Genesis: A quick redux. Genesis grade: A-

Genesis was an interesting read in that I started to find tangents and parallels taking place that I was not aware of before. I’ve heard people say the Bible is perfect, infallible, and the “word of God”. Well to be honest, I would think the word of God wouldn’t come off like a typical incomplete novel that was still in the works. Sounds critical of me to say but that is the truth. The timeline is erratic, a lot of information and data is missing, and I almost get the impression it was a series of stories squished together to try to fit into one.

Some major observations and questions I come across as I quickly review my findings:

  • Creation. Two stories and they do not match
  • Why is it important that precious stones exist in the lands where Jehovah and the Garden of Eden are placed?
  • Adam and Eve are assumed to be the first two people on earth but after reading the story again and comparing Genesis books 1 and 2, I no longer think that is the case: Cain is afraid of ‘whosoever’ he comes across will want to kill him despite the insinuation of modern translation that he is only the 3rd person on earth.
  • Elohim and Jehovah: Different traits, characteristics, actions
    • Elohim seems cosmic, universal, ethereal, spiritual “Elohim’s spirit floats over the waters”
    • Jehovah seems earthly, worldly, physical “he walks in the cool of the evening”
    • They give different instructions to Noah regarding animals to bring on the Ark and what animals they are allowed to eat
    • Elohim’s offerings are of bread and wine, oil and drink offerings
    • Jehovah’s offerings are beasts and blood, and rejected Cain’s offerings of first fruits
  • The patriarchs (Abraham, Isaac, Ishmael, Jacob, Esau, the sons of Jacob and Esau) are all well off, lot’s of flocks and land. They live lives that TODAY would be considered sinful and evil
    • Lying and cheating their brethren
    • Having multiple wives, including wives of slave women
    • Having multiple children with multiple wives
    • Treating their children unequally in terms of their inheritance
    • Disobeying their fathers
    • Not paying heed to the promises of Jehovah “do not fear” yet they do and bring chaos to those around them (Pharaoh, Abimelech, etc.)
    • The non-Jehovah special lineage (Ishmael and Esau) really didn’t do anything wrong compared to their counterparts
  • There is no mention of a priesthood until we find out about Melchizedek, King Priest of the Most High God, who gives thanks with bread and wine (Jesus like) but not the blood and burning flesh of Jehovah
  • There is no mention that evil done by man is caused or influenced by the Devil/Satan.
  • Jehovah is not omnipotent or omniscient “I came to see for myself if the evil of Sodom and Gomorrah is true”
  • With all the knowledge we know about ancient Egypt, many data points are missing in the Genesis description of Egypt (Pharaoh names for example)
  • For one event to happen (the reunion of Joseph with his brothers which saves them from the drought) a WHOLE LOT of other steps were put into place to cause this event, as claimed by Joseph that it was all part of a master plan. Why would an omnipotent god need to do such a thing?
  • Big questions pop up why many of the events and geographical sites mentioned in Genesis are all big mysteries. Where is the evidence?
    • Where was the Garden of Eden and why is it not around today with Jehovah walking around it. Where is the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil? Where is the “flame of a sword” that protects the Tree of Life? Where are the rivers Havilah and Pishon?
    • Do we know where Sodom & Gomorrah really were?
    • Where was the Tower of Babel?
    • Did the Nephilim who were offspring of the sons of Elohim and the daughters of man leave remains behind? Why do we not know the whole story of how that took place and what happened to those that “fell” in Genesis?
    • Is there physical evidence of the great war of kings in Genesis 14? It was of a grand scale and surely something would be left behind. And where did these kings come from?
  • “Israel” was NOT monotheistic, they CLEARLY worshiped other gods, they KNEW of other gods, they POSSESSED other gods (Jacob hiding his family’s idols from Elohim)
  • The patriarchs and the 12 sons of Israel are not boasted about, they clearly are human teetering on a wickedness that modern Christians would condemn. Will this be the case in future books ahead? SPOILER ALERT: I’m jumping ahead and spoiling the narrative by saying no, they get special treatment in future books and their wickedness still exists, if not worsens. This tells me there are yet more authors with different intentions in our future.

