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Thursday, January 19, 2017

Genesis 22-24 (intimacy)

This passage begins with the testing of Abraham.  YHWH says sacrifice your only son, the one you love.  Abraham gets up to do it.  Abraham, who bargained shrewdly for Sodom's residents, obediently responds, "Here I am"/Aquí estoy —respondió, Gen. 22:1, to this painful request.  There is nothing that I can say on this that Kierkegaard hasn't already said perfectly in Fear and Trembling, a work that makes me think the testing of Abraham may have more value that the seduction of Lot.

The rest of this passage contain intimate vignettes of culturally foreign interactions.  Sarah dies.  We're given another scene of Abraham as powerful prince in obtaining a proper sepulcher for her; although to be clear, he paid for that tomb.  Gen. 23:12-16.  Abraham sends his servant back to the old country to fetch Isaac a wife, but making it clear that ¡en ningún caso llevarás a mi hijo hasta allá!/under no circumstances take my son back there.  Gen. 24:8.   Sounds like living in Canaan may kind of suck and somebody doesn't want the boy seeing what he's missing.  Finally, you have the thrice repeated story of Rebekah proving her worth by offering to water the camels of Abraham's servant, and thereby demonstrating that she's the one.  Gen. 24:14 (naming as a sign), 19 (actually happening), 46 (retelling to her brother).

The passage closes with Rebekah coming upon Isaac and what seems like marriage at first sight, notably in the tent of Sarah, and these sentences which either brings a tear to your eye, or you are in fact dead inside:  Luego Isaac llevó a Rebeca a la carpa de Sara, su madre, y la tomó por esposa. Isaac amó a Rebeca, y así se consoló de la muerte de su madre./ Isaac brought her into the tent of his mother Sarah, and he married Rebekah. So she became his wife, and he loved her; and Isaac was comforted after his mother’s death.  Gen. 24:67.

Interesting note: In describing Rebekah at Gen. 24:16, we have, "The woman was very beautiful, a virgin; no man had ever slept with her."  So, why the follow up clause?  Is it not a given that the word virgin means no man had ever slept with her?  Or perhaps does the Hebrew word for virgin require more detailed explanation?  Things that make you go hmm.



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