Sunday, July 26, 2009

Genesis 28

In Genesis 28, He Laughs sends Supplanter off to the house of To Bind's brother to (a) take a wife from among his kinswomen, and (b) get away from He Finishes who is pissed about the theft of his blessing.

He Finishes realizes that his having married women from Canaan had displeased his father, so he aso took a wife from among the daughters of God Will Hear (Ishmael), He Laughs older half brother. I infer from this episode that He Laughs had never before admonished He Finishes about his choice of wives. Perhaps it was He Finishes's Hittite wives and the way they vexed the family that led to the family policy of intermarriage with close kin. Perhaps, He Laughs had written off He Finishes from early on and intended all along to make Supplanter his heir, in which case the marriages of He Finishes would not have mattered. In any event, the takeaway is that even a dutiful and loving son can be wronged by a father whose affections are elsewhere.

On the road to his uncle's place, Supplanter camps out, using a rock for a pillow. He dreams that there is a ladder to heaven with angels ascending and descending. In the dream, God appears at the top and extends to Supplanter the promises He had made to Father of Multitudes and He laughs: multitudes of descendants, this land will be yours, your seed will be a blessing, yadda yadda yadda. The text doesn't say that God appeared to Supplanter in a dream, only that Supplanter had a dream with God in it. Maybe it was God; maybe it was just a dream.

Supplanter wakes up and names the place House of God and makes a promise to God, to wit, If God will keep him on his journey and provide for all his material needs and bring him home safe, He will let God be is God, the stone that had been Supplanter's pillow would be God's House and Supplanter would give back a tenth of all that God would give him. No "thy will be done" tagline for Supplanter. It's do this for me God, and I'll do that. Supplanter seems to believe that he can influence God's choices with inducements. Who among us hasn't at some time or other prayed thusly as in "God, if you'll make it so I win the MegaMillions I'll give 10% of the winnings (after taxes) to the church and devote myself to good works for your glory".

Are we to infer from this story that this mode of prayer is the way to address God?

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