Some odd impressions about Jehovah I took that conflict with modern church teachings that I think the bible clearly insinuates:

  • Jehovah was a surrogate father, after all it was until “he did that thing when he visited Sarai” who the bible clearly says both her AND Abraham were beyond child birthing age, did she give birth to Isaac. Was Abraham really the father when it was only by a visit from Jehovah that she gave birth? The precedent was set in Genesis 6 when we are clearly told the spiritual/heavenly beings ARE able to breed with the daughters of man.
  • Jehovah clearly starts to sound like an earthly, tribal god. His physical form means he can walk the earth but is not always on earth because other times he appears in dreams to the patriarchs. He needs physical specificity in the case of: sacrifices (he enjoys the smell of burning flesh), Sodom & Gomorrah (he needs to see the evil for himself)
  • The 12 sons of Jacob and Jacob himself were pretty wicked, yet were protected by Jehovah despite their sins.
  • Jehovah has dragon and/or volcano traits to his being and I think we will see more of this in Exodus.

The “sins” of Adam and Eve all the way down to Jacob (who admitted to the Pharaoh his days have been short and evil) do give a very humanistic aspect to these early peoples, an aspect that even modern man can associate with: deceit, family conflict, land issues, weather related catastrophes, widespread wickedness, and much more.

Some points I’m looking to get clarified in future books:

  • The devil was not accused of involvement in any of the evil actions taken by the peoples of this day (save for the serpent who people insinuate is the devil but Genesis does NOT specify this). The evil comes from man himself, no credit is giving to the devil/Satan
  • The difference between El*elyon, El Shaddai, Elohim, and Yahweh. I no longer believe they are one in the same and have multiple Genesis verses to prove my point. I’m hoping it gets clarified in further verse.
  • When the flood occurred it was (again, different reasons were mentioned pertaining to the difference between Elohim and Jehovah) because the world was overly wicked. There is NO mention of CORRECTION to keep the world from becoming overly wicked again. All we have is a flood that wiped out the wickedness but no measure to prevent it from happening again.
    • SO, BIG QUESTION: Can the world ever become as wicked as described in the pre-flood days?
    • Just how did the author(s) of Genesis define “the world”? Was it the entire globe? The middle east specifically? The eastern hemisphere which we find that not until at least 1492 people thought was the entire world?

Overall my latest study into Genesis really opened my eyes about details NOT discussed by any church officials, bible studies, or conversations with fellow Christians of many denominations. All I get from them is broad assumptions (Adam was first man; Jehovah is the only god; the patriarchs were faithful and role models).

Let me say this, the patriarchs get a big NO WAY in terms of being role models. It can not be denied that their lifestyle would not mesh with modern times, whether the lifestyle of a modern Christian or an average US citizen (polygamy is now illegal).

The big hypocrisy between modern church goers and Genesis: Today it is frowned upon, if not outright illegal, to own slave servants or to marry multiple wives. But that’s what the patriarchs did and it was not frowned upon by Jehovah or Elohim! So why do people point to Genesis and say there are things in there that we should be doing? Isn’t it all or none? Do we get to pick and choose which rules we follow listed in the bible? I know future books of the Bible are really going to hammer this point home.

There is much much more to discuss regarding Genesis, but I need to move on to Exodus for the purpose of this blog. Genesis complete. Overall status: Confused but still open to the word of the bible, not convinced modern science meshes with Genesis, but I know there are many more themes to come in future books so I move on.

I give Genesis an A- because it is absolutely fascinating, but mysterious (thanks to all the missing information) so it puts me in detective and critical thinking mode. I think there are multiple authors and multiple stories squished into one, which is glaringly obvious, but because it warrants more questions it incites my imagination and critical thinking skills in looking for more proving data. Flaming swords, magic trees, Nephilim, giant sea and land creatures (Leviathan and Behemoth), tribal war gods: sorry to say it has a Lord of the Rings feel to it all. If someone does not take it serious I can see why, it’s not that hard to see. I loved the imagery I got from it all (Jehovah, who is given no physical description, “walking” in the cool of the evening in the Garden of Eden, or the Elohim floating over the cosmic waters) so I give it an A- in terms of its effect on my mind and how I place myself in this world.

Let’s see what Exodus does.

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Genesis 50: Jacob is buried in Canaan, Joseph returns to Egypt & dies

After Jacob passes away we get some insight into the interment rituals of the Egyptians that Joseph and his people also follow:

Genesis 50:2 – And Joseph commanded his servants they physicians to embalm his father: and the physicians embalmed Israel. And forty days were fulfilled for him; for so are fulfilled the days of those which are embalmed: and the Egyptians mourned for him three score and ten days.

Is embalming the tradition of the Hebrew people of this time? Why was Isaac embalmed? If you look a bit into the embalming rituals of the Egyptians, the body was prepped for an afterlife, a belief the Egyptians had. Was this belief in an afterlife also shared by the Hebrews? I found it odd that Joseph followed the Egyptian traditions of death, considering how the Egyptians would be treated in future texts as pagans. Why was Jehovah/The Lord or Elohim/God not displeased?

