An Atheist Reads the Bible

A godless heathen’s religious experience

Posts Tagged ‘genealogy’

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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