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God, Women and Tricks: Judah and Tamar: Genesis 38

Discussion in 'Scriptural Debates' started by sealchan, Jan 17, 2019.

  1. sealchan

    sealchan Well-Known Member

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    After his brother Joseph had been sold into slavery and the lie he implicitly backed up told to his father that Joseph was dead, Judah leaves his brothers and pursues the start of his own family. He has three sons but the first two die due to some influence related to the wife that Judah had procured for his firstborn son whose name was Tamar. Tamar dupes Judah into giving her a son by disguising herself as a prostitute. She has twins whose birth order is complicated by the assumption that a hand stuck out first would belong to the firstborn.

    Here is a Know Your Bible challenge...how many examples in Genesis 1 - 38 can you find where a woman, with God's direct or indirect blessing or support, plays a trick on someone else resulting in a significant outcome? I count roughly 8 such occurrences.

    Why is the tricksy woman, in line with God's will, such a frequently recurring motif in Genesis?
     
  2. ChristineM

    ChristineM "Be strong" I whispered to my coffee.
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    Could it be because the authors were men?
     
  3. sealchan

    sealchan Well-Known Member

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    No doubt. Men, having a significantly different way of relating to the world than women, as authors of these stories would project the "inscrutable actions" of women as tricks. But, perhaps, out of some respect for the different perspective of women they also found that God supports their actions.

    The first trick I found in Genesis was from when Abram and Sarai first went to Egypt and due to her "beauty" Abram told Sarai to play the role of sister. Of course, God comes in to punish Pharaoh who figures out what he unknowingly did wrong and kicks Abram out of his country...after Abram had acquired some riches as a result of his "sister". Here it is ambiguous how Pharaoh figured out the nature of the problem, but God seems to have acted on Abram and Sarai's behalf regardless. Pharaoh received punishment but was arguably not to be faulted as he was not told the truth. Certainly this turned out to be a trick played on him at Abram's request and Sarai's compliance and aided and abetted by God.
     
  4. ChristineM

    ChristineM "Be strong" I whispered to my coffee.
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    Of course they all believe a mythical god that they were defining would agree with every word they said or wrote and every action to carried out. Nowadays we call it confirmation bias.

    So Abrams trick then?
     
  5. sealchan

    sealchan Well-Known Member

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    Yes, in this case the trick was conceived by a man. I will keep a tally on this as I go through the list I came up with. A little comparative statistical analysis of tricks. Whose idea was the trick? Who benefited? How was God involved?...

    In this case...

    Abram conceived of the trick
    Sarai played it through
    Pharaoh was tricked
    God directly supported the trick by punishing Pharaoh
     
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  6. sealchan

    sealchan Well-Known Member

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    Next trick...Lot's two daughters, stuck in a cave with their aging father and with no prospects for husbands on the horizon, decide each in turn to get their father drunk and lay with him. They give birth to sons Moab and Ben-Ammi.

    Trick creator: Lot's daughters
    Trick enactor: Lot's daughters
    Person tricked: Lot
    God's role: None
    Outcome: The origin of the Moabites and the Ammonites
     
  7. sealchan

    sealchan Well-Known Member

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    Next trick...Abraham does to Abimelek what he did to Pharaoh, says his wife is his sister...then God helps Abimelek not be guilty of adultery even as He threatens him.

    Trick creator: Abraham
    Trick enactor: Sarah
    Person tricked: Abimelek
    Gods role: Muscle and revealer
    Outcome: Abraham increased his wealth and gets to settle down
     
  8. sealchan

    sealchan Well-Known Member

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    Next trick...Isaac does to Abimelek what his father did...Isaac says his wife Rebekah is his sister...but in a scene foreshadowing David looking down upon Bathsheba, Abimelek sees that Rebekah is no sister to Isaac and calls him on it.

    Trick creator: Isaac
    Trick enactor: Isaac
    Person tricked: Abimelek
    Gods role: Indirect influence through Abimelek's piety
    Outcome: Abimelek gets mad at Isaac but benevolently orders everyone to not harm Isaac or his wife

    In this scene Isaac just looks like a wimp and Abimelek the merciful, observant, pious and even parental one in this encounter. Isaac himself suffers in the line of patriarchs from having an underwhelming relationship with God in general.
     
  9. sealchan

    sealchan Well-Known Member

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    Next trick...Jacob stays with his uncle Laban while in exile from the wrath of his slightly older brother Esau. Laban puts Jacob to work and Jacob asks to be paid with Rachel's hand in marriage. When his wages come due, Jacob wakes up the next morning to find Rachel's older sister in his bed (the irony of karma?).

    Trick creator: Laban
    Trick enactor: Leah
    Person tricked: Jacob
    Gods role: None
    Outcome: Half the children of Jacob-Israel

    I hadn't noticed until now how the substitution of the older daughter for Jacob parallels Jacob's substitution of himself for his older brother...doh!...I missed a trick...
     
  10. sealchan

    sealchan Well-Known Member

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    Trick just prior to the last...Rebekah overheard her legally blind husband tell his oldest that he wanted to give him his blessing before his passing...Rebekah devised a way to put Jacob in his brother's place. Isaac is fooled and the blessing goes to the unintended.

    Trick creator: Rebekah
    Trick enactor: Jacob
    Person tricked: Isaac
    Gods role: Encouragement? God tells Rebekah that Jacob will rule over Esau
    Outcome: Jacob goes into exile to escape Esau's wrath
     
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