Also of note, 40 days were ‘fulfilled’ for the embalming of Jacob. Similar to the 40 days of the flood, this number repeats once more.

After the embalming period is complete, Joseph asks Pharaoh to grant him leave to return to Canaan to bury his father Jacob, as Jacob had asked of him. The Pharaoh grants him leave.

50:8 – And Joseph went up to bury his father: and with him went up all the servants of Pharaoh, the elders of his house, and all the elders of the land of Egypt…. And there went up with him both chariots and horsemen: and it was a very great company.

Seems that the Pharaoh has done a good deed towards Joseph and his father. The mourning party ends up in Atad (beyond Jordan) where they mourn for Jacob for 7 days. Not only were the Egyptians mourning, the Canaanites who witnessed this mourning also memorialized the event by naming the place of mourning Abel-mizraim (KJV footnote: the mourning of the Egyptians.) Jacob was buried in the cave of Machpelah, which Abraham had purchased from Ephron the Hittite.

In verse 14 we see that Joseph returns to Egypt. Why not stay in Canaan? Was there nothing for him in Canaan? Was he obliged to return to Egypt because of a promise to the Pharaoh? Was the famine still strong where he would need to return to the food stores of Egypt?

In verse 15, in a somewhat rewind of the timeline, another conspiracy by the brothers of Joseph takes place:

50:15 – And when Joseph’s brethren saw that their father was dead, they said, Joseph will peradventure hate us, and will certainly requite us all the *evil* which we did unto him.

I’d say somewhat of a state of paranoia, despite how Joseph has treated his brothers since he revealed himself, they still think (and know) they deserve to be punished for their evil actions towards Joseph. So they lie to Joseph, by sending him a messenger with a false message they say came from Jacob:

50:16 – And they sent a messenger unto Joseph, saying, Thy father did command before he died, saying, So shall ye say unto Joseph, Forgive, I pray thee now, the trespass of thy brethren, and their sin; for they did unto thee evil: and now, we pray thee, forgive the trespass of the servants of the god of thy father. And Joseph wept when they spake unto him.

Joseph’s reply:

50:19 – And Joseph said unto them, Fear not: for am I in the place of Elohim? But as for you, ye thought evil against me: but Elohim meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.

A couple of observations:

  • Why pile another lie on top of their previous lies to ask for forgiveness?
  • The evil mentioned so far has NOT been attributed to any Devil/Satan. In fact, at this point in the Bible, the overall theme seems to be that evil exists within man by nature, not because of the influence of an outside deity.
  • The play of events that lead up to this scene, evil and all, were meant by Elohim to bring about “good”
    • This reminds me of the distinction between Genesis Chapter 1 and 2, where we see two different creations stories.
      • The Elohim creation of 6 days, followed by a 7th day of rest
      • This creation was looked upon as “good”
    • Compare to the chaotic “creation” story of the Lord/Jehovah/Yahweh where Adam and Eve eat of the forbidden fruit and bad things begin to occur (curse upon man, curse upon women, Cain kills his brother Abel, etc.)
  • The whole ploy of famine, starvation, Joseph being sold into Egypt, his brothers entering Egypt, the distribution of stored foods, etc. was done so to “save much people alive”.
    • If there is an almighty god in power, why the need for such a ploy? Why not just end the famine?
    • Are we being told that the god in power does not have the power to end famine but does have the power to influence peoples actions to effect a certain outcome?
      • Is this a sign of an omnipotent god?
      • We are being told this by Joseph, a man, and not by Elohim/God or the Lord/Jehovah. How do we know this really was the intention?

Joseph lives to the age of 110 years old, where he lived to see the third generation of his son Ephraim’s children. He also promises to his brothers that Elohim will visit them while they are in Egypt, to bring them out of Egypt and into the land that was promised (at a cost, not just free) to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. He also asks that his bones be taken out of Egypt and returned to Canaan. Joseph dies.

In another odd note that loops back to the beginning of Chapter 50, Joseph too is embalmed, and put in a “coffin”. Do we dare say it, that Joseph became an Egyptian mummy placed in an Egyptian sarcophagus?

joseph embalmed

It is at this point, despite knowing that many generations have already passed leading up to the death of Joseph: Just what do these people believe in regards to the afterlife? No mention is made, but if they are embalming themselves in the tradition of their Egyptian hosts, could we conclude they believe in an afterlife as well? Why no mention of anything at this point in the Bible?

