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 44: Brothers return and face Joseph again; Translations!

Joseph commanded that the brother’s sacks be filled with food, and once again the money be put back into the sacks. This time, however, he tells them to put a silver cup into Benjamin’s sack and the brothers are sent off.

After they had traveled a bit, Joseph tells his stewards to catch up with them, and accuse them of theft.

Genesis 44:5 – Is not this it in which my lord drinketh, and whereby indeed he divineth? ye have done evil in so doing.

Joseph is trying to give the impression to the brothers that he was able to divine the theft of the cup “which he drinketh”. The brothers vow no evil was done, and that there was no reason to steal from Joseph considering the money they intended to pay for the food was put back into their sacks. They also agree that whoever did steal the silver cup, would become a servant, and the others blameless.

Of course, the cup was found in Benjamin’s sack, so the brothers return to Joseph in Egypt to explain the situation. They explain to Joseph that there really is no explanation or way to clear themselves. They offer themselves up as servants, including the one with the cup in his sack.

44:17 – And he (Joseph) said, God forbid that I should do so…

Reason I point this verse out is because in the interlinear Hebrew translation, the “God” in this verse is not found, instead it is translated as “far be it from that I should do so”. Why throw God in there when in the original language there is no mention of God? Is this an example of man’s interference in Old Testament translation? Notice that none of the previously mentioned god names are found in the Hebrew text:

god forbid

Note the various translations among the different Bible versions:

god forbid versions

 

The only version that translates it as “God forbid” is the KJV. All others leave it out. Why is the KJV translator putting the word “God” into a verse it doesn’t belong? Also, are all these translations saying the same exact thing? I don’t think so:

  • “the man who was found to have the cup” is NOT the same as “the man who stole the cup”
  • “Far be it from me to do such a thing” is NOT the same as “I swear that I will not do this”

Now take such a distinction in meaning and translation and apply it to the entire Bible and every single verse and suddenly it becomes clear why people just can’t agree on what the Bible says (though they are 100% sure that their translation is the correct one.)

Back to the story, Judah asks for permission to speak to Joseph, and goes over the story of the first visit, the conditions they were given if they ever came back, the distress it all caused their father Jacob, and the distress that their current predicament would put on their father, “sorrow to the grave”. Judah begs for Joseph to let Benjamin go and return to his father, and Judah will take his place as servant. The more I look into this the more I realize that it’s not that Judah is concerned about his father’s distress, but that it all falls upon Judah himself.

44:34 – For how shall I go up to my father, and the lad be not with me? lest peradventure I see the evil that shall come on my father.

Interesting insight into the reasoning for Judah to offer himself up in Benjamin’s place.

 

Genesis 34 – Dinah and Shechem, genocide of the Hivite males

Shechem the son of Hamor the Hivite defiles Jacob’s daughter from Leah, Dinah, and he falls in love with her. Shechem asks his father Hamor to go through the steps to make Dinah his wife. Hamor the father communed with Jacob the father in this matter, Jacob knowing his daughter was defiled but keeping it from his 12 sons.

Genesis 34:7 – And the sons of Jacob came out of the field when they heard it: and the men were grieved, and they were very wroth, because he had wrought folly in Israel in lying with Jacob’s daughter; which thing ought not to be done.

Observations:

  • The concept of Israel not being solely Jacob, but Israel being the collective group that differentiates itself from outsiders, in this case the Hivites.
  • Jacob’s sons at this point were “men”, not just children
  • A man has defiled a daughter and the writer insists this is a thing “which thing ought not to be done”. Fair enough. Will it happen again? Will the guilty parties be one of the twelve sons of Jacob, or related? The fact the writer noted an absolute statement, let’s see if it holds up in future verse.
  • The cultural concept of a communing in regards to a man/woman marriage is described in some detail. Father communes with father and a bargain or agreement is created.

Hamor, in bargaining for Dinah’s marriage to his son Shechem, offers all to Jacob, as long as he can arrange the marriage. Jacob’s sons, still angry:

34:13 – And the sons of Jacob answered Shechem and Hamor his father deceitfully, and said, because he had defiled Dinah their sister: And they said unto them, We cannot do this thing; for that were a reproach unto us: But in this will we consent to you: If ye will be as we, that every male of you be circumcised; Then we will give our daughters unto you, and we will take your daughters to us, and we will dwell with you, and we will become one people.

