the case for a literal interpretation of Genesis

Many times on the inter-webs, I meet liberal Christians who think we should not take the bible literally or that some bible passages can only make sense as allegory. What they never tell us is when to read the bible allegorically and when to take it literally. There are many believers who say the bible has never been taken literally except by the fundamentalists, do such people see any difficulty a liberal reading of the bible would pose?

This christian however believes that taking Genesis, at least the first chapters as allegory poses more problems than it solves. One would hope that after coming to such an astute observation, he would maybe read some other book, maybe the Vedas or the Koran or the Gita, maybe their creation stories are a little better.

The believer identifies the following as arising from an allegorical reading of Genesis

Without Genesis, there is no:

Creation

Man

Gender roles

Fall

Sin

Need for redemption (and therefore no prophets or New Testament or gospel)

Covenant with Abraham

Land of Israel

Children of Israel (no lineage for Jesus Christ)

Tribes of Israel

Moses et cetera

This author goes further to ask if Genesis is allegory, how does one justify the existence of Jesus. The authors of his[Jesus] genealogy mention Adam. If Genesis is allegory, Adam is allegory and one can say with justice Jesus is allegory.

His/her solution is to believe in King James Bible as literal. There is no changing their mind.

Do other believers see a problem in taking Genesis as allegory and how do they resolve the issue when they arrive in the New Testament and Jesus several mentions of Adam and Eve. Can the bible be saved by holding both as allegory and as literal? IS this a viable position or is it everywhere beset with difficulties?

Genesis 50

Before we look at the final chapter of Genesis, I want first to thank you for your readership, insights and comments that have made this a worthwhile exercise. It is my hope that we have all learnt something new or received a different insight to the ones we have always held. In summary this journey started with creation of man, then the fall of man, Noah’s ark, debasement of Lot by his daughters and the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, the stories of Abe’s family and his trysts to the sons Esau and Jacob and finally to Joseph who brings the family into Egypt where Israel will be slaves for sometime as we shall see. This therefore is the first Israelite march to slavery from where El will save them, one wonders why he didn’t just prevent it from happening in the first place?

In this chapter, we have two deaths, the first of Jacob and the next Joseph, before we come to that however let us look at the chapter in detail; shall we?

Death in the family

Joseph mourns his father together with his brothers and ends up dying too. I think the grief was beyond him to bear. He orders his physicians [I didn’t know there were] to prepare the body for burial and then spend 40 days[what is it about the scribes and numbers?] embalming[what were they doing embalming for 40 days?] begs leave of Pharaoh to go bury his old man and he is given chariots, all the elders of Egypt go with him; it was such a serious funeral those on the side of the Jordan felt it was a  great wailing for Egypt and the burial site got a name,  Abel-mizraim.

The brothers are worried that now with their father dead, Joseph may just want to exact his revenge. He reassures them all is well, promises to take care of them, feed them and ensure their security as long as he lives. He tells them it was god’s will all along anyway so they are blameless in the matter. How easy do they get off?

How long is a generation? If Joseph lives to see 3 generations of Manasseh and dies at 110, when did Manasseh have his first sons or daughters ? Just as his father before him, he asks that when he expires, his bones be taken to the land of his fathers and then quits at the ripe age of 110 years. He is embalmed and put in a coffin and with that, the first chapter takes a bow.

The death of Joseph by Giovanni Battista Pittoni

 

 

Genesis 44

The Brothers Are Brought Back

When we ended the previous chapter, Joseph had ordered a banquet for his brothers who have still not recognized him[ how damn are they?]. This chapter starts by Joseph conspiring with his house steward to set up his brothers. As in the many instances in the previous chapters, whenever we are being set up for an incredible story, the other co-conspirators do not protest or are not given that opportunity to express displeasure. As with this story, it would be hard to justify the crime against the brothers. They do not load the bags, they have not conspired with the stewards so they would just easily have told Joseph to go hang or to talk to the steward about the silver and the gold cup and the matter should rest there. No bowing before Joseph, no apologies!

What benefit does Joseph gain by making Benjamin his slave unless he wants to exact his revenge on his brothers for selling him to the Egyptians. In fact, by now they would have been suspicious of him. In the first instance he returns their silver when there is a world famine and everyone is buying food from Egypt then on their next visit they are treated to a banquet, please! even I would inquire as to the identity of the good man who treats us so well. I wouldn’t just let it pass and I doubt you would.

Lastly if there is a world famine and everyone is buying food from Egypt, I except the silos would be a beehive of activity unless the world population is just several hundred people. The store keeper wouldn’t be asking anyone if they have a father at home or if they have other brothers. What business of his is that? How does that relate to selling grain and that is the point where the brothers would have become suspicious. I wouldn’t easily divulge any information that I don’t think is relevant to the business at hand, I don’t know about you though.

The chapter ends with Judah pleading with Joseph to take him as his slave and let Benjamin go since if they are to go home without him, their father will surely die. I wish he tried this for us to see whether the old man dies.

Please don’t go away.

 

Genesis 36

Esau Moves

This chapter I must say is not really interesting. It has genealogies of Esau and they have names that for the most part I find hard to even pronounce. We will not dwell in it much for that matter but it is important that we take note of the different names since we will meet them in future having different roles. That aside, Esau has just been baptised to Edom whichI gather from wikipedia has several meanings. Esau takes for himself 3 wives departing a little from his other relatives who had married from the family and had concubines and marries from among the people he is living in their midst.

36 Now these are the records of the generations of Esau (that is, Edom).

Esau took his wives from the daughters of Canaan: Adah the daughter of Elon the Hittite, and Oholibamah the daughter of Anah and the granddaughter of Zibeon the Hivite; also Basemath, Ishmael’s daughter, the sister of Nebaioth. Adah bore Eliphaz [in the Legend of the Jews Vol I chapter 6 we are told, Eliphaz was brought up ,under the watchful eye of the old patriarch Isaac, in the ways of god and that he later meets with Job as prophet Eliphaz]   to Esau, and Basemath bore Reuel, and Oholibamah bore Jeush and Jalam and Korah. These are the sons of Esau who were born to him in the land of Canaan.

