An Atheist Reads the Bible

A godless heathen’s religious experience

Posts Tagged ‘family tree’

Genesis 16

Posted by Urbane Spaceman on February 7, 2008

Hagar and Ishmael

I bet you never knew there were vikings in the bible

OK, a bad joke, but I couldn’t help myself … sorry about that.

1 Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had borne him no children. But she had an Egyptian maidservant named Hagar;
2 so she said to Abram, The LORD has kept me from having children. Go, sleep with my maidservant; perhaps I can build a family through her. Abram agreed to what Sarai said.

Hands up those people who think Abram’s wife actually told him it was OK to go and sleep with the maidservant … nobody? … Bueller? Didn’t think so, and does poor Hagar get no say in this?

3 So after Abram had been living in Canaan ten years, Sarai his wife took her Egyptian maidservant Hagar and gave her to her husband to be his wife.

Without duress? I’m surprised Abram didn’t go all out and just ask for a threesome.

4 He slept with Hagar, and she conceived. When she knew she was pregnant, she began to despise her mistress.

I’m pretty sure the despising started before she found out she was pregnant.

5 Then Sarai said to Abram, You are responsible for the wrong I am suffering. I put my servant in your arms, and now that she knows she is pregnant, she despises me. May the LORD judge between you and me.

“O husband mine,” complained Sarai, “this lowly wench is giving me lip. Do something about it.”

6 Your servant is in your hands, Abram said. Do with her whatever you think best. Then Sarai ill-treated Hagar; so she fled from her.

And Abram, having had his way and getting a little concerned about what the neighbours would say about him getting the maid pregnant, replied, “look, she’s your servant, you deal with her.”

7 The angel of the LORD found Hagar near a spring in the desert; it was the spring that is beside the road to Shur.
8 And he said, Hagar, servant of Sarai, where have you come from, and where are you going? I’m running away from my mistress Sarai, she answered.
9 Then the angel of the LORD told her, Go back to your mistress and submit to her.

Hearing the pitiful story of a maid who has been forced into sleeping with the man of the house and becoming a surrogate mother for his child, then subsequently abused by the wife, god’s messenger tells her to get the hell back to the household and be meek and submissive.

Later on he popped over to africa and started suggesting to the tribal chiefs they might want to start selling their war prisoners to those funny looking white men that showed up from time to time.

10 The angel added, I will so increase your descendants that they will be too numerous to count

Oh, well that’s OK then.

11 The angel of the LORD also said to her: You are now with child and you will have a son. You shall name him Ishmael, for the LORD has heard of your misery.
12 He will be a wild donkey of a man; his hand will be against everyone and everyone’s hand against him, and he will live in hostility towards all his brothers.

Why does the fact that god knows she’s miserable mean she has to name her kid Ishmael? What she really needs following rape and abuse is a good counsellor, possibly an abortion clinic, and a relocation package.

And for the moment I’ll refrain from making any comments about Ishmael being a wild donkey. I’m sure they didn’t have innuendo in those days. Doesn’t sound like he’s going to have a very good life either though. I imagine Sarai’s wondering what the hell god’s picking on her for.

13 She gave this name to the LORD who spoke to her: You are the God who sees me, for she said, I have now seen the One who sees me.
14 That is why the well was called Beer Lahai Roi; it is still there, between Kadesh and Bered.
15 So Hagar bore Abram a son, and Abram gave the name Ishmael to the son she had borne.
16 Abram was eighty-six years old when Hagar bore him Ishmael.

Beer Lahai Roi is Hebrew, meaning “the well of the living one who sees me”. Doesn’t do much for the plot but then the bible seems to be full of filler and we’re only on the 16th chapter of the 1st book.

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Genesis 11

Posted by Urbane Spaceman on January 11, 2008

The Tower of Babel

1 Now the whole world had one language and a common speech.

That would be nice. God must be very pleased. Everybody can talk to each other with no misunderstandings. Things must have been a lot more peaceful in those days.

