Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Genesis 24 and 25

In Genesis 24, Father of Multitudes extracts an oath from his steward to find a wife for He laughs from among Father of Multitudes' kinfolk. The steward takes ten camels to the city of Nahor and asks God for a sign, to wit, that a woman who offers to water his camels would be the one who would be the wife of He Laughs. Such a woman, To Bind, appears and fulfills the sign. What's more she's the grandniece of father of Multitudes, a young maiden still a virgin and comely. To Bind's family grants hospitality to the steward who tells him of his oath and the sign that To Bind had fulflled. He asks for To Bind to return with him to be He Laugh's wife. And that's what happened.

This chapter is interesting mainly for the narrative form. The steward repeats the entire part about the oath, the sign and his earlier conversation with To Bind, and the author writes them all out instead of simply referring back to them. Perhaps this was how the bards who transmitted the stories orally had done it, and ths would have been a way to reinforce significant parts of the story. No Canaanite wife for He Laughs, thank you very much, and none from Ur of the Chaldees. This marriage was made in heaven.

In Chapter 25, the widowed Father of Multitudes takes a third wife and begat children, but He laughs was the only heir. Father of Multitudes dies and is buried by Princess. Then follows genealogical remarks about the descendants of Ishmael, including twelve princes.

To Bind becomes pregnant with twins about whom God tells her "the older shall serve the younger" and that they shall be two nations. He Finishes comes out first, all red and hairy, and Supplanter follows with his hand on his older brother's heel. He Finishes becomes a hunter and the favorite of He laughs, whereas Supplanter was the beloved of To Bind.

One day He Finishes comes in from the field hungry and begs Supplanter for some red stew that Supplanter has made. Supplanter makes He Finishes sell him his birthright for the stew. He Finishes gets the nickname Red Stuff from this episode. I doubt that He Finishes thought Supplanter was serious, and Supplanter comes off pretty douchy in the story. Then again, I'm a firstborn.

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