Then Esau took his wives and his sons and his daughters and all his household, and his livestock and all his cattle and all his goods which he had acquired in the land of Canaan, and went to another land away from his brother Jacob [why does Esau have to move, in my view if anyone is to move then it is Jacob who should find his own niche. He was away for 20 years so when he comes back and the place can’t sustain them both then it is him to move besides he must now be good at being a settler!]. For their property had become too great for them to live together, and the land where they sojourned could not sustain them because of their livestock [could be a narration of one of the migration stories?]. So Esau lived in the hill country of Seir; Esau is Edom.

Descendants of Esau

These then are the records of the generations of Esau the father of the Edomites in the hill country of Seir [I hope you are still with me here, the Edomites are the sons of Esau since his name has been changed to Edom]. 10 These are the names of Esau’s sons: Eliphaz the son of Esau’s wife Adah, Reuel the son of Esau’s wife Basemath. 11 The sons of Eliphaz were Teman, Omar, Zepho and Gatam and Kenaz. 12 Timna was a concubine of Esau’s son Eliphaz and she bore Amalek to Eliphaz. These are the sons of Esau’s wife Adah [Adah has one son, Eliphaz] . 13 These are the sons of Reuel: Nahath and Zerah, Shammah and Mizzah. These were the sons of Esau’s wife Basemath [Basemath has one son, Reuel]. 14 These were the sons of Esau’s wife Oholibamah , the daughter of Anah and the granddaughter of Zibeon: she bore to Esau, Jeush and Jalam and Korah.

15 These are the chiefs of the sons of Esau. The sons of Eliphaz, the firstborn of Esau, are chief Teman, chief Omar, chief Zepho, chief Kenaz, 16 chief Korah, chief Gatam, chief Amalek. These are the chiefs descended from Eliphaz in the land of Edom; these are the sons of Adah. 17 These are the sons of Reuel, Esau’s son: chief Nahath, chief Zerah, chief Shammah, chief Mizzah. These are the chiefs descended from Reuel in the land of Edom; these are the sons of Esau’s wife Basemath. 18 These are the sons of Esau’s wife Oholibamah: chief Jeush, chief Jalam, chief Korah. These are the chiefs descended from Esau’s wife Oholibamah, the daughter of Anah. 19 These are the sons of Esau (that is, Edom), and these are their chiefs [I don’t know how the sons transform to become chiefs and who are they lording it over?].

20 These are the sons of Seir the Horite, the inhabitants of the land: Lotan and Shobal and Zibeon and Anah, 21 and Dishon and Ezer and Dishan. These are the chiefs descended from the Horites, the sons of Seir in the land of Edom. 22 The sons of Lotan were Hori and Hemam; and Lotan’s sister was Timna. 23 These are the sons of Shobal: Alvan and Manahath and Ebal, Shepho and Onam. 24 These are the sons of Zibeon: Aiah and Anah—he is the Anah who found the hot springs in the wilderness when he was pasturing the donkeys of his father Zibeon. 25 These are the children of Anah: Dishon, and Oholibamah, the daughter of Anah. 26 These are the sons of Dishon: Hemdan and Eshban and Ithran and Cheran. 27 These are the sons of Ezer: Bilhan and Zaavan and Akan. 28 These are the sons of Dishan: Uz and Aran. 29 These are the chiefs [descended from the Horites: chief Lotan, chief Shobal, chief Zibeon, chief Anah, 30 chief Dishon, chief Ezer, chief Dishan. These are the chiefs descended from the Horites, according to their various chiefs in the land of Seir [don’t worry, I know these names are kinda confusing, we will identify each when we meet them in future, I promise].

31 Now these are the kings who reigned in the land of Edom before any king reigned over the sons of Israel. 32 Bela the son of Beor reigned in Edom, and the name of his city was Dinhabah. 33 Then Bela died, and Jobab the son of Zerah of Bozrah became king in his place. 34 Then Jobab died, and Husham of the land of the Temanites became king in his place. 35 Then Husham died, and Hadad the son of Bedad, who defeated Midian in the field of Moab, became king in his place; and the name of his city was Avith. 36 Then Hadad died, and Samlah of Masrekah became king in his place. 37 Then Samlah died, and Shaul of Rehoboth on the Euphrates River became king in his place. 38 Then Shaul died, and Baal-hanan the son of Achbor became king in his place. 39 Then Baal-hanan the son of Achbor died, and Hadar became king in his place; and the name of his city was Pau; and his wife’s name was Mehetabel, the daughter of Matred, daughter of Mezahab.

40 Now these are the names of the chiefs descended from Esau, according to their families and their localities, by their names: chief Timna, chief Alvah, chief Jetheth, 41 chief Oholibamah, chief Elah, chief Pinon, 42 chief Kenaz, chief Teman, chief Mibzar, 43 chief Magdiel, chief Iram. These are the chiefs of Edom (that is, Esau, the father of the Edomites), according to their habitations in the land of their possession [Since this are just stories of who fathered who, we will continue later and refer to this chapter whenever we meet a character already mentioned here].

Genesis 35

Jacob Moves to Bethel

35 Then God said to Jacob, “Arise, go up to Bethel and live there, and make an altar there to God, who appeared to you when you fled from your brother Esau [There must be several gods because the one issuing instructions here is not the one who appeared to him when he was fleeing from his brother].” So Jacob said to his household and to all who were with him, “Put away the foreign gods which are among you, and purify yourselves and change your garments; and let us arise and go up to Bethel [you remember Genesis 13 and 28 we were introduced to a place by the same name. I don’t know whether we are still at the same place or there are several Bethel], and I will make an altar there to God, who answered me in the day of my distress and has been with me wherever I have gone.” So they gave to Jacob all the foreign gods [my question still is, why had this god to appear to selectively? Wouldn’t be better if he appeared to everyone at once so no one would keep other gods?] which they had and the rings which were in their ears, and Jacob hid them under the oak which was near Shechem [in the last chapter, Shechem was a young man who violated Dinah and got the whole city killed, when did the transformation from person to a place occur? ].

As they journeyed, there was a great terror upon the cities which were around them, and they did not pursue the sons of Jacob [did Jake still anything or why would someone want to pursue them?]. So Jacob came to Luz (that is, Bethel), which is in the land of Canaan, he and all the people who were with him. He built an altar there, and called the place El-bethel [why rename a place that already has a name? Is he going to be renaming every place a god appears to him?], because there God had revealed Himself to him when he fled from his brother. Now Deborah, Rebekah’s[just in case you forgot, Rebekah is Isaac’s wife] nurse, died, and she was buried below Bethel under the oak; it was named Allon-bacuth [oak of weeping].

