Skip to main content

Genesis 23: Abraham suffers his wife's death and the Hittites' puns

File:Burial Cave of Sarah P1030724.JPG
Sarah's burial cave.  (The gate was added later.)




Sarah died at 127 years of age, and it was hard on Abraham.   After mourning a while, he realized that, like a lot of people, he hadn’t given much thought to estate planning.  He asked the Hittites if they could help him out, and one among them said, “Sure, we can provide your wife’s lot.”  Abraham glowered at the one-liner.

“Aren’t you the card?” he said saltily.

“Oh, sorry… too soon?”

Ignoring the matter, Abraham went on with his request.  “I like your cemetery, but really, what I had in mind was more of a cave, specifically the cave owned by Ephron, son of Zohar.  Any chance you guys could help me persuade him to give me that cave?”

It turned out Ehron was there among the Hittites when Abraham asked, and he was only too happy to do it.  “Look, Abraham, the land and the cave retail at around 400 shekels, but you can have it gratis.  Go ahead and salt your wife away in there; I don’t mind.”

Abraham considered this.  “Your pun doesn’t quite scan,” he said.  “The other one made more sense.  It still annoys me, but since I’m getting free land, I can drop it.”

“The plot thickens!” cried one of the Hittites.

“Hey, light a candle for Lot’s wife!” cried another.

Abraham, calm at last that he’d settled the problem of where to bury his wife and, one day, himself, left the Hittites to their awful puns.  “These people are nice enough,” he said to himself, “but I wouldn’t want any of my kids marrying one.”

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Betty Crocker: A Brief Biography

Long have our supermarket shelves borne products with the name Betty Crocker.  This name has long since lodged in our heads an essential part of americana.  It seems to evoke the past.  It seems to always have evoked the past, a past when life was simpler and Mother and Grandmother cooked at home, using time tested recipes and only the purest ingredients.  We can’t go back to that simpler, wholesome past, but we can give ourselves a Proustian shot of nostalgia by tasting the past we remember, or the past we only wish we could remember, but know must be so good.  That is the Betty Crocker brand.  You might have seen drawings of her, but have you ever actually seen the legend herself?  Here’s an image of Miss Crocker from a 1953 television ad:


The full "Betty Crocker" TV commercial.

Okay, that’s actually actress Adelaide Hawley, who played Betty Crocker in a number of commercials for the brand from 1949 to 1964.  Betty Crocker was born in 1921, so this representation looks to be…

At, Hashtag, And Per Se

Since the invention of the typewriter in the 1860s, there has been little change to the keyboard used in English.  The position of the letters has remained the same, and the numbers and punctuation have as well. The advent of the personal computer has required additional keys, most of which have found their own standard spots on the keyboard, but for the most part, there haven’t been many changes to the original design.

If you look at the above keyboard, you can see there have been some changes. Keys for fractions don’t really exist anymore; nor does a key to write the ¢ symbol. But the ¢ key on this 1900 model typewriter also includes the @ symbol, which has been common on keyboards since the dawn of typewriters. It’s older than that, even. But of course it is: how else would anyone write an email address? Except… who are you going to email in 1900? No one was emailing anyone before 1972. That’s when programmer Ray Tomlinson invented email. He figured that if you’re going to …

Kick the Football, Charlie Brown

For nearly the entire run of Charles Schulz's Peanuts comic strip, one running gag has been the football gag.  The gag is simple: Lucy Van Pelt kneels down on the grass, holding a football in place, and tells Charlie Brown to kick it.  Charlie Brown gets a good running start, ready to give it a good, solid kick, but at the last minute, Lucy pulls it away.  The final panel usually has a miserable Charlie Brown laying on the ground while Lucy looks over him, holding the football, telling him in one way or another that he obviously shouldn't have trusted her.
The gag first appeared on November 14, 1951, when the strip was just over a year old.  In the first occurrence, the football was not held by Lucy but by Violet Gray, another little girl in Charlie Brown’s neighborhood.  (Violet would later become a minor character in the strip, and Lucy would become a major one.Lucy wouldn’t appear in the strip until the following year.)  The first football gag is quite a bit different from w…