Map of life expectancy at birth from Global Education Project.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Sunday Sermonette: Ill-gotten Gains

Genesis 13:

So Abram went up from Egypt to the Negev, with his wife and everything he had, and Lot went with him. Abram had become very wealthy in livestock and in silver and gold.

Yeah, which he got by pimping out his wife to Pharaoh. 

From the Negev he went from place to place until he came to Bethel, to the place between Bethel and Ai where his tent had been earlier and where he had first built an altar. There Abram called on the name of the Lord.
Now Lot, who was moving about with Abram, also had flocks and herds and tents. But the land could not support them while they stayed together, for their possessions were so great that they were not able to stay together. And quarreling arose between Abram’s herders and Lot’s. The Canaanites and Perizzites were also living in the land at that time.

No telling how Lot got his loot. As for the Canaanites, you may recall that God cursed them to be forever slaves. Curses seems inoperative.
So Abram said to Lot, “Let’s not have any quarreling between you and me, or between your herders and mine, for we are close relatives. Is not the whole land before you? Let’s part company. If you go to the left, I’ll go to the right; if you go to the right, I’ll go to the left.”
10 Lot looked around and saw that the whole plain of the Jordan toward Zoar was well watered, like the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt. (This was before the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah.) 11 So Lot chose for himself the whole plain of the Jordan and set out toward the east. The two men parted company: 12 Abram lived in the land of Canaan, while Lot lived among the cities of the plain and pitched his tents near Sodom. 

Spoiler alert! Sodom and Gomorrah are going to be destroyed! Why are we getting this info now? Probably because the reader might know that the plain of Jordan toward Zoar, on the southwest edge of the Dead Sea, is arid scrubland.

13 Now the people of Sodom were wicked and were sinning greatly against the Lord.

Again, this seems out of context. We aren't actually told what their wickedness was, but Christians generally assume that it was homosexuality, for some reason.

14 The Lord said to Abram after Lot had parted from him, “Look around from where you are, to the north and south, to the east and west. 15 All the land that you see I will give to you and your offspring forever. 16 I will make your offspring like the dust of the earth, so that if anyone could count the dust, then your offspring could be counted. 17 Go, walk through the length and breadth of the land, for I am giving it to you.” 18 So Abram went to live near the great trees of Mamre at Hebron, where he pitched his tents. There he built an altar to the Lord.

Well, as it turns out God won't exactly keep his promise. The area was ruled by the Canaanites; if Abram really was there, it was as a nomadic herder, not as possessor of the territory. And of course, as we will see, his descendants are kicked out and Joshua later reconquers the territory. Even that turns out to be temporary. Today, Hebron is a Muslim Arab city, in Palestine. And there are probably more motes of dust in my living room than all the humans who have ever lived. But we'll take that one as a metaphor.  However, the mythical grant of the land to Abram and his descendants constitutes the basis of the Zionist claim on the territory. Really. That's it.

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