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Clues in Genesis that Reveal What It is Actually About


Following up on my final submit, which probably modified your life eternally, let’s channel Gary Rendsburg’s article a bit extra and discover just a few extra ways in which David and the monarchy are embedded into the tales in Genesis (in no explicit order).

Esau’s “blessing” and Edom’s revolt.You could recall in Genesis that youthful brother Jacob twice outmaneuvered his elder brother Esau (nickname Edom, Genesis 25:25 and 30).

The primary time (Genesis 25:29-34), Esau (who’s clearly some type of dolt), bought his rights as firstborn for a scorching lunch. So far as I’m involved, that one’s on Esau. However in 27:1-40, Jacob, on the urging of his helicopter mom Rebekah, tricked outdated, practically blind, Isaac into giving him Esau’s blessing too (by dressing up as Esau).

Esau in Genesis

After Isaac blesses Jacob by mistake with a really superior blessing that basically couldn’t be topped (27:27-29), Esau returned from his hunt (the brutish, bushy man is all the time out searching) anticipating to be blessed by his father. Isaac realizes he has been deceived, principally freaks out, adopted by Esau freaking out much more, begging his father, “Have you ever just one blessing, father? Bless me, me additionally, father?” (v. 38)

Sure, Esau. Jacob solely has one blessing, and he shot all of it on Jacob. And it’s fairly a blessing, which incorporates agricultural bounty and—to get to our level—political supremacy:

Let peoples serve you, and nations bow right down to you. Be lord over your brothers, and will your mom’s sons bow right down to you. (27:29)

Seems to be to me, Esau, that you simply’ll be underneath your brother’s thumb. (You really want to remain house extra and regulate issues.)

The plural “brothers” and “your mom’s sons” could seem odd at first blush, provided that Jacob solely has one brother, the disenfranchised Esau. However in Hebrew “brothers” and “sons” typically merely imply “kin” and “descendants.” And these plurals are a clue as to the final word which means of this change.

Genesis: Map of Edom

If we keep in mind that Jacob’s title will likely be modified to Israel later within the story (32:28 and 35:10), it’s to not arduous to see what’s actually being mentioned right here: the Israelites can have political supremacy of their kin—which embody Edom (Esau’s nickname) and the opposite two trans-Jordan nations: Ammon and Moab.

Like Edom/Esau, Ammon and Moab are additionally kin, however extra distantly. As Genesis tells the story, these nations stem from the union of Lot (Abraham’s nephew, Isaac’s cousin) and his daughters (19:30-38)—and if that’s not political propaganda, I don’t know what’s.

The plurals “brothers” and “sons” make good sense if we see in Genesis later political realities embedded into the previous. Genesis attracts up Israel’s political map, and the youthful son of Jacob will reign over them.

Again to Esau. Isaac has exhausted his good blessing by giving it to Jacob, and so he has to scrounge up a blessing for Esau. And that is all he has left (vv. 39-40):

See, away from the fatness of the earth shall your own home be, and away from the dew of heaven on excessive. By your sword you shall reside, and you shall serve your brother; however while you break free, you shall break his yoke out of your neck.

Not a lot of a blessing. Form of an anti-blessing in the event you ask me, the other of Jacob’s: weak agriculture and political subservience—however with one ray of hope: Esau/Edom will ultimately break away from his brother.

And so he does.

In accordance with 2 Samuel 8:13-14, the nation of Edom got here underneath Israelite management underneath David  after which revolted about 150 years later throughout the reign of the southern (Judahite) king Jehoram (2 Kings 8:20-24).

And so, Esau/Edom served his brother for a time till he broke free. It looks as if Isaac’s “blessing” to Esau was preview of coming points of interest pertaining to the political occasions of the center of the ninth c. BCE.

As we noticed within the final submit, the monarchy is the context for the writing of Genesis, and monarchic issues are embedded into the traditional narratives of Genesis.

Genesis: Israel Boundaries

Israel’s very best boundaries. In Genesis 15:18, God guarantees Abraham the land of Canaan for his descendants. The outline of the boundaries is intensive—stemming from the Euphrates River right down to Egypt.

These intensive boundaries seem elsewhere within the Israel’s story solely in the course of the time of the monarchy, particularly the early, very best, days of the monarchy in the course of the reign of Solomon (1 Kings 4:20-21) earlier than he acquired cocky and disobedient.

The promise to Abraham was written with the monarchy in view—not predictively however retrospectively.

Abraham’s close to sacrifice of Isaac. On this well-known story (Genesis 22), Abraham’s close to sacrifice of his son Isaac is stopped on the final second when God offered a ram for the sacrifice as an alternative. The story ends,

So Abraham referred to as that place, “The LORD will present”; as it’s mentioned to today, “On the mount of the LORD it shall be offered.” (v. 14)

Right here is the earliest reference within the Previous Testomony to the “mount of the LORD,” and the opposite occurrences (in Isaiah, Micah, and Psalm 24) all consult with Mount Zion, which is Jerusalem with its Temple constructed in the course of the reign of Solomon.

The author of this story resides in the course of the monarchic interval (“as it’s mentioned to today”) and embedding the origins of Temple sacrifice within the close to sacrifice of Isaac, the place an animal was substituted for a human.

The eternal covenant. The Hebrew time period berit `olam (eternal covenant) is used within the Previous Testomony of solely 3 individuals: Noah (Genesis 9:16), Abraham (Genesis 17), and David (2 Samuel 23:5). God’s relationship with David is like one we’ve not seen for a very long time, for the reason that daybreak of time, since Israel’s beginnings.

There are extra examples within the article—some a bit refined, others that take much more explaining. However the similarities between the tales in Genesis and the later monarchy that we’ve checked out right here and within the final submit are arduous to dismiss.

Key components of the monarchy discover their origin within the deep previous of Israel’s origins. To learn Genesis nicely means to learn it with one eye on David, the monarchy, and in the end the southern nation of Judah.

This manner of taking a look at Genesis could also be appear to some to undercut the Bible, and I get that. But it surely’s not. It’s actually solely about making an attempt to grasp when and why Genesis was written by paying cautious consideration to the clues the author left there.

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