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Genesis 24 – 27

Weekly Deep Dive
Genesis 24 - 27

Abraham’s servant to find Rebekah. Rebekah, a woman like Abraham. Isaac and Rebekah just like Abraham and Sarah. Jacob and Esau.

8 responses on "Genesis 24 - 27"

  1. I just realized I made a mistake in this week’s episode. I believe I said Esau married an Egyptian wife when in fact he married Hittite wives. Sorry.

  2. The JST for Genesis 24:2 states that Abraham asked his servant to put his hand under his hand not his thigh. I find this omission on your part surprising,

    • I am so glad you brought this up and thanks for giving me a chance to explain! There is a reason we went with the typical Biblical translation in this case rather than the JST version, but as we got into the story of the servant and Rebekah, this detail fell by the wayside. This is a subject I want to handle with a lot of care, much like the story of Ham and Noah, I feel there is a crass way of handling the subject, and a meaningful yet sensitive way to handle it. And while Nate and I enjoy a good laugh every now and then on the show, this is something that deserves a more respectful approach to understanding the significance of this action and not a light-hearted interpretation. In the Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible, he actually translates it as both hand and thigh. He uses hand in the instance we saw with this weeks reading in Genesis 24:9, but in Genesis 47:29 he leaves the word as thigh. Also, the act of placing his hand in Abraham’s hand does not mean he does not also place it under his ‘thigh’ as well. It could just as easily be another layer of discretion.
      So why did we not use hand when presented with the opportunity? There are four main reasons. First – to show Abraham was putting all of the risk on himself. This is not conveyed by the act of holding hands. Abraham had everything to lose if this mission failed while the servant had everything to gain. It highlights both Abraham’s nature and the nature of his unnamed servant. Second – the major theme of these stories is the seed of Abraham – the promise to his posterity, and that he would have posterity. This was central to the oath that was made which is better portrayed in the sense that he placed his hand under the ‘thigh.’ Third – this was the legal norm for the culture at the time. This is evident in legal proceedings, oaths, and testimonies in the Ancient Near East, Greece, Indo-European, and finally Latin culture. Fourth, and finally – There is something to be learned by thinking of our testimony in terms of something sacred yet potent in it’s ability to create life. A testimony is sacred, divine and should not be taken lightly. When we say “I like to bear my testimony,” I feel it has almost become too repetitive, too flippant, or too light-hearted an expression. Understanding this history might open us up to appreciate the gravity and sensitivity to what we are doing when we do bear witness. Maybe thinking of our testimony in these terms will help us use discretion in how we share our testimony and what it means to us. That was the missing message to why we used that interpretation in our episode this week. I hope that helps, and thanks so much for reaching out to us with this question! I feel like we did this episode a disservice by bringing this up and not getting to fully explain the significance of the wording here. Also, thanks for listening!
      For more information on this cultural history, let me point you to an article:
      Katz, Joshua T. “Testimonia Ritus Italici: Make Genitalia, Solemn Declarations, and a New Latin Sound Law.” Harvard Studies in Classical Philology, vol. 98, Department of the Classics, Harvard University, 1998, pp. 183-217, https://doi.org/10.2307/311342.

  3. Thank you for this explanation! Can we also chat about the JST regarding Lot’s daughters? Super interested to hear your thoughts. We appreciate ya!!

    • Hey Karen! I would love to chat about it! Did you have any questions in particular? What I see in how the JST differs from the KJV is that the JST explicitly states that the action the daughters took was wicked. I agree with that. I think it’s interesting to have the story of Lot’s daughters right next to the stories of Abraham sending a servant a great distance to find a daughter for his son and then later on Jacob taking the same long journey to find a spouse. The interpretation that Lot’s daughters thought that the world had ended and there was no other option is particularly hard for me to swallow. They just came from a city that was not destroyed. They knew there were still people on the Earth. And even if they didn’t, like Abraham, they could have looked to the land they came from to find a spouse. However, those solutions were hard, would take a long time with no guarantees and in short, inconvenient. In context of what we’ve been studying in Old Testament, I think this is very similar to the serpent offering the fruit to Adam and Eve. They could wait for the further knowledge from God, or they could not wait and get knowledge right then and there. In other words, “take the shortcut.” Rather than take the time and effort to go about finding a husband – think again of Jacob traveling extreme distances and working fourteen years for his wife – they think there is no other way and take matters onto their own hands. Abraham could have decided to disobey God when God commanded him to offer Isaac as a sacrifice because there was no other way to fulfill God’s promise than through Isaac, yet he was willing to follow through anyways and wait on the Lord to see how the Lord was going to come through on his promises. I think God applauds ingenuity and encourages us to find solutions to our problems. However, when our actions are in direct violation of his commandments because we want to put our will and concern above his, we lose sight of God’s plan for us and fall in wickedness. These Old Testament stories to me are teaching temperance, faith and patience. It’s all about waiting on the Lord and not trying to put your will first or take a “shortcut” to happiness.
      Thanks for listening to the show! What are your thoughts on this, and did I answer the right question?

  4. Hey, the hand first and tying a red string on the hand is another set of twins. Just FYI.

    • Thanks! I thought I had mentioned in the episode that the string on the hand was Judah and Tamar’s set of twins that we would get to later in the year. Sorry for the confusion. Thanks for listening!

  5. Hey, Jason. Totally loved your answer re: the daughters. Love the connections to the recent theme of shortcuts. My JST question, however, was with regard to the previous lesson. I just failed to clarify. 😅

    Rather than offering his daughters up to the wicked crowd, the JST explains that Lot asked them not to harm them. I’d love your insight. Thanks so much!

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