Thursday, July 30, 2009

More Genesis: Further Adventures of Supplanter

Supplanter works for his uncle for 20 years: 7 for Leah, 7 for Rachel, and 6 in his creative livestock breeding program. Supplanter's cousins/brothers-in-law start to get wise and to grumble, so Supplanter sneaks off with his wives, children, servants and stock. Ewe steals her old man's household idols and hides them in her camel pack.

Supplanter's uncle pursues him but is warned off in a dream by God. He searches Supplanter's stuff for his gods, but Ewe is sitting on them and claims to be menstruating, so nobody looks in her camel pack. In the end, Supplanter and his uncle set up a pillar and swear never to cross its spot to to do harm to one another.

Supplanter sens word to his brother He Finishes that he is coming home, and he is anxious when he learns that He Finishes is coming to meet him with 400 men. So he picks out some droves of livestock and sends them in stages to his brother as gifts in order to win favor with him. Then he sends on his family and entourage.

When Supplanter is alone, a man wrestles with him all night and dislocates the socket of his thigh. Still, Supplanter won't let the man go until he gets the man's blessing. The man, it turns out, is God Himself, and He renames Supplanter Strives With God. ( In honor of this event, the descendants of Strives With God eschew eating the sinew of the socket of the thigh.)

The meeting with He Finishes turns out well, as He Finishes welcomes and embraces Supplanter and his family. He Finishes returns home with his people, and Supplanter sojourns for a while in Shechem. The son of the prince of Shechem takes a fancy to one of Strives With God's daughters and rapes her. He begs for her to be given to him as his wife, but the sons of Strives With God, as deceitful as their old man, agree only on the condition that all the males of Shechem be circumcised, which they do. When they are all convalescing, two of Strives With Gods sons kill every male of Schechem, and the rest of the sons loot the city.

Now Strives With God is pissed at his sons for making him odious and subjecting the household to attacks from stronger neighbors. They've got to move.

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