Design By Humans

Genesis 25. More bowel-babies. Twins no less.

Genesis 25.

1 Then again Abraham took a wife, and her name was Keturah.

    OK, from the last couple of chapters I think I could be forgiven for thinking that Abraham was basically on his last legs. He's given his possessions to his son Isaac In the way of an inheritance (Which is a bit of an insult to his first-born Ishmael if you ask me), His wife Sarah has died and in the last ten years of her life persistently referred to his advancing years and how he'd unlikely be up to much in bed because of his frailty. It comes as somewhat of a shock then to find that after his wife Sarah has died he gets hitched up with a woman called Keturah. I have to wonder if Keturah is from Abraham's own tribe or if she is from among the Canaanite locals that he wouldn't let his son marry, I hope this is expounded upon later.

2 And she bare him Zimran, and Jokshan, and Medan, and Midian, and Ishbak, and Shuah.

    Keturah gives Abraham six sons, I don't want to dwell too much on her possible age but given that she was fertile enough for long enough to birth six sons (assuming no multiple births this is a minimum of around a five year period), she'd have to be considerably younger than her post-centenarian husband.

3 And Jokshan begat Sheba, and Dedan. And the sons of Dedan were Asshurim, and Letushim, and Leummim.

    OK, the author doesn't give me any dating information so I can't say when any of these people were born. I hope there's some later.

4 And the sons of Midian; Ephah, and Epher, and Hanoch, and Abida, and Eldaah. All these were the children of Keturah.

    Right you are, don't forget they are also the children of Abraham.

5 And Abraham gave all that he had unto Isaac.

    Yes, I'm certain this has already happened.

6 But unto the sons of the concubines, which Abraham had, Abraham gave gifts, and sent them away from Isaac his son, while he yet lived, eastward, unto the east country.
    So aside from the children Keturah bore him, Abraham also has children by an unnumbered amount of concubines. Did he have any of these concubines while Sarah was alive? Were any of his illegitimate children born before Isaac or even Ishmael? Nice that he gave them gifts, shame that they aren't considered for his God-given legacy and are sent away. There doesn't seem to be anything fair or just about the selection of Isaac for an heir or does the LORD consider that there was something special about Sarah?

7 And these are the days of the years of Abraham's life which he lived, an hundred threescore and fifteen years.

    Abraham lives one-hundred-and-seventy-five years...

8 Then Abraham gave up the ghost, and died in a good old age, an old man, and full of years; and was gathered to his people.

    ...eventually dying in 2123AE, outliving Sarah by twenty-eight years. I wonder at which point in those twenty-eight years he took Keturah as a wife.

9 And his sons Isaac and Ishmael buried him in the cave of Machpelah, in the field of Ephron the son of Zohar the Hittite, which is before Mamre;

    Oh! That's nice, Ishmael who got nothing from his father other than being kicked out, came to the funeral.

10 The field which Abraham purchased of the sons of Heth: there was Abraham buried, and Sarah his wife.

    Abraham is buried with his dead wife Sarah, I wonder what Keturah was afforded in the aftermath of Abraham's death. I doubt she'd be happy with the choice of burial location.

11 And it came to pass after the death of Abraham, that God blessed his son Isaac; and Isaac dwelt by the well Lahairoi.

    OK, I'd comment on the blessing but I can't see that it means much. What does it actually mean to be blessed by God? What tangible effect does it have? in the narrative so far I can't discern anything that has happened as a result of the LORD's blessings.

12 Now these are the generations of Ishmael, Abraham's son, whom Hagar the Egyptian, Sarah's handmaid, bare unto Abraham:

    OK. Let's see what happened to Ishmael.

13 And these are the names of the sons of Ishmael, by their names, according to their generations: the firstborn of Ishmael, Nebajoth; and Kedar, and Adbeel, and Mibsam,

    All well and good but I'd really like some dates or ages.

14 And Mishma, and Dumah, and Massa,

    ...

15 Hadar, and Tema, Jetur, Naphish, and Kedemah:

    ...

16 These are the sons of Ishmael, and these are their names, by their towns, and by their castles; twelve princes according to their nations.

    Each of the sons got a nation? I wonder if these nations are in the land promised to Abraham and his seed that Abraham has passed to Isaac as his birth-right. If so, are these nations destined to be swept aside by Isaac's progeny?

17 And these are the years of the life of Ishmael, an hundred and thirty and seven years: and he gave up the ghost and died; and was gathered unto his people.

    Ishmael lives one-hundred-and-thirty-seven years eventually dying in 2171AE. Incidentally Eber is still alive!

18 And they dwelt from Havilah unto Shur, that is before Egypt, as thou goest toward Assyria: and he died in the presence of all his brethren.

    ...where his brethren does not include his brother Isaac but only the fruit of his own seed. The Abrahamic family is divided so early in the narrative that I fail to see why Abraham is considered so highly.

19 And these are the generations of Isaac, Abraham's son: Abraham begat Isaac:

    Ok and what of Isaac? Let's see.

20 And Isaac was forty years old when he took Rebekah to wife, the daughter of Bethuel the Syrian of Padanaram, the sister to Laban the Syrian.

