? Laban exclaims that it’s not his culture to give away his youngest daughter before the eldest to explains his guile.

Jacob is offered 7 more years of work for the hand of Rachel.

Jacob prefers Rachel over Leah, aka “Jehovah saw that Leah was hated” so what does Jehovah do? He closes Rachel’s womb and opens Leah’s. Leah begins to give birth:

  1. Reuben – “Because Jehovah hath looked upon my affliction; for now my husband will love me”
  2. Simeon – “Because Jehovah hath heard that I am hated, he hath give me this son also”
  3. Levi – “Now this time will my husband be joined unto me, because I have borne him three sons.
  4. Judah – “This time I will praise Jehovah”
Leah pregnant
Four births for Leah while Jacob loved Rachel. Once again Jehovah intervenes for these births. Can we say for certain Jacob was the father while he “hated” Leah?

Was she not praising Jehovah before? Seems like she was, but maybe she wasn’t giving proper thanks for the previous 3 children Jehovah had given her. Is it possible that Jacob was NOT sleeping with Leah (after all we know he loved Rachel more) so, with Jehovah’s intervention (as with Sarah and Rebekah), Leah gives birth? After all, after Levi was born, Leah exclaims “Now this time will my husband be joined unto me.”

Are these 4 children another example of a heavenly being mating with a daughter of man? The Bible does not indicate, again, that Jacob contributed his seed to these 4 births, only Rachel’s words that Jehovah “gave her” these children. No mention of Jacob’s reactions though if she had to give birth to a third before proclaiming “NOW Jacob would join her, it’s possible he had nothing to do with these conceptions.

It’s not uncommon for married couples not to procreate, especially when one prefers the company of another, so it’s not that far fetched to believe. After Judah, it is said she left off bearing. So now we have 1 group of 4, will the remainder of the 12 also be split into groups of 4?

Also of note, she didn’t give birth to any females? Another work of the hand of Jehovah to ensure all male births? Or, as with previous examples, it just wasn’t important to mention, i.e. daughters of Adam and Eve who were said to have been born, but given no names or order within the children.

Genesis 27 – The deception of Isaac’s Blessing

Isaac was blind, realizing his end was coming soon, it was time for him to bless his chosen son, so he called up on his eldest son: Esau.

Knowing, from previous verse, that Isaac is a fan of Esau’s venison, he asks Esau to don his hunting bow equipment, bring him venison, and prepare a favorite meal for him, so that his soul may bless him since he doesn’t know when he will die. Esau complies with his father’s wishes and heads out for the hunt.

Deer/venison in the Middle East, in Beer-Sheba… are those same deer there today? Were they there during the time of Isaac and Esau? It’s a logical conclusion to make, after all it wasn’t that far long ago that Noah repopulated the earth with all the animals.

Rebekah hears the words that Isaac is about to bless Esau, and in Esau’s absence while he is off honoring his father’s wishes, conspires to put his younger brother Jacob in Esau’s place for the blessing.

Note: It was Isaac’s intentions for the blessing to go to his son Esau, but as Jehovah stated in his telling of the future to Rebekah, the eldest son would serve the younger, so in effect, Rebekah was either being extremely deceitful (we were already told Jacob was her favorite) to ensure her favorite would receive the fatherly blessing, or she was forcing the issue to fulfill the promise of Jehovah by ways of deceit. I have to say, this is not a natural flow of godly and righteous events. If it was Jehovah’s will that Jacob be the receiver of blessings, and with all he had promised to Isaac, why didn’t it happen naturally? Why did it need lies and deceit to be fulfilled?

In the subsequent verses, we see the extent of the lie:

Jacob: Proclaims the wrongness of the deceit of his mother’s intentions, knowing his father would recognize that he is not Esau, because they are so different.

Rebekah: dons the skins and garments of Esau upon Jacob, prepares savory food and bread, and preps Jacob to take the place of Esau for the blessing.

Jacob follows through with his mother’s plan and deceives his “father” (remember, no mention that Abraham actually conceived Jacob, it was only after a visit by Jehovah to Rebekah that Jacob was born.)

