Thursday, May 6, 2010

Genesis 48-50 & Exodus 1-3

The Facts (Chapter number: Verse)

48:7 - When Jacob came from Paddan, Rachel died in the land of Canaan while there was still some distance to go to Ephrath, and Jacob buried her there on the way to Ephrath (Bethlehem).

49:9 - Jacob describes Judah as crouching and stretching out like a lion - like a lioness - who dares rouse him up?
49:21 - Jacob describes Naphtali as a doe let loose that bears lovely fawns. (An alternate translation for "bears lovely fawns" given in the footnotes is "gives beautiful words.")
49:31 - Jacob asks to be buried in the cave where Abraham and his wife Sarah were buried, where Isaac and his wife Rebekah were buried, and where he buried Leah.

Genesis 50 - No mention of any women.

1:15-22 - The king of Egypt commands the Hebrew midwives, one named Shiprah and the other Puah, to kill any boy born onto a Hebrew woman, but they may let the girl children live. But the midwives feared God and they did not do as the king of Egypt commanded. The king finds out and asks the midwives why they have done this? The midwives tell the king that the Hebrew women are more vigorous than the Egyptian women, and the children are born before they arrive. So God dealt with the midwives and the Hebrew people multiplied and became strong. And because the midwives feared God they were given families. The the king of Egypt commanded all of his people, "Every boy that is born to the Hebrews you shall throw into the Nile, but you shall let every girl live."

2:1-10 - A man from the house of Levi married a Levite woman. The woman conceived and bore a son. When she saw that he was a fine boy she hid him for three months. When she could hide him no longer she made a basket out of Papyrus, put the child in it, and placed it among the reeds on the bank of the river. His sister stood at a distance to see what would happen to him. The daughter of Pharaoh came down to the river and discovered the basket. She sent her maid to fetch it and when she opened it and found the baby boy she took pity on him. The sister asked the daughter of Pharaoh if she wanted her to fetch a Hebrew woman to nurse him. The daughter said yes. So the sister went and called the child's mother, and the woman took the child and nursed it. When the child grew up she brought him to Pharaoh's daughter and she too him as her son. She named him Moses because she drew him out of the water.
2:15-22 - Moses leaves Egypt after Pharaoh finds out he killed another Egyptian. Moses fled to the land of Midian where he came upon a well where the priest of Midian's seven daughters were drawing water. Some shepherds came and drove the daughters away, but Moses defended them and also watered the daughter's flocks. The daughters went to their father Reuel and he asked why they were back so early. They told him about the Egyptian, Moses, that defended them and watered their flocks. and Reuel told them to go back and invite him to their house to break bread. Moses agreed to stay and Reuel gave Moses Zipporah for a wife. She bore him a son and Moses named him Gershom, for he says he has been an alien residing in a foreign land.

3:22 - God tells Moses that he shall not leave Egypt empty handed. Every woman (I assume Hebrew women here) shall ask any woman living in their neighbor's house for jewelry of silver or gold and clothing. And Moses shall put these on his sons and daughters and Moses shall plunder the Egyptians.

My Comments

Seriously? Jacob dies and says not a word to his other wives or daughters? Calls his sons over, gives them all blessings and yet nothing for the women in his family? That's a bit harsh, I think.

And then we get the story of the birth of Moses. I am a bit surprised that Moses mother apparently has no name, though that really shouldn't shock me by now since alot of women I assumed would be given names have none. So I guess it's all par for the course. I do like the midwives, standing up for themselves against Pharaoh like that, standing for what they believe in. And just to add no, I do not think this section is any sort of Biblical decree against abortion. Maybe a Biblical decree against killing (male) babies that have just come out of the womb, but that is a different matter. These are fully formed babies, both living and breathing, and generally the only reason a woman has to live. Without sons a woman is useless. And without sons God's promised people cannot multiply, since God's people use a patriarchal lineage. This passage is much more pro-sons than anti-abortion, and the midwives understood that without male children the mothers would be devastated. Even in the end the midwives are rewarded with children, which I assume at least some of them were male. That being said, the midwives are super awesome. They should have gotten much more awesome Pharaoh fighting verses.

And again, I totally admire Moses' mother hiding her baby to save him. She did this at a cost to her own life, which is so much love right there. We haven't gotten to see the mother's actually care for their children yet, so it's definitely nice to see a mom being proactive with her child's safety and caring so much about his well being. Not as awesome as how Laban seemed to care so openly for his daughters (since daughters were deemed as very much less than sons) but still awesome nonetheless. I guess it's just nice to see an entire section of a chapter just filled with women being active. No men around, just women. Moses' mother places him in the reeds, his sister follows him, the daughter finds him and decides to keep him, the sister suggests a Hebrew nursemaid and brings Moses back to his mother. It's just a nice change of pace.

And now I REALLY want to go watch The Prince of Egypt. I can't help it. For the entire last part of Genesis all I wanted was a copy of Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat to listen to. And now it's The Prince of Egypt. Wonder how long it would take to get a copy of Netflix...

Tomorrow: Exodus 4-9

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