Jacob Is Named Israel

Then God appeared to Jacob again when he came from Paddan-aram, and He blessed him. 10 God said to him,

“Your name is Jacob;
You shall no longer be called Jacob,
But Israel shall be your name.”

Thus He called him Israel [if he has just been named thus, then to what or whom does Israel refer in the previous chapter?]. 11 God also said to him,

“I am God Almighty;
Be fruitful and multiply;
A nation and a company of nations shall come from you,
And kings shall come forth from you.

12 “The land which I gave to Abraham and Isaac,
I will give it to you,
And I will give the land to your descendants after you [has the land fallen to possession of others not of Abraham and Isaac?].”

13 Then God went up from him in the place where He had spoken with him [I hope we are all agreed that this god at least ain’t omnipresent, since if he goes from place to place then where he leaves is basically without god]. 14 Jacob set up a pillar in the place where He had spoken with him, a pillar of stone, and he poured out a drink offering on it; he also poured oil on it. 15 So Jacob named the place where God had spoken with him, Bethel [Please tell me, I thought we have a place called Bethel? Why keep renaming places with the same name? This reminds me of  a fun mail I read a while ago about an Indian family living in the US of A writing to their son in India and telling him they moved 10 miles closer to the city and have moved with their old address & are waiting for the previous owners to remove their address so they can put theirs! How will he even trace their new home? ].

16 Then they journeyed from Bethel; and when there was still some distance to go to Ephrath, Rachel began to give birth and she suffered severe labor. 17 When she was in severe labor the midwife said to her, “Do not fear, for now you have another son.” 18 It came about as her soul was departing (for she died),[I don’t know the pains of child-birth nor how it feels to die since these are two things I haven’t experienced, but tell me who when they are in pain and dying would think about naming a child?] that she named him Ben-oni[ son of my sorrow]; but his father called him Benjamin[son of my strength]. 19 So Rachel died and was buried on the way to Ephrath (that is, Bethlehem). 20 Jacob set up a pillar over her grave; that is the pillar of Rachel’s grave to this day [if you should see this pillar in your travels, please be kind to share the photos with me!] . 21 Then Israel journeyed on and pitched his tent beyond the tower of Eder.

22 It came about while Israel was dwelling in that land, that Reuben went and lay with Bilhah his father’s concubine, and Israel heard of it [Seriously! He heard it and that’s it?].

The Sons of Israel

Now there were twelve sons of Jacob— 23 the sons of Leah: Reuben, Jacob’s firstborn, then Simeon and Levi and Judah and Issachar and Zebulun; 24 the sons of Rachel: Joseph and Benjamin; 25 and the sons of Bilhah, Rachel’s maid: Dan and Naphtali; 26 and the sons of Zilpah, Leah’s maid: Gad and Asher. These are the sons of Jacob who were born to him in Paddan-aram [Benjamin wasn’t born in Paddan-aram, unless the sribe here has not read the preceding verses!].

27 Jacob came to his father Isaac at Mamre of Kiriath-arba (that is, Hebron), where Abraham and Isaac had sojourned.

28 Now the days of Isaac were one hundred and eighty years. 29 Isaac breathed his last and died and was gathered to his people, an old man of ripe age; and his sons Esau and Jacob buried him [Our cardboard character, Isaac, finally takes his last at 180 years. There is a problem here though, many chapters earlier, the limit for a man’s life had been put at 120 years and as have said in many places, the many scribes involved in compiling this document didn’t care for consistency or accuracy. Where does Esau come into the picture? The brothers are living apart from each other!].

Genesis 34

The Treachery of Jacob’s Sons

Being a beautiful woman in the bible has now just become a terrible thing. Dinah, Leah’s daughter is forcefully kidnapped and raped by Shechem who after the rape swears she is in love and would want to have her hand in marriage. 

34 Now Dinah the daughter of Leah, whom she had borne to Jacob, went out to visit the daughters of the land. When Shechem the son of Hamor the Hivite, the prince of the land, saw her, he took her and lay with her by force. He was deeply attracted to Dinah the daughter of Jacob, and he loved the girl and spoke tenderly to her[when did one rape a person they claim to love?]. So Shechem spoke to his father Hamor, saying, “Get me this young girl for a wife[does his father condone rape? I think this time you beat the hell out of your son for bringing disrepute to the family name! Where are the human right activists, I don’t hear you!].” Now Jacob heard that he had defiled Dinah his daughter; but his sons were with his livestock in the field, so Jacob kept silent until they came in. Then Hamor the father of Shechem went out to Jacob to speak with him[I don’t think this father has daughters! If he had, I don’t think Shechem would have seen the light of day]. Now the sons of Jacob came in from the field when they heard it; and the men were grieved, and they were very angry because he had done a disgraceful thing in Israel by lying with Jacob’s daughter, for such a thing ought not to be done.[the scribe here is using Israel and Jacob alternately one time to refer to an individual and another to a people, though I don’t think at this particular time there are people known as Israelites]

But Hamor spoke with them, saying, “The soul of my son Shechem longs for your daughter; please give her to him in marriage. Intermarry with us; give your daughters to us and take our daughters for yourselves. 10 Thus you shall live with us, and the land shall be open before you; live and trade in it and acquire property in it.” 11 Shechem also said to her father and to her brothers, “If I find favor in your sight, then I will give whatever you say to me. 12 Ask me ever so much bridal payment and gift, and I will give according as you say to me; but give me the girl in marriage [what nonsense is this? How does a father even have such an audacity to ask for the price of a young girl who has been violated without showing how he intends to deal with his sons? This is just crazy and if this is what a god inspires then by all means let me read Ludlum and Dickens]”

13 But Jacob’s sons answered Shechem and his father Hamor with deceit, because he had defiled Dinah their sister. 14 They said to them, “We cannot do this thing, to give our sister to one who is uncircumcised, for that would be a disgrace to us. 15 Only on this condition will we consent to you: if you will become like us, in that every male of you be circumcised, 16 then we will give our daughters to you, and we will take your daughters for ourselves, and we will live with you and become one people. 17 But if you will not listen to us to be circumcised, then we will take our daughter and go[ This is letting them go so lightly! This is the height of misogyny].”

