Saturday, September 19, 2009

14: I Have a Dream

Genesis 41-42
Pharaoh has some dreams and his officer remembers that Joseph interpreted his dreams correctly. So Pharaoh calls for Joseph and has him interpret his weird dreams about cows eating each other. Anyway, apparently the seven ugly cows eating the seven fat cows means that there are going to be seven years of prosperity then seven years of famine (that makes perfect sense?). Pharaoh, only based on these interpretations, puts Joseph in charge of his palace. Gullible much? Directly after this he decides that Joseph should also be in charge of all of Egypt, so he can save up food for the 7 famine years. So all I have to do to be the ruler of Egypt is act like I know what your dreams mean?

During the 7 years of prosperity they save one fifth of what they produce to save up for the next 7 years. So presumably they are producing 5 times what they need. They apparently stopped keeping record of how much food they were storing because there was just too much to keep track of, convenient.

The famine starts, and they start selling the grain out of the stores. They also start selling the grain to countries all around them. So they apparently not only have enough food for 7 years, but they have enough food to feed the whole area for 7 years.

Joseph's brothers start to feel the famine (yes, the ones that sold him), so they come to Egypt. Joseph recognizes them, but somehow they don't recognize him. So he accuses them of being spies and tells them send one of them to bring him their youngest brother. This will supposedly prove they are not spies (why?). So he puts them all in jail for three days. I thought he just told them to send one to get their brother, inconsistency abounds. On the third day Joseph lets them out because he "fears God", does that mean he knows he's being a jerk?

One of the brothers has to stay locked up for some reason while the others bring the grain back to their family (that is also Joseph's family) so they don't starve. I guess Joseph just changes the rules on who stays in jail and who goes whenever he wants. The brothers start talking and say (paraphrasing) "do you think this is because of what we did to Joseph?". Firstly, of course it's because of Joseph, stupid, he's staring you right in the face. Secondly, if he really doesn't recognize his brother, why would he make that connection? Joseph overhears them and feels bad for being a jerk so he gives them back the silver they paid for their grain (but he doesn't give back their brother, he doesn't feel that bad). They go back to their father, Jacob, and say that they need to bring their brother back with them to Egypt to prove they aren't spies. He says no because they have already lost him two sons. By "lost", of course, I mean they sold one and got the other one locked away in jail.

Friday, September 18, 2009

13: Servant

Genesis 38-40
Well I guess we're back to strange and interesting chapters. Judah (one of Joseph's brothers that sold him) moves away and marries a Canaanite. He has a son named Er (possibly the worst name of all time). Er was "wicked" so God kills him (that was easy). Then Judah tells his son Onan to sleep with the wife of his dead brother so she can have babies. ***warning, horrible biblical science ahead*** Onan doesn't want to sleep with her dead brothers wife because "the offspring would not be his". Actually, bible, they would be his. But this isn't the worst part. Onan, to prevent his brother's wife from getting pregnant, ejaculates on the floor before he sleeps with her so she wont get pregnant. I don't think so. God doesn't like him splooging all over the place so he kills him.

The story of Tamar (Er's wife) isn't over yet though. She, being a biblical character, wants to do it with every other character no matter what their relation, and no matter what means she has to use to get it. Tamar hears Judah is coming to sheer sheep so she dresses up like a prostitute. Judah sleeps with prostitutes (why not?), so he winds up sleeping with his daughter-in-law. She gets pregnant and three months later someone tells him that Tamar is a prostitute. His first reaction is "Bring her out and have her burned to death". That's until he finds out it was him that was sleeping with her, then he says "She is more righteous than I". Long story short, she doesn't get burned and has his babies (twins).

We go back to the story of Joseph (who was sold to the Egyptians). He's such an awesome slave that he becomes the servant of one of the Pharaohs officials. The official's wife gets the hots for Joseph (of course) but he wont give her what she wants, so she pretty much says he tried to rape her. So Joseph gets thrown in jail, but he's an awesome jail slave too and gets treated well so "God is watching over him". Because, God had nothing to do with him being thrown in jail in the first place.

Pharaoh locks up a couple of other of his officials and they are put under the care of Joseph in prison. They have bad dreams and Joseph interprets them. His interpretations are correct (of course). Joseph had told one of them to get him out of jail but he doesn't. Nice guys.

[Edit: I mistakenly said "Jacob", instead of "Joseph" in the couple of paragraphs, it has been fixed.]

