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Showing posts with the label Abraham

Genesis 25: How to Win at Sibling Rivalry

Isaac Blessing Jacob - Govert Flinck, c. 1638 With his son Isaac married off, the old widower Abraham figured he might as well get around to getting himself married again.  This was easy to do, since Abraham had a lot of property and was very old, which is a combination that a certain kind of woman finds very appealing.  Keturah was one such woman.  She and Abraham had six kids together.  They lived to see their grandchildren and great-grandchildren be born.  Well, we know Abraham did.  After the mention of her bearing six children, Keturah disappears from the narrative, and there’s no telling what happened to her.  Abraham himself lived to be 175.  Odds are Abraham treated his second wife well, in light of the fact that he had been decent enough to set up the sons of his concubines with nice little nest eggs and sent them off to the east to get their lives going.  Anything Abraham had that didn’t go to his concubines’ sons (and, possibly, his widow,) was left to Isaac. As Ab

Genesis 24: Isaac Marries His Cousin

Genesis 24: when family meets with family to form family. Abraham was now a widower in his 120s and very much feeling his age.   He was obviously pretty thin-skinned for feeling so old, since others like Noah and Adam lived well past age 800.   Abraham was still pretty young, by Genesis standards.   Still, it was time to start planning for what came next.   What came next, of course, was his son Isaac’s future bride, whoever she might be.   Since Abraham was so concerned, he took the reasonable course of action and talked to his household’s chief servant about this. “Place your hand under my thigh,” Abraham told the servant. “Er… beg pardon, sir?” “Place your hand under my thigh.” “Sir, I don’t suppose I need to tell you that this is not an orthodox demand to make of one’s own butler.   I may be your servant, but I am still an individual with rights and dignity, and…” “Enough!” interrupted Abraham.   “This is so you can swear something to God.” “Oh,” said

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

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.” Abr

Genesis 22: Abraham gets ready to kill his son Isaac

Caravaggio - The Sacrifice of Isaac (1603) A bit later on, God was chatting with Abraham again.   “Fine boy you got there,” He said.   “A wonderful addition to your family and to the whole tribe.   Which is why I need to you take young Isaac up into the mountains and make him into a burnt offering to Me.” What parent hasn’t dreamed of this moment every now and then?   Abraham gathered up some kindling, his boy, two servants and a donkey.   They headed for the land of Moriah, which apparently had pretty lax child endangerment statutes, and in three days found a mountain suitable for burnt offerings of your own child.   Abraham told the servants to stay put with the donkey while he and Isaac went off to worship in private.   He made Isaac carry the wood for the burnt offering. “Why must I carry the wood, Father?” asked Isaac. “Difficult chores build character,” explained Abraham. “Oh.   Say, what’s our burnt offering going to be, anyway?   We di