The great lie:

Genesis 27:19 – And Jacob said unto his father, I am Esau thy first-born; I have done according as thou badest me: arise, I pray thee, sit and eat of my venison, that thy soul may bless me. And Isaac said unto his son, How is it that thou hast found it so quickly, my son? And he said, Because Jehovah thy God sent me good speed.

Brutal deception. Would YOU ever pretend to be a sibling, in front of your compromised mother or father, with the expectations of receiving something not intended for you? Not only that, Jacob justified the lie by bringing Jehovah into the story to explain the lie. Can we assume Jehovah was ok with this lie? Is this what we call “bearing false witness” and is Jacob truly “honoring his father”?

Isaac hears Jacob’s voice, but is deceived and feels Esau’s skin on his hands with the skin of goats that Rebekah put on Jacob’s hands. Isaac succumbs to the lie, and blesses Jacob, thinking he is Esau, with a blessing from the soul:

27:27 – … See the smell of my son, Is as the smell of a field which Jehovah hath blessed: And God give thee of the dew of heaven, and of the fatness of the earth, And plenty of grain and new wine: Let peoples serve thee, And nations bow down to thee. Be lord over thy brethren, And let they mother’s sons bow down to thee, and blessed be everyone that blesseth thee:

What does a field that Jehovah has blessed smell like? Earthy? Whatever it is, Isaac was deceived into believing the smell was his first born son Esau.

In the meantime, without deceit, lies, or sin, Esau is off in the fields honoring his fathers request. Jacob leaves after deceitfully receiving his blessing from his blind father and Esau returns quickly from the hunt and prepares the venison and his Isaac speaks out:

27:32 – And Isaac his father said unto him, Who art thou? And he said, I am thy son, thy first-born, Esau. And Isaac trembled very exceedingly, and said, Who then is he that hath taken venison, and brought it to me, and I have eaten of all before thou camest, and have blessed him? yeah, and he shall be blessed.

Isaac trembled exceedingly. An old man, admittedly near death, put into the position where he trembles exceedingly from the actions of his wife and his own “seed.” A victim of the “guile” of Jacob.

Isaac jacob deception
A blind man, on the brink of death, deceived by his youngest son and wife, so that the last intention of this elderly man to bless his eldest son was stolen and give to the youngest.

So far, Jacob has taken the birthright of his older brother Esau while Esau was compromised, and to make matters worse, has stolen the blessing his father Isaac meant for Esau. Who is the wicked one here?

27:35 And he (Isaac) said, Thy brother came with guile, and hath taken away thy blessing. And he (Esau) said Is not he rightly named Jacob? for he hath supplanted me these two times: he took away my birthright; and, behold, now he hath taken away my blessing.

Both Isaac and Esau recognize the deceit brought upon by Jacob, not just once, but twice. Not all hope is lost for Esau, however. According to Jehovah, the older shall serve the younger, but Isaac makes a promise to Esau that this servitude is not permanent:

27:29 – And Isaac his father answered and said unto him, Behold of the fatness of the earth shall be thy dwelling, And of the dew of heaven from above; And by thy sword shalt thou live, and thou shalt serve thy brother; And it shall come to pass, when thou shalt break loose, That thou shalt shake his yoke from off thy neck.

This conflicts with Jehovah’s fortune telling to Rebekah. Isaac tells his son Esau at some point he will break loose of the yoke of having to serve his younger brother. So with all the lies and deceit that have fallen upon Esau, he becomes angry and said (in his heart) how he would slay his brother Jacob *after* his father’s death.

Word gets to Rebekah about Esau’s wishes (how so, if he only said it in his heart?), so she sends Jacob off to her brother Laban in Haran, hoping that he can stay there while Esau cools off from his threats.

27:44 – and tarry with him (Laban) a few days, until thy brother’s fury turn away; until thy brother’s anger turn away from thee, and he forget that which thou hast done to him.

Not “what we did to him” but “what YOU did to him.” So it looks like Rachel is not holding herself responsible for her actions and now her son is in danger for his life.

She also laments about the idea of of Jacob taking a wife of Heth (I assume a Hittite, the way Esau did, thinking if he did “…what good shall my life do me?”

