Genesis 31 – Conflict between Jacob & Laban

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It wasn’t Jacob? It was God’s doing?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

7. Gad – “Fortunate!”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Genesis 27 – The deception of Isaac’s Blessing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The great lie:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

Genesis 26 – Famine! Incest?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Suddenly we jump to Esau:

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

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

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

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

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

Genesis 25 – The Birthright

Jacob was boiling pottage, when his twin brother Esau comes in from the field, faint from most likely hunger:

Genesis 25:30 – And Esau said to Jacob, Feed me, I pray thee, with that same RED pottage; for I am faint: therefore was his name called Edom. And Jacob said, Sell me first thy birthright. And Esaus said, Behold, I am about to die: and what profit shall the birthright do to me? And Jacob said, Swear to me first; and he sware unto him, and he sold his birthright unto Jacob.

So just what was this birthright to? Usually a birthright deals with some sort of subject of the right. Was it the birthright of being the eldest? The birthright of being born of Isaac and Rebekah?

When a man starves to the point of death, do you put conditions on feeding him? If they are your brother? A stranger? An enemy? Is that a Christian thing to do? Especially, in this case, a condition of giving away what sounds like a very sacred concept or ideal. I think most people who have been at the brink of starvation or thirst would give just about anything for a meal or a drink of water. Was this a just and right action by Jacob? How will Jacob be treated for this act?

Up until this point, the Bible has not mentioned any sort of evil doing by Esau. So why is he treated so?

Esau Jacob pottage
Esau’s hunger is satiated and death is avoided, but at the cost of his birthright as demanded by his own twin brother Jacob. The shit eating grin of Jacob in this rendition and the goofiness of a starving Esau. Again, at this point, what has Esau done to deserve this treatment?

Another note of interest, we have a man born red, requesting “that same” red pottage to eat or he would die. Just what was this red pottage? And if it was “that same” then both parties knew exactly what it was at the time. Was it something Esau needed to eat to survive, specifically different from other foods? A medicine? I can’t think of an example in modern times where a certain colored food would be needed for someone of that same color not to die, I just thought it was interesting that the color red is involved in both cases.

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Anthropological insight:

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

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

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

 

Genesis 23 – Sarah dies; Genesis 24 – Rebekah for Isaac

Genesis 23 – Sarah dies at the age of 127 years in Hebron, in the land of Canaan, among the children of Heth. Abraham pleads to the people in whose land he lives, for a burial site for his wife, and the children of Heth offer him any sepulcher of his choice, because he is a “prince of God” living among them. In a peaceful exchange of land and silver, Abraham deals with Ephron the Hittite; Abraham asked for a cave at the end of a field owned by Ephron, and Ephron offered the cave AND the field for Abraham. It was all witnessed by the children of Heth and justified and done.

Another instance where a foreign group “blesses” or treats Abram with respect. What will the future hold for the children of Heth or Ephron the Hittite? We’ve seen the maltreatment of the Pharaoh and Abimelech who treated Abraham well.

Genesis 24 – Abraham is old but well blessed by Jehovah. He makes his senior servant/slave swear a promise that Isaac will not be married to a Canaanite, those who took him in all these years, but he will take a wife from his kin, his family. The only thing that would break this vow is if the woman refuses to come with the servant, which would break his obligation with the oath. However, Abraham sternly warns not to bring Isaac back to this land for a wife. The servant packs his things and heads to Mesopotamia, the city of Nahor.

In an interesting scenario where the supplicant of prayer sets the rules, the servant prays to Jehovah, the God of his master, to have a damsel who offers him water at his request, be the chosen wife for Isaac, as he stands by a well in Nahor.

Before he could finish his words, Rebekah, the daughter of Bethuel, the son of Milcah and Nahor (Abraham’s brother) appears. Rebekah = Abraham’s grand niece. The servant, realizing his prayer was being answered, inquires to Rebekah on her lineage, and inquires on lodging with her family for the night. Rebekah affirms, and the servant worships Jehovah:

Genesis 24:26 – And the man bowed his head, and worshiped Jehovah. And he said, Blessed be Jehovah, the God of my master Abraham, who hath not forsaken his lovingkindness and his truth toward my master: as for me, Jehovah hath led me in the way to the house of my master’s brethren.

Why is Jehovah not the god of the servant? Does he have his own god? He obviously recognizes the presence of Jehovah, so he is not godless in his knowledge. He doesn’t call Jehovah his own god yet he proclaims it’s Jehovah that led him to this successful trip. In other words, he acknowledges a god without claiming this god as his own, and fire and brimstone did not rain down upon him. So it was ok for the servant to worship Jehovah, who guided him through his mission, but still not acknowledge it was HIS god.

This puts a different spin on the word “worship”. Apparently you can worship (in this story the meaning gets redefined) a god that is not your own, because the actions of the god were good. In other words, a form of thanks. This can redefine the concept of worship from this point on when worship is mentioned in the bible.

After finishing Genesis 24 I have to ask: Just how old was Rebekah?

The servant (why is he not given a name, are slaves not worthy of names?) meets with the family of Rebekah and retells the tale.

24:47 – … and I put the ring upon her nose, and the bracelets upon her hands.

