Map of life expectancy at birth from Global Education Project.

Sunday, July 01, 2018

Sunday Sermonette: Deja Vu all over again

Genesis 20 is a slightly different version of the story told in Genesis 12, where Abraham (then Abram) went through the same routine with Pharaoh.

Now Abraham moved on from there into the region of the Negev and lived between Kadesh and Shur. For a while he stayed in Gerar, and there Abraham said of his wife Sarah, “She is my sister.” Then Abimelek king of Gerar sent for Sarah and took her.
But God came to Abimelek in a dream one night and said to him, “You are as good as dead because of the woman you have taken; she is a married woman.”
Now Abimelek had not gone near her, so he said, “Lord, will you destroy an innocent nation? Did he not say to me, ‘She is my sister,’ and didn’t she also say, ‘He is my brother’? I have done this with a clear conscience and clean hands.”
Then God said to him in the dream, “Yes, I know you did this with a clear conscience, and so I have kept you from sinning against me. That is why I did not let you touch her. Now return the man’s wife, for he is a prophet, and he will pray for you and you will live. But if you do not return her, you may be sure that you and all who belong to you will die.”
Early the next morning Abimelek summoned all his officials, and when he told them all that had happened, they were very much afraid. Then Abimelek called Abraham in and said, “What have you done to us? How have I wronged you that you have brought such great guilt upon me and my kingdom? You have done things to me that should never be done.” 10 And Abimelek asked Abraham, “What was your reason for doing this?”
11 Abraham replied, “I said to myself, ‘There is surely no fear of God in this place, and they will kill me because of my wife.’ 12 Besides, she really is my sister, the daughter of my father though not of my mother; and she became my wife. 13 And when God had me wander from my father’s household, I said to her, ‘This is how you can show your love to me: Everywhere we go, say of me, “He is my brother.”’”
14 Then Abimelek brought sheep and cattle and male and female slaves and gave them to Abraham, and he returned Sarah his wife to him. 15 And Abimelek said, “My land is before you; live wherever you like.”
16 To Sarah he said, “I am giving your brother a thousand shekels of silver. This is to cover the offense against you before all who are with you; you are completely vindicated.”
17 Then Abraham prayed to God, and God healed Abimelek, his wife and his female slaves so they could have children again, 18 for the Lord had kept all the women in Abimelek’s household from conceiving because of Abraham’s wife Sarah.

The absurdity of all this hardly needs exegesis. In the first place, Abraham again pimps out his wife -- who is now 90 years old, by the way -- then God punishes Abimelek for a crime he did not commit, as God freely concedes, and then Abraham asks God to lift the punishment after Abimelek bribes him with the same booty Abraham previously got from Pharaoh for running the identical scam.

By the way Abimelek is a sucker -- Isaac runs the same game on him with his wife Rebekah in Genesis 26. And by the way, regarding the incestuous marriage, here is Leviticus:

18:9 The nakedness of thy sister, the daughter of thy father, or daughter of thy mother, whether she be born at home, or born abroad, even their nakedness thou shalt not uncover.
But the Bible is the divine word of God, literal and inerrant. So there.


Don Quixote said...

Sheesh. The Bible is the word of ... men, most likely (as opposed to women).

Shakespeare, on the other hand ...

Cervantes said...

The question of Shakespeare and women is complicated. I've actually been thinking about it a lot lately. Maybe I'll have something to say about it.

Don Quixote said...

I look forward to it. I've been thinking about it too. The complexity and depth of his writing suggests the mind of a man alone would have been insufficient.

I've been thinking also of getting most men out of politics, so that non-hierarchical thinkers who value communication and cooperation could try to keep us from offing ourselves as a species. I read recently (and confirmed the math) that if Earth's orbit was equal to the length of its history (c. 4.5B years), that would mean that homo sapiens has only been around for the last 23 minutes of December 31. It would be such a waste if the species that produced Shakespeare--whoever s/he was--couldn't find a way out of its predicament.

Cervantes said...

Shakespeare was definitely a man, but he may have been gay. It's much disputed. However, he was way ahead of his time in many ways.