18 Now their words seemed reasonable to Hamor and Shechem, Hamor’s son. 19 The young man did not delay to do the thing, because he was delighted with Jacob’s daughter. Now he was more respected than all the household of his father[Is he respected for the rape or for getting the girl? or both?]. 20 So Hamor and his son Shechem came to the gate of their city and spoke to the men of their city, saying[ is theirs the first family? on whose authority do they gather people at the city gates if there indeed is any city with gates?], 21 “These men are friendly with us; therefore let them live in the land and trade in it, for behold, the land is large enough for them. Let us take their daughters in marriage, and give our daughters to them. 22 Only on this condition will the men consent to us to live with us, to become one people: that every male among us be circumcised as they are circumcised[how does the other city residents benefit? it’s only Shechem who wants a wife from Jake’s family why force everyone to get circumcised?23 Will not their livestock and their property and all their animals be ours? Only let us consent to them, and they will live with us.” 24 All who went out of the gate of his city listened to Hamor and to his son Shechem, and every male was circumcised, all who went out of the gate of his city [there was dissenting opinion if the commentary in The Legend of The Jews is to be believed]

25 Now it came about on the third day, when they were in pain, that two of Jacob’s sons, Simeon and Levi, Dinah’s brothers, each took his sword and came upon the city unawares, and killed every male [in the Legend of the Jews the two brothers slaughtered 645 men, 276 boys women and took 45 men as slaves. For the sake of argument, a city should have some type of army, how could two young men decimate every male in the city without facing any resistance?] .26 They killed Hamor and his son Shechem with the edge of the sword, and took Dinah from Shechem’s house, and went forth. 27 Jacob’s sons came upon the slain and looted the city, because they had defiled their sister. 28 They took their flocks and their herds and their donkeys, and that which was in the city and that which was in the field; 29 and they captured and looted all their wealth and all their little ones and their wives, even all that was in the houses. 30 Then Jacob said to Simeon and Levi, “You have brought trouble on me by making me odious among the inhabitants of the land, among the Canaanites and the Perizzites; and my men being few in number, they will gather together against me and attack me and I will be destroyed, I and my household.” 31 But they said, “Should he treat our sister as a harlot? [why plunder the city? is this not a case of over reacting. They welcomed the offending family to their home, they had an opportunity to deal with the matter then. What business have the others to do with all this that warrant their being killed?]”

 

 

Genesis 32

Jacob’s Fear of Esau

In the complete Jewish Bible, this verse begins with Laban kissing his family by, while the NASB has it start with Jacob going his way, which is the right one I’ll let you to judge. In this chapter, we have a member of Abe’s family, Jacob, planning an elaborate deception scheme comparable to Abe’s pimping episodes except this time he is bribing his brother who cheated of his blessings and birthright. The scribes have also murdered one of Jake’s children because instead of counting twelve, they have eleven. Of note as well, is the circumstances under which Jake’s name changes to Israel of an episode of either WWE or kickboxing.

32 Now as Jacob went on his way, the angels of God met him. Jacob said when he saw them, “This is God’s camp.” So he named that place Mahanaim[this word translates to two camps. Why a person would name a place as such still passes me].

Then Jacob sent messengers before him to his brother Esau in the land of Seir, the country of Edom. He also commanded them saying, “Thus you shall say to my lord Esau [why would his brother be his master? If I remember correctly, he already purchased the birthright, supplanted the brother during the blessings. By any means, we can say he is legitimately the first born!]: ‘Thus says your servant Jacob, “I have sojourned with Laban, and stayed until now; I have oxen and donkeys and flocks and male and female servants; and I have sent to tell my lord, that I may find favor in your sight [ is old Jake feeling remorse and at the same time apprehensive about meeting his brother whom, at their last encounter was overheard planning to kill him. It’s been 20years since he supplanted the brother, why would he think the brother has not forgiven him or is this an admission of guilt on his part but the scribe is intent on portraying Esau in bad light? ].”

The messengers returned[ how far is Esau from Jake’s location or are we being set up for something as I suspect?] to Jacob, saying, “We came to your brother Esau, and furthermore he is coming to meet you, and four hundred men are with him [are these his, Esau’s, slaves, friends, or soldiers? and why 400? Did the messengers of Jake have time to count or did Esau pass on this important information?].” Then Jacob was greatly afraid and distressed; and he divided the people who were with him, and the flocks and the herds and the camels, into two companies; for he said, “If Esau comes to the one company and attacks it, then the company which is left will escape [given this family’s love with deception, you can guess where Jake would want to be if he stayed to wait for the 400 strange men and his brother!].”

Jacob said, “O God of my father Abraham and God of my father Isaac, O Lord, who said to me, ‘Return to your country and to your relatives, and I will prosper you,’ 10 I am unworthy of all the loving kindness and of all the faithfulness which You have shown to Your servant; for with my staff only I crossed this Jordan, and now I have become two companies [the becoming two companies is deliberate on Jake’s part, why is he appealing to Abe’s god with it?]. 11 Deliver me, I pray, from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau; for I fear him [you have every reason to fear], that he will come and attack me and the mothers with the children. 12 For You said, ‘I will surely prosper you and make your descendants as the sand of the sea, which is too great to be numbered.’

13 So he spent the night there. Then he selected from what he had with him a present for his brother Esau: 14 two hundred female goats and twenty male goats, two hundred ewes and twenty rams, 15 thirty milking camels and their colts, forty cows and ten bulls, twenty female donkeys and ten male donkeys[ by any standard, Jake was a wealthy man, he could easily have had a small retinue of guards]. 16 He delivered them into the hand of his servants, every drove by itself, and said to his servants, “Pass on before me, and put a space between droves.” 17 He commanded the one in front, saying, “When my brother Esau meets you and asks you, saying, ‘To whom do you belong, and where are you going, and to whom do these animals in front of you belong [just asking, was this the normative greeting of the time? Why would Esau be interested in knowing who they were?] ?’ 18 then you shall say, ‘These belong to your servant Jacob; it is a present sent to my lord Esau. And behold, he also is behind us.’” 19 Then he commanded also the second and the third, and all those who followed the droves, saying, “After this manner you shall speak to Esau when you find him; 20 and you shall say, ‘Behold, your servant Jacob also is behind us.’” For he said, “I will appease him with the present that goes before me. Then afterward I will see his face; perhaps he will accept me.” 21 So the present passed on before him, while he himself spent that night in the camp [let us pause for a second, in the introductory verses, he has divided his flock into two camps and given the reason for the division, they can’t be close to each other. At the time he is diving the flock into droves, has he dissolved the camps or are they still in place? What distance is he putting between each group of droves? And combined with this question how far was Esau and his entourage?]