I will have to read more to see if Joseph’s bones did return to Canaan and to see if there is any sort of afterlife for him and his ancestors.

Genesis ends. I will be doing a summary post with some observations of Genesis over all.

 

Genesis 49: Jacob foretells his 12 sons futures; Jacob dies

Jacob, on his death bed, has gathered his sons to him so he can tell them of things to come. Here is a run down per son:

Reuben – First born, Jacob’s might/beginning of his strength. Because he lay with Jacob’s concubine Bilnah (and mother of his brothers), he defiled his father’s bed/couch and he will NOT excel.

Simeon and Levi – Equal/brethren in the sense that instruments of cruelty (KJV footnote “their swords are weapons of violence”).

Genesis 49:6 – (Jacob) O my soul, come not thou into their secret; unto their assembly, mine honour, be not thou united: for in their anger they slew a man, and in their selfwill they digged down a wall. Cursed be their anger, for it was fierce; and their wrath, for it was cruel: I will divide them in Jacob, and scatter them in Israel.

More study needs to be done on this particular verse. Off the bat it sounds like Jacob is trying to distance himself and his legacy from these two sons because of their violent, fierce, cruel wrath. Because of this violence, it seems as if they are destined to be broken apart in the future.

Judah – A lion’s whelp; escaped from the prey; couched as a lion.

49:10 – The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of people be. Binding his foal unto the vine, and his ass’s colt unto the choice vine; he washed his garments in wine, and his clothes in the blood of grapes: His eyes shall be red with wine, and his teeth white with milk.

It’s amazing to see the poetic and allegorical language used here in the prophecy of Judah. It’s obviously symbolic, for what, I am at a loss. We have a scepter (as in the scepter that defines a king?) and a lawgiver that will not depart from Judah, UNTIL Shiloh come. What or who is Shiloh? The last sentence is poetic indeed, his foal (female?) is bound to the vine, his ass’s colt (male) bound to the CHOICE vine. Washing garments in wine and clothes in the blood of grapes.. isn’t this the same thing? This doublet of symbolism seems to be a literary characteristic of whoever the author is of this text. I’m sure we’ll see more in the future. When this characteristic does fade away, is that a sign we have changed authors? “His eyes shall be red with wine, and his teeth white with milk.”: He shall prosper with plenty of wine and milk? One of the more interesting verses out of all of Genesis.

Zebulun – will dwell at the haven of the sea; a haven for ships, and his border will extend to Zidon. Interesting to note, will the children of Zebulun be coastal as Jacob as foretold?

Issachar – a strong ass couching between two burdens (interlinear translates “burdens” as “sheepholds”)

49:15 – and he (Issachar) saw that rest was good, and the land that it was pleasant; and bowed his shoulder to bear, and became a servant unto tribute.

Another difficult to translate text, with allegory that I’m sure made complete sense at the time of the writing of this text. More research needed.

Dan – will judge his people, and of the sons listed so far, is the first to be called one of the tribes of Israel.

49:17 – Dan shall be a serpent by the way, an adder in the path, that biteth the horse heels, so that his rider shall fall backward.

Serpent by the way/adder in the path, another doublet. Sounds like Dan will be an interruption to those in his way.

49:18 – I have waited for thy salvation Yahweh

Why does Jacob suddenly call out to Yahweh when describing Dan’s future? Is this a point where Jacob is starting to fade? Is this a marker we need to keep aware of? We will see.

Gad – a troop will overcome him, but will overcome in the end.

Asher – “his bread shall be fat, and he shall yield royal dainties.” So just what is this “troop”?

Naphtali – a hind let loose, he gives good words

Joseph – a fruitful bough by a well, and his branches over run the wall.

49:24 – But his bow abode in strength, and the arms of his hands were made strong by the hands of the mighty God of Jacob; (from thence is the shepherd, the stone of Israel:)

Ok, another interlinear issue here. The phrase “mighty God of Jacob” in KJV is translated much differently than the interlinear with Hebrew. Let’s take a look at how the verse is translated interlinear:

49:24 – But his bow abode in strength, and the arms of his hands were made strong by the mighty one of Jacob;

See the difference? Is this another attempt by the author to place any and all mentions of might with Jehovah/God/Elohim? In this particular case we are not given the name of one the aforementioned names, instead we are given “God of Jacob”.

mighty God mighty one
Click here for the actual interlinear translation (it does make a big difference in meaning)

I have to bring this to the forefront, either Joseph’s strong hands were given to him by the mighty God of Jacob, or his strong hands were given to him by the mighty one of Jacob (who could be just about anyone, one of his sons, etc.) Even the interlinear is capitalizing “Mighty One” but if you look at the original Hebrew, it does NOT match any of the previous words for “god”.