 

 

 

 

Genesis 26 – Famine! Incest?

Genesis 26:1 – And there was a famine in the land, besides the first famine that was in the days of Abraham.

Aren’t famines preventable with an all powerful god who created the forces that would define famine (land, water, heaven/earth, etc.)? So why a famine? If he did create the forces that would define famine, then we can assume he is the one who caused it? Was this famine one of water and drought or are we talking about a different form of famine?

The point of direction for famine relief is Egypt, however, Jehovah interrupts Isaac’s journeys and tells him to NOT go to Egypt, but to stay and that he will be with him.

26:4 – and I will multiply thy seed as the stars of heaven, and will give unto thy seed all these lands; and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws.

Note that there is a CONDITION to this covenant. What would have happened if Abraham didn’t do these things? It is NOT a blind covenant, Abraham had to do certain things to validate it. Also, it is said “…all nations of the earth be blessed.” Will this be the case? All nations of the earth be blessed? The Canaanites, Edomites, Hittites, etc? Just who are these “nations of the earth” Jehovah is promising to bless?

After all Jehovah has done for Abraham and Isaac, while Isaac is in the land of Gerar, he duplicates the deception of his father and proclaims his wife Rebekah to be his sister, for the same exact reasons as Abraham: he feared he would be killed because of his wife.

Where is the faith of Isaac if he has the blessings and promise of Jehovah behind him? Is this yet another act of Jehovah manipulating people’s minds to prove his power?

Abimelech, as mentioned before who had reached out peaceably to Abraham and Isaac, catches Isaac being intimate with his wife, and the story repeats:

26:9 – And Abimelech called Isaac, and said, Behold, of a surety she is thy wife: and how saidst thou, She is my sister? And Isaac said unto him, Because I said, Lest I die because of her. And Abimelech said, What is this though has done unto us? one of the people might easily have lain with thy wife, and thou wouldest have brought guilteness upon us.

Why the need for deceit and lies if Jehovah “will be with thee” as he stated in verse 3? Isn’t Isaac betraying Jehovah by not having faith in his words and promises? Isaac is putting an entire group of innocent people at risk of Jehovah’s wrath because he is *afraid* for his life. I wonder if there is more to the story in this verse. It pretty much rhymes with Abraham’s dealing with the Abimelech being deceived that Sarah was Abraham’s sister.

Is this ritual/repetition of Jehovah’s people of his covenant entering a foreign land, lying to the rulers because of a wife, more than a literal event? An allegory for another type of event? A simple demonstration of Jehovah’s ability to manipulate mankind, and take free will away from them? Are the stories code for something else?

Abimelech had a peace treaty with Abraham and Isaac, but because Isaac was commanded not to go to Egypt by Jehovah, he stayed in the land of the Philistines, and we are told he became so great and wealthy, that the Philistines envied him, and eventually Abimelech king asked him to leave because “…thou art much mightier than we.” Isaac moved to the Valley of Gerar where his father once dwelled, and he began to dig wells his father had dug up but which had been filled in by the Philistines (if they filled in the wells they didn’t need the water… during a time of famine?) This digging of wells by Isaac bothered the people of Gerar, until finally he dug a well at Rehoboth, which did not conflict with the people of Gerar, so he claimed that it was Jehovah that made room for him to dig this well and named it so. Isaac leaves Rehoboth (ran out of water?) and ends up in Beer-sheba where Jehovah appears to him the first night and repeats his promise to Isaac, and Isaac settles there with an altar for Jehovah and his servants/slaves digging a well, indicating a more permanent settlement.

Isaac well and altar
Isaac settles in Beer-Sheba with a well and an altar to Jehovah after wandering due to a famine.

Suddenly we jump to Esau:

26:34 – And when Esau was forty years old he took to wife Judith the daughter of Beeri the Hittite, and Basemath the daughter of Elon the Hittite: and they were a grief of mind unto Isaac and to Rebekah.

Ok, so in this lineage of people the Bible focuses on, all marriages have been, by modern terms, incestuous. Cousins or half siblings marrying each other, etc. Suddenly one of them marries outside of incest (Esau marrying women of the Hittites) and it grieves his parents.

