Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Genesis 25: A Meal for a Birthright

Check out today's episode

Abraham's Death and His Descendants (v. 1-18)

Abraham remarries and has a bunch more kids, he gives them gifts but gave most of his stuff to Isaac. He sends the other sons away to the east. Eventually Abraham dies and he is buried along with Sarah.

I'm really not a fan of Abraham's favoritism of Isaac. He gives him basically everything he has, and sends away his other sons. It seems like a pretty screwed up way to handle things, pick you favorite and to hell with the rest of them. It's actually not that much different from God is it? He picks his favorites, his "chosen people", and screw everyone else.

Guzik has absolutely no issue with Abraham picking a favorite. 

Also, it says Abraham gets remarried to Keturah, but then later calls her his concubine, what's up with that?

Jamieson, Fausset & Brown suggest that it is likely that she had been around for a much longer time than is described here given the number of children. That seems reasonable on first glance, but would it have to be after Isaac was born? Otherwise the whole thing with him having a son seems even more confusing.

The Birth of Esau and Jacob (v. 19-28)

Rebecca was barren and couldn't get pregnant so she prayed to God and then got pregnant.

I wonder how long they waited to determine she was "barren", sometimes it takes people a while to get pregnant, no miracle from God necessary.

Jamieson, Fausset & Brown point out that Isaac had the same problem as his father, but he was patient instead of taking matters into his own hands.

She would have twins, and they were struggling in her womb so she asked God about it, he said they would be 2 divided nations within her, one is stronger than the other and the older would serve the younger. Esau was born first and he wound up being a skillful hunter and a man of the field. Jacob was born next and he was a quiet man and spent time dwelling in tents.

I guess getting along with your twin brothers is not part of the story. How's that for family values? Also, what the hell does it mean that Jacob dwells in tents? Does it mean he is just a weaker person? Is it perhaps code for being an intellectual?

whoa, according to Guzik:
Jewish legends say Jacob and Esau tried to kill each other in the womb. Also, every time Rebekah went near an idol’s altar, Esau would get excited in the womb, and when she would go near a place where the Lord was worshipped, Jacob would get excited.
that's some serious shit right there. He also points out that God once again has chosen the younger instead of the older in as he did with Isaac and Ishmael. 
Is it fair for God to love one and hate another, and to choose one and not choose another, before they are even born? We should regard the love and the hate God speaks of here as having to do with His purpose in choosing one to become the heir of the covenant of Abraham. In that regard, God’s preference could rightly be regarded as a display of love towards Jacob and hate towards Esau. The real thought here is much more like “accepted” and “rejected” more than it is like our understanding of the terms “loved” and “hated.”
Is it really okay for God to reject one before he's even born? Just seems screwed up.
Our greatest error in considering the choices of God is to think God chooses for arbitrary reasons, as if He were sort of an “eeny-meeny-miny-moe” chooser. We may not be able to fathom God’s reasons for choosing, and they are reasons He alone knows and answers to, but God’s choices are not capricious.
So God works in mysterious ways? Great. 

Esau Sells His Birthright (v. 29-34)

Pic Source
One day Esau came in from the field exhausted and asked Jacob if he could have some of the stew he was making. Jacob said that he would do it if Esau would give up his birthright for it. Esau said if he doesn't eat he will die and the birthright will be no good to him, so he agreed.

Wow, this story is dumb. First of all, how hungry could he possibly be? It says he came in "from the field", it is highly doubtful that if he didn't get this stew he would die. Why would he give up something so valuable for a bowl of stew, even when he was really hungry? And Jacob is a horrible person in this story, why would you take advantage of someone like this? Esau is either suffering from intense hunger or stupidity, it seems wrong to act as he did.

I'm wondering what the lesson from this story is supposed to be. My guess is don't be stupid/impulsive like Esau, and don't be a jerk like Jacob.

From Guzik:
Esau’s thought isn’t that he is so hungry that he will die without food. Instead, the idea is “I will die one day anyway, so what good is this birthright to me?”
But that's not what the text says? It makes more sense in one aspect, because it is unlikely he was one bowl of stew away from death, but if he wasn't desperate why would he trade something so valuable for something so cheap?
Luther draws attention to an important fact: this was not a valid transaction, because Jacob was buying what was already his, and Esau was selling something that didn’t belong to him. (Leupold)
What?! The blame here is on Esau for selling something that God gave to his brother? Perhaps this whole things is just a self fulfilling prophecy. 

For the verses of note page


Genesis 25:5-6 favoritism of one child over others

"Abraham gave all he had to Isaac. But to the sons of his concubines Abraham gave gifts, and while he was still living he sent them away from his son Isaac, eastward to the east country."


  1. Considering that Abraham pimped our Sarai, sexually exploited and then cast out Hagar into the desert, and almost killed Isaac, we can conclude that he's a rotten person. I'm not surprised that he would treat his other offspring like dirt.

    1. That's a good point. It's actually quite disturbing that he is so revered.


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