49:25 – Even by the god of thy father, who shall help thee; and by the Almighty, who shall bless thee with blessings of heaven above, blessings of the deep that lieth under, blessings of the breasts, and of the womb: The blessings of they father have prevailed above the blessings of my progenitors unto the utmost bound of the everlasting hills: they shall be on the head of Joseph, and on the crown of the head of him that was separate from his brethren.

The god of Jacob will help Joseph, and the Almighty (shad*day) will bless him. Same thing? Another doublet? Joseph so far has seemed to receive the best of the foretelling of Jacob.

Benjamin – will ravin as a wolf, in the morning he will devour his prey, and at night he will divide the spoils.

Jacob commands his sons to bury him in the cave of Ephron the Hittite, in the land of Canaan. This is the same cave where Abraham his grandfather is buried, as well as his father Isaac (and his wife Rebekah), and where Leah (Jacob’s first wife) was also buried.

The author deems it important to clarify to the reader that this land purchase was from the children of Heth.

Once Jacob finishes his commanding of his sons, he lays in his bed and dies.

Genesis 41: Joseph in Egypt. Pharaoh’s dream

After two years (of Joseph’s imprisonment?) Pharaoh dreams and is troubled by what he saw. He first sees 7 well fed kine (cows) come out of the river and feed in the meadow. 7 more kine came out of the river, except these ones were lean and ill favored, and they stood by the 7 healthy kine. Then the ill and lean kine at the 7 healthy kine.

He had a second dream/vision: 7 ears of corn grew on one stalk, and they were good ears. Then 7 thin ears, blasted with the “east wind” came up after them. The 7 thin ears then ate the 7 healthy ears.

  • What exactly was the “east wind”? Whatever it was it seemed to dry up corn. Was there other directional winds?
  • East is probably the most mentioned cardinal direction in Genesis.

This troubled the Pharaoh so he called for his magicians and wise men to come interpret his dreams, but no one could.

The butler from Chapter 40 suddenly remembers his dream incident and let’s the Pharaoh know that Joseph interpreted his and the baker’s dreams and the interpretations were true. Pharaoh calls for Joseph and Joseph stands in the presence of the Pharaoh:

Genesis 41:15 – And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, I have dreamed a dream, and there is none that can interpret it: and I have heard say of thee, that thou canst understand a dream to interpret it. And Joseph answered Pharaoh, saying, It is not in me: Elohim shall give Pharaoh an answer of peace.

What’s interesting here is, once again, Joseph speaks of Elohim as if Pharaoh knew who he would be talking about. There is no “Who is this Elohim?” or any other questioning by Pharaoh about who Joseph was referring to.

Will we find images, mentions, or statues of Elohim in ancient Egyptian material record? Did the Egyptians have an equivalent of Elohim in their pantheon? Did the Egyptians blame famines on one of their gods the way Joseph has attributed the famine to the choice of Elohim?

Joseph interprets Pharaoh’s dream as actions that Elohim is about to take on the land of Egypt. Seven years of plenty followed by 7 years of famine which will wipe out any of the “plenty” of the first seven years.

Joseph then leverages this by asking Pharaoh to set a wise and discreet man over Egypt to manage these 14 years so that they can survive the famine to come. This includes creating officers to oversee the plan, taking a fifth of all the plenty in the first 7 years, and storing food in the cities to help deal with the 7 year famine.

As if no one else in the Egyptian world could come up with this plan nor was there anyone wise enough in the Egyptian world to oversee and manage the upcoming 14 years, Pharaoh appoints Joseph over all the land of Egypt, and he will be so powerful that only the Pharaoh’s throne will be greater than his.

Joseph was 30 years old when this all happened. He was given the name Zaphenath-paneah (KJV footnote: translated in Coptic as “A revealer of secrets” or “The man to whom secrets are revealed”), and was given a wife named Asenath. He was arrayed in great Egyptian attire, and he would ride in the 2nd chariot of the Pharaoh.

Before the years of famine came, Joseph had two sons:

  • Manasseh – For Elohim hath made me forget all my toil, and all my father’s house
  • Ephraim – For Elohim hath caused me to be fruitful in the land of my affliction

Important to note these two sons, because their “house” plays an important role in upcoming events and prophecies. Joseph’s wife was the daughter of Potiphar, Priest of On. Quick search shows On was Heliopolis, center for worship of the Sun god Ra. Can we assume Joseph’s sons are half Egyptian? Will this affect their future and will the Bible attribute any actions on their behalf on their Egyptian blood, if so?

