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.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Jokes! I Wasn't Really Going to Let You Kill Your Son (Genesis 19-24)

I'm surprised. In this part of the Bible, God backs up a woman. Since it's been a few years since Sarah's delivered a son, she decides that there's no need for Hagar and Ishmael to keep kicking around. So she goes on a bit of a power trip and tells Abraham to cast the two out. He's hesitant but then - from the heavens - "Do as your wife tells you" (Gen 19:12). Get out! God tells Abraham to listen to a woman. And soon thereafter Hagar and Ishmael are out of the picture.

This next bit is pretty well-known. God asks Abraham to sacrifice as a burnt offering his only son, Isaac, to prove his loyalty. Abraham somehow gets Isaac to come along for the journey to the mountains of Moriah (maybe he tells him he's going to Disneyland). Isaac is looking around and he's seeing all the necessary accoutrements for the sacrifice (wood, knife, etc) and he's like, "Where's the lamb?" And Abraham is like, "Uh, God's going to bring it soon," which makes no sense because why ask for a sacrifice of something you're going to provide yourself? Anyways, Abraham raises his knife to kill Isaac and God is like, "Jokes!"

So God was just testing Abraham. This is supposed to be a good lesson about faith in God, but frankly, I don't see it. Is blind obedience a good thing? I don't know - ask someone who lived in German in the 30s and 40s.

A few years later, Isaac is old enough to require a wife. Abraham sends out one of his slaves to go "get" one from among his people. The slave is none too bright because his method is to park his camel and then say to any passing woman, "Pray, give me a little water from your jar to drink". The first woman who replies, "Drink, and I will draw for your camel also," is the lucky lady (Gen 24:43-44). It's like they're spies speaking in code. Aren't there matchmakers? Well, as it turns out, a woman named Rebekkah gives the right reply (which maybe is a lesson about kindness to animals?). Isaac takes a shine to her, so the slave did a pretty good job after all.

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