Genesis 11 & 12

Half of Chapter 11 is very interesting, and half is a continuation of the genealogy. The first half, the interesting half, is the story of the Tower of Babel. I can only understand this story if God is weak, nervous, and jealous.

Here’s the story if you don’t know it. Everyone speaks the same language. They are all direct descendents of Noah so this makes sense. Humans decide to build a big tower “with its top in the heavens.” It seems that this tower is intended to be a symbol of their unity so that humans will not be “scattered abroad upon the face of the earth” (Genesis 11:4, NRSV).

This scares God. He is afraid that now “nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them” (11:5, NRSV) so God confuses the humans’ language and scatters them around the earth.

What the fuck?

Humans peacefully work together in the name of unity and they get punished for it. I’m done.

If you are interested in the story of Babel make sure to check out next week’s Bad Religion Song of the Week.

The first half of Chapter 12 describes Abram’s journey with his wife and nephew Lot, eventually leading them to Egypt. The Bible says that they took “the persons whom they had acquired in Haran” (12:5, NRSV). Does this mean slaves? Or does this mean people who joined their settlement? I bet it means slaves.

The second half of the chapter is interesting and confusing. There is a famine where Abram is living, so he takes his family into Egypt. Abram is worried that upon seeing his wife Sarai the Pharaoh will kill Abram and take his wife. To prevent this they lie to the Pharaoh and say that Sarai is his sister. Pharaoh does, indeed, take Sarai as a wife, and pays Abram in animals and slaves.

Consequentially, God gets pissed at Pharaoh for committing adultery (although there are no commandments yet) and afflicts his house with great plagues. Pharaoh calls Abram, gives him a piece of his mind, and sends him and his wife and his people away.

Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely understand how Abram’s scheme was supposed to work, and it did! It just boggles my mind that Pharaoh is punished for committing a sin, that has not yet been prohibited, in ignorance, and Abram, who essentially whores out his wife to save his own life, gets off scot free. More than that, he gets a bunch of animals and slaves as a reward.

God’s idea of justice is twisted.

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