Friday, April 25, 2008

Days 3 and 4 - Genesis 28:20-40:11 and 40:12-50:26

What an epic two days! The story of Jacob and Joseph is the stuff movies are made from! It's a brilliant bronze-age tale. It's got everything - trickeration, sexytime, war, famine, infighting, work, love, separation and reconciliation - but it won't let us forget how primitive these people and times were. I'm trying to cut down on the notes, but keep in mind this is two days worth.
Now - new and improved with links to the described passages at!

Chapter 29
- My old Hebrew professor told us that "Leah" means "cow". Awesome!

Chapters 30 & 31
- I love how they gave their children names that meant something about the circumstances surrounding their birth. I wish more people did this today - but I'm afraid if they did the most common name of 2008 would end up being Whoops!, or VanHalenTourMilwaukee. Incidentally, the most commonly given boys' name for 2006 (the last year on record) was Jacob. So how 'bout that.

- See, now this is why polygamy is a problem.

Chapter 32
- See, now the story of Jacob wrestling with the angel is absolutely one of the coolest things ever. It says so much about the journey of Jacob's life, and who he has become. When we first meet Jacob, the "heel-snatcher", the "trickster", he lives up to his name. The first time we see him posed with the question "Who are you?" (by his father, Isaac, when he steals his brother's blessing), he pretends to be someone else. Not comfortable in his own skin, or playing his own role - not content with the station allotted to him in life - he denies being Jacob at all.

Since then he has fled for his life from Esau, encountered God at Bethel, worked for years on Laban's farm, married the wrong woman, then the right one, had a multitude of sons, and brokered a deal with Laban to make himself rich. He has undergone quite a maturing process. Now, when asked, "Who are you?" or "What is your name?" he is finally ready to respond, "Jacob". And no sooner has he done so, but God changes his name to Israel.

Chapter 34
- Not a ton of notes on this Chapter, but I did find it sadly hilarious what Jacob's sons did to the man who raped their sister, and then asked to pleasepleaseplease marry her.
"I tell you what. Why don't you and all of your men have this primitive genital mutilation ritual performed on yourselves - and then we'll talk."
2 days later, they're all limping and sore...
"Okay guys... we did what you asked! (ouch) Now can I marry your si-SLICECUTKILLDIE!

Chapter 38
- Ahh, the famous prooftext on masturbation.
For the record - Onan was struck dead for not producing and heir with his dead brother's wife like he was supposed to, not for "spilling his semen on the ground".

Chapters 40 &41
- Ahhh, Joseph - the fresh-faced little spoiled brat of Jacob's brood. Told all 10 of his older brothers about a dream he had where they would all bow down to him. It's what got him sold off to Egypt in the first place. Now, here he using his dream-interpreting skills to get out of jail, and find favor with Pharoah. Vindicated!

Chapters 42-44
- Joseph must have been absolutely relishing this opportunity to mess with his brothers, after what he had done to him. Didn't he have the right to be angry? I think his point of view on the whole incident was really interesting. What they intended for ill, God intended for good, therefore they didn't send him to Egypt - God did. What an interesting insight for all of us when our circumstances seem to take a turn for the worse.

Chapter 45
- I would really like to have been a scarab beetle on the palace wall for Joseph's big reveal.

- Don't do it boys! 400 years of oppression! Bricks without straw! Bricks without straaaawwwwww.....

That's it for Genesis.
Exodus tomorrow.


hello jamie: said...

I'm afraid I've never been privy to the "famous prooftext" on masturbation. Care to enlighten those of us who didn't go to Southern Baptist seminary?

Also, Joseph & The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat has always been one of my favorite Broadway musicals. It could be that Pharoah is Elvis. But I think mostly it's because it's such a great story. There's drama, humor, love, attempted fratricide, dream interpretations, devout prayer, and a little spoiled brat growing up to become a responsible and caring man. That's good stuff.

hello jamie: said...

also, the color of your hyperlinks is annoyingly close to the color of your standard text.

J.T. said...

So - Onan pulled out.
But for some folks, "spilling" your semen anywhere but in an effort to reproduce is strictly verboten. I've also heard it referred to as "wasting the seed". Some folks say Onan's sin was "wasting the seed" *shudder*, but his real sin was disobedience in producing an heir on his brother's behalf.

And I must confess to never having seen or heard Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Or Jesus Christ Superstar, for that matter. Recent events make me feel like I really should.

As for the hyperlink thing, I'd really like to make them bold, but I can't figure out the code for that. I'll try to make them bold when I'm editing posts.