22 Now he arose that same night and took his two wives and his two maids and his eleven children[allow me list the names of the children so you could count for yourself and tell me who among them is missing. I have not read any report of a missing person so far; Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Zebulun and Dinah by Leah, Joseph by Rachel, Gad and Asher by Zilpah and finally Dan and Naphtali by Bilhah], and crossed the ford of the Jabbok. 23 He took them and sent them across the stream. And he sent across whatever he had.

Jacob Wrestles

24 Then Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him until daybreak[ this I believe must be the longest wrestling match recorded or do the Judo wrestlers take longer? Anyone?] . 25 When he saw that he had not prevailed against him, he touched the socket of his thigh; so the socket of Jacob’s thigh was dislocated while he wrestled with him [since I have no experience of dislocating my thigh socket, can anyone share this experience and can it be just dislocated by touch? This information could be handy when am accosted by not very nice characters]. 26 Then he said, “Let me go, for the dawn is breaking.” But he said, “I will not let you go unless you bless me [ am honestly confused here, who is asking for blessings? Is it Jake or his wrestling opponent?].” 27 So he said to him, “What is your name?” And he said, “Jacob.” 28 He said, “Your name shall no longer be Jacob, but Israel; for you have striven with God and with men and have prevailed [take time for a good laugh, Jake has wrestled with god(s) and prevailed? Tell me dear reader, if you have been reading since we started, is this god omni-anything?].” 29 Then Jacob asked him and said, “Please tell me your name.” But he said, “Why is it that you ask my name?” And he blessed him there. 30 So Jacob named the place Peniel, for he said, “I have seen God face to face, yet my life has been preserved [keep this verse in memory, later we will be told by another scribe who I think is not aware of these verses that no one has seen god and lived. In yet another we shall be told no one has seen god! But don’t worry if you can’t remember, I will remind you when we get there.].” 31 Now the sun rose upon him just as he crossed over Penuel, and he was limping on his thigh [I don’t know how extensive the dislocation was, but given the location, would someone share how long it would take to heal and what amount of pain he could have been in? I have had a sprain and I can tell you, it hurt badly]. 32 Therefore, to this day the sons of Israel do not eat the sinew of the hip which is on the socket of the thigh, because he touched the socket of Jacob’s thigh in the sinew of the hip [flimsy reasons, methinks, for prohibitions].

Genesis 31

Jacob Leaves Secretly for Canaan

This chapter is overtly long so I will not say much in the manner of introduction except to mention that it is full of deception; Jacob deceiving his uncle/ father-in-law, Rachel deceiving the father, god being an accomplice in all the deception and an unbecoming behaviour of Laban  of constantly reneging on their arrangements with the son in law in regards to wages.

31 Now Jacob heard the words of Laban’s sons, saying, “Jacob has taken away all that was our father’s, and from what belonged to our father he has made all this wealth.” Jacob saw the attitude of Laban, and behold, it was not friendly toward him as formerly. Then the Lord said to Jacob, “Return to the land of your fathers and to your relatives, and I will be with you[ god being complacent/ an accomplice in deception of Laban by Jake].” So Jacob sent and called Rachel and Leah to his flock in the field, and said to them, “I see your father’s attitude, that it is not friendly toward me as formerly, but the God of my father has been with me. You know that I have served your father with all my strength. Yet your father has cheated me and changed my wages ten times; however, God did not allow him to hurt me[why wouldn’t god just stop the cheating in the first place?]. If he spoke thus, ‘The speckled shall be your wages,’ then all the flock brought forth speckled; and if he spoke thus, ‘The striped shall be your wages,’ then all the flock brought forth striped. Thus God has taken away your father’s livestock and given them to me. 10 And it came about at the time when the flock were mating that I lifted up my eyes and saw in a dream, and behold, the male goats which were mating were striped, speckled, and mottled. 11 Then the angel of God said to me in the dream, ‘Jacob,’ and I said, ‘Here I am.’ 12 He said, ‘Lift up now your eyes and see that all the male goats which are mating are striped, speckled, and mottled; for I have seen all that Laban has been doing to you[I want to wake from my dream and find I own a car]. 13 I am the God of  Bethel, where you anointed a pillar, where you made a vow to Me; now arise, leave this land, and return to the land of your birth.” 14 Rachel and Leah said to him, “Do we still have any portion or inheritance in our father’s house? 15 Are we not reckoned by him as foreigners? For he has sold us, and has also entirely consumed our purchase price[Interesting the daughters feel their father sold them for silver and has squandered all the proceeds]. 16 Surely all the wealth which God has taken away from our father belongs to us and our children; now then, do whatever God has said to you[ And coupled with this feeling of being sold, they feel justified in following Jake and leaving with all the property].”

17 Then Jacob arose and put his children and his wives upon camels[have told you already camels haven’t been domesticated yet. Where are the slave girls? Are they not worthy of mention?]; 18 and he drove away all his livestock and all his property which he had gathered, his acquired livestock which he had gathered in Paddan-aram, to go to the land of Canaan to his father Isaac. 19 When Laban had gone to shear his flock, then Rachel stole the household idols that were her father’s. 20 And Jacob deceived Laban the Aramean[ in the Hebraic roots bible, Laban is a Syrian, what I want to know is when did members of Abe’s family become Syrians?] by not telling him that he was fleeing. 21 So he fled with all that he had; and he arose and crossed the Euphrates[in other versions, the scribes appear to not know the name of the river] River, and set his face toward the hill country of Gilead.

Laban Pursues Jacob

22 When it was told Laban on the third day that Jacob had fled, 23 then he took his kinsmen with him and pursued him a distance of seven days’ journey, and he overtook him in the hill country of Gilead [there are confusing accounts of this, ie CJB, states …….and spent the next seven days pursuing Ya‘akov, overtaking him in the hill-country of Gil‘ad. So has he covered a distance of seven days or has he been pursued for 7 days? And as a measure of distance, what is the equivalent of a day’s journey?]. 24 God came to Laban the Aramean in a dream of the night and said to him, “Be careful that you do not speak to Jacob either good or bad [ I think basically this means don’t talk to the dude! ].”