    Meaning he 'took' Rebekah in his dead mother's tent three years after she died. Who keeps a dead person's tent up for three years?

21 And Isaac intreated the LORD for his wife, because she was barren: and the LORD was intreated of him, and Rebekah his wife conceived.

    OK. Initially Rebekah was barren but then after Isaac has a quick word with God Rebekah conceives. I hope something gives us an indication of Rebekah's age, It might explain the delay in conception. Also, Why does Isaac need to ask God to make Rebekah conceive? God has already promised that this bloodline will multiply exceedingly. If he made Rebekah barren and had to adjust later it was a remarkable oversight. Get back on the ball LORD!

22 And the children struggled together within her; and she said, If it be so, why am I thus? And she went to enquire of the LORD.
    Rebekah is pregnant with twins, this confuses her so instead of going to a midwife she goes and asks the LORD what this is all about.

23 And the LORD said unto her, Two nations are in thy womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels; and the one people shall be stronger than the other people; and the elder shall serve the younger.
    So, rather than explaining that two eggs, one from each ovary has become fertilised after sexual congress with Isaac and that one of the foetuses is hogging the resources and the other is being weakened as a result, he instead gives the children a destiny and oddly, despite having fashioned humans from the earth himself, still believes that babies come out of the bowel! Why didn't Rebekah seek the help of a midwife or at least someone familiar enough with lady-parts to tell her where the babies will actually come out of?

24 And when her days to be delivered were fulfilled, behold, there were twins in her womb.

    Ta-DA!

25 And the first came out red, all over like an hairy garment; and they called his name Esau.

    Esau is born and is red and hairy all over, I'm not certain of the prevalence of red hair in this region at this time and in this region but I assume that it is mentioned means that it's rare. Is Esau actually hairy all over? This description puts me in mind of a baby orangutan.

26 And after that came his brother out, and his hand took hold on Esau's heel; and his name was called Jacob: and Isaac was threescore years old when she bare them.

    Jacob was born holding onto the heal of Esau? This strikes me as a little odd. Does this actually happen? I'm inclined to say no. Anyway, Esau and Jacob are born in 2108AE, can anyone believe that Eber is still going strong at this point?

27 And the boys grew: and Esau was a cunning hunter, a man of the field; and Jacob was a plain man, dwelling in tents.

    Cool, Esau is a hunter and Jacob a herdsman. There are shades of Cain and Abel coming across here.

28 And Isaac loved Esau, because he did eat of his venison: but Rebekah loved Jacob. 

    I wonder if she was put off by Esau's orangutan-like appearance. Has the full-body hair-suit lasted into adulthood? Isaac favours Esau because he likes the meat he provides but Rebekah favours Jacob, I suppose parents often have their favourites.

29 And Jacob sod pottage: and Esau came from the field, and he was faint:

    For some reason Esau is ill, probably injured in a hunt.

30 And Esau said to Jacob, Feed me, I pray thee, with that same red pottage; for I am faint: therefore was his name called Edom.
    He asks Jacob for some of the food he's made (and for some reason his illness causes his name to change, will we see this name come back later?)

31 And Jacob said, Sell me this day thy birthright.

    Why is everyone in this period so ruthless, there doesn't appear to be any compassion, no one does anything altruistic without trying to leverage some kind of political or financial gain.

32 And Esau said, Behold, I am at the point to die: and what profit shall this birthright do to me?

    Esau quite astutely realises that his birthright will be useless to him as a dead man and that he'd rather live and so seems to be cool with Jacob's profiteering deal.

33 And Jacob said, Swear to me this day; and he sware unto him: and he sold his birthright unto Jacob.

    OK. Deal done.

34 Then Jacob gave Esau bread and pottage of lentiles; and he did eat and drink, and rose up, and went his way: thus Esau despised his birthright.

    A bit of sour grapes from Esau, I guess it's to be expected really.

Well that was fun, but have we learned anything?

  • We have discovered that during his time with Sarah, Abraham also had an unnumbered amount of children with an unnumbered amount of concubines and that after Sarah's death Abraham remarries. Was Keturah previously a concubine that got promoted to wife in Sarah's absence?
  • Only Isaac, Abraham's son with Sarah gets any inheritance despite not being either the first or last child. There seems to be a lot of importance placed on Abraham but I would postulate that it is in fact Sarah who is important as it is *her* only son and not Abraham's that inherits everything.
  • What is it that is intrinsically important about Isaac?
  • Important men in this book seem to have a habit of marrying barren women and have to ask God to intercede in order to have a successful pregnancy.
  • It appears that the idea of children being born out of a bowel is not limited to the misunderstanding of the LORD, you'd think that someone would ask a woman who'd had a child, Like Keturah, where babies come out of as she'd surely know the answer, wouldn't she?
  • The Ginger gene exists in the line of Abrahamic descent, so, it would seems, does the gene for being completely covered in hair, the combination of which has given Esau the appearance of an orangutan, I wonder if his jungle-man image will feature in the narrative going forward.


OK... It's been a long time since we had some new characters. Let's see what unfolds for them in Genesis 26.

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