Interesting that it’s the sons, not Jacob, that lay the groundwork for a gentleman’s agreement. Hamor and his son approve of this agreement, but, we soon find out that Jacob’s sons didn’t plan on keeping this arrangement. Hamor and his son were quite serious about it however, as they pleaded to their people to honor the arrangement:

34:20 – And Hamor and Shechem his son came unto the gate of their city, and communed with the men of their city, saying, These men are peaceable with us; therefore let them dwell in the land, and trade therein; for the land, behold, it is large enough for them; let us take their daughters to us for wives, and let us give them our daughters. Only herein will the men consent unto us for to dwell with us, to be one people, if every male among us be circumcised, as they are circumcised.

In another what seems like a logical step stemming from an affront of defiling a man’s daughter, Hamor and Shechem plead to their people to accept this arrangement with an egalitarian view that they all become one people. The Hivites accept, and all men become circumcised as per the arrangement.

On the 3rd day, Simeon and Levi, two of Jacob’s sons, then slew all the male Hivites in the city, despite the “consent” and agreement they made with the Hivites. This includes the slaying of Hamor and Shechem and taking spoils of the entire city. Wives and children were taken captive.

Jacob is displeased with their actions, but the brothers defend themselves by alluding to the fact that their sister was defiled.

Observations:

  • No mention whether the original agreement was falsely claimed by the 12 sons, though by Simeon and Levi’s actions that seemed to be the case.
  • As terrible as the defilement of Dinah was, the Hivites offered their entirety to Jacob and his sons and his people in what might be assumed as a penance to affront of defilement.
    • No mention of what Dinah thought of the whole situation, almost as if she did not have a voice, nor was it important.
    • Another clue to the role of women in this biblical culture
  • Israel is used as a term in this chapter to describe the collective group, not just Jacob which is what the mandate was in Chapter 32.
  • The sons come off as renegades, endangering their father and their collective, and breaking an agreement they made with those who were ready to make great changes to their way of life to accept Jacob and his people as equal.
  • No mention of the meddling hand of Jehovah AND
    • 34 chapters into Genesis, plenty of wickedness and deceit, but none of it has been equated with the Devil/Satan.
    • All actions up to this point can be attributed to simple human nature, good and bad. Nowadays we blame the bad on the Devil. Was this the case at this time in Biblical history?

In summary, while we might equate “defilement” with rape, we also need to understand that the culture of these peoples was much different than ours 2000+ years later. While the actions of Shemech would anger any father/brother, the consequential agreement and violation of that agreement would also be a defilement of mans ability to negotiate with his fellow man. Jacob’s two sons put their father in a serious bind, one which Jacob acknowledges threatens their entire collective.

 

Genesis 33 – Jacob meets his twin Esau

In a story that really points to simple human nature, the meeting between twin brothers Jacob and Esau does not induce war, but an emotional reunion where both wept and Esau “fell on his brothers neck”. Interestingly, the writer continues to call Jacob by his original name, and not by Israel as was instructed to him in Chapter 32.

Esau meets his sisters in law, his nieces and nephews, and the gift Jacob brought to him. Esau seems to be doing well, as he acknowledges he “has enough” and asks Jacob to keep the gift of cattle and livestock.

In another show of simple human nature, Jacob seems extremely relieved that the worst case scenario didn’t occur, equating the greatness of seeing Esau as seeing the face of God:

Genesis 33:11 – And Jacob said, Nay, I pray thee, if now I have found grace in thy sight, then receive my present at hand: for therefore I have seen thy face, as though I had seen the face of God, and thou wast pleased with me.

Esau accepts the gift from Jacob. It seems the destination both were headed to was Seir, however Jacob wished to move slowly, so Esau offers to leave people behind with Jacob while they proceed. The writer then describes Jacob’s creation of the placed called Succoth, his travels to Paddan-aram which led him to Shalem, a city of Shechem in the land of Canaan, and the purchase of land and an erection of an altar called El-elohe-Israel.

