An Atheistic Bible Study Of Genesis Chapters Twenty Three And Twenty Four

Photo taken by me -  grave marker, Preston Cemetery
Preston, England
August 26, 2017 3:21pm CST
Chapter Twenty Three Abraham’s wife Sarah dies aged 127. As they are in land owned by the Hittites, Abraham asks them for permission to bury his wife in a cave he has seen there. The Hittites are happy for him to use the cave a he pleases for free, but Abraham insists on buying the land from them, which they eventually agree to. There is nothing religious here, just a proud mournful man stubbornly refusing to give his wife a free funeral. The only nonsense is her given age on dying. Isaac’s feelings about losing his mother, Sarah, are never mentioned. Chapter Twenty-Four Abraham is very old himself, and seeks a wife for his son, Isaac. He gives a slave very explicit instructions about how to find one. He even makes the never named lave place his hand on his (Abraham’s) penis to take an oath about following the instructions properly. The slave is forbidden from choosing any Canaanite women (though Abraham is in the land of Canaan at this time). He has to travel to Abraham’s land of origin, Ur. The slave suggests taking Isaac with him, to help find his own wife, which seems sensible, but Abraham forbids it. The choice of bride is to be made without consultation or input from the husband to be. The slave will only be free of the obligation imposed on him if the woman he approaches following Abraham’s instructions refuses to co-operate. The slave sets off, taking ten camels burdened with gifts and dowry with which to negotiate for a bride. He reaches the town of Nahor in Ur, and knowing that the women of the town come to fetch water from the well there at a certain time, he waits there for their arrival. He prays to God that the first girl he asks for water from will offer to water his camels too. He will take this as a divine sign that his mission is going to be successful. Matters go exactly as the slave hopes and the girl who offers to water his camels is a virginal beauty called Rebekah, who is related to Abraham (and Isaac) already through being descended from Abraham’s brother’s bloodline. The slave offers Rebekah jewellery to get her to grant him hospitality and let him stay at her family home. She negotiates this with her relatives and they send her brother to tell the slave that he is welcome in the family home. The slave tells the family over their evening meal that he ha come on a mission to find a bride for Isaac, and the exact nature of his penis oath to Abraham too. His story repeats verbatim much of what has already been related, making this one of the Bible’s longest and most tedious chapters. The family agree to let Rebekah go with the slave to become Isaac’s bride, but request a final ten day with their daughter before her departure. The slave objects to not being free to take her away immediately until Rebekah herself says she would rather go right away. The slave heads home with Rebekah, her personal maid and her other slaves. Her family sing a poetic hymn for Rebekah to spawn a mighty nation worth of descendant who will greatly outnumber their enemies. Isaac meets the slave, the travelling party and his new bride Rebekah as they arrive back in Canaan. Isaac marries Rebekah immediately, and introduces her to his mother Sarah (making this chapter a flashback given that Sarah died in the previous out of sequence chapter). So, after a quite secular funeral plot purchase, we get a strange demand made with a loyal slave including an oath involving the grasping of genitalia, and an arranged marriage deal approved by God (who only appears in cameo by hearing the slave’s prayer. Then the slave rather arrogantly denies Rebekah’s family a last ten days in their daughter’s company. The whole chapter involves much needless repetition of details. Chapters 23 and 24 really ought to be the other way round too. Arthur Chappell
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@teamfreak16 (41179)
• Colorado Springs, Colorado
26 Aug
Boring. Where's that cruel, vengeful God when I need him?
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• Preston, England
27 Aug
@teamfreak16 pretty sure he'll be back soon
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