Friday, September 10, 2010

The Scoundrel Patriarchs

I am always amazed when I read through Genesis (as I usually do every Fall Semester when I teach Introduction to the Christian scriptures) at the number of scoundrels that are numbered among the Patriarchs of the Jewish and Christian Faiths.  Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Judah.  All of these guys engage in multiple scoundrel-like behaviors.  The following is a list of some of these behaviors:

Abraham deceive the Egyptians about his wife being his sister (Gen 12:10-13:1)
Abraham deceives Abimelech about his wife being his sister (Gen 20:1-18)
Isaac deceives Abimelech about his wife being his sister (Gen 26:1-11) Am I seeing a pattern here?
Jacob cons Esau out of his birth right (Gen 25:29-34)
Jacob cons Isaac into giving him Esau's blessing (Gen 27:1-29)
Jacob, using questionable science, manipulates Laban's flocks into giving birth to colored goats and lambs by having them look at striped branches while they are mating, thus increasing the size of his own flocks (Gen 30:31-43)
Joseph plays mind games with his brothers by sending them back and forth between Egypt and Canaan and making them think they are thieves (Gen 42-44)

These guys were a riot.

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