2 As men moved eastward, they found a plain in Shinar and settled there.
3 They said to each other, Come, let’s make bricks and bake them thoroughly. They used brick instead of stone, and bitumen for mortar.
4 Then they said, Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves and not be scattered over the face of the whole earth.

Wow, god must be so proud. His children are growing up and achieving something. Not only have they left home they’re building a new one for themselves and thinking big.

5 But the LORD came down to see the city and the tower that the men were building.
6 The LORD said, If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them.

I can just see god now, down the pub, bragging about his creation – “you should see my children, they can do anything.”

7 Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other.

Ah!

8 So the LORD scattered them from there over all the earth, and they stopped building the city.

I’ve had a number of managers like this. Somehow it reflects badly on them if their subordinates do well without supervision, so any progress that didn’t involve management intervention must be scuppered at the earliest possible opportunity. I wonder if god reads Dilbert? I can just see him as the pointy haired boss.

9 That is why it was called Babel— because there the LORD confused the language of the whole world. From there the LORD scattered them over the face of the whole earth.

This is a little confusing. It was called Babel because god confused the language? So which language was the word “Babel” taken from then? Surely it was the other way around and that is the etymology of “babble”.

Oh well, obviously the bible is the infallible word of god (or Moses in this case, as we’re still in Genesis) so it can’t be wrong. Confusing as hell seems to be OK though.

You can safely skip the rest – it’s more dullness. If you’re really interested in this stuff (why, man, why?) there’s a family tree diagram here

Never fear though, genesis 12 has sex and plagues. Things are looking up again.

From Shem to Abram

10 This is the account of Shem. Two years after the flood, when Shem was 100 years old, he became the father of Arphaxad.
11 And after he became the father of Arphaxad, Shem lived 500 years and had other sons and daughters.
12 When Arphaxad had lived 35 years, he became the father of Shelah.
13 And after he became the father of Shelah, Arphaxad lived 403 years and had other sons and daughters.
14 When Shelah had lived 30 years, he became the father of Eber.
15 And after he became the father of Eber, Shelah lived 403 years and had other sons and daughters.
16 When Eber had lived 34 years, he became the father of Peleg.
17 And after he became the father of Peleg, Eber lived 430 years and had other sons and daughters.
18 When Peleg had lived 30 years, he became the father of Reu.
19 And after he became the father of Reu, Peleg lived 209 years and had other sons and daughters.
20 When Reu had lived 32 years, he became the father of Serug.
21 And after he became the father of Serug, Reu lived 207 years and had other sons and daughters.
22 When Serug had lived 30 years, he became the father of Nahor.
23 And after he became the father of Nahor, Serug lived 200 years and had other sons and daughters.
24 When Nahor had lived 29 years, he became the father of Terah.
25 And after he became the father of Terah, Nahor lived 119 years and had other sons and daughters.
26 After Terah had lived 70 years, he became the father of Abram, Nahor and Haran.
27 This is the account of Terah. Terah became the father of Abram, Nahor and Haran. And Haran became the father of Lot.
28 While his father Terah was still alive, Haran died in Ur of the Chaldeans, in the land of his birth.
29 Abram and Nahor both married. The name of Abram’s wife was Sarai, and the name of Nahor’s wife was Milcah; she was the daughter of Haran, the father of both Milcah and Iscah.
30 Now Sarai was barren; she had no children.
31 Terah took his son Abram, his grandson Lot son of Haran, and his daughter-in-law Sarai, the wife of his son Abram, and together they set out from Ur of the Chaldeans to go to Canaan. But when they came to Haran, they settled there.
32 Terah lived 205 years, and he died in Haran.

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Genesis 10

Posted by Urbane Spaceman on January 11, 2008

The Table of Nations

1 This is the account of Shem, Ham and Japheth, Noah’s sons, who themselves had sons after the flood.

A rather dull account at that, get ready for a whole lot of -ites. As it’s so dull I’m just going to put a couple of comments and links for names that I already recognised.

