Sunday, March 19, 2006


It’s time again, for my Sunday sermon.

Today’s topic will be the root of all our present day problems. Yep, you guessed it: good ole Abram (renamed Abraham).

Now, I don’t adhere to the concept that morality is hereditary. Environment is most definitely a deciding factor in any sort of behavior.

However, children do learn by example. Ergo, let’s cut to the root cause of mischief: the man himself.

So, in Gen 12:1 we read, “Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will shew thee: (image placeholder)Gen 12:2 And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: Gen 12:3 And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed. “

Granted blessings from above, old Abe goes forth, etc. Here’s where it gets – well – squirrelly.
Gen 12:11 And it came to pass, when he was come near to enter into Egypt, that he said unto Sarai his wife, Behold now, I know that thou [art] a fair woman to look upon: (image placeholder)Gen 12:12 Therefore it shall come to pass, when the Egyptians shall see thee, that they shall say, This [is] his wife: and they will kill me, but they will save thee alive. Gen 12:13 Say, I pray thee, thou [art] my sister: that it may be well with me for thy sake; and my soul shall live because of thee.

At this point dear readers, I feel obliged to say: WTF? So Sarah now has to play sister to her own husband, so he won’t lose his soul? Way to stand up for your woman, fella!


Gen 12:14 And it came to pass, that, when Abram was come into Egypt, the Egyptians beheld the woman that she [was] very fair. Gen 12:15 The princes also of Pharaoh saw her, and commended her before Pharaoh: and the woman was taken into Pharaoh's house. Gen 12:16 And he entreated Abram well for her sake: and he had sheep, and oxen, and he asses, and menservants, and maidservants, and she asses, and camels.

Sooooo…. old honest Abe makes out like a bandit, thanks to his little white lie. And the Pharaoh?

Gen 12:17 And the LORD plagued Pharaoh and his house with great plagues because of Sarai Abram's wife.

Real nice. Pharaoh is played for a fool (because of his pheromones, no less!), and so, is gobbed on by YHVH. So the king says:

Gen 12:18 And Pharaoh called Abram, and said, What [is] this [that] thou hast done unto me? Why didst thou not tell me that she [was] thy wife? Gen 12:19 Why sayest thou, She [is] my sister? so I might have taken her to me to wife: now therefore behold thy wife, take [her], and go thy way.

So they get tossed out. But apparently Abram gets to keep the spoils of his ploy.

I am going to skip forward a few chapters, but will return to the ultimate scam shortly.

So in Gen: 20, we see this:

Gen 20:2 And Abraham said of Sarah his wife, She [is] my sister: and Abimelech king of Gerar sent, and took Sarah.

Good old Abraham. Passing his own wife around again. Real nice. There’s more, however:

Gen 20:3 But God came to Abimelech in a dream by night, and said to him, Behold, thou [art but] a dead man, for the woman, which thou hast taken; for she [is] a man's wife. Gen 20:4 But Abimelech had not come near her: and he said, Lord, wilt thou slay also a righteous nation?

I still don’t get this: why is Abimelech being chastised? Who’s the injured party here?

Gen 20:5 Said he not unto me, She [is] my sister? and she, even she herself said, He [is] my brother: in the integrity of my heart and innocence of my hands have I done this. Gen 20:6 And God said unto him in a dream, Yea, I know that thou didst this in the integrity of thy heart; for I also withheld thee from sinning against me: therefore suffered I thee not to touch her. Gen 20:7 Now therefore restore the man [his] wife; for he [is] a prophet, and he shall pray for thee, and thou shalt live: and if thou restore [her] not, know thou that thou shalt surely die, thou, and all that [are] thine. Gen 20:8 Therefore Abimelech rose early in the morning, and called all his servants, and told all these things in their ears: and the men were sore afraid.

So of course, Abimelech asks him:
Gen 20:10 And Abimelech said unto Abraham, What sawest thou, that thou hast done this thing?
To which the reply is:
Gen 20:11 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. Gen 20:12 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.Gen 20:13 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 shew unto me; at every place whither we shall come, say of me, He [is] my brother.

Well, divine visit or no, this would piss me off to no end. Besides, what was said, prior to the Pharaoh incident? Oh yeah: I pray thee, thou [art] my sister: that it may be well with me for thy sake. What does Abimelech do?

Gen 20:14 And Abimelech took sheep, and oxen, and menservants, and womenservants, and gave [them] unto Abraham, and restored him Sarah his wife. Gen 20:15 And Abimelech said, Behold, my land [is] before thee: dwell where it pleaseth thee. Gen 20:16 And unto Sarah he said, Behold, I have given thy brother a thousand [pieces] of silver: behold, he [is] to thee a covering of the eyes, unto all that [are] with thee, and with all [other]: thus she was reproved.

