[b-hebrew] Abraham, Sarah, Lot, and Lot's Wife

Stephen and Rebecca Shead srshead at gmail.com
Thu Dec 27 12:32:22 EST 2007


(Sorry for re-sending you this - I accidentally omitted the list address
last time.)

** Isaac's uncertain paternity?

Genesis 25:19 is your "unambiguous line of text": "These are the generations
of Isaac son of Abraham. Abraham FATHERED (HWLYD) Isaac."

Actually, the entire way through the narrative, from chapter 17 on, it's
clear and unambiguous - UNLESS you approach the text with a preconceived
notion that there's possible trickery afoot. Once again, you are trying to
find something in the text which simply isn't there - because you want it to
fit your theory, I suppose. All your arguments are weak arguments from
silence, claims that the author SHOULD have said such-and-such at THIS point
in the story to make it clear.

But anyone reading the text without your preconceptions would never dream
that Isaac were not Abraham's biological son. All the verses I listed set up
the expectation that Abram and Sarah are the biological parents, all the
expressions used are perfectly normal for that situation, and nothing is
said or done to cast a shred of doubt on it.

And Gen 21:12-13 is a non-argument. The one whose identity as Abraham's son
is threatened is not Isaac, but Ishmael - hence the reassurance of v. 13.
Verse 12 relates to which of Abraham's sons will inherit the promise. Given
that Isaac's biological relationship to Abraham has never to this point been
cast in doubt, why should it be explicitly affirmed here?

** Lot's wife and her lack of a son

You wrote: "Lot has no son, but Lot's wife has not borne a child for 12
years. That implies that Lot's wife does not want to risk her health by
having another child in middle age."

No, it does not imply that. Lot's wife may have been unable to bear more
children. Far more importantly, your leap of logic is nowhere stated, nor
even faintly hinted at, in the text. Where is there the slightest indication
of Lot's wife's attitude to producing a son? Her major moment in the
narrative - the "pillar of salt" incident - has, in the text itself, nothing
to do with bearing children, but rather with her attachment to the condemned
city. Yet, on your view, her importance as a character relates precisely to
whether or not she can/will/wants to produce a son.

So "Sarah and Lot's wife are compared at every turn"? I don't think so.

** Lot's daughters and incest

You wrote: "Look at the fine justification the author of the Patriarchal
narratives puts into the mouth of Lot's second youngest daughter ..." [Gen

So you really think the author wants us to see this as a valid and morally
acceptable justification? That is an astounding view. Why, if this is a
"fine justification", do the girls have to keep it hidden from their father
and get him blind drunk before sleeping with him? It is surely because,
though he has made some bad choices, he has some moral fibre. The narrator
simply assumes that anybody who reads it will be utterly horrified at what

As for your equally astounding claim that father-daughter unions are not
prohibited by the Mosaic Law, Lev 18:17 is perfectly clear.

By the way, please forgive and ignore my mistaken "Job" when I meant "Lot".
Both 3-letter names, and I've been thinking about Job a lot (pardon the pun)

Stephen Shead
Centro de Estudios Pastorales
Santiago, Chile

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