What’s going on here with this lineage? Why were Isaac and Rebekah so grieved? Are we talking about a lineage trying to preserve its blood line? We know Abraham demanded that Isaac not marry among the Canaanites (his distant kin) so he demanded Isaac marry within his closer family, so one can assume Isaac and Rebekah wanted the same for their child Esau.

Our only knowledge at this point in the bible is that the Hittites were indigenous to the land Jehovah had defined to Abram back in Genesis 15 at the time of his promise of the land. There is no verse that says they were evil, wicked, or sinners.  What does the future hold for the Hittites?

In modern times this situation of generational incest would be scorned (if not prosecuted) and Esau’s marriage outside of his family would be considered normal (except for the bigamy part.) For those that believe the morals and dogma of Old and New Testament are infallible, why isn’t incestuous marriage and bigamy normalized among those believers?

Genesis 25 – Abraham’s new wife & kids, his death, and his lineage. Esau/Jacob.

Genesis 25:1 – And Abraham took another wife, and her name was Keturah. And she bare him Zimran, and Jokshan, and Medan, and Midian, and Ishbak, and Shuah.

So, in his elderly age, Abraham is still able to seed new children. Or is he? We already know that Sarah gave birth to a child without him, and the child was CALLED Abraham’s, so what is going on here with Isaac’s and Ishmael’s new siblings? Were they fathered by Jehovah? Or by an elderly Abraham, well beyond the age where Sarah laughed at the thought of either of them “knowing pleasure”? Who is these children’s biological father?

We are then introduced to the SONS of Abraham’s 6 new children. Interestingly, no mention of any daughters. While not impossible to have only sons, we already know that during the introduction to Adam and Eve, we learned of Cain, Abel, and Seth, but no mention of daughters, or their names. Mention that daughters were born to Adam and eve comes after the introduction of the 3 sons, but again, no names.

These sons of his concubines were also sent off away from Isaac, into the “east country” with gifts, while Isaac receives “all that he had.” Abraham lives “one hundred, three score, and fifteen years” and passes away. He is buried in the cave he purchased from the people of Heth, alongside his wife Sarah.

We read of Ishmael’s lineage, and he dies at age 137, and as prophesied, it is said “he above over against all his brethren.”

We read of Isaac’s lineage up to his two twin sons. Another miraculous conception is given to a once barren wife of Isaac, Rebekah. Once again, it must be asked, was Rebekah give conception the way Sarah was, with a visit from Jehovah?

25:21 And Isaac entreated Jehovah for his wife, because she was barren: and Jehovah was entreated of him, and Rebekah his wife conceived.

Once again, no details. The children of this covenant up to this point all come from barren women, only born with divine intervention.

We are introduced to the twins, who, even while in the womb, seemed to be conflicting with each other, so Rebekah calls upon Jehovah:

25:23 – And Jehovah said unto her, Two nations are in thy womb, And two peoples shall be separated from thy bowels: And the one people shall be stronger than the other people; and the elder shall serve the younger.

Esau came out first, and “…he came forth red, all over like a hairy garment…” While he was coming out, his brother Jacob was holding on to his heel. I believe this is symbolic, the first born had the strength to come out on his own, the second one had to grab on his brothers heel for the ride out. That, or he was trying to keep his brother in so that he could be first. Either way, does anything like this happen with modern twins, triplets, etc.? Is it more of a cultural explanation of why two groups of people, with the same roots, conflict in more modern times?

What’s interesting is that Esau came out red and hairy. I know some babies come out red and hairy “all over”. Now I was born with a full head of hair (black), and I was probably red when I came out, but that is not “hairy all over”. I have to point back to Genesis 6 with the mention of the sons of God mixing with the daughters of men, and their creations were “men of renown.” Is Esau another example of a different breed of man coming from a heavenly being (Jehovah) and a daughter of man (Rebekah?) while Jacob was of a more normal human stock? I almost picture Esau as a Bigfoot type person.

esau jacob
Most men of this region are “hairy” so who was the abnormal one? In this depiction the artist translated “…the first came forth red, all over like a hairy garment” as being a red head.