25 Laban caught up with Jacob. Now Jacob had pitched his tent in the hill country, and Laban with his kinsmen camped in the hill country of Gilead. 26 Then Laban said to Jacob, “What have you done by deceiving me and carrying away my daughters like captives of the sword[ Laban, have you asked your daughters if they feel enslaved? Or as the adage goes, daughters were to be seen not heard?]? 27 Why did you flee secretly and deceive me, and did not tell me so that I might have sent you away with joy and with songs, with timbrel and with lyre; 28 and did not allow me to kiss my sons[ ok am confused, Jake has even taken Laban’s sons with him?] and my daughters ,your wives? Now you have done foolishly. 29 It is in my power to do you harm, but the God of your father spoke to me last night, saying, ‘Be careful not to speak either good or bad to Jacob [ Here Jake should heed the warning or he may get himself in trouble another time if god does not intervene, but am just asking is this not what Laban was prohibited to do or he doesn’t fear the god of Abe?].’ 30 Now you have indeed gone away because you longed greatly for your father’s house; but why did you steal my gods [ ah so Laban kept his god( other scribes, probably the P source calls them idols) in the house?]?” 31 Then Jacob replied to Laban, “Because I was afraid, for I thought that you would take your daughters from me by force [ what I never seem to understand in Abe’s family is their baseless fears! Jake has had the pleasure of making Laban’s daughters pregnant several times over, why would he want to take them back? If he didn’t want Jake to have them don’t you think he would have raised objections from the start?] . 32 The one with whom you find your gods shall not live [will they kill the guilty party here or how will this happen?]; in the presence of our kinsmen point out what is yours among my belongings and take it for yourself.” For Jacob did not know that Rachel had stolen them [If this is god inspired, how is it we don’t see him coming out to reveal to Laban who is the culprit or he doesn’t. care enough that he, Laban, gets his gods back?]

33 So Laban went into Jacob’s tent and into Leah’s tent and into the tent of the two maids [here we have a different scribe from the previous chapter, he forgets the maids had names and for all intents qualify as Jake’s wives!], but he did not find them. Then he went out of Leah’s tent and entered Rachel’s tent. 34 Now Rachel had taken the household idols and put them in the camel’s saddle, and she sat on them. And Laban felt through all the tent but did not find them. 35 She said to her father, “Let not my lord be angry that I cannot rise before you, for the manner of women is upon me.” So he searched but did not find the household idols [ cool liar we got here, how many times did she lie to Jake?].

36 Then Jacob became angry and contended with Laban; and he said Jacob said to Laban, “What is my transgression? What is my sin that you have hotly pursued me? 37 Though you have felt through all my goods [he has not felt Rachel’s camel, so this is false. He should have suspended judgement], what have you found of all your household goods? Set it here before my kinsmen and your kinsmen, that they may decide between us two. 38 These twenty years[ Jake is a few years shy of 100, he was 77 when joined Laban’s family and has stayed 20 more. He outlived his welcome a long time ago. Now i need to know how their relationship was; was he head slave or was he supervisor] I have been with you; your ewes and your female goats have not miscarried [how did he stop this from happening?], nor have I eaten the rams of your flocks. 39 That which was torn of beasts I did not bring to you; I bore the loss of it myself. You required it of my hand whether stolen by day or stolen by night. 40 Thus I was: by day the heat consumed me and the frost by night, and my sleep fled from my eyes [ Those must have been 20 sleepless years, I thought architecture school was hard! This is definitely on another level. I wonder where did he get time for the action with the four wives he had if he had to be with the goats 24/7?]. 41 These twenty years I have been in your house; I served you fourteen years for your two daughters and six years for your flock, and you changed my wages ten times. 42 If the God of my father, the God of Abraham, and the fear of Isaac [In other versions, it’s said the one Isaac fears, going to the same conclusion had made before that this god is specifically Abe’s god and anyone with contradictory evidence should show it!], had not been for me, surely now you would have sent me away empty-handed. God has seen my affliction and the toil of my hands, so He rendered judgment last night [Translated; if you have a problem with my stock, raise it up with most high, am blameless in this matter!].”

The Covenant of Mizpah

43 Then Laban replied to Jacob, “The daughters are my daughters, and the children are my children[ am confused, whose children were they again?], and the flocks are my flocks, and all that you see is mine. But what can I do this day to these my daughters or to their children whom they have borne? 44 So now come, let us make a covenant, you and I, and let it be a witness between you and me[ what is the point of this covenant anyway plus it goes against what he was told in the dream. Jake is not about to return a single goat and is determined to go back from whence he had come].” 45 Then Jacob took a stone and set it up as a pillar. 46 Jacob said to his kinsmen, “Gather stones.” So they took stones and made a heap, and they ate there by the heap. 47 Now Laban called it Jegar-sahadutha, but Jacob called it Galeed [guys guys, something doesn’t add up. Both call it heap of witness albeit in different languages. Question here is, did they share a common language or is there a translator employed? One is speaking Aramaic– a language I don’t think was in use at the time, and another Hebrew? ]. 48 Laban said, “This heap is a witness between you and me this day [ help me understand something, can a witness be anything other than a sane adult human being? How do stones witness?].” Therefore it was named Galeed, 49 and Mizpah [they have totally lost me here! Where does Mizpah come from and what does it mean], for he said, “May the Lord watch between you and me when we are absent one from the other. 50 If you mistreat my daughters, or if you take wives besides my daughters [I think had been overtaken by events unless the slave girls who are mothers to his sons are not counted as wives], although no man is with us, see, God[Laban’s god is Adonai] is witness between you and me.” 51 Laban said to Jacob, “Behold this heap and behold the pillar which I have set between you and me. 52 This heap is a witness, and the pillar is a witness, that I will not pass by this heap to you for harm, and you will not pass by this heap and this pillar to me, for harm. 53 The God of Abraham and the God of Nahor, the God of their father, judge between us.” So Jacob swore by the fear of his father Isaac. 54 Then Jacob offered a sacrifice on the mountain, and called his kinsmen to the meal; and they ate the meal and spent the night on the mountain. 55 Early in the morning Laban arose, and kissed his sons and his daughters and blessed them. Then Laban departed and returned to his place [he left as he had come, with nothing except kisses].

