[b-hebrew] Genesis 20: 1
rosewalk at concentric.net
Thu Oct 18 20:25:43 EDT 2007
I don't have time to answer your entire post, so this is what I am answering:
(1) I agree that YHWH does not lie.
But you don't agree that "YHWH" (or Elohim, or Adonai, or YHWH
Tzevaoth, etc.) wrote the Torah - so that even when the Torah tells
us what G-d did or said, you indeed have no way of knowing if that is
true or not - because how could a human being know what G-d did or
said to someone else, especially in the privacy of his dream? So who
is lying or not? The alleged person who wrote that G-d spoke to
someone in a dream and reported what He said? For that matter, he
could even be lying about what Avimelech said. Or the entire Torah
could be a lie, if only some people wrote it.
(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
The text DOES say that nothing had happened between Avimelech and
Sarah - it says so explicitly here in verse 4.
The text does not need to tell us that G-d told Avraham, and indeed
the text does not give all details - do you know how long it would
have to be if the Torah gave every single detail about all the
information it contains? It is enough that G-d told Avimelech that
Avraham was a prophet for us to understand what we need to understand
here. Also the text did not HERE give the details of which cities
were destroyed, but does so elsewhere.
(3) We cannot trust what a Gentile king reports that the Gentile
king had dreamed.
Except that it was G-d who reported it. The text doesn't say that
Avimelech reported it...
And we can trust G-d, and if we believe that G-d wrote the Torah then
we can also trust the text, since G-d does/did not lie, that if G-d
said that He spoke to Avimelech in a dream, then He did not lie, and
it is from the text that we learn that Avimelech WAS a righteous
person (for those times), otherwise G-d would not have bestowed upon
him temporary Prophecy - just as G-d did not, in the same situation
(when Pharaoh abducted Sarah), bother to give Pharaoh any benefit of
Prophecy and warning re Sarah, because he did NOT have good
intentions, he was completely corrupt, and he did not deserve the
favor. In fact, Avimelech had intended to MARRY Sarah - his
intentions were pure, but it did not matter, because pure intentions
do not cancel out a bad deed, but because his intentions were pure,
G-d did him the favor, warned him and gave him the chance to not do
the actual deed. (See verse 6, when G-d admits that He knows that
his intentions had been righteous)
(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.
The text did say that - when G-d told Avimelech that Avraham was a
prophet - remember there is nothing extraneous in Torah
From here on, I cannot relate to the rest of this post, because I
need a break from seeing this constant "the naarator this, the author
that" and also because you have changed the subject, and I don't
think that we are finished with this one.
(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
s ÄúseedÄù. But does YHWH say that about Isaac in the preceding verse? No,
at Genesis 21: 12, YHWH says to Abraham that ÄúIsaacÄôs seed shall be called
for youÄù. YHWH does not say that Isaac himself is AbrahamÄôs
seed. YHWH also
does not say that Isaac is not AbrahamÄôs seed. You see, the author of the
Patriarchal narratives is deliberately being a bit ambiguous about
(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 IsaacÄôs 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.
ThatÄôs 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. ThatÄôs all IÄôm 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.
ItÄôs the key story in the text, historically.
************************************** See what's new at http://www.aol.com
b-hebrew mailing list
b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org
More information about the b-hebrew