Genesis: Jacob’s Return to Bethel, The Birth of Benjamin, and the Death of Rachel and Isaac

Genesis 35:5-29

As Jacob fled from Shechem and the massacre committed by his kin, god rained terror down upon all who pursued Jacob. He returned to Bethel, in the land of Canaan, where he claimed god came to him before to warn him that Esau planned to murder him. When Jacob arrived in Bethel, El came to him. El told Jacob (again) that his name is no longer Jacob but Israel. He then promised that his descendants would be numerous, and he would acquire the land of Abraham and Isaac. Afterwards, Jacob constructed a pillar to worship El, and poured a drink offering and oil on the pillar.

Israel journeyed from Bethel with his family. Rachel gave birth while on this journey, and died from the ordeal. She named the son Ben-oni, but Israel decided to name the child Benjamin instead. Rachel was buried in Bethlehem and a pillar was constructed at her tomb. They then proceeded with their journey. Israel’s son, Reuben, then sleeps with his sex slave, Bilhah, which upsets Israel.

Israel returned to his father, Isaac, in Hebron just before his death. Esau and Israel buried their father in Hebron.

These stories were quite brief with not much of interest to comment on besides offerings at a pillar, and the encroachment of a son on his father’s sex slave.

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Genesis: Jacob Flees to Laban

Genesis 27:41-46 & 28:1-9

Esau, enraged by his brothers treachery, promises that the day his father dies he will murder his brother Jacob. Rebekah hears this and warns Jacob that Esau is plotting to murder him. She tells Jacob to leave and head to the land of her brother Laban in Haran to wait for his bother to cool off. Rebekah’s prejudice towards the women of Canaan influenced her to ask Isaac to give his blessing to Jacob to find a wife while in Haran. Rebekah says of Hittite women:

“I’m disgusted with living because of these Hittite women. If Jacob takes a wife from among the women of this land, from Hittite women like these, my life will not be worth living.”

Here the Bible’s promotion of intolerance is on full display. This woman, these people, are aliens living in the land of Canaan, and are only allowed to stay because of the Canaanite’s hospitality, which the descendants of Abraham undermine continuously.

Isaac blesses Jacob–as Rebekah wished–and tells him not to marry a woman from the land of Canaan, but to head to Northwestern Mesopotamia where Rebekah’s family lives to find a wife. Esau learns of his father’s blessing and his parents prejudice towards Canaanite women, so he goes shopping for a new bride, one within the family. He settles for his cousin Mahalath the daughter of Ishmael.

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Genesis: Abraham and Abimelech

Genesis 20:1-18

Abraham, the great con-artist, is up to his old tricks again in this tale. Abraham moves into the region of Negev and lived in Gerar. There, he and his wife are approached by the king of that region, Abimelech. Like they did in Egypt, Abraham and Sarah told the king they were brother and sister, not husband and wife. The king then takes Sarah to be his wife. God then comes to the king in a dream and tells him that he is as good as dead, because he has taken Sarah to be his wife. The king had not laid with Sarah, so he asks God if He would destroy an innocent nation. He tells God that he was innocent, because Abraham had told the king they were siblings. God then tells him that He knows that he did this in good conscience, and that is why He prevented the king from touching her. Here God has suspended free will. God is willing to step in and prevent this king from having sex with Abraham’s wife, but God is not willing to step in and prevent Lot’s daughters from raping their father.

Abimelech calls for his officials and told them what had happened. He then calls for Abraham and asks, why did he do this? Abraham says his reason for such treachery was because he believed that this city did not have the fear of God. Abraham does go on to admit that he did not lie, Sarah and him are brother and sister–half-brother and half-sister, same father. Another instance of incest (I am considering a counter for each account of incest). Abraham claims to have told Sarah that for her to show her love of him, she is to tell everyone that Abraham is her brother wherever they go.

Just like in Egypt, Abraham walks away from this situation a wealthier man. The king gives him sheep and cattle, male–who must now be circumcised–and female slaves, and returned his wife to him. The king also gives him a thousand shekels of silver. Abraham prays for the king so that he will be forgiven, and leaves now a richer man. It is said that God had closed up the wombs of Sarah and the female slaves while Sarah was with the king, and now that Sarah has return the wombs are returned to normal. The prophet of God, the great con man, Abraham, has swindled another king.