Genesis 30

The Sons of Jacob [ The child race by Jacob’s wives]

30 Now when Rachel saw that she bore Jacob no children, she became jealous of her sister; and she said to Jacob, “Give me children, or else I die.” Then Jacob’s anger burned against Rachel, and he said, “Am I in the place of God, who has withheld from you the fruit of the womb?” She said, “Here is my maid Bilhah, go in to her that she may bear on my knees, that through her I too may have children[the women have met so far in the chapters have covered are very tolerant, they have no problem with their husbands having some action with the slave girls. Two things here that I have a problem with, if Rachel is jealous since she has no child, will the maid getting pregnant not worsen the situation? Are the maid non-persons, maybe they don’t want to sleep with old Jake leave alone have children with him!].” So she gave him her maid Bilhah as a wife, and Jacob went in to her. Bilhah conceived and bore Jacob a son. Then Rachel said, “God has vindicated me, and has indeed heard my voice and has given me a son.” Therefore she named him Dan[in this days Dan meant he judged, so that would be the name of the lass.]. Rachel’s maid Bilhah conceived again and bore Jacob a second son. So Rachel said, “With mighty wrestlings I have wrestled with my sister, and I have indeed prevailed.” And she named him Naphtali.[Some observations here as we go along; wouldn’t one son just be enough? What is this about child race? And how old is one Jake at the moment since I have lost track of his age. Do the slaves have any say in this or are they now fully wives? Has Jake paid the bride price?]

When Leah saw that she had stopped bearing, she took her maid Zilpah and gave her to Jacob as a wife. 10 Leah’s maid Zilpah bore Jacob a son. 11 Then Leah said, “How fortunate!” So she named him Gad. 12 Leah’s maid Zilpah bore Jacob a second son. 13 Then Leah said, “Happy am I! For women will call me happy[ A variant of this prayer/ blessing will be said by Mary in Luke 1:42 when Mary visits her expectant aunt Liz].” So she named him Asher[ She already has four sons, how jealous can she be to make the maid have children just so she can have more children or are the scribes trying to fill in blanks?].

14 Now in the days of wheat harvest Reuben went and found mandrakes in the field, and brought them to his mother Leah. Then Rachel said to Leah, “Please give me some of your son’s mandrakes.” 15 But she said to her, “Is it a small matter for you to take my husband? And would you take my son’s mandrakes also?” So Rachel said, “Therefore he may lie with you tonight in return for your son’s mandrakes[ is old Jake on hire now, for the price of mandrakes which you’ll find if taken in excess may result in a coma?].” 16 When Jacob came in from the field in the evening, then Leah went out to meet him and said, “You must come in to me[that is a bold lady you got there! As I often say, sometime you gotta take the initiative], for I have surely hired you with my son’s mandrakes.” So he lay with her that night[Jake you are on hire and you have no problem with it? And tell me how old is Jake now?]. 17 God gave heed to Leah, and she conceived and bore Jacob a fifth son. 18 Then Leah said, “God has given me my wages because I gave my maid to my husband.” So she named him Issachar. 19 Leah conceived again and bore a sixth son to Jacob. 20 Then Leah said, “God has endowed me with a good gift; now my husband will dwell with me, because I have borne him six sons[ I don’t get it, where has Jake been residing all this time or did the slave girls take over?].” So she named him Zebulun. 21 Afterward she bore a daughter and named her Dinah[When sons are born, an elaborate reason is given for the name chosen, why not apply the same standard? Is the god inspiring the scribe a bigot?].

22 Then God remembered Rachel, and God gave heed to her and opened her womb[god interfering with human affairs and mutable? Did I hear someone say their god is immutable?]. 23 So she conceived and bore a son and said, “God has taken away my reproach.” 24 She named him Joseph, saying, “May the Lord give me another son.”[The name Joseph translates to may the lord give me another son! What a name for a young boy?]

Jacob Prospers

25 Now it came about when Rachel had borne Joseph, that Jacob said to Laban, “Send me away, that I may go to my own place and to my own country. 26 Give me my wives and my children for whom I have served you, and let me depart; for you yourself know my service which I have rendered you.”[so for several years that I have lost count of, old Jake, nephew and son-in-law to Laban has been an employee in the household and now feels he needs to be his own man? The scribes could have done better, what do you think?]

27 But Laban said to him, “If now it pleases you, stay with me; I have divined that the Lord has blessed me on your account.” 28 He continued, “Name me your wages, and I will give it.” 29 But he said to him, “You yourself know how I have served you and how your cattle have fared with me. 30 For you had little before I came and it has increased to a multitude, and the Lord has blessed you wherever I turned. But now, when shall I provide for my own household also?” 31 So he said, “What shall I give you?” And Jacob said, “You shall not give me anything. If you will do this one thing for me, I will again pasture and keep your flock: 32 let me pass through your entire flock today, removing from there every speckled and spotted sheep and every black one among the lambs and the spotted and speckled among the goats; and such shall be my wages [Jake is asking for all animals that are striped, coloured and speckled which from the face of it doesn’t seem to be a lot!]. 33 So my honesty will answer for me later, when you come concerning my wages. Every one that is not speckled and spotted among the goats and black among the lambs, if found with me, will be considered stolen.” 34 Laban said, “Good, let it be according to your word.” 35 So he removed on that day the striped and spotted male goats and all the speckled and spotted female goats, every one with white in it, and all the black ones among the sheep, and gave them into the care of his sons. 36 And he put a distance of three days’ journey between himself and Jacob, and Jacob fed the rest of Laban’s flocks[Am lost here! Where is Laban headed? A little digression, Laban is Rebekah’s sister and should be far much older than Jake who joined the family at a ripe age of 77+ years. What am getting at here is that Laban should be too old now to not be able to tell the colour of sheep and goats, and he has no business grazing them anyway!].

37 Then Jacob took fresh rods of poplar and almond and plane trees, and peeled white stripes in them, exposing the white which was in the rods. 38 He set the rods which he had peeled in front of the flocks in the gutters, even in the watering troughs, where the flocks came to drink; and they mated when they came to drink. 39 So the flocks mated by the rods, and the flocks brought forth striped, speckled, and spotted.[In simpler language, the scribe want us to believe Jake would change the coloration of a kid through visual stimulation. I find this laughable and simply the work of an ignorant peasant. Please don’t try this at home with your neighbour’s cow, it will not happen!]

