Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Genesis Chapter 34-36

Hello Bible Blog readers. I missed something last time and a reader commented. The part I misunderstood is when Rebekah steals her fathers' expensive idols and hides them in her tent. She hides them under some camel furniture and sits on it. She says:

"Let it not displease my lord that I cannot rise up before thee; for the custom of women IS upon me."

I didn't really know what this meant. I thought maybe "the custom of women" meant that women weren't supposed to stand up in the presence of men in tents or something. At this point, it wouldn't surprise me but actually "the custom of women" means their "lady time." Rebekah was pretending to be on her "lady time." Men are squeamish about "lady time." Tampax wasn't a thing yet so if she stood up, things would get gross.

Now that that's all cleared up, onward.

Chapter 34:

Dinah, Jacob's only daughter goes on a stroll to get to know the other young girls in their new home. She meets the son of a prince, Shechem, who is very taken with her. I thought maybe this moment would lead to long flowing romance novel hair, jumping off of horses and running to embrace each other much like Isaac's romance. Instead, we get rape. Schechem rapes Dinah. Schechem is not a very nice prince's son. I'm going to go ahead and picture him like this:

Schechem and his father Hamor the prince, go out to meet with Jacob and his sons to say "sorry." Just kidding, they suggest that Jacob's family marry Dinah off to her rapist and in addition that they marry all their daughters to the Hamor clan and the Hamor clan will marry their daughters off to the Jacob clan. If you recall, the Jacob family isn't into marrying foreign. They like to keep it in the family. Also, shockingly, they're not fond of the idea of marrying Dinah off to her rapist. I do not mean this sarcastically. I do find it shocking. Finally, girl rape matters.

Dinah's brothers Simeon and Levi are devious bastards much like their father. They have their sister's back. I'm going to picture them this way:

They explain that they couldn't possibly marry Dinah off to an uncircumcised man. Rapist? sure, but not a foreskin wearer; they're not barbarians. In fact, if the Hamor family wants to have a marriage agreement with the Jacob family, their entire clan will have to remove their fleshy anteaters. The prince and his son are happy with this agreement and run off to tell their clansmen the good news. I'm sure the clansmen are equally thrilled with the proposal. Once the clan all gets circumcised, they're fairly sore and weak, that's when the brothers make their move:

"Dinah's brethren, took each man his sword, and came upon the city boldly, and slew all the males."

Was this an excessive method of protecting their sister? Sure. But will a man ever rape Dinah again? Probably not, because they're all dead now. A man won't so much as make eye contact with Dinah again.

Jacob is displeased and tells them that they will have to move again before vengeance is taken. The brothers sound pretty remorseful about slaughtering an entire clan of people:

"And they said, Should he deal with our sister as with an harlot?"

i.e. "Yeah, we'd do it again."

Chapter 35:

God tells them to return to Bethel. Nobody bothers them on the trip because Simeon and Levi are terrifying. On the way some people die. First Rebekah's nurse and later Rebekah during childbirth. It's ok though, because she has a baby boy and he survives. It would have been a real tragedy if she gave her life for a baby girl. God reminds Jacob to stop calling himself Jacob, his new nickname is Israel and he has to stick with it. And then this little tidbit is thrown in:

"And it came to pass, when Israel (Jacob) dwelt in that land, that Reuben went and lay with Bilhah his father's concubine: and Israel heard it. Now the sons of Jacob were twelve." 

1. Two wives not enough Jacob? Two wives and their maids not enough? Had to get a concubine too? It's a good thing super gonorrhea wasn't around then.
2. There is no follow up. Jacob heard his son Reuben getting it on with his concubine and...that's it. I thought maybe the sentence "Now the sons of Jacob were twelve" implied that Jacob killed Reuben off but I went back and did the counting, same number of kids as before. J&J have terrible transition skills.

Anyway, Jacob visits his dad Isaac who dies at 180. Esau and Jacob bury him.

Chapter 36: 

Esau married foreign chicks. Those chicks had babies. And those babies have babies. And so forth.

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