As Joseph interpreted, the 7 years of plenty came, and he stored innumerable amounts of corn. When the famine famished the people of Egypt, they turned to the Pharaoh who told them to turn to Joseph and follow his commands.

Genesis 41:56 – And the famine was over all the face of the earth: And Joseph opened all the storehouses, and sold unto the Egyptians; and the famine waxed sore in the land of Egypt. And all countries came into Egypt to Joseph for to buy corn; because that famine was so sore in all lands.

Verses like this abound in the Bible, and are very interesting because the word choice, today and with modern Christians, would have us believe that the ENTIRE EARTH was under famine, and that ALL COUNTRIES OF THE WORLD had to turn to Egypt to survive.

These are some very bold statements to make, and one has to really ask, is there evidence that the entire planet earth was under famine? Countries from all over the world had to come to Egypt for food? Surely this is an event that would be recorded all over the world and definitely recorded in Egypt so there should be no doubt it actually happened.

OR

For this author, and his readers, and the people of the time, “all the face of the earth” and “all countries” only meant those in the immediate areas who the author knew about? Science tells us there were people living in North and South America at the time. Does their material record or histories talk about a famine which required them ALL to sail across an ocean for food?

I know this sounds facetious but it’s a question that needs to be asked.

Because the word choice here in the Old Testament is also used in upcoming prophecies in the Old and New Testament and modern interpreters will say these prophecies are discussing the entire world when the argument could be made they were only for the geographical area known to the people at this time.

What about Joseph, is he mentioned in Egyptian hieroglyphics, oral and written traditions? Is his heroism and wisdom regarding the brutal 7 year famine put into remembrance in Egyptian culture? Does Egyptian history even mention a brutal 7 year famine?

Joseph’s wife was the daughter of Potiphar, Priest of On. Quick search shows On was Heliopolis “City of the Sun”, center for worship of the Sun god Ra. Can we assume Joseph’s sons are half Egyptian? Will this affect their future and will the Bible attribute any actions on their behalf on their Egyptian blood, if so?

We are not even given the name of this particular Pharaoh so once again, questions come up about the validity of this story if we can’t point it to a particular well recorded historical timeline of ancient Egypt.

 

 

 

Genesis 36: Esau, twin of Jacob; Lineage

The author of the Genesis at this time has dedicated a Chapter to Esau, twin brother of Jacob. It should be remembered that Esau was twice the victim of the deception of his twin, first regarding his birthright, and second regarding his father Isaac’s final blessing which was meant for the firstborn (Esau.)

Today, Esau is demonized because of the Bible’s connection to him as Edom and the Edomites. Review Genesis up to this point and I challenge you to find the wickedness in Esau, compared to the wickedness of his brother Jacob. Jehovah as a god is protecting and claiming the wicked of the two. Also a reminder that Jehovah did tell Abraham that his first born actual son Esau would grow up to be a great nation.

Verse also says Esau was the TRUE (blood) seed of Abraham but Jacob would be CALLED the seed of Abraham (after the divine impregnation of elderly Sarah) and given the favored covenant by Jehovah.

  • What does this tell you about Esau and his descendants? Once demonized always demonized? Will their future biblical actions support this treatment?

The Bible rhymes sometimes. In this Chapter we find the common theme of Esau and his brother Jacob being too rich to subsist on the same piece of land. This is no different than Abraham and Lot splitting off because both had become too big for the land they occupied. Each group left peacefully but the Bible would treat Lot and Esau much differently.

Observations about the lineage of Esau:

  • The Bible attributes the people of Esau to Mount Seir
  • The distinguished titles for the men was “Duke”

Back to verse:

Genesis 36:24 – And these are the children of Zibeon; both Aiah, and Anah: this was that Anah that found the mules in the wilderness, as he fed the asses of Zibeon his father.

The author is clarifying which Anah he is referring to, and refers to a story that he must be assuming the reader would understand. Does this story about finding mules in the wilderness have significance later? If not, something tells me we are missing a lot more history the author intended for us to understand.

If this is the case, can we even say the Bible is complete?

36:31 – And these are the kings that reigned in the land of Edom, before there reigned any king over the children of Israel

So it looks like the lineage of Esau advanced much faster than the lineage of Isaac. Of course as we read further we see why it took so long for the Israelites to obtain a king.

36:43 … these be the dukes of Edom, according to their habitations in the land of their possession: he is Esau the father of the Edomites

So they possessed the land, and the author does not say whether they possess the land by force, whether it was appointed/landmarked for them, nor does it say they were wicked or evil. A really neutral Chapter in Genesis I am going to reference multiple times in the future as the story of the Edomites continues on.