40 Jacob separated the lambs, and made the flocks face toward the striped and all the black in the flock of Laban; and he put his own herds apart, and did not put them with Laban’s flock. 41 Moreover, whenever the stronger of the flock were mating, Jacob would place the rods in the sight of the flock in the gutters, so that they might mate by the rods; 42 but when the flock was feeble, he did not put them in; so the feebler were Laban’s and the stronger Jacob’s. 43 So the man became exceedingly prosperous, and had large flocks and female and male servants and camels[are yet to be domesticated] and donkeys.

Genesis 25

Abraham’s Death

In this chapter, though titled Abe’s death, should actually get a new title. I will think of an appropriate one. We have Isaac, Abe’s progeny doing absolutely nothing. We nothing of him other than being the father of Jacob and Esau. So I can say with all confidence, nothing would be lost if Isaac didn’t show up except Abe would not have someone to try to kill and there would be no Jacob. Isaac for all intents and purposes is a useless character. He has no traits, does nothing important and doesn’t even meet with his daddy’s god! What a shame.

Enough said, let the journey continue:

25 Now Abraham took another wife, whose name was Keturah[ In the previous chapter, we are told honest Abe was old, advanced in age. How is it that 67 verses later he has a wife and 6 children to boot! Did they have Viagra then? ]. She bore to him Zimran and Jokshan and Medan and Midian and Ishbak and Shuah. Jokshan became the father of Sheba and Dedan. And the sons of Dedan were Asshurim and Letushim and Leummim. The sons of Midian were Ephah and Epher and Hanoch and Abida and Eldaah. All these were the sons of Keturah. Now Abraham gave all that he had to Isaac; but to the sons of his concubines[ I knew only of Hagar whom he chased away, were there others who the scribes chose not to tell us?], Abraham gave gifts while he was still living, and sent them away from his son Isaac eastward, to the land of the east[there is something east about biblical migrations! They never go west. That aside, we know nothing of Isaac, is he those characters a writer creates to fill a blank no more no less!].

These are all the years of Abraham’s life that he lived, one hundred and seventy-five years. Abraham breathed his last and died in a ripe old age, an old man and satisfied with life[ I agree he had a good one, pimping his sister/wife on two occasions, having concubines as we have come to learn and having visitations from most high for bread. What more would a person ask for?] ; and he was gathered to his people. Then his sons Isaac and Ishmael [the scribe here ain’t aware that Isaac has gone east, wherever that is, and Ishamel since being sent away hasn’t returned. How could god forget to tell the scribes this?] buried him in the cave of Machpelah, in the field of Ephron the son of Zohar the Hittite, facing Mamre, 10 the field which Abraham purchased from the sons of Heth; there Abraham was buried with Sarah his wife. 11 It came about after the death of Abraham, that God blessed his son Isaac; and Isaac lived by Beer-lahai-roi.

Descendants of Ishmael

12 Now these are the records of the generations of Ishmael, Abraham’s son, whom Hagar the Egyptian, Sarah’s maid, bore to Abraham; 13 and these are the names of the sons of Ishmael, by their names, in the order of their birth: Nebaioth, the firstborn of Ishmael, and Kedar and Adbeel and Mibsam 14 and Mishma and Dumah and Massa, 15 Hadad and Tema, Jetur, Naphish and Kedemah. 16 These are the sons of Ishmael and these are their names, by their villages, and by their camps; twelve princes according to their tribes[wait a minute, 12 sons with different tribes? Now can someone explain what is going on here? If the repetition here was poetic, it would have been interesting to read!]. 17 These are the years of the life of Ishmael, one hundred and thirty-seven years; and he breathed his last and died, and was gathered to his people. 18 They settled from Havilah to Shur which is east of Egypt as one goes toward Assyria; he settled in defiance of all his relatives[why would he have to defy his relatives? this verse here doesn’t make sense, unless the scribe is setting us up for a future in Egypt].

Isaac’s Sons

19 Now these are the records of the generations of Isaac, Abraham’s son: Abraham became the father of Isaac; 20 and Isaac was forty years old when he took Rebekah[his cousin], the daughter of Bethuel the Aramean of Paddan-aram, the sister of Laban the Aramean, to be his wife. 21 Isaac prayed to the Lord on behalf of his wife, because she was barren[maybe it’s Isaac who was impotent, who knows? why put the blame on the lady?] ; and the Lord answered him and Rebekah his wife conceived. 22 But the children struggled together within her; and she said, “If it is so, why then am I this way?” So she went to inquire of the Lord[ too bad they didn’t have CAT scans then, she would have easily have seen her gynae].

23 The Lord said to her,

“Two nations[how? ] are in your womb;
And two peoples will be separated from your body;
And one people shall be stronger than the other;
And the older shall serve the younger[Abe’s god with servitude].”

24 When her days to be delivered were fulfilled, behold, there were twins in her womb. 25 Now the first came forth red, all over like a ha

Esau must be the missing link evolutionary biologists have been trying to find.

iry garment[ tell me another, but am not buying a hairy baby]; and they named him Esau. 26 Afterward his brother came forth with his hand holding on to Esau’s heel, so his name was called Jacob; and Isaac was sixty years old when she gave birth to them.

27 When the boys grew up, Esau became a skillful hunter, a man of the field, but Jacob was a peaceful man, living in tents. 28 Now Isaac loved Esau, because he had a taste for game, but Rebekah loved Jacob. 29 When Jacob had cooked stew, Esau came in from the field and he was famished; 30 and Esau said to Jacob, “Please let me have a swallow of that red stuff there, for I am famished.” Therefore his name was called Edom. 31 But Jacob said, “First sell me your birthright.” 32 Esau said, “Behold, I am about to die; so of what use then is the birthright to me?” 33 And Jacob said, “First swear to me”; so he swore to him, and sold his birthright to Jacob.

34 Then Jacob gave Esau bread and lentil stew; and he ate and drank, and rose and went on his way. Thus Esau despised his birthright[this exchange rate is the best. I would want to buy a Ferrari at this rate].