Monday, July 12, 2010

Genesis 23-25: Put your hand under my thigh

Sarah dies at 127. Abraham spends about 1/2 of a sentence mourning his dead wife, and the entire rest of chapter 23 haggling for the price of burying her. To summarize, they try to let him bury her for free, but he begs to pay.

Next comes my new favorite bible verse, Genesis 24:2: "He said to the chief servant in his household, the one in charge of all that he had, 'Put your hand under my thigh.'" Yes, apparently the way you swear something in the bible is by putting your hand under someone's thigh. Hilarous.

Abraham asks the servant to go to his (Abraham's) family to find a wife for Isaac. Seriously, why with the rampant inbreeding, bible? Adam and Eve, Cain and whoever, Lot and his daughters, Sarah is Abraham's half sister (chapter 20), and now this.

Anyway, the servant sets off (with some other people...more servants possibly) for Abraham's family. He sits by a spring and makes this promise with himself (or God, I suppose) that the first marriageable girl who waters all of his camels will be the one who is supposed to be Isaac's wife.

So along comes Rebekah (Isaac's 2nd cousin...oh the rampant biblical inbreeding), and she waters the camels, and she's a virgin!!! The servant asks to stay at her house, and gives her a nose ring (what?).

They get to Rebekah's house, do a bunch of stuff like feed the camels and wash their feet, then when they try to give them food, Abraham's servant is like (paraphrasing), "There's no time for food! I have important stuff to say!" Why didn't he say it before they did all that other stuff, who knows.

So he explains his mission, and his little deal with God at the spring, and how Rebekah is therefore meant to marry Isaac. And he explains it in excruciating's like reading the entire chapter again.

Rebekah's family agrees that she should marry Isaac (Rebekah has shockingly little say in this, other than to agree to go right away instead of 10 days later), and she and the servants go back. As soon as they get back, she and Isaac apparently do it in his dead mother's tent. Err...kinky? No, that is just weird. So far the bible seems to really be all for (what some might consider) "sexual deviancy"...the inbreeding, the daughters basically raping Lot, now this bit of weirdness.

Abraham remarried after Sarah's death, and had 6 more kids. But Isaac is still the favorite...Abraham sent the other 6 away (with gifts!), and he left everything to Isaac when he died. Isaac is still God's favorite too, he's the only one who gets "blessed." The bible also refers to Hagar and this new wife as "concubines," which is just weird. I guess it just illustrates even further that Isaac is the favorite.

Anyway, Abraham dies and is buried with Sarah.

There is also a little blurb about Ishmael. It lists his 12 children, and says they are each tribe leaders (The 12 tribes of Israel? I've heard that phrase before, but I still don't know what it means).

There's considerably more about Isaac (he's the favorite!). Rebekah is barren...of course she is, I swear every woman in the bible is barren. Maybe if they'd knock off the inbreeding. Isaac prays to God, and lo and behold, a miracle! Rebekah gets pregnant with twins.

Apparently the kids were fighting in her uterus (ouch...), and God told her basically that they were going to fight all their lives. That just sounds strange, and unpleasant.

Anyway, the slightly older one was a hairy baby (Literally, hairy all over...WTF. Knock off that inbreeding, seriously, then maybe you won't have barren goat babies.) named Esau, and the younger one was Jacob (not hairy). Isaac liked Esau best (because Esau could hunt and Isaac liked meat...OK...), Rebekah liked Jacob best.

Then there's a random little story about how Esau "sold" Jacob his birthright for bean stew. I really don't know why these random, inconsequential moments are given such weight in the bible.

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