Oh, honkey, please. Not only that:

Gen 20:17 So Abraham prayed unto God: and God healed Abimelech, and his wife, and his maidservants; and they bare [children]. Gen 20:18 For the LORD had fast closed up all the wombs of the house of Abimelech, because of Sarah Abraham's wife.

What? We have none of the following:

  1. Anything resembling a timeframe

  2. Anything resembling any idea of just how Abimelech was not allowed to touch Sarah

  3. Any idea of why Abimelech was at fault in any of this.

Somehow, since Abram’s name changed (and that of Sarai), somehow, nobody got word of this scam? What, Philistines and Egyptians never talked to each other? In the eight chapters between this con job, Abram acquires the lands of the Canaanites, has two kids (yeah, and the division of the inheritance still haunts the world to this day: ghosts of wanting, whispering death in our ears). Besides, prior to this incident:
Gen 18:11 Now Abraham and Sarah [were] old [and] well stricken in age; [and] it ceased to be with Sarah after the manner of women.

Gen 17:17 Then Abraham fell upon his face, and laughed, and said in his heart, Shall [a child] be born unto him that is an hundred years old? And shall Sarah, that is ninety years old, bear?

Abimelech still gets the hots for her, given her age?

Who writes this crap?

Now, for the final nail in the coffin:

Abraham is told to sacrifice his son. This is offered up as a token of ‘faith’. Xtians wax rhetorically on this point: ‘He was willing to sacrifice his son on the command of God!’ What utter folderol.
Gen 22:1 And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham: and he said, Behold, [here] I [am]. Gen 22:2 And he said, Take now thy son, thine only [son] Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.

Let’s skip the preparations. Cut to the meat of the matter (in a matter of speaking):

And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son. Gen 22:11 And the angel of the LORD called unto him out of heaven, and said, Abraham, Abraham: and he said, Here [am] I. Gen 22:12 And he said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only [son] from me.

So then God provides a ram instead, etc, etc. Happy ending to the whole wretched episode.

There’s only one MAJOR problem with this whole scenario (outside the fact that a little voice told this mental incompetent to commit filicide):

Gen 17:19 And God said, Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son indeed; and thou shalt call his name Isaac: and I will establish my covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, [and] with his seed after him.

Yes, you read that right. YHVH promises Abraham prior to Isaac’s birth that not only will this invisible deity help, shelter, protect, etc, but also Isaac’s children are heir to that covenant. So Abraham knew this beforehand. Kinda hard to forget a promise like that, ain’t it?

Quick summary:
  1. Abe gets rich quick, passing his wife around like currency, lying about their relationship (kinda, but the explanation given to Abimelech reads like an insertion, especially since it wasn’t given to the Pharaoh).

  2. Abe gets rich off the Pharaoh first, inherits the Canaanites land, is obviously very well off, but what? His funding is getting scarce, so he fools a Philistine king?

  3. Abe offers his son up as sacrifice, even though eight years prior, the little voice in his head promises a ‘covenant’ with the same son?

And we can’t even use the excuse of ‘it was a sign of those times’, or moral relativism, because we have two examples, of nobility, no less, who are aghast at the ploy enacted upon them, for which they’re punished, the injured parties, no less.

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Anonymous said...

Good old Abrascam, willing to sacrifice anyone to save his own skin or make a buck.
What a role model.
Real chip off the old block; a true representation of his God.


HairlessMonkeyDK said...

Great post, Uncy Relucty
This is exactly why I can't stomach literalists/inerrantists anymore...
Because if one DOES read the bible as to be taken at face value,
then it is naught but a horror show.
Believers are weird. Scary weird.

Anonymous said...

Dumb question time. (i know, TANDQ).
The Philistine and the Pharoah have their own gods, right?
So why do they buy into Abraham's god punishing them? Is this supposed to be an "I am greater than all other gods" tale too?


Krystalline Apostate said...

Good old Abrascam
D'oh! Wish I'd thought of that 1.
Dumb question time.
Only dumb question is the 1 that doesn't get asked.
The Philistine and the Pharoah have their own gods, right?
In this day & age, syncretism & open-mindedness aren't quite as accepted as in the old days. It was common coin for a culture to accept that another culture had its own gods, spirits, ghosts, etc. Made importation of said gods into the belief system much easier. Monotheism's a lot tougher (& a lot more recent). Witness Mithraism: Mithra originated in India, was exported to Persia, then adopted by Rome, transforming in the process.
Hope that helps.

Krystalline Apostate said...

Because if one DOES read the bible as to be taken at face value,
then it is naught but a horror show.

Ramen, bro-thah.

HairlessMonkeyDK said...

Yours in noodledom, Michael.