Friday, May 23, 2014



    Bible stories about Abraham are preached and talked about a great deal by the clergy.  When I went to church and Sunday school I heard a lot about Abraham and how he was the Patriarch of the Jewish people and all around great guy.  Then I started reading the Bible and things really didn’t make much sense, as is often the case when you sit down and read the Bible.
Things get really convoluted in the Bible.  It’s almost as if there were two or more versions of the Bible and somebody decided to mash them all together.  Read the Genesis account of Creation and you find two different accounts both in Genesis 1:25-27 and 2:18-22.  There are three different versions of the Ten Commandments in Exodus 20: 2-17 / 34: 12-26 and Deuteronomy 5:6-21.
When we get to the story of Abraham things really turn weird.  Preachers love to focus on Abraham and Sarah having a child, Isaac, when Abraham was 100 and Sarah was 90 years old.  That alone is weird and creepy.  It gets creepier.  Either Sarah was Abraham’s niece or his half-sister.   We really don’t know because there appears to be two versions.  In the first version in Genesis 11: 29-27 it would seem that Sarah is his niece.
Genesis 11
 27 This is the account of Terah’s family line.  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 Milkah; she was the daughter of Haran, the father of both Milkah and Iskah. 

In Genesis 20:11-12, the second version of this weird and creepy story, Abraham claims that Sarah is his sister by another mother.
Genesis 20
11 Abraham replied, “I said to myself, ‘There is surely no fear of God in this place, and they will kill me because of my wife.’12 Besides, she really is my sister, the daughter of my father though not of my mother; and she became my wife. 

We don’t know if Sarah was his half-sister or niece, but it doesn’t really matter.  Abraham pawned her off as his sister, that we know for sure.  Abraham was the first to use the confidence scam called the Jealous Husband.  Actually the Con used today is a variation of Abraham’s original scam.  Today’s Jealous Husband works like this; the mark meets a beautiful girl in the bar and after some drinks she invites him up to her room.   As she starts to take off her clothes  the husband (Con-man) breaks in and catches them in the act.  He then demands money from the mark.  The mark can’t let this get back to his wife so he pays up.
The Bible says Abraham used this Con twice, once in Egypt and again in the land of Negev. Both times Abraham makes a big score.  Can Abraham’s actions be considered the righteous acts of a holy man? 
In Egypt he instructs Sarah to tell the Egyptians that she is his sister, because Abraham seems to think the Egyptians will kill him and take Sarah.  He feels they are an ungodly bunch and have no morals.  But it appears to be the reverse.  When the Pharaoh finds out that Sarah is Abraham’s wife he genuinely feels guilt and shame for taking Sarah as one of his wives.  He ask Abraham, “What have you done to me?” and “Why didn’t you tell me she was your wife?” It sounds as though Pharaoh was the more righteous man.  Abraham makes off with sheep, cattle, donkeys, male and female slaves and camels.  The pickens was good.

Genesis 12
10 Now there was a famine in the land, and Abram went down to Egypt to live there for a while because the famine was severe.11 As he was about to enter Egypt, he said to his wife Sarai, “I know what a beautiful woman you are. 12 When the Egyptians see you, they will say, ‘This is his wife.’ Then they will kill me but will let you live. 13 Say you are my sister, so that I will be treated well for your sake and my life will be spared because of you.”
14 When Abram came to Egypt, the Egyptians saw that Sarai was a very beautiful woman. 15 And when Pharaoh’s officials saw her, they praised her to Pharaoh, and she was taken into his palace.16 He treated Abram well for her sake, and Abram acquired sheep and cattle, male and female donkeys, male and female servants, and camels.
17 But the Lord inflicted serious diseases on Pharaoh and his household because of Abram’s wife Sarai. 18 So Pharaoh summoned Abram. “What have you done to me?” he said. “Why didn’t you tell me she was your wife? 19 Why did you say, ‘She is my sister,’ so that I took her to be my wife? Now then, here is your wife. Take her and go!” 20 Then Pharaoh gave orders about Abram to his men, and they sent him on his way, with his wife and everything he had.

