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Genesis 12-13: How to Get Government Aid

Image result for Abram and Sarah
The happy couple on their road trip west of Eden.




This is a story that starts with temptation.  However, since it was God who was doing the tempting, no one generally speaks ill of it.  The temptation was this: “Abram, get out of town and I’ll give you a nation that no one will ever speak ill of without suffering for having done so, and that no one will do harm to without suffering for it.”  Since it’s always a good idea to listen to someone who claims that God told him to get a crowd of people together and head out into the desert, Abram had no trouble getting a nice crowd around him.  And at age 75, he was in the prime of his life, all set to wander around the desert.

The destination was Canaan, which was to be the land of the Israelites.  The Israelites would be the true inheritors of this land, because no one else was living there.  Except the Canaanites.  At this time, though, the Israelites were still the Hebrews, ready to take the promised land by kicking out whoever was already living there, thus establishing a custom for this part of the world that would last for all its remaining history.  (This custom caught on in North America later on, as well.)

But instead of leading the Hebrews to Canaan, Abram led them to Egypt for some reason.  Egypt was a trickier place, because there were more Egyptians there than there were Canaanites in Canaan, so there was no driving them out of it.  The Egyptians were scary to Abram, who decided that his wife was so hot, the Egyptians would take one look at her, kill Abram and let her live.  This, as we know, is the way people in every other country but our own have always conducted themselves, the barbarians.

“It’s safer, dear,” said Abram, “if we tell everyone you’re my sister instead.”  Of course the Egyptians really did go nuts over Mrs. Abram and dragged her to the Pharaoh’s court as soon as they saw her, and married her to the Pharaoh, whose practice of marrying all the attractive women who set foot in his country was severely crippling the Egyptian tourism industry.  But he was no skinflint: since Mrs. Abram was such a fine piece of flesh, Abram was showered with livestock in payment.

This transaction was followed by a plague on the Pharaoh’s family.  The problem was that God didn’t approve of apparent polygamy, and since God and all other gods rolled that way in those days: the Pharaoh had no trouble figuring this out.  He summoned Abram back to the palace, angry about the lie Abram used to chisel the Pharaoh out of all that livestock, and insisted that Abram take the missus back.  In the end, Abram got to keep his wife and all the livestock.  The moral is that although Abram’s accepting payment for something that he couldn’t sell was wrong, just like the Pharaoh’s polygamy, two wrongs indeed make a right.

Abram was now rich with money and animals, so he and the Hebrews, aware of how tense things were with the Pharaoh, figured they should get the flock out of there and finally got on their way to Canaan.  Abram and his nephew Lot decided they needed to split the group up, since they had too many people and too much livestock to manage in Canaan.  There was plenty of land, but the problem was that there were too many Canaanites on it, and some group called the Perizzites, as well.  Back then, this land seemed to have too many groups of people trying to claim it, which is why there was so much more strife back then, as opposed to Israel and Palestine today.

Lot decided to take off and make good in the city.  The nearest city was called Sodom, which was famous for an activity that didn’t have a name back then, and which I won’t go into here, because after all, this is a religious text.  Once Lot moved his people to the city (an act known as Sodomization,) God spoke to Abram again and told him he could have the rest of the land, and that it would belong to his descendents, and so the ownership of this land was decided forever.

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