Genesis Chapters 20-24

In this post:  Abraham has a son with his wife, and throws his bastard son and his mother out into the desert, Abraham tries to kill his legitimate son, Incest, Incest, and more Incest, Sarah dies, Abraham stays in family to buy a wife for his son, and we try to unravel Abraham’s tangled mess of a family tree to this point.

 Chapter 20

 We move from Lot’s little cave of incest back to Abraham who is up to his old tricks.

After watching the Genocide in Sodom, Abraham and Sarah head south to Gerar a Philistine town in what is today south central Israel. (20:1)  The odd thing is that they would have had to be in Gerar at least 700 years before it was ever settled.  Isaac, who hasn’t yet ben born in the story, was born in 1938 BC. Gerar wasn’t settled until sometime around 1200 BC and nothing more than a small village until around 800 BC.  Odd isn’t it.

Anyway, once in Gerar, Abraham and Sarah pull their old sister/wife routine on the King. (20:2)  Sarah must have truly been an outstanding woman to still be so desirable at the age of 90.

This time, instead of plagues on the King’s children, God threatens the king directly through a dream.  In this dream God tells the king that he’s a dead man for what he’s done. However, the king defends himself by mentioning Abraham’s lie, and asking God if he would kill an innocent man for a crime he didn’t actually commit.  The king clearly didn’t know about the infanticide in Sodom, or he would have been worried about the answer.  But, God relents and tells the king to release Sarah and treat Abraham well and his non-existent crime will be forgiven. Otherwise God will go on another baby killing spree.  So the King agrees. (20:3-8)

The next day the king asks Abraham what his deal is with trying to get him killed.  Abraham pulls the ‘ole I thought you’d kill me to take my wife bit (20:9-11) and then admits that Sarah is in fact his half-sister. So, in a way, Abraham wasn’t lying when he called his wife his sister because, he was married to his sister.(20:12-13)  That’s right folks, more incest, and there’s more to come later.

So, the king gives Abraham more livestock and protection money, and says he can camp out there as long as he wants.  In return, Abraham gets God to let the king’s wife have babies again since God had shut off all the baby making machinery in the king’s household. (20:14-18)

 Chapter 21

A little time goes by, and God visits Ma Sarah and gets her pregnant. Sarah gives birth to Isaac, in 1938 BC when Abraham is 100 years old and she is 94. The boy is circumcised and eventually bar mitzvahs and all was good. (21:1-8)  Well, almost all.

480px-014.Abraham_Sends_Hagar_and_Ishmael_AwayAfter Isaac’s bar mitzvah, Sarah starts thinking about Ishmael, and tells Abraham that she doesn’t want Ishmael to have any rights as a son.  Abraham talks to God about it, and they decide to toss Ishmael and Hagar into the desert with some bread and a bottle of water. (21:9-14)

As will happen in the desert, the water runs out and the child almost dies.  But, God shows Hagar where to find water for the boy, and he ends up surviving and doing relatively well in the wilderness with a wife that his mother gets for him in Egypt.  The wife wasn’t a blood relative as was the custom in Abraham’s family. (21:15-21)

Sometime after throwing his son and the child’s mother out into the desert, Abraham is visited by the king from chapter 20.  Abraham and the king get into a little argument about a well that Abraham supposedly dug, but they part amicably, and Abraham sticks around for a little longer and names the area around the well Beersheba. (21:22-34)

 Chapter 22

God then tells Abraham to take Isaac to Moriah and burn him as an offering.  Without batting an eye, Abraham grabs Isaac, a couple of servants and a bunch of wood and heads to the mountains to kill Isaac. (22:1-6)

778px-Sacrifice_of_Isaac-Caravaggio_(Uffizi)When they get there, Isaac gets a little suspicious since they don’t have an animal to sacrifice, so Abraham ties him up and throws him on the altar they had built, and, without pause, raises the knife to kill him, but an angel steps in and stops him. (22:7-12)  So, Abraham grabs a ram and kills it instead. (22:13-14)

God then promises Abraham, all of the stuff he had promised him several times before, and Abraham and crew go back to Beersheba. (22:15-19)

