My Mum's Ancient Family Bible

My Mum's Ancient Family Bible
Kept in the garage of all places for so many years, it's finally been put to good use.

Friday, December 31, 2010

Daddy's Little Girls (Genesis 18-20)

So here's something interesting: I thought it was a big deal when God incarnates himself as Jesus but in Genesis 18, he incarnates himself into three different guys and appears before Abraham. At the sight of God times three, Abraham rushes to Sarah and demands that she whip up some extra food. Sarah's like, "You didn't tell me we were having company," and Abraham's like, "I thought it was just going to be God". Sigh. Men. Sarah rises to the challenge and produces a fine meal with all the fixin's (unleavened bread).

Sarah and God have a little spat because he thinks she laughs after something he said, which most people hate if they're trying to be serious (especially men). God insists on getting the last word in: "No, but you did laugh," he says to her (Gen 18:15). Typical. To ease the tension, God suggest that they all take a roadtrip to Sodom and Gomorrah to do some serious punishing of the wicked. This doesn't sit well with Abraham, who asks if God will destroy the whole city if there are "fifty righteous" (Gen 18:24). God says no and then Abraham starts to barter him down. Forty-five righteous? Thirty? Twenty? Eventually, Abraham gets God down to ten but it's never clear whether he'd go as low as one or zero. Probably not.

Once the gang gets to Sodom and Gomorrah, the men there request the following of Lot: "Where are the men that came to you tonight? Bring them to us, that we may know them" (Gen 19:5). I added the italics here. And Lot comes up with a great alternative. Wouldn't the men rather have at his two daughters? "Behold, I have two daughters that have not known man; let me bring them out to you, and do to them as you please; only do nothing to these men, for they have come under the shelter of my roof" (Gen 19:8). If there's a morality lesson to be learned here, it's that compromise is important.

Knowing what's coming, Lot, Abraham and company flee Sodom and Gomorrah before God rains fire and brimstone down upon it. Lot's wife looks back on the chaos, which I assume she wasn't supposed to do, and gets turned into a pillar of salt. Stupid! Lot finds himself in a cave in the hills with his two daughters, who I'm surprised did not take the opportunity to get away from their him after he served them up for gang rape. Rather, the two daughters are more concerned that their father will not have any male heirs because he's old. So, they do the logical thing and get him drunk on wine and have sex with him on consecutive nights. The Bible is very clear here that Lot did not have his wits about him and did not know what was happening: "...he did not know when she lay down or when she arose" (Gen 19: 33). That's repeated twice (Gen 19:35). Lot's not responsible at all, althought I must say I find it hard to imagine a man that old being able to perform that drunk.

In the meantime, Abraham and Sarah have wandered off to Gerar, where he tries again to pass her off as his sister.

1 comment:

  1. I love that you italicized "know". The Hebrew word is "yada", and I'm devoting a blog to the different ways it can be translated. Some of it comes out kind of funny.