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God’s promise to Abraham (aka: Abram):

“That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies;” “And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice.” [Gen 22: 17-18]

Abraham, and his line of descendants, were chosen by God to be his blessed people; However, God’s idea of correct behavior does not fit with contemporary perceptions of right and wrong.

Abraham married his sister, and journeyed to Gerar. There, being afraid that someone might harm him to possess his wife, told the people that she was only his sister; placing himself ahead of his wife’s virtue. Fortunately, the man who took Abraham’s sister had a higher set of values than Abraham, and, upon learning of the truth, returned Sarah (aka: Sarai) to her husband/brother, and chastised him.

"Then Abimelech called Abraham, and said unto him, What hast thou done unto us? and what have I offended thee, that thou hast brought on me and on my kingdom a great sin? thou hast done deeds unto me that ought not to be done." "And Abimelech said unto Abraham, What sawest thou, that thou hast done this thing?" "And Abraham said, Because I thought, Surely the fear of God is not in this place; and they will slay me for my wife's sake." "And yet indeed she is my sister; she is the daughter of my father, but not the daughter of my mother; and she became my wife." "And it came to pass, when God caused me to wander from my father's house, that I said unto her, This is thy kindness which thou shalt show unto me; at every place whither we shall come, say of me, He is my brother." [Gen 20: 9-13]

When God was asked to hand pick a wife for Abraham’s son Isaac, he chose another family member: Rebekah, Isaac’s cousin. When Isaac journeyed to Gerar, he also was afraid that someone might harm him to possess his wife, and told the people Rebekah was his sister. Once again, the line of Abraham had to be chastised by someone with moral values:

"And it came to pass, when he had been there a long time, that Abimelech king of the Philistines looked out a window, and saw, and, behold, Isaac was sporting with Rebekah his wife." "And Abimelech called Isaac, and said, Behold, of a surety she is thy wife: and how saidst thou, She is my sister? And Isaac said unto him, Because I said, Lest I die for her." "And Abimelech said, What is this thou hast done unto us? one of the people might lightly have lien with thy wife, and thou shouldest have brought guiltiness upon us." [Gen 26: 8-10] 

Isaac and Rebekah’s sons, Esau and Jacob (aka Israel), demonstrated what God looked for in a “chosen one”:

When Esau was near death, and asked his brother Jacob for some food, Jacob demanded payment:

“And Esau said to Jacob, Feed me, I pray thee, with that same red pottage; for I am faint: therefore was his name called Edom.” “And Jacob said, Sell me this day thy birthright.” “And Esau said, Behold, I am* at the point to die: and what profit shall this birthright do to me?” “And Jacob said, Swear to me this day; and he sware unto him: and he sold his birthright unto Jacob.” “Then Jacob gave Esau bread and pottage of lentiles;...” [Gen 25:30-34] (*original text: going to die)

Later, when Isaac was blind, and on his deathbed, he asked Esau to hunt some venison, cook, and bring it to him, at which point he would bless him. Rebekah overheard this, and, while Esau was hunting, disguised Jacob as Esau, and sent him to his father with some goat’s meat. Jacob, by telling a string of lies, was able to receive the blessing meant for Esau.

“And Jacob said unto his father, I am Esau thy firstborn; I have done according as thou badest me: arise, I pray thee, sit and eat of my venison, that thy soul may bless me.” “And Isaac said unto his son, How is it that thou hast found it so quickly, my son? And he said, Because the Lord thy God brought it to me.” “And he said, Art thou my very son Esau? And he said, I am.” [Gen 27: 19-20,24]

“Therefore God give thee of the dew of heaven, and the fatness of the earth, and plenty of corn and wine:” “Let people serve thee, and nations bow down to thee: be lord over thy brethren, and let thy mother’s sons bow down to thee: cursed be every one that curseth thee, and blessed be he that blesseth thee.” [Gen 27:28-29]

When Isaac learns of the deception, his reaction is to tell Esau:

“Behold, I have made him thy lord, and all his brethren have I given to him for servants;...” [Gen 27:37]

Rather than retract his blessing, he gives Esau a different one:

“And by thy sword shalt thou live, and shalt serve thy brother; and it shall come to pass when thou shalt have the dominion, that thou shalt break his yoke from off thy neck.” [Gen 27:40]

 Isaac’s reaction to Jacob?

