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Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Gen. 35-37 (the book before the musical)

Today's passage has another example of two stories where the editor couldn't decide which to keep.  The ancient Biblical editor I mean.  Genesis 35:9-10 has God coming to Jacob and renaming him Israel, but this already happened when Jacob wrestled with God, Gen. 32:22-31.  These aren't major contradictions, but just evidence of the Scripture's formation.

We also get a similar motif with Esau returning to bury his father, Gen. 35:29, as when Ishmael did the same, Gen. 25:9.  Like Ishmael, Esau is the father of a great nations.  Reviewing the lineage, chiefs and kings of Edom--Esau's people--it is interesting that the kings are not the children of other kings.  Gen. 36.  So, for those keeping score, Esau hunted and was a man's man.  But, he married took Hittite wives, and may have given rise to a meritocracy. Hmm.

We finish up with the story of Joseph and the Technicolor Dream Coat.  Curiously, Genesis 37:2 starts off listing the age of the son, not the father to put the story in context.  Joseph's mother dies in childbirth a few verses before.  His dad loves him better, and he is kind of a pill to his brothers.  Seriously fascinating story telling beginning and I understand why it's a favorite.

Interesting note: Reuben.  What to think of him.  On the one hand, he slept with his father's concubine, Gen. 35:22.  Not his mother, by the way.  On the other hand, when the brothers decide to throw Joseph in a well and let him die, Reuben actually has a plan to go get him, Gen. 37:29.  Complicated character I guess, but particularly when you figure he represents a tribe of Israelites.

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