Wednesday, September 16, 2009

11: Let's Wrestle

Genesis 32-34
In Genesis 32 Esau finally finds his brother Jacob and is out for revenge for stealing Isaac's blessing. Jacob decides to try to appease him with a bunch of animals. That's all well and good, but about half way through the chapter we come to a section called "Jacob wrestles with God". Really? REALLY?

Yes, Jacob is alone in the middle of the night and wrestles with who he thinks is some random dude. They "wrestle" till daybreak, then "Jacob's hip... was wrenched as he wrestled with the man". What does "wrestle" mean? Why is Jacob wrestling with some random dude when he's supposed to be worrying about fighting/appeasing his brother? Genesis 32 ends with Jacob limping around because he hurt his hip "wrestling". Really?

Genesis 33 is relatively strange from a literary point of view. We've spent a chapter leading up to the meeting of these two long lost brother. Esau has gathered what amounts to an army to presumably kill his brother. So what happens when they finally meet? Esau comes and hugs his brother and talks about all the random kids Jacob has, then they leave. What was the army for? Why isn't Esau mad anymore?

Genesis 34 starts with one of Jacob's daughters being raped. The father of the raper comes to Jacob and says that Jacob should give his daughter as a wife to his son. He agrees, but only if they all get circumcised. What is this circumcision obsession? Anyway, the rapers go for this and while they are still in pain Jacob's sons go and kill them all. They then take all the women and children and take them back. I thought it was "eye for an eye", not "eye for a head". Maybe death for the whole town was a little overboard for a rape. Again we never get to hear what happens to the woman that got raped in the first place.
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