“And Isaac called Jacob, and blessed him, and charged him, and said unto him, Thou shalt not take a wife of the daughters of Canaan.” “Arise, go to Padanaram, to the house of Bethuel thy mother’s father; and take thee a wife from thence of the daughters of Laban thy mother’s brother.” “And God Almighty bless thee, and make thee fruitful, and multiply thee; that thou mayest inherit the land wherin thou art a stranger, which God gave unto Abraham.” [Gen 28:1-4]

God’s reaction to all this lying, deceit, and injustice? God visits Jacob and says:

“...I am the Lord God of Abraham thy father, and the God of Isaac: the land whereon thou liest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed;” “And thy seed shall be as the dust of the earth, and thou shalt spread abroad to the west, and to the east, and to the north, and to the south: and in thee and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed.” “And, behold, I am with thee, and will keep thee in all places whither thou goest, and will bring thee again into this land; for I will not leave thee, until I have done that which I have spoken to thee of.” [Gen 28: 13-15] - notice God is a little confused as to who Jacob’s father is.

Jacob journeyed to his uncle’s home, to pick a wife from his own family, on orders from Isaac. Jacob negotiates with his uncle, Laban, for Rachel. After the required seven years service, Laban sends his other daughter, Leah, to Jacob’s room. Jacob has sex with her, then tells Laban that he still wants Rachel, but will keep Leah.

“And it came to pass in the evening, that he took Leah his daughter, and brought her to him; and he went in unto her” [Gen 29: 23]

 Jacob serves another seven years for Rachel.

“And Jacob did so, and fulfilled her week: and he gave him Rachel his daughter to wife also.” [Gen 29: 28]

Thereafter, Jacob includes the slaves of his cousins/wives as his sexual partners.

 Jacob decides to leave, and asks his uncle/father-in-law for a share of the livestock.

“I will pass through all thy flock to day, removing from thence all the speckled and spotted cattle, and all the brown cattle among the sheep, and the spotted and speckled among the goats: and of such shall be my hire.” [Gen 30: 32]

 Laban tries to cheat Jacob.

“And he removed that day the he goats that were ringstraked and spotted, and all the she goats that were speckled and spotted, and every one that had some white in it, and all the brown among the sheep, and gave them into the hand of his sons." [Gen 30: 35]

But Jacob was a master of witchcraft:

"And Jacob took him rods of green poplar, and of the hazel and chestnut tree; and pilled white strakes in them, and made the white appear which was in the rods." "And he set the rods which he had pilled before the flocks in the gutters in the watering troughs when the flocks came to drink, that they should conceive when they came to drink." "And the flocks conceived before the rods, and brought forth cattle ringstraked, speckled, and spotted." "And Jacob did separate the lambs, and set the faces of the flocks toward the ringstraked, and all the brown in the flock of Laban; and he put his own flocks by themselves, and put them not unto Laban's cattle." "And it came to pass, whensoever the stronger cattle did conceive, that Jacob laid the rods before the eyes of the cattle in the gutters, that they might conceive among the rods." "But when the cattle were feeble, he put them not in: so the feebler were Laban's, and the stronger Jacob's." [Gen 30: 37-42]

 God's reaction to Jacob's commission of a sin punishable by death:

"And the Lord said unto Jacob, Return unto the land of thy fathers, and to thy kindred; and I will be with thee." [Gen 31: 3]

One of Jacob's (now renamed 'Israel') sons was called Joseph. Despised by his siblings, he was sold into slavery, to the Egyptians.



"Reasoned Spirituality"