At first I thought this was a reference to a red head, but it does not specifically say he had red hair. Then I thought maybe Albino. We can scratch these references off because later we find that Esau truly was hairy all over his body.

Anthropological insight:

25:27 And the boys grew: and Esau was a skillful hunter, a man of the field: and Jacob was a quiet man, dwelling in tents. Now Isaac loved Esau, because he did eat of his venison: and Rebekah loved Jacob.

Another example where a group of people, kin/related, point back to a story that explains why they live different lifestyles or culture. Same root, different modern lifestyles, in this case hunters vs tent dwellers (pastoralist?)

Looking at the verse regarding Isaac and Rebekah, can we equate “loved” in this verse to “favored”? Most women love all their children but often have favorites, same as the men. Or did, Isaac only love Esau, and Rebekah only love Jacob. What about Jehovah? After all he was involved in their, at least we are told, conception.

 

Genesis 22 – The Test, Human Sacrifice, the Lineage to Isaac’s wife

Genesis 22:1 – And it came to pass after these things, that God did prove Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham; and he said, Here am I. And he said, Take now they son, thine only son, whom thou lovest, even Isaac, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt-offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.

If ever a verse would turn away the average reader into abhorrent disgust from this book, this would be it. Jehovah promises Abraham that his seed will be as countless as the sand, yet God is telling him to now sacrifice him as a burnt offering? Abraham seems response-less, not even asking for clarification. He questioned Jehovah multiple times about the future, his destiny, his covenant. But sacrifice your only son? No response.

It was a 3 day journey to the spot in Moriah, and Abraham, without emotion, separates himself and Isaac from the two young men that accompanied him. In yet another act of deception by Abraham:

22:7 – And Isaac spake unto Abraham his father, and said, My father: and he said, Here am I, my son. And he said, Behold, the fire and the wood: but where is the lamb for a burnt-offering? And Abraham said, God will provide himself the lamb for a burnt-offering, my son…

Why couldn’t Abraham just tell him the truth? More fear from Abraham, maybe Isaac would run off and Abraham would incur the wrath of God? Then we learn it was a test, a test to find out if Abraham feared God.

Why the need for a test, doesn’t God know all peoples thoughts and motives? The only reason to test Abraham is because God didn’t know if Abraham feared him. Why go through such a test if you are all knowing? Why does anyone prove something they already know?:

  • To prove it to other people
  • To wallow in the knowledge of being right
  • They are unsure of their knowledge

The angel of Jehovah interrupts Abraham right before he slays Isaac:

22:11 – And the angel of Jehovah called unto him out of heaven, and said, Abraham, Abraham: and he said, Here am I. And he said, Lay not they hand upon the lad, neither do thou anything unto him; for NOW I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son, from me.

Abraham Isaac altar
No fear mentioned from Abraham or Isaac. Just a normal day of sacrifice?

An insecure God? He didn’t know that Abraham feared him before this test? Not knowing the loyalty of his servants with which he has performed miracles, destroyed cities, and created covenants for him and his generations to follow? The only one in this story with conviction is Abraham, who did what he was instructed without hesitation. It is God in this verse who has to test the lesser being for his devotion. This is odd and undermines the omniscient quality modern religion has applied to our understanding of God.

Not only that, was it normalized in biblical times for a man to sacrifice his children? It’s not mentioned yet but the answer is yes, and future verse will prove it. Maybe not in the realm of Jehovah but certainly in this land, and we know Abraham has traveled in all directions at this point. We already read how Lot was ready to give up the virginity of his two daughters to scores of wicked men of Sodom and Gomorrah, possibly leading to their death. We know the Israelite’s fed their children to the fires of Moloch/Molech in future verse. Is this why Abraham didn’t flinch at the thought of sacrificing his son? It was already normalized?

Now I’m seeing the difference between what modern churches and interpretation apply to God as a trait and what the Bible states. They are not the same. If God knows all then why the need to test his servant and finally state “yes, NOW I know you fear me”. He admits he didn’t know before hand.

Genesis 22 ends with the lineage of Abraham’s sister in law Milcah from Abraham’s brother (including children from his concubine).