The Japhethites

2 The sons of Japheth: Gomer, Magog, Madai, Javan, Tubal, Meshech and Tiras.
3
The sons of Gomer: Ashkenaz, Riphath and Togarmah.

Gog and Magog I originally heard of as giants.
Askenaz is presumably the descendant of the Ashkenazi Jews, who I first heard of in connection with the high incidence of breast cancer and gene patents.

4 The sons of Javan: Elishah, Tarshish, the Kittim and the Rodanim.
5 (From these the maritime peoples spread out into their territories by their clans within their nations, each with its own language.)

The Hamites

6 The sons of Ham: Cush, Mizraim, Put and Canaan.

Canaan is obvoiusly the father of the Canaanites, who have already been condemned by god simply because Noah couldn’t lay off the booze.

7 The sons of Cush: Seba, Havilah, Sabtah, Raamah and Sabteca. The sons of Raamah: Sheba and Dedan.

Sheba brings to mind the Queen of Sheba who famously tested the wisdom of Solomon.

8 Cush was the father of Nimrod, who grew to be a mighty warrior on the earth.
9 He was a mighty hunter before the LORD; that is why it is said, Like Nimrod, a mighty hunter before the LORD.

So mighty it needed saying twice. Nimrod these days would obviously be associated with the anti-tank missile.

10 The first centres of his kingdom were Babylon, Erech, Akkad and Calneh, in Shinar.

Babylon is of course Babel, which we’ll read more about later. It’s also a David Gray song, but the less said about that the better as it’s a fairly insipid piece of drum and bass.

11 From that land he went to Assyria, where he built Nineveh, Rehoboth Ir, Calah

I swear Disney used the name Nineveh in an animated film but IMDB reveals nothing so perhaps I’m losing it. Entirely possible at this point – I’m almost looking forward to getting back to some decent smiting. At least that’s interesting.

As I don’t think I recognise any more names this post ends here and we’ll move on to Genesis 11, which at least has a more interesting opening.

12 and Resen, which is between Nineveh and Calah; that is the great city.
13 Mizraim was the father of the Ludites, Anamites, Lehabites, Naphtuhites,
14 Pathrusites, Casluhites (from whom the Philistines came) and Caphtorites.
15 Canaan was the father of Sidon his firstborn, and of the Hittites,
16 Jebusites, Amorites, Girgashites,
17 Hivites, Arkites, Sinites,
18 Arvadites, Zemarites and Hamathites. Later the Canaanite clans scattered
19 and the borders of Canaan reached from Sidon towards Gerar as far as Gaza, and then towards Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah and Zeboiim, as far as Lasha.
20 These are the sons of Ham by their clans and languages, in their territories and nations.

The Semites

21 Sons were also born to Shem, whose older brother was Japheth; Shem was the ancestor of all the sons of Eber.
22 The sons of Shem: Elam, Asshur, Arphaxad, Lud and Aram.
23 The sons of Aram: Uz, Hul, Gether and Meshech.
24 Arphaxad was the father of Shelah, and Shelah the father of Eber.
25 Two sons were born to Eber: One was named Peleg, because in his time the earth was divided; his brother was named Joktan.
26 Joktan was the father of Almodad, Sheleph, Hazarmaveth, Jerah,
27 Hadoram, Uzal, Diklah,
28 Obal, Abimael, Sheba,
29 Ophir, Havilah and Jobab. All these were sons of Joktan.
30 The region where they lived stretched from Mesha towards Sephar, in the eastern hill country.
31 These are the sons of Shem by their clans and languages, in their territories and nations.
32 These are the clans of Noah’s sons, according to their lines of descent, within their nations. From these the nations spread out over the earth after the flood.

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Genesis 5

Posted by Urbane Spaceman on December 6, 2007

No real comments on this particular chapter as, let’s face it, it’s rather dull. It really shouldn’t have made the director’s cut, let alone the abridged version!

So we’ll just mention that apparently everybody lived for a rather long time, despite having no public health care, and at the very least the men could father sprogs into old age (there’s no mention of who the mothers were).

