[b-hebrew] Genesis 20: 1

JimStinehart at aol.com JimStinehart at aol.com
Thu Oct 18 19:04:45 EDT 2007


 
Shoshanna: 
You wrote:  “Here is where the Torah tells what I had just posted, and also 
tells  
us that Avimelech did NOT sleep with her in the end:  G-d is talking  
to Avimelech in his dream:  "But now return the man's wife FOR HE IS  
A PROPHET"  (ie; he therefore knows that you did not touch her, and  
therefore...) "he will pray for you and you will live"

’We also know  that Avimelech did not touch her, because G-D SAID SO in 
verse 6 (G-d  stopped him by His warning to him)

There is no need to question if  Avimelech lied to his servants or 
not, because G-d doesn't  lie!” 
(1)    I agree that YHWH  does not lie. 
(2)    If YHWH had  approached Abraham during daylight hours, and said that 
nothing had happened  between Abimelech and Sarah, then we would know that 
nothing had happened  between Abimelech and Sarah.  But  the text says no such 
thing. 
(3)    We cannot trust  what a Gentile king reports that the Gentile king had 
 dreamed. 
(4)    The text does not  state that YHWH personally communicated to Abraham 
that Abimelech had not come  near Sarah.  I agree that YHWH had  the power to 
do that, but the text does not tell us that YHWH in fact did  that. 
(5)    In my view, what  at first glance appears to be said by the narrator 
in chapter 20 of Genesis is  actually what Abimelech told his servants the next 
morning.  We do not know whether Abimelech is  telling the truth or not. 
(6)    At Genesis 21:  12-13, the author has a perfect opportunity to clarify 
the matter.  At Genesis 21: 13, YHWH explicitly says  that Ishmael is Abraham’
s “seed”.  But does YHWH say that about Isaac in the preceding verse?  No, 
at Genesis 21: 12, YHWH says to  Abraham that “Isaac’s seed shall be called 
for you”.  YHWH does not say that Isaac himself is  Abraham’s seed.  YHWH also 
does not  say that Isaac is not Abraham’s seed.  You see, the author of the 
Patriarchal narratives is deliberately being a  bit ambiguous about this weighty 
matter. 
(7)    I am not insisting  that anything at all happened between Abimelech 
and Sarah.  Please do not misunderstand me.  Rather, what I am saying is that 
for  many years, Abraham may well have wondered whether anything had happened 
between  Abimelech and Sarah.  Perhaps that  is why Abraham expresses no joy 
whatsoever at Isaac’s birth, and never says a  nice word to or about Isaac prior 
to the harrowing binding  incident. 
Please do not misunderstand what I am saying.  Maybe nothing happened between 
Abimelech  and Sarah.  All I am saying is that  the author of the Patriarchal 
narratives is deliberately somewhat ambiguous on  that score.  He has to be.  
That’s the most important point in the  entirety of the Patriarchal 
narratives, historically.  It was not pleasant for the author to  relate the story 
about Abimelech in chapter 20 of Genesis.  He did not like that story any more 
than  we do.  But he had to tell that  story.  That story is in fact the  heart 
and soul of the Patriarchal narratives  historically. 
But I am not insisting that anything actually happened  between Abimelech and 
Sarah.  I am  only insisting that we cannot be sure that Abraham did not 
wonder, for many  years, whether anything might have happened between Abimelech 
and Sarah.  That’s all I’m saying.  Without that key ambiguity, the  
Patriarchal narratives would not work, historically, in the context of the  secular 
history of the mid-14th century BCE.  That unpleasant story must be in the  text.  
It’s the key story in the  text, historically.  
Jim Stinehart 
Evanston, Illinois



************************************** See what's new at http://www.aol.com



More information about the b-hebrew mailing list