Reading through the Bible: day 19

I apologise for not getting this out yesterday, but I had a very long day, and after doing the readings and thinking about what to say, my brain was fried.

Genesis 22 – 24

“God did tempt Abraham”

For King James readers the above statement appears in Genesis 22:1. Unsurprisingly this bothers people, since we think of tempting as something the Devil does, but not God. There is a problem, which was revealed when I asked a second language English speaker if God tempts: “what do you mean by tempt?” The way people define tempt isn’t that clear to non-English speakers who don’t just assume they fully understand the word being used. The KJV was translated just short of 400 years ago, and the meaning of tempt was probably not as clear cut as we think it is. So I checked Strong’s, and the Hebrew word is literally test, thus modern formal equivalence translations use test instead of tempt. It would seem that the issue is simply semantic though.

The next issue here is that Abraham was willing to sacrifice his son to God. Within the context of that period, human sacrifice wasn’t seen as something unreasonable to do for your deity. The fact that God asked appals people, but God never expected Abraham to go through with it, so I see little issue here. The Devil tested Job because he felt that his righteousness and faith was only a result of his success, and Abraham, who wasn’t always the righteous guy Job was, was bound to be questioned as deserving of the privilege God was to bestow on him.

The entire thing was simply a test of faith, it is interesting that Abraham was willing to sacrifice the child that the future nation was to come from, and that he told the servants that they’d be back makes me wonder if Abraham was uncertain about whether he’d have to make the sacrifice, which is perhaps why God allowed it to go so far.

Hands under thighs?

The Hebrew word used here is the same word for loins as well as thigh. So obviously people will point out that the servant was asked to hold his testicles. The custom could possibly be symbolic of swearing/making an oath on the future bloodline which the servant was basically being asked to preserve. The fact that the custom seems odd, absurd or funny doesn’t really make it something to cast doubt on the validity of what is being said, it is simply a record of the events.

What are your thoughts on today’s scripture?

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