We know from verse 24:22 that the ring and bracelets were made of gold, but when I read this I thought, why would be put a ring on her nose? Then I thought of the nose ring they put through bulls. Bracelets upon her hands…. handcuffs? Did this servant, in a ritual of claiming a young virgin for his servant, ritually “claim” Rebekah with a gold nose ring and handcuffs? Don’t bracelets usually go on a person’s wrist?

The servant wishes to return in haste to Abraham, the family want’s Rebekah to stay with them for 10 days, but in the end they leave it to Rebekah and she decides to go with the servant. In the meantime, Isaac is dwelling in the land of the south:

24:63 And Isaac went out to meditate in the field at eventide: and he lifted up his eyes and saw, and behold, there were camels coming. And Rebekah lifted up her eyes, and when she saw Isaac, she alighted from the camel. And she said unto the servant, What man is this that walketh in the field to meet us? And the servant said, It is my master: and she took her veil, and covered herself.

Rebekah meets Isaac
A Disney like rendition of the meeting of Rebekah with Isaac. Rebekah looks somewhat mature here, culturally speaking, just how young were brides chosen in this culture?

Two interesting culture concepts here:

  • Isaac is meditating… is this equivalent to prayer? Rest? This is the first mention of meditation. It doesn’t say he is meditating unto Jehovah, or God. It’d be nice to know the details of this meditation.
  • Rebekah veils herself upon meeting Isaac. Is a woman veiling herself an act of piety or humility? Is this tradition carried on today?
    • To skip forward, it is mentioned, in the New Testament, that woman cover themselves to keep the Angels from seeing their beauty, in a reference to Genesis 6 when the Angels saw that the daughters of men were beautiful and impregnated them, resulting in giants/Nephilim. Did Rebekah cover her face thinking Isaac could be one of these Angels? After all, he was conceived through Jehovah’s actions with the elderly Sarah.

In a nod to the beauty of a man and woman in union, it is noted that with Rebekah as his wife, Isaac was comforted after his mother Sarah’s death.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Genesis 21 – Sarah conceives, Hagar flees, Abraham & Abimelech make peace

Fulfilling his promise:

Genesis 21:1 – And Jehovah visited Sarah as he had said, and Jehovah did unto Sarah as he had spoken. And Sarah conceived, and bare Abraham a son in his old age, at the set time of which God had spoken to him.

What exactly did he “do unto Sarah”? Note that it is due to Jehovah’s “visit” to Sarah, and not the knowing of Sarah by Abraham that caused this conception. Sure enough it sounds like a recreation of the events in Genesis 6, when a heavenly being impregnates a “daughter of man”. We also know that the children of this union became “mighty men, men of renown” and eventually wicked and wiped out by the Flood in those days.

So is this child Abraham’s seed if Abraham didn’t contribute, physically, to the child’s conception? The child’s name was Isaac, he was circumcised after 8 days, and they held a great feast on the day he was weaned. The mother of the half Egyptian son of Abraham (truly Abraham’s seed for we know he impregnated Hagar), was seen to be mocking at the feast. Sarah asks Abraham to throw her and Abraham’s son out and that the child should not be a heir with Isaac. God comforted Abraham’s grief over this, promising that his son of Hagar will make a nation, and that he should listen to Sarah’s wishes.

21:12 –  …. for in Isaac shall thy seed be CALLED. And also of the son of the handmaid I will make a nation, because he is thy seed.

Notice the verbiage, Isaac will be CALLED his seed (though he isn’t, aka “we will call him your seed”) and God verifies that the son of Hagar is indeed his seed.

Abraham, with all the riches of gold, silver, cattle, handmaids and servants, wakes up the next day, gives Hagar some bread and a bottle of water, and sends her on her way where she wanders the wilderness of Beer-Sheba. After the bottle of water runs out, and seemingly without hope, she places the child under a bush and distances herself so that she can not witness the death of her child.

hagar child
With nothing but some bread and a bottle of water, Hagar is cast into the wilderness where the grace of God comes upon her and saves her and her child, the seed of Abraham.

The cries of the child and the cries of Hagar rise up to God, and the angel of God tells Hagar to get up and hold the child, because he will be a great nation. God opened her eyes to see a water well, where she was able to fill her bottle and give the water to her child. God was with the child as he grew, he became a great archer who dwelt in the wilderness of Paran, and eventually married one of his mother’s kin, an Egyptian.

Jehovah tells Abraham the covenant is for him and his seed (the child CALLED his seed or his actual seed?) After this Book I’m starting to see a different picture.

  • Jehovah + Sarah (whatever happened when he visited her) = Isaac who God says is CALLED Abraham’s seed
  • Abraham + Hagar = Unnamed at this point but who God says IS Abraham’s seed
  • Abraham is starting to look more like a surrogate/earthly father for the child of heavenly Jehovah and earthly Sarah
    • Can it be denied that the Bible did not say Abraham conceived with Sarah?
  • Both children are promised greatness, but it is the child of Sarah by Jehovah’s actions that is promised the covenant. If Jehovah was the “father” of Isaac, then he is protecting his own child.

As outrageous as that sounds, it is what I am reading. Is this so outrageous after understanding what happened in Genesis 6 when beings from heaven mated with females on earth? Remember, there were giants/Nephilim in those days AND after, as verse mentions. Was this heavenly being/earthly female propagation continuing after the flood?

In what really should be a separate book, Book 21 ends with a peace treaty between Abraham and Abimelech in the land of Philistines where Abraham sojourned for many days.