  • Who were the Edomites worshiping at this time? No mention is made
  • The authors descriptive styles of lineage and the reign of kings (aka Dukes for the Edomites) is very different from what we find in the future books of Kings.
  • The author felt Esau was still an important part of the history to dedicate a complete chapter on his lineage. I hope more detail is added in future verse.

Or, Genesis 36 is just a description of the fulfillment of Jehovah’s promise that Esau will become a great nation and that eventually Esau would break the yoke of his brother Jacob off of his neck? Could be a closing chapter for the tragic story of Esau as it related to his twin brother’s deception.

 

 

Genesis 35: Analysis of the 12 sons

Most would read through Genesis chapters 29 through 35 and say OK, they are all Jacob’s sons. I have questions though, especially after the intervention of Jehovah in Sarah’s impregnation and bearing of Isaac long after she admitted she was past child bearing years. Remember, the Bible does not say that Abraham was the one that impregnated her, impregnation was only done after Jehovah’s “visit” to her.

Was this the case in any of the children of Jacob? After all, we have the miraculous “opening of Rachel’s womb” in chapter 35. Any other miraculous child births? A quick look at the language surrounding each of the 12 considered Jacob’s sons, who the mother was, and how Jacob was attributed to each:

12 sons
Excuse the spell-check notifications, I wanted to whip this up ASAP. Also thanks to LibreOffice for the free (with a healthy voluntary donation) access to a spreadsheet program.

Again, it is ASSUMED that Jacob is the father of all, but I’m only listing exactly how the Bible words the birth of each son. Does it conclude anything? Not necessarily, but if there are patterns in the future regarding the behavior, actions, destinies, or other factors defined to particular sons, I want to make sure I’ve noted the Bible’s treatment and verbiage from the start in case there was a pattern or hint.

Observations:

  • Joseph and Benjamin were born of a mother who was once barren, so there was divine intervention to open her womb (when it was also divine intervention, according to Jacob, that closed it from the start. Genesis 30:2)
  • 4 of the 12 were born of “handmaids.” Will this affect the future of the 4 children and thus tribes? Will they be lesser? Greater? Unaffected?
  • Leah, the “hated” was the mother with the most of the 12 sons (6 of 12).
  • Rachel, who Jacob loved, was only the mother of 2 sons

Here is a listing of each 12 sons and the meaning of their names:

12 sons name def
Hopefully the font comes out ok for mobile devices. If you would like a higher quality image please let me know.

Observations regarding name meanings:

  • The Lord/Yahweh/Jehovah is attributed to the first 4 sons plus 1 latter son, 5 total
  • God/Elohim is attributed to 3 sons total.
  • 4 sons have no attribution to Elohim or Yahweh for name purposes
  • Leah understood she was the ‘hated’ or least of Jacob’s wives
  • Benjamin’s official name was Ben-oni; Verse says his father named him Benjamin
    • Will Benjamin prove to be Jacob’s right hand as indicated in the chart? Or was it a name of endearment/nickname because of the idea that he was Rachel’s last son so Jacob had to elevate the son that would grow up without his biological mother?
  • Leah (first wife of Jacob) and her sister (second wife of Jacob) show interesting patterns regarding the names of their sons:
    • Leah’s focus seems to be on Jacob, pleasing Jacob, and being accepted by Jacob
    • Rachel’s focus seems to be on herself, for example, boasting how she prevailed over her sister
      • Benjamin is the exception of course, being that she did not live to name him
      • What does this say about Leah vs Rachel? One (Rachel) was only thinking of herself, the other (Leah) was only thinking about her husband.
  • Remember that at the end of Genesis 35, Reuben lay with the Bilhah, mother of his little brothers Dan and Naphtali. Will this affect the future of this familiar structure? We will find out.

In many cultures, names are sacred and, when looked at from the future, give us a descriptive tale of what was going on in the past. It should also be remembered that in many cultures, individuals had multiple names: birth names, child names, adult names. This is why I hit the pause button and focused on Genesis 29-35 to analyze the naming of the 12 sons who will define the future 12 tribes of Israel. I’m looking for hints, clues, and patterns that might lead to a better understanding of future events that the Bible will describe. Spoiler alert: Many of these tribes will end up fighting each other and I want to know if the Bible is hinting at it from the earliest description. Only verse will tell.

 

Genesis 35 – Jacob, God, Rachel; Death of Isaac.