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Genesis: Sodom and Gomorrah Destroyed & Lot and His Daughters

Genesis 19-1:38

Sodom and Gomorrah Destroyed  

The biblical account of these two infamous cities, Sodom and Gomorrah, are a permanent fixture in western society. Sodomy comes from the word Sodom, and implies a bigoted view toward homosexuals, all based on the biblical account of this city. Christians, and many other religions from the middle-east, source this account as justification for the vile, bigoted language and actions against homosexuals. They use this as an attempt to support their belief that homosexuals should not be granted equal rights. People read this passage with blinders, I think, because they are told ahead of time that this is a story about God’s hatred towards homosexuals. With these blinders up, they fail to see the other horrors done, not only by the people God does choose to save, but by God Himself.

The two angels that left Abraham’s house arrive at Sodom. When they arrive, they are greeted by Lot. Lot invites them into his home; they refuse and say they will spend the night in the square, but Lot is persuasive and they decided to join him in his home. Lot cooks them a meal, and they eat. Before they go to bed, men from across the city gather around his house, because they desire the men whom Lot is housing. The men tell Lot to let the men he is housing out, so they can have sex with them. Lot, in an attempt to spare the men he is housing, offers his two virgin daughters to be raped by this mob of men instead, then to have them rape some men whom he did not know. Sodomy is not the sin of this story, it’s rape. Rape is the theme of this passage, as we will see later. The crime intended to be committed was rape, but they preferred to rape the men instead of Lot’s daughters, whom he offered so casually. This shows this society’s contempt for women. They were merely an object, property, to be used. This is a man of very low character, and not even a decent father. If he were a heroic man, and was to offer anyone up for rape, it should have been himself. Heroism is defined by self-sacrifice, and this man apparently is not a hero. Instead this man offers his two virgin daughters to participate in an orgy, a gang-bang of biblical proportions, that would make even the most experienced of porn starlets blush at the thought. Yet, this is the man the angels, and God, decided to save. The angels pull Lot back inside the home and tell him to go tell his sons-in-law, daughters-in-law, etc., that the end is nigh. When Lot tells them this news they laugh at him, and dismissed his message. With dawn approaching, the angels tell Lot to take his daughters and his wife and leave before the city was destroyed. He hesitated, so the angels whisked them away to safety. Not his extended family though, even though they apparently deserved to be saved. One angel tells him to flee to the mountains, but Lot asks God if fleeing to a small city–Zoar–nearby would be adequate; God accepts. The mercy of God’s wrath is conditional of course, they are not to look back on the destroyed city as they flee. After they reach the city, the sun breaks across the horizon and God destroys the city. As we all know, Lot’s wife looks back, and is turned into a pillar of salt. Even though she was apparently a good enough person to be saved, she is punished by God’s wrath, because of curiosity. In this case curiosity did not kill the cat, but the disobedient servant of the Lord. According to the bible, God rains burning sulfur down on the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. One could infer a different conclusion–something other than a spiteful god raining death down on a population–perhaps, it was instead, a simple volcanic eruption. In the morning, Abraham comes out and sees the cities burning. The Bible says that because God remembered Abraham, He saved Lot. This isn’t really what God promised Abraham. He promised him that if he found at least ten people who were righteous He would spare the city. From the viewpoint of the Lord, He did find them, Lot’s family, but instead he chose to kill them and save only Lot and his daughters. As I argued earlier, Lot is clearly not a righteous man, yet somehow, he is saved while the others perished.

Lot and His Daughters

Lot and his daughter leave the city of Zoar, and head to the mountains. They find shelter in a cave, and live there. The eldest daughter tells the younger daughter that it would be a good idea to get their father drunk, and have sex with him, since there is no other man for them to have sex with. They proceed with this plan, and the eldest daughter has sex with her father first. The next night the younger daughter has sex with him as well. The Bible claims that Lot was unaware of what was happening, but I find this hard to believe. He had to be aware enough to become erect, and perform his part in this transfer of fluids to produce a new life. If he was not lucid and his daughter forced themselves on him, then they raped their father. Again, rape seems to be the theme of this chapter. Yet, God seems to be fine with this incest. No angels sent to destroy them in this cave. God looks down on sodomy and the rape of angels, but incest and the raping of one’s father, that is fine. If the daughters believed that they were the last humans on the Earth, God could have stopped this incest from happening. All he had to do was come down and say to them that there were other men out there. Clearly incest is acceptable to God. Now the daughters have two bastard sons: Moab, the father of the Moabites, and Ben-Ammi, father of the Ammonites.

I think the point has been made that those who look to this chapter as moral support for their bigotry towards homosexuals can no longer do so. This chapter is void of any morality. This, in my opinion, is the most immoral chapter of the Bible I have read so far. So I pose this question to the faithful, how does one see morality in this chapter?

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