Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Genesis: Chapters 21-25

I have clearly misunderstood the age cap, as plenty of people are still living over 120-but not by much! Maybe 120 was supposed to be the new average?

The parts following Issac's birth have always really bothered me, and I'm not sure I can be funny about them. First, poor Hagar and Ishmael! Now that Abraham has a new son, they have no leverage whatsoever. Sarah demands that they be kicked out into the desert to fend for themselves, which naturally upsets Abraham. He asks God for advice, and God tells him to...listen to his wife. What follows is a heartbreaking scene; after running out of water and wandering destitute, Hagar weeps and walks away from her son because she cannot bear to watch him die of thirst. In a typical wait-until-the-last-second move, it is only now that an angel of the Lord appears, and of course scolds Hagar for worrying before saving them.

Next, in what may be the most dickish psych-out imaginable, God tells Abraham to sacrifice Issac, and I've gotta say Abraham certainly puts up less of a fight than I remember. Everything about this story I find repugnant. First of all, it is wrong to test people you love; it destroys trust and promotes paranoia. Second...okay, there are some people I love more than others. For example, I love my boyfriend more than I love my second-grade math student. However, if he seriously asked me to kill her to prove it, that would change IMMEDIATELY. Third, when we abandon critical thinking in favor of blind obedience we surrender our moral integrity and basically turn ourselves into three year olds. What is the point of free will and higher intelligence if we are not going to use it? Fourth...why does God even need to test Abraham? Isn't he OMNIPOTENT? Is he doing it for Abraham's sake? Thanks but no thanks, God!

Fifth, this:

Because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son...I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heavens...

YOU ALREADY PROMISED THIS! Not to be anachronistic, but JESUS, God, what the hell? You promise it, and then demand sacrifices and promise it again, and then demand dozens of penis tips and promise it again, and now THIS? This is taking fine print to a whole new level.

Many years later, Abraham is too old to get a wife for his son personally, which is what happens when you are a hundred years older than said son, so he gets his most trusted slave to swear to do it for him. In order to do this, he must place his hand under Abraham's thigh; working for Abraham just gets better and better.

Abraham's servant journeys far and wide to find a bride for Issac, and finally sets down by a well and decides to pick the first girl who offers to get him a drink. The lucky girl comes along the moment the thought enters his head, and she turns out to be...Rebekah, Issac's first cousin once removed. To be fair, this may be the least incestuous union yet. Abraham's servant gives her many gifts, including a NOSE RING, guys. Turns out this is a classy article!

Next, best pregnancy story ever! Rebekah conceives twins after God fixes her infertility (fixing infertility seems to be God's favorite parlor trick). The pregnancy is a very difficult one, because "Two nations are in thy womb, and two peoples shall be separated from thy bowels."

These twins are fighting IN THE WOMB. Fantastic! When they are born, Jacob comes out second because he has a death grip on Esau's heel. That is some Breaking Dawn shit right there, my friends.

So Issac loves Esau best, but Rebekah loves Jacob. So far a lot of Genesis can be viewed as a cautionary tale about the dangers of blatant favoritism, and wow, is this story no exception. The chapter ends with an account of Esau getting back from the (presumably unsuccessful) hunt and is starving. Jacob decides to take advantage of this by refusing to give him any food unless Esau relinquishes his birthright! Cold move, Jacob. To be fair, is Esau really in danger of starving to death, or is he just kind of an idiot? Impossible to say! Stay tuned, the struggles between Jacob and Esau are far from over.


  1. I am very much enjoying reading this. I almost wish I'd had this idea first, but its probably more fun to read your blog than to actually read the bible and write about it myself.

  2. Where does it say in the Bible that God is omnipotent? Or is this one of those things that comes from somewhere else like all that junk about the devil? Also, does it talk about free will much?

    Hilarious lines:

    "...then demand dozens of penis tips..."

    "In order to do this, he must place his hand under Abraham's thigh; working for Abraham just gets better and better."

  3. So far I have seen no evidence that God is omnipotent; maybe it is one of those things that gets added in New Testament, like the notion that God loves everyone.

  4. I've always hated the Abraham and Isaac story too. God comes off so insecure. He makes himself hard to love. But I guess we are still pretty early in the Bible, so maybe he is still figuring out this whole being-a-deity thing.

    A lot of the other stories I don't know at all, because they were not episodes of Xena. So thank you for telling them! :)

  5. I totally forgot that that was an episode of Xena! With the Ishmael stand-in played by Dr. Leonard 'Bones' McCoy, much to my endless amusement.

  6. <3 dr. leonard 'bones' mccoy

    Wow, good remembering. I forgot that role. I knew he was in a lot of episodes of Xena, playing Julius Caesar and Hot Cupid.