Genesis 20 – More wife deception, victim = King of Gerar

Abraham journeys away from the oaks of Mamre towards the land of the south and ends up in Gerar. Not really sure *why* he sojourned, possibly due to the recent events in Sodom and Gomorrah?

Not sure why he had to do this, it does not say out of fear for his life as it was previously with the Pharaoh, but this time he tells Abimelech, king of Gerar that Sarah is his wife. Guess what happens next:

  • Abimelech takes her, but does not go near her
  • God comes in a dream to Abimelech and tells him “you’re a dead man” because Sarah is someones wife
  • Abimelech explains the lie of Abraham and Sarah to him, and in his heart and innocence did he do all this
  • God says he knows, that it was HE that withheld Abimelech from sinning and it was HE who made it so he wouldn’t touch her

Genesis 20:7 (God to Abimelech) Now therefore restore the man’s wife; for he is a prophet, and he shall pray for thee, and thou shalt live: and if thou restore her no, know thou that thou shalt surely die, thou, and all that are thine.

This is the first time we’ve seen Abraham be called a prophet.

In an echo of the deception put upon the Pharaoh, Abimelech calls Abraham out and asks him why he would do such a thing. Abraham says he feared for his life because of his wife. It is also at this point that Abraham admits that Sarah, his wife, is his half sister.

Reminder Sarah is well up in age, so why would Abraham worry about it now? Wouldn’t the king of Gerar have his choice of much younger women? So what exactly was he doing by taking her?

Questions remain:

  • After all that Jehovah has done for Abraham, all the covenants, all the manipulation, the promises, and destruction, why would Abraham still walk in fear for his life?
  • Is Abraham really a prophet? Or was it a sham to convince Abimelech that it was Abraham, and not God, who would be healing his family, thus elevating Abraham higher than usual?

So, for being deceived by Abraham, and not actually doing anything wrong, as even God admitted, Abimelech suffers a death threat from God, his wife and female slaves all go barren, and he ends up paying Sarah 1,000 pieces of silver to right his “wrong.” Sure enough, Abraham prays for Abimelech and his wife and female slaves are healed and can once again bare children.

Genesis 18 – Jehovah visits Abraham; scolds Sarah; Is not sure about Sodom & Gomorrah?

By the oaks of Mamre Jehovah appears before Noah. Noah, sitting at the door of his “tent”, lifts up his eyes and see 3 men. Realizing Jehovah is one of them he runs to greet them and asks them to rest and stay, to be fed a morsel of bread and water.

Note: Jehovah is there but no offering of burnt flesh is mentioned. Also note that Jehovah can appear to Abraham in human form, so why the need for visions and divination? Is it possible that Jehovah has a physical presence that keeps him from being in all places at once, the way we think of God’s omnipresence (all being) and omniscience (all knowing)?

The three “men” inquire about his wife Sarah, and Jehovah tells Abraham that he will return “when the season cometh round” which could be when the season changes to the next. Jehovah tells Noah that when he returns, Sarah will have a son.

Genesis 18:11 Now Abraham and Sarah were old, and well stricken in age; it had ceased to be with Sarah after the manner of women.

Sarah no longer menstruated “after the manner of women.” She laughs (to herself) about the idea that not only her, but Abraham were old and could not “have pleasure.”

G.D.Tiepolo, Drei Engel bei Abraham - G.D.Tiepolo / Three Angels & Abraham - G.D.Tiepolo/Trois Anges/Abraham/V.1768
Sarah listens in, laughs to herself, and is chastised by Jehovah.

Jehovah hears her thoughts, and questions Abraham why his wife laughed at the concept, questioning whether such a concept was beyond Jehovah’s capabilities. Sarah denies thinking it, but Jehovah scolds her saying “…but thou didst laugh.”

18:14 – Is anything too hard for Jehovah? At the SET TIME I will return unto thee, when the season cometh round, and Sarah shall have a son.

The set time, as illustrated in previous verse, is the change of the season. Let’s break this down. A very old man and woman, both admitting to their inability to bear children in their age, are promised a child. A miraculous birth, if you will. Will Abraham be the physical father? The promise here is, is that Sarah will be pregnant, no specific mention that Abraham will be the father by the act of intercourse. At this point it sounds like a form of immaculate conception is in the plans, because it involves Jehovah returning to Sarah for it to take place.