A lot happens between this shake down of the Pharaoh and the shake down of Abimelek.   Lot and Abraham part company, their livestock start getting mixed in with each other and fights break out between the wranglers of Lot and Abraham.  Sounds like a bad cowboy movie.  Then Abraham has to rescues Lot from some Bad Guys.  Sounds like a bad gangster movie.  The Lord makes a covenant with Abraham, he is impressed with Abraham’s thug ways.  Oh yea, then there is the Hagar and Ishmael incident.  Seems Abraham and Sarah have an open marriage.  There’s some more high times with Abraham and Sarah you can read it for yourself.
In Genesis 20, Abraham has out stayed his welcome so he moves on to a land called Negev.  It’s the region of present day Southern Israel.  He might have been a little poorer for ware and needed to refill his coffers.   So he makes a move on King Abimelek of Gerar.  Abraham plays the Con the same way he did in Egypt, no use to fix it if it ain’t broke.  Abe tells Abimelek that Sarah is his sister and right on cue she’s taken as one of the Kings wives.  
Genesis 20
1Now Abraham moved on from there into the region of the Negev and lived between Kadesh and Shur. For a while he stayed in Gerar, and there Abraham said of his wife Sarah, “She is my sister.” Then Abimelek king of Gerar sent for Sarah and took her.
Now Abraham has another member of his crew that religious con-artist don’t have today.  God.   And he is one Bad-Ass.  Abe doesn’t have to break any doors down, he has God do the dirty work.  In a dream one night God tells Abimelek, “You’re good as dead.”  But Abimelek stands up to God and says, “Hey, hey bite me!  Dude told me she was his sister. And anyway I didn’t even touch her!” God has to back down, then God claims it was he who didn’t let Abimelek touch Sarah.  So he tells Abimelek to give Sarah back and tag tag no tag back.  Everything is cool.

Genesis 20
But God came to Abimelek in a dream one night and said to him, “You are as good as dead because of the woman you have taken; she is a married woman.”Now Abimelek had not gone near her, so he said, “Lord, will you destroy an innocent nation? Did he not say to me, ‘She is my sister,’ and didn’t she also say, ‘He is my brother’? I have done this with a clear conscience and clean hands.”
Then God said to him in the dream, “Yes, I know you did this with a clear conscience, and so I have kept you from sinning against me. That is why I did not let you touch her. Now return the man’s wife, for he is a prophet, and he will pray for you and you will live. But if you do not return her, you may be sure that you and all who belong to you will die.”

As with Pharaoh, Abimelek comes across as more of a righteous person than Abraham.  He too displays genuine guilt and shame after taking Sarah as one of his wives.  He says to Abraham, “You have done things to me that should never be done.”  But yet Abraham is touted as a Prophet and Patriarch.
Genesis 20
Early the next morning Abimelek summoned all his officials, and when he told them all that had happened, they were very much afraid. Then Abimelek called Abraham in and said, “What have you done to us? How have I wronged you that you have brought such great guilt upon me and my kingdom? You have done things to me that should never be done.” 10 And Abimelek asked Abraham, “What was your reason for doing this?” 11 Abraham replied, “I said to myself, ‘There is surely no fear of God in this place, and they will kill me because of my wife.’12 Besides, she really is my sister, the daughter of my father though not of my mother; and she became my wife. 13 And when God had me wander from my father’s household, I said to her, ‘This is how you can show your love to me: Everywhere we go, say of me, “He is my brother.”’”
Just like in Egypt Abraham and his crew score big, really big.  Abimelek gives him sheep, cattle, and slaves (male and female).  And he tells Abraham to pick out as much land as he thinks he will need to live on.   Abimelek then tells Sarah he is giving a thousand shekels of silver to Abraham to cover any misunderstanding.   
14 Then Abimelek brought sheep and cattle and male and female slaves and gave them to Abraham, and he returned Sarah his wife to him. 15 And Abimelek said, “My land is before you; live wherever you like.”
16 To Sarah he said, “I am giving your brother a thousand shekels[a] of silver. This is to cover the offense against you before all who are with you; you are completely vindicated.”
Who are the Godly and who are the Ungodly in these stories?  Is it the man who married his niece, pawned her off as his sister and extorted land and wealth from unsuspecting men?  Or is it men who were not of the same family or religion as Abraham that were ungodly? Is that the lesson we should take from this Bible story.  Anybody who is not like us is fair game for anything we want to do to them, in the name of God.  Abimelek said the most damning statement to Abraham, “You have done things to me that should never be done.”

It would appear that Abraham is no Prophet or Patriarch….he’s just fucked up like a soup sandwich.   


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