Of course the implication of all this is that there was an awful lot of incest going on at this point as people slept with daughters, cousins, nieces, mothers. I guess any knowledge gained from the forbidden fruit didn’t include genetics. Either that or at least a couple of the people mentioned below had webbed feet and twelve fingers.

I have read a defence of this from a christian point of view which suggests that as Adam & Eve were created perfect there were no imperfections to pass on to their children. Imperfections have been introduced over time as genetic copies have degraded in quality.

The problem with that of course is that it admits that people have evolved, rather than being created precisely as we are today. Something that a fundamentalist touting the truth of genesis would likely be extremely reluctant to admit.

From Adam to Noah

1 This is the written account of Adam’s line. When God created man, he made him in the likeness of God.
2 He created them male and female and blessed them. And when they were created, he called them man.
3 When Adam had lived 130 years, he had a son in his own likeness, in his own image; and he named him Seth.
4 After Seth was born, Adam lived 800 years and had other sons and daughters.
5 Altogether, Adam lived 930 years, and then he died.
6 When Seth had lived 105 years, he became the father of Enosh.
7 And after he became the father of Enosh, Seth lived 807 years and had other sons and daughters.
8 Altogether, Seth lived 912 years, and then he died.
9 When Enosh had lived 90 years, he became the father of Kenan.
10 And after he became the father of Kenan, Enosh lived 815 years and had other sons and daughters.
11 Altogether, Enosh lived 905 years, and then he died.
12 When Kenan had lived 70 years, he became the father of Mahalalel.
13 And after he became the father of Mahalalel, Kenan lived 840 years and had other sons and daughters.
14 Altogether, Kenan lived 910 years, and then he died.
15 When Mahalalel had lived 65 years, he became the father of Jared.
16 And after he became the father of Jared, Mahalalel lived 830 years and had other sons and daughters.
17 Altogether, Mahalalel lived 895 years, and then he died.
18 When Jared had lived 162 years, he became the father of Enoch.
19 And after he became the father of Enoch, Jared lived 800 years and had other sons and daughters.
20 Altogether, Jared lived 962 years, and then he died.
21 When Enoch had lived 65 years, he became the father of Methuselah.
22 And after he became the father of Methuselah, Enoch walked with God 300 years and had other sons and daughters.
23 Altogether, Enoch lived 365 years.
24 Enoch walked with God; then he was no more, because God took him away.
25 When Methuselah had lived 187 years, he became the father of Lamech.
26 And after he became the father of Lamech, Methuselah lived 782 years and had other sons and daughters.
27 Altogether, Methuselah lived 969 years, and then he died.
28 When Lamech had lived 182 years, he had a son.
29 He named him Noah and said, He will comfort us in the labour and painful toil of our hands caused by the ground the LORD has cursed.
30 After Noah was born, Lamech lived 595 years and had other sons and daughters.
31 Altogether, Lamech lived 777 years, and then he died.
32 After Noah was 500 years old, he became the father of Shem, Ham and Japheth.

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Genesis 4

Posted by Urbane Spaceman on December 5, 2007

Cain and Abel

1 Adam lay with his wife Eve, and she became pregnant and gave birth to Cain. She said, With the help of the LORD I have brought forth a man.

I have to question why this is with the help of the lord, seeing as his main contribution to the process so far has been to make childbirth unbelievably painful for Eve.

2 Later she gave birth to his brother Abel. Now Abel kept flocks, and Cain worked the soil.
3 In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the LORD.
4 But Abel brought fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The LORD looked with favour on Abel and his offering,

Already god’s showing favouritism, and to the shepherd no less, depite telling Adam that he and his line would tend the soil for the rest of their days. Obviously we are not all equal in the eyes of god (and, not to give the game away or anything, but this is somewhat of a recurring theme).

5 but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favour. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast.

Well, you would be, wouldn’t you. After all, you spend all day working in the fields, tilling the land and growing food for yourself and your family and who gets all the praise? The guy that sits around in the field and watches sheep!

