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 9, 2011

One of the Colours in the Coat of Many Colours is Blood (Genesis 36-38)

Man, do women ever get a raw deal in the Bible. This is the best: Israel's (Jacob's) family is on the move again (again?!) and Rachel goes into "hard labour," (Gen 35:16) which implies that there is an alternative "easy labour" to be had. Rachel is a little distressed to say the least but the midwife has some comforting words for her: "Fear not; for now you will have another son" (Gen 35:17). It's fine that she might die or rip herself open between her vagina and anus during labour because she'll be gifting another male to the world. And... she dies. Israel is sad but cheers himself up by getting with his father's concubine.

Isaac dies, aged one hundred and eighty years old, and his sons bury him. No mention of any sort of wake or assorted cold-cut platter.

Genesis 36 contained way too many names for me to regurgitate. It names the descendents of Esau. Boring. Let's push on.

Things start cooking again in Genesis 37 when Joseph, from Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat, arrives on the scene. Joseph, aged sixteen at this point in the story, is Israel's son and definitely his father's favourite. Israel makes no secret of this and gives him a robe with long sleeves (which all teenaged boys love). Joseph's brothers are jealous of him but Joseph doesn't really pick up on this because he keeps bragging about some dream about wheat sheaves that supposedly symbolizes that he'll rule over them one day. So they decide to kill him and throw him into a pit. I should mention that everyone's on board for this except for one of the brothers, Rueben.

They almost do kill him but a caravan of Ishmaelites comes along and they decide to sell him to them instead for twenty shekels. I tried to look up what a shekel was but since I don't know if the coins were gold or silver, I can't tell how much twenty is worth. It's possible that the shekels weren't coins at all but a measure of barley. Interesting.

Joseph's brothers took his robe before they sold him and what they do with it is dip it in goat blood so that when they show it to Israel he thinks his son is dead, specifically killed by a wild beast. All this over a stupid robe.

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