Their discussion complete, the 2 angels head toward Sodom and Gomorrah, while Jehovah stays behind with Abraham.

18:20 – And Jehovah said, Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous; I will go down now, and see whether they have done altogether according to the cry of it, which is come unto me; and if not, I will know.

To back up the idea that Jehovah is not omnipresent/omniscient this verse verifies it. Jehovah can “hear” the cry of the city of Sodom and Gomorrah, but he needs to go down to see for himself, and he validates this with “if not, I will know.” Meaning he doesn’t know at the time of this statement.

So we have two verses and concepts that show that Jehovah is not omnipresent or omniscient:

  • When he is away from Abraham he has to speak to him using visions and divination, but when he is physically close he can speak to him as a man. (not omnipresent)
  • He hears the cries of Sodom and Gomorrah but he has to go see for himself to make sure the actions fit the cry. (not omniscient)

Very interesting… Abraham asks Jehovah to consider any righteous who may be living among all the wicked, in hopes he can sway Jehovah not to wipe out the entirety of the cities.

 

Genesis 15 – Jehovah speaks to Abram about the future. Entrail Divination?

After the affair of Genesis 14, Jehovah comes to Abram in a vision, tells him not to fear, that Jehovah is his shield and great reward. Abram wonders about his current heir, who is not of his birth, and Jehovah assures him he will have a heir of Abram’s seed.

Just how has Jehovah been speaking to Abram in previous verse? We are specifically told this is a vision. What about Adam/Eve, Cain, and Noah? Had they been having “visions” as finally mentioned in Genesis 15:1? Or were they actually hearing Jehovah’s voice through their ears?

Jehovah tells Abram the land he is in is his to inherit. Abram asks “how will I know it is mine to inherit?” Jehovah says:

Genesis 15:9 – And he said unto him, take me a heifer three years old, and a she-goat three years old, and a ram three years old, and a turtle-dove, and a young pigeon. And he took him all these, and DIVIDED THEM IN THE MIDST, and laid each half over against the other: but the birds divided he not. And the birds of prey came down upon the carcasses, and Abram drove them away.

So Abram is already in communication with Jehovah, and to answer his question, Jehovah has Abram go through an animal ritual. They were cut open down the middle “divided them in the midst” and then laid over each other to form an odd shaped pentagon “they were laid each half over against the other”, and because they were cut open with exposed entrails, Abram had to swat the birds of prey away.

15:12 – And when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and, lo, a horror of great darkness fell upon him. And he said unto Abram…

Is this sleep with a horror of great darkness the result of his animal ritual? Is this horror of great darkness Jehovah? It sure sounds like it because right after the darkness fell upon Abram, verse says as if pointing to the horror the verse indicated: “he says…”

This sounds like extispicy, haruspicy: divination/fortune telling using animal entrails. In this case Abram performed the ritual to expose the entrails and Jehovah performed the divination and only through Abram’s deep sleep could Jehovah communicate this divination.

haruspicy
Roman rendition of a man about to cut open a fowl for the purpose of entrail divination. This ritual is done all around the world for similar purposes.

15:17 – And it came to pass, that, when the sun went down, and it was dark, behold, a smoking furnace, and a flaming torch that passed between these pieces.

The only pieces we know of are the pieces of animals, so it sounds like the end of the divination ritual involved a smoking furnace and flaming torch passing through this animal pentagon, and finally the sun going completely down.

  • Abram was already in communication with Jehovah through his vision, why the need for the ritual?
  • How can we explain a smoking furnace and flaming torch in this instance?
    • We know there is smoke and flame, and the words furnace and torch can be non specific, so I’m not sure that an actual furnace and torch were involved here.
  • The coincidence that this book is about Abram’s future and what sounds like a well known ritual of animal organ readings for knowledge of the future takes place doesn’t lend credence to the idea that Jehovah did not use ritual divination to foretell the future to Abram.

So the even bigger question, why the need for divination with Jehovah?