6 Then the LORD said to Cain, Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast?
7 If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it.

Not only is god playing favourites but he’s confused as to why it upsets people. Yet another mark against the omniscient theory.

8 Now Cain said to his brother Abel, Let’s go out to the field. And while they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him.

9 Then the LORD said to Cain, Where is your brother Abel? I don’t know, he replied. Am I my brother’s keeper?
10 The LORD said, What have you done? Listen! Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground.

Now, again, god seems somewhat surprised that Cain has knocked off Abel despite that fact that he (1) blatantly favoured Abel and (B) by virtue of being cunning/stupid caused Eve to eat from the tree of knowledge int he first place, without which Cain just wouldn’t have been worried about any of this (or, indeed, have had to work in the first place).

11 Now you are under a curse and driven from the ground, which opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand.
12 When you work the ground, it will no longer yield its crops for you. You will be a restless wanderer on the earth.

Bit of a common theme here – Cain gets pretty much the same punishment as Adam did for listening to Eve in the first place.

13 Cain said to the LORD, My punishment is more than I can bear.
14 Today you are driving me from the land, and I will be hidden from your presence; I will be a restless wanderer on the earth, and whoever finds me will kill me.
15 But the LORD said to him, Not so; if anyone kills Cain, he will suffer vengeance seven times over. Then the LORD put a mark on Cain so that no-one who found him would kill him.

So Cain is upset because he won’t be in the presence of god? More likely he’s just being sycophantic so that god will provide him some protection. Leaving aside the question of who actually exists to find him at that point (which is explained a little in the next chapter) any other people out there must be related somehow and would therefore be mighty pissed off that their nephew/cousin/son/whatever had been knocked off.

Fortunately ole’ Jehovah’s feeling mighty benevolent today, so he just marks him to make sure everybody knows he killed his brother and tells him that he’ll punish anybody that hurts Cain even more. Nice.

16 So Cain went out from the LORD’s presence and lived in the land of Nod, east of Eden.
17 Cain lay with his wife, and she became pregnant and gave birth to Enoch. Cain was then building a city, and he named it after his son Enoch.

Whoa!! Slow up a little here. Where did she come from? And who lives in the land of Nod? (The sandman, perhaps?)

18 To Enoch was born Irad, and Irad was the father of Mehujael, and Mehujael was the father of Methushael, and Methushael was the father of Lamech.
19 Lamech married two women, one named Adah and the other Zillah.
20 Adah gave birth to Jabal; he was the father of those who live in tents and raise livestock.
21 His brother’s name was Jubal; he was the father of all who play the harp and flute.
22 Zillah also had a son, Tubal-Cain, who forged all kinds of tools out of bronze and iron. Tubal-Cain’s sister was Naamah.
23 Lamech said to his wives, Adah and Zillah, listen to me; wives of Lamech, hear my words. I have killed a man for wounding me, a young man for injuring me.

Well apparantly the Mormons have it right. Bigamy is not a problem, at least not from a religious point of view. I wonder when we were all forced into monogamy? And could the women have more than one husband here? The land of Nod is beginning to look a little like a 60’s free love hippy collective here.

Big family tree, there’s more of that to come. Most of it just as tedious as this. You’d think the editor would have stepped in here and cut a bit to pick up the pace.
24 If Cain is avenged seven times, then Lamech seventy-seven times.
Lamech’s a sneaky one – he bumps off some unspecified youth (probably picked up a hitch hiker!) and claims that god will avenge himself on anybody who dares take revenge on good old Lameth. No mention as to whether this is actually backed up by god or not.

25 Adam lay with his wife again, and she gave birth to a son and named him Seth, saying, God has granted me another child in place of Abel, since Cain killed him.
26 Seth also had a son, and he named him Enosh. At that time men began to call on the name of the LORD.

Poor old Adam, the implication seems to be that every time he gets laid another son pops out. It’s worse than being catholic.

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