Thursday, September 17, 2009

12: Sold

Genesis 35-37
God tells Jacob that he should be called Israel. The bible then just switches back and fourth randomly between calling him Jacob and calling him Israel. Rachel dies and nobody seems terribly upset. We list all of Jacobs sons and Isaac dies, nobody is terribly upset about this either. I think we ran out of interesting story a few chapters ago.

Genesis 36 is all about Esau's descendants. I'm not sure why we care, and it doesn't really seem to have any relevance to the plot (if you can call it a "plot"). We still haven't heard if Esau still wants to kill his brother.

Genesis 37 is pretty strange (shocking I know). Jacob's son Joseph (his favorite) starts having weird dreams and telling everyone about them. The first dream is that he and his brothers are binding sheaves of grain, and suddenly their sheaves get a mind of their own and all of his brothers sheaves bow down to his (innuendo anyone?). He has another dream that the sun, the moon, and eleven stars bow down to him. For some reason he tells his brothers and father this, and for some reason they are mad about him for a dream.

His brothers are so mad at him that they plot to kill him. Cooler heads prevail and they decide to just throw him in a cistern (nice guys). That's until they see a caravan of "Ishmaelites" coming toward them. Then they decide to sell him for 20 shekels of silver. They then fake his death with goats blood and their father buys it.

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.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

10: Baby Making

Genesis 30-31
Genesis 30 is pretty much a baby making contest between Jacob's wives. At first Rachel can not give birth so she gives Jacob her servant to make babies with. Leah (Jacob's other wife) sees what Rachel did and gives Jacob one of her servants to make babies with. After awhile his wives start having kids too and it gets a little silly.

The last half of Genesis 30 is about sheep evolution. Jacob selectively breeds his sheep so that they have certain traits that he likes (sorry guys, that's evolution).

Genesis 31 is all about Jacob running away from his step father. Rachel steals the "family gods" (which means her children get the inheritance) from her father and hides them in her camel's saddle. When her father catches up to Jacob and searches for the family gods Rachel sits on the camel's saddle and says that she cant stand up because she's on her period.

In the end Jacob and his step father make nice and they part ways.

Monday, September 14, 2009

9: Jacob

Genesis 27-29
Genesis 27 starts out with Isaac at an old age. He is nearly blind and apparently only tells the difference between his sons by feeling how furry they are (I'm not making this up). Isaac tells Esau (his favorite son) to go hunt and make him a nice meal so that Isaac can bless him. Rebekah overhears Isaac tell Esau this and tells the other son Jacob to go get lambs from their flock and feed his father that. Thus tricking Isaac into blessing Jacob instead of Esau. Jacob says that he's not hairy enough to pull this off so his mother gets goatskins and put's it on him. This works and Isaac blesses Jacob with dominion over his brothers.

Esau comes back and finds that his brother has stolen his blessing (I guess Isaac only has one blessing to go around) and vows to kill his brother.

Jacob avoids getting killed and moves away. He settles in the east and works for 7 years to get a wife. The father that he made the deal with decides that he should marry his older daughter even though Jacob just worked for 7 years for the younger one. He marries the older daughter anyway, works 7 more years, and also marries the younger daughter. So much for the sanctity of marriage.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

8: Inheritance

Genesis 25-26
Abraham takes another wife after Sarah's death, has children with her, and apparently with several of his concubines. Abraham writes all these other children out of the will, though, and sends them away to the east. Abraham lives to the ridiculous age of 175 and dies, and is buried with Sarah.

Ishmael randomly gets brought up again and his descendants are listed. He lives to 137 years old.

Isaac's wife has twins; Isaac loves one, and Rebekah (his wife) loves the other. Wonderful parents. There is a dispute about the birthright (meaning inheritance I suppose) and the older twin sells it (the birthright) to the younger twin.

There is a famine in the land and who does Isaac flee to but Abimelech. Isaac must have learned his scamming lessons from his father because as soon as he goes into the city he says "She [Rebekah] is my sister". Abimelech is fooled again, but at least he doesn't take her as one of his wives. He says "What is this you have done to us? One of the men might well have slept with your wife, and you would have brought guilt upon us." Yeah, he knows all about that. Abimelech tells all of his men to stay away from Rebekah. Isaac plants crops and makes big bucks. At least he doesn't take Abimelech's stuff this time, maybe Isaac isn't going to be a jerk after all. Abimelech tells Isaac he is becoming to powerful and that he should move away. Isaac moves and awhile later Abimelech comes to make a treaty with him. He probably doesn't want to incur God's wrath.
 

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