Tests are finished! Now only one project and some finals stand between me and some time off. My first semester back as a full time student has been fulfilling, but exhausting. I’m ready for a break before summer classes start.
Before getting into today’s bible reading, I’d like to solicit opinions. For an elective in the Fall, I’m trying to decide between Power Plant Systems (probably easier and more relevant to engineering) or Modern Physics (waaay more interesting to me, but I suspect it will be ass-kickingly hard). Thoughts?
Alrighty, then. Chapter 16- Sarai is barren, but wants to give Abram some children, so she tells him to sleep with her maid Hagar. Hagar gets pregnant, which makes Sarai regret her decision and treat Hagar like crap. Hagar flees. God tells Hagar to go back. The child is born. They name it Ishmael.
I feel bad for Hagar. Sarai and Abram treat her like chattel with absolutely no regard for her feelings or desires. Sarai wants to give Abram babies, so Sarai gives Hagar to Abram- that’s called a sex slave, folks, and sex slavery is wrong. (What you consent to in the privacy of your home with your master is another story…but BDSM this story ain’t.)
Then when Hagar gets pregnant, “her mistress became despised in her eyes.” I think a lot of people read this as Hagar getting uppity and thinking she was better than Sarai because she could give Abram kids where Sarai failed. I wonder if Hagar didn’t just despise Sarai for making her do this. I’d certainly be pissed at someone who forced me into sex slavery and pregnancy.
Sarai gets mad at Hagar for despising her, and basically says to Abram (I’m paraphrasing here), “This is your fault! Do something about it!” to which he replies (another paraphrase), “She’s your maid. You handle it.” And so Sarai (exact quote from the bible), “dealt harshly with her” leading Hagar to flee.
After (likely) getting the crap beat out of her by Sarai for doing what Sarai wanted in the first place, Hagar runs away. God, however, has no sympathy for Hagar’s plight and tells her go back and submit to Sarai. It’s no wonder people used the bible to support slavery for so long. God makes it clear that slavery is okay, and it’s the slave, not the master, who is in the wrong when abuses happen.
Chapter 17-God changes Abram and Sarai’s names to Abraham and Sarah. God re-establishes his covenant with Abraham that he will be the father of many nations, but adds the requirement of circumcision. God says Sarah will give Abraham a son named Isaac.
So, for at least the 3rd time now, God promises to give Abraham oodles of decedents. I don’t understand why the bible has to be so repetitive. It would be about half as long if it didn’t repeat itself over and over. But, God alters the deal this time. Now, all men “born in [Abraham’s] house and he who is bought with [Abraham’s] money must be circumcised” while “the uncircumcised male child, who is not circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin, that person shall be cut off from his people.” Let’s pray He doesn’t alter the deal any further!
Again we see that God is totally cool with slaves. People who claim the bible’s acceptance of slavery was for a different time, but it’s not okay anymore- that means you think it was okay once upon a time for a human to own another human. Think about that.
Also, I have very strong opinions about circumcision, and am very much against it unless it’s a choice an adult male makes for himself. It’s a topic for another day, because I don’t want to derail my bible commentary post, but I sure wish God/religion hadn’t mandated it.
And if I was Abraham (99 years old at the time) or Ishmael (13), I wouldn’t be happy about it either. Babies are to be circumcised at 8 days old, when it will hurt like hell but they won’t remember it. Adults..it’s just going to hurt like hell.
Chapter 18- God and/or three men appear to Abraham. He and Sarah feed them. They/God repeat that Sarah will give Abraham a son. Sarah laughs and gets chastised. Then God decides to go see if Sodom and Gomorrah as as wicked as they’re rumored to be. Abraham bargains with God not to destroy the cities.
I’m confused. It says God appears to Abraham, then 3 men appear. In addressing the men, sometimes Abraham uses a capital “Your” and sometimes a lowercase “your.” Then the men head toward Sodom, which is exactly where God claims to be heading, but the men depart before God does. Invasion of the body snatchers?
Anyway- in all that confusing pronoun mess, God repeats that Sarah will bear a son, and she laughed when she heard it. Then God chastises her for laughing. Even though, in chapter 17 Abraham laughed when her heard the news, only Sarah gets chastised for laughing. It’s okay for men to question God, but women should know their place.
Verses 20-21, “And the Lord said, ‘Because the outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grave, I will go down now and see whether they have done altogether according to the outcry against it that has come to Me; and if not, I will know.” It’s interesting b/c Sodom and Gomorrah are famous these days for homosexuality, but this doesn’t actually list their sin. Also, shouldn’t God already know whether or not they’ve committed whatever sin of which they’re accused? He’s supposedly omniscient, after all.
God doesn’t say what he plans to do if Sodom and Gomorrah are guilty of sin, but Abraham figured it out, and pleaded with God to spare the cities if 50 righteous men can be found. No wait, 45! Wait 40! No, 30! No, 20! How about 10? And God agrees not to destroy the city if 10 good people can be found. But again, shouldn’t God already know what’s going to happen?
And, it looks like we’ll have to wait until next time to find out what happens.