Thoughts from this Chapter:

  • In this chapter Esau and Jacob seem to be well off, if not actually equally rich and prosperous. Neither needing the assistance of the other. Note there is no presence of Jehovah indicated.
  • Jacob seems to show a conscience of humility, knowing he did wicked to his brother in the past, he feared the potential encounter, despite Jehovah’s promises to him. To the point, Jacob called himself a “servant” to Esau.
  • Flashback to Chapter 32:11 – (Jacob to Jehovah) Deliver me, I pray thee, from the hand of Esau: for I fear him, lest he will come and smite me, and the mother with the children.
    • Either Esau’s intention was NOT to raise a hand to his brother when they met OR
    • Jehovah answered Jacob’s prayer and kept his brother from smiting him.
      • Will this question be answered in upcoming Chapters? OR
      • Can we conclude Esau, despite being wronged by his own twin brother, shared the same compassion and bonding many of us do today, many also wronged by their own family but having compassion and forgiveness in our hearts?
      • Nowhere is it mentioned that Esau had this intention nor did he insinuate an attack and the hand of Jehovah prevented it.

I think the conclusion is logical: Esau was just happy to see his twin brother and his family, regardless of the past. Sound familiar?

Genesis 32… one more try

Back to grinding away at the Bible verse by verse. It’s good to be back. For reference, from this point on I will be covering the King James Version.

Jacob and Esau plan to meet. Jacob, knowing his treatment of his own brother was wicked, fears the worst. He prepares riches to give to his twin, and out of fear, splits his army into two groups, so that if Esau has intentions of war, at least one group of his will survive.

Jacob then prays to Jehovah, admitting he is not deserving of mercy and reminding Jehovah of the promise he made to him, in the hopes that Esau will not destroy his people:

Genesis 32:10 – I am not worthy of the least of all the mercies, and of all the truth, which thou hast shewed unto thy servant. (his words to Jehovah)

Jacob splits his two groups, sends one on their way with gifts of cattle and livestock, hoping to appease his brother.

In an odd scenario, Jacob finds himself alone after crossing the Jabbok ford, wrestling a man until sunrise:

32:24 – And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day. And when he saw that he prevailed not against him, he touched the hollow of his thigh; and the hollow of Jacob’s thigh was out of joint, as he wrestled with him.

Jacob wrestling
In this portrayal the “man” wrestling Jacob is a winged angel. So who or what did Jacob wrestle? KJV does not say angel, but a quick online search shows many translations saying he wrestled God or an Angel, not just a regular man. Biblehub.com Intralineal shows the correct translation as “man”. Mystery remains.

This man has dislocated Jacob’s leg/hip, but neither prevails over the other. In another instance of a name change (signifying a change in the narrative of the people), the man tells Jacob he will no longer be called Jacob, but Israel.

Jacob in return asks the man for his name, the man replying, in other words, “who are you to ask me of my name?”

32:31 – And as he passed over Penuel the sun rose upon him, and he halted upon his thigh. Therefore the children of Israel eat not of the sinew which shrank, which is upon the hollow of the thigh, unto this day: because he touched the hollow of Jacob’s thigh in the sinew that shrank.

Questions gathered from this Chapter:

  • Who was the man Jacob wrestled? An angel? Jehovah? A regular man?
  • What is the significance of “wrestling” in this culture?
  • Some have assumed this was “God” Jehovah testing Jacob… if so, why the need to test? If God is all knowing and all powerful, wouldn’t he know without having to test Jacob? The “test” theory, while fits the scene, doesn’t fit the God scenario.
  • What is the “sinew which shrank”? In this case it is referring to Jacob’s thigh, and we are told that the children of Israel do not eat of it because of this incident. Do not eat of it where? In animals? In humans?

A lot of unanswered questions in this Chapter, the author writes this seemingly knowing that whoever is reading it is contemporary, i.e. “…to this day” so people of that era would definitely know the context. More research needed, however, we do have more examples of the anthropological concept of explaining place names (Penuel/Peniel) and cultural customs (Israelites not eating the sinew that shrank).

 

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 they 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
Enter a caption

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?

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?