We have not heard from Yahweh, Jehovah, the Lord since Chapter 31. Now we hear from God aka Elohim:

Genesis 35:1 – And God said unto Jacob, Arise, go up to Beth-El, and dwell there: and make there an altar unto God, that appeared unto thee when thou fleddest from the face of Esau thy brother.

When did Jacob flee from Esau? We know initially he fled to Haran after he stole his father Isaac’s blessing from Esau. Going back to Genesis 28 we see that Jacob ended up in Beth-el where he set up an altar to God (note not the Lord/Jehovah/Yahweh). Not only that, his offering upon the altar was of oil, not of the savoury blood and flesh of pristine animals as Jehovah has demanded in the past.

We know Jehovah has been quiet for a few chapters now. Jacob receives a message from God and here’s his response to his children:

35:2 – Then Jacob said unto his household, and to all that were with him, Put away the strange gods that are among you, and be clean, and change your garments: And let us arise, and go up to Beth-el; and I will make there an altar unto God, who answered me in the day of my distress, and was with me in the way which I went. And they gave unto Jacob all the strange gods which were in their hand, and all their earrings which were in their ears; and Jacob hid them under the oak which was by Shechem.

Interesting observation: Jacob didn’t destroy these strange gods, HE HID THEM. Why just hide? So that when God was out of the picture they could bring them out of hiding?

I would like to know, just WHAT were these strange ‘gods’? Figurines? Idols? Carvings? Do they exist in the material record of these Middle Eastern people? Note that these strange gods were “in their hands”. Something they carried around constantly in their hands? Rings?

Jacob’s people journey to Beth-el, along the way the nations surrounding him were terrorized by God, so that no one bothered him and his people. Jacob builds an altar in Luz aka Beth-El in the land of Canaan. God appears to Jacob again and tells him that he will no longer be called Jacob, but now Israel.

Interesting that we now have TWO separate stories where Jacob is told his name will change to Israel. First a “man” who wrestles him tells him, and now God who appears to him out of Paddan-Aram tells him. Note that despite the command of the man he wrestled that he would be called Israel, he is continued to be called Jacob up to this point. Consistency? Not in this story.

Important: We are now dealing with Elohim aka God. Note what Jacob does in verse 14 and compare it to the rules of Yahweh, Jehovah, aka the Lord in previous verse:

Genesis 35:14 – And Jacob set up a pillar in the place where talked with him (God), even a pillar of stone: and he poured a drink offering thereon, and he poured oil thereon.

His offerings were not of sheep, flock, blood, or rams; his offering was of drink and oil. How different is this from the requisites of Jehovah/Yahweh/the Lord?

Can we see the differentiation between the Lord and God yet? It’s a subtle notion in the Bible but it becomes increasingly clear. Remind yourself of the offering that Melchizedek gave when he thanked God Most High for Abraham’s victory and the return of his riches. Not an offering of an animal sacrifice, but an offering of bread and wine.

Back to the story: Jacob had to have his household “clean house” because God entered the picture. AKA get rid of those strange gods and hide them because God is here, has just instructed us, and is helping us along our journey.

Rachel, who’s midwife Deborah has just recently passed away, dies upon giving birth to Benjamin, the youngest of the 12 children.

35:19 – And Rachel died, and was buried in the way to Ephrath, which is Beth-lehem. And Jacob set a pillar upon her grave: that is the pillar of Rachel’s grave unto this day. And Israel journeyed, and spread his tent beyond the tower of Edar.

The subjects of the writers intentions were supposed to know two specifics from this verse:

  1. The location of the pillar that signified Rachel’s grave
    1. It was “there to this day”
  2. The location of the Tower of Edar

Are these two spots available to locate today? If the answer is no, what does that tell us about these stories? That the authors intended audience would know where Rachel’s grave and the Tower of Edar were; not for an audience in the future, but an audience at the time.

In a very disturbing turn of events, Reuben, (Jacob and Rachel’s firstborn), lays with Bilhah, his father Jacob’s concubine. Bilhah was the mother of Reuben’s brothers Dan and Naphtali. In a sort of “ok it happened but let’s move on” the author brings up this odd event so:

35:22 – And it came to pass, when Israel dwelt in that land, that Reuben went and lay with Bilhah his father’s concubine: and Israel heard it. Now the sons of Jacob were twelve: (continue on to list all 12).

Reuben lay with his brother’s Dan and Naphtali’s mother, his stepmom, and it’s just mentioned in passing by the author. No consequence noted, nor is it mentioned if there was child involved.

Isaac passes away and is buried by his sons Esau and Jacob.

 

 

 

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 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 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).