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Genesis 12-36 #2018BibleRBR

RoofBeamReader

I'm doing this chronologically my posts will be grouped a little differently than a weekly check-in posts that Adam is doing on RBR.  I'm starting off with Genesis 1-11 and then chronologically the story moves to Job.  We are now back in Genesis and this post will cover everything up until the story of Joseph.

As I mentioned in the first Genesis post this book of the bible is broken down into four parts:
The Book of Gensis is divided as follows:
1. The Primeval History (1-11)
2. The Patriarch Abraham (12-25:18)
3. The Patriarchs Isaac and Jacob (25:19 - 36)

4. Joseph and His Brothers (37-50)
Chronologically after the Primeval History is the story of Job and then we can cover the life of Abraham through to the end of Genesis.

The Patriarch Abraham

Abraham, whose name was originally Abram, is an important figure for three major world religions: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Abraham is regarded as the great example of faith in God.
I feel like this is very important to keep in mind when reading this chunk of Genesis. Not only does is prove that these three religions share a common genesis, but it also shows how important this chunk of stories are for the foundation of a lot of the rest of the Bible stories.  Pervisiouly I mentioned that a lot of these chapters are just lists of descendants, and the purpose is to link these major figures. Prior to this point, it's to show Abraham's connection to the start, but from here on out, it's about showing connections to Abraham and the creation of Twelve Tribes of Israel, and a line to Jesus.

If you've read The Handmaid's Tale or watched the Hulu show, you know that the ceremony involves a reading from the bible.  Really, the whole concept of the handmaids, it was taken from the Bible.  It is from this section of Genesis and is directly related to Abraham and his wife Sarah. Sarah cannot have children so she tells her husband to sleep with her handmaid and they will raise that child as their own. This may seem shocking and unreal, but at the time this was all lawful.

Some other interesting stories from this section of Genesis:

  • Covenant of Circumcision
    • God tells Abraham that he and Sarah will have a child of their own, but first, he and all the males in his family group must be circumcised. 
  • The Destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah
    • God needs these cities destroyed because the men have basically become animals. 
  • Abraham Sacrifices Isaac
    • God tells Abraham to kill his beloved son, the one he had to be circumcised to get, and Abraham is like okay. Thankfully it was just a test and God stopped him in time, but really?!?!
I finished this section and was left with the feeling of men are stupid. That said, at the time, these stories would have been powerful teaching tools.  Especially, Sodom and Gomorrah and the Sacrifice of Isaac.
Here's what my Bible has to say about these two stories:
The story of Sodom and Gomorrah shows us the results of disrespect, inhospitality, and the attempted abuse of strangers. Like Abraham, Lot is a wonderful host. But the people of Sodom want Lot's visitors for their own sexual pleasure.
To us it seems horrible that God would ask Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac. But this story is meant to be a sign of Abraham's complete trust in God. Ultimately, God prevented the sacrifice because God wanted not Isaac's death but Abraham's faith. Because of his willingness to repsond to God's demand, Abraham is recognized as the father of our faity. 
These are the lessons that the author(s) of these stories were hoping people would learn but this over the top stories. 


The Patriarchs Isaac and Jacob

This section is full of Sibling Rivalry.

First, it's Isaac's "twin" sons Esau and Jacob.  Esau being first born was his father's favorite, while Jacob was his mother's favorite.  You get the feeling that Jacob really dislikes being the second born, so he tricks his brother into giving over his birthright.
Birthright: the privilege that entitled the first-born son to a position of honor in the family and to a double share in the posessions inherited from the father.
Then when Isaac is dying he wishes to bestow on his eldest a blessing.  Rebekah, is like nope that should be Jacob's blessing cause he's my favorite. So she helps Jacob trick Isaac to steal Esau's blessing.  Poor Esau.

So this is all a set up for a lesson. Jacob's been a jerk we can all agree on that, but he needs to be seen as one for the lesson of this story. Jacob leaves home to find a wife, on his journey God forms a friendship with him and Jacob is greatly rewarded. He's riding high at this point. He's got the birthright, he's got the blessing, got a friendship with God, he's got a good deal with his uncle and he's married to his uncle's daughters.  Life is good.

Boom! Life lesson. Jacob learns that his uncle is deceiving him. Jacob realizes he was a jerk to his brother because now it's coming back to him. He's being treated in a similar way and it's not so great to deceive someone. This experience drives Jacob back home to confront his brother. He's shocked when Esau welcomes him home with open arms. Another lesson learned: forgiveness is freeing.

So I mentioned that Jacob was married to two sisters.  This was also an interesting story.  So Jacob's uncle tricks him into marrying his eldest daughter over his younger daughter, the one Jacob really wanted.  Jacob gets angry and his uncle was like work for me longer and you can marry her too, so Jacob does and marries both of them.  So Jacob dotes on Rachel and Leah is all upset, so God gives her a kid. Rachel gets upset because she can't have kids and gives Jacob her handmaid to have a kid for her. Then things start to snowball. These women keep trying to outdue each other and thier kids are given names to show this dispute. I feel sorry for the kids.

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