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Thursday, September 09, 2010

Day Nine (End of Patriarchs)

So, something weird happens Exodus 1:8. We lose track of the line of descendants from Adam. In Genesis we have the first creation story, then we have the second story and the man created there is named Adam. Then, from time to time we have genealogies that catch us up. The Hebrews are descended from Seth (son of Adam & Eve), and Shem (son of Noah and nameless mate), and Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob(aka Israel). Up to this point, the siblings have all started other races. Noah's son Ham, who saw his dad drunk and naked, was father of the Cananites. Lot's incest led to the Moabites and the Ammonites. Abraham's oldest, Ishmael, led to the Ismaelites (Arabs), and so on. But after Israel (aka Jacob) not everyone is descended from the hero, Joseph, or his blessed son Ephraim. In fact, David & Jesus descend from Judah. And, the next hero, Moses, is a descendant of Levi. And so, although Matthew and Luke will try to reconstruct a lineage from Adam to Jesus, at this point in my reading things get muddled because Exodus hasn't yet provided a careful list of descendants from Levi for me to follow.

One of the takeaways of these stories for me, is the idea of God always working for the good. Now, that will creep out some of my readers because it sounds too divine intervention like. But that doesn't necessarily have to be the case. If God is everything and then some (panentheism) then there is something akin to a metaforce for good at work in the world. But, also, analyzing these stories for their values, I think there is an eternal hopefulness to them. And I think all of the awfulness, which probably reads as extra awful to 20th century readers, is important because the Hebrew heroes were no like Hercules or Horus in that they were fundamentally human. Maybe that doesn't hold up because demigods of other myths were also flawed.

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