Thursday, August 9, 2012

Genesis 15-19; Wowza!

Chapters 15-19 cover a whole lot of story!

Chapter 15:
God reminds Abram that he will become the father of a great nation.  Abram has a nightmare that God explains to mean that Abram's seed will spend 400 years serving a foreign land.  His land would be "from the river of Egypt to the great river Euphrates."

Chapter 16:
Sarai is barren and is a little concerned that she will not be able to give Abram this so-called "seed" about whom God keeps reminding him.  Sooooo....she sends Abram over to her maid, Hagar, so that she would conceive and have a child for Abram.  But when Hagar gets pregnant, she comes to despise Sarai for this and flees into the wilderness.  An angel comes to Hagar and told her she should go back to Sarai, bare a son and call him Ishmael, and he'll be a wild dude (sounds like a bit of a rogue, maybe).

Chapter 17:
This is the covenant (promise/agreement) between God and Abram.  God changes his name to Abraham.  God says he will make Abraham a great nation and he will be given the land of Canaan (remember Canann?  Ham's son...cursed to serve the families of Shem and Japheth?  Abraham came out of Shem's lineage.)  God asks Abraham to circumcise all of the men among him, family and servants alike, as a token of this covenant.  Any man who is uncircumcised will be cut off from his people, as he will have broken God's covenant.  Sarai's name is now changed to Sarah.  And God says he will bless her with a son and she will be the mother of a great nation.  This son's name will be Isaac.  God also says that he will make Ishmael fruitful--twelve princes shall he beget--and make him a great nation.  Then Abraham goes and circumcises all of the men of his house that very day.

Chapter 18:
Now three "men" show up at Abraham's tent door one day.  It would seem that these "men" are two angels and God (or three angels and God was also there?).  Abraham has Sarah prepare a big meal for them.  As she's preparing it, she hears them telling Abraham that she will bare him a son.  She laughs at this and God's like, "Why is Sarah laughing?  Am I not God?  Can I not do anything?"  Sarah denied that she laughed, but God said, "Naw...pretty sure you laughed!"

Then the men/angels looked out toward Sodom (where Lot is currently residing with his families).  God says, "Sodom and Gommorah are pure evil.  I'm going to destroy them."  Abraham feels a little uneasy about this because Lot is there.  He says, "Are you going to destroy the righteous with the wicked?"  Then Abraham proceeds to pester God in groups of 10..."if there are 50 righteous men, will you destroy it?" "No. Not for 50."  "If there are 40 righteous men will you destroy it?"  "No.  Not for 40."  And so on down the line all the way to 10.  God says he will not destroy Sodom if there are 10 good men there.

Chapter 19:
The two angels that had visited Abraham went to go fetch Lot.  Lot tells them to spend the night at his place for safety's sake.  The say that they'll just spend the night in the street, but Lot insists that they stay with him, so they come into his home.  Before they go to bed, the men of Sodom start calling for Lot, "Where are the men that came to visit you?  Send them out that we may "know" them."  I suppose I can't be certain what this actually means, but typically in the bible when someone wants to "know" someone else, it is implying a sexual relationship.  So Lot goes out to the men and says, "I have a couple of virgin daughters you can have for your purpose (?!), but please leave these men (angels) alone."  The men get upset that this foreigner is judging them, so now they go after Lot.  The angels grab Lot and pull him inside and "smite" the men outside with blindness so that they cannot find the door.

The angels tell Lot that he'd better take his family and leave and not look back.  Lot warns his sons-in-laws and married daughters, but is only ignored.  So he leaves with his two virgin daughters and his wife, but uh-oh!  His wife looks back right as God is sending down fire and brimstone upon the cities!  The angels said not to look back!  Now she turns into a pillar of salt.  So Lot and his two daughters are safe and in hiding out in the mountains in a cave.  His daughters commune; they are concerned that their father is old and there are no men around to...uh, "know" them.  They then devise a plan to get Lot pass-out drunk, sleep with him!!!!, and bare children so that he might have a seed.  Aaaand that's exactly what they do.  Their children will become the Moabites and then Ammonites (we've read about these peoples before).

Really.  Why people insist on not reading the bible is beside me!  These stories are chock full of more television drama material that even the best writers in Hollywood could come up with!  Albeit, it's a little unsettling, and as you're reading it you may just do a double take or let out a "WHAT?!"  But really, interesting stuff.

More next week.

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