Once back in Beersheba, Abraham is brought up to date on the family of his brother Nahor and Nahor’s niece/wife who has eight children and a grand-daughter Rebekah.  He’s also told that Nahor has some other kids with his mistress.  Seems that Nahor was not only incestuous, but also adulterous; truly a brother of Abraham. (22:20-24)

 Chapter 23

This chapter begins with the death of Sarah, Abraham’s sister/wife/extortion partner.  Sarah dies in 1905 BC at the age of 127. (23:1)

The rest of the chapter details how Abraham buys a piece of land to bury her in. (23:2-20)

 Chapter 24

Abraham is starting to feel old so he sends a servant back to Nahor (the town) to find a wife for Isaac, because he doesn’t want Isaac finding his own wife in Canaan. (24:1-10)

When Abraham’s servant gets to Nahor, there is a line of women at the well and he’s really thirsty, so he says to himself, that whoever gives him and his camels a drink will be the woman he takes back as Isaac’s wife. (24:11-14) An old version of eeny-meeny-miney-moe.

He soon spots a hot young virgin and asks her for a drink and she gives him one, then she gets water for his camels.  The little hottie is Rebekah, Abraham’s brother’s granddaughter, but the servant doesn’t know this yet. (24:15-20)

So, the servant thinks that God might be helping him with his quest, but, just in case, he gives the girl a bunch of jewelry to soften her up, then asks her who she is, and if he can spend the night at her place. (24:21-23)

Rebekah tells him who she is and offers him a place to stay, the servant is overjoyed to find out who she is in relation to Abraham, most likely because he knows how much Abraham likes incest, and the girl goes to tell her family. (24:24-28)

Rebekah’s brother fetches the servant to their house where he unpacks and gets ready to eat. (24:29-33)

Bacciarelli_Rebecca_and_EleazarBefore he eats, the servant tells them who he is and why he’s there.  Bethuel, Rebekah’s father, happily sends his daughter off to be married to his great-uncle’s son, after all the entire family is built on incest, and Rebekah, being a good daughter agrees.  So, the servant gives Rebekah’s family a lot of money for her, and takes her and her stuff back to Abraham. (24:34-61)

When they get to Lahairoi where Isaac now lives, Isaac and Rebekah meet, and Isaac immediately takes his second-cousin into his late mother/aunt’s tent and they have some pre-marital sex.  After sleeping with Rebekah, Isaac no longer feels bad about his mother/aunt having died. (24:62-67)

The Convoluted Abrahamic Family Tree

The Convoluted Abrahamic Family Tree

So, now we have a family line from Terah to Jacob.  However the family tree reads like some stereotype hillbilly family tree.

I have included a diagram of Terah’s family line at right, and to help understand it I have listed some of the highlights below:

  • Terah is Abraham’s Father, Nahor’s Father, and Sarah’s father
  • Abraham is Sarah’s half-brother and husband
  • Rebekah is Abraham’s great-niece and daughter-in-law.  She also has the same relations to Sarah
  • Rebekah is Isaac’s wife and second cousin
  • Moab, and Benammi are Lot’s sons as well as his grandsons
  • Benammi is Moab’s brother and uncle. The reverse is also true.
  • Nahor is Milcah’s uncle and husband as well as Lot’s uncle and brother-in-law
  • Milcah is Bethuel’s cousin and mother
  • Isaac is Bethuel’s cousin and son-in-law.  He is also the son and nephew of both Abraham and Sarah.
  • Jacob is Rebekah’s cousin and son, as is Esau
  • There are four generations from Terah to Jacob, there are also only three generations from Terah to Jacob
  • There are also three and four generations from Terah to Moab

Confusing isn’t it.  Ishmael should be thankful he was tossed into the desert to die by his father, otherwise he might have ended up married to his mother or grandmother.

Next time:  Abraham gets married again, and then dies;  Isaac marries his cousin and they have kids;  brotherly love Bible style; Isaac keeps his dad’s con alive; and, of course, more incest.  Until then, beware of incestuous con artists.  Ron

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