Story Notes: Genesis 11-15, Abraham’s Early Years
Notes to the Reader: After starting a book called The Blue Parakeet: Rethinking How You Read the Bible by Scot McKnight (yes, that is an affiliate link as is everything else I can possibly get one for. Please buy it!!), which talks about how there is a reason that the Bible is a a collection of books written by different authors in different times to different peoples in different places, I began re-reading the Bible straight through specifically to appreciate the story and see what pops out at me when I’m reading it.
I’ve been reading through using the ESV Readers’s Bible, which is designed with no verse notations or section headings or footnotes and which is laid out like an actual hardback book (I highly recommend this! It’s much less distracting to read). I’m reading in five-chapter blocks (for the most part) and writing down what sticks out at me here. Feel free to follow along
- Ch. 11 – One language! They say that language changes the way that you think and see the world because we don’t actually see or recognize or feel things we have no words to express. Part of the magic of learning another language is the seeping in of the culture and ethos of the people from whom the language came (this is what the movie Arrival was about. It’s excellent!). So, did the proto-language encompass all the words and ideas that eventually splintered out, or was it less rich than it’s descendants? In genetics, you can tell when you’ve found an origin of a specific species because it has a much richer genetic diversity than the groups that have been relocated elsewhere and then only had themselves to breed with. For instance, potatoes come from the Andes mountains, and there are hundreds of types in a really small area. Everywhere else in the world only grows a handful of types because those are the types that were carted back home by explorers. I’m betting the first language and first people who spoke it had a much more encompassing view of probably everything than we do.
- Land. Everything in this story is about land and kinsmen. Abraham goes out from his father’s house to the land the Lord shows him. Abraham heads out to Egypt where he tricks the Pharaoh into thinking Abram’s wife isn’t his wife (Pharaoh then grabs her for his own wife), and then Abram gets rich when Pharaoh pays him off to clear out and take his wife with him. He is a sojourner in Egypt, though. No land of his own.
- When he leaves, he moves into Canaan and God gives him a huge wad of land. After his nephew Lot gets himself POWed, Abraham goes out and gets him right back. The king of Sodom, where Lot lives, is so thankful that Abraham retrieved not just Lot but everything else the enemy kings carted off that he offers him all kinds of stuff, which Abraham refuses.
- Abram then complains to God that what good would a reward of stuff be when he has no heir to leave it to, at which point God promises him both offspring a-plenty and gobs of land, but first there would be four hundred years of hardship (that Abraham will miss because he’ll be dead before then).
- The other thing God says is that the reason for the 400 year delay is that the Amorites who live there now haven’t made it all the way to the bottom of their spiral into horribleness yet. Huh. After the flood God says he will never again curse the ground or wipe all men from the earth because the intention of man is evil from his youth (“intention” is an interesting word. Man himself isn’t evil; God calls man and woman very good. Man’s intentions and how he executes them are). He recognizes the penchant man has for Hitler-ing it up and Nazifying everyone as many people nearby as possible, but even so He waits as long as possible before taking care of it. Presumably this is to give as many opportunities as possible for them to repent and change (I’m thinking about Jonah and Nineveh type of things here)?
Today I am Thankful For:
